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[Prayer for] the Ninth of Aḇ, by Rabbi Abraham Cronbach (1924)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=54816 [Prayer for] the Ninth of Aḇ, by Rabbi Abraham Cronbach (1924) 2024-03-16 15:54:07 This prayer for "The Ninth of Ab" by Rabbi Abraham Cronbach is found in his, <em><a href="/?p=54731">Prayers of the Jewish Advance</a></em> (1924), on pages 60-65. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Abraham Cronbach https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Congregation &amp; Community Tishah b'Av Pogroms &amp; Genocide Terror 20th century C.E. 57th century A.M. English vernacular prayer prophetic revelation
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“The time will come when thou shalt know
That triumph’s height is overthrow.”
—Ibsen.[1] Lines from Brand (1865/67), a play by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). Cronbach offered this quote in an essay, “Spirituality” published in the 31 October 1914 issue of The Reform Advocate, p. 359, prefaced by the statement “The Jew little understands Ibsen…. Such sublimities figure far too little in the life of the Jew. But it is just this trait of spirituality that is religion’s very essence.” Cronbach here is adding emphasis to an opinion of “one of the leading Jews of England” (unnamed) reflecting on a conversation with them concerning a sermon Cronbach had heard the evening prior by the Christian preacher Reginal John Campbell (1867-1956). 
Heavenly Father!
An hour of black despair
cometh to our memory
this somber day.
We thank Thee, O Thou our Comforter,
that the agony of that sad hour
hath grown less poignant.
We thank Thee
that, from the hearts of many,
the pain hath vanished,
yea been forgotten.
Nay, many have never known it
and even they whose anguish is bitterest
shun not to mingle tones of hope
with their sobs and sighs.
Yet, craving to enter into
the deepest spiritual implications of this day,
we may not turn away our eyes
from the night-black pit of ruin
into which Zion fell that ghastly hour.
We ponder, O Eternal One,
the utter hopelessness of that dire event.
The heroes slaughtered,
the comely ones led captive,
the land devastated,
the sanctuary effaced!
The horrors of war,
famine, pestilence and defeat!
The streets, rivers of blood;
the slain heaped in house and highway;
the corpses of the famished;
the infants perishing at the mothers’ breasts;
the offal,
the human flesh devoured by the starving;
the shrieks of the tortured;
the leer of the conqueror;
the lurid glare of the final conflagration!
And then,
the long ages of sorrow and suffering,
for many of our brethren,
not yet at an end!
O Father,
that desperate hour
typifies the despair
that hath been in every age and clime.
We look back upon the dark moments of our own lives.
We think of
those who are, even now,
in the clutch of hopeless woes.
We think of
those who are suffering
persecution,
hunger
and plague.
We think of
those who are ill and have no cure,
yes of those who are, even now,
passing through the throes of death.
We think of
the destitute,
the homeless,
the outcast,
the fallen,
the imprisoned.
We think of
those whose reason hath been overthrown,
who flee in terror though none pursue
and suffer though naught afflicts.
We think of
those in the infrangible grip
of habits deathly to body and soul
and of those in the fetters
of lusts and passions
too powerful to overcome.
We think of
the bereaved whose joys have perished with a dear one
and whose hopes lie buried in a new-made grave.
We think of
the disillusioned,
the disappointed,
the defeated,
of those who have toiled
for beauty, skill or strength
but have not attained,
of parents who have striven but failed,
of teachers who have striven but failed.
We think of
those who burn with love longings
that can not be satisfied,
of those whose homes are marred
with incompatibility and strife
and of those whose well-meant plans and ventures
have brought them not gain but loss.
We think of
those whose friends have forsaken them,
of those who have looked
for recognition but found humiliation,
for praise but found mortification,
for respect but found derision.
We think of
those who have committed blunders
that cannot be retrieved.
We think of
those, above all, in whom
self-reproach is the increase of every woe,
lamenting, like downtrodden Israel,
“because of our many sins.”
O Father,
where could we ourselves hide our head
in that inglorious hour
when our own conscience
joined the ranks of our accusers?
Alas the black moments,
every sense of power or merit,
our last source of solace blasted;
every vestige of grace or strength
wherewith we deemed ourselves endowed
whirled away like dead leaves
in the fury of the storm!
And yet our sages have taught
that, on the day the sanctuary was destroyed,
an iron wall was rent
which separated between Israel
and their Father in Heaven.
Everlasting One,
vouchsafe that gleams of this unfathomable truth
may become manifest unto all
who are passing through the billows.
O perchance it is the mystery of all suffering—
the cleaving of the barriers
that shut Thee from our sight.
The day which “is very dark and no brightness in it” (Amos 5:20)
may be, even as the prophet hath said,
none other than “the day of the Lord.” (Joel 4:14)
We would therefore seek, O our Helper,
not mere deliverance from our sorrows
but the utilization of our sorrows.
We would attain, through our sorrows,
that supreme and indispensable good,
in no other way attainable.
And art not Thou that supreme and indispensable good?
O benign the moment that can rend the iron wall!
Blessed the hour,
even of overthrow,
which can start in the vast perspectives of the soul,
the fashioning of a new Temple
unseen by the eye of the flesh,
the rearing of a new Jerusalem
built not by mortal hands and,
in place of our own vanquished kingdom,
the revealing of Thine imperishable Kingdom
of right
and beauty
and love!
Amen.

This prayer for “The Ninth of Ab” by Rabbi Abraham Cronbach is found in his, Prayers of the Jewish Advance (1924), on pages 60-65.

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Notes

Notes
1Lines from Brand (1865/67), a play by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). Cronbach offered this quote in an essay, “Spirituality” published in the 31 October 1914 issue of The Reform Advocate, p. 359, prefaced by the statement “The Jew little understands Ibsen…. Such sublimities figure far too little in the life of the Jew. But it is just this trait of spirituality that is religion’s very essence.” Cronbach here is adding emphasis to an opinion of “one of the leading Jews of England” (unnamed) reflecting on a conversation with them concerning a sermon Cronbach had heard the evening prior by the Christian preacher Reginal John Campbell (1867-1956).

 

 

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