The following acrostic authored by Isaac Goldstein haLevi was published in The Jewish Messenger on May 25, 1865 under the title, “ACROSTIC on ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Assassinated Nisan 18th, 5625” and prefaced by Psalms 45:2.
|Source (Hebrew)||Translation (English)|
רָ֘חַ֤שׁ לִבִּ֨י ׀ דָּ֘בָ֤ר ט֗וֹב אֹמֵ֣ר אָ֭נִי מַעֲשַׂ֣י לְמֶ֑לֶךְ
My heart is moved. I would like to pay tribute to a King. Psalms 45:2 part
אַשְׁרֶיךָ לִינְקאָלֶען מִי כָמוֹכָה
בֵּין מְלָכִים וְשָׁרִים מְאוֹד נִשֵּׂאתָ
רַבּוֹת פָּעַלְתָּ בְּנֶפֶשׁ נְמוּכָה
הִנְּךָ לְיָחִיד בְּאֶרֶץ דָּמִיתָ
מִי בָּרוֹזְנִים כְּלִינְקאָלֶען וּמִי יִתְהַלֵּל כָּמוֹהוּ
Exalted are you Lincoln. Who is like you!
You were highly respected among Kings and Princes.
All that you accomplished you did with a humble spirit.
You are singular and cannot be compared to anyone else.
Who among the great are like Lincoln? Who can be praised like you?
לְךָ שֵׁם גַּם בַּגִּבּוֹרִים
יְמִינְךָ עֹשָׂה חָיִל
נֶגְדָם חָזַרְתָּ חֶרֶב חֲלָלִים
קֶשֶׁת דָּרַכְתָּ יוֹמָם וָלַיִל
אָב אֶחָד בְּרָאָנוּ אָמַרְתָ
לָכֵן דְּרוֹר הִשְׁמַעְתָּ פְּקוּדֶיךָ
עַם הַכּוּשִׁים לְחֵרוּת גָּאַלְתָּ
נֶצַח יְפָאֲרוּ וִיבָרְכוּ שְׁמֶךָ
You have earned a name among the Great.
Your right hand exhibited its prowess.
Against your enemies, you extended a sword of death;
Your bow you directed night and day.
You declared that our Father in Heaven created all men equally. cf. Malachi 2:10.
Therefore you and you followers fought for freedom in your land.
Through your efforts the Kushim The Jewish Messenger translates the Kushim (הכושים) as “the blacks.” Abe Katz translates to “African Americans.” We have kept the original.[–Aharon Varady] were led to freedom.
They will praise and bless your name forever.
מִי בָּרוֹזְנִים כְּלִינְקאָלֶען
וּמִי יִתְפָּאֵר כָּמוֹהוּ
Who among princes is equal to you, Lincoln,
and who can be praised like you?
אַייזֶק גּאָלְדְשְׁטֵיין הַלֵּוִי
Isaac Goldstein haLevi
Abe Katz’s transcription of this elegy for Abraham Lincoln was first included in his sourcesheet, “Prayers for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln“; we have retranscribed the text in Unicode Hebrew [–Aharon Varady].
The translation as it originally appeared in The Jewish Messenger on May 25, 1865 is as follows:
My heart overflows with a good speech. I address my work unto a king. Psalms, 45:2.[sic]
Happy art thou, Lincoln, Who is like unto thee!
Among kings and princes thou art exalted.
Much thou did’st with an humble spirit.
Thou art like a unique person in the land.
Who among princes is like Lincoln?
Who shall be praised like him?
Thou hast also a name among heroes!
Thy right hand has achieved prowess against them.
Thou hast girded on the sword of the slain.
Thou hast drawn the bow by night and by day.
One Father has created us, thou hast said;
Therefore thou hast proclaimed Freedom in thy land.
The black people thou hast redeemed into Freedom:
Forever they will praise and bless thy name.
“שריך לינקאלען | Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln, by Isaac Goldstein haLevi (1865)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
זֶה הֶעָפָר הָיָה פַּעַם הָאִישׁ | This Dust was Once the Man, an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln by Walt Whitman (1871), Hebrew translation by Shimon Halkin (1952)
אָ, קאפּיטאן! מײַן קאפּיטאן! | O Captain! My Captain!, an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln by Walt Whitman (1865), Yiddish translation by Eliezer Meler (1940)
אָ, קאפּיטאן! מײַן קאפּיטאן! | O Captain! My Captain!, an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln by Walt Whitman (1865), Yiddish translation by Avrom Valt-Lyessin (1913)
הוֹ קְבַרְנִיט! קְבַרְנִיטִי! | O Captain! My Captain!, an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln by Walt Whitman (1865), Hebrew translation by Shimon Halkin (1952)
💬 מְגִלַּת לִינְקוֹן | Megillat Lincoln, a Purim Sheni scroll for the 13th of Tevet commemorating the revocation of Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order № 11 (1862, 2020)
Interesting Jewish response to Lincoln’s assassination. The most famous, of course, was Whitman’s Oh Captain, My Captain.
Now available in Hebrew and Yiddish (1, 2).
wonderful! I was looking for a picture to attach to my poem. Peace to you and thank you.
You called us to pray as a nation.
I think we should do it again.
For the economy and education,
Our freedoms, and enemies to befriend
We have ‘nowhere else to go’
But directly to our knees
Under much weight we groan
Still, we trust God knows our needs