The opening words of today’s Sidra ‘Lech Lecha’ – meaning ‘Go forth’ signal our forefather Avram’s journey and the beginnings of Jewish history.
Hannah Szenes – My G-d, My G-d
Hannah Szenes (July 17, 1921 – November 7, 1944) was one of 37 Jews from Mandatory Palestine parachuted by the British Army into Yugoslavia during the Second World War to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.
Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, then imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal details of her mission. She was eventually tried and executed by firing squad. She is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, where her poetry is widely known and the headquarters of the Zionist youth movements Israel Hatzeira, a kibbutz and several streets are named after her.
Szenes was a poet and playwright, writing both in Hungarian and Hebrew. The best known of these is Halikha LeKesariya (“A Walk to Caesarea”), commonly known as Eli, Eli (“My God, My God”). The well-known melody was composed by David Zahavi.
Here is a recording of Eli Eli by our own Cantor Steven Leas.
My God, My God, I pray that these things never end,
The sand and the sea,
The rustle of the waters,
Lightning of the Heavens,
The prayer of Man.
אלי, אלי, שלא יגמר לעולם
רשרוש של המים