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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

On The Other Side of the Looking Glass

Parshat Lech Lecha is about journeys. The parsha starts out with a directive to Abram to leave that which was familiar to him, his family and his norms and continue onto a place still undetermined. Avraham does as requested and leaves together with his wife, possessions and wealth.

Perhaps Parshat Lech Lecha is another creation story. The story of the creation of a new people. In order to create something new, something needs to be left behind, but a piece of the past always remains.

Often over the past years I considered those special people who choose to become Jewish, embarking on journeys not dissimilar to Avraham's. Indeed they forge a new Jewish identity, leaving much from their pasts behind. The beauty of conversion, though, is that these seekers bring some part of their former selves to Judaism.

This poem attempts to address the transition from one identity to the next. A journey of sorts.

On another note, in Parshat Lech Lecha, a covenant is created between Abraham, his descendants and God. Abraham is promised “the land” and told to walk the land, a privilege that Moses never received. During this difficult time, I would encourage all of us who have visited “The Land” to imagine the first time you walked it. What was your first connection with “The Land?”

May we all hear good news.



The Looking Glass

On the other side of the looking glass is the me I left behind Through the opaque glass I view vague echoes of myself, a wisp of hair, a furrowed brow, echoes of childish laughter. Beliefs chiseled into granite slowly ground away; barely legible, but not erased. Yes, I am recreated.

Yes, I am on a journey. On the other side of the looking glass familiarity teases. Beloved ones beckon me to return. Hands reaching, their voices echo so close, yet I struggle to hear. Yes, I am recreated. I look no different, but I am changed. Yes, I am on a journey. I pivot from the looking glass, steps uneven

My legs will take me far from here, but my heart will not forget.

I believe


there is something that calls my name. Beloved faces begin to fade. A final glance I press my lips to the glass, one final farewell. Yes, I am on a journey. Yes, I am

recreated, but for the echoes left behind.


G-d said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃ וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃ .


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