Studied-love

"I Studied Love" by Yehuda Amichai (1924 - 2000) translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld first appeared in The Atlantic in July of 1998:

I studied love in my childhood in my childhood synagogue

in the women's section with the help of the women

behind the partition

that locked up my mother with all the other women

and girls.

But the partition that locked them up locked me up

on the other side. They were free in their love while I

remained

locked up with all the men and boys in my love, my longing.

I wanted to be over there with them and to know their

secrets

and say with them, "Blessed be He who has made me

according to his will." And the partition

a lace curtain white and soft as summer dresses, and

that curtain

swaying to and fro with its rings and its loops,

lu-lu-lu loops, Lulu, lullings of love in the locked room.

And the faces of women like the face of the moon behind

the clouds

or the full moon when the curtain parts: an enchanted

cosmic order. At night we said the blessing

over the moon outside, and I

thought about the women.

(Photo: An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man looks at a Palestinian shop owner reading the Muslim holy Koran outside his shop near the Ibrahimi Mosque, or Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the divided West Bank city of Hebron on September 15, 2010. By Hazem Bader /AFP/ Getty Images)

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