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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Picture-poem Prayer for the World's Birthday

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Happy 5773rd Birthday to the World!

By the sixth day, all of the creatures and living things pictured here
were launched:

By bein ha'shmashot (the time between the sixth and seventh days)
our rabbi says that Queerness and the talking donkey from the
story of Balaam emerged.

Bein ha'shmashot, then, is when the extra-special features were
ready.

Toonces and Phoebe, mums and elephant ears, cool shrubs,
Hibiscuses, little tomatoes, smoke bushes and magenta dahlias
were part of the standard plan, by contrast, and all were captured (see
above) in post-shul pix I took today, in our home and garden.

Our rabbi delivered an interactive drash earlier. She recited three
poems by Palmachniks, all about Isaac and the ram. Then invited
our interpretations.

From Yehuda Amichai: "I want to sing a song in his memory—
about his curly wool and his human eyes,
about the horns that were silent on his living head," and from
Amir Gilboa, where Isaac says, "Father, hurry and save Isaac
And no one will be missing at lunchtime." The middle poet, I
cannot remember, other than that a congregant felt that he was
trying to guilt-trip her.

The guilt comment reminded me of our rabbi's reference to the
talking donkey and how in two out of three of the poems, none
of the underdogs had a voice...but in the third poem, Isaac, the
child, had a voice and used it. Was he as effective as the donkey?

Some years ago, when it was parshat ha'shavuah, the Torah
portion of the week, I delivered a layperson's drash that focused
on the donkey as a symbol for anyone I have a tendency to
disrespect reflexively, when I'm less than thoughtful.

Throughout this 5773rd year, may I always listen for the
historically-underrepresented, extra-special voices and heed them.
And may everyone. Amen.

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