Thursday, July 30, 2009

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.


Blogger Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

It's a nice pshat.

However, last night I was listening to some renditions of Kinos and actually came across a rendition by Dr. Mordechai Breuer in which he sings V'Ke'Kalla Chaguras Sak!

Perhaps this is Nusach Frankfurt?

7/30/2009 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

At KAJ, we definitely say (sing) וכבתולה.

I wonder whether you heard correctly. אלי כבתולה חגורת שק על בעל נעוריה is a posuk in יואל.

7/31/2009 9:05 AM  
Blogger Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer said...

I guess he made it up, but I'm not! Check out the link.

7/31/2009 1:35 PM  
Anonymous lars said...


8/19/2009 9:55 AM  
Anonymous asb said...

no new torah since july?

9/14/2009 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Elfaks said...

all the while, i thought it's elei zion (towards zion)
isn't it a riha'l poem? i am not sure, i will look it up

9/25/2009 12:47 PM  
Anonymous haleli@Israeli Uncensored News said...

בתולה is not just vergiv, its also a girl-thats why there are so many problems in understanding of maria life in christianity. but your tractation is truly beautiful

2/22/2010 6:58 AM  

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