Drawn (Randyjw; January 18, 2017)


Five thousand years past

In a memory which continues to last

the child was given second life

set to sea in a basket of reeds

amongst the rushes edged at the Nile


The child grew as a prince

adopted son of the Pharoah’s daughter

encompassed into the fold of those who would,

for four-hundred and thirty years, it’s guessed,

enslave his kith and set them to slaughter.


The crumpled fibers of papyrus

bespoke in the hieroglyphs of the stylus

the rituals born of the worship of the sun

obsessions confessed to the journeys of the gone


Osnat, the Egyptian convert to Judah

and mother of the brood of Yosef

would raise the two tribes

Menassah and Efraim

eventually lost of this Israelite bride


And Moses would flee the executioner’s sword

set upon his brow in recompense

for the rage which bubbled up in him

like the pitch of resined pine used to waterproof the boat

by the force of strength he left ungauged

a meted rage against the master who lashed his kindred slain

and so he smote


And up to the heavens

the merkavah flew

he wouldn’t see Israel

because of the man he slew

but he would bring them forth

from a foreign hand

and deliver these descendants

to the promised land


Back in Goshen

denuded neighbors were gladdened by the news of the freed slaves

good men and people who’d never given problem

ones who’d been put to work, to death, to lives not of their particular choosing


But the upper reaches of the echelon

searched the skies and surely noticed

that the moon is forever in orbit

enthralled with its helpmeet in elliptical worship




Filed under Poetry

29 responses to “Drawn

  1. Osnat, Wikipedia, which also mentions explanation of Dina’s daughter, via Shechem. True, the explanation for the smiting of the stone, which was uncalled for. Three, applying new Jewish thinking, which allows for conjecture, argumentation, and the positing of new theories or explanations, from which its possible to supply added meanings, regardless how well-learned of Midrash, Talmud, Gemarrah, or ArtScroll. New explanations, mostly from Rav, posit new theories all the time. Whether accepted or discredited? There is similar basis for comparison in David not being allowed to build the Temple, for having “blood on his hands” in placing Uriah into the fray of battle from which it would be nigh impossible to withdraw with life intact. Indeed, Uriah was killed. We love David. G-d loves David, having chosen him to be king. G-d also chose Moshe. Moshe also smote a man, who died. He has “blood on his hands” also. Yes, Moshe disobeyed G-d in the specifics of not calling upon the rock, but hitting it with his staff, instead. Yes, it’s taught that it was due to the smiting of the rock, but could it not be that he killed a man? Perhaps by unintended application of overzealous force, and so maybe manslaughter as opposed to homicide, and that does differ to David’s bad thoughts about Uriah, but nevertheless ends the same. Is it because he’s still in Egypt and not on his way that such things can have no connection? No, because the plagues occur there, and that is a command to celebrate Passover. Three, poetic license and imagery in my head.

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    • No; just all Rav, in general. Talmidim. Learners, studiers. Chochma. I’m just talking about poetry and imagery. At some point, Jewish people somewhere, and everywhere, and at every moment, B”H, engage in learning and debate. There are always, always, always interpretations being given, that may be “newish”; I don’t think we’re done, yet. Not just yet, if ever. Meanwhile, though I skipped some preceding paragraphs, Chabad seems to be saying in one reading from Lekutei Sichot, it seems, that G-d tells Moses, while in Egypt, that he will not see Israel’s victory in Canaan due to Moshe’s questioning of His justice that Hebrew children were being immured in the Egyptian walls, but that G-d replied that they would have grown to be wicked and that His actions spared their future punishment. This could also be seen as another reason why Moshe was not allowed to finally settle in Israel. I wonder why we reflexively use the rock argument and not others? I guess more heft (no pun) attributed to its positor? So, yes, we do use tradition (Mesorah), but we’re never stuck on its being the end of the closed book, even though the book is closed to additional entries (true). We’d be stagnant.

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    • You’re not forcing your beliefs on me. I’m Jewish.

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      • I know. It’s an all-in-one thing. It is unlike anybody or anything else that anyone has ever had on this planet because people like to separate it as an either/or thing, according to their own, limited perceptions. They say it is either: religion or race or culture, but never can they give us the respect due in that it can be all of that together, including the lineage part, as well as also being allowed to accept converts, who will then be also Jews through religion. It drives them crazy throughout all of eternity to keep negating that, via the Church/Churches and many other religions and rulings, including secular and pagan ones, etc. It’s one of my hugest pet peeves. They’re still doing it, especially in the latest census considerations as to how to include Arabs as part of a majority separate group (in order to give them their own designation) while minimizing the Jews. What they’ve come up with is the MENA designation (Middle East/North Africa), so that they can lump together two entirely different continents of people into one, just to favor the Arab and make the Jew have to join in with either the Arab or put in to the White group of people, as if we have no history! As usual! When we have the earliest history of any of them! It’s an outrage! They always do this to us through the census; and it’s gotten only worse over the years — not better! Meanwhile, I know what you’re talking about. I don’t dispute the laws. How could I? My problem is in having wanted to fit in to the assimilated society and learning via a Reform manner. It didn’t come across as something to question. The hard part is negating my militant feminism, my comfiness in dressing in pants and t-shirts; my hatred of stuff over my elbows or on my head, etc. Difficult. I read from the Torah on the bimah with a yad at my bat-Mitzvah. The Israeli guy admitting me to Israel almost plotzed when I showed him my picture of my bat-Mitzvah, which he raced off to go show someone, and then said okay. Ummm, yeah. I would have argued that I was not a self-hating Jew, until I relearned that I most certainly had been. The assimilation problem. Meanwhile, it’s holdover is relentless. I will argue my Jewishness, beyond doubt. Yes, indeed. I still feel we all hold our purposes. Perhaps even at the stages at which we are at. I can’t stand when people have no Jewish education, whatsoever, and feel that, just because they haven’t, then they should feel compelled to see to it that nobody else should, either. It generally tends to be the case for those who take our enemies’ sides, while negating their own history (mostly because they are uninformed about it). So, I know what you mean. I went to “Hebrew” (a misnomer) school and “Sunday” (sounds “churchy”) school three times weekly from a young age until about 15 years old, or so. I educate myself through constant reading of Jewish secular books and sources of news, such as The Jewish Press, Aish HaTorah, and Arutz Shevah; it’s the philosophy I agree with (mostly modern Orthodoxy). I’m very Zionistic, as well. I made Aliyah (though it didn’t work out) and I volunteered in Israel for almost 9 months. I’m obsessed with Israel. I love the land. It’s our home. I actually don’t think the Laws should be watered down, at all. I am thankful that there are the Orthodox who will still keep them. We need to protect that; not dismantle that or treat it as effrontery, like some people like to treat the religious folks. It’s a shanda.

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  2. PS: I’m not a nit to be picked on.

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    • You’re right. I sortof wasn’t in the mood to debate and took that out on you. I apologize. Meanwhile, your questioning has inspired me to actually (heh-heh) go look up some stuff. Hard to track down. Amazed what I got right. Amazed how much I’ve forgotten! Amazed at how much still there is to learn. Still looking. I’ll continue this thought at your other reply… with more questions.

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      • Frankly, the reason that part got in there was due to Wiki info, because I was just double-checking that I was remembering the name of Yosef’s wife correctly. So, that’s what I get for checking with non-Rabbinic sources. But, that leaves me with so many more questions. I know the explanation about the rock is the proferred one. And I know we give deference to this argument. But, why this argument, as opposed to the one G-d himself gives to Moshe at Egypt over the walled children? Attributing this argument, as you do, to Rashi… Let me ask you: Did Rashi say that the reason Moshe will not settle in Canaan/Israel is specifically NOT due to his having smote the Egyptian? Or is it inferred by negation due to the emphasis Rashi places on the smiting of the rock (not following G-d’s orders), thereby making all other explanations void? If we use inference, though, then we can see that when G-d says to Moshe that he will not see Israel’s victory in Canaan, that we can take it to refer to his actual non-entry and subsequent passing away, because we already have the benefit of knowing that result by having read the Torah. We also use Oral law and tradition to uphold the Torah, and that is where Orthodox education is most helpful, because that is pretty much the means whereby which they’ve been handed down. Yet, I don’t have too much of that rich background, bring Reform, as you know. So, I know Ruth was a convert, although I’m pretty sure the Torah never states that, as such. I had always heard that Herod was an Edomite (Idumean) convert to Judaism, but just came across a secular article leaving him without that status. Then, there’s Osnat. The Wikipedia reference (okay; Wikipedia is not a Jewish source) claiming her as an Egyptian convert to Judaism, and Jewish sources saying she was Dinah’s daughter. Well, Jewish sources know from whence they came, and it’s shown that outsiders like to mess with Jewish facts and history. But, what of Manassah and Efraim? Does that make Yosef’s tribes non-Jewish? Is this why they were lost, eventually? Why would we say, “May you be like Manassah and Efraim?” Because they merit the worthiness of a Jewish designation, or because of a portion in the land? Well, these questions are outside the realm of poetry. I do know that we’re not supposed to add or subtract from what is in its Torah, and that my gobbledygook is probably a profanation. I’ve used it to my own benefit, hiding my own meanings within its utterances, making it non-Biblical, non-Jewish and wrong. I don’t know if it will bring to or repel from the faith. When I invoke this imagery of an even imagined part of heritage/history, I tend to feel closer with it. That is all. It is still poetry and not actual “official” teachings. It is just a Jewish girl.

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        • Good points about Osnat. Yeah, Jewish under all circumstances. You’re right about Menashe and Efraim — I had forgotten that that was the reason why, although kindof thought it was, afterwards. Reviewing our conversation, in all actuality, you only just mentioned the rock argument, and nothing more — without other reasons. It actually was myself who introduced into this discussion the possibility of there being other feasible explanations when I brought up the Chabad mention of G-d telling Moshe that the reason Moshe will not see Israel’s victory in Canaan will be due to Moshe’s questioning of there being justice in G-d allowing Hebrew children to be immured by the Egyptians in the walls — even though, I, like yourself, am familiar with the rock explanation as being given as the reason. I don’t even particularly remember this part about the children in the walls in the Bible. But, then again, there’s so much in it, it’s easy to find “new” things with every reading. Anyways, it doesn’t matter if you or I said anything about other explanations. In fact, now that you’re mentioning that someone said it might have been a “mitzvah”, I’m also feeling that I’ve heard this explanation before, as well. I’ll see if I can look it up. I love these men who can ponder such thoughts as these. I’d say, “Don’t you?” But, I already know that you do.


        • About the poetry, though… I think you’re kinda right. It’s sortof idolatrous, in a way, for me to be injecting personal meanings, which have no bearing on Judaism in what I’ve done, to the teachings of Holy matters and relevancy. Not talking about it in its proper context. Probably a worse offense than using non-Rabbinic sources. It’s even worse than being ignorant of the religion to which I’m born. I don’t know what I’ll do. My poetry was a release. Expression which also can only be possible through what G-d grants to us. I hope I don’t lose it. I lost my personal writing creativity for decades, before once again regaining it due, in all seriousness, to my fury about the removal of the Jews from their homes in Gaza. It came back, pronto!

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