MembersDream and Nightmare

There is no passage in the Bible that describes the longing of the children of Israel for Jerusalem more tangibly and in such a heart-rending fashion as the verse in Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: debate
Photo: Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90

Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ How can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” What longing, what a dream.

By the rivers of Babylon, the Jews that had been carried off to there in exile dreamed of one day being allowed to return home. Over time, this dream served numerous composers as the text for their compositions – in the Middle Ages (di Lasso, Dachstein, Reincken, Bach) up until modern times in contemporary compositions. The slave chorus in the opera Nabucco by Guiseppe Verdi is well-known, as is the world-famous hit by Boney M “By the Rivers of Babylon.” Over and over again, Jews were driven out of their home,...

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