Rabbis Down Under: Exploring Australian Values Through a Jewish Lens


For over 230 years, Jews have participated in Australian life, finding a place of opportunity and possibility, with Australian values complementing Jewish life. But what might have the rabbis of the Talmud and Midrash thought of Australian values? Jewish tradition and perspective can offer insights to better understand key aspects of the multifaceted tapestry of Australian identity and culture.
Note: This is a partial list of Australian values and to simplify (or perhaps to complicate) matters, related values are grouped together in clusters.

Common Australian Values

  • Mateship and Larrikinism - The bonds forged between Australians and the good nature needed for people to get along.
  • Egalitarianism and "Fair Go" - A commitment to fairness and equality.
  • The Colonial Legacy and Multiculturalism - Confronting an uncomfortable past in order to embrace a better future.
  • Additional Values: Embrace of Nature and Sporting Pride - Not assessed here.

Mateship and Larrikinism

Jewish tradition contains many precepts and accounts of friendship, loyalty, mutual support, and a sense of bonding in community. Example text: Psalm 133 below (adapted from Robert Alter's translation) with its now famous declaration of the goodness of people getting on with one another (הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים גם יחד). Larrikinism seems to be a related value which involves a sense of playfulness, mischievousness, and perhaps a bit of self-deprecating humor. These are features that seem to arise out of a mateship situation. And in terms of Judaism, the value of larrikinism could possibly represent a healthy balance between that different extremes, a position praised by Maimonides (see below). And mateship is valued in the extreme in the account of Choni Hameagel who grew terribly distraught upon realising he had no peers with whom he could study Torah (see below).
(א) שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲל֗וֹת לְדָ֫וִ֥ד הִנֵּ֣ה מַה־טּ֭וֹב וּמַה־נָּעִ֑ים שֶׁ֖בֶת אַחִ֣ים גַּם־יָֽחַד׃
(ב) כַּשֶּׁ֤מֶן הַטּ֨וֹב ׀ עַל־הָרֹ֗אשׁ יֹרֵ֗ד עַֽל־הַזָּקָ֥ן זְקַֽן־אַהֲרֹ֑ן שֶׁ֝יֹּרֵ֗ד עַל־פִּ֥י מִדּוֹתָֽיו׃
(ג) כְּטַל־חֶרְמ֗וֹן שֶׁיֹּרֵד֮ עַל־הַרְרֵ֢י צִ֫יּ֥וֹן כִּ֤י שָׁ֨ם ׀ צִוָּ֣ה יהוה אֶת־הַבְּרָכָ֑ה חַ֝יִּ֗ים עַד־הָעוֹלָֽם׃ {פ}
1) A song of ascents for David.
Look, how good and how pleasant
is the dwelling of brothers together.
2) Like goodly oil on the head
coming down over the beard,
Aaron’s beard that comes down
over the opening of his robe.
3) Like Hermon’s dew that comes down
on Zion's mountains.
For there the LORD ordained the
life forevermore.
(ד) הַדֶּרֶךְ הַיְשָׁרָה הִיא מִדָּה בֵּינוֹנִית שֶׁבְּכָל דֵּעָה וְדֵעָה מִכָּל הַדֵּעוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לָאָדָם. וְהִיא הַדֵּעָה שֶׁהִיא רְחוֹקָה מִשְּׁתֵּי הַקְּצָווֹת רִחוּק שָׁוֶה וְאֵינָהּ קְרוֹבָה לֹא לָזוֹ וְלֹא לָזוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁיְּהֵא אָדָם שָׁם דֵּעוֹתָיו תָּמִיד וּמְשַׁעֵר אוֹתָם וּמְכַוִּן אוֹתָם בַּדֶּרֶךְ הָאֶמְצָעִית כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ. כֵּיצַד. לֹא יְהֵא בַּעַל חֵמָה נוֹחַ לִכְעֹס וְלֹא כְּמֵת שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַרְגִּישׁ אֶלָּא בֵּינוֹנִי. לֹא יִכְעֹס אֶלָּא עַל דָּבָר גָּדוֹל שֶׁרָאוּי לִכְעֹס עָלָיו כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵעָשֶׂה כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת. וְכֵן לֹא יִתְאַוֶּה אֶלָּא לִדְבָרִים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶן וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת בְּזוּלָתָן כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי יג כה) "צַדִּיק אֹכֵל לְשֹׂבַע נַפְשׁוֹ". וְכֵן לֹא יִהְיֶה עָמֵל בְּעִסְקוֹ אֶלָּא לְהַשִּׂיג דָּבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לוֹ לְחַיֵּי שָׁעָה כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים לז טז) "טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק". וְלֹא יִקְפֹּץ יָדוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר. וְלֹא יְפַזֵּר מָמוֹנוֹ אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן צְדָקָה כְּפִי מִסַּת יָדוֹ וּמַלְוֶה כָּרָאוּי לְמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ. וְלֹא יְהֵא מְהוֹלֵל וְשׂוֹחֵק וְלֹא עָצֵב וְאוֹנֵן אֶלָּא שָׂמֵחַ כָּל יָמָיו בְּנַחַת בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. וְכֵן שְׁאָר דֵּעוֹתָיו. וְדֶרֶךְ זוֹ הִיא דֶּרֶךְ הַחֲכָמִים. כָּל אָדָם שֶׁדֵּעוֹתָיו דֵּעוֹת (בֵּינוֹנִית) [בֵּינוֹנִיּוֹת] מְמֻצָּעוֹת נִקְרָא חָכָם:
(4) The straight path: This [involves discovering] the midpoint temperament of each and every trait that man possesses [within his personality.] This refers to the trait which is equidistant from either of the extremes, without being close to either of them. Therefore, the early Sages instructed a man to evaluate his traits, to calculate them and to direct them along the middle path, so that he will be sound {of body}. For example: he should not be wrathful, easily angered; nor be like the dead, without feeling, rather he should [adopt] an intermediate course; i.e., he should display anger only when the matter is serious enough to warrant it, in order to prevent the matter from recurring. Similarly, he should not desire anything other than that which the body needs and cannot exist without, as [Proverbs 13:25] states: "The righteous man eats to satisfy his soul." Also, he shall not labor in his business except to gain what he needs for immediate use, as [Psalms 37:16] states: "A little is good for the righteous man." He should not be overly stingy nor spread his money about, but he should give charity according to his capacity and lend to the needy as is fitting. He should not be overly elated and laugh [excessively], nor be sad and depressed in spirit. Rather, he should be quietly happy at all times, with a friendly countenance. The same applies with regard to his other traits. This path is the path of the wise. Every man whose traits are intermediate and equally balanced can be called a "wise man."
אֲזַל לְבֵיתֵיהּ אֲמַר לְהוּ: בְּרֵיהּ דְּחוֹנִי הַמְעַגֵּל מִי קַיָּים? אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ: בְּרֵיהּ לֵיתֵאּ, בַּר בְּרֵיהּ אִיתֵאּ. אֲמַר לְהוּ: אֲנָא חוֹנִי הַמְעַגֵּל. לָא הֵימְנוּהוּ. אֲזַל לְבֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ, שַׁמְעִינְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן דְּקָאָמְרִי: נְהִירָן שְׁמַעְתָּתִין כְּבִשְׁנֵי חוֹנִי הַמְעַגֵּל, דְּכִי הָוֵי עָיֵיל לְבֵית מִדְרְשָׁא — כֹּל קוּשְׁיָא דַּהֲווֹ לְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן הֲוָה מְפָרֵק לְהוּ. אָמַר לְהוּ: אֲנָא נִיהוּ, וְלָא הֵימְנוּהוּ, וְלָא עָבְדִי לֵיהּ יְקָרָא כִּדְמִבְּעֵי לֵיהּ. חֲלַשׁ דַּעְתֵּיהּ, בְּעָא רַחֲמֵי, וּמִית. אָמַר רָבָא: הַיְינוּ דְּאָמְרִי אִינָשֵׁי: אוֹ חַבְרוּתָא אוֹ מִיתוּתָא.
Ḥoni went home and said to the members of the household: Is the son of Ḥoni HaMe’aggel alive? They said to him: His son is no longer with us, but his son’s son is alive. He said to them: I am Ḥoni HaMe’aggel. They did not believe him. He went to the study hall, where he heard the Sages say about one scholar: His halakhot are as enlightening and as clear as in the years of Ḥoni HaMe’aggel, for when Ḥoni HaMe’aggel would enter the study hall he would resolve for the Sages any difficulty they had. Ḥoni said to them: I am he, but they did not believe him and did not pay him proper respect. Ḥoni became very upset, prayed for mercy, and died. Rava said: This explains the folk saying that people say: Either friendship or death, as one who has no friends is better off dead.

Egalitarianism and "Fair Go"

Jewish tradition has a complex and often uneasy relationship with the value of egalitarianism. There are clear hierarchies relating to personal status, priestly status, inheritance rights, etc., but there are moments in the Jewish tradition where the value is considered. Sometimes the tradition appears to oppose it (e.g., Korach's munity - at least according to some interpretations of that episode) and sometimes it promotes it (e.g., Shmuel's opposition to the appointment of a king). Support for this value is implicit, indirect, or even contested, but it is there. Also noteworthy is the effort in some later sources to try to rehabilitate Korach's position a trend that could be understood as a willingness to uphold Korach's view of egalitarianism.
(א) וַיִּקַּ֣ח קֹ֔רַח בֶּן־יִצְהָ֥ר בֶּן־קְהָ֖ת בֶּן־לֵוִ֑י וְדָתָ֨ן וַאֲבִירָ֜ם בְּנֵ֧י אֱלִיאָ֛ב וְא֥וֹן בֶּן־פֶּ֖לֶת בְּנֵ֥י רְאוּבֵֽן׃ (ב) וַיָּקֻ֙מוּ֙ לִפְנֵ֣י מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַאֲנָשִׁ֥ים מִבְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים וּמָאתָ֑יִם נְשִׂיאֵ֥י עֵדָ֛ה קְרִאֵ֥י מוֹעֵ֖ד אַנְשֵׁי־שֵֽׁם׃ (ג) וַיִּֽקָּהֲל֞וּ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְעַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֗ן וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵהֶם֮ רַב־לָכֶם֒ כִּ֤י כׇל־הָֽעֵדָה֙ כֻּלָּ֣ם קְדֹשִׁ֔ים וּבְתוֹכָ֖ם יְהֹוָ֑ה וּמַדּ֥וּעַ תִּֽתְנַשְּׂא֖וּ עַל־קְהַ֥ל יְהֹוָֽה׃ (ד) וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיִּפֹּ֖ל עַל־פָּנָֽיו׃
(1) Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben — (2) to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites, chieftains of the community, chosen in the assembly, men of repute. (3) They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and יהוה is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above יהוה’s congregation?” (4) When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.
... מִיָּד הִתְחִילוּ שׂוֹנְאֵי משֶׁה לְהִתְגָּרוֹת בּוֹ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמְרוּ משֶׁה מֶלֶךְ, וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיו כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל, וּבָנָיו סְגָנֵי כְּהֻנָּה, תְּרוּמָה לַכֹּהֵן, מַעֲשֵׂר לַכֹּהֵן, עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע מַתָּנוֹת לַכֹּהֵן, מִיָּד (במדבר טז, ג): וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל משֶׁה, מִיָּד (במדבר טז, ג): וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם. אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה כִּנֵּס קֹרַח עֲדָתוֹ, וְאָמַר לָהֶם הִרְבֵּיתֶם עָלֵינוּ מַשֹּׂוֹי יוֹתֵר מִשִּׁעְבּוּד מִצְרַיִם, טוֹב לָנוּ תַּחַת מִצְרַיִם מִתַּחַת יֶדְכֶם, וּבִקְּשׁוּ לְסָקְלוֹ, לְפִיכָךְ (במדבר טז, ד): וַיִּשְׁמַע משֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל עַל פָּנָיו, אָמַר לָהֶם משֶׁה לֹא לִמְלוּכָה אֲנִי מְבַקֵּשׁ וְלֹא לְאַהֲרֹן אָחִי כְּהֻנָּה גְדוֹלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טז, יא): וְאַהֲרֹן מַה הוּא כִּי תַלִּינוּ עָלָיו. אָמַר משֶׁה רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם לֹא כָּךְ צִוִּיתָנִי (שמות כח, א): וְאַתָּה הַקְרֵב אֵלֶיךָ אֶת אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאֶת בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ, וַהֲרֵי עוֹמְדִים כְּנֶגְדֵנוּ לְהָרְגֵנוּ...
... The enemies of Moses immediately began to incite Israel against him. So they said, “Moses is king, his brother Aaron is high priest, and his children are deputy high priests! The priest has a priestly offering (terumah) from the tithe; the priest has twenty-four priestly gifts!” Immediately (in Numb. 16:3) “They gathered together against Moses and against Aaron, and they said unto them, [‘You have gone too far (rb)’.]” R. Levi said, “At that very time Korah gathered his company and said to them (i.e., to Moses and Aaron), ‘You have increased (rt.: rbh) the burden upon us to be more than the slavery of Egypt. We were better off under the Egyptians than under your authority. Now they wished to stone him. [Therefore] (according to vs. 4), “When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.” Moses said to them, “I do not desire kingship, nor does Aaron [desire] high priesthood. Thus it is stated (in vs. 11), “and as for Aaron, what is he that you should murmur against him?” Moses said to the Holy One, blessed be He, “Master of the world, did you not command me thus (in Exod. 28:1), ‘And you shall bring near unto yourself Aaron [… to serve Me as priests]?’ Now they have arisen against us to kill us.” ....
(א) וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר זָקֵ֖ן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־בָּנָ֛יו שֹׁפְטִ֖ים לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ ... (ג) וְלֹֽא־הָלְכ֤וּ בָנָיו֙ בִּדְרָכָ֔ו וַיִּטּ֖וּ אַחֲרֵ֣י הַבָּ֑צַע וַיִּ֨קְחוּ־שֹׁ֔חַד וַיַּטּ֖וּ מִשְׁפָּֽט׃ {פ} (ד) וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ כֹּ֖ל זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל הָרָמָֽתָה׃ (ה) וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו הִנֵּה֙ אַתָּ֣ה זָקַ֔נְתָּ וּבָנֶ֕יךָ לֹ֥א הָלְכ֖וּ בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ עַתָּ֗ה שִֽׂימָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֛לֶךְ לְשׇׁפְטֵ֖נוּ כְּכׇל־הַגּוֹיִֽם׃ ... (יא) וַיֹּ֕אמֶר זֶ֗ה יִֽהְיֶה֙ מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִמְלֹ֖ךְ עֲלֵיכֶ֑ם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֣ם יִקָּ֗ח וְשָׂ֥ם לוֹ֙ בְּמֶרְכַּבְתּ֣וֹ וּבְפָרָשָׁ֔יו וְרָצ֖וּ לִפְנֵ֥י מֶרְכַּבְתּֽוֹ׃ ... (יג) וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם יִקָּ֑ח לְרַקָּח֥וֹת וּלְטַבָּח֖וֹת וּלְאֹפֽוֹת׃ (יד) וְאֶת־שְׂ֠דֽוֹתֵיכֶ֠ם וְאֶת־כַּרְמֵיכֶ֧ם וְזֵיתֵיכֶ֛ם הַטּוֹבִ֖ים יִקָּ֑ח וְנָתַ֖ן לַעֲבָדָֽיו׃ ... (יז) צֹאנְכֶ֖ם יַעְשֹׂ֑ר וְאַתֶּ֖ם תִּֽהְיוּ־ל֥וֹ לַעֲבָדִֽים׃ (יח) וּזְעַקְתֶּם֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא מִלִּפְנֵ֣י מַלְכְּכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּחַרְתֶּ֖ם לָכֶ֑ם וְלֹא־יַעֲנֶ֧ה יהוה אֶתְכֶ֖ם בַּיּ֥וֹם הַהֽוּא׃ (יט) וַיְמָאֲנ֣וּ הָעָ֔ם לִשְׁמֹ֖עַ בְּק֣וֹל שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ לֹּ֔א כִּ֥י אִם־מֶ֖לֶךְ יִֽהְיֶ֥ה עָלֵֽינוּ׃ (כ) וְהָיִ֥ינוּ גַם־אֲנַ֖חְנוּ כְּכׇל־הַגּוֹיִ֑ם וּשְׁפָטָ֤נוּ מַלְכֵּ֙נוּ֙ וְיָצָ֣א לְפָנֵ֔ינוּ וְנִלְחַ֖ם אֶת־מִלְחֲמֹתֵֽנוּ׃
(1) When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons judges over Israel.... (3) But his sons did not follow in his ways; they were bent on gain, they accepted bribes, and they subverted justice. (4) All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah, (5) and they said to him, “You have grown old, and your sons have not followed your ways. Therefore appoint a king for us, to govern us like all other nations....” (11) He said, “This will be the practice of the king who will rule over you: He will take your sons and appoint them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will serve as outrunners for his chariots.... (13) He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers. (14) He will seize your choice fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers.... (17) He will take a tenth part of your flocks, and you shall become his slaves. (18) The day will come when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and the LORD will not answer you on that day.” (19) But the people would not listen to Samuel’s warning. “No,” they said. “We must have a king over us, (20) that we may be like all the other nations: Let our king rule over us and go out at our head and fight our battles.”

The Colonial Legacy and Multiculturalism

The reckoning of the Australian colonial legacy is perhaps best signified as the journey from the use of the Terra Nullius doctrine by the British in the 18th century to the establishment of National Sorry Day in the 2000s. Associated with this journey is the gradual embrace of multiculturalism inplace for the earlier "White Australia" policy.
Australians have struggled with accounts of its history, from the convict past, the manner of British settlement, and the policies of successive governments in charting national development and its mark on Australian Aboriginals. For example, Terra Nullius ("nobody's land") was a legal doctrine understood in the Australian context as having provided justification for the British to settle the land (first arriving Botany Bay, Sydney in 1770) without the need to pursue a treaty with the local inhabitants (i.e., the Aboriginal peoples in New South Wales). The doctrine was famously overturned in the 1992 Mabo decision. Jewish sources (e.g., Tanakh) contain different portraits of uninhabited land (ארץ לא־איש / ארץ גזרה / ארץ לא תשב) which may cause us to consider different ways to think of the concept in the Australian setting. Uninhabited land in Tanakh appear as:
  • A) Remote places where no people live (see Lev. 16:22; Jer. 17:5-6).
  • B) Formerly inhabited places that have been destroyed (see Jer. 6:8).
  • C) Natural sites unspoiled by human contact (see Job 38:25-27).
Translations below are from Robert Alter's (2018) The Hebrew Bible. Reflecting on the different terms in their contexts in Tanakh, the apparent divergance in the descriptions of uninhabited point to an unstable concept. In the context of the Azazel ritual, the harsh climate of the desert is described as 'nobody's land' in the sense that human habitation is not possible. And such a place invites only death. Whereas a formerly inhabited place (such as Jerusalem after the destruction) is marked as temporarily uninhabited, with the hope that the People of Israel will one day return. These two references seem to bear little similarity to the concept of Terra Nullius in colonial Australia, which is more aligned with the description found in Job. However, even in Job, the view is of the process by which uninhabitable places eventually become inhabitable (e.g., through rain and the growth of vegetation). It is not immediately clear if the People of Israel during the time of the Tanakh would have recognised the logic of the Terra Nullius doctrine.
With regards to immigration, a key strategy for the development of Australia as a nation. Increased migration soon shifts the cultural landscape, and Australian society gradually moved towards greater acceptance of diversity and the fusion of cultural expressions (e.g., music, language, food). Here, one may speculate on possible rabbinic perspectives, but one must note the clear difference between the conditions experienced by Jews throughout history and those experienced today in a free country.
(כב) וְנָשָׂ֨א הַשָּׂעִ֥יר עָלָ֛יו אֶת־כׇּל־עֲוֺנֹתָ֖ם אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ גְּזֵרָ֑ה וְשִׁלַּ֥ח אֶת־הַשָּׂעִ֖יר בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃
(22) And the goat shall bear upon it all their transgressions to a remote region,
and he shall send off the goat to the wilderness.
(ה) כֹּ֣ה ׀ אָמַ֣ר יהוה אָר֤וּר הַגֶּ֙בֶר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִבְטַ֣ח בָּאָדָ֔ם וְשָׂ֥ם בָּשָׂ֖ר זְרֹע֑וֹ וּמִן־יהוה יָס֥וּר לִבּֽוֹ׃ (ו) וְהָיָה֙ כְּעַרְעָ֣ר בָּעֲרָבָ֔ה וְלֹ֥א יִרְאֶ֖ה כִּֽי־יָ֣בוֹא ט֑וֹב וְשָׁכַ֤ן חֲרֵרִים֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר אֶ֥רֶץ מְלֵחָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א תֵשֵֽׁב׃ {ס}
(5) Thus said the LORD:
Cursed be the man who trusts in humans,
and makes mortal flesh his strong arm.
(6) And he shall be like an arid shrub in the desert,
and he shall not see when good things come.
And he shall dwell in scorched places in the wilderness,
a barren land that cannot be settled.
(ח) הִוָּֽסְרִי֙ יְר֣וּשָׁלַ֔͏ִם פֶּן־תֵּקַ֥ע נַפְשִׁ֖י מִמֵּ֑ךְ פֶּן־אֲשִׂימֵ֣ךְ שְׁמָמָ֔ה אֶ֖רֶץ ל֥וֹא נוֹשָֽׁבָה׃ {פ}
Accept reproof, O Jerusalem,
lest I loathe you,
lest I make you a desolation,
an uninhabitable land.
(כה) מִֽי־פִלַּ֣ג לַשֶּׁ֣טֶף תְּעָלָ֑ה וְ֝דֶ֗רֶךְ לַחֲזִ֥יז קֹלֽוֹת׃ (כו) לְ֭הַמְטִיר עַל־אֶ֣רֶץ לֹא־אִ֑ישׁ מִ֝דְבָּ֗ר לֹא־אָדָ֥ם בּֽוֹ׃ (כז) לְהַשְׂבִּ֣יעַ שֹׁ֭אָה וּמְשֹׁאָ֑ה וּ֝לְהַצְמִ֗יחַ מֹ֣צָא דֶֽשֶׁא׃
(25) Who split a channel for the torrent, and a way for the thunderstorm,
(26) to rain on a land without man,
wilderness bare of humankind,
(27) to sate the desolate dunes
and make the grass sprout there?