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The Song of the Flying Swallow

I rarely think about my age, but I could not disregard the coincidence of the big five-zero approaching and the content of this Torah portion. The jubilee year is, as Torah puts it, “hallowed.” Every person should return to their holdings and their family. This year is called the year of liberty, “the year of the flying swallow,” as Ibn Ezra poetically puts it, quoting the line from Proverbs (26:2), “As a sparrow must flit and a swallow fly…”

Ibn Ezra explains that the word dror here refers to “a small bird that produces music when it is free. However, if it is taken captive, it refuses to eat and starves to death.” The famous line immediately comes to mind. “How can we sing a song of the God on alien soil?” (Psalms 137:4). The creativity in the times of war, destruction and alienation is near impossible and, maybe, not even relevant since an immediate task is to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine as soon as possible. 

However, I firmly believe that this year will not only be marked by horrific war but also will bring peace for Ukraine and liberty for Russia. The song of the flying swallow will ring again.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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