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אוֹי לַלֵב שֶׁאֵינָה שְׁבוּרָה | Woe to the Heart that is not Broken, a ḳinnah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2019)

Hebrew English

אוי ללב שאינה שבורה
Woe to the Heart that is not Broken[1]With thanks to Maeera Schreiber.

אוֹי לַלֵב שֶׁאֵינָה שְׁבוּרָה
וְלַעֵנַיִם שֶׁאֵינָם זוֹלְגוֹת דִמְעָה
אוֹי לַאוֹזְנַיִים שֶׁאֵינָן שׁוֹמְעוֹת
וְלַפִּיוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן זוֹעַקוֹת
Woe to the heart that is not broken
and to the eyes that do not cry
Woe to the ears that do not hear
and to the mouths that do not scream

”וּבְּאֶמֶת פֶּלֶא הוּא אֵיך הַעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד אַחַר כ״כ הַרְבֵּה צַעַקוֹת כּאֵלוּ
“And in truth, it is amazing that the world is still standing after so many cries for help such as these”[2]This line is from the אש קודש written in the Warsaw Ghetto by Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira of Piasczena.

אוֹי לָנוּ עַל שֶׁאָטַמְנוּ אֶת לִבֵּנוּ
לְעָרְלֵי לֵב וּפֶה נִהְיֵינוּ
הַלֹא אִם לֹא צָעַקנוּ הִסְכַּמנוּ
וּבְּעַצַת רְשָׁעִים נִתְּפַּסְנוּ
Woe to us that closed our hearts
we have become uncircumcised of heart and mouth
for lo if we have not cried out we are in agreement
we have become entrapped in the counsel of evil

”וּבְּאֶמֶת פֶּלֶא הוּא אֵיך הַעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד אַחַר כ״כ הַרְבֵּה צַעַקוֹת כּאֵלוּ“
“And in truth, it is amazing that the world is still standing after so many cries for help such as these”

אוֹי לַמֶמְשָׁלָה שֶׁכָּכָה מוֹשֶׁלֶת
וּלְמִשְׁטֶרֶת הַגְבוּלוֹת שֶׁכָּכָה מְקַלְגֶסֶת
וְאֵיפֹה אַנַחְנוּ שְׁלוּחֵי הַצֶדֶק
קוֹל דְמָמָה דַקָה בִּמְקוֹם קוֹל תְּרוּעָה
Woe to the government that governs in this manner
and to the Border Patrol that behaves like stormtroopers
And where are we, the messengers of righteousness?
A soft murmuring sound rather than the blast of a trumpet.

”וּבְּאֶמֶת פֶּלֶא הוּא אֵיך הַעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד אַחַר כ״כ הַרְבֵּה צַעַקוֹת כּאֵלוּ“
“And in truth, it is amazing that the world is still standing after so many cries for help such as these”

כִּי לֹא מֵרָחוֹק הֵם הַזְדוֹנוֹת וְהַפְּשָׁעִים
אוֹי אֱלֹהִים – בִּשְׁמֵנוּ עוֹשִים אֶת הַדְבָרִים הַבְּזוּיִים
כִּי קָרוֹב מְאוֹד אֵלֵינוּ הַמַעַשִׂים
וּפִינוּ שְׁקֵטִים וְלִבֵּנוּ רְדוּמִים וְאֵינֶנוּ מִתְקוֹמְמִים
For these crimes and venalities were not committed far away
Oh God—in our name they do these disgraceful things
For these actions are very close to us
And our mouths are silent and our hearts are asleep and still we are not outraged

”וּבְּאֶמֶת פֶּלֶא הוּא אֵיך הַעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד אַחַר כ״כ הַרְבֵּה צַעַקוֹת כּאֵלוּ“
“And in truth, it is amazing that the world is still standing after so many cries for help such as these”

בַּיוֹם אַשֶׁר צָעַקנוּ וְלֹא עָנוּ לָנוּ
אָמַרְנוּ לֹא כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה בִּמְקוֹמֵינוּ
וּבְבוֹא הָעֵת, הִבְטַחְנוּ, נָקוּם בְּרֹאשׁ הָעֵדָה
וְהִנֵה הַיוֹם וְאַיֵה הַתְּגוּבָה אַיֵה הַזְעָקָה
מְמַלְמְלִים ״הַמָקוֹם יְרַחֵם״
וְאוֹמְרִים עוֹד תְּחִינָה
On the day that we cried out and no one answered us,
We said: “It shall not be thus in our places”
“When the time comes,” we promised, “we will rise up at the head of the people.”
And yet here is the day, and where is our reaction? where is our outcry?
We mumble “God have mercy”
and we just say another prayer.

”וּבְּאֶמֶת פֶּלֶא הוּא אֵיך הַעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד אַחַר כ״כ הַרְבֵּה צַעַקוֹת כּאֵלוּ“
“And in truth, it is amazing that the world is still standing after so many cries for help such as these”

הֲכָזֶה צוֹם אֶבְחָרֵהוּ – יוֹם אַשֶׁר רְעֵבִים לַלֶחֶם?
הֲלוֹא זֶה צוֹם אֶבְחָרֵהוּ – יוֹם אַשֶׁר נָקוּם אֱלֵי צֶדֶק.
יוֹם פְּתִיחַת חַרְצוּבּוֹת רֶשַׁע,
יוֹם שַׁלַח רְצוּצִים חָפְשִׁים,
יוֹם הַכָּרַת אֶנוֹשׁוּת כָּל אָדָם,
כַּךְ נִגְאַל אֶת מְקוֹמֵנוּ וְאֶת הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּך הוּא
כִּי קָרוֹב אֵלֵינוּ הַדָּבָר בְּפִינוּ וּבְלִבֵּנוּ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ
Is this the fast that I would choose—a day in which people hunger for bread?
Is this not the fast I would choose—a day on which we rise to righteousness.
A day of opening the fetters of wickedness,
A day of sending the oppressed free,
A day of recognizing the humanity of people,
Thus we will redeem our places, and The Place blessed be s/he
For the thing is very close to us, it is in our mouths and in our hearts, to do it

The kinnah, “Woe to the Heart that is not Broken,” was first published in Tikkun in the article, “A New Lamentation for Tisha b’Av” on August 1st, 2019.

 

Notes[ + ]

1.  With thanks to Maeera Schreiber.
2.  This line is from the אש קודש written in the Warsaw Ghetto by Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira of Piasczena.

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