RABBI KOLKO Comfort found in poem
Hayyim Nahman Bialik wrote "The City of Slaughter" in 1903 in the aftermath of the Kishinev pogrom.
For me at least, the words of the poet Bialik, written as his response to a catastrophe he had personally experienced, are the most fitting literary evocation of what we as a country are going through now:
"Arise and go now to the city of slaughter;
Into its courtyard wind thy way;
There with thine own hand touch, and with the eyes of
Behold on tree, on stone, on fence, on mural clay,
The splattered blood and dried brains of the dead.
Proceed thence to the ruins, the split walls reach,
Where wider grows the hollow, and greater grows the
...The sun shone, the acacia blossomed and the slaughterer
And you leapt up from there and went forth and behold the
World as before.
And the sun its brightness cast down, as of yore.
...What is thy business here, O son of man?
Rise, to the desert flee!
The cup of affliction thither bear with thee!
Take thou thy soul, rend it in many a shred!
With impotent rage, thy heart deform!
Thy tear upon the barren boulders shed!
And send thy bitter cry into the storm!"
My own words of wisdom, comfort and perspective seem to be not accessible to me at this moment.
Sherri, my wife, and Zachary, my son, join me in wishing all of our Jewish friends a Shanah Tovah -- a New Year of health, happiness and contentment.
XRabbi Simeon Kolko is rabbi of Congregation Ohev Tzedek Shaarei Torah in Boardman. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Monday.