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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Two weeks ago we were fortunate to travel briefly through Yosemite National Park. For those of you who have experienced its beauty and grandeur, I am sure that you share my sentiment in not being able to put words to describe the area. While standing there in the valley, over and over again I thought that I was standing in the midst of one of the Psalms that exalt God's role in creating nature.

How hard the Psalmists must have labored to find the appropriate words to describe the hugeness of creation. I myself, felt as small as small as an ant and as silent as lichens growing on stones.

I am standing in a Pslam.

I am standing in a Psalm.


You may have noticed that I did not include a poem this week for Parshat Naso. This is because a few weeks ago I published two poems for the ending of Masechet Sotah. Since Parshat Naso is where the case of the adulterous woman, “The Sotah” is written, I am using that post, which combines ideas of marriage and jealousy with drinking the waters in which God’s name is dissolved, as this week’s poem.

You can find that post here:

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.




Standing in the midst of a psalm,

I am a solitary dandelion leaf,

a small gray river pebble

staring upward

in awe

of vast granite mountains and

the sky towering high above.

This is what the psalmist

strove to capture

with language

that translates the indescribable

into phonemes;

adjectives that flow like rivers

Letters adhere, one clinging to the next,

hoping to combine to describe the impossible.

I am standing in the heart a psalm,

dwarfed and speechless.

There are no words to

measure the scale of grandeur.

No secret alphabet

to put pen to put into words.

The finite within the infinite.

The roar of the waters

barely discernible from the heights.

How tiny we are.

How insignificant in the universe,

in the cosmos’ scale of grandeur.

We crawl  like ants upon the earth,


beneath the mountains

rising to meet the heavens.

I am standing in a psalm.

There are no words.

מוֹנֶ֣ה מִ֭סְפָּר לַכּוֹכָבִ֑ים לְ֝כֻלָּ֗ם שֵׁמ֥וֹת יִקְרָֽא׃

From Psalm 147 - He who counts the number of stars and bestows names upon them.

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