M'gilath S'darim‎ > ‎

The Verses

1. I will narrate to my brethren, to my children, the generations to come, our story I will tell

2. When you look into this, a trembling will seize you, and a shudder, when you hear of our adversity.

3. One day – Blessed be He who ever delivered His people from calamities – the wheel of fortune on me did turn.

4. And on our Day of Atonement the assistant priest trespassed in our holy Place to revile us.

5. To the praying-stand he dared, his mouth spat blasphemy at God our Lord, and our prayers were upset.

6. And he abused the children of Israel, “O ye sinners. Ye that walk in darkness.”

7. The spirit of the zealot entered four prayers, who, with soft words, softly spoken, to dissuade him tried.

8. “Why behave like this? Why speak coarsely and basely?” They but wished to impress him, without violence.

9. Then the streets echoed with screams: “Murder!” “The Jews ill-treat our priest!” “They dealt a death-blow to him!”

10. And the woman, too, the candle-trimmer, urges the mob with her speech, whispers like Delilah.

11. Then the urchins, and the burly wood-choppers, with axes and clubs, rushed into the Holy Place, to fall to.

12. And the children of Israel cried with all their heart: “In your hands, O God let us fall, not in the hands of man.”

13. And they asked him: “Have the Jews laid their hands on your holy head?” “God forbid! No!” he said.

14. If not for the Lord of Hosts who thus saved us, to Sodom we had resembled, and to Gomorrah.

15. But false witness they did hear against us, and to the Bishops and the King a complaint against us brought.

16. And God willed to vent his wrath on wood and stone – our Holy Place from Glory to reduce to a heap.

17. The King decreed to turn our Holy Place into an eternal heap, and not to heed our pleadings.

18. Nor should one house contain for us prayers, but several, ten in each.

19. On the four zealots, the decree inflicted the pain of lashes and banishment.

20. Heralds rushed to and fro at the King’s word; to our town the news reached, and we were dismayed.

21. On the Day of the Pentecost our Holy Place was entered. “Be gone!” they cried, “We have it now!”

22. Then with horses pulling at the chains, the vault and the walls, to the foundation they razed it.

23. They only started the work, but they would finish it. The words of the King they must obey.

24. Go out among the peoples and search; was there ever such an affliction as ours, since Judah’s exile?

25. When our Holy Place was destroyed, my strength forsook me, and my heart became faint.

26. Since the ruin of our Holy Place my heart in me is void and my soul is in mourning.

27. These two and thirty years my foundation is shattered and I pine in solitude.

28. The Holy Place built with hope and faith was mercilessly destroyed.

29. And since the Holy Place has been ruined they people are shrivelled.

30. And when the Brimoff community was adversely judged, we also drank the bitter cup.

31. Then woe upon woe befell us, and we were hindered from abiding by our faith.

32. We must not read the Scroll. The bridegroom and bride must not rejoice beneath a Chuppah.

33. And we must not circumcise our boys, but must carry the infant elsewhere.

34. And only ten people may worship together, the rest in solitude.

35. And when women and children want to join, they are counted in the number.

36. Thus: 5 men, 3 women and 2 children make up 10 – a Minyan!

37. And our doves and kiddies were driven off the path of light to walk into the darkness.

38. The children could not then say “Amen” or join in our prayers.

39. And on the death of one in our town, his children could not say Kadish.

40. Behold my wounds ever plaguing me. Who can endure such prohibitions?

41. From the bottom of our heart, we beseech thee, O Lord, “Deliver us from this bondage.”

42. For all help comes from Thee, Lord; none is nearer than Thou, Judge over all.

43. We sent delegates to the capital, and with eyes uplifted prayed to him for our souls at stake.

44. The aid of the Duke we invoked, and the great sons of our people, to come to our rescue.

45. And lo! A voice from on high, a voice of joy, cries “The heart of Kings I wield, to break your shackles.”

46. Arise, for the word goes out “Build a House for Me, a House for My Glory.”

47. “And the Kingdoms of the eart are Mine, and I will found a House for Me.”

48. Therefore we praise Thee, O Lord God, for thy manifold favours we extol Thee.

49. And for our Queen we pray Thee, O Lord, lengthen Her days of reign.

50. All help comes from Thee, God. Be Thou ever praised for the House built.


These verses do not contain any mention of, or reference to, my name. So to prevent it from being assigned to another author, I composed the following song. In it I give praise to the Kingdom of Heaven above and to the Kingdom of earth below, to our Duke Joseph Wentzel Lichtenstein and the great and noble sons of our people for their generous help in our times of affliction.

In it also I distinctly mention my name and the name of my father.

And my children and grandchildren, the inheritors of this book, will remember me as its author and the composer of the verses which were accepted by the Úsov community to be chanted by them, their children and grandchildren, in the two Houses of Worship, on every Sh’mini Azereth.

1. Awake, my soul, awake, sing your song of praise and reign supreme among the poets.

2. Hark to my words, listen to my story, and praise God, the healer of our wounds.

3. When you to your Creator you pray, remember He delivered your life from the abyss.

4. To the Duke and to our noble brethren accord your praise, for they renewed your life.

5. Be calm, my soul, rejoice, for He renewed you.

6. My friend asked: how will our descendants know the author? And I made reply.

7. Incline your ear, weigh my words and syllables and you will understand.

8. And if you search for him in all the town, none will answer your demands.

9. But myself, the true author, Rabbi Abraham the son of Rabbi Mordecai.

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