Cedars of Lebanon: The Journey to Zion
The poems below—rendered into felicitous English by Nina Salaman, and appearing here by permission of the Jewish Publication Society, which in 1924 published them in a book along with other poems of Halevi’s and their original Hebrew texts—all deal with the poet’s almost nostalgic longing for Palestine and with his long and circuitous journey there. For Egypt, one notices, he has a special emotion: it is more than a halfway house, it is part and parcel of the geste that created Judaism; but it is only a foretaste, and Palestine alone is the fulfillment. Legend has it that when Halevi at last came to the walls of Jerusalem and knelt to pray and sing his Ode to Zion, a passing Arab horseman rode him down and killed him.—Ed.
About the Author