THE PEOPLE AWAKE (DOS FOLK VEKT ZICH OYF)
The people awake from a terrible nightmare
Of exile and horror and grief
And surge toward the Wall once of Wailing, united,
Their longings converged in relief.
The age when we wandered is over, is dying,
And no one is mourning, and no one is crying:
‘Tis the Western Wall which the people now grips
With the hands of our heroes, with eyes and with lips.
From galut, from the corners of Earth, Jews are straining
To wrest themselves free of the nations’ restraining,
With clenched fingers writhing against iron nets
In the dark prison-house of the grim Soviets.
Outcries, long stifled, from here and from there
Rush toward the Kotel, our triumph to share;
We feel them, dim shapes which tallesim enfold,
In our midst by a touch of redemption consoled.
Now arise, reassembled, bones crushed by fury
Who had waited long ages for news, now they hurry,
And those who in death had made holy the Name
Have gotten their orders to come home again.
After centuries of hope, after centuries of trust,
In these days of testing, surmounting the past,
The locked doors of silence swing wide in Creation:
The way is paved homeward for Israel’s nation.
The nations are muttering and grinding their teeth,
Without understanding in fury they seethe,
They are scorched by the light that illumines our way
From the Mediterranean to Aqaba’s bay.
Now in their assemblies the haters arise,
With murderous faces and mouths full of lies
They wield words like weapons to wrest back the lands
That were hallowed to us, out of our rightful hands.
They torture the truth, and G-d they contemn,
His redemption-command has no meaning for them,
Our victory and comfort they cannot endure,
So they lie to themselves, “We can even the score.“
But today we are learning the meaning of those
Ancient words in the scrolls about history’s close,
The manifest sense of the old prophecy
That lies wrapped in the pledge of our G-d’s constancy.
David’s son has been summoned, he comes to explain,
Stepping over the threshold to tell it again
Till the teeth-grinding nations at last understand
That these six days of victory were wrought by G-d’s hand.
tr. E. Cameron