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Elul Reflections: 21 Elul 5780

Avodah

he gathers from each              a fear
                                                a fruit
                                                a plea
                                                a potato

passed with sweaty palms to him
their eyes dare not raise above his pomegranate hem

he gathers                   their cries
                                    their wood
                                    anything that might be gold

goes inside
balancing on one foot
and washing the other

                                careful with the shoulder clasps
                                layers of linen flat on his chest
                                the heavy jeweled vest 
                                meld to his flesh

the basket’s burden is much more than its weight
in four layers of white
shuffling slowly Inward
a trembling ankle rope tethers him
but brings no comfort –
they cannot save him 

to say the Name and live another day
is to seal the People for another year 

he shuffles slowly, serving

 

-- Rabbi Amy Loewenthal, used with permission

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