15 Elul 5774
I Thought it was THEM
I thought it was THEM
that needed forgiveness.
Each year I tried,
arms crossed, teeth clenched
recounting the hurts.
Oy! The injustices against me.
Each year saying “I know I can do this.”
Not failing like last year
or the year before,
or the year before that.
Am I not working at this?
Here in shul?
Pounding my chest?
A Jewish healer
hands me a profound gift,
conveys an old midrash:
The first tablets from Sinai
that Moses dropped
– the broken pieces –
they were as sacred as the whole tablets,
so they were saved in the Ark, too.
Maybe don’t look at the law this year.
Maybe we look at the broken pieces.
Maybe we look at YOUR broken pieces.
We all have them, you know.
I don’t look there, but thank you anyway.
Maybe you should.
Well, maybe I should but what I really want to work on is forgiveness!
I know. So maybe you could look at your broken pieces.
What good would that do me?
Why don’t you just take a look . . . . .
Hands clasped behind my back,
humming a drone that feigns calm indifference,
I walk around, inspecting my personal Ark.
Funny, for something I don’t look at
I sure do recognize it:
guarded by the most loyal angels
Round and round I amble.
I could walk this circle forever
if it means not having to look inside.
Joshua at Jericho has nothing on me. Feh.
That was my first Elul of the Broken Pieces.
The next Elul, I approach my Ark and
this time I touch it.
It is smooth. . . . not bad, really.
As long as I am this close
maybe I should see
where the latches and hinges are,
how they work.
Just in case.
Next Elul, being comfortable now in
I muster the nerve
to open It a crack.
I slowly lower my head to the edge;
just a glimpse couldn’t hurt.
Surprisingly, inside my Ark
it is not dark.
Even in their arbitrary piles,
having landed precisely where they had been
thrown over the shoulder
or otherwise quickly discarded,
I recognize them at once:
My Broken Pieces.
That I hid from them did not render them hidden.
I know every single inch
of every single one of them
as well as I know my own reflection.
In a spell of fascination
my eyes slowly scan the whole of what I see and
a strange feeling comes over me.
It is gentle and calming and, oh, so sweet.
It washes over me
like cool water.
Something is happening.
Something good is happening.
My body and soul feels its Relief
Before my consciousness can take it in:
Something else is in there!
It was never about them.