Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Kotzo shel Yud by Yehuda Leib Gordon

Hebrew woman, who knows your life?
You were born in obscurity and in obscurity will you depart,
Your woes and your joys, your hopes and desires
Are born within you, and inside you they die.
The earth and its fullness, all pleasure and comfort
Are vouchsafed to daughters of other nations.
But the life of a Jewess is perpetual servitude,
Never leaving her store to go one place or another;
You conceive, give birth, you nurse, you wean,
You bake and you cook, and prematurely — you wither.

This is the opening stanza of Kotzo shel Yud by Yehuda Leib Gordon (d 1892)

The full version of the poem can be found here, with a nice translation by Stanley Nash.