October 17, 2023
This is a reprint of a post that I wrote three years ago for Parshat Noach. Somehow it feels that I should repeat it this week. If you have already read it, I hope you will re-read it.
At a time when there is so much horror and evil, the thought of these raindrops on a journey of destruction saddens me to my core. I will have a new post later this week, but this poem still resonates with my heart and so it appears once again.
May we know better days and may a rainbow appear soon.
My First introduction in October, 2020.
Long ago, when I was a kindergarten teacher at a Jewish day school, one of my favorite parshiyot to work on with my students was Parshat Noach. We used to make a Teyvah(an ark) in our classroom and children would bring in their stuffed animals and we would make an animal parade leading to the ark. The children would paint a big rainbow which we would hang on the walls and it would light up the room with colors for months.
In reality, Parshat Noach is a difficult Parashah to read and to fathom. The evil in the world, God's decision to destroy that world and begin again is very disturbing and in reality, probably not a great story for kids to read and learn from. I guess of the two stories presented in Parashat Noach, there are more tangible lessons to take from the story of Babel and the mixing of languages. This is a story that we can understand, and perhaps is happening in our very day. In this country in the year 2020 people have a difficult time understanding each other's language and the results are not too different from Babel. We don't understand each other's language and we need to beware that when we don't understand each other, things break and once broken are difficult to repair.
These two poems are for Parshat Noach. The second poem, Rainbows is meant to complement the first poem, Raindrops.
I am a raindrop
I carry no color or shape,
harbor no grudges,
I merely fall, land,
fall and land.
I was created with my sisters at the beginning of Creation
I wished to be created for good and not as a weapon of destruction.
I scream as I fall,
knowing that my sisters and I will kill
We will splash onto the earth and join together;
creating a giant river
We will swell and swell and cover the earth.
We will join hands and huddle together and drown life with our bodies,
but we will not do so willingly.
We do not wish to destroy.
This is not why we were created.
The Flood is a river of sorrow that covers the earth.
Each raindrop a rebuke, a regret, a warning not heeded.
Each of us carries the sorrow of a God who created us.
A God who was disappointed and angry.
A God who wanted to start again.
My sisters and I do our jobs
We fall in great numbers and cover humanity like a blanket.
We drown out evil, but also mothers, fathers, babies, the elderly.
We hide our eyes as our numbers spread;
too many sorrowful raindrops to count
We do not celebrate destruction.
The winds shimmy among us as we spread, as we cover a horrible mistake.
Together we sway, creating giant waves of sorrow
As we join hands, my sisters and I, we erase a world
as sorrow and shame drip from us.
Can we really erase imperfections, drown evil?
With our heads bowed we have completed our mission.
Without endings there are no beginnings
Without struggle there is no ease
Without evil there is no good
Without mistakes there is no forgiveness
Without darkness there is no light
Without rain there are no rainbows
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day All the fountains of the great deep burst apart, And the floodgates of the sky broke open.
The torrent was upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.
וַיְהִ֥י הַגֶּ֖שֶׁם עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים י֔וֹם וְאַרְבָּעִ֖ים לָֽיְלָה׃