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Yom Kippur Meditation - Poem - A Book of Jewish Thoughts

Yom Kippur Meditation - Poem - A Book of Jewish Thoughts

YOM KIPPUR MEDITATIONS

II


FORGET thine anguish,
Vexed heart, again.
Why shouldst thou languish,
With earthly pain?
The husk shall slumber,
Bedded in clay,
Silent and sombre,
Oblivion’s prey.
But, Spirit immortal,
Thou at Death’s portal
Tremblest with fear.
If he caress thee,
Curse thee, or bless thee,
Thou must draw near,
From him the worth of thy works to hear.
Why, full of terror,
Compassed with error,
Trouble thy heart
For thy mortal part?
The soul flies home—
The corpse is dumb.
Of all thou didst have
Follows naught to the grave.
Thou fliest thy nest,
Swift as a bird to thy place of rest.
Life is a vine-branch;
A vintager, Death.
He threatens and lowers
More near with each breath.
Then hasten, arise!
Seek God, O my soul!
For time quickly flies,
Still far is the goal.
Vain heart praying dumbly,
Learn to prize humbly
The meanest of fare.
Forget all thy sorrow,
Behold, death is there!
Dove-like lamenting,
Be full of repenting;
Lift vision supernal
To raptures eternal;
On every occasion
Seek lasting salvation.
Pour thy heart out in weeping
While others are sleeping.
Pray to Him when all’s still,
Performing His will.
And so shall the Angel of Peace be thy warden,
And guide thee at last to the heavenly garden.
SOLOMON IBN GABIROL, 1050.
(Trans. Emma Lazarus).



Excerpt From A Book of Jewish Thoughts By Dr. J H. Hertz

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