Rehov HaMevaser – Julia Knobloch

How welcome on the mountain are the footsteps of the herald. (Isaiah 52)
Rabbi Yochanan said: Let the Messiah come but I don’t want to see him (Sotah 49b)

Rehov HaMevaser runs above the valley
from where at first light, when sailors
begin to navigate by the horizon
the call to prayer rises
like an ancient string instrument
a groaning, moaning
voices of sons and daughters
souls ascending from Gehenna
like a storm that roars closer
thunder and lightning fill the void
between Abu Tor and Mount Zion
where steel cables were lifelines and
deadly traps for helicopters –

I am awake too early, exhausted
from releasing the woman
I thought I’d be in my year of jubilation
I stand by my window, behind the lattice
like a barren and an unnamed mother
I cannot see
the splendor of Mount Zion
I cannot hear
the footsteps of the herald
Why so late, the echo of his heels?
I can feel
warm beams rise over Silwan and concrete walls
cisterns and graves, the golden dome –

May His Name be praised forever
The land will not be tranquil as long as the sun shines

*HaMevaser (המבשר) means “the herald”, a word used to refer to Moshiach


Julia Knobloch is a rabbinical student at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles and the author of two collections of poetry: Book of Failed Salvation (2021) and Do Not Return (2019). She moonlights as poetry editor for Ben Yehuda Press and was awarded an AJU Word Grant for her community building poetry workshops and retreats.

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