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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

A Moment Alone

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

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

for yourself

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 affirmation,

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.

One evening

while sitting on the desert floor

at sunset.

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.

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