Blog image - Perhaps


Perhaps it was never so.
I never woke early and went to the fields
To labor in the sweat of my brow

Nor in the long blazing days
Of harvest
On top of the wagon laden with sheaves,
Made my voice ring with song

Nor bathed myself clean in the calm
Blue water
Of my Kinneret. O, my Kinneret,
Were you there or did I only dream?

Translated by A.C. Jacobs


On Monday, we traveled to Havat Kinneret, the Kinneret Farm, where we learned about the chalutzim, pioneers who came to pre-state Israel during the British Mandatory Period and established the beloved kibbutzim of northern Israel. Later in the day we visited the Kinneret Cemetery. There, we learned about Rachel the Poet's great love for the land of Israel and other Zionist figures, great and small. This beautifully situated cemetery serves as a reminder that the establishment of the State of Israel was not easy, and that the country - and the north in particular - were built by these agricultural communities.


Rachel the Poet


Rachel Bluwstein, better known as Rachel the Poet, immigrated to pre-state Israel in the early 1900s. There, she studied agriculture, later traveling to France to continue her studies. At the outbreak of WWI, she returned to her childhood homeland of Russia. Faced with hardships and struggle, she returned to the land of Israel. Where first she was enmeshed with the community, working in the fields and with the children, she now found herself a bit of a pariah as her tuberculosis reared its head. Often distant from her beloved community and the work she found so fulfilling, she spent the rest of her days writing poetry and odes to the land of Israel. In this piece, Perhaps, she recalls the joy of the long days of work, comradery, and northern Israel. Before Israel was a state, when Theodor Herzl's Zionist dream was young, Rachel moved away from everyone and everything she knew. She fell in love with the land of Israel, and by merit of her work and the work of the other chalutzim at the kibbutzim, the north flourished. Today, as well, the greenery, fields, and mountains of the north continue to inspire Israelis and visitors alike. We pray of a return of peace to our most northern borders, so that all can appreciate the region, as Rachel did.