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.
 
Since We Be Standing
By Ephraim ben Isaac (Trans. Nina Davis)
 
SINCE we be standing even yet, to be
  As ministers before Thee in Thy Name,
And spread our hands out, having naught for Thee
  Of that oblation wherewith once we came—
Hear now, O Lord, Thy people’s voice and hold        5
Their crying for their sacrifice of old.
 
That He maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as every day shall require.
 
All those who watched Thy doors have passed away,
  Who guarded for Thy treasury its due;
There is no off’ring and no gift this day,        10
  And still can justice pierce a mountain through,
Yet so shall Jacob’s sin be purged at last,
And his atonement made in this his fast.
 
See, for the coin for off’ring faileth now,
  The silver of the ransom for my soul;        15
But wherefore, O my soul, art stricken low?
  Nay, bless the Lord and verily extol.
For He will soon repent Him for His own
Judging His people from the eternal throne.
 
A day of pardon is appointed us        20
  To make repentance for our souls therein;
Yea, though Thine altar still be empty thus,
  Our soul’s affliction pleadeth for our sin.
Of old our fathers trusted in Thy Name,
They trusted, and from Thee redemption came.        25
 
Because the hand was once sent forth to lay
  Their dwelling-places low, their cities fair,
No off’ring hath been brought Thee since the day
  The sanctuary was wasted and laid bare.
Yet vengeance on His foemen He will take,        30
And make atonement for His people’s sake.
 
For incense brought to Thee, which is no more,
  Mine orison shall drop as fragrant spice;
The prayer of the afflicted, burdened sore,
  Shall be a handful sweet for sacrifice;        35
So that he may not perish in the pit,
Nor want for bread nor go forth lacking.
 
Keep Thou the portal of my lips, accept
  Their gift as that brought once in priestly hand;
Let those who call on stocks or trees be swept        40
  From where my fathers prayed on hallowed land.
Yet, let the Lord to jealousy be moved
For His own land, and pity those He loved.
 
Since we be standing even yet, to be
  As ministers before Thee in Thy Name,        45
And spread our hands out, having naught for Thee
  Of that oblation wherewith once we came—
Hear now, O Lord, Thy people’s voice, and hold
Their crying for their sacrifice of old.
 
That He maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as every day shall require.
        50
 
 
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