Sunday, 18 April 2021

I will flee to my Helper - Yose ben Yose

                    א

1 Let me flee to my Helper
I will find (Him) right in front of me
God is close to me
whenever I call out with (my) voice.
 
2 In the congregation of God
so near me He stands
and here, in the small sanctuary
I chirp to Him with (my) voice.

                    ב

3 Among my flock, seek me!
A lost sheep am I;
I am sheared and I am muted
unable to raise (my) voice
 
4 When my shearers say:
“She is outcast!”
Shall her Guardian and her Protector
not raise (His) voice?

                    ג

5 I rejoiced to meditate on His statutes
and my palate was sweet;
He inclined His ear and said:
“Let Me hear your voice!
 
6 He turned and fled from me
like a stag upon hills of Bether
when He sought (the sound of) law and sign
in my dwellings, but heard not a voice.

                    ד

7 He hastened from piece to piece
and he brought Him back to me
Perhaps he will favor you
because he hearkened to Your voice.
 
8 Seek goodness for him
and behold the lamb of Moriah,
He who was mute of mouth: let there be merit although she did 
not hearken to (Your) voice.

                    ה

9 Remove from the smooth one
the hands of the hairy one;
(my) supplications (I) murmur
because You have the voice.
 
10 Save (me), for un-
forgotten is the testimony;
from the mouths of his descendants /
unending is (their) voice.

                    ו

11 My seers and my scolders:
they are my mother’s sons
and then they rebuked me
so that I would listen to (His) voice.

12 And during their watches
they stood and cried aloud,
that He might reveal to them the secret;
and He answered them in (His own) voice.

                    ז

13 This One turned away from me
I turned about and I sought Him;
in every place He is
there I raised (my) voice.
 
14 My Beloved is praised below:
“He is splendid on high!” (Psa. 93:4)
“His glory fills all the earth” (Isa. 6:3)
is how, up above, they proclaim with a voice.

                    ח

15 Through mighty waters:
He led their steps,
they said; “His image we have not seen
but only (perceived His) voice.
 
16 I sought (Him) in the wilderness:
Was anything there? But He said, There is nothing—
until His giving of Strength
overwhelmed me with its voice.

                    ט

17 The Pure One leapt
over mountains and passed by
and from the Abode on the mountain of myrrh
He then gave forth (His) voice.
 
18 I sullied the loveliness
of His dwelling and He departed
but on the day of the full moon He will come:
in my ears will be (His) voice 

                    י

19 I am precious in His eyes
and He stayed with me in my captivity:
“I am with him,”
thus He reassured me with (His) voice.
 
20 He descended upon Shinar
and established His throne over Elam
and sounded forth like a lion
and like a serpent will be (their) voice.

                    כ

21 The bear took over for me
When I was too weak for labor
a law written in a letter
and it was proclaimed by a voice.
 
22 He conquered for me
the four-headed leopard
and truly, through everlasting thanksgivings
I let Him hear (my) voice.

                    ל

23 The beast of the reeds
when it possessed the earth,
“Whom have I in heaven?”
it then raised (its) voice.
 
24 To God, my Rescuer,
from between teeth of iron I cried out
and from beneath (its) feet of heavy pledges
I roared with (my) voice.

                    מ

25 The duration of my exile
He did not make known to me
“How long until I am again in my land?”
The turtledove will make heard (its) voice.
 
26 Even from those with deep knowledge of Scripture
He sealed up (knowledge of) my end-time
lest the knowledge of my seers
the time when He will raise (His) voice.

                    נ

27 Please, gaze down and see
my affliction and my anguish
I have no acquaintance
to whom I can raise (my) voice.
 
28 Forever shall I hope
for no word (of Yours) falls unfulfilled
from (the lips of) those of mine who hear
(Your) whispering voice.

                    ס

29 Surely it shall rejoice
my heart within me
when I hear my Beloved knocking
on my door – (His) voice!
 
30 Forever let Him set me
as a seal upon (His) heart
just as when, beneath the apple tree
He aroused me with (His) voice.

31 As it is written in Your Torah: 32 “And it came to pass on the third day, when it [was morning, that there were voices [thunder] and lightning, and a cloud upon the mountain, and the voice of the shofar grew very strong, and all the people who were in the camp trembled].” (Exod. 19:16)

                    ע

33 You exalted me,
over all (Your) other daughters
because it was for my sake
that on Horeb You gave forth (Your) voice.
 
34 Over all other gods
You are greatly exalted;
forever You are exalted
by a resounding voice.

35 As it is written in Your holy words: “God ascends in the midst of shouting, the Eternal upon the voice of the shofar” (Psa. 47:6) 

                    פ

36 He groaned in the wilderness,
the bird from Egypt;
and a dove made heard
from Assyria her voice.
 
37 Watch over the house-sparrow,
seek out the mute dove,
sound the shofar for their sake
and free them by (Your) voice.

38 As it was written by the hand of Your prophet: 39 “And it shall come to pass on that day that a great shofar shall be blown; and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were dispersed in the land of Egypt shall come, and they shall bow down to the Eternal upon the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isa. 27:13)
 

                    צ

40 Bind (Your) statutes tightly (to me), lest from me
they fly off, like an eagle;
and lest they take wing
those who instruct me with their voice
 
41 That which is refined I shall study
and my eyes are upon my teachers
as when the messenger would speak
and God would respond to him with (His) voice.

42 As it is written in Your Torah: “And the voice of the shofar grew increasingly stronger; Moses was speaking and God was answering him with (His) voice(Exod. 19:19).

                    ק 

43 As the (year’s) end draws near
the time of judgment approaches
the one who offers forthright defense arises
to entreat (with his) voice.
 
44 The month has been sanctified
and the festival prepared
and I will sound upon the shofar
so that He may answer me with (His) voice.

45 As it is written in Your holy word: 46 “Sound the shofar at the new month, at the full moon for our festival, for it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob” (Psa. 81: 4-5)
 

                    ר

47 A disturbance from a grave,
shouting from a rock,
when He gave the dry bones
in the dust a voice.
 
48 See the banner on the mountains
and the voice of the shofar on the earth,
make joyfulness heard
from within the whispers of (His) voice.

49 As it is written by the hand of Your prophet: “All the inhabitants of the world and dwellers of the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when the shofar is sounded, you shall hear it” (Isa. 18:3) 

                    ש

50 The error of the wayward heart
shall no longer stray
no longer stoppering (their) ears
to keep from hearing (His) voice.
 
51 Restore to me as of old
law and inheritance
with which I was enveloped
by lightning-flashes and a voice.

52 As it is written in Your Torah: 53 “And all the people saw the voices, and the lightning-flashes, and the voice of the shofar, and the mountain a-smoke; and when the people saw it, they were fearful, and stood at a distance” (Exod. 20:13)
 

                    ת

54 One who obtained understanding
a man wise of word
inscribed sweet hymns
in sweetness of voice.
 
55 He would offer Him praise
then by all they were heard
by God who rules over all
let them create sweetness by means of voice.
 
56 As it is written in Your holy writing: 57 “Praise the Eternal! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! 58 Praise Him for his mighty deeds; praise Him according to His exceeding greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the shofar; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! 59 Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Eternal! Praise the Eternal!!”  (Psa. 150:1-6)

60 Beneath the sons of Zion
did the sons of Greece bow down
You made their arrows into lightning
and You confounded them with (Your) voice.
 
61 May You thunder against those who scorn me;
Sound the shofar
in the whirlwinds of the south
and then will go forth a voice!
 
[Liturgical Cue:]
62 Thus may You protect all Your people Israel with Your peace.

Yose ben Yose (5th century) Palestine
Translated by Prof. Rabbi Laura Lieber
Source: The Torah

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