Wednesday, October 23, 2019

B'reishit: a poem for Creation and Tzimtzum

The Beginning didn't just break;
it shattered,
splintered and spilled
in a hundred -
a thousand
an infinity of directions.

God was not content,
with the tzimtzum of Her creation,
the inhaled withdrawal,
an absence of essence.
Into that empty space
that once was filled
with the endlessness
of God, was filled now
with the chaos of dark
and light.
A single day,
and then six more,
and it was,
they were, mostly,

And in that exact same instant,
in the inhaled breath
of the endless god,

There was evening,
there was morning,
again and again and
again and again
millennia of agains,
and then a few more.

Year upon year,
age upon age,
mountains rose and
empires fell.
One day followed by another
and another
and another,
so often that sometimes
they ceased to have
or weight.
They were merely
time and again,
day upon day,
life after life,
mostly good.

A pretty good trick
to play, a sleight of hand
with space and light -
a divine game of cups.
Pick a hand held behind God's back.
He seems to favor that position.

What would it be like
I wonder, to be endless -
without end and infinite,
the superlative of all
would it be lonely
do you think
to be that
indivisibly singular?
To be filled to empty to full
in the blink of an eye
all at the same time?

I think if that were me,
I would want to scream.
I would want to gather in all my
everythingness, only to realize
there was nowhere to gather,
no thing to hold,
because I was everything
in every direction.
Only me,
with no spaces
or cracks
to let the light in.
Would I even know
what light is
or space?

Would I know sun
and sky and water and rain?
Would I see the Glory
and know that it was all
incompletely good?
Would I know God
and would I sing
praises to Her name?

Sunday, October 20, 2019


I held earth and air 
and fire and water
in my arms,
and I danced.
It was good.
I turned, and turned again,
with all that glory,
with all that binding,
dizzy with every letter
that burned with white fire.

Speak, and the world comes to be.
Sing, and God is exalted.
And so we ascend,
an image of holy,
ever holy
and good.

I held light.
I held joy,
and I hold fast to it,
touching heaven
surrounded by love.

For simchat torah 5780
In honor of Congregation Hakafa

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Momentary Pause: welcoming the new year, 5780

Entering this new year has been a bit different this year, to say the least. I spent most of my life staying outside of, separate from, content with being needed rather than loved. Afraid of being loved.

And this whole past year, I've felt a change. Not a tsunami of change rolling over and crashing into me, but something infinitely more gentle, certainly less dangerous, a blessing, no longer a curse - because yes, love, for so long, felt so much like a curse!

This past year, because of my weakness, because of my vulnerability, I have learned to find strength in asking for help. I have learned to accept that I am not less than. It's hard. It still doesn't come naturally and I don't always act with grace, but I have learned to lean in to you and so roll on.

What a gift! It is not that it took my heart stopping to have learned this lesson. It is that, and the coming of this new year that have given me the opportunity to pause for a moment, to reflect on just who I am as I enter 5780. And here's what I found, the greatest truth of all:

I am loved.

Thank you for helping me find this gift. And in case I haven't acknowledged it, or said it enough, I love you right back. No strings, just love.

A happy, sweet and joyous new year. Shana tova u'metukah!

And, in case you missed it, I wrote the poem below to honor this journey I've undertaken, to acknowledge all of the twists and turns and difficult moments that had brought me here, to this place - of God and you and me and love.

The Longest Journey

The longest journey
begins with a breath -
   breath being one of the names of God -
and ends in Breath:
   as the name of God is a prayer: amen.

It is played out
on a bridge more narrow than fear
and wider than Heaven,
and gathers together
the battered, embattled rubble
of broken days and history.
It is - as if it ever wasn't - love,
that journey of unknown proportion,
coming not because of,
nor in spite of, but 
a love that is whole
and endless
   and love -
      God, yes!
             in all its infinite
                 and glorious
                       boundlessness -

That is the journey.
That is the breath
That is the name
of God