Passover

Jessie E. Sampter - 1883-1938

It’s a far, far road from Egypt
     To our own, our happy land,
From the pyramids of Egypt
     Built beneath the tyrant’s hand;
Its road so strange and marvelous
     That few can understand.

See, the Lord had passed us over
     For his sign upon our gate!
He has spared the crushed and driven,
     He has judged the proud and great.
When the hosts of Israel rise to go
     He makes the crooked straight.

It’s a far, far road to Zion
     For the slave afraid to flee;
He must pass through flood and desert,
     Yet his land he shall not see.
But the man that knows the sign of God
     On Pesach eve is free.

More by Jessie E. Sampter

Judah Maccabee

Judah Maccabee,
Give a sword to me
     Now, in youth!
By the candle’s light
Kindled here to-night,
Do I vow to fight
     For the truth.

Still the Greeks are here,
Still we yield in fear,
Cringe and cower.
Judah Maccabee,
Make my people free
That their eyes may see
      Israel’s power!

The Jewish Year

Our year begins with burnished leaves,
     That flame in frost and rime,
With purple grapes and golden sheaves
     In harvest time.

Our year begins with biting cold,
     With winds and storms and rain;
The new year of the Jew grows old
     In strife and pain.

When others say the year has died,
     We say the year is new,
And we arise with power and pride
     To prove it true.

For we begin where others end,
     And fight where others yield;
And all the year we work and tend
     Our harvest field.

And after days of stormy rain
     And days of drought and heat,
When those that toiled have reaped their grain,
     And all’s complete.

Oh then, when God has kept his word,
     In peace we end our year.
Our fruit is certain from the Lord.
     We shall not fear.

The Book

We are the People of the Book,
     The written page is our salvation;
This only from the wreck we took
     When conquerors crushed our nation.

The Holy Book has been our land,
     Our seed, our sowing and our reaping.
How can the stranger understand
     What treasure we are keeping!

In shame and poverty we read
     The precious page of revelation,
And water with our tears the seed
     That recreates our nation.