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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, June 24, 2005

Lament for Zion - Anonymous (circa 9th century)

Many Karaites were especially devoted to mourning for Zion and had a circle in Jerusalem in the 9th century called Aveley Tsiyon [אבלי ציון]

T. Carmi believes that the following piyyut emerged from the Karaite Aveley Tsiyon group.


We drew near to find out how our mother was faring.
We stood at her door and wept. The watchmen found us, beat us, wounded us:
"Away unclean ones!" they shouted.

Again we came but did not draw near;
from afar we stood at the top of the Mount [of Olives].
The solitary one [= captive Zion; see Lamentations 1:1] appeared before us.
She looked out from her prison as she faced us.

We raised our eyes to see her
but could not recognize her, so wasted did she look.
She had lost her shape, her form was gone;
She was bound in chains
And weighed down by her fetters.

We raised our voices in lament
for the desecration of Mount Moriah [here = the Temple Mount]
And for our poor mother,
Who had nothing left to sustain her.

Our cries reached her ears and she too wept aloud.
She wept and implored and lamented:
'How like a widow am I!

"My children have gone into captivity,
My sanctuary is laid waste,
And I am left naked and bare --
For these things do I weep!"

[author anonymous -- translation T. Carmi -- Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse]


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