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Literature and Poetry/
Rabin Memorial Day

Meir Wieseltier

Israeli Dissension

"Yediot Ahronot" Nov. 1

Rava says: The 11th of MarCheshvan and Abaye says: no, no,

the fourth of November. Rava says: The rabbinic Kaddish and Psalms,

And Abaye says: A fast day, as if it was Gedalia.

In the meantime, Talmudic disciples and students of these disciples

Rush in the nighttime to cover the signs with sheets of yellow pus. And officers and judges

follow them on wooden legs and inquire – where are you.

They are probably hiding under the wide Tzitzit

Your friend has a friend and the latter has one too.


And I say: Without a date. On the first Saturday night of November

Following the departure of the holiness and after the recital of "It is Our Duty to Praise",

All the elders of the congregation, the great sages

shall stand upon roof topping the faded building in the square,

armed with cap guns and at the set hour

they shall draw them out and will shoot three times in the air

Clack, clack, clack

And they shall shout out loud: Our hands have shed this blood

Have a good week, a good week onto you.


Origins used in the song:

Rabbinic Kaddish

Maimonides the Sequence of Prayers and the Wording of Kaddish

Rabbinic Kaddish Every ten or more Israelites who engage in study of the oral Torah or even  - in homiletic interpretations, when they conclude their studies, one of them recites the Kaddish with this wording: "May His great name be exalted and sanctified in the world which will be renewed, and where He will give life to the dead, and raise them to eternal life, and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and complete his temple there, and uproot foreign worship from the earth, and restore Heavenly worship to its position, in its glory and unification, and may He establish His kingdom" etc. until "and consolations that are uttered in the world and say, Amen. To the rabbis and their disciples and the students of their disciples who engage in Torah study, both in this place and in all other locations, may there come abundant peace, grace, lovingkindness and compassion and assistance and welfare from the Father who is in heaven and say Amen. May there be abundant of peace etc."  And this is called the Rabbinic Kaddish.


Gedaliah the son of Achikam

Book of Kings Chapter 25

(21) There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. And he brought about the exile of Judah, away from his land. (22) Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah: (23) When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah and Ishmael son of Nethaniah and Johanan son of Kareah and Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite and Jaazaniah the son of the Maakathite, they and their men. (24) And Gedaliah took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials. Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you. (25) In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and he died, and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. (26) And all the people from the least to the greatest, and the army officers fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.


Jerusalem Talmud Yerushalmi Tractate Ta'anit, chapter 4, page 263, Law 5

The fast day of the seventh month falls on the third of Tishrei, the day Gedaliah son of Ahikam was killed.


Officers and Judges


Where are You

Genesis Chapter 3

(8) They heard the sound of G-d the Lord as he was walking in the garden in the spirit of the day, and they hid from G-d the Lord among the trees of the garden. (9) And G-d, the Lord called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”


Your Friend has a Friend

Commentary of "Metzudat David" on Proverbs Chapter 11, verse 13

"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret" – He who reveals a secret of his friend is considered a gossiper and even if he did not tell this to the type of person about whom it says, sins your friend has a friend and it will be revealed also to him:


It is Our Duty to Praise

It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to ascribe greatness to the producer of creation, who has not made us like the nations of the lands, nor placed us like the families of the earth; who has not made our portion like theirs, nor our destiny like all their multitudes.   For they worship vanity and emptiness and pray to a god who cannot save. But we bow in worship and thank the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, who extends the heavens and establishes the earth, whose throne of glory is in the heavens above, and whose power's presence is in the highest of heights.  He is our God; there is no other. Truly He is our King, there is none else, as it is written in His Torah: "You shall know and take to heart this day that the G-d is the lord in the heavens above and on earth below. There is no other."


The great sages

Rashi, Tractate of Beitza Chapter 27 page 1

The original words in Aramaic -  Eshlei Ravrevei - used in the song is explained by Rashi as referring to large, thick ropes that are hard to untie, in other words, great sages uttered these words and it is unfit to invalidate their words.


Our Hands Have Shed

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

(1) If someone is found slain, lying in a field in the land the G-d your Lord is giving you to possess, and it is not known who the killer was, (2) your elders and judges shall go out and measure the distance from the body to the neighboring towns. (3) Then the elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked and has never worn a yoke (4) and lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and where there is a flowing stream. There in the valley they are to break the heifer’s neck. (5) The Levitical priests shall step forward, for G-d the Lord has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in the name of G-d and to decide all cases of dispute and assault. (6) And all the elders of the town nearest the body shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, (7) and they shall declare: “Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. (8) Atone for your people, Israel, whom you have redeemed, G-d, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent person.” Then the bloodshed will be atoned for, (9) and you will have purged from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of G-d:

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