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WAYS OF ACCOMODATION

EnglishHebrew
by Joseph Yahalom
WAYS OF ACCOMODATION 57 Halevi too longed for Andalusia and its literary coteries, even though we don’t find him taunting and vilifying the communities of the Christian north as Ibn Ezra was wont to do. For by the end of the eleventh century the north played an important part in Halevi’s life. In the poem “ A friend in dream” ( Muwashshah, 32), which Halevi wrote during this period, he speaks of his attachment to the rich cultural scene of Andalusia. There he would meet Yitzhak Ibn Ezra, Moshe’s older brother ( d. 1121), even though he and the young girls of the West ( Andalusia) know that he hasn’t a chance of meeting Moshe himself who had already departed for the North (“ The ends of the East”). The poem is sealed with a kharja in Arabic, preceded by versets that interpret allegorically the young woman’s yearning gaze as it is directed toward her lover, Moshe, who has absconded to the north and is tardy in returning: Eyes of the daughters of the West are turned to the ends of the East to catch sight of lord and master and cherub who fled yesterday They call out in a sweet song to the passersby: H ˙ abibi qad ah ˘ t ˙ a manh ˙ abbasa l- badra ‘ An- ni la- qad abt ˙ a wa- as ˇ g ˙ ala s- sura My lover has strayed/ who hides the full moon ( of his face)? He is late in coming to me,/ and makes night- travel difficult. ( Monroe and Swiatlo, 54) The assumption that Halevi managed to meet up with Moshe Ibn Ezra in Granada during the golden days ( prior to the Almoravides conquest in 1090) is problematic and led Schirmann to believe that Halevi was born before 1075 and was over fifteen years old at the time of the conquest. But such an assumption has never been proven. page TOC Home

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