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‘Amen,’ A Passover Poem

Translated from Hebrew by Rachel Tzvia Back

Tuvia Ruebner
April 05, 2018


The betrayer who is betrayed.

The deceiver deceived.

Away! Away!

What away?

Away to where

in the yellow air?

To the meadow that was?

To the lambs just birthed?

To the falling birds?

In our standing up, though a little bent—dayenu.

With our eyes seeing though blurred—dayenu.

With our ears almost hearing—dayenu.

Upon our lieing down and our rising—dayenu.

On our remembering our beloved’s name—dayenu.

On our kneeling down—dayenu.

By the skin of our teeth—dayenu.

In our heart that expands and contracts—dayenu.

In our worried heart, fearful and afraid—dayenu.



(January 2016)

Translated from Hebrew by Rachel Tzvia Back.

This article was originally published on April 20, 2016.

Pre-eminent Hebrew poet Tuvia Ruebner was born in Slovakia in 1924, immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1941 and settled in the Jezreel Valley kibbutz of Merchavia, where he lives until today. His parents, little sister and grandparents who remained behind were all murdered in Auschwitz in the summer of 1942. Ruebner has published 16 collections of poetry and received numerous awards in Israel and Europe. The collection of his poetry in English, In the Illuminated Dark: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner (HUC and University of Pittsburgh Presses), translated, annotated and introduced by Rachel Tzvia Back, was a finalist for both the National Translation Award and National Jewish Book Award in Poetry (2015). At the age of 92, Ruebner continues writing and publishing.

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