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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


This Shabbat we will read the parsha V'Zot Habracha. In this short parsha, Moshe blesses the tribes, much as Ya'akov did in the book of B'reisheet. His work is now completed, according the dictates of God, and it is his turn to die. "Al Pi HaShem," perhaps even with a kiss, Moses departs this world.

We finish the book of Deuteronomy and immediately begin the book of Breisheet. We will once again cycle through the highs and the lows of this birth story of the Jewish people. It never grows old.

This poem, called Sunflower, is loosely related to the concepts of strength, persistence and legacy. I hope that it, in some small way, it relates to Moshe's story and even to the endless cycles of which our world is composed, for where there are endings there are new beginnings.

All being well, see you next week for Parshat B'reisheet.

Chazak, Chazak, V'nitchazeik



Sunflower does not know

as the season begins

what her life might be.




a seed, lies quietly

in a field, waiting

for her future to unfold

under a promising spring sky.

She is all potential,

energy unspent.

Gray clouds mushroom

and the rains begin.

She begins her journey with might;

beating the odds,

pushing and prodding

through sun warmed soil.

She does not know what awaits her.

She has just this one


long season.

Her season to live.

A sunflower

just knows how to grow toward the sun.

Insects climb her stem and try use her as a juicy host,

but she is strong

and keeps stretching upward.

The rains stop and the ground is dry

but still she lengthens

toward a sky that holds no answers,

only questions,

but she has faith.

The days grow so very hot

And on some days she



weary of the effort of

finding the tip of the sky,


she does not think consider stopping.

She is tall now,

ungainly even.

She feels that she is changing.

Her growing point

grows and spreads,

weighty with a bloom,

a green knot that expands.

Her golden crown slowly opens

and smiles at the sun.

It is her masterpiece.

She carries this heavy gift with grace,

her head modestly bowing,

her thin shoulders bearing her sweet burden.

Her flower, heavy with a thousand tiny blossoms

nourishes butterflies and birds.

It is a resting place for bees, who snore softly in the gaps.

As the days grow shorter,

Sunflower slowly bends


the brown earth below her.

In her season

she has stretched herself upward

far more than she knew she could.

The days are shorter now and she grows so weary.

Her flower is dry now and brims with seeds.

Some fall to the ground around her.

Some scatter in the wind.

Others are stolen away by birds.

Some buried by forgetful squirrels.

Next year seems so far away, but

the following spring,

in places still unimagined;

unexpected corners and fields,

new sunflower seedlings

will grow.

One generation of sunflowers to the next.

Do not fear, sunflower.

Your legacy will continue.


Where there are endings, there are new beginnings.


An Evolution of Sunflowers Grown This Summer.

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