Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Poem for Moishe on Shlomo's Yartzeit

For Reb Moishe Geller - my fellow "Decemberist" upon the occasion of Shlomo Carlebach's 15th Yartzeit . . .

It's raining in Jerusalem
It's Shlomo's yartzeit
You are missed

I got angry only moments after waking up today
Smelling foul, stale cigarette smoke emanating from my son's room
My son cusping on 25, who desires neither to live nor to die
My son who stays inside, inside, inside his immense, painful body
My son's body which speaks to no one in words, but screams its misery silently
You are missed

People smile at me, I smile back
When I'm exhausted and feeling my lowest
People say the stupidest things to me, like,
"You look radiant," and "You've never looked better!"
Idiots, gevalt.
Am I really that invisible, or is everyone just blind?
Or - worse yet - is my facade SO effective it completely masks my truth?
You are missed.

It's raining in Jerusalem
It's Shlomo's Yartzeit
I never knew him
But I know you
You are missed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fear Not, Thou Worm Jacob!

This Shabbat we heard "Lech Lecha," whose accompanying Haftara includes Isaiah 41:14, "Fear not,  תולעת יעקב (Worm Jacob)". Rather unpleasant, being called a "worm," yet Rebbe Nachman says the power of a Jew is in his mouth, like the power of a worm is in it's mouth. A worm can eat away a mountain. The verse continues "I will make you like a new, sharp threshing iron with many blades, you will thresh and pulverize mountains, you will make the hills like chaff." How so? Through the power of our mouths - we open up our lips and our mouths declare the praises of The Lord, the power of The Lord, the promises of The Lord, and The Word of the Lord. This is Jacob's power and why he is called a "worm" in this verse, in which HaShem gives us the Secret of Jewish Success, our holy weapon which crumbles mountains, destroys enemies, brings down blessings, lifts up prayers - our mouths, made to devour deceit, speak the truth, give praise and thanks, and ask to receive the desires of our heart.