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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Home of the Imperfect

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

A few reflections: Parshat Emor speaks at length about the special qualifications that Kohanim need to follow. This is consistent with God's precise instructions of the home that is to built and the detailed description of the sacrifices which are to be made to God in God's home. It makes sense in a narrative which describes the attire of the Kohanim down to the last button, that God would desire perfection in the person conducting the sacrifices.

It make sense and completes a picture of the orderly way to worship.

Somehow when humans were created, we were created in God's image. First came perfection and then a panoply of imperfections. Some of these imperfections come in with our genetic code. Others, too many to list, come from who we are, who we live with and how we live. Imperfection is part of the fabric from what we are built. Imperfections are the tiny tears in the fabric, the tiny scratches on the glass. They are what make us us. There is a place for all of us, complete with our scratches and tears. It is part of the greater part of creation.

Additional note: There is much to write about in Parshat Emor. I hope to write one more poem on the parsha this week.

The Home of the Imperfect

There are so few who are perfect.

There are too many boxes to check,

so few spots to fill.

There are so few spots for the un-blemished,

the smooth, the tall,

the unbroken.

And for those who are imperfect,

there is a place for you in this world.

A place for the crooked and the bent,

for the misshapen.

There is a place for second best,

third best and the fourth.

Last place is welcomed, too,

here in the land of the imperfect.

There is also a space

For those who don’t qualify at all.

And there is a spot for you,

you, who don’t achieve the highest grades,

for whom things don’t come easily.

There is a spot for the child who can never quite catch the ball.

And for the teen who craves to fit in, to be perfect,

as he perceives others to be.

And there is a place for the parent who fears she is not parenting perfectly.

And for the spouse who can never get things quite right.

And for someone who looks different,

but isn't that all of us?

There is a place for you in the land of the imperfect,

that imperfect place which we call home.

And for you who struggle with illness,

with dependency, with despondency.

A place for you, who has trouble believing in yourself.

And for the person who cannot give himself a break.

And for the person who can't live up to other's expectations.

There is a place in the land of the imperfect for those who see themselves as flawed

and those who have been told

over and over again

that they are flawed

by someone who was also imperfect

and couldn’t figure out

how to say the words

that would not hurt,

would not scab,

would not burn.

And there is a place for those who look in the mirror

and only see the scabs, the scars,

not the beauty.

And a place for those who find themselves on the other side,




And in this land of imperfections, we are all in it together.

A gaggle of imperfections,

a google of improvements always on the horizon.

Just keep working on our imperfect selves,

striving to find our best.

There are no easy answers,

just one big mirror in the land of imperfections.

Look at it, long and hard

look in it,

and love yourself for who you are.

Don't give up on yourself,

for you are in good company.

Leviticus 21:18-20

No one at all who has a defect shall be qualified: no man who is blind, or lame, or has a limb too short or too long; no man who has a broken leg or a broken arm; or who is a hunchback, or a dwarf, or who has a growth in his eye, or who has a boil-scar, or scurvy, or crushed testes.


"It is imperfection - not perfection - that is the end result of the program written into that formidably complex engine that is the human brain, and of the influences exerted upon us by the environment and whoever takes care of us during the long years of our physical, psychological and intellectual development. "Rita Levi-Montalcini

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