Jewish learning מצפה | Lookout

By Micah Friedman

This is a poem I wrote from the Tayelet, a peaceful public park that overlooks the Old City from the Southeast and displays numerous layers of contemporary Yerushalayim. While standing and strolling on that beautiful hilltop which was a bloody battlefield less than 50 years ago, I experienced a peculiar blend of gratitude and heartbreak, despair and comfort particularly as I attempted to describe this view in my Hebrew.

שתי חומות מגדירות את החזון
לשמאלי אבנים עתיקות מקיפות
בית מגוון כזהב

לימיני ניצבים עמודים קונקרטיים
שוברים הדרך

ביניהם נמצאת
בקעה מלאה חיות
בניינים פשוטים מסוכנים
הרבה דירות
עם הרבה דורות

וגבעות מלאות מוות
צדיקים קדמונים ישנים
וחיילים תמימים
נפולים וחללים

גם עצים חדשים מתחזקים
אוחזים את המקום
מחוצצים צפייה
ומתפרשים שמימה

Two walls define the vision
To my left, ancient stones encircle
A home colored gold

To my right, concrete pillars are positioned
Shattering the way
In between, exists
A valley full of vitality
Simple buildings, endangered
Many dwellings
Many generations

And hills filled with death
Sleeping tzaddikim
who came before
Simple solders
Fallen and desecrated

New trees strengthen themselves
Seizing the space
Bounding expectations
Spreading themselves
Towards heaven
In prayer

Micah Friedman is a rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Newton, MA and is has been living and studying in Israel this semester. (Photo is picture Micah I took one day from the tayelet when a rainbow stretched from the walls of the old city to the wall of “security”/“apartheid.”)

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