Hayim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934) published his first Hebrew book in Warsaw
in 1901, he was acclaimed as "the poet of the national renaissance."
Since then he has been considered the national Hebrew poet of the Jewish
Born in the Ukraine, H. N. Bialik received a strict religious Jewish education,
but was attracted to the Enlightenment movement. At 18, he left for Odessa,
where he was active in Jewish literary circles. In Berlin (1921) he founded
the Dvir publishing house, and in Tel Aviv (from 1924) devoted himself
to cultural activities and public affairs.
Bialik's national and nature poetry, his allegorical works, folksongs,
and his compilations of legends and folktales have been widely translated.
All his poetry, except for some of his childrens poems, was written
in the Ashkenazi accent. In the following poem, the young girl turns to
the wise acacia tree to reveal to her who she is to marry.
Daylight nor the Darkness
(The Old Acacia Tree)
Neither daylight nor the darkness
See how silently I wander.
Not on mountain, nor in valley,
Does an old acacia ponder.
The acacia solves all mysteries,
Tells my fortune while I tarry.
I shall ask the tree to tell me
Whom O whom, am I to marry?
Where will he be from, O Acacia,
Is it Poland, Lithuania?
Will he come with a horse and a carriage
Or with staff and sack will he appear?
And what presents will be bring me -
Necklace of pearls and coral flower?
Tell me, will he be fair or dark-haired?
Still unmarried or a widower?
If he's old, my dear Acacia,
I won't have him, please don't try me.
I'll tell my father; you may slay me,
But to an old man do not tie me!
At his feet I'll fall and with tears I'll cry;
To an old man do not tie me.
on the speaker to hear
Old Acacia Tree" by H.N. Bialik
Music: Yehezkel Braun.
by the Efroni Girls' Choir (1984).
by: Beth Hatefutsoth,
Museum of the Jewish Diaspora,
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