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The Eternal Riddle 

Israel, my people,
God's greatest riddle,
Will thy solution
Ever be told ?

Fought - never conquered,
Bent - never broken,
Mortal - immortal,
Youthful, though old.

Egypt enslaved thee,
Babylon crushed thee,
Rome led thee captive,
Homeless thy head.

Where are those nations
Mighty and fearsome ?
Thou hast survived them,
They are long dead.

Nations keep coming,
Nations keep going,
Passing like shadows,
Wiped off the earth.

Thou an eternal
Witness remainest,
Watching their burial,
Watching their birth.

Pray, who revealed thee
Heaven's great secret :
Death and destruction,
Thus to defy ?

Suffering torture,
Stake, inquisition -
Prithee, who taught thee
Never to die ?

Ay, and who gave thee
Faith, deep as ocean,
Strong as the rock-hills,
Fierce as the sun ?

Hated and hunted,
Ever thou wand'rest,
Bearing a message :
God is but one !

Pray, has thy saga
Likewise an ending,
As its beginning
Glorious of old ?

Israel, my people,
God's greatest riddle,
Will thy solution
Ever be told ?

By P.M. Raskin
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