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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Between

Updated: Feb 14

Reading about the golden cherubs in Parshat Terumah  made me think of the concept of the space between two points as being the passageway for messages conveyed by God.

Although a few steps removed from the shopping lists and building instructions of Parshat Terumah, the concept of what happens between spaces reminded me of a custom of my late father, Saul Gershkowitz. Following the fast of Yom Kippur each year he would return home and smear tiny drops of honey on the  inside four corners of our home as a prayer for sweetness to reign in the year to come. 

Our homes, no matter large or small, all contain the space between the corners. This is where the drama of living unfolds. A message conveyed between rooftops and floors, sometimes sour and unpleasant, but oftentimes sweet and assuredly seared into our hearts.

Regardless, the message of honey is of sweetness and health.


Dad, I want you to know that the tradition lives on.


May we hear better news soon.


Leann

 

Between


Life lazily unfolds in a series

of muted dramas between the four corners

of any home.

Walls enfold us in a whitewashed embrace,

doors opened and shut on life journeys

in miniature

while pilgrimages to set the table,

clean the garage and do the laundry unfold;

a game of hide and seek that continues

for years.


Shady hallways record the unsteady footsteps of

slippered sleepwalkers,

impromptu pranks and muffled voices;

highways of

constant movement

flow under rooflines and above dusty cellars

a beehive of activity,

at one time so chaotic, we seek sweet escape

in darkened corners under eaves,

but fast forward,

hallways stand so still

that only

the heartbeat of echoes

weave between pockets of dust bunnies,

scarred sofas

and pilled pink afghans of generations past;

directional splotches of the humdrum.


It is in these spaces between kitchen and den,

squeaky doors to smudged windows,

basement clotheslines and vacuum cleaner cords

encircling us

binding us together,

holy is the hum of a dishwasher;

the complicated symphony of life together.


It is never too early,

never too late

to dab honey in the cobwebbed corners.

Bless us with sweetness and health

between these four walls.




This image, one of my favorites, was taken of a house in our neighborhood. I wanted to try and follow the house over time, from the period of children to emptiness. Unfortunately, I didn't get over as much as I would have liked, but this remains one of my favorite photos that shows the life within the house, just on the other side of the doors and windows.



 

The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, shielding the cover with their wings. They shall confront each other, the faces of the cherubim being turned toward the cover.


Place the cover on top of the Ark, after depositing inside the Ark the Pact that I will give you.


There I will meet with you, and I will impart to you—from above the cover, from between the two cherubim that are on top of the Ark of the Pact—all that I will command you concerning the Israelite people.


Exodus 25:20-22

 

On the custom of placing honey in the four corners of the house:


From Jewish Boston by Ann Green in fall 2017:

"Apples and honey are a given; the honey, of course, represents our hopes for a sweet new year.  In the shtetls of Poland and Russia, Jewish women placed honey in four corners of their houses for good luck.  This might be a tradition to renew, as it will certainly help us to think about a sweet new year from many points of view."




 

Other posts from Words Have Wings on Parshat Mishpatim:





Ten Thousand Stitches



Of Golden Spaces



 

 מִבֵּין֙ שְׁנֵ֣י הַכְּרֻבִ֔ים

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