Personality as an Attribute of God
Personality has many components: each person's individual character -- for instance, whether one is intelligent, understanding, verbal, shy, or aggressive; each person’s sensitivities -- for instance, whether one is musical, insightful, spiritual, or insensitive to suffering; each person's individual history -- for instance, whether one was loved well, neglected, traumatized, successful, or abused. There are more.
Personality also includes the ability to make complex moral judgements, to define and to act upon right and wrong, good and evil, and all the shades in between. Moral judgement has a vocabulary and conceptuality of its own but it is an integral part of personality. Moral consciousness runs parallel to, and interacts in very complex ways with, each person's individual character and history.
God, as understood by the personalist stream of the tradition and experience, is personal. So God too must have a character, sensitivities, an individual history, and a moral capacity. These, together, identify God as a distinct person. The purpose of theology is to get to know this holy person, God.
A substantial segment of the tradition, particularly the philosophical rationalist stream, teaches that no human language can be used of God, that all language about God is metaphoric or analogical. This claim has been strongly rejected, mostly on the grounds that Scripture and rabbinic literature does not use this abstract language. In its place the use of clearly anthropopathic language has been advocated.
The Attribute of Personality and Freud
The problem of describing God's personality and building a theology upon it is complicated by the important social-psychological fact that a large number of theologians and clergypersons have read Freud or, more importantly, have undergone some form of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Those of us who have been through this know from deep personal knowledge that our understanding of God, particularly the personal aspect of God's being, has been forcefully molded by our own personalities. We know that we have twisted God's personality to fit our own, and we are wise enough to recognize that others have done, and continue to do, so. This raises the question of whether, or to what degree, one can speak of God in a personalist mode. It evokes the problem of transference distortion, which requires a few words.
There is a difference between Freud's metapsychology and his methodology. Freud's metapsychology includes such powerful constructs as the Oedipal complex, ego-id-superego, and eros-thanatos. His methodology includes such potent analytic concepts as : transference, resistance, anxiety, countertransference, counterresistance, and counteranxiety. Considerable debate has gone into the relationship between these two areas of Freud's enterprise: Are the various metapsychologies consistent? Must the therapeutic field include all of them? Can one use the methodological concepts without the metapsychological constructs? 
I share the following opinion:
... In conducting therapy, well trained psychoanalysts of various metapsychologies continue to observe and define relatively similar processes and patterns of relatedness and communication ... disagreements [among psychoanalysts] do not arise, strictly, from differing structures of empirical and systematic inquiry. They arise, rather, from conflicting philosophies about life, about which there is still room to differ among rational men [sic].
I accept, then, the judgement that, practically, in the therapeutic situation, it is the analysis of phenomena using methodological concepts that is primary and that allows change while the metapsychological constructs provide supplementary, multi-dimensional structures of interpretive insight.
For theology, this has two implications: First, it is generally not useful to engage Freud on the level of his metapsychology. Theology has its own metasystem and it is not clear that Freud's metasystem is inherently any better, or worse, than that of traditional theology. Theologians need not claim Freud's metapsychology as their own; they need only probe their own metasystem utilizing all the modes of analysis available, including those of Freud. For this reason, it can be enlightening to apply Freud's metapsychology to certain religious narratives and rituals (e.g., the stories of the fall or the binding of Isaac, or the rituals of Kol Nidre or the Mass) because theologians learn something of the hidden dimensions of meaning in these acts. But this type of study does not lead very far and is, in any case, not a serious discussion of the basic insights of either metasystem.
Second, it is very useful to engage Freud on the level of his methodological constructs. Such an encounter forces us to confront the way we project our own parents into our understanding of God. Put differently, God's personality is portrayed by the tradition in its texts. Yet, we read God's personality through the screen of our understanding of our own parents. This is our individual transferential distortion of the personalist God of the tradition. The task here, then, is to identify and reduce our own personal distortions of the personalist God portrayed in the sacred texts. This process is very difficult -- indeed, it is impossible to separate completely our personal perceptions from our understanding of the tradition. But the task of identifying and reducing our transferential distortions is clear and it is useful because it yields a deeper personalist theology in which God can possess the most vibrant personality one can allow. It is also an ongoing process, not a one-time effort.
To the task of reducing individual transferential distortions must be added the ongoing task of reducing social-historical distortions, i.e., those which are embedded in the formation and transmission of the tradition, as well as the contemporary-communal distortions, i.e., those which shape the meanings which a given contemporary community will accept. The goal of doing an “objective” theology becomes impossible in light of these tasks; indeed, only local theologies can be articulated, and they must be formulated with as much dignity, honesty, and integrity as possible. The responsibility of the theologian committed to the personalist stream of religious understanding, then, is to try to articulate a relationship with, and understanding of, God with the realization that no completely objective personalist theology can be written and that any personalist theology must be formulated with the conscious recognition of, and reduction of, the transferential, as well as the historical and the communal, distortions each person brings to the theological enterprise.
Theology, then, is an exercise in intertextuality. Theology takes the texts of the tradition, as told and modified over the centuries, and reads them over against, and with, the texts of the life of the individual theologian, as that narrative takes shape under the influence of reflection and of the vicissitudes of life, always within the social and psychological contexts of the theologian. One's knowledge of life, community, and tradition become deeper and more nuanced with age, and vary from person to person. Life is a never-ending narrative; so is one's appreciation of the tradition. For this reason, the personality of God as disclosed by one thinker differs from that disclosed by another. Also, the God one comes to know as a teenager is not the same as the God one knows in mid-life.
The intertextual approach to theology cannot yield an absolute truth, valid for all. It can only lead to partial coherence. Furthermore, the intertextual approach can only lead to partial integration, for we are never whole, nor are we ever at one with the tradition, which is too varied to be fully absorbed in one person. Jewish theology is a theology of fragments, of brokenness. It is an incomplete knowledge, as indeed one's knowledge of oneself and of life is always incomplete. Fragmentedness does not, however, stop one from living, from acting, from enjoying, and from suffering. Nor does it stop one from worshiping, studying, wrestling with, and contemplating God.
Six Personalist Attributes of God
What, then, can a contemporary Jewish theology say about God's personality, given a prior commitment to the personalist understanding of the tradition and of human experience, and bearing in mind humankind's personal and communal distortions?
First, God must be fair. In American English, the word “just” is too strong, for it conjures up the stereotype of a God of law who punishes severely, except insofar as God's mercy overrules the strict requirement of the law. It conjures up, too, the person compulsively pursuing the letter of the law, ignoring the spirit thereof. The word “grace” is also too strong, for it evokes a God who has no standards of justice, who forgives all wrongdoing, thereby undermining God's own teaching of justice. “Fairness” has just the right connotation in American English. God must act fairly, appropriately punishing the wicked, including ourselves, and appropriately rewarding the faithful, including our enemies. “Loving justice” or “just compassion” are also ways to express God’s fairness.
In a theology that affirms God’s ongoing providence, God’s presence in all events, there is, however, the problem of acts of God which are not fair, which do not embody God’s just compassion: the suffering of the innocent and the just, natural and human disaster which strikes good and evil persons indiscriminately -- child abuse, infant death, debilitating pain, holocaust. This problem is not new and many answers, theodicies, have been proposed. The beginning of a “solution” to the problem of theodicy in personalist theology is to say that fairness implies dialogue; that there is a standard by which to judge and a means of accumulating credit and debit in all relations, even in our relationship with God and in God’s relationship with us. All humankind's acts are debatable; all God's judgements are arguable. Faithfulness, trust, and openness to dialogue are basic. Text, life, and moral dialogue are intertwined.
The texts in the tradition supporting God’s fairness and the implied dialogue between humanity and God are numerous: Abraham arguing with God over the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 18), Job's uncompromising defense of his innocence, Levi Yitzhak's defense of the sinners of Israel. All these texts teach that God is bound by fairness and, hence, is committed to moral dialogue. Not that there is some external force inherent in nature or being that compels God to be fair, for there is no force external to God in monotheistic thought; God, unlike God's creatures, is totally autonomous. Rather, morality is an integral part of all personality. Hence, it is integral to the being of God and, then, to God's creation.
Second, God addresses, and can be addressed by, humankind. Although God is totally autonomous, God can be influenced. God can be angered or pleased by what humans do. In the words of the medieval thinkers, God is passible. Ultimately, this means that God can be induced by human words and behavior to change God's mind, to reverse a decision, to alter a judgement. This insight is sometimes formulated as “the efficacy of prayer” or “original repentance.”
God can, and did, also address humankind, for creation, majestic and beautiful though it is, does not have the power of judgement. It is natural, morally neutral. Hence, there is no “natural moral law.” For guidance, God addressed humankind, and God's presence continues to draw humanity onto the path God wishes. Furthermore, God's guidance causes humans anguish, joy, guilt, and satisfaction. Human beings, too, are passible.
This com-munication, this mutual addressing of one another, is central to the dialogic nature of creation-revelation-piety. It constitutes the interrelatedness of humankind and God. It is the ground of the intertextuality of divine and human existence.
Third, God is powerful but not perfect. God makes mistakes and admits it, as after the flood of Noah (Gen. 8:21-2). God lets Godself be seduced by Satan, as in the prologue of Job. God is unnecessarily short-tempered with the Jewish people, as Moses reminds God (Ex. 32:7-14; Nu. 14:11-20). And, God repents (Gen. 6:6; Ex. 32:14; I Sam. 15:11,35; II Sam. 24:16). Some argue that all such incidents are just acting, that they are a testing of humankind, but that does not seem to be the simpler meaning of the texts. Zoharic and Lurianic mysticism, too, seem to have left room for God's imperfection.
God, however, does have power. God's power is absolute, but God cannot use it absolutely. For, having created a being also capable of moral judgement, God must limit God's own power so as to empower the being God created. Humankind, too thus, has power, though not as much as God. Power is dialectical. It is the intertextuality of God's and humankind's expectations.
Fourth, God is loving. There are many ways to love. There is erotic love -- passionate, searing, erratic. There is virtuous love -- ongoing, nurturing, morally rooted. There is parental love -- protective, demanding, guiding even in its anger.
Sometimes love is unilateral; sometimes it is dialogic. Sometimes love is sacrificial; sometimes it is commanding, imperial. Sometimes love is open, articulated clearly; sometimes it is hidden, veiled.
Love is a breast -- warm, comforting. Love is smooth ivory -- alive, vibrant. A pounding heart -- breathless, terrified. A glance deep into another's eyes, into being beyond existence. The innocent embrace of a child. The gratitude of an elderly person not forgotten.
Love is the affirmation of the other, given and received in wholeness. And forgiveness. Love is the presence of moral truth and goodness.
Love is also the commitment to lead a life dedicated to truth and goodness. It is the stubborn perseverence on the way, no matter what the obstacle, the temptation, the sin.
Love is not smooth. It wrenches, it drags one along, it demands. And love frustrates; it causes deep anger. How does one love one’s parent without superimposing that image on the child? How does one love one’s child who rebels forcefully? How does one love the dying other?
Love is exclusive, dedicated to special persons in special ways. And love is inclusive, reaching from one to an‑other, seeking to embrace the stranger.
Love does not tolerate injustice; it impels one to action. Love forces one from security and lethargy into the world of the impersonal and evil. Love demands confrontation, risk, and danger; not foolhardiness but courage.
Because it is many and varied, love is contradictory. Love is not monolithic. It cannot be rationalized into a coherent whole, into a system or a single theology. Love is much more complex than its metaphors.
God loves all humanity, and individual human beings, in all these ways -- as human beings love others and seek to be loved, in all these ways. Life moves; love leads, and follows. Human beings touch the text of God's love and of human love. We enter it. We read it and ponder it. And it touches us, permeates us, puzzles and pains us, gives us life and demands death. Love, in all its complexity, makes us blossom and become that which we are destined to be. Even unilateral love is intertextual.
Fifth, God gets angry. There is anger which is righteous indignation in the face of moral iniquity. This is God's anger spoken by the prophets and the prophets' anger spoken on behalf of God; an interface, an intertext. “Woe unto the pinnacle of the crown of the drunkards of Ephraim!” (Is. 28:1). “Shall one steal, kill, fornicate, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and follow other gods whom you do not even know; and then come and stand before Me, in this house upon which My name is called, and say ‘We are saved,’ only to go and do again those abominations?!” (Jer. 7:9-10). “You, are the man!” (II Sam. 12:7).
The anger of righteous indignation is rooted in covenant and, because covenant is rooted in mutuality, when human beings feel righteous indignation toward God, they speak it to God, for the sake of the covenant. “Why do You ignore my soul, Lord? Why do You hide Your face from me? You have alienated lover and friend from me, my acquaintances are darkness” (Ps. 88:15,19). “Have we forgotten the name of our God? Have we spread our hands in prayer to a foreign deity? God may probe this, for God knows the hidden things of the heart. In truth, we have been killed all day long because of You; we have been treated as sheep led to the slaughter. Awake! Why do You sleep, Lord?!” (Ps. 44:21-4). “Why do You forget us forever? Why do You desert us for days without end?” (Lam. 5:20). If there is a post-holocaust Jewish theology, it is this theology of anger and protest, of righteous indignation, rooted in the intertext of the covenant, in mutual expectations and obligations.
There is, however, also an anger which flows from bitterness, which springs from deep frustration and wells up from the recesses of the subconscious. God creates humankind and humanity turns rotten, “the instincts of the heart of humanity being evil from its earliest days” (Gen. 8:21). God brings the Jewish people out of Egypt with signs and wonders, and they rebel, building themselves a golden calf, murmuring against God and Moses, challenging Aaron, refusing the assault on the land and then leading one against God's wishes. Moses knows they will sin again. And, later, they ask for a king -- not realizing that they already have a King. Neither the rod of Babylon nor the scourge of Rome teach the lessons. God gets angry at God's stiff-necked people and punishes them.
The people do not understand. Their anger, too, springs from bitterness, from frustration, from the depths of the unconscious. They ask God's vengeance upon their enemies. “Pour out Your wrath against the nations who have not acknowledged You” (Ps. 79:6). “Happy is he who will grab your children and smash them on the rocks, Oh Babylon” (Ps. 137:9). Many, many rabbinic responsa from the holocaust end with the angry imprecation, “May God avenge the blood of the innocent.”
There is nothing wrong with these kinds of anger. If one loves passionately, zealously, one expects great things. God loves humanity and humanity loves God. The anger of righteous indignation has its place. So does the anger of bitterness and vengeance.
There is, however, a particularly human kind of anger which does not apply to God. Human beings sometimes displace their anger, that is, they express anger at one person when they are really angry at something or someone else entirely. Tension in one's work can sometimes spill over into anger against one's children or spouse; or tension in a marriage can spill over into one's workplace. This displaced anger, while natural to human beings, is not known to God. The texts do not speak of it and the unfairness of it mitigates against it being a part of the personality of God.
Sixth, God chooses; God is partisan. No one likes to hear this, but God chooses and, having chosen, God jealously guards that which is God's; and God demands loyalty from those whom God chooses.
God chose to create the world. It is God's possession; it belongs to God. For exactly that reason, no one may abuse it or lay absolute claim to it.
God chose the Jewish people. They too, in their flesh, are God's possession; they belong to God. For exactly that reason, no one may abuse them or lay claim to absolute authority over them.
God chose the holy land. God resides in it. God's people reside in it. The holy land, in its mountains and valleys, in its rocks and trees, is God's possession; it belongs to God and to God's people. For exactly that reason, no one may abuse the land or the people's right to it. The people must respect God's land because the land is theirs, from God.
The election of the Jews was always a scandal, an incomprehensible thought. How could a universal God elect one people from among the myriads of creation? Non-Jews never understood and they have hated Jews because of the claim, especially Christians and Moslems who trace their own chosenness to the same God. Jews have differed in their reactions. Some have rejoiced in their specialness; others, particularly modern Jews, have been embarrassed by it. But, if God has personality, of course God has preferences. All persons have preferences for certain other people. Personality means having a character and a history, and character and history mean having preferences, being partial, partisan. One need not always act on one's preferences. And, one must always carefully consider one's preferences and the consequences of acting on them. But preference is core to personality. Therefore, the scandal of particularity is core to theology.
There is no real reason for one's preferences. It is chemistry, history, the template of the face, a look in the eye. It is biological, corporeal; it may be spiritual. It is blood. In real life, preference is balanced by culture, reason, and religion -- it may not be used to justify a misuse of power -- but preference itself is real, unreasoned.
To be partisan is to be loyal and to demand loyalty. It is to accept the election and to remain faithful to the elector. It is to acknowledge that the one who chooses has a right to demand fidelity. Choosing creates a bond. Among humans, partiality is almost absolute; in God, preference is inalienable. Among humans, a marriage can end in divorce; not so, God's marriage to humanity, in general and, more specifically, to the Jews. The Jews are God's bride, God's children, God's bloodline. There is no escape, either for God or for the Jewish people. God does, and must, guard the Jews and the Jews do, and must, remain loyal to God.
One may challenge certain acts of loyalty or protection; indeed, the blessing of moral judgement obligates one to this. One may question specific demands of the covenant; indeed, the blessing of mind obligates one to this. Revelation and creation empower, and make it one's duty, to question, to challenge, and to disagree. One may even disown a demand or disclaim an act, but never the bond. Election and covenant demand faithfulness, even as the specifics are debatable.
The joy of chosenness is the knowledge that one is special. It is the joy of the firstborn, the comfort of knowing one is elected, forever, absolutely. The pain of chosenness is the sureness of being hated by everyone else, the certainty of persecution at the hands of others independent of one's behavior toward them. Nothing I can do will change my status; this is joy and burden.
A suckling infant stares at its mother's face; a senile person follows a face as it moves through the field of vision. Face is the first thing we see; it is also the last act of full recognition that we experience. Face is the basic template of personhood. Face is presence, and presence is face.
The Face of God is God's Presence; God's Presence is present in God's Face -- which is why Face, and only Face, is capitalized.
We seek the Face of God, we look for it, we search for it, we long for it: “As a deer yearns for a stream of water, so my inner being yearns for You, God. My innermost self thirsts for the living God; when shall I come and see / be seen by Your Face" (Ps. 42:2-3).
We study God's Face, we look at it, we ponder it, we question it: “Study the Lord and the Lord’s mightiness; seek God’s Face in all times and places" (Ps. 105:4). What kind of Face does God have? What does it communicate? What do we read when we read God's Face, God’s Facial expression?
We rejoice to see God's Face; it is a light for us, it shines upon us and we are jubilant: “May the Lord cause the Lord’s Face to shine upon you, and may God be gracious unto you" (Nu. 6:25).
We also fear God's Face, we flee God: “Where can I go away from Your spirit and where can I flee from Your Face" (Ps. 139:7). We hide our face from God: “Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look upon God" (Ex. 3:6). Jonah.
God hides God’s Face from us and we are left existentially alone, isolated, without Presence. This undermines our presence, our orientedness; it constricts our face: “You hid Your Face; I was terrified" (Ps. 30:8; 104:29). And we yearn even more deeply to see God's Face again, to be seen by God's Face again, to return to God’s Presence: “My heart echoed You saying, ‘Seek My Face’; I do seek Your Face, Lord” (Ps. 27:8).
A face, God's Face, has many facets: anger, joy, shame, pain, light, severity, humor, doubt, kindness, waiting, expectation. There are as many facets to F/face as there are modes of relatedness.
F/face has ten special expressions: inexpressibility, wisdom, understanding, grace, power, judgement, timelessness, beauty, fundamentality, and majesty (Zohar).
F/face is the meeting point of the inner self and the outer world. F/face is the welling-forth of inexpressibility and inner depths into the stream of manifest consciousness. It is the majestic portal of expression of, and access to, grace, power, judgement, and beyond. F/face is the veil which renders the invisible visible. It is the gateway to the S/soul, the allusion to P/presence (Zohar).
But, what does one say when the F/face is cold, angry, forbidding? Where does one look when one is too intimidated to look upon the F/face?
‘God, Full of Compassion’
‘God, full of compassion’ --
Were it not for the God, full of compassion,
there would be compassion in the world, and not just in Him.
I, who picked flowers on the mountain
and gazed into all the valleys,
I, who carried corpses from the hills,
know and tell that the world is empty of compassion.
I, who was the king of salt by the side of the sea,
who stood without decision by my window,
who counted the steps of the angels,
whose heart lifted weights of pain
in terrible competitions,
I, who use only a small portion
of the words in the dictionary
I, who am compelled against my will to solve riddles,
know that, were it not for the ‘God, full of compassion,’
there would be compassion in the world,
and not just in Him.
 This first appeared as Chapter 2 in Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest (Westminster / John Knox, Louisville, KY: 1993).
 I have chosen “personality” and not “personhood” because the latter sounds more abstract while the former, because of its connections with psychology, evokes the actual structures of human existence.
 Cf., e.g., A. J. Heschel, The Prophets (San Francisco, Harper and Row: 1962) vol. II; M. Kadushin, The Rabbinic Mind (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary: 1952) 194-324; D. Blumenthal, review of D. Klemm, Hermeneutical Inquiry and R. Chopp, The Praxis of Suffering in Religious Studies Review 15 (1989) 122-5; A. Green, “Rethinking Theology: Language, Experience, and Reality,” The Reconstructionist (Sept. 1988) 8-13; and idem., Seek My Face, Speak My Name (Northvale, NJ, Jason Aronson: 1992) -- reviewed by me in Modern Theology xxxxxxxxxx -- 25-7.
 Cf. B. Wolstein, Theory of Psychoanalytic Therapy (New York, Grune and Stratton: 1967).
 Wolstein, 29, 41.
 Cf. e.g., T. Reik, Ritual: Four Psychoanalytic Studies (New York, Grove Press: 1946); idem., Mystery on the Mountain (New York, Harper and Row: 1959); and C. Jung, Answer to Job (Princeton, Princeton University Press: 1958).
 Cf. the work of Gadamer and particularly that of the feminist interpreters (e.g., P. Trible, M. Bal) who have shown clearly that the tradition itself is subject to the cultural distortions of its creators, editors, and transmittors.
 Three examples: Contemporary scholarship shows clearly the Christian reading of Jewish sources, and vice versa; it shows the occidental bias in reading texts; and it is almost exclusively formulated in the Enlightenment mode, which is not recognized as valid by serious fundamentalist or spiritualist interpreters. One’s reading community is highly determinative of what one will accept as readable.
 Personalist theology and human psychology remain wary of rigid hierarchies; personality is too flexible, in theory and practice, for such understandings. Hence, these six attributes of God are arranged in no particular hierarchic order.
 On Levi Yitzhak, cf. S. Dresner, The World of a Hasidic Master (New York, Shapolsky: 1986) and D. Blumenthal, God at the Center (San Francisco, Harper and Row: 1988). On the tradition of moral dialogue with God, cf. Anson Laytner, Arguing With God: A Jewish Tradition (Northvale, NJ, Jason Aronson, Inc.: 1990), reviewed by me in Modern Judaism 12:1 (Feb. 1992) 105-10.
 Cf. D. Blumenthal, Understanding Jewish Mysticism, vol. 1 (New York, Ktav Publishing: 1978) 101-184. For other passages, cf. below, yyyy, “The Abusing God,” at n. 34.
 There is a general covenant with all humanity, through Adam and Noah, and a specific covenant with the Jewish people, through Sinai. Both are the ground for the appeal to God’s fairness.
 Cf. D. Blumenthal, The Place of Faith and Grace in Judaism (Austin, Texas, The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies: 1985) and idem., “Mercy,” Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought, ed. A. Cohen and P. Mendes-Flohr (New York, Scribners: 1987) 589-95. Cf. also E. Wiesel, The Trial of God (New York, Schocken Books: 1979) and A. Laytner, Arguing With God , 196ff. For a fuller discussion, cf. below, yyyy.
 Cf. H. Fisch, Poetry with a Purpose: Biblical Poetics and Interpretation (Bloomington, Indiana University Press: 1988 / 1990) -- reviewed by me in Midstream (August-September 1992) 41-3 -- 140-2, that God wrestles with God’s anger against Israel as it is undermined by God’s love.
 This is the basis for the argument in the Book of Job. I disagree with Jung (op. cit. ) on this, though it is possible, indeed probable that, in a personalist-image theology, God’s personality includes a sub-conscious.
 Cf. M. Wyschogrod, The Body of Faith: Judaism as Corporeal Election (New York, Seabury: 1983), reviewed by me in Association for Jewish Studies Review, 11:116-21; and D. Hartman, A Living Covenant (New York, Free Press: 1985), reviewed by me ibid., 12:298-305. One can even read the book of Genesis as an essay in chosenness and rejection.
 Cf. also Green, Seek My Face, 28-37.
 A poem by the Israeli poet, Yehuda Amihai, taken from his collection, Shirim, 1948-62 (Jerusalem, Schocken Books: 1976) 69-70, my translation. The title and initial words are drawn from the liturgy for the dead and the second line involves a play on words that cannot be captured in English.