A Time of Renewal

Rays of the sun follow the dawn

tinting the clouds, pink and blue.

A snapshot of eternity

as manifest in the reality

of an early morning scene

that renders emotions serene.

Tea from the cupboard of life

soothes my soul, minimizes the strife,

that swirls inside of my mind,

bringing comfort in due time.

Reflecting on people and places

missed opportunities and faces;

seems like a universal principle,

that room must be made for the new.

One door closes, and another opens;

as Pesach approaches, the old is removed,

exchanging chometz for matzoh,

bringing renewal to the depths of my soul.

As tears are sanctified by joy,

the troubled years recede into the past,

while the sun rises over Ir HaKodesh

wherein all prayers ascend to G-d.

dVerse prompt

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Ariel

A light shines across the centuries,

 a single thread, weaves a tapestry.

G-d reckons the accounts of all souls,

balancing justice and judgment

with compassion and mercy.

—– —– —– —–

All are known to Him;

for, if each and every one

of the myriad of stars in the universe

is given a name, then how much moreso

is every soul on earth valued

in the eyes of the Creator?

—– —– —– —– —–

Despite assimilation

in a world gone awry,

our lives may be rebuilt

upon the ashes of the past.

Our souls may be redeemed,

by He whose arms are wide open

to receive us into His Sanctuary.

—– —– —– —–

For He is our refuge in times of darkness.

Israel has continuously cried out to Him,

even from the smoldering ruins of the Shoah.

And he will bear us upon the wings of angels,

for all the days of eternity.

in the wake of recent terror attacks:

pray for the peace of Jerusalem

Guiding Light

If you turn toward the deserts

that have been deprived of rain;

if you step outside of the garden,

instead of singing the divine refrain;

if you cast off the yoke of heaven,

and enter the highways and byways;

if you stray from the narrow path of life,

and travel along the broad way;

following the herd along the beaten road,

instead of taking the road less travelled;

if you give in to the demands of the yetzer hara,

rather than following the promptings of the godly soul;

where will you be led by your own desires,

when you do not seek out what is good?

—– —– —– —– —– —–

If you do not avoid evil, and do what is right,

then what destiny will await you ahead?

Rather, turn toward G-d through teshuvah,

foster a change of heart that will encompass

all that you think, say and do in life;

Then, your world will appear anew,

and return to its original state.

For the things of this world shall not lead us askew,

they are meant to be used in tandem

with the guidelines of moderation,

and the devotion due to Elokim;

lifted up to a place of no regrets,

our hearts are meant to be focused on Him,

so that we may walk in His footsteps.

Gazing Upon You

How can I steer a steady course,

toward Your benevolence and kindness?

Only by giving the helm

to Your guidance and direction.

How can I remain on the path

toward Your promises?

Only by fixing my gaze upon You,

rather than on this world.

—– —– —– —–

And, yet, if I am fortunate,

Your gaze also rests upon me.

For, how can I maintain

this grace bestowed upon me,

except to receive what You give?

And, how can I obtain peace of mind,

except to give of myself to others?

—– —– —– —–

For You have shown us the way,

through Your attributes of mercy,

that are freely given at Your discretion,

despite our lack of merit.

And, You are the first and the last,

Your presence will rest upon Israel.

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Ukraine Blues

The surrounding countryside of Kiev, and other cities, such as Lviv, and even my own ancestral hometown, Bolekhiv, are quiet in the night, while the Russians prepare their next attempts to maneuver their positions, to be in alignment with their next forward march into the fray. By now, they know that they will continue to meet with resistance from the Ukrainian defenders. These are not nationalists, like the propaganda espoused by the Putin regime would have it known; rather, these are loyal citizens of a country that has been trying to gain its complete freedom for decades. True, it was Ukrainian nationalists in the midst of WW2, who were no friends of the Jewish population in Bolechov, Poland in 1939, when the Soviets retreated. However, the current generation of Ukrainians are not responsible for the sins of their ancestors.

After WW2, my ancestral hometown fell in under the new lines of demarcation, designating the city as Bolekhiv in the newly established boundaries of Soviet Ukraine. And, now, 58 years later, and, incidentally, fifty-eight miles south of Lviv, I wonder how far the smoldering torches of war have receded, or perhaps impeded upon the place where the graves of my ancestors rest. Of course, most of them, were actually buried in either one of two mass graves. The first, 7 km outside of Bolechov (now, Bolekhiv) in the Tanaiwa forest. The other, hastily made grave in the actual cemetery. This cemetery is the best preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe. I have always wanted to visit, since I “found” my ancestors through genealogical research. And, now, How am I to do so? Ultimately, if am able to do so in the future, will I be entering an independent Ukraine, or Soviet-controlled Ukraine?

My ancestors souls,

transcend earthly boundaries,

knowing only peace.

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Butterflies

Amongst the fields of sunflowers,

dreaming in the winds of change,

butterflies roam, partaking of the nectar.

Sweet dreams interrupted by a shift

in the pleasant breezes,

accompanied by dark clouds.

Nectar runs dry, and petals wilt,

as the resting places

of the fragile two-winged creatures,

disappear from the fields.

How many Ukrainian refugees,

who have taken flight,

from the devastation,

will be blessed with a new beginning,

in faraway places, where safety resides,

miles away from their homes?

—– —– —– —–

My ancestors, with prescient insight,

migrated across the Atlantic Ocean,

before the flames of the Shoah

engulfed Bolechov, and took the lives

of those who remained in the shtetl.

Ghosts of the past cry out,

Release me, into the wind,

so that our memories

will not be forgotten.

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The Ubiquitous Sign

Because of the bitterness of the past,

we keep our pain stifled underneath our hats;

to know that G-d is above us, and we below,

we cover our head with a yarmulke.

In times of challenge, when strong winds blow,

we are gladdened to have fastened our kippah,

so that we may continue to aspire higher

in prayer, while remaining steadfast in our attire.

When the seas of turmoil threaten to engulf us,

we are faced with a choice: to wear or not to wear,

the symbol of humility that encompasses our identity,

making our faith visible to all, whether friend or foe.

More than a religious insignia,

each and every yarmulke is unique,

an individual expression of the whole,

composite of many different styles.

The black-felt yarmulke of the Chassidim,

cotton or suede variety, of the modern orthodox,

religious Zionists, conservative or reform Jews;

we are all part of K’lal Yisrael.

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The Light of Truth

The Light of Truth

When light is diminished in this world,

we seek the scroll of Esther unfurled,

to bring to light what remains hidden,

drawing close to G-d, even when not bidden.

When darkness seems to prevail,

we find hope in Mordechai’s tale,

of triumph, in the battle of us and them,

the tides were turned in our favor by H’Shem.

The light of truth shone bright,

when Haman’s plan was revealed in full site,

to King Ahasuerus at Esther’s feast,

when all the coincidences came into place.

Today, we celebrate yesterday’s victory,

steadfast in prayer in the morning early,

awaiting the light that appears at dawn,

when the L-RD will right all that is wrong.

Like colors in a mystical kaleidoscope,

blue and yellow blend with hope,

when all of the colors melt into one,

in expectation of the rising sun.

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