He Ru Follow us: Make a7 your Homepage
      Free Daily Israel Report

      Arutz 7 Most Read Stories

      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

      Subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed

      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.


      Elul 13, 5770, 8/23/2010

      The Caged Lion

      We missed devoting a blog to Rabbi Kook on his yortzeit last week. In addition to having been a master in all disciplines of Torah, and a great visionary, Rabbi Kook also wrote many powerful and inspiring poems which sublimely express his passionate yearning for G-d. Here for your enjoyment is a short fable he penned. Unfortunately, my translation can’t compare to the beauty and depth of the original Hebrew, with its rich imagery and multiple nuances. But the symbolism and message of the fable are obvious all the same.   




      THE old lion is broken

      Tired from his many hunters

      Trapped in a narrow cage


      He remembers times from his childhood

      Memories of freedom

      The valor of the forest.


      His cubs were born in captivity

      Their souls don’t feel his weariness

      Yet their souls haven’t grown.

      They haven’t been broken by the enemy

      Because they haven’t seen battle

      And the valor of the forest they don’t know.


      Though the cage is narrow

      It doesn’t oppress them so much,

      It inhibits the wildness of their youth,

      But the cubs don’t moan

      Over this small matter,

      And the glow in their eyes

      Over this doesn’t darken.


      The cubs are angry with their father,

      Why is he so sunken in his thoughts

      To have forgotten about life?

      There still is room to frolic a little

      Even in this narrow cage.

      The children are astounded

      When they look upon the aged lion

      So stooped over and sighing.


      ONCE the old lion awakened

      And told his tale to the playful youngsters,

      “There is a world filled with light

      A place filled with liberty and freedom

      A forest of great expanses,

      And towering trees

      How pleasant are those cedars of G-d!

      The scents of the forest restore the soul

      A myriad of living creatures dwell within

      And everything is enlivened with the pleasures of freedom.


      “And when I was your age, children,

      It was there that I ruled with pride and strength

      All of the forest’s warriors bowed before me.

      And if not for my pursuers who shattered my bones,

      And if not for this narrow cage

      I would still now be ruling in the forest

      And you too would be filled with freedom and pride.


      These words came forth from the old one

      And the youths ceased to frolic.

      Instead of joy in their eyes

      A flash of revenge shone in them,

      Eyes filled with fire and blood,

      And with an embittered spirit and hidden rage

      They tried to break

      The narrow cage.



      THE soul of mighty lions roared inside the cubs

      And their eyes also saw

      With all the same force

      The kingdom of the forest.

      The longings in them grew stronger

      To reach the open expanses,

      To the place where their old father ruled.


      They couldn’t keep still in the cage

      The scent of the oak trees of the forest

      Filled their nostrils and lungs,

      The colors of budding flowers

      Held their hearts captive


      Their spirits didn’t fall

      And they didn’t groan

      Like the elder

      Whose bones had broken,

      And the light of his life turned gloomy

      Because of the oppression of his captors

      Who turned his world upside down.


      And with a yearning of spirit

      Like billowing flames

      Their hearts yearned for the forest.



      IF in sincerity and innocence

      The forest is loved,

      The old broken lion once said,

      Then the soul of proud lions

      Still beats within you,

      And this the narrow cage

      Won’t be your home

      For you will always belong to the forest kingdom.


      The words of the elder

      Strengthened the hearts of the youth,

      And with the power and valor of young lions

      They began to smash at the cage’s bars

      With their claws, their teeth, and their roars

      Frightening the captors

      From their routine guard.

      And with a fierce spirit raging with love for the forest

      They broke and shattered the walls of the narrow cage.



      SEEING the boldness of the cubs

      The old broken lion was filled with courage,

      And a spark of the proud lion inside him was kindled anew.

      Taking a place in the front of his sons

      All of his being filled with valor,

      And together with a spirit of freedom

      They fled to a place with freedom and light.

      Hearing the roar of lions, their captors trembled in fear,

      And with a proud spirit the lions went on their way

      Until they came to the place of the oaks

      To the castle of the lions

      As it had been from time immemorial.


      It was as if the old lion regained his youth

      And his broken insides

      Became bonded together in joy.

      And he together with his cubs

      Spoke victoriously to their enemies at the forest’s edge

      And all the lions returned

      To raise up the forest kingdom.


      THE END


      This coming year, as we assemble to hear the shofar of our freedom, may the eternal spirit of the proud Lion of Judah be awakened in all of our hearts to shatter our cages and bring us home free once again to our Land.