It is nearly a year since I have had the privilege of writing these poems about the parshiyot.
This week as I read Parshat Eikev and note how Moshe is running out of time and trying hard to impart the important lessons of torah. I tried to imagine a person hearing those words. He was not born in Egypt, but was brought by his parents to the desert. They are no longer with him. They did not understand the trials and teachings, but perhaps this one person, sitting alone one evening, has the glimmer that we all wait for, for that glimmer of understanding. Perhaps the pieces of his life and his history, all entwined with the teachings from Torah, are beginning to make sense. To these moments that we strive for....
A Moment Alone
After the plagues, after the thunder on the mountain, the cloud by day, the fire by night.
After the earth opened, after the people disappeared, after forty long years of wandering.
After the golden calf, after the punishments, after the manna, after the giants, after the laws
and the commandments, after the enemies, after the crossings, after the idleness, after the
warnings, after the plagues, after the wonders, after the panic, after the confusion, after the
disavowals. After the promises, after the blessings, after the talking donkey, after the curses, after the kings, after the prophets, after the transitions, after the hunger and after the thirst.
And now you sit alone
on the stony ground
and you think about
your father, your mother
No longer here.
Gone in the desert,
but not forgotten.
And you are here.
You and yours.
They were your rocks.
They were your hands
They were your heart.
They were bold and brave.
They brought you here.
God brought you here.
And you are ready.
And you sit alone
on the stony ground
And you hear the voice
of the teacher
in your ears
His voice sometimes like thunder
and sometimes almost a whisper.
And you hear him
and you think that you understand
his words and the ideas.
And despite the many words devoted to it,
you know at your core
this is not about victories,
not about the military
or the giants.
Not about the others.
But about you
and what you do.
The teachings are not in the clouds,
not in the sea
but nestled in your heart
as you sit on the desert floor.
And you begin to understand
and for your parents
who are no longer with you,
but are with you in your thoughts.
And you see in that place in your heart
that it is the smallest of things.
The most ordinary
and becomes the extraordinary
The elevation of a host of small actions
to a higher plane.
And you look up at the mountains
and the deep blue of the twilight
and you believe.
And you begin to understand what a blessing is.
And what a blessing means.
And what a blessing does.
And the words are not lost on you
And you are grateful.
And at this moment,
this quiet moment
seated on the ground as the sun sets
this becomes your prayer,
your awareness that
you are part of something more
that defies words,
something larger than you.
And you are grateful to your very core.
And for this torah exists.
For this moment.
For this dawn of understanding.
while sitting on the desert floor
Deuteronomy 8:1-2 (translation from Sefaria)
You shall faithfully observe all the Instruction that I enjoin upon you today, that you may thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your fathers.
Remember the long way that the LORD your God has made you travel in the wilderness these past forty years, that He might test you by hardships to learn what was in your hearts: whether you would keep His commandments or not.