October 2020

"Hakafot" - 10/10/20

Happy Simchat Torah to all of those observing.
While I am not especially observant, I enjoy reading

About the meaning of this holiday that certainly
Has impacted, though the generations, my ancestors'

Reverence not only for The Book - Torah - but all
Books. When I was little, I knew my mother's first job

Was working in a bookstore. I knew our house was
Filled with books of all kinds because of this, and

Because of her own parents' reverence for the written
Word and the assertion that through books, we are

Able to commune with and learn from souls past as
Powerfully if not moreso than if they were speaking

Directly to us. I am, I learned some years ago via my
Jewish Studies in college, a descendent of

The Baal Shem Tov (his wife's side but nonetheless).
My grandfather told my mother this but I hadn't

Necessarily believed it until I learned the history and
Studied the context, but it proved to be so - and

Wikipedia also agrees! What does this mean to me?
It means that I am from a long line of people who were

Immersed in Torah, and then Kabbalah; who
Questioned everything, sought meaning in every

Molecule, substance in every happenstance. I struggle
With being this way, but it is a part of who I am. I seek

Answers but I also know that my own story, my own
Commentary so to speak, is a blessing I feel obligated,

Responsible to make, and that nobody else can do it
For me or dictate it to me. So on this Holy Day, when

Jews for thousands of years lift up and dance with their most
Holy of Books, in praise and humility of its

Study and connectedness to a way of life both
Concrete and mysterious, joyous and painful,

Free-flowing, spirit-wrestling, I bow my head with taut
Humility and lift my heart to the heavens, grateful in

The knowledge that I am the way I am in no small part
For reasons derived from this day, this celebration, this

Dance with words, which continues even in the
Darkest, most confounding times.


"October" - 10/5/20

There are many different kinds of leaves
There are leaves predicated on the soul
And leaves elevated by levity's gall
Leaves founded freely on commonality
Leaves bolstered by shared bright hopes
There are leaves that spring from respect
And leaves that celebrate courage
Leaves that stem from heartfelt gratitude
Leaves derived from deeply felt appreciation

There are branches some would deem friendship
Branches built at least primarily on blood-ties
There are branches that glisten like cobwebs 
Underneath cerulean blue, sun-drenched skylights
There are roots as reaction to beauty, compassion
There are roots all-consuming, unbridled like wind
Wind letters, wind balloons, wind flowers, wind sighs
But what of the seeds, unresolved, undefined?
How can seeds grow when doubt overshadows

 Distance, conditional, ruefully opines