O holy Shabbes Chukkat
D E flat F G
Every portion has a musical figure,
Arabic cognate to maqom
We were discussing the mystery rule of Torah
the mystery mitzvah as it were if it were understood
we might understand
the chok of the little red cow –
how what purifies can corrupt
what corrupts might purify.
We came to rest in a place none of us imagined before
we began with a sense of redemption through learning
through guidebook Torah I suppose in a way suggested by
the Sefas Emes that applied to us more
than to the text itself.
Every soul has a portion
in the Torah
or a point
At that moment we had become a letter of the guidebook
a dot a vowel even a period a mark on the page
we became a letter of the text
we arrived at a-symmetry.
We came to the death of Miryam
how she died –
by the kiss of God
God sucked up her soul so to speak
Moses and Miryam both
with a kiss.
In God’s world they died sensually
they got inhaled into God’s breath through the Divine kiss
from God’s perspective they were taken into the heart like
What can we make now of the frustrations of their lives
or our lives for that matter?
How frustrating at the end to have been
loved into death this way —
God breathed life into Adam [Gen.2:7]
God inhaled Miryam’s soul.
What’s not integrated, what’s left undone in the story now
from God’s perspective
how could they have passed with more intimacy and gentleness
than with this holy kiss
through which they returned to one being with God?
With the death of Miryam following on the heels
of the mystery rule of the guidebook
the mystery paradox of the ritual of purification
the very preparation defiles
followed by the death of Miryam
the removal of the well that followed us
forty years Wilderness wandering
with the death of Miryam as she was inhaled into the mouth of God
do we mourn the absence of sustenance now?
The water that followed us the well that accompanied us
And the Wilderness the Wilderness?
The well gone
we are moving over the threshold without sustenance
the a-symmetry of the various stories that settled
not into harmony, not logical these stories
not entirely mysteries either
a-symmetrical, they do not converge
we will not figure them
they will not unlock the secrets of the guidebook for us.
They are the category of recoverable wisdom
gone for a moment
undeciphered for now
but known in night vision
at night you understand them you do
at night you know what it is
not to penetrate this secret
it will not unravel
it is not entirely mysterious either.
We are always waiting
for that recoverable wisdom
the elders all of them
may return to us someday
to carry that sacred load throughout our lives
so we remember them
the bearers of recoverable wisdom —
Sustaining like Miryam’s well of water
Like the water
Like Miryam herself.