Home » poetry » One Rabbi, Two Shabbatot, No problem

One Rabbi, Two Shabbatot, No problem

A POEM FOR THE CONGREGATION

 

Some Shabbatot get special names:

Shabbat Shira, Shabbat HaGadol

If this Shabbat had a special name

it would be Shabbat Acha’im – Sibling Shabbat,

or maybe Shabbat Achdut – Solidarity Shabbat.

Both have the word Ach at their root

            Brothers

Brothers who forgive one another

Brothers who defend sisters

Brothers who do bad things for good reasons

And good things for bad reasons

            Like burying their father together

 

This is a Shabbat for calling brothers on the phone

This is a Shabbat for reaching out to sisters

This is a Shabbat for thanking God for the friends who stand in

            for brothers and sisters when we have none

            or when the ones that we have let us down

 

Shabbat Acha’im Achdut

is all about Sibling Solidarity

            forgiving the past

            letting go of grudges

            being grateful that someone else shares our DNA

there are only so many people in the world who shared our mother’s womb

there are only so many people who love you because they have to

even when they don’t want to

there are only so many people who share the pain when a piece of the family is lost

 

This is a Shabbat for reaching out to brothers

This is a Shabbat for calling sisters on the phone

This is a Shabbat for thanking God for the friends who stand in

            for brothers and sisters when we have none

            or for when they let us down

 

This is the Shabbat for forgiving them

Even when they let us down

 

Like Esau bows to Jacob

(even though the little thief stole his blessing!)

This is the Shabbat to humble ourselves

Shabbat Acha’im Achdut

The Shabbat of Brotherly Love

– EKG’13

 

A POEM FOR MYSELF

 

Some Shabbatot get special names:

Shabbat Shira, Shabbat HaGadol

If this Shabbat had a special name

It would be Shabbat Shalem ­– the Shabbat of Wholeness.

 

Jacob is Israel and Israel is Jacob

The man changes

The person changes

The past never leaves us

We are always becoming

 

When we grow

When we mature

When we transform

            Does our soul change?

 

We all have a public face and a private face

an inner and outer self

I’m not so unique as to be alone in that

I read the Torah every year

            I teach it!

I more than anyone should know (shouldn’t I?)

that Jacob is Israel and Israel is Jacob and both are one

            not two

and that it is human to struggle to become

 

I am Jacob and I am Israel

            Yisra – struggling with

            El  – God

And my self

And my past

And my future

And my fragmentation

 

There is a maple tree where I live

There are four trunks growing out of one base

I looked at it with fresh eyes the other day

It is not four trees

It is one tree

Jacob is Israel and Israel is Jacob

and when Jacob becomes Israel the Torah still calls him Jacob

 

And I am me and myself and I

And I will learn to be okay with that

I will learn to love my base

and love my branches

and see the tree as whole

 

Zornberg teaches Tamar who teaches me

that Jacob comes to Shalem

which means complete

seeking wholeness

 

I seek wholeness too

but it does not mean that I am broken

This Shabbat

Shabbat Shalem

may I love my fragmented wholeness

and love my tree

and love myself as well

-EKG’13

 

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