Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
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Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
 
Kippur
By Rebekah Hyneman
 
OH, thou Eternal and Omnipotent!
  How shall thy erring children come to Thee
And ask for peace? Although the head be bent,
  Even as a bulrush, ’tis but a mockery
If the dark, sin-struck heart still cling to earth;        5
  Still make its idol of the world’s frail clay,
And the pure and glorious forget its birth
  Before the glittering bubble of a day.
Or if a spark of hatred linger still
  Against a brother, sinful though he be,        10
Oh! Thou in Heaven, how shall we come to Thee?
  Vain are the words that spring with empty sound
While the insensate heart betrays no wound,
And we are slaves unto our stubborn will.
 
But if, oh, Thou eternal God of love,        15
  If we perchance, find favor in Thy sight,
  Guide us oh, Holy One! from this our night
And grant remission from thy courts above.
Low in the dust we mourn the fatal sin
  That hath beguiled our souls from the true path.        20
  Oh, deal not on our heads thy fearful wrath;
Forgive the past and grant us strength to win
  The glorious prize of immortality,
  The bliss to dwell forevermore with thee.
We are thy children—let our prayers arise        25
Like the sweet incense of a sacrifice,
And from this day henceforward let us be
Bound by love’s holiest ties, our God, to Thee.
 
 
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