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Yocheved Zemel


Desert and Rebirth


Part one


It’s my destiny

I move to deserts,

Lands of sand upon sand,

With no promise of growth.

No rain from heaven,

Hard, unyielding earth,

No entering its warm bosom.


And I pray,

And I water,

And I dream,

And I gather other dreamers,

And we break the barren earth,

And we plant,

And we build,

And we water the dry sand,

And we plant seeds,

And we grow plants and flowers,

Colorful, nutritious, and hearty.

And we thank the God of our fathers

For the miracle of life, growth, and sustenance.


We move to barren lands,

That were left for the desert gazelles to wander,

Vacant of life.

Vacant of growth

These lands flourish.

Because we dream,

And we break the barren earth,

And we find fellow dreamers,

And we till the soil together,

The earth of our forefathers and mothers,

The land that generations dreamed of from afar.



Part Two


We are fulfilling the prophets’ predictions,

We are not alone in this barren land,

We carry with us the dreams of generations,

Of mothers and fathers, and their children and grandchildren.

They are praying for our success,

And we won’t disappoint them.


It is my destiny.

I am a grower of plants,

A cultivator of fruit,

A builder of homes,

A breaker of the black barren earth,


This is my destiny,

And I carry it with love,

And devotion.

And conviction,

And stubbornness.



My hands are calloused from the digging,

But I will continue to dig.

My throat is parched from the dry sand,

But I will continue to plant,

I turn my head at the insults and shouts of the nations.

I will not abandon my land.

We stand against the world again, as always,

Strongly, resolutely, and with conviction.


It is our destiny,

Mine and that of my fellow dreamers,

We will plant on fallow soil,

We will defy the odds,

We will make the desert bloom

With the colors of the rainbow.


Part Three


And we will return the Torah to its rightful home,

We will fill the seminaries with plants of Torah,

Young men and women adding their voices to the still desert sands,

They will sing the songs of our homeland,

Chant the melodies of the sages,

Turn over the soil of our scriptures,

Together they will learn,

And turn our desert of learning,

Into a world of Torah,


Until the garden will yield seeds of knowledge

Of Torah, and Wisdom and Prayer.


This is my destiny,

To be blessed to be among the planters,

And builders

And growers.

I am a farmer of flowers, of fruit and of Torah,

I am blessed.






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