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Verse


Before G-d Made Me, What Was I?

By Chava Hinsey

Before G-d made me
what was I?
And how did I arise
in His longing?
Was I a dash, a smudge
a ray within the sun?
And once I came
into being, was it painful?
Did I feel the suction, expelled
into reality, G-d
turning His back to me?
Or did I taste the subtle
love like honey in bitter
tea? That the whole world
was created for me.
So I could turn around
and pound
on the silvery gates of
My lover’s palace.
Father, let me in!
I’ve been a soul so long.
So many lifetimes of digging
deep into the being-ness
world-being-real-ness
Let me back in
to oneness-ness
where it is me as You,
in You, whole once again.
and it will be better than
before
For I will be full of longing
satiated, distance shortened
home after a long journey
laden with gifts and delicacies
knowing my soul’s intricacies
basking in Your infinity
I accept this life’s difficulties.

Heavy Joy

By Chava Hinsey

It was a heavy joy
That overtook me
Took my voice away
Stilled the noise
And no more was to be heard
For quite a time
I sat rocking
Until the room emptied
Until I was alone
And quite occupied
With the essence
Of things.
Can a mind be so full
It stops
In shock?
It was a heavy joy
This morning
That kept me bound to myself.
Odd, joy usually frees
I worried afterwards that it wasn’t joy at all
But a peak into responsibility
Like a brief flash of color through the fingers of a
Clenched fist
And an inkling there is more to be seen.
I am at the cusp of things.
They are coming.
My father told me I am in an open field,
vast and un-cut by desire-paths
to walk forward? Run?
Or sit. And wait?
I vacillate between options and make myself
dizzy.
It was a heavy joy
Because I understood
That my essence is bound to His.
It was too deep to know.
It just is.
It was a heavy joy because I could not know it.
And I sensed it at the periphery
And I begged for it to enter me.
To burst open inside me and fill and fill and pour and rage
But my stiff, plodding brain was too base, too coarse
And it shielded me from the joy.
I felt that joy once.
Light as sunbeams, air dust motes, floating winds, cream puff,
It was everything.
I remember a smile pouring off my face, cheeks fell away in joy-tears, cascading into rivers and I was under the waterfall of
that joy and I panicked.
I jolted my ego out of that place
In the fear I would never come back. Because how to be in the face of that joy? To be at all? I ran out onto the balcony and
little plastic streamers fluttered and laughter slipped from my mouth because I knew it was all from that joy
I turned and saw a girl and her face was shining. And by night time it was a memory.
Just a memory.
A heavy joy is not so bad when I can carry it into the night.

Old Roots

By Chaya Rosen

In an old dream
My garden clings
to the scattered leaves
whose colors almost faded
their intensity dims
in the memory of shame
But your eyes stayed open
you must have seen
your own glory
just before
the indistinguishable
became clear
My petrified Eden
they will restore and replant
the buried return to rebuild
from your roots our fruits
we grow in a circle
to surround the Temple



I've Been Collecting Fallen Prayers

By Chaya Rosen

I’ve been collecting
falling prayers
left unanswered
hanging down
long time ago
crushed to the ground
I’ve been protecting
you inside My sleeve
little ones
high off the mounds
I’ve been lifting
scattered bones
crushed by evil
shadows reveal
My promise is sealed
My lonesome dead
mangled roots
bloody veins
broken stems
I’ve been gathering
parts apart
you are My pieces
I am your heart
My eyes covered
your gentle hands
that night
the air about you
became unclean
dark tore it down
scorched My sacred dream
I promised to lift
your faces down
I was with you
hands gripping
back of your heads
hair torn
in anguish I said
Don’t mock Me
block Me
conceal Me
My garden needs
repairing
restoring
returning

Guard Your Tongue

By David Betzer

If the tongue
could be harnessed
and driven like oxen
across the untilled heart
to turn the whim of nature
into fallow;
so that every whisper
seeded love
in the rich soil of the soul,
how the wind would carry
songs to catch
in the smooth hands
of schoolgirls
wearing yellow dresses;
as fleeting as a dervish
is a white dandelion seed
caught in soft breezes
that interweave.

Then demands would not ricochet
off borders built of rhetoric—
like lead pellets
off of the iron helmets
of blood drenched schoolboys

and warplanes would not magnify
the weight of the sky
until it crushed every mud-brick home.

And nothing would really die.
It would only smile
and hold gently
the stitched edge
of a yellow dress.

It would listen to that laughter
that we know
while it faded into the center
of its own joy
and was caught up
to dance in a soft breeze
full of song.

Alone

By Phillip Fox

I sit here in silence
As I do every day
I sit here in silence
And I pass the time away

Just sitting on the doorstep
Watching everything
I watch the people pass me by
Wondering what today will bring

Hoping for some change
The price of a cup of tea
May not mean that much to them
But means the world to me

But I was once like them
Always on the go
Passing people just like me
But little did I know

That I’d be sitting here someday
Begging on the street
Freezing with the cold
Wearing nothing on my feet

Losing all my family
Losing all my friends
Now all I have is memories
And the hunger never ends

Trying to keep warm
From the hail rain and snow
I wish I wasn’t here
But I’ve nowhere else to go

I haven’t got the strength
Nor the will to fight
But living with the fear
Of where ill sleep tonight

Thinking of the things I had
The things I didn’t share
Always wanting more
Back then I didn’t care

Back then I didn’t think
Or understand why
But if I knew what I know now
I wouldn’t pass me by

It’s not about the money
It’s not about the greed
It’s not about what you have
But just having what you need

I’ll find somewhere to sleep tonight
Somewhere I shouldn’t be
I may not have the comfort
But it’s the only life I see

But I’ll have a chat with G-d tonight
Cos I know he’s always near
For he’s the only one
That can take me away from here



Elijah

By Harry Hamburger

And He said, Go forth
and stand before your King
a great wind then came
which made the angels sing

The earth broke in half
rocks flew through the air
after earthquake came the fire
but Lord was not there

Was then that Elijah heard
quiet voice in his ear
went out to a cave
where body shook with fear

And behold, heard a Voice
saying, why are you here
it was after the tempest
that quiet message became clear

Now there is a reason
G-d speaks in small voice
we can talk or listen
which is always our choice



My Father

By Simcha Wasserman

By my father’s side
in the cemetery -
a lively wind comes
to mark his grave

In memory of my father, Yitzchak Yoseph ben Simcha HaLevi, on his 20th yahrtzeit, 26 Adar I, 2014



In This Distant City

By Simcha Wasserman

The light in this distant city,
thousands of miles and years
away from where the Holy
Temples once stood, still
illuminates the souls of those
aware of their inherent
G dliness, aware they are a
remnant of a nation on fire,
once consumed in supernal
love and fear.

These souls, today, out-distance
the spiritual giants who drew
down and set ablaze legions of
angels with every holy utterance,
scorching the heavens in flames
of divine ecstasy.

These are the souls that will
signal the final ingathering;
they, who have marched across
the ages, steadfast, believing
victory could come at a
moment's notice.

In their merit, we will enter
the land, immortal.

And simple faith, intangible,
no longer blind, will shine in
open miracles and wonders;
and the deepest secrets of
creation will sing out in
elemental purity.

And the children, all of us
children, will dance in the
radiance of a new song, with
self-abandon, along the old
streets in this distant city,
suddenly drawn
close.



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