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iniquity pardoned !” But the one and only Great Solace for their grief they, alas ! refuse to accept.
Some of the elegies and dirges used by the Jews on their fasts are most pathetic in their eloquent outbursts of grief. I quote a portion of the celebrated elegy composed by the Spanish poet, Jehuda Halevi :
“Hast thou, O Zion, forsaken thy captive children? Art thou insensible to the fervent acclamations which the remnant of thy flock send towards thee from all corners of the earth? From east, west, north, and south, exile and captivity direct their anxious looks to thee, pant for hope, and pay thee the tribute of their tears. Our tears fall rapidly, like the dew on Hermon: Oh could they water thy deserted hills! Give mo but wings to carry the fragments of my heart to yonder ruins, and I would cling to thy dumb rocks; my forehead would touch thy sacred dust in adoration. In thy air I should breathe the breath of life; in thy dust I should inhale the perfume of myrrh, in the waters of thy streamlets I should sip the taste of honey.
“Zion, crown of beauty, remember the tender love of thy inhabitants; thy happiness filled them with joy; thy reverses overwhelmed them with grief. Fear not; thy flocks, dispersed on the hills, have not forgotten the native fold; they unceasingly languish for thy heights, yearn for the shade of thy palm-trees.
Happy mortal who would rest under the shelter of thy protecting walls! Thrice happy mortal who will be present at the dawning of thy renewed day! He will mingle with thy happy chosen ones; he will be glad at thy rejoicings, and he will see thee in beauty as in the days of thy youth.”
With such recitals, and with the reading of the book of Job,
the morning is spent in the synagogue. The fast, however, continues till sunset; not one drop of water passes the parched lips of the mourner, not one crumb of bread satisfies his hunger.
I cannot conclude this chapter without noticing one of the most interesting places within the walls of Jerusalem--the Wailing-place of the Jews. It is close to the southern part of the temple area, that part of it on which stands the mosque of Aksa, covering what is supposed to have been the site of the Holy of Holies. Shortly after the re-admission of the Jews, who had been expelled by Hadrian, as a punishment for their second revolt, they obtained leave to weep here over their fallen city and proscribed nation—buying from the Roman soldiers the privilege of moistening with their tears the ground where their fathers had bought the blood-shedding of the Lord. Every Friday the Jews go there to weep and pray. There are two holes in the wall, which they say lead toward the Holy of Holies; through these they pray, for they believe that this is the gate of Heaven, through which all prayers must pass. The wall consists of twenty-three rows of stones: nine rows are of an immense size, some of the stones being nine feet long and six feet broad; sixteen of them form the foundation, and lie apparently in their original order, whilst the other rows have been arranged at a later period. Often Mohammedans look on, and laugh and jeer at the Jews and Jewesses praying and lamenting.
As I reflected on the position of the Jews in their own city —their citadel of David garrisoned by infidel soldiers, overbearing Moslems the lords of their land, Mohammedan mosques covering the sacred area where their temple once stood, Latin, Greek, and Coptic convents on their Mount of Calvary,
Armenian and Syrian convents, and Turkish barracks upon their own hill of Zion; whilst they themselves, in the very city of their forefathers, were crowded in a confined quarter, and only permitted to see afar off the ruins of their ancestors' glory, I say, when I thought upon all these things, it struck
—I me that the condition of the Jerusalem Jews formed one of the most painful sights that I had ever witnessed.
“Oh that the Lord's salvation
Were out of Zion come,
To lead His outcasts home!
How long the Holy City
Shall heathen feet profane ?
Rebuild her walls again.
Let fall Thy rod of terror,
Thy saving grace impart ;
Release the fettered heart.
Let Israel home returning
Her lost Messiah see ;
And bring Thy church to Thee."
JEWS IN FRANCE-The Jewish SABBATH.
N no country are the re
ligious affairs of the Jews so well regulated as in France. Each province is superintended by a district-consistory, which manages the religious matters of those Jews residing within the district. These districtconsistories are all under the control of a central consistory, composed of nine members, a secre
tary and the Chief Rabbi, which meets at Paris. Everything necessary to advance the spiritual condition of the hundred thousand Jews residing in France, is here discussed; and all matters which the district consistories are unable to deal with, or refer for advice, are controlled and considered by the central consistory.
Though the number of French Jews is but a drop in the population of France, yet their influence exercises a decided