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Friday, February 13, 2004

A Poem by Steve Berer

Anthem to the Modern Khalutzim*
* Hebrew for "pioneers"
Dedicated to Ehud Luz

Remember what you're doing, and where you've come from,
You who have made a home on holy ground.
Yours is the era of prophecy's return!
Don't you know you are each Heads of Thousands,
The new Sanhedrin, creating sacred time,
While the nations stand back, disbelieving and confused.
Their time is marked by hours on a face,
Their days by distant and faint calls to prayer.
But every one of you is Priestess and Prophet
Absorbed in the Divine Moment that others only read of.
You are the authors of the newest book of Torah,
Creating it with your biceps and with your other worldly hearing.

You in the yeshivahs, it is for you to learn:
There is more to this Earth than your soiled vision of it.
And you without a rabbi, for you to learn:
There is more to Heaven than your cloudy vision of it.
And you on the right, it is for you to learn:
There is more safety in compassion than in any conquering.
And you on the left, for you to learn:
There is more peace in strength than in any treaty.

Why despair that the way is so dangerous and troubled?
Then it would not take giants like you to smooth it.
Remember the Priestess, Rahel(1), who prophesied:
"You, Ya'akov, is it impossible to roll
"The stone away from the mouth of the well?"
And Brenner(2) with a chisel, who carved in stone:
"You must increase realism and holiness in the world."

You, khalutzim, you holy Zion makers
You are the messianic builders of the way.
And as you are arising the nations descend,
Grown smaller in their emptiness and self-despising.
They raise their voices and their pagan souls are heard:
They are cursing you as their way of cursing God!

You, Israel, you already are rolling
The stone away from the mouth of the well.
The water is sweet and so are your blessings!

1. Rahel Bluwstein, quoted in E. Luz's article "Spiritual and
Anti-Spiritual Trends in Zionism."
2. Y.H. Brenner, quoted in Luz, as above.


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