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Wo Unto Zion! She is Spoiled – a hymn for Tishah b’Av by Penina Moïse (Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim 1842)


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Wo unto Zion! she is spoiled,
Of all that made her proud;
God’s anger hath her beauty foiled,
And covered with a cloud.
She spreadeth forth har feeble hands,
But none will comfort yield;
She hath transgressed the Lord’s commands,
Her refuge once and shield.
Her elders sit upon the ground,
And troubled silence keep;
With sackcloth they are girded round,
Her ruined shrine they weep.
Mothers to nature’s instinct dead,
Upon their infants prey;
Youth struggles with the hoary head,
‘Neath famine’s horrid sway.
The conqueror thy sabbath mocks
Oh! Salem in his pride;
The fox upon thy mountain walks,
Thy foe is magnified.
The joy of every heart hath ceased,
Our song to waling turned;
Lord! let thy people be released,
Who long thy wrath have mourned.
Wo unto us that we have erred!
For this our hearts despair;
But let compassion now be stirred,
Turn not from Israel’s prayer!

“Wo unto Zion! she is spoiled,” by Penina Moïse, published in 1842, appears under the subject “Commemoration of the Destruction of Jerusalem (Tishnga Beab)” as Hymn 73 in Hymns Written for the Service of the Hebrew Congregation Beth Elohim, South Carolina (Penina Moïse et al., Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim, 1842), pp. 76-77. –Aharon Varady






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