Commentary Magazine


On a Hasidic Theme

For my aunt Pesye-Chana and my uncle Shaye-Yidl

The Rebbe Reb Dovidl dwelt in Talne,
Now he abides in Rachmistrivke.
Currently I reside in New York
Although I hail from Moskalivke.
        It’s quite a distance from New York to
            Talne
        ‘Twixt the Rebbe and me—a remoteness
            more immense:
        Whilst I revel in profane dancing and
            singing
        He rejoices in God with ritual chant
            and dance.
And as the devout retinue at Talne
Bewails his leaving for Rachmistrivke
So too bemoan my departure for
    New York
My desolate kin in Moskalivke.
        And the pining of kinsfolk, the lament
            of Hasidim,
        The longing of Talne and Moskalivke,
        Redeems my vain New York existence,
        Exults Reb Dovidl in Rachmistrivke.
And though it were blasphemous to com-
    pare
Our Fates’ diversely chartered courses,
The mere change of abodes has caused the
    commingling
Of longing and hope at Life’s very sources.
        And thus are in sweet sorrow joined
        The heartbeats ‘tween New York and
            Moskalivke
        As the tender anguish of Talne is en-
            twined with
        The jubilant spirit of Rachmistrivke.

_____________

 

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