In Tyczyn, a small shtetl in Galicia, in the attic of a private house, I found a painted sukkah from the early 19th century. Jews are waiting outdoors, for a ship sailing on the high seas that was to gather them up and bring them to the Promised Land, the land of vineyards and palms. At that moment, the Hasidim would sing with enthusiasm (in Yiddish), a paraphrase of a poem by Goethe:
Zu veyst ir dos land vu
Vu zign essen bokser unstodt groz
Gebroteneh taybelach genzelach fleyen gleich in moyl erein
vu rozhinkes vine tut fleissen on a mos
mit lulovim allerlei zeiynen gedekt die decher
un mandeln waksen oif yeden stecken.
Oy ahin, ahin, ahin
oy rebenyu gevald, gevald.
Vort ich mir ahin a vek
oy khotchbi takeh bald.
Do you know the land where
There the goats eat carobs instead of grass.
Roasted doves and geese fly straight into your mouth
There raisin wine flows abundantly
Palm fronds crowd on the roofs of houses,
And on every staff almonds grow.
Oy, to there, to there, to there,
And oy, our rabbi, help, help!
I would go there this very minute Even straight away.
Longings for Jerusalem in the Jewish Folk Art of Eastern Europe by
Translated by Jeffrey M. Green . Used with permission.
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