O holy Shabbes Mishpatim
Maqam Saba
D E half-flat F G flat

A maqam is a musical figure.
Each Shabbat is associated with a particular maqam in Arabic,
cognate to the Hebrew Maqom,
signifying place.

The Philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037)
Identified 12 principal modes
Or maqamat
Singular maqam
From “place” (Arabic) Hebrew cognate Maqom.

Ethical and cosmological implications
Signs of zodiac
Times of day and night
Poetic meter
Healings and treatments,

Each week a musical figure —
a mood


The last line
And Moses came into the cloud
and went up the mountain
and Moses was up on the mountain
forty days and forty nights. [Ex.24:18]

We want to know
what happened up the mountain?
What did he see?
Moses ascends
wearing the garment of colors
draped over his shoulders by the rainbow,

he saw what he saw
he enjoyed it —
up to that place. [Zohar]

What place.

What place is it where language meets its
beyond which
the most that can be said
about something
is nothing.

It’s like this
and like this
like this
— an old man like me
doesn’t offer a single version
a word rattling around in an empty bottle –

first: the obvious
then the less obvious
then the secret
to arrive where we began
the plain sense
the surfaces having released their opacity —


We know this
every now and again
don’t we?

jsg, usa

Saba, from Arabic signifying baby boy,
Maqam Saba is used for Brit/covenant
All covenants.