Monday, July 23, 2007

On the temple

Rachel Barenblat and Iyov remind us that today is the anniversary of the destructions of the temple. Both the first and second temples are considered to have fallen on the same day. Many times I have sung the Lamentations - Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae; the Aleph, Beth, Gimel set to complex polyphony by Byrd or Tallis and probably several others, though it is the Tallis that is most famous. True that they transferred their grief to the destruction of the human sanctuary of Jesus body, but nonetheless, the memory is real and the solemnity shared.

Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! How the city sits solitary, that was full of people.

Non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris eius: omnes amici eius spreverunt eam et facti sunt ei inimici.

There is none to console her among all them that were dear to her; all her friends have despised her and have become her enemies.

Omnes persecutores eius apprehenderunt eam inter angustias. All her persecutors have taken her in the midst of her troubles.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum. Each of the Tallis sections ends with a powerful refrain that basses love with its low E. The refrain is from Hosea 14.1

Jerusalem is an icon of suffering. Can there ever be adequate consolation?

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