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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


Parshat Vayigash is when Joseph's great charade comes to an end and the brothers are reunited. After he discovers his father is alive, Joseph wishes his brothers, his father and the entire clan make haste, leave their land and come down to Egypt where Joseph will provide for all of their needs.

This poem focuses on the urgent necessity to leave a place hastily. There are many reasons that people must leave their homes in haste, and few are positive. There are still people leaving their homes every day in great haste, whether it be for war, for violence, for natural disasters or for personal safety. People who leave their homes suddenly don't just risk their lives, but they don't know what awaits them along the road and even where their destination might be.



Make haste.

The dark times are here.

The soldiers are lurking.

The guns are firing.

The hurricane is howling.


The pressure is building.

The water is rising.

The flames are approaching.

The people are chasing.

The plague, it is spreading.


There’s no time for packing,

only for grabbing.

What should we bring?

What can we carry?

How to decide

what remains behind?


Food left half eaten.

Cabinets hang open.

Television blaring.

Laundry hanging.

Bright toys scattered.

Emptiness echoing.


Make haste and go now.

Throw coats on the kids.

Grab wallets and cards.

Only what you can carry.

Trip through the front door.

Leave the pets behind.

Don’t look back.

We must go now.


The roads are closing.

The sirens are blaring.

The police are patrolling.

The smoke it is choking.

The soldiers are chasing.

The rioters are shouting.

The people are threatening.

The airport is crowding.


Where are we going?

Away, far away!

Destination unknown.

Flee far from here.

Passing through checkpoints.

Hiding in the forests.

Crouching in alleys.

Crossing cold mountains.

Walking through deserts.

Rafts floating on choppy seas.


Where are we going?

Into the black.

Into the night.

Into the cold.

Into the sea.

Into the air.

Into the ground.

Into the hands of strangers.

The unknown awaits us.

Is peace on the other side of the river?

Is food on the other side of the desert?

It is safety that beckons.

A light so faint it is like a distant star.

It is now or never.

The door slams behind us.

Will we return?

We don't know.

We must leave.

“Now, hurry back to my father and say to him: Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me without delay.

You will dwell in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that is yours.

Genesis 45:9

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