Famous Holiday Poem

The poem by Philip Max Raskin was published as part of the book, "Songs of a Jew" in 1914 in London. It celebrates the resiliency of the Jewish People who throughout their History have been persecuted and yet they have persevered. The eternal riddle is how have they survived so long, while their foes, much stronger than them, are relegated to the page of the history books.

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The Eternal Riddle

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Israel, my people,
God's greatest riddle,
Will thy solution
Ever be told

Fought - never conquered,
Bent - never broken,
Mortal - immortal,
Youthful, though old.

Egypt enslaved thee,
Babylon crushed thee,
Rome led thee captive,
Homeless thy head.

Where are those nations
Mighty and fearsome
Thou hast survived them,
They are long dead.

Nations keep coming,
Nations keep going,
Passing like shadows,
Wiped off the earth.

Thou an eternal
Witness remainest,
Watching their burial,
Watching their birth.

Pray, who revealed thee
Heaven's great secret :
Death and destruction,
Thus to defy

Suffering torture,
Stake, inquisition -
Prithee, who taught thee
Never to die

Ay, and who gave thee
Faith, deep as ocean,
Strong as the rock-hills,
Fierce as the sun

Hated and hunted,
Ever thou wand'rest,
Bearing a message :
God is but one !

Pray, has thy saga
Likewise an ending,
As its beginning
Glorious of old

Israel, my people,
God's greatest riddle,
Will thy solution
Ever be told

more Philip M. Raskin

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