Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Jewish Travel

"Jewish Travel"


Yehuda Amichai

view from buddhist temple.jpg


As it is written, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help":

not a hike to see a tall mountain in all its glory

not a climb to rejoice in the vistas of nature,

but a hike with a purpose

to seek help from the high heavens.

And how to interpret "I will lift up mine eyes"?

Heavy Jewish eyes that need lifting.


And it is written, "Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord?"

Not hikers singing, knapsacks on their shoulders,

but rather a congregation praying with "clean hands and a pure heart,"

not strong bodies and sturdy legs.

And fertile valleys are simply good places for prayer: as it says,

"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord."


Even "green pastures and still waters" are not about resting and eating in the shade of a tree or camping near a stream in the scorch of summer,

but about praising the Lord, since right after that it says

"the Valley of the Shadow of Death" –

the shadow of death overshadows everything.

Jewish travel.


Even Moses climbed Mt. Sinai not as mountaineers do,

but to receive the Tablets of the Law.

And he went up Mount Nebo not to come down again

but to die.


from Open Closed Open

translated from the Hebrew by Chana Bloch

and Chana Kronfeld

Harcourt, Inc


Photo by Roger Bourland



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