Verse > Anthologies > Joseph Friedlander, comp. > The Standard Book of Jewish Verse
Joseph Friedlander, comp.  The Standard Book of Jewish Verse.  1917.
The Heavenly Light
By Max Meyerhardt

WHEN Israel in the wilderness
  Had fled from Pharaoh’s cruel might,
The Eternal sent, to lead them on,
  A cloud by day, a fire by night.
And, guided by that heavenly flame,        5
  The beacon from Jehovah’s hand,
The chosen people safely reached
  Their destined goal, the promised land.
Yet not alone in days of yore
  Has God his wondrous mercies shown,        10
For still He grants to all mankind
  A glorious light to lead them on.
A lamp of radiant, glowing hue,
  By Israel borne in every clime,
Through fire and flood, through tears and blood.        15
  With courage grand and faith sublime.
When all the world was steeped in sin,
  The Hebrews braved the nations’ wrath
And nobly followed still the guide
  That led them on in virtue’s path.        20
That beacon is the Decalogue,
  Proclaimed from Sinai’s flaming height,
And burning, as each age rolls by,
  With purer, grander, holier light.
Oh glorious flame! Thy sparkling beams        25
  With radiant splendour shine to-day;
Nor time, nor change, nor tyrant’s power
  Can quench or dim one holy ray.
Oh, heavenly lamp! Thy light shall shine
  Till sin and hate from earth depart;        30
Till wrong shall fail and right prevail,
  And justice rule the human heart.
May that bright beacon guide us still,
  E’en like God’s own untiring hand,
That we, when this life’s storms are o’er,        35
  May reach with joy the heavenly land.

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