Crossposted from Haaretz
When Elhanan Nir’s first book of poetry was published, he showed it to his father. His father, learned in the Holy Scriptures, examined the book and asked, “Yes, but how do you know all this? On what are you relying? What are your sources?”
“The heart,” Nir answered. “My source is the heart.”
This dialogue teaches us a lot about the gap between modern lyric poetry and the religious world in which Nir was raised. At a time when poetry focuses primarily on the individual and his unique experiences of life, religious texts generally focus on a social group, rely on tradition and deal with practical matters.