Praying my anger away
Notes toward a morning prayer practice

This week's portion: collaboration


By the time I arrive
the work is in full swing.
We've taken over the house:
here the corer and cutting boards,
there the bowls of apple cubes
touched with cinnamon.

The grinder is clamped
to the kitchen table, its wide tray
awaiting what comes off the stove.
Out comes applesauce, pink
from the shredded skins
of Cortlands, Empires, early Macs.

By the end of the day
everything we've touched
is sticky and fragrant.
We mop the floors
to the popcorn sounds
of two hundred lids sealing.

Maybe this is what it was like
for the Israelites back then.
Everyone brought the supplies
they had on-hand, the skills
to which each could lay claim
and they sat together

here the weaving and stitching,
there the clamor of carpentry
talking and cracking jokes
while Bezalel, Uri's son
who had in his heart the wisdom
to bring visions to life

carried his holy clipboard
from place to place. When the work
was done, did they sit back
and marvel at what they had made,
how holy presence dwelled
in the work of their joined hands?

This week I started working on a d'var Torah for parashat Vayekhel, and realized once I had a draft that it would probably work better as a poem than as prose. So I rewrote it, and I like this version a lot better. Not exactly a traditional d'var, I realize, but I hope it speaks to you anyway.

While I'm at it, this seems like a good time to mention a new page I recently generated for the blog: Velveteen Rabbi's Torah Commentary. It's a list of every d'var Torah I've written since I started blogging in 2003, organized by parsha. It's gratifying to see them all lined up like that! Anyway, enjoy.

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