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Hekhalot Hymns: Lovely face

Hekhalot Hymns: Lovely face
Photo: A Jewish girl-bride with her mother in the Sus region of Southern Morocco; 1930s.
Lovely face, majestic face,
face of beauty, face of flame,
the face of the Lord God of Israel
when He sits upon His throne of glory,
robed in praise upon His seat of splendour.
His beauty surpasses
the beauty of the aged,
His splendour outshines
the splendour of newly-weds
in their bridal chamber.

Whoever looks at Him
is instantly torn;
whoever glimpses His beauty
immediately melts away.
Those who serve Him today
no longer serve Him tomorrow;
those who serve Him tomorrow
no longer serve Him afterwards;
for their strength fails and their faces are charred,
their hearts reel and their eyes grow dim
at the splendour and radiance
of their king's beauty.

Beloved servants, lovely servants,
swift servants, light-footed servants,
who stand before the stone of the throne
of glory,
who wait upon the wheel
of the chariot.
When the sapphire of the throne of glory
whirls at them,
when the wheel of the chariot
hurls past them,
those on the right
now stand again to the left,
those on the left
now stand again to the right,
those in front
now stand again in back,
those in back
now stand again in front.

He who sees the one says,
'That is the other'.
And he who sees the other says,
'That is the one'.
For the visage of the one
is like the visage of the other;
and the visage of the other
is like the visage of the one.

Happy the King
who has such servants,
and happy the servants
who have such a King.
Happy the eye
that sees
and feeds
upon this wondrous light --
a wondrous vision
and most strange!

(Hekhalot Hymns)
Recommended Reading:

'The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse'
By Various (Author), T. Carmi (Translator)



Extending from the Song of Deborah, written 3,000 years ago, to poems written in Israel by authors born in the 1930's, this unparalleled selection of poetry is the first of its kind produced in either English or Hebrew.

Includes a note on the text, bibliography, and glossary
Features the original Hebrew version of each poem next to its English translation.
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