Stand with Me

I stand, amidst controversy,

thrive amongst subtleties,

arrange my life accordingly

to the truths that stand on their own.

Standing room only in Heaven,

when the righteous, downtrodden, and marginalized;

misunderstood, voiceless, and persecuted

will enter into their glory.

Will you stand with me?

Called

Called, in one moment of divine inspiration,

by the One who reaches down from seventh heaven,

with His right hand, to guide the contrite of heart

to safe shores, where rest may be found

from the tumults of life that endanger the soul,

bringing light to those bound in the darkness

of the world, unable to find their way.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

I was constrained by cords of mental bonds,

trapped by the Deceiver, and secured in the lair

of the Adversary, until G-d freed me from my shackles,

appearing as my redeemer within the lion’s den,

where I would have been torn, rendered into pieces,

had He not shown me a way out of the arena,

and brought me to safety, after crossing the sea.

Silence of the Pearl

Focused on my own comfort,

like an oyster, easily irritated

by a grain of sand in its home,

I seek to minimize the pain.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

The many coatings of calcium carbonate,

secreted as a self-defense mechanism,

create a shiny lustrous pearl, treasured

by the human aesthetic appreciation.

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

Shall this not serve as a lesson,

for myself, and others as well,

who can transform sorrow into joy,

suffering into divine silence?

Plea of the Pearl

There is something greater, than can be imagined, on the other side of the Veil. Something beyond compare to anything that can be found in this world. Yet, you continue to dive for pearls, as if treasures can only be manifest by searching the seas.

Our tears of compassion will be dried by the angels. Yet, you are heartless, and say, “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” (1).

Those who weep for the poor, downtrodden, and voiceless, will be comforted when the Kingdom appears at dawn. Yet, your myopic focus on self, will not be rewarded on the Day Judgment.

Cast away your ambition, for the sake of Heaven, and search for the lost souls, whose renewal will bring you joy. For, “to save a life, is as if an entire world will be saved” (2).

(1). Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928)

(2). Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1

Our Hope

In the face of challenge, you are our hope;
in the midst of chaos, you are our refuge.

When the walls are pressing inwards,
you are there to expand our horizons.

When all seems to be lacking inspiration,
you are there to light the way for us.

In doubt, I will continue to trust you;
in fear, I will not turn away from the path.

When others offer no consolation,
I will seek out your compassion.

When others have no kind words,
I will avail myself of your kindness.

When those who promised, break their promises,
I will trust in the inheritance that you have given us.

When the world looms large in shadows,
I will wait until you bring the dawn.

When darkness threatens to engulf this country,
I will feel reassured by your prophetic word.

Mercy Abides

Mercy abides in the heart, despite all sorrow;

where G-d has planted eternity as well,

so that we know what will be, beyond this world,

no longer needing to live in fear of the inevitable.

For, the remedy has already been applied,

like a bandage upon this wounded world,

whereas mourning will turn into joy at dawn,

and the darkness of night will succumb to the light

of mercy that will shine in our hearts,

radiating outwards, from one end of the earth to another.

From one generation to the next,

the best of intentions fail to succeed,

because without G-d in the equation,

nothing will add up properly,

nor total out correctly, like having the perfect

amount of change for bread and wine,

on Friday, late afternoon, before sunset.

Towards the end of the sixth day,

when the heavens and earth were finished,

currently, nearing the edge of eternity,

as the millennial Sabbath approaches,

and preparations are already being made

for the Banquet of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

catered by angelic beings, serving wine

from the vineyards of Gan Eden.

Pruning Time

To write, or not to do so,
in ink, pixels, or pencil;
to express my views or not,
and risk being ostracized?

This climate of intolerance
sprung up as if overnight,
from an inflexible critique
of everything under the sun.

The seasons are changing
and the times are rearranging;
the values of the past have become,
like branches that must be pruned.

Yet, each time they grow anew,
they are trimmed back even further;
until, perhaps, nothing will be left,
except the barren trunk of a tree.

And, when that is reduced to nothing
except for a stump, planted firmly in the ground,
the seedlings will quietly sprout up elsewhere,
remaining hidden, until the light reappears.

Sagami

Sweat, discipline, and a weekly regimen,

fosters a strong will, and a determination

that prevails each and everyday, until

the end of the semester, after testing

~ we cross the span of the river ~

To feast on miso soup, sushi, and sashimi;

cups of green tea, and sake throughout dinner.

Conversation turns towards Japan, where

all devoted students would like to train.