Things that I hope that you don’t yet know

The wonderful Israeli poet Ruhama Weiss captures in this poem, I think, the deep sadness and the deeper responsibility of this moment. Its from her book Shmirah. When I read it, it touched me very deeply and I thought “This is part of what I mean when I say u’netaneh tokef.” This is my translation (with the permission of the author):

Things that I hope that you don’t yet know
for my child

That there is someone in the world who wants to kill you.
That there is not much to do about it.
That it is not wholly accurate that there will always be someplace to escape to.
That I was approximately your age when I discovered that home does not really provide protection.
What helps me fall asleep.
That you might not reach my age.
That you might kill children.
That what we saw today on the television was not a joke.
That the history that I know does not succeed in calming me down.
That you have no idea how scary it can be.

One Response to “Things that I hope that you don’t yet know”

  1. add to list of poems I won’t recite at Rosh Hashana dinner

    Conjewused · September 7th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Leave a Reply

If your comment does not immediately appear, do not freak out and repost your message a dozen times. Please note that all new visitors must have their first comment approved by the editor, and you must provide a legitimate e-mail address and use the same username for the system to "remember" you. The editor maintains the right to refuse comments deemed inappropriate or unhelpful. Users who repeatedly delve into ad hominem attacks or other troll-like behavior will be banned.

Trackback (Right-click & 'Copy Link...') | Comments RSS

"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik