These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on May 8, 2013 by Annie Matan Gilbert

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From my blog:

This piece was an assignment for the Hartman Rabbinical Students Seminar. We were asked to choose one poem or song that we studied and one other piece of text that we studied, share a line or a paragraph from each and a reflection on it. Ever the overachiever, I ended up weaving together themes from three different pieces.


Rabbi Hiyya’s Initiation, Zohar on Shmot verse 2

Rabbi Hiyya heard & said, “Oy! The high ones are busy with learning inside the house and I am sitting on the outside!” And he wept.

Rabbi Nachman of Bretslav, Likutei Moran 1:115

“…there are really not any hindrances in the world at all, because in the hindrances themselves is found the Holy One…”

Shuli Rand, ערפל

“So the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick fog where God was.”
– Shmot 20:18

By day, fires burned and ice at night
Like a drunk, I got up and fell down.
I heard your voice in the fog.
Shekhina is in the yearning
in the fire
in the fog
in the walls I erect
between me and God
between me and others
that arm’s length
of distance –
4 amot
a gulf that seems
impossibly impassible

it rose up before my eyes
and now surrounds me
like a moat
protects me
and traps me
on my island of faith

My eyes are squeezed
shut tight
My mind entangles
with imagined realities
distance and blur
faces and voices
that taunt me
saying, “You are not one of us”
and, eyes closed
heart hardened
throat clutching
I believe them

Everything is fire
burning my feet
Everything is ice
freezing words of longing
in my throat
All is fog
not quite discernable

A sound reaches my ears
from somewhere
far away
and I turn
I turn my head
to look over my shoulder
and my eyes open
and I can see
the curtain of fire
the wall of fog
the distance in between
is a veil
between worlds
and it lifts

My yearning
my wall
melts into itself
into a circle
with an empty, waiting space
and the circle
is crying
calling out
hands reaching
into my amot
grasping my arms
pulling me into my body
the circle is calling
for me
in my own dialect
of yearning

This community
is singing
my very own melody
the one I never share
and only hum
when I feel alone
They sing
and the refrain
calls me home
I turn and turn
until I’m dancing
I find myself
lost in the way

Everywhere is Goddess
Everywhere is shining
Everywhere is yearning
Everywhere is right here
Right here
all along.