First I have to notice.
The month before Rosh Hashonah is devoted to reviewing one’s accounts, seeing what is in need of repair – how my ways of doing and being have uplifted or downtrodden, made whole or split, brought solace or suffering. So first comes noticing.
Some years that is all I can do, and then my resolve to repair, restore, make whole does not have much flesh and bone behind it.
This year I have been blessedly hit with insights into very fundamental dynamics about how I live my life and move through the world, so much so that I can quite literally feel my body moving through space made solid. I can feel with my senses the effects as I move through the world unaware, in self-protective mode, how one “no” after another leaves the world around me roughed up and distressed. And how different the effects when I am awake to my full and imperfect humanity. Then even the “no” changes meaning and claims its actual power.
As I enter this New Year, I am deeply resolved to notice, and to choose the sharp blade as a kindness to myself and the world.
May you be blessed to be a blessing to your dear ones and to the world in the year 5778.
by Sara Eisenberg
I would say yes quickly if
I could, Master Rumi, if
Drowsing or distracted I am clumsy and
less nor more than any
one, propelled through
space thick with love
that I take for wood or
ice that needs a
saw, a NO that is my first
There is nothing for it.
Once born, I am skin and mind-
Then I remember God said and it was
How I would be
fresh from the water stone,
a keen blade slicing through
life, leaving no jagged open
You would only feel the lightest
caress on your bare
skin, met, set
apart from all creation by your precious
The following came to me some time after I wrote this poem: while I do not keep kosher, I know that to minimize suffering to a permitted animal, a knife used for slaughtering must be extremely sharp, is inspected both before and after the slaughter, and must be applied in a single uninterrupted movement that does not tear tissues.