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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Poetic Midrash on Parshat Balak

This week we read a double parasha/portion from the Torah, Hukat-Balak (Numbers/Be'midbar 19:1-25:9). This week I will focus only on the portion of Balak.

In this narrative, Balak king of Midian, hires the magician Bilaam to curse the Israelites. However, no matter how hard he might try, he may only utter words of praise.

On his way to Balak, Bilaam encounters a fiery angel on the path. However, Bilaam does not see the angel. Only his donkey, who stops in his tracks and refuses to move, see it. Finally, after Bilaam begins to beat the donkey in order to get him to move, the donkey miraculously begins to speak. To paraphrase, he says "you've known me all these years! Doesn't the fact that I stopped dead in my tracks tell you that something is wrong? Open your eyes!"

In reading this section, the old adage "never assume" came to mind. And so, this midrashic poem on the parashah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Steve Nathan

Never assume


Never assume
For when you do
You know the rest

Never assume
That you know
What is there
What there is
That you know
The Truth
Before experiencing it

Never assume
For when you do
You blind yourself
To truth
Unable to see
What is before you
Within you
Around you
Unassuming
Even hidden
Waiting for you to open
Your heart
Your soul
To be
Present
To
What is

For That is
The truth
You think
You know
What you see
Is
What is

Something
Someone
Tries to tell you
You are wrong

You will not listen
With your heart
You do not see
With your soul
Relying on only
Five senses
You try to
Move on
Into the future
But
You cannot

What stops you is
The present
The truth
Crying out
To be known
Without that
You cannot move on
To the future
that
Does not exist

Only the next present
Followed by
The next
And the next
And the next

Why
Can't you see
The angel
The Presence
Present
The truth
In the moment

Why
Do you push
Beat
Force
Yourself
And others
To move ahead
To move
Past the present
Ignoring the truth
Againandagain

Stop
Open your heart
SeeFeelKnow the moment
Truth
The angel
Divine
Presence
It may be beautiful
Or not
It may be comforting
Or frightening
It may be joyous
Or painful
But
It is
The moment
The Divine Reality
Truth
All We have

Open your heart
Your spirit
To the all-in-the-moment
Do not assume
To understand
What you see
Until you see
The truth
Within

Do not
Assume
Whether good bad or both
That it will remain
Beyond the moment
For it will not
Do not
Assume
Anything

Do not
Assume
Just
Be
Open
Just live
Fully
The moment
Acknowledging the
Truth
Each moment
That is
Blessing
Enough

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