top of page
  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Ayeka? Where Are You? אַיֶּֽכָּה

Usually Parshat Breisheet, the first parsha of the year, is a joy to write about. The wonder of new beginnings is where I ordinarily would begin, but this year cries out for something different. Contained in Breisheet is the story of the serpent, the first kernels of evil as Cain murders his brother.

This is a parsha where interesting communication takes place. After eating from the Tree of Knowledge, God searches for Adam and Eve in the garden and uses the unusual word Ayekah, "Where are you?" Later, following the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, God calls to Cain to say that Abel's blood calls to him from the earth.

These vivid references to blame and sin, bordered gardens, hiding and expulsions, plus the stark image of blood crying from the earth are the very real and ongoing nightmares this week, so I have taken the liberty of combining these themes to created this poem....this lament....

Someday, when I look back on this poem, I will remember this as a time when the Jewish people's worst nightmares reappeared in our ongoing history.

I write this with unspeakable sorrow for all the murdered and desecrated of God's beautiful creations.

Please, let us be there for one another. Let us find the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of what is right and good; not evil.

Shabbat Shalom,



Ayeka? Where Are You?

Sounds rise from The Leafy Garden,

whose borders extend from bruised

purple mountains to a sea


with tears.

Cries, not from the jackal howling,

not from the cranes who fly

wide winged above,

but from a child


soaked in urine,

whose dazed


blink at the

bluest of


as her tiny hands




The air,

pierced with her cries

echoes with


Where are you?

Between eucalyptus trees

in this autumn garden

a paradise of people,

leap swiftly

as hunted gazelles.

In and out they weave;

the hunter and the hunted.


whiz around them,

through them.

Their blood soaks the ground and calls out


Where are you?

Ayeka, cry out

the parents

the siblings,

the children,

the friends.

The friends.


in disbelief




Their voices reach out

but perhaps it is not loud enough?


Where are you?

The Torahs tremble in the ark,

their silver bells tinkle ...

Our blood calls up from the ground

soaked now for generations.

Why, my brother, why?

What is this thirst for Jewish blood?


Where are You?


וַיִּקְרָ֛א יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ אַיֶּֽכָּה׃

God יהוה called out to the Human and said to him, “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9 וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מֶ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ ק֚וֹל דְּמֵ֣י אָחִ֔יךָ צֹעֲקִ֥ים אֵלַ֖י מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָֽה׃ “What have you done? Hark, your brother’s blood cries

out to Me from the ground Genesis 4:10

102 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page