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Torah In Verse

Torah In Verse

A Sonnet on the Weekly Parsha by Justice Michel M. J. Shore

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On behalf of all of us at MTC I extend a deeply-felt thank-you to our esteemed and cherished friend Justice Michel M. J. Shore. For the past year of 5777/2016-2017 he has treated us each week in the pages of our Mosaic to an exquisite sonnet on the Parsha, flowing from an endless fountain of Divine wisdom, drenched in soulful inspiration. Reb Michel faithfully submitted a sonnet (typically in the wee hours of the morning) for each and every parsha of the Torah not withstanding his enormous and unceasing communal responsibilities and ground-breaking achievements.

We wish him much success in all his worthy endeavours, good health and nachas from all his loved ones. May the Almighty fulfill all his noble heart’s desires for good and for blessing and may he continue to inspire us with increasing vigour and joy, Omein.

 

Rabbi Moishe New

 


From:  Michel Shore
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:49 PM
To: Rabbi New
Subject: Torah Commentary in verse

 

To sojourn the holy Torah each week together with you, dear Rabbi, and, your beloved congregation, to which I feel such a sense of belonging, is for me an honour and a privilege.

To share ideas which, I pray, are guided, by G‑d in both verse and rhythm is a responsibility that is most significant.

May Nase v' Nishma, always accompany us all.  May the messages, we all heard at Sinai, which still echo by Divine chorus, reverberate in our souls to augur Messiah ZEITEN.

May the messages, with G‑d's tutelage resonate in every cell of our being to awaken and live the Torah's shofar's call. May it resonate from the Yamim Norayim throughout the year. This is my prayer in my writing of this work.

Dear Rabbi, I hope bli neder to send you each week such a commentary in verse, if I miss a week due to my schedule, I will send the few next year at the appropriate time.

To share each week is for me an opportunity of giving of my self a work, avodah (worship) of love for the Torah, to you, dear Rabbi, and to the congregation that I have grown to love.

May the Ibishte grant us, all, derech hatzlaha in all our Torah journeys.

With devotion, always, michel

 



A LONGER SONNET FOR BEREISHIT

 

No time, no space, no fragrance, no voice heard,

No sound, no light, no shadow, no texture,

One Presence presided as the Shepherd

Without A flock and without a pasture;

 

The Master Architect, Sculptor, Painter,

The Decorator, Set Designer, Engineer,

The Landscape Artist, Music Conductor,

Universe Poet Laureate, Writer,

 

Declared a formal beginning; and,

All began within a space and a time;

The Divine blueprint birth of life in rhyme,

Scripted in Genesis, signed in G‑d’s hand;

 

From the abyss, the Divine vibration

Pulsates Parental love through the cosmos;

The Creator’s breath draws the curtain open;

Land, water boundaries set; no dice is tossed.

 

The Earth teeming with life: vegetation,

Animals, woods, gardens, waters, beaches;

From generation to generation,

The unification of the One teaches

 

The only choice for life is unity,

Conditional on that is security.⬢

 



PARSHA NOAH COMMENTARY IN VERSE (IAMBIC PENTAMETER)

 

The waves heaved, sighed, drowned all that had not embarked;

Yet, the ark sailed, continued its journey,

In time and space, to a new beginning,

Purified of the past, of pain inflicted;

Sadness in the Divine Parent remained-

For His lost hopes, children, creatures, gardens.

They chose wrongly after He gave them choice,

Lost, not forgotten, mourned by the Divine.

Had G‑d made a mistake to give them choice?

Yet, the Divine hope, a rainbow for Noah-

And future generations to build anew;

In our choice lies Divine Eternal hope.⬢

  



 LECH LECHA AND VAYEIRA 

 

(A sonnet for two Torah portions)

 

As commanded by the Divine to do,

Abram left his land, family, father's house,

A voyage, deep within himself to renew,

To awaken his soul and others arouse

 

To the One and only Divine, there is;

In the midst of chaos, he saved Lot

By his plea, for lives, he did not miss

Each chance for Divine compassion, he sought;

 

His name, his identity, the Lord changed,

He became not who he was, but who he could be,

By transcending his ego, he exchanged

The illusion of self, bittul to be;

 

Avraham knew that there is no other,

For all humanity has but One Father.⬢

 



A SONNET FOR CHAYEI SARAH

 

Abraham descended Mount Moriah and wept;

G‑d saved Isaac from sacrifice;

Beloved Sarah had died and alone, they felt;

Yet, love of Sarah brought the sun to rise.

 

The void of loss, an open wound remained;

A darkness of vision blurred through tears;

Parted father and son, then hope regained,

Divine consolation from abandonment's fears.

 

Sarah, foremother and wife's blessings light

Our homes, l'dor v'dor with an embrace;

As her spirit of love of each gives sight,

That love remains forever by God's grace,

 

Love which brings Isaac, Rivka, a bayta,

Love, G‑d's gift to comfort with each Ima.⬢

 



A SONNET FOR TOLDOT

  

Two children even in the womb in strife,

One the other by the ankle held at birth;

Isaac and Rivka given rivals for life,   

Can their home and the world have the gift of mirth?

 

When both sons separate, the world must wait;

For a new beginning that was meant to be;

When  humanity reaches its true fate;

The messianic age, thus, will be conflict-free;

 

The blessing bestowed on Jacob, realized;

Wells then to be dug for mayim chayim,

That no one destroys by evil plan surmised;

Rather a road towards peace built in time.

 

When no nation lifts up sword any more;

And the lion will no more any lamb ever gore.⬢

 



A SONNET FOR VAYETZE

  

And the ladder stretched from heaven to earth;

The angels  were ascending and descending;

From far and wide, Divine light permeated the blessing,

Bestowed upon Jacob for future generations' birth.

 

The path of Jacob had been fully traced;

The land would be his after travails faced;

Seven years laboured, then seven to follow,

First Leah, then beloved Rachel, and six with sorrow.

 

Finally, he left with his wives and family;

Years of toil for Lavan had left their tally;

All deception set aside with sage age and maturity,

Made Jacob understand responsibility's gravity.

 

How would he face life's vissitudes,

Would depend on his acts' rectitudes.⬢

 



A SONNET FOR VAYISHLACH

  

The Sonnet below begins  with a reference to last Shabbat's portion in its last few lines, as I believe the blessing of Mahanaim, accompanies Jacob for the rest of his life; and, continues l'dor va dor  with us, Israel, as he was named ISRAEL, a reference to the name given to us as a people, our internal and external traversing in our daily life journeys. 

 

May the blessing of Mahanaim always accompany us wherever we go and whatever we do. May it be so, always, with G‑d's blessing of guidance and protection.

 

Jacob left Lavan and angels guided him,

Outside and towards Israel, Mahanaim,

From two camps, they would not leave him;

They protected and prepared each place for him.

 

With gifts, prayers and preparations for battle,

Jacob sent Messengers to appease Esau with cattle.

Imploring G‑d to save his wives and children,

Jacob separated them and met Esau again.

 

Alone, Jacob wrestled with an angel,

Teetering between his own heaven and hell.

Who was he meant to be?  That, he would see,

When he freed the angel, blessed was he.

 

Jacob became Israel, then, he saw his nation's tree;

At Peniel, thus, the face of G‑d made him free. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAYEISHEV 

 

Joseph, dreamer of dreams, beloved of Rachel, born;

Sold, beaten, broken,enslaved,humbled and worn;

No longer was he the fabler of fables,

Nor was he now the nobler of nobles.

 

Incarcerated, yet never subjugated,

Joseph’s aristocracy of the spirit vindicated;

His neshama in prison surmounted the challenge,

For his brothers’ act, never a thought of revenge.

 

Joseph realized his dreams would come true,

If the dreams of others would be lived through him too;

The Divine design embraces humanity;

Avodah is the cosmic harmony’s gravity.

 

To remain in concert with the Divine rhapsody,

Needs attunement at One with G‑d’s symphony. ⬢

 



A SONNET FOR MIKKETZ

 

Joseph, from prison to Pharoah’s palace, sent, 

Two dreams to interpret as to what the future meant;

The sky and the wind, the fields and the sand, 

The Nile and the cattle across the land. 

 

The vision of Joseph, Divinely inspired, 

Sustenance to store, when the earth would be tired; 

Seven years of herds and grain aplenty, 

Then destruction, starvation, seven years of empty.

 

Joseph, Viceroy of Egypt, second to Pharoah, 

The most bowed to statesman, when not even bone marrow 

Could be found in all the neighbouring lands; 

Starving refugees traversed the sands. 

 

Eventually, all became Egypt’s slaves; 

Sold to Pharoah and herded to work by knaves. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAYIGASH 

 

Do not our brother, Benjamin, hostage, take;

No famine, pleaded Judah, in despair,

Can destroy our Father more than a loss he cannot bear;

His favorite son, long gone, I pray for his own life’s sake.

 

Joseph, no longer could restrain his soul;

Years of abandon, family for which he longed,

Released the cry, and mask of his official role;

Judah’s tshuva, Joseph’s tears, washed away deeds, so very wrong.

 

The brothers’ reunion heard of, throughout the land,

Brought pharoah’s invitation, in protocol so grand.

For Jacob to survive the shock of Joseph, alive,

His granddaughter Serach’s sweet song, did Jacob, revive 

 

Seventy souls, thus, came, the nation of Israel,

But no assimilation of the nation, it was not for sale.⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAYECHI

 

Before Jacob was gathered unto our ancestors,

He blessed his sons and those of Joseph as his;

Praying that each of their attributes be strengthened.

No one simply is, who one is, thus sentenced.

 

One  is, who one can become, a work in progress.

Ephraim, be fruitful, strive more, never less.

Menashe, you know G‑d, recall your fellow man.

Reuven, become solid. Judah, a lion for Zion.

 

Zevulon, travel the harbors of life safely.

Issahar, use your gift of strength but sanely.

Dan, judge to find truth without being aloof.

Gad, shall vanquish.  Asher shall be enriched and others lives sooth.

 

Naftali, the spokesman, craft your words wisely.

Joseph, separate yet strong.  Benjamin shares unmiserly. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR SHEMOS

 

“Moses, Moses” called the Lord, our G‑d, twice;

“Hineini”, here, I am; only the service of each will suffice.

If the voice of the voiceless is to be heard,

Then silence to the weltschmerz remains absurd.

 

Slavery of the body imprisons the soul,

If the dream of freedom forgets its goal.

Each life has a mission to pursue;

Otherwise nothing of consequence is left to do.

 

Moses, former prince of Egypt educated

In Egypt’s Harvards and Oxfords, there so segregated

From our people’s woes of enslavement; 

Yet to the cry, he responded, subjecting him to banishment.

 

In the stillness and serenity of the desert,

His soul, to the Lord, became awakened and alert. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VA’EIRA

 

The moans of the children of Israel

Were heard by G‑d, who remembered the covenant.

We may have forgotten what G‑d meant,

But G‑d could not forsake the children of Israel.

 

Cana’an awaited as our heritage;

Neither suffering nor years of bondage

Erased G‑d’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;

Slavery destroys morale, but the dream, it could not rob.

 

“I will take you out…, save you…, redeem you;”

“You will be my people, I will be your G‑d.”

Chains of slavery imprison all that is true;

For it is in freedom that G‑d we laud.

 

“Let my people go that they may serve me;”

G‑d’s words, Moses spoke; yet, pharoah refused to see. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR BO

 

Again darkness covered the face of the deep,

As the conscience of Pharaoh was asleep.

Plague after plague had not changed Pharaoh’s mind;

Yet, in Goshen, there was no plague of any kind.

 

The world lived within a Havdalah Nes

As light was separated from darkness.

In each plague, the sacred and the profane

Were separated for a further gain.

 

And, then, the very last plague of them all,

A cry of anguish signaled slavery’s fall.

Throughout Pharaoh’s land, each firstborn was dead.

Moses had nothing more, for Pharaoh, to be said.

 

The children of Israel’s March to Freedom,

A symbol of Liberty for dreams, to feed them. ⬢

 



A SONNET FOR BESHALAH

 

The journey to the promised land began

As a March to Freedom: the old, the young,

The leaders, the followers, each woman, each man,

Infant in arms, each with praise on their tongue.

 

The Red Sea directly in front of them,

Pharaoh and his army in pursuit of them,

God’s protective shield encompassed them;

The Red Sea opened itself as a road for them.

 

Pharaoh and his throng were swallowed by the Sea;

The children of Israel sang they were free.

Miracle after miracle for all to see.

Each test of trust in G‑d held Israel’s key.

 

A pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day

Guided the children of Israel throughout their way. ⬢

 



A SONNET FOR YITRO

 

Now that we are free on our journey home,

What is our ethical temperature?

The trek through Sinai, ours, in a different time zone,

Our hearts and eyes must not stray and elsewhere tour.

 

A steadfast direction, taken inwardly

To follow the Ten Commandments unwaywardly.

With each breath and cell, in thought, word and deed,

To recognize each act, we live, is a seed.

 

For the oasis of our inner meaning,

As we traverse the deserts of our outer being,

We accept the Divine revelation

Not to seek wrongful gratification.

 

Yitro inspires us all with his advice

To accomplish our mission, we must priorize. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR MISHPATIM 

 

Recall, We were strangers In a strange Land;

Forced into hard labor to die in the sand.

G‑d chose Moses to unite our fragile band,

In the Covenant’ vision, so Grand.

 

On Sinai, the contract with G‑d was signed;

Promised, Nase v’Nishma with which we did bind.

Our partnership with G‑d will thus not cease;

L’dor v’ dor, we thus prolong our lease.

 

A kingdom of priests, and nation of prophets,

A light unto the nations, no one forgets;

If we walk in the Almighty’s holy ways,

 With the widow, orphan and stranger to brighten their days.

 

Our ethical temperature’s readings

Guide our soul’s compass to future seedlings. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR TERUMAH 

 

Removal from bondage brought physical freedom;

Each, to Journey to an inner Shalom;

Thus, to fulfill each one’s life mission,

Bestowed by G‑d for each to partner with Him.

 

The soul’s sanctuary in G‑d in each of us,

Externally built as a spiritual fortress,

To find our way when lost within,

For unbridled freedom does lead to sin.

 

The desert Sanctuary created a fence

To measure judgment’s ethical sentence.

The two winged cherubim faced each other,

For us, to speak directly to G‑d as there is no other.

 

The plans bestowed to create the Sanctuary

Reconstruct through Torah’s blueprint our memory. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR TETZAVEH

 

The Sanctuary Ark’s Eternal Light

Journeys space and time, bestowing inner sight.

It’s ineffable flame kindles our soul

To The music of the spheres and our cosmic role.

 

This bridge between heaven and earth floats

Through space and time on celestial notes,

To the very heartbeat of the universe,

Later echoed in David’s Psalms, each verse.

 

The altars of the Sanctuary await

The sacrifices, we offer early or late,

Those of selfish desires and wrongful lust,

To extricate them from our being into dust.

 

Nothing exists but the Eternal Light

If only we were awake to its sight. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR KI THISSA

 

To uphold the Sanctuary structure

Half a shekel from each for the sockets’ fixture;

To uphold the edifice, one and the other

Recognized themselves, as but one, together.

 

Lost In Fear, awaiting Moses,

A golden calf emerged from chaos;

The sands of doubt within, not without

Blinded the multitude, all about.

 

As Moses descended from Mount Sinai,

And saw the sight,  perpetrating a lie

He shattered the tablets against the idol,

Broken- hearted to see our peoples’ fall.

 

How could it be, that saved by G‑d’s hand?

Such desire was not buried before it appeared in the sand.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yet, God forgave the abysmal sin;

Reinscribed  for the world the Ten Commandments through our kin. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAYEKHEL- PEKUDAI

 

Shabbat rest, rejuvenation, contemplation

Reveals the Divine Purpose to creation;

Gives meaning to the building of the Mishkan;

And Kavanah imbues holy intention to its construction.

 

Chosen by the Divine architect, artisans

Guided with precision by the Master’s plans

Construct the table, showbread, seven -branched  Menorah;

And, the basins’ copper mirrors, purify us for the Torah.

 

The accounting books, checks and balances,

An inventory of gold, silver, copper, all advances

Scrutinized to ensure integrity

At each phase to build character maturity.

 

And, at the completion of the structure

Moses anoints  the Miskkan and Kohanim for all future. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAYIKRA

 

The offerings in the Sanctuary

Were given to us as our antidote to sin;

And, the self – justifying ego trajectory

Would depart, for us to return to where we had once been.

 

In stillness, we should listen to the silences;

To hear G‑d’s voice in Celestial songs;

The Creator’s Breath of Life wafts its breezes,

Kindling purifying fires to consume our wrongs.

 

Like the trees in a forest, and flowers in bloom,

We receive the Creator’s sacred message,

Decoded by the soul’s earthly passage;

And, only, in stillness do we give it room.

 

“Elokei nishama shenatata bee;”

It is then that we see, it is “tehora hee”.

             -------------------------------

“Lord, the soul, you have given me, (she) is pure;”

Through tshuva, we return to whom we were conceived to be. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR TZAV

 

The fire on the altar is always to burn bright,

To give the Sanctuary majesty in full sight.

 The peace, guilt and meal offerings ascend

In purification to then transcend.

 

Past wrongs are then transformed but into ash,

In recognition of moral mistakes, so rash.

A kingdom of priests, a nation of prophets

And a light unto the nations, with G‑d given background sets.

 

In gratitude, purity of purpose,

In vigilance, is all that we can offer.

For our consciences, sooner or later, not to suffer;

Otherwise, life is but skimmed on the surface.

 

The Sanctuary, within our very beings, can gleam

In majesty and celebration beyond every dream. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR PESACH

 

A letter for Passover to the child within:

Dear child, how do I explain freedom to you?

An Eternal Divine Embrace, a life by which to win

The realization of your purpose, unique and true.

 

The flight from Mizrayim, inner and outer

Brings with it a sigh of relief, ever louder;

A refusal to dwell in a narrow place,

Deep within a prison of our own inner space.

 

The freedom from negative deed, even thought,

Needs strength to pursue the Divine Purpose sought.

The chametz of the ego must be burnt

If the lesson of inner freedom is to be learned.

 

Freedom from lack of confidence and negativity

Is the constant striving for our mission’s productivity. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR SHMINI

 

The Sanctuary service in its majesty

Brought the kohanim to sense its sanctity.

The sacred revealed itself in both time and space;

Transcendence through worship illuminated G‑d’s grace.

 

The recognition of untethered ecstasy

Must not be tolerated in flights of fancy.

Service to the L-rd demands solemnity

In honor and respect of G‑d’s sovereignty.

 

Obedience to the laws of G‑d with care

Give the earthly journey’s passage it’s fare.

Holy, holy, holy is the G‑d of hosts;

Thus kavanah is needed for all our tasks and posts.

 

The discipline that brings equanimity

Bestows the treasure of serenity. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR TAZRIA/METZORA

 

TAZRIA

The act of birth is co-creation

In concert with Divine manifestation,

With arrival for a mother, felicitation

And a need for healing –space and separation.

 

To begin with two offerings for Tikkun Olam,

For purity and gratitude, thus, fulsome.

A new beginning brings renewal

With initiation under God’s rule.

 

METZORA

For those in psychic and physical pain,

Reparation to ensure health’s  regain,

Of the corporeal chariot of the soul

For this life’s journey and its goal.

 

The gift of healing, never taken for granted

Is through Divine guidance to Kohanim handed. ⬢

 


 
SONNET FOR ACHAREI MOT/ KEDOSHIM

         

ACHAREI MOT

The solemnity of the desert Sanctuary

Beckoned cleansing of the Kohanim tributary.

To submit in worship on Yom Kippur 

To God’s majesty and service, most pure.

 

To partake of food as an offering

Without the barbarism of animal suffering.

In recognition of our table as an altar,

We bench from excerpts of David’s Psalter.

 

KEDOSHIM

“You shall be holy; for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

Thus, to walk in God’s ways is our task solely.

In intimate relations, financial affairs, public, private,

Before God, exists no hidden recess, nor closed gate.

 

With every thought, word and deed exposed,

Every gesture must be souled before it is posed. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR EMOR

 

The awe and majesty of the Sanctuary

Unites the Kohen with God’s tributary.

Awakened to the Holiness of the Soul,

The Kohen is bittul in his role.

 

To be united with the Divine essence

Is to shun the impure through G‑d’s lessons.

To transcend the corporeal desires and lusts

By recognizing passing storms and wind gusts.

 

Moral pollution of the brazen and ordinary

Is shed in offerings, given to become extraordinary.

A kingdom of priests and a nation of prophets

Is a work-in-progress upon Divine sets.

 

From Shabbat, pilgrimage festivals to Yamim Norayim,

An offering for each concludes with Mayim Chayim. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR BEHAR- BECHUKOTAI

 

The Sabbath is a palace, not only in time,

But, also, in space in recognition of G‑d’s grace.

All belongs to the L-rd, neither yours, nor mine;

All is with us, as a lease for a certain phase.

 

Land and individuals are meant to be free,

Not encumbered, nor enslaved, just to be;

To revert to their original state, for all to see

That the L-rd created all, as equals, as each drop of the sea.

 

Integrity and honesty in all our dealings

Are set as Commandments, not as whims of our feelings.

Nature at each Jubilee does set free

In its fiftieth year, each field, fruit branch and tree.

 

G‑d has commanded us to obey his laws, true,

To fulfill our lives, when justice, justice, we shall pursue. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR BAMIDBAR

 

The time to be counted had finally come,

In the second year, the second month, of our freedom run.

After The exodus, a need to count precious, our sum,

Who were we and what had we become?

 

The vestiges of Mitzrayim left, each day, more and more

In the annals of the wind – swept sands,

As we marched further and further, as a Corps

From our former selves, to merit emblems for our tribal bands.

 

The distinct contribution to be made by each tribe

Is written by Moses, G‑d’s Torah scribe.

The priests, the Levites, were not to be counted at all,

Not tempted by the golden calf, they had had no fall.

 

Israel formed an encampment compass

Around the Levites and their Mishkan service. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR NASSO 

(dedicated to my uncle, Mr. Adam H. Herzog,  Avraham Zvi

ben Yacov Yehoshua,  Avraham Zvi ben Lea, 

who blesses me every Friday  before Shabbat, 

if not in person,  then on the phone)

 

Dear L-rd of universe, you who give

The capacity to bless through you;

Upon all that surrounds us and does live

And, thus, we thank Avinu Malkeinu.

 

May the L-rd bless you and protect you;

May the Lord shine his face upon you and favor you;

May the L-rd be gracious unto you and grant you peace.

And thus, the Priestly blessing does not cease.

 

The Levites carry the Tabernacle

With the Torah, across the desert sands; 

the holy transport supports us from debacle

Not only on this journey but through all the foreign lands.

 

Fidelity in marriage in its microcosm

Makes families into a nation in its macrocosm. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR BEHALOTECHA

 

The menorah stands out to light our lives.

It is the symbol of G‑d's eternity.

Alighting our way as our nation strives

To channel our G‑d- given destiny.

  

Two silver trumpets awaken our souls,

To silence the doubt of blindness to faith.

Sets aside ego for humility in our roles,

By which to serve G‑d in reaching our goals.

 

What gifts can we give of ourselves to others.

The very best of ourselves we were given to share.

Each tribe, a gift to bestow as a legacy from our fathers,

Remembering who we are from the lullabies of our mothers.

 

The seventy leaders chosen to guide.

And Miriam’s illness teaches we must never judge with pride. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR SHELACH

 

Do we have the confidence in the journey?

Do we have the courage to reach our destination?

Are we co-partners in our God-ordained destiny?

The promised land requires our deliberation.

 

Every day must be a reaffirmation

Of Joshua’s and Caleb’s description of its sanctification.

The G‑d-given rights come with responsibility

To Eretz Yisrael and faith that G‑d gave us the ability.

 

To envisage the land of milk and honey,

Beyond all challenges and the rudimentary,

Calls for a vision beyond what the eye can see;

Nefesh to nefesh, together, we can make it be.

 

The blue-sky tzitzit to be worn by men are a sign

That all is possible beyond space and time. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR KORACH

 

Ego, arrogance, false pride, jealousy,

Ignorance, selfishness and lack of loyalty,

Led Korach, Datan and Abiram

To revolt against Moses and Aaron.

 

The plague and contagion of rebellion

Brought together two hundred and fifty men.

The sanctification of G‑d’s name

By Moses gave Aaron and generations priestly acclaim.

 

The staff of each tribe, placed in the center of worship,

Became a symbol of the strength of each tribe’s grip,

Giving a solid foundation to our nation,

Confronting the ill-forces of sedition.

 

And Aaron’s staff did grow, sprout and blossom,

Producing almonds that for the nation became a balsam. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR CHUKAT

 

The ash of the red heifer burns together

With ash of the humble hyssop and noble cedar,

Flamed with crimson wool in purification

To reaffirm life’s sanctification.

 

The sweet mayim chaim song of Miriam

Ascends to heaven as she departs the earth.

Her praises of G‑d remain a perpetual stream

In recognition of life journey’s rebirth.

 

Aaron too ascends to the high heavens.

His life, a priestly benediction, reverberates

From generation to generation, with a lens

Of prayer to open the future's gates.

 

The sweet waters from a rock arise

When Moses and we, G‑d, all recognize. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR BALAK

 

And, Baalam, finally, said no to Balak.

“…The L-rd has refused to let me go with you.”

Baalam could no longer turn his back,

If his message of prophecy was to be true.

 

To remain a loyal instrument of the L-rd,

As an Alm-hty’s spokesman, messenger or scribe,

Balaam could but listen only to G‑d’s word;

No desire or gift would entice him to take a bribe.

 

Treason of a self – justified, hijacked mind

Robs the serenity of each pure soul.

No different than the eyes, legs, hearts or hands that betray in kind.

The role of all is but to listen to the soul.

 

And, Pinchas acted without thinking at all

As a witness to immorality, no bystander was he to a fall. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR PINEHAS

 

And Pinehas was rewarded for his act;

Silence would have been complicity to the fact;

And, ambivalence but acquiescence, a lack

Of moral fortitude, a spineless back.

 

For Pinehas, for generations, a pact of peace

And the crown of priesthood, a timeless lease

To administer, as keeper of its keys,

The sanctuary, with sacred seasonal offerings, as fees.

 

A census of those twenty to sixty years old,

Taken to ensure conscription of those, able and bold.

More than six hundred thousand counted, all told.

And five daughters of Zelophehad did hold

 

To the inheritance of their father, as told.

And, Moses named Joshua to succeed as leader of the fold. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR MATOT/ MASSEI

 

A command was given for the winds of war,

A challenge to Moses and Ziporra and their lore.

The paradox of justice knows no bounds, 

As to the place of compassion on human grounds.

 

How do we execute G‑d’s justice,

When humans are confronted by what their lust is?

To then transcend the corporal desires,

Requires the act of extinguishing inner fires.

 

Forty- two destinations to cross the desert,

Each a test to make the conscience alert,

To the range of vicissitudes of life's trials,

So evident in all the parading masked guiles.

 

How can we ever meet the multiple test?

Only, if we leave the ego and in the soul rest. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR DEVARIM

 

G‑d gave you the promise to the land and its key;

Am Yisrael gave you the arduous journey.

All the tests provoked by trials for you to be

All that were you meant to be when you became free.

 

How would you have inherited the land,

If you had not walked for forty years in the sand?

G‑d brought you out of Egypt as a broken band

Of slaves who had to make choices to comprehend

 

That only by ethical decisions can rights be earned;

Moral victory by moral victory is how you learned.

That the events of history in partnership turned

By G‑d assisting you in challenges met, not burned

 

By egotistical desires, empty of Spirit,

Rather than Kavanah, thus, forever lit. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR VAETCHANAN

 

Moses, speak no more, I gave you the journey.

So that the people would return to me;

And before they would enter the land

They would recognize that all was done by G‑d’s hand.

 

The journey is your destination.

You have fulfilled your life’s given mission.

There is only the One with whom you can reason.

Moses, no more, every leader has but a season.

 

Hear o Israel, the Lord Is Our God.

The Lord is One……………………………

In the eyes of the Lord and the people you have won.

You have completed all; your task is done.

 

Moses, you have transmitted The Ten Commandments;

And God brings you home, embracing your sentiments.

 

( Yet, we weep for Moses, we understand he cannot enter Eretz Israel.  Consolation comes from G‑d having shown Moses all the land of Israel and its entire future until Messiah's time.  Nevertheless, our  cry remains until Messiah's arrival and Moses returns to reside in the land with us.) ⬢

 



SONNET FOR EKEV (Because)

 

A child asks why; and the answer is because.

Thus, Moses explains consequences to us.

Just as an action has a reaction,

G‑d gave his Covenant on condition.

 

That we appreciate the land and its promise,

When we recognize that nothing is amiss.

All has been given to us forever more,

If we but in our souls the Commandments store.

 

That we not pursue the desires of the heart or eye

Which led to the failed tests of the journey in Sinai.

All that life can offer is satisfied

By G‑d’s gifts of life’s harvests sanctified.

 

To then understand and acknowledge; and, G‑d bless

For all we receive and consume, but from Him, yes. ⬢

 



SONNET AND COUPLET FOR RE'EH

(A Parsha symphony in three movements)

 

Just as the Torah has its landmarks,

The Torah has its own unique soundmarks.

G‑d, the Conductor of the Cosmic Symphony

Has created a universe in complete harmony.

 

If we but listen to G‑d’s Commandments,

We will become G‑d’s Cosmic Orchestra’s instruments.

The very blessings of eternity's stream,

Then, enter our lives beyond every dream.

 

The negations of life in curses

Are abominations, but, of enticers and sorcerers;

Any adoption of their practices

Leads to the Symphony's cacophony and destructiveness.

 

The priest, the widow, the orphan and the stranger,

Must be assisted on a scale, most major.

 

Only, then can we celebrate Pessah, Shavuot and Sukkot

In G‑d’s Temple, singing zmirot. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR SHOFTIM

 

Justice, justice you shall pursue…

In trials, tribulations, whom to turn to?

How can a human judge discern any matter?

By walking in G‑d’s ways and all the evidence gather!

 

As an instrument of the L-rd, finely-tuned,

Interpret the law, apply it, for lives not to be ruined.

Examine witness after witness, all a mission;

Soul and conscience seek the truth, yet, with therapeutic vision.

 

Give the priests their due, as rites and rituals

Accompany our journey through life and its sequels.

A human king must be humble before G‑d’s and his people’s demands;

Two Torah scrolls, the King writes , to continually know before whom he stands

 

The true prophet speaks only that which G‑d does transmit.

If only, all would listen and, thus, our lives submit. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR KI TETZEI

 

Recalling the words of the Shema, you twice daily say:

You shall not follow the desires of your heart,

Or of your eyes which lead you astray;

For the purity of your soul not to be set apart.

 

In the exuberance of victory,

Do not become captives of your desire;

The conquered damsel is not for hire.

Grant that she mourn her deceased and her home's lost glory.

 

Faithfulness in a marriage is not an option;

Love of spouse binds the family legacy by devotion.

If a brother dies childless without descendant,

Ensure that his legacy through his brother is ascendant.

 

Do not remove a baby bird from a mother's nest.

To live a long life on this earth, remember you are G‑d's guest. ⬢

 



SONNET FOR KI TAVO

 

And, when we enter and settle the land,

Never must we forget from whence G‑d carried us through sand;

Thus, offer in the third year, the first fruits of the land;

And, not take for granted the milk and honey, so grand.

 

That we recognize, acknowledge and understand,

All is blessed on condition that we lend a hand,

To the Levite, the widow, the orphan and the stranger,

Under Commandments to avoid curseful danger.

 

No other is another, but we are all one.

In the one G‑d, there is no divided sum.

Remember the Holiness of the Sacred Space;

All offered to us by G‑d’s generous grace.

 

Therefore, we must follow in G‑d’s Holy Way;

So that, we, on this Holy Land, may stay. ⬢

 


 


A SONNET FOR NITZAVIM-VAYELECH

 

“You stand today, all of you before the Lord your God.”

 In acceptance of the Covenant with God.

As you recognize, acknowledge and understand ,

Only your duties give you rights to the land.

 

The Commandments are yours to keep and follow

So that your words and deeds are not empty or hollow.

The choice is yours as to how you live your life ;

As a co-partner to G‑d, you choose a blessed life or turn aside to cursed strife.

 

Moses can no longer continue the journey.

He gives Joshua the leadership of the people and power of attorney.

God dictated the Torah to Moses;

Then given to the Levites for the Ark of the Covenant by Moses.

 

Every seven years, all gathered at Sukkot

To hear the Torah read and to see the Luchot.⬢

 



SONNET FOR HAAZINU

 

Moses called all creation as witness to his transmission.

He explained that in spite of sedition,

The people would be resurrected from perdition,

In recognition that only with G‑d is there fruition.

 

From generation to generation,

Will we learn Torah tradition?

And obey the Commandments with awe?

For compassion to combine with law.

 

Moses climbed to the summit of Mount Nebo;

And, there, he saw high and low,

The entire land of Israel and more;

All that we as a people have in store.

 

G‑d gave us the boundless freedom of choice.

Will we choose the blessings by which to rejoice?⬢

 



SONNET FOR V'ZOT HABRACHA

 

And, Moses, chosen shepherd Of G‑d, blessed his flock,

Recognizing the limits of time of His life journey’s clock.

The people had accepted the life-giving Torah;

And, G‑d promised the Land of plenty in fauna and flora.

 

To the tribe of Reuben, long life and a fruitful multitude;

To Judah, may his battles be won with G‑d for all that is good;

To Levy, priesthood for keeping the Sacred Covenant;

To Benjamin, loved and author of love, protected by blessed intent.

 

To Joseph, the blossom of life in full harvest;

To Ephraim and Menasseh, strength so all can rest;

To Zevulun, may their journeys be blessed;

To Issachar for his tents, to provide a home for guests;

 

To Gad, to protect all under law, with help from Dan;

To Asher, youth rejuvenated with children under the sun.

                    ---------------------------------------

And, Moses, kissed by G‑d, joined the Creator;

Forever blessed, as the people’s prophet and solicitor.⬢

 


 

Dear Rabbi New and congregants,

To read and study the Torah is avodah of the soul.

To share verse as commentary on the Torah

with you for every parsha as I did this year,

culminating with Noah (as I began the verse commentaries,

with Lech Lecha) gave me a sense of celebration,

as if I had been given honey on the letters of the Torah text,

provided by Rabbi New and all of you.

The devotion to Torah exemplified by ahavat Yisrael

is the treasured essence of our beloved congregation

Under Rabbi New's  spiritual leadership and guidance,

together with his beloved associate brother in law, Rabbi Itchy

and treasured staff, we have under the Rebbe's teachings, a  fragrance

Of the future Temple rebuilt, bimhera  v'yameinu.⬢

 


 

Tribute in Haiku to the Rebbe, Rav Menachem Schneerson

 

Where does one begin,
To soar with the soul-to soul,
Far from the ego.

To enter a realm,
Where marching orders give life
To deeds that bring light.

The Rebbe lit torches,
Three thousand Chabad Centers
To ignite faith's flame.

From darkness to light,
Soviet Jewry crossed deserts, 
Lost youth found meaning.

Unabashedly,
Tephilin donned, candles lit,
Menorahs ignited.

Hope in troubled times,
To generations needs,
To search, transcend.

Find within the One,
All there is in space and time,
For Eternity.

To transcend and start,
Where others left off journeys,
To be undertaken.

For l'dor va dor,
Guided teachings and writings, 
Awaken the conscience.

To reach the promise
Of the land within
And return therein.

This, the Rebbe did.

 

  

 

 

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