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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

After the Death אחרי מות

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

After a break in the weekly parsha cycle, we find ourselves back in Sefer VaYikra and returned to the tragedy of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, who die suddenly at the altar. This parsha also speaks about Yom Kippur and the goat that is sent to Azazel and there is a great deal of material about forbidden sexual relationships.

For my poem this week, I did not progress past the first sentence of the parsha which contains the title, Acharei Mot, or After the Death. To be by the side of one who passes is to witness to a holy moment; a moment of transition of the Mayt, but also the transition of the mourner. This poem explores that painful, yet important progression from numbness and mourning to a new self.

After the Death אחרי מות

After the death

he was silent

but for the sound

of the beating

of his own heart

still pumping

in his chest

After the death

she wept

her tears

a deep well



and memories

After the death

they sat

shocked and dazed

the long wait over


shared memories

of her

Perhaps her ears still heard

as she passed from

this realm to the next

After the death

his mind went blank

After the death

they were as ripped

as their clothing.

After the death

she could feel his soul

hover in the emptiness

the air now full

of him

she felt the flutter

of his sou

in the silence

as it rose




After the death

words were

not enough

or words were

too much

too many.

After the death



After the death

He did not know

How to move

without her

at his side.


after the death

time inched forward






then months

and slowly

as slow as the

creep of a snail

along grains of sand

as slowly as a pebble

is smoothed by the tides

there was a change

minutes multiplied

days piled upon days

months layered upon months

the sun and then the moon

and the sun again

One day

long after the death

his words returned



to recount stories


after the death

her cheeks regained some color

He began to read again

She began to sew.

They began to smile



Broken hearts slowly heal.

Long after the death

She sang once again

with a hint of sadness

in her voice,

but she sang.

וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֣י מ֔וֹת שְׁנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י אַהֲרֹ֑ן בְּקׇרְבָתָ֥ם לִפְנֵי־יְהֹוָ֖ה וַיָּמֻֽתוּ׃

Gd spoke to Moses after the death of the two songs of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of Gd.

Leviticus 16:1

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