An essay in Keeping Faith in Rabbis
Justice, justice shall you pursue

In a time beyond time


Breath comes slow.
Behind the curtain
a gurgling: fish tank?
Medical equipment?
I don't part the veil.

Snatches of liturgy
wash over me and are gone.
My God, the soul You placed
in me is pure. Shelter
her beneath Your wings.

Now and forever.
Now is forever.
And when the soul is ready
to let go, tether trailing
like spider-silk...?

The sages say
sleep is one-sixtieth
of death. Perhaps one
who rarely wakes
can glimpse the other side.


"My God, the soul You have placed within me is pure..." comes from the prayer Elohai Neshama. My favorite translation contains the line "You created it, you formed it, you placed it within me, and you will take it from me in a time beyond time."

The imagery of a soul sheltered beneath the wings of Shekhinah is drawn from the prayer El Maleh Rachamim.

The teaching that sleep is 1/60th of death comes from the Talmud.