Kinah 46: The Things I Miss
This Kinah lists many of the special things and experiences we miss when we live in a world without the Temple.
I offer a poem by Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (1058 – 1128). Born in Granada about 1055, Moses Ibn Ezra was destined to wander Spain after the conquest of Granada in 1090 by Berber invaders. He is forced to leave his friends and family. He too speaks of all he misses in Grenada:
How Long At Fate’s Behest
How long yet must my feet, at Fate’s behest,
The path of exile tread, and find no rest?
The sword of Separation has he drawn
To harry me over the earth;
And with the battle-ax of Wandering,
From each new refuge does he drive me forth.
Upon me he has loosed his brood of ills;
I totter, I even fall, before their might –
While like a fading shadow, day by day,
My life takes flight.
Misfortune’s marshalled hosts
Trampled my heart in youth;
Still in mine age, they march unwearied on,
Trampling, untouched by ruth.
The breaches of its walls they daub with woe,
Then throng again to smite it, blow on blow.
Marvel it seems, that the fierce fires of hell
Should rage within my breast, albeit my eyes
Pour torrents passing all the rains that fell
From olden Noah’s skies!
Alas, they draw my tears from sulphurous
And drench my heart only to feed its flames.
Oh, how can I, whose wont was to consort
With the great-minded nobles of the west,
Take joy in life? How shall my lonely heart,
Even in sleep, find rest?
Yet may not Fate, that has been harsh so long
Relent at last;
And grant my heart’s desire – and lead me back
To that fair city where my youth was passed?
There wait the roofs of friends, and there might I
Sit by a loved one’s threshold, and exchange
Greetings of friendship with the passers-by.
Or peradventure, after I am dead,
Some spark of life may in my dust remain,
To sprout in bud and blossom, when the tears
Of faithful friends upon my grave shall rain.
But who can say if those dear, distant ones
Cherish or scorn the love I treasure yet?
If I forget them, may my hand forget
Its cunning – if, from them apart,
One thought of joy can enter in my heart.
Oh, if indeed, the Lord would me restore
To beautiful Granada-land, my paths
Would be the paths of pleasentness once more;
For in that land my life was very sweet –
A kindly Fate laid homage at my feet,
And deep I quaffed at Friendship’s fount; as now
I fain would quaff the waters of Senir,
Whose snowfed current bears the swimmer high
When Eden’s streams run scant and sluggishly.
Though hope be long deferred, though heart be
On God I wait,
Unto Whose mercy there is no restraint –
And Whose decree
Can break the shackles and unbar the gate,
And set the prisoner of exile free.
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