Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fortitude and Patience

The following poem reminded me of the Yerushalmi I quote afterwards. Both remind us of the calm inevitability of the גאולה.

Say not the Struggle Nought Availeth

Say not, the struggle nought availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

--Arthur Hugh Clough, 1869

ר’ חייא רובה ור”ש בן חלפתא הוו מהלכין בהדא בקעת ארבל בקריצתא ראו אילת השחר שבקע אורה א”ר חייא רובה לר”ש בן חלפתא בר ר’ כך היא גאולתן של ישראל בתחילה קימעא קימעא כל שהיא הולכת היא הולכת ומאיר מאי טעמא (מיכה ז) כי אשב בחשך ה’ אור לי.

The rabbis were walking in a valley during the harvest time, and witnessed the day-break as its light broke forth. One said, "Such is the redemption of Israel: first, it is bit by bit, but as it goes on, the light continues to grow, as the prophet states, 'Even as I sit in darkness, God is my light'."

-- ירושלמי יומא, פרק ג, דף מ, עמ’ ב