Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tisha B'Av

Today is Tisha B'Av - the day we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem.

Some material to consider:


How is it she sits alone,
a city once full of folk.
She’s become like a widow
a mistress among nations.
A princess among states
become a serf.

She weeps and weeps in the night,
tears on her cheek.
A supporter she has not
among all her friends.
Her neighbors all betrayed her,
became her enemies.

Dispersed is Judah, by poverty,
dire enslavement to escape.
She that sat among nations
has found no place of rest.
All her pursuers overtook her
twixt narrow passes.

The roads of Zion do mourn
None come to celebrate
All her gates are desolate
Her priests sigh
Her virgins are sad
And she herself is bitterness

Her adversaries are become the head
Her enemies are at ease
For the Lord has afflicted her
For her many sins
Her young children captives
Before the enemy


Look, Yahweh, and consider!
Whom did you treat in this way?

Must women eat their own fruit,
their dandled babes?
Must priest and prophet
be slaughtered in my Lord’s sanctuary?

Young and old
lay prostrate in the streets.
My girls, my boys
fall to the sword.

You slaughter them on your day of wrath.
You butcher them and you showed no pity.
You invite, as for a festival day,
my neighbors roundabout.

There are not, on the day of wrath,
one who survives or escapes.
Those whom I dandled and reared
my enemy finish off.


Georgia War Intensifies, Sunday, 10 August 2008, 8:28AM

Russia has sent thousands of troops to another Georgian breakaway region.

Russian troops poured into the first breakaway region, South Ossetia on Friday, hours after the capital of Georgia launched a major offensive to take back control of the province from pro-Russian separatists.

Moscow has accused the Georgians of carrying out "ethnic cleansing and genocide" in the region.

Georgian Interior Ministry official Shota Utiashvili said: "Georgia faces a humanitarian catastrophe."

Officials say the death toll stands at 2,000 and 30,000 refugees from South Ossetia have fled to Russia. The superpower says two of its warplanes have been shot down, 13 of its soldiers killed and 70 wounded.

Russian warplanes have bombed Georgian cities ports and oil facilities, as well as military installations

Russia was unbowed by Western criticism of its military offensive.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said: "Russia's actions in South Ossetia are totally legitimate."

Mr Putin said Georgia's bid to join the Western alliance NATO - anathema to Moscow - was part of the problem.


In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy . . . ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.

I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah's messenger
mouth: “If you don't believe you won't believe.”

I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension's presence. But

I think to myself: Alone, the prophet Mohammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”

Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me . . . and I forgot, like you, to die.

- Mohamed Darwish


Seek Peace and Pursue It.


Once I was sitting on the steps near the gate at David's Citadel
and I put down my two heavy baskets beside me. A group of
tourists stood there around their guide, and I became their point
of reference. "You see the man over there with the baskets? A
little to the right of his head there's an arch from the Roman
period. A little to the right of his head." "But he's moving,
he's moving!" I said to myself: Redemption will come only when
they are told, "Do you see that arch over there from the Roman
period? It doesn't matter, but near it, a little to the left and
then down a bit, there's a man who has just bought fruit and
vegetables for his family."

- Yehuda Amichai


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