Day 37 of the Omer
May 11, 2015
DAY 37: PRAIRIE WEDDING
Driving west from Massachusetts
to Seattle, I noticed
a shift midway through Minnesota.
The beginning of prairie. The skies opened up
like my memories of Texas, sunset
a great splash of watercolors
across the most immense canvas.
There's a tipping point.
The gravitational pull of destination
becomes stronger than the origin story.
Where we're from is old news.
But where we're going -- !
The Goldene Medina, the Wild West
the promised land.
Wheels hum on asphalt like a sruti box.
Roll down your window: can you hear
faraway music at the encampment?
It's your wedding band, and mine. Not
a Moonie mass marriage, the real deal:
God in tuxedo and tails (or white Irish lace)
and you with your heart on your sleeve...
Afterwards we'll each remember
standing face to face with the Holy One
beneath the chuppah of the inverted mountain --
or were those just streaks of painted cloud?
Ketubah handwritten on parchment.
The skies opened up and Torah unfurled
like gentle longed-for rain.
Today is the 37th day of the Omer, making five weeks and two days of the Omer. This is the 37th day of our 49-day journey between Pesach and Shavuot, liberation and revelation.
Midrash depicts the revelation of Torah at Sinai as a wedding with God as the groom and Israel as the bride. One midrash says that Mount Sinai was held above us -- perhaps as a threat, or perhaps as our wedding canopy.
This poem borrows its title from one of my favorite Mark Knopfler songs of recent years.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow has suggested that one way to understand the name Torah is to relate it to yoreh, the first longed-for rains of the fall season after the long, hot, dry Middle Eastern summer.