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A lament for these times: ‘Oi Meh Haya Lanu’

Let the lioness rise, let her shatter the mountaintops with her deafening roar and devour those who provoked her. Return us.
Photo by Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash
Photo by Roya Ann Miller on Unsplash

See Hashem, what has happened to us. Oi.
No distant memory, but current reality
Unfolding under your satellite gaze
Oi Meh Haya Lanu – What has happened to us?

Your people massacred, kidnapped, humiliated. Oi
A medieval pogrom at scale, on holy soil
Who can fathom the brutality?
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

The seasons are overturned. Oi
Parents wail and children take up arms
At the “time of our rejoicing”
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

Young women, men
Children, elders
Killed, taken, violated
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

And in your own land!
The hope of generations
We said never again
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

We reached out a hand to enemy nations. Oi
But they hunted us like prey
Our tears cannot be stopped
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

Our skin burns like an oven. Oi
The shame of our weakness
Flickering across screens
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

Now terrorists are our masters, and trolls delight. Oi
Because we forgot the cause and lapsed into complacency
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

Our leaders are mired in disgrace
They failed the people
Putting their own interests first
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

This is the price for our disunity. Oi
Accepting the lie that we aren’t one body
With one heart
Oi, Meh Haya Lanu

Return us, restore us, renew us
Hashivenu Hashem Elecha Venashuva Chadesh Yameinu Ke’kedem

Let the lioness rise Hashem, Let her rise
In her magnificent power
Let her shatter the mountaintops with her deafening roar
And devour those who provoked her, as you promised
“Blessed are they who bless you,
Cursed are those who curse you” (Numbers 24:9)

Such words are made for times like these

Return us, restore us, renew us
Hashivenu Hashem Elecha Venashuva Chadesh Yameinu Ke’kedem

Based on the kinah (lament) by Baruch ben Shmuel of Mainz (12th C)

About the Author
Dr Harris Bor is a barrister (trial advocate), author, rabbi, and research fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies. His blog Staying Human can be found at https://harrisbor.substack.com/
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