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VCU Menorah Review Winter/Spring 2014
Number 80
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

Masada

A poem by Isaac Lamdan

Who are you that come, stepping heavy in silence?
--The remnant.
Alone I remained on the day of great slaughter.
Alone, of father and mother, sisters and brothers.
Saved in an empty cask hid in a courtyard corner.
Huddled, a child in the womb of an anxious mother.
I survived.
Days upon days in fate’s embrace I cried and begged
for mercy:
Thy deed it is, O God, that I remain.
Then answer: Why?
If to bear the shame of man and the world.
To blazon it forever--
Release me! The world unashamed will flaunt this shame
As honor and spotless virtue!
And if to find atonement I survive
Then Answer: Where?
So importuning a silent voice replied:
“In Masada!”
And I obeyed that voice and so I came.
Silent my steps will raise me to the wall,
Silent as all the steps filled with the dread
Of what will come.
Tall, tall is the wall of Masada.
Deep, deep is the pit at its feet.
And if the silent voice deceived me,
From the high wall to the deep pit
I will fling me.
And let there be no sign remaining,
And let no remnant survive.

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Updated: Jan. 24, 2013

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