Day 49 of the Omer
i carry it in my heart

A love poem to Torah - for Shavuot



is a tall drink of water
on a thirsty day

the longer I know him
the more beautiful he becomes

I want to hold him close
and press my lips to his shoulder

to unfasten his gartel
with unsteady hands

to trace every letter
I find on his skin

He is milk and honey
on my tongue

anointing oil
on my hands

voice like flowing water
inscribing my heart


Many Jewish mystical texts hint that the relationship of the scholar with Torah is like romance. The Torah is the (feminine) Beloved, and the reader (presumed, of course, to be male) is the one who seeks Her beauty. Sometimes she is described as the beloved daughter of the King -- which is to say, God -- given to Israel in marriage.

I've never seen a poem which takes the opposite tack, anthropomorphizing Torah as beloved and male. If you know of others, please let me know.

Gartel is Yiddish for "belt;" in this context it alludes to the belt which in standard Ashkenazic practice goes around the Torah scroll, beneath the velvet mantle.

Chag sameach -- wishing you a joyous Shavuot!