Panoramic photograph of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, 1856, James Robertson, Scotland, 1813-1888, and Felix Beateaux, Britain, born in Venice, 1825-1903                                                        I have some rough edges.  I go down

to daven to smooth them out, sometimes

in the embrace of a minyan,

sometimes with the melting fires of a heart

open to G d.

The center of my heart

beats a steady pulse, but my mind races

this way and that, following after

every sensual and mental vagary.

I long for sanity, for peace, for inclusion;

I stir the embers of passion

and blow on the fires of controversy.

I am a counselor and a mediator,

yet I cannot govern myself completely.

Voices well up, demanding to be heard,

insisting on their right to direct.

I calm them with cautionary tales

and advice from scripture.  I sing to them

with a niggun from my rebbe.

I stand

in the Holy City, every stone a monument.

My own aspirations are linked

to their history, my destiny

to their future.  Since we are – or will become –

dust, what does it matter how we build today?

What we leave behind, we leave for others

to build on.  Let the foundations be strong!

And let the place where I stand to daven

support me well as I climb to the peak

of my soul and link her to the gracious G d,

who blesses me with her Holy Presence

and lifts me up to realms of being

I cannot reach alone.


27 Sivan, 5758

June 21, 1998

Awarded “Best Poem on a Spiritual Subject” by Poetica Magazine,

in its October 2004 issue

Posted in: Poems.
Last Modified: March 4, 2008