19.1.09

O Jerusalem

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill .

6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,
"tear it down to its foundations!"

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-

But I am too much of a humanist to spell out the last verse.

1 comment:

Bar Kochba said...

Our ancestors composed this tearful lament over 2500 years ago. Exiled from their beloved land, they sat down and mourned by the rivers of Babylon.

The Jewish people never forgot Jerusalem. 3 times a day, we pray in the direction of Jerusalem and ask G-d that "our eyes may behold in mercy Your return to Zion". For 2000 years, 3 times a day without fail, we looked towards Jerusalem and prayed for its rebuilding. We observe 4 fasts anually over the destruction of Jerusalem, culminating in the fast of the 9th of Av, the most tragic day i nthe Jewish calendar, when both Temples were destroyed. At the end of every Yom Kippur fast and Passover seder, we declare: "Next Year in Jerusalem!"

Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is never mentioned in the Qur'an. Muslims pray towards Mecca, with their backs to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was never the capital of any Muslim nation. The only times Jerusalem was a capital was when Jews ruled Israel: during the Davidic kingdom, the Hasmonean dynasty and in the modern state of Israel.

G-d has returned Jerusalem to us after 2000 years of longing, mourning, hoping and praying. Never will we be distanced from her again.