Friday, August 15, 2008


We are told that Tu Be'av, beginning tonight, was a Jewish festival of romantic and erotic love already back in the late Hellenic period. It's been revived in modern Israel as a Valentine's Day clone. While that's a bit tacky, I'm not the one to shun festivals of love. In honor of the day I would like to translate for you one of the many poems that make up the incredible biblical Song of Songs

I am asleep, but my heart is awake.
My beloved comes knocking:
Open for me, me dove, my beauty, my perfect one,
For my head is filled with dew, my locks - with shatters of night.

I have taken off my tunic, should I put it back on?
I have washed my feet, should I soil them?
My beloved sent forth his hand through the hole
and my insides stirred for him.

I arose to open for my beloved
And my hands were dripping with Myrrh,
My fingers: Myrrh flowing over the handles of the lock.

I opened for my beloved, but he has slipped and vanished
My soul escaped as he spoke. I sought him, but found him not
I called for him and he did not answer.

I was found by the guards who patrol the city
They hit me and they wounded me.
The guards of the walls removed my gown.
I made you vow to me, daughters of Jerusalem,
If you see my beloved, what shall you tell him?
That I am lovesick.

I think even the first line alone makes perfect poetry, but the rest is sublime as well, especially when read in the original. Consider that the line: "I removed my gown" reads in Hebrew as: "Pashateti et kutanti". try reading this out loud. It simply is sexy. The rest, except for the disturbing violent scene in the end, is so sexy one has to wonder what the hell could have happened to a culture that has this in its scripture, that it would turn into the matzo ball soup it is today.

What's also sexy, and indeed romantic and unique, is the cover of my new novel: "I'll Meet you Halfway", beautifully conceived and executed by Israeli illustrator and comic book artist extraordinare, Assaf Hanukah. Last night I got to hold the book in my hands for the first time. It will be in stores in about a week and I will dedicate a post to it then. In the meantime, a great night of love is wished to all.


3asl said...

I am sleep or asleep?

Yuval said...

Asleep. Thank you, I fixed it.