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אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ | Eli Tsiyon v’Areha — Coronavirus, by Daniel Olson & Rabbi Benjamin Goldberg (2020)

Hebrew English

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶֽיהָ
כְּמוֹ תּוֹרָה בַּאֲרוֹנוֹתֶֽיהָ
וּכְסִפְרָהּ בָּדָד, אֵינוֹ נִקְרַא
כָּל־אוֹת בָּהּ רְחוֹקָה מִצְּמֵאֶֽיהָ
Wail, O Zion[1]Possible to change צִיּוֹן to תֵּבֵל or הָאָרֶץ for a more universalistic thrust to the poem. and her cities,
As Torah trapped in all of its arks,
And like its scroll left alone, unread,
Each letter distant from her thirsty ones.

עֲלֵי אֲבֵלֵי מִשְׁפַּחְתָּהּ, נִמְנָעִים מִקִּבְרוֹתֶֽיהָ
וְעַל בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת מֻכִּים, מַעֲבִירִים אֶת־מַחֲלוֹתֶֽיהָ
For the mourners of her families, held back from her graves;
And for the stricken nursing homes, spreaders of her diseases

עֲלֵי גְדוֹלֵי תוֹרָתָהּ, אָבְדָה חָכְמָתָם מִלּוֹמְדֶֽיהָ
וְעַל דָמָם אֲשֶׁר הֻתַּז בְּמֶשֶׁךְ צִנְרוּר אֻשְׁפְּזֶֽיהָ
For the great ones of her Torah, their wisdom was lost from her learners;
And for their blood that was splattered, during the intubation of her hospitalized ones

עֲלֵי הֶֽבֶל תִּינוֹקוֹתֶיהָ, אֲשֶׁר דָּמַם בְּבָתֵּי סְפָרֶֽיהָ
וְעַל וְעָדוֹת אֲשֶׁר חִלְּקוּ אֶת־הַנְשָׁמַת מֽכוֹנוֹתֶֽיהָ
For the breath of her babes, which was silenced in her schoolhouses;[2]Shabbat 119a.
And for committees that distributed her ventilators

עֲלֵי זִקְנֵי קְהִלָּתָהּ, נִפְרָדִים מִמְּבַקְּרֶֽיהָ
וְעַל חוֹלִים שֶׁמִּתְפַּלְלִים, שֶׁלֹּא יִצְטָרְפוּ לְמֵתֶֽיהָ
For the elders of her communities, separated from her ones who visit;
And for sick ones who pray that they won’t join her dead

עֲלֵי טְרָחוֹת הוֹרֶֽיהָ, מְטַפְּלִים יוֹמָם בִּילָדֶֽיהָ[3]נ״א: עֲלֵי טְרָאמְפְּ הַשַּׁקְרָן הָעֶלְיוֹן, שְׁטוּיוֹתָיו מַטְעִים עַמֶּֽיהָ
וְעַל יֻהֲרַת צַרְכָנֶֽיהָ, מְמַהֲרִים אֶת־פְּתִיחוֹתֶֽיהָ
For the troubles of her parents who take care of her children all day;[4]Alternately, “For Trump, the liar in chief, his nonsenses mislead her people;”
And for the arrogance of her consumers, who rush her openings

עֲלֵי כַלּוֹת אֲשֶׁר בִּטְּלוּ אֹֽשֶׁר חֲתֻנּוֹתֶֽיהָ
וְעַל לֵילוֹת בִּלּוּי בָּעִיר, חֲסֵרִים מִלּוּחוֹתֶֽיהָ
For brides who cancelled weddings, her joys;
And for the nights out in the city, missing from her calendars

עֲלֵי מַחֲנוֹת סְגוּרִים וְרֵיקִים, בְּלִי צָהֳלוֹת חֲנִיכֶֽיהָ
וְעַל נְגִיף הַמְזַהֵם, מְקוֹר כָּל־צָרוֹתֶֽיהָ
For the closed and empty summer camps, without the revelries of her campers;
And for the infecting virus, the source of all these troubles of hers

עֲלֵי שִֹנְאַת חִנָּם חַדָּה, אֲשֶׁר מְזִיקָה אֶת־מִעוּטֶֽיהָ
וְעַל עוֹבְדִים חִיּוּנִיִּים, מִסְתַּכְּנִים בַּעֲבוּר אַבְטָחוֹתֶֽיהָ
For the sharp senseless hatred, that strikes her marginalized ones;
And for the essential workers, who endanger themselves for her safety

עֲלֵי פֻּטְּרֵי פֹּעֲלֶֽיהָ, מְבַקְּשֵׁי לְחָמֶֽיהָ
וְעַל צִיּוּד מָגֵן אִישִׁי, לְלֹא הִמָּצֵא בֵּין רוֹפְאֶיהָ
For her laid off workers, who hunger for her breads;[5]Lamentations 1:11.
And for the PPE, not found with her healers

עֲלֵי קוֹלוֹת מְחָרְפֶֽיהָ בְּעֵת רַבּוּ פְגָרֶֽיהָ,
וְעַל רִחוּק חֶבְרָתִי, וּבְדִידוּת אֲנָשֶֽׁיהָ
For the voices of her scorners at the time of her increasing dead bodies;
And for social distancing, and the loneliness of her people

עֲלֵי שְׁגִיאוֹת בַּבְּדִיקוֹת, מַאֲרִיכִים אֶת־יִסּוּרֶֽיהָ
וְעַל תְפִלּות מִנְיָנֶֽיהָ אֲשֶׁר שָׁתְקוּ בְּהֵיכָלֶֽיהָ
For the mistakes with the tests; they prolong her suffering;
And for the prayers of her minyans, that were silenced in her prayer halls

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶֽיהָ
כְּמוֹ תּוֹרָה בַּאֲרוֹנוֹתֶֽיהָ
וּכְסִפְרָהּ בָּדָד, אֵינוֹ נִקְרַא
כָּל־אות בָּהּ רְחוֹקָה מִצְּמֵאֶֽיהָ
Wail, O Zion[6]Possible to change צִיּוֹן to תֵּבֵל or הָאָרֶץ for a more universalistic thrust to the poem. and her cities,
As Torah trapped in all of its arks,
And like its scroll left alone, unread,
Each letter distant from her thirsty ones.

Many thanks to Rabbi Jonah Rank who served as an editorial consultant on this work.

 

Recordings

 

Notes   [ + ]

  1, 6. Possible to change צִיּוֹן to תֵּבֵל or הָאָרֶץ for a more universalistic thrust to the poem.
  2. Shabbat 119a.
  3. נ״א: עֲלֵי טְרָאמְפְּ הַשַּׁקְרָן הָעֶלְיוֹן, שְׁטוּיוֹתָיו מַטְעִים עַמֶּֽיהָ
  4. Alternately, “For Trump, the liar in chief, his nonsenses mislead her people;”
  5. Lamentations 1:11.

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