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Rahel Bluwstein is rightfully considered the “founding mother” of modern Hebrew poetry by women.
In 1919, after six years in France and later with World War I in a children’s refugee home in Odessa, she returned to Palestine On the famous “Ruslan” ship and settled at Kevuzat Deganyah as an agronomist until she was forced to leave when diagnosed with tuberculosis.
“You’re sick and we’re healthy, That’s why you should leave” she was told by one of her friends in Deganyah. Her last years were spent in loneliness and agony. Many of Rachel’s poems were written after she was already ill, and they express the warm feeling she felt for the landscapes of the Kinneret and the work of the land, and her longing for the members of the group.
One of them was Ben Zion Israeli, a pioneer from Rehovot and Deganyah, who also was Rahel’s lover at the time and left her due to her illness. Ben Zion was married to Haya Israeli (Selzer) who was Rahel’s friend.
In 1925 Rahel wrote a letter to Ben Zion expressing her distress, her loneliness, and her longing for the Sea of Galilee and him. She asks him to come to visit her in the hospital so she could personally give him a poem she wrote for him. In the estate of Haya Israeli is the love poem attached to Rachel’s letter.
The letter before us expresses the tension between the two companies following the affair in the illness shadow as well as Rahel’s state of mind during these years. We find a poetic letter painted with tenderness and melody, in which Rahel insists that she does not and has never had any “spirit of revenge” towards Haya and that now her heart is at peace about their relationship.
She is reminded of the “Kinneret Rahel, a laughing, dancing and frivolous girl” and is surprised to discover that in Haya’s eyes, she was wise and great. Rachel writes about “the woman poet”. The whispers in which a woman’s inner world is expressed, that is her sole authority, in which a man has no part.
The letter ends with a greeting to Ben- Zion Israeli “who was my friend and now is estranged from me” and a greeting to the Kinneret that she loved so much.