Thursday, March 5, 2015

Me and Abraham -In honor of my 75th birthday ( Nov.1,1939)

“Abram was seventy five years old when he left Haran”(Gen.12:4)

Sixty two years ago, tomorrow,
the Sabbath of Going Forth
 I wander from the warm comfort of nouveau Outremont along  cold yet sunshine drenched  sidewalks  
to winding  staircases of poor Pine Avenue,
arriving finally at a holy place , an altar from which I ascend into Jewish adulthood-
floors creak beneath my feet as I make my nervous way up the Bimah to bless,
bent backs and creaking bones , my choir of hallowed response
-And Abraham was ninety nine years old when he circumcised the flesh of his skin-
youthful chant filling wooden spaces echoing with sighs of yore,
crescendoing in a hail of holy sweets, candies consecrated to sweetening  the sourness of years yet to come,  released with shouts  of praise and hope  from the balcony of beckoning and tear- drenched prayers
Today I am a man-not an ordinary man but Abrahamic-one going forth
stepping into life with only a promise-”and you shall be a blessing.”

Five and seventy years , so many wanderings, alters built and broken,
tests passed and failed, so many questions, so few answers-pleas and arguments, stunned silences , celebrations of success-
Seventy five years later, still stuck in Haran,
A place of haron-of anger, of a closed heart hardened by disappointment 
and broken promises-
it is time to go forth again-from hardness to an open heart, from the altar of anger 
to the shrine of gentle softness-
will I reach ninety nine , a time of circumcision, of peeling away the foreskin of hurt and rage?
Perhaps not-I hear the ancient blessed bidding-Get you forth from Haran, - now, at this crossroads, between Haran and Canaan, the place of surrender,  my seventy fifth year of life - go forth to circumcise the scars of your soul, removing bloody bandages of broken dreams
so that the heart of flesh, bruised  but  able to embrace the blessings of one more day.

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