horrible hate-filled war
the birth of the Jewish state
verdant valleys and fierce mountains
where the wind blows proud and strong
captures me in its grip
people think they die for a cause,
go straight to God
it’s living for a cause
that is admirable
to turn desert into landscape
three square miles, shared by all
the world’s religions
truly holy soil
the woman barks at me
cover your arms, put on your sweater
it’s her job to make me respect her rules
she is my sister
even if we don’t speak the same language
in my dreams
of an ideal world
we live by our own rules
and nod to others to do the same
In the end, we all sing
to the full moon above
and dance on the cold stone floor
our soles clicking,
tapping the rhythm
I wrote this poem last fall, after touring the four quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City, on Simchat Torah, the day when my people dance with our holy scrolls and celebrate our relationship with God.
Except every religious holiday signifies our relationship with God.
Our relationship with the holy. If only our lives reflected this holiness.
Too often, we devote our precious time to complaining, criticizing, judging. We hunger for acceptance even as we deny it to others. We pick apart what they wear, how they speak, what they eat, how they create their lives.
But what of us?
Do we reflect this hatred back onto ourselves? Because really, it is an outpouring of our own discomfort, finding ill with others.
The world is inherently good. In your blood flows my blood. We are innately connected at the core, your god, my god, the god of all beings. Holiness is pure and good and kind. Where it runs amok, that is human mistake.
Today, I learned of the sudden death of a 44-year-old man, one year older than I, the father of a little boy who is friends with my nephews. Suddenly, gone.
Do we give more hugs in our interactions? Or do we find fault too easily, too often?
Last night, I snapped at my husband for forgetting to cook the lamb sausage. Big deal, right? There was pasta and eggplant and Jerusalem artichoke on the counter, waiting for me, covered with foil to keep warm.
He dropped off our eldest at Boy Scouts at the appointed time. It was all good.
But I noticed the negative. Yes, forgive me for what I say when I am hungry but really there is no excuse.
This minute is all we have. Do with it what you will but I beg of you, be kind. Be open. See the good in all. See the glass half full. It’s all we have. And perception is indeed reality.