Kinah 46: The Things I Miss

Jul 19th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations
This Kinah lists many of the special things and experiences we miss when we live in a world without the Temple.

I offer a poem by Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (1058 – 1128). Born in Granada about 1055, Moses Ibn Ezra was destined to wander Spain after the conquest of Granada in 1090 by Berber invaders. He is forced to leave his friends and family. He too speaks of all he misses in Grenada:

How Long At Fate’s Behest

How long yet must my feet, at Fate’s behest,

The path of exile tread, and find no rest?

The sword of Separation has he drawn

To harry me over the earth;

And with the battle-ax of Wandering,

From each new refuge does he drive me forth.

Upon me he has loosed his brood of ills;

I totter, I even fall, before their might –

While like a fading shadow, day by day,

My life takes flight.

Misfortune’s marshalled hosts

Trampled my heart in youth;

Still in mine age, they march unwearied on,

Trampling, untouched by ruth.

The breaches of its walls they daub with woe,

Then throng again to smite it, blow on blow.

Marvel it seems, that the fierce fires of hell

Should rage within my breast, albeit my eyes

Pour torrents passing all the rains that fell

From olden Noah’s skies!

Alas, they draw my tears from sulphurous

streams,

And drench my heart only to feed its flames.

Oh, how can I, whose wont was to consort

With the great-minded nobles of the west,

Take joy in life? How shall my lonely heart,

Even in sleep, find rest?

Yet may not Fate, that has been harsh so long

Relent at last;

And grant my heart’s desire – and lead me back

To that fair city where my youth was passed?

There wait the roofs of friends, and there might I

Sit by a loved one’s threshold, and exchange

Greetings of friendship with the passers-by.

A Monument in Granada With Ibn Ezra\’s Poem: Ancient Graves


Or peradventure, after I am dead,

Some spark of life may in my dust remain,

To sprout in bud and blossom, when the tears

Of faithful friends upon my grave shall rain.

But who can say if those dear, distant ones

Cherish or scorn the love I treasure yet?

If I forget them, may my hand forget

Its cunning – if, from them apart,

One thought of joy can enter in my heart.

Oh, if indeed, the Lord would me restore

To beautiful Granada-land, my paths

Would be the paths of pleasentness once more;

For in that land my life was very sweet –

A kindly Fate laid homage at my feet,

And deep I quaffed at Friendship’s fount; as now

I fain would quaff the waters of Senir,

Whose snowfed current bears the swimmer high

When Eden’s streams run scant and sluggishly.

Though hope be long deferred, though heart be

faint,

On God I wait,

Unto Whose mercy there is no restraint –

And Whose decree

Can break the shackles and unbar the gate,

And set the prisoner of exile free.

Author Info:
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