Yehudah HaLevi

(1075 - 1141 / Andulusia)

Where Shall I Find Thee? - Poem by Yehudah HaLevi

O Lord, where shall I find Thee?
All-hidden and exalted is Thy place;
And where shall I not find Thee?
Full of Thy glory is the infinite space.

Found near-abiding ever,
He made the earth’s ends, set their utmost bar;
Unto the nigh a refuge,
Yea, and a trust to them who wait afar.
Thou sittest throned between the Cherubim,
Thou dwellest high above the cloud rack dim.
Praised by Thine hosts and yet beyond their praises
Forever far exalt;
The endless whirl of worlds may not contain Thee,
How, then, one heaven’s vault?

And Thou, withal uplifted
O’er man, upon a mighty throne apart,
Art yet forever near him,
Breath of his spirit, life-blood of his heart.
His own mouth speaketh testimony true
That Thou his Maker art alone; for who
Shall say he hath not seen Thee? Lo! the heavens
And all their host aflame
With glory show Thy fear in speech unuttered,
With silent voice proclaim.

Longing I sought Thy presence,
Lord, with my whole heart did I call and pray,
And going out toward Thee,
I found Thee coming to me on the way;
Yea, in Thy wonders’ might as clear to see
As when within the shrine I looked for Thee.
Who shall not fear Thee? Lo! upon their shoulders
Thy yoke divinely dread!
Who shall forbear to cry to Thee, That givest
To all their daily bread?

And can the Lord God truly—
God, the Most High—dwell here within man’s breast?
What shall he answer, pondering—
Man, whose foundations in the dust do rest?
For Thou art holy, dwelling ‘mid the praise
Of them that waft Thee worship all their days.
Angels adoring, singing of Thy wonder,
Stand upon Heaven’s height;
And Thou, enthroned o’erhead, all things upholdest
With everlasting might.

Translated by Nina Davis

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 7, 2011

Poem Edited: Saturday, May 7, 2011

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