From the viewpoint of Kabbalah, relationship is the entire theme of creation.
The One has become Two and then Many, yet each and every part remains connected to every other and to the whole. The transcendent and the immanent, the personal and the impersonal, the material and the highest realms of spirit are present everywhere.
Our essential dilemma as humans likewise is rooted in the underlying conditions of separation and connection.
We feel both our essential aloneness, and the vast possibilities of what it can mean to give and to receive in relationship.
This is true whether we consider the nature of our relationship with a friend, a significant other, or The Significant Other who devotional poets have long called The Beloved.
The single word “cleave” carries the essential paradoxical dynamic of relationship. This Janus word looks in opposite directions at the same time, signifying both to separate or hew apart, as well as to adhere closely, with strength of attachment. Without the hewing, there is only enmeshment: no real connection, no space into which giving and receiving can be offered.
by Sara Eisenberg
I have long forgotten what I was made for:
to cleave, to cling and to hew all
With two fingers I tap
on the clear frigid air
of this first morning of the new year,
it shatters but holds together.
That same air must pass through
warming shades of blue
wool across nose and mouth to deliver
its essential lode to lungs that
have a new freedom I cannot account for.
I cross the room, walk smack into swags of
unseasonable gossamer, that sticky stuff
that has ambushed me in the late-summer garden,
and now presses itself into my crevices as if sealing a vow between
No longer am I spread out over vast distances, destined
to spin, order and turn worlds,
harbor and protect legions, heedless of sleep: labors suitable to
whole colonies of social insects.
To be in my very own skin
where there is space between us
where breath may pass, and words, and love,
that cleaving we were made for.
Banner photo: Duke Gardens by Pat Merriman, Hillsborough Art Gallery, Hillsborough, North Carolina