Hashem! Hashem! The land, Hashem!
Norton N. Newborn

Hashem! Hashem! The land, Hashem!
Though you brought me up from the pit, Hashem;
Though you made it so I could return, Hashem;
Though you showed me the way from the pit;
You, Hashem, master, sovereign of this land for all ages;
You gave us this land lo these many ages;
Fruitful land, rich land of our fathers, Hashem;
The land, Hashem! Comfort me, Hashem, in this my return;
And Hashem did not answer;

Hashem, I see the bounteous heavenly lights;
I see the soft blue sky, the drifting clouds;
I feel the summer day, the winter day;
I see, I taste the gift of water coming from the clouds;
I sense the warm and glowing sun in the heavens;
I smell the sea, I hear the rising, the falling tide at water’s edge;
I feel the warm, the cold, and the hot still air;
And Hashem was silent;
Hashem, speak to me of the land;
Speak to me of these hills where I once walked;
Speak to me of these valleys where I once tended herd;
Speak to me of the plains where I once overcame the foe;
Where are the herds of the valleys, the herds upon the hill?
The herds feeding on the plain?
Where my warrior foe, where my gallant comrades?
Where, Hashem, where are the earthen pathways I once trod?
And Hashem said nothing.

The land, Hashem! The land is covered;
This land is covered with stone, stone pathways,
Wide, broad stone pathways, stone pathways above and below;
Everywhere, to the north or south, going this way and that;
Endless, endless rows of chariots, moving alone, no horse;
Endless rows, white chariots moving, small chariots, large chariots;
Endless, one to another, side by side, moving on, moving alone;
Moving in chaos, at the rising sun, at the setting sun, and in between;
Endless rows, endless chaos, endless moving, fumes filling the air;
Are not the people ever to be in their tents?
And Hashem did not speak.
Speak to me Hashem. I am lost;
I look upon the land for the ways I know and I see them not;
Stone walls, Hashem, stone walls reaching high, walls upon walls;
Who is this people? What are these tongues?
What is this people speaking? What do they say, Hashem?
What garments do they wear, I recognize them not;
What commotions do they make Hashem?
Hashem, I know these not; I know them not.
Yet Hashem made no answer.

Hashem! My city! I come upon my city on a hill;

I climb these hills Hashem, what has come to these hills?
My palace, Hashem, what has become of my palace?
I look upon these hills, I stand upon these hills;
The memories of my youth, what has come to these hills?
Stone walls, stone pathways, I know it not;
The people, the commotion, the land is covered over, Hashem;
I know it not; I know them not; I am lost, Hashem.
And Hashem made no reply.
Norton N. Newborn is a retired lawyer living in Cleveland Ohio. He is studying at The Cleveland College of Jewish Studies.
 

1998, Foundation for Jewish Studies, Inc.