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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Sometimes You Need to be Seen

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

The first section of Masechet Chagiga is about the Mitzvah called Re'iyah, or appearance. It informs the reader straightaway that there is no substitute for showing up on the three pilgrimage holidays. I have only included the very first words of the Masechet, because straight away the rabbis begin to discuss the many exceptions to this rule. (isn't life full of exceptions to rules???) I won't discuss the many exceptions here, but there is a full array of exceptions to the rule based on many factors.

To be seen is an important concept, especially now that we are so often seen through screens. Many of our actions are also taken through screens and phones. I believe that the concept of Re'iyah, being seen, means that sometimes you need to be seen in person. It means showing up, voting with your feet. It is hard not to see this poem through the lens of what is occurring now in The Ukraine where the concept of being seen is a life and death manner. So, with that in mind, this small poem, composed of only words, is dedicated to those who show up.


And just like that, two years and three months have passed since the cycle of Daf Yomi began. The Siyum for Masechet Chagiga and for the entire volume of Moed (times) will be completed in a few days and a new volume will begin. As my teachers say, "The Daf does not wait for us," so we will begin Seder Nashim (the volume on Women) sometime soon.

I'll be reading this poem on Sunday at the Talking Talmud siyum on Zoom. If anyone wants the link, please let me know.


May we always show up for each other.


Sometimes you just have to be seen

It’s showing up

Bringing the casserole,

giving that hug,

lifting boxes,

fighting battles,

holding hands,

laughing and crying




Giving of your strength,

silently or with a voice.

You are there.

You make a difference.

You care.

Sometimes you just have to be seen.

To have eyes upon you.

Your eyes on others.

It’s going to the rally.

It's defending.

It's fighting.

It's going forward

instead of hiding.

Your voice loud and strong.

It’s making the time.

It's making the space.

It's making a statement.

It’s more than just

sending an email,

tapping a text,

leaving a voicemail,

reading a column.

It’s face to face

eye to eye,

ear to ear,

shoulder to shoulder,

voice to voice.

Using your strength

to climb that mountain,

to swim that ocean,

to dig that ditch,

to fight for what is right.

To be seen is

to walk the walk,

not to talk the talk.

It’s getting off the couch.

It's daring to do

more than you know you can.

To be seen is where

dreams become reality,

and even if that reality

becomes a nightmare.

To be seen is

to do it together.

Thoughts to actions,

actions to change.

Never underestimate

the power

of being seen.




,MISHNA:All are obligated on the three pilgrim Festivals in the mitzva of appearance......

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