Posted by: prayer0617 | August 23, 2013

Treasures of old….

I love reading through old worship periodicals amazed at how the words come alive even hundreds of years later. I was reading A publication named The Peculiar People published in 1889. The Peculiar People was a Christian publication. This is a reprint from the Jewish Intelligence a poem by Nathaniel W. Carre, A.B. based on a story in the Talmud concerning Rabbi Johannan:

A Legend of The Talmud

Rabbi Johannan on his dying bed

Uplifted painfully his aching head,

And tears coursed slowly down his wasted cheek,

Grieving the souls of his disciples meek,

And, as they bent the head and beat the breast,

There questioned him on bolder than the rest;

“Rabbi, thou light of Israel, whom God

Is taking from our head, we kiss the rod

For we have sinned, and in the dust we bow;

But light of Israel,  why weepest thou? “

Rabbi Zachai answered, low and still, —

His accents made the listeners; blood run chill–

“Hear me, my sons.  If in the morn I stood

Before a mortal king of flesh and blood—

Today in pomp upon the gilded throne,

Tomorrow in the sepulchre alone–

Who, angered, yet his anger might ouspend;

Who binding me, his bondage would have end;

Whose wrath I might appease with costly bride,

Or soothe him by the spokesman of my tribe;

If boure to death at fist of His word,

Eternal death waits not on mortal sword,

Yet then, yet even then–my tears would flow,

Crushed by the heavy weight of human woe.

But now they bear me to the King of kings,

The Lord and Source of all created things,

Who ever and for ever doth endure,

Whose Throne on timeless ages rests secure

Who, angered, will His anger ne’er outspend;

Who binding me, His bondage has no end.

No gem, no jewel can His justice bribe,

Nor can I find a Goel of my tribe;

And if He touch me with the Archangel’s breath,

Eternity is mine of death in death.

And furthermore two ways are opening out

Shrouded in darkness of this sickening doubt,

The downward path that slopes to fire and worm,

The upward course that leads from tear and storm;

And knowing not which course they bear my soul,

Should not, my sons, these tears in anguish roll?”

And neath that awful dread of coming doom,

The Rabbi’s spirit passed into the gloom.

And horror deep weighed down the orphaned hand,

A cold air smote them, by death angels fanned.

And then a cry went wailing through the night,

“Messiah, son of David, bring us light.”


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