"You did what?" she screamed,
Clutching her child with withered arms,
Raging at her husband,
Invectives spewing from her sun cracked lips.
"To prove your faith you offer up
My son, my only son, my dearest one?
You make of him a holocaust?
Did you never think of me?
Did you never count my cost?
The child is mine as well as yours.
You had no right!
No proof of faith is worth a life!"
She gasped for air,
Apprehending beyond the deed,
"Obedience you say?
Acceding to the murder of my son!
What kind of God would ask for such a faith?
Give such a test?
And if it were a test," she spattered,
Her words, like pointed needles at his heart,
"You failed it miserably.
"Murder is not a test of faith, old man,
And neither blind obedience.
For strangers you argued long ago,
And yet not one word to save our son,
Our only son, our dearest one?
Her soul all but out of her.
Indignant and spent,
And then, not caring for response from him or from their God.
"You mark my words," she prophesied,
"For your silence in the face of this
Horrendous act, our God
Will hide Himself from us
And you will die
What was there once,
That kept us sane at days end,
That gave us the rituals
That stayed the fear
Of setting suns and darkness?
What was there, father, that was once spoken
By the elders at the gates,
Or before the tent of meeting-
Chanted in low melodic tones,
With drum and harp, that spoke of spirit?
What was the mystery that you did not teach?
The secret phrase or sacred song,
The spirit dance before the mythic fire
That would have told your son
That he was welcome and of value?
Perhaps, one time, you saw in my upturned eyes,
The same fear and contempt that Abraham saw
When he repulsed his eldest son,
Or held the murderous knife above the other?
Did my look open in you wounds so deep,
That only abandonment could stay your fear?
It is dangerous moving ineptly to the father's realm.
Reuben did it and was cursed,
And for all his weeping, David could not understand
Or revive his beloved Absalom.
What did Jacob fail to teach his eldest son,
And what did Absalom not learn from his father king?
All fathers had fathers.
All should be teachers.
And yet not one understands the cruelty of childhood,
(Their own, their son's, their father's,
both subtle and overt.)
That creates the man from generation to generation.
Banging the mourning drum for Abraham,
Did both Ishmael and Isaac,
Bless and curse the man
Who sought to know his God
But not his sons?
With light becoming
I, the eternal
I, the whole
I, the oneness
For you to be
Time and space and shape
I, essence of all
No longer alone
So very open
So very vulnerable
The First Disobedience
What did it matter?
The taste was sweet
She knew of patterns and sequences
All elements unified in one field --
Her brain made instantly insatiable.
But for all her wonder and knowing,
It was the profound fear that came upon her,
That moved her,
The awful loneliness–
The consequences of it all–
And still, life circumscribed.
She drew near to him.
"Come and eat, Lord Adam," said she,
Smiling, her scarlet stained lips
Moist with passion,
And being created
In his Father’s image,
Loving the flattery
And the newness of the game,
He sensed unfairness –
Her knowing more than he,
The fear of equality or inequality,
He too, took a taste.
What did it matter?
The taste was sweet.
From generation to generation,
What does it matter?
The taste is sweet.
Weeping in Ramalah for her exiled children,
Was not the first time Rachel wept.
Blistering tears ran down her ashen face,
When Laban told her of his plan,
To put her weak eyed sister in her stead.
Her father did not know of love,
At least not the love that she and Jacob knew.
So begging him to let her wed for love,
Was to no avail.
Her father was the master in her world,
And any man, save Jacob, would be too.
So in her youthful pain she ran,
Blurting out her threat to tell.
But she was caught,
Held and guarded,
Till the wedding feast was past.
Confined, she wept at the deception,
Not understanding the balances on to which Jacob had been placed.
Not knowing that deception begets deception.
And the judgment was on him
(For an ill begotten blessing,
With an ill begotten wife.)
But what did Rachel know of balances
And mothers and sons who deceive fathers and brothers.
She only knew of longing and of love,
And did not care for ways a maiden
Could not fully comprehend.
At the wedding feast, her Jacob did not know,
The heavy veil concealed a father’s strategy.
The wedding tent was dark and his beloved,
Perhaps it is her modesty, he thought,
So much to learn about his lovely wife.
Yet his partner hid her face and said it was their custom.
And so he held her, loved her,
Her loving touch became the touch of Rachel,
But the voice was the voice of Leah.
More deception in a life of deception,
In a world where deceit meant living or dying.
Of having or not having.
It was fair. The world was putting things in order.
Jacob, who had deceived was now deceived.
Things were even, now
To all but Rachel,
Who fell to her knees,
Outside her sister’s wedding tent.
Most marriages are made in heaven,
This we always knew.
But does God ever really match
A Catholic with a Jew?
You’re acting on your own in this,
And now through perspication,
Decide if Sabbath wine will change,
Take care the plan for seating folks,
Where families intermix,
That your bubbe and your zeydeh,
Are not near a crucifix.
Watch out for mid-December blues,
Where one of you might kevtch,
On seeing eight menorah lights,
Illuminate a creche.
On Passover you’ll also find,
A problem playing host,
Deciding if three matzahs,
Are the Father, Son and Ghost.
And birthing babies causes strife,
Much less if it’s a daughter,
For should the baby boy be clipped,
Or doused with holy water?
The hosts of heaven ponder this,
And chalk it up to "love,"
So from the holy Trinity,
A hearty Mazel Tov!