Page 100 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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Tanks come airplanes come, but Messiah does not come on them.
Messiah does not come nor will be he come on an airplane,
Messiah does not come nor will be come on a tank,
Brothers utter forth these words with joy
And so that you may unite with those of our people,
With those of us
weak, shunned, cheated,
Who in their very last moment of loneliness
Did not cease to comfort themselves and say:
Though he tarry we will not stop waiting for him.
Thus it follows brothers,
That Messiah will come in no way but that in which
All our old visionaries dreamed of him,
That Messiah will not show himself except as a pauper
Who will come on a very small and simple donkey
In the midst and in the deepness of our night.
(Tanken Kumen, Nor Moshiakh Kumt Nit)
The Wedding in Fernwald,
Messiah refuses to resume his task
in the land of the living after the horrors of the Holocaust. But
when he visits the displaced persons and witnesses the zeal with
which they rebuild their lives, he comes to realize that he must
accept his responsibility to remain with the Jews who have sur­
vived the destruction. Like the people of Israel, Messiah too must
agree to live. “Just as long ago, after he had been in Egypt, the Jew
accepted the Torah, so must he now, after Dachau, accept life.
For as the T orah is holy, so the life of a Jew is holy — and perhaps
even holier.”14
Leivick’s love for the Jewish people and his identification with
the Jews of all ages found expression in hundreds of poems,
plays, essays, addresses, and articles. “To belong to the Jewish
people is a great privilege and a great responsibility,” states
Leivick’s Rabbi of Rothenberg. “And, sometimes, the greater the
responsibility, the greater the privilege.”15 In
The Wedding in
Messiah goes to the crematoria together with the vic­
tims. When a sick and half-blind Jew falls to the ground, Messiah
lifts him on his shoulders, carries him, and goes with him and the
others to the oven in Dachau. When asked what he accomplishes,
14 H. Leivick,
Di Khasene in Femvald,
New York, 1949, p. 147.
15 H. Leivick,
Maharam fun Rutenberg,
New York, 1945, p. 85.