Page 52 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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hea rts . . . A rt is the commun ity’s medicine fo r the worst disease
o f the m ind: the co rrup tion o f consciousness.”8
Who is as strong and powerful
As you, my beautiful little trampled people?
Who is like you, who may be compared to you, Israel?
I selected you from among all nations
And placed my blessing on your head.
Their swords will not destroy you.
For you I will erect a Temple on a hill,
Come to bow before your presence,
Read your scrolls to the cantillation of the Levites.
Who can withstand Exile like you?
Who can endure
in this bloodthirsty world like you?
You are my living people Israel,
My little living creature Israel,
My people-Israel-lamb.
It is you who are the people of peoples.
You alone, only you and forever you.
I play my song of you on the flute of the Rabbi of Berdichev
And sing my own refrain.
You parted Egypt’s waters,
You cursed Amalek,
You brought East to West
And South to North.
You are as eternal
As the eternal heavens.
You are as enduring as time itself.
Sacred is the soil
Of your generations and your cemeteries.
Yisroel sheli —
you are my people Israel.
I believe, I believe, I believe in you, my people.
(“A Bletl fun Gots S ide r”)
D e sp i te th e so -c a l le d “s e c u la r i sm ” o f m o d e r n Y id d ish
lite ra tu re , religion and religious motifs occupy a p rom in en t place
in it. T h e r e is scarcely an im po r tan t Yiddish poe t who has failed
to take up this them e in his work. W he re Y. L. Peretz, in E u rope ,
had spoken o f Yiddish l ite ra tu re as a substitu te fo r a national
8 R. G. Collingwood,
The Principles o f Art,
Oxford, 1938, p. 336.