Another Thought on “Eli Tziyon”
אלי ציון ועריה כמו אשה בציריה
וכבתולה חגורת שק על בעל נעוריה
The piyyut compares Zion to a virgin, girded in sackcloth, [mourning] the husband of her youth. When singing this caoineadh this morning, I noticed the incongruity of that line. If she's a בתולה, a virgin, how has she been married long enough to be widowed?
At that point I realized — Tziyon's metaphorical husband died before they were able to "consummate" their marriage. All the pieces were there, but the job was never finished.
We were living free in our Land.
We had a House for God.
We had self-government.
We had prophets and miracles.
The marriage had taken effect — all the pieces were there in the formal relationship between God, People, Torah and Land — but it was never finalized. We never created the holy and just society that we were meant to. We never truly became a mamlekhet kohanim vegoy ḳadosh. We never taught the world to aspire to Unity.
It's not just what was there that we lost — it's the potential that we lost, too. The uncompleted task.