Merciful God, choose another people for now.1 We're tired of the death, tired of the dead. We've no more prayers for You. Choose another people for now. We have run out of blood to offer You in holocaust2. Our houses are turned into wilderness. The earth is not enough for our graves' tolls. There are no more dirges left, no more songs of woe in the old holy scrolls. Merciful God, let some other land be holy some other mountain. We've strewn each stone and every field3 with grave ash and consecration. With our elderly, with our young, with little babies we have paid for every letter of those ten decrees4 You gave. Merciful God, lift up that fiery brow of Yours and see the peoples of the world. Give them the prophecies, the Days of Awe. In every tongue they babble5 up Your Words, Your revelations and Your law. 6 Instruct them in the Acts7 and the ways of temptation. Merciful God,
give us common clothes
of shepherds tending sheep,
of blacksmiths at the forge,
of washer-women, skin-flayers,
and even lower...the uncleanest.
grant us this one last blessing:
strip us of the shekhina of our genius8.
1 â€” The word derveyl can mean "for the time being" or the familiar imperative of a verb for "elect, single out."
2 â€” Read holocaust in its original sense of "burnt offering" (as in the original: ×§×¨×‘×Ÿ) and of course the later meanings as well. My translation choice here, which does not duplicate the effect of the Yiddish, is nonetheless motivated by the attitude Molodowsky seems to be striking in Yiddish.
3 â€” Feld has a more funereal feel in Yiddish than its German cognate. It can in fact mean "graveyard." The word heylik "holy" here is likewise a bit funereal in connotation.