Rivka Miriam on asking forgiveness – Israel in Translation

 

We’re now in the month of Elul, the last month in the Jewish calendar, which leads up to the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur festivals. We explore Elul’s themes of creation and forgiveness through two poems by Rivka Miriam.

Rivka Miriam was a Jerusalem-born child prodigy, who has gone on to publish 12 collections of poetry, two collections of short stories, and several children’s books.

According to her mother, her parents were among the 20 out of a population of 6,000 from their home town in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

Rivka Miriam’s poetry is touched by both gratitude and loss. Writer David Grossman says, “Her Hebrew is a singular combination of all the levels of the language, ancient as well as new.”

Here are the last lines of her poem about Elul: “Only forgiveness itself / blurred as the line between dusk and sunset / fell on its knees before itself.”

 

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TextThese Mountains: Selected Poems of Rivka Miriam. Translated by Linda Stern Zisquit. Toby Press, 2009.

 

Music:

Arik Einstein – Jewish Autum

Rali Margalit – A Journey to the Lyrics of Rivka Miriam: touching the non-existent

 

Asking forgiveness: Listen to our podcast ‘Sorry isn’t the hardest word – StreetWise Hebrew’

 

Photo: From the cover of a collection of Rivka Miriam’s poems.

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