Fifth Night

Eight angels came to me on eight nights
Each one told a story*****

On the fifth night
The angel spoke out of a thatch of black beard
reminded me to walk daily without my shoes through the grass.

He told this story:
a young man left home traveled to a land where he learned the art of making menorahs. When he returned home he went to work. He worked alone covering the menorah with a cloth — even the father had not seen it.

When he was done he asked his father to gather together the townspeople in the square. He unveiled his work — everyone was silent. His father approached each person individually asking what they thought about the menorah. Each one saw a defect — each a different defect.

The father told his son, what one person praised another person cursed.

That’s what I learned, said the son, each defect is in the eyes of the person who sees it. I fashioned a menorah entirely out of defects, I made the menorah out of flaws. Now I will begin its repair.

When you find a flaw, he said, you find your own flaw.


Night 4

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story****

On the fourth night, the angel showed up dressed as God (everything Italian) with a dog. Good hound, intelligent dog, the angel cooed.

You know what I love about this dog? asked the angel. I let it out, it sits in front of the door looking to get back in.

The dog says to me — Whoever let me out will have to take me in.

Third Night

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story***

On the third night —

Darkness IS Light — God separated the light from darkness
called light day and the darkness night, and it was evening and it was morning
day one.

In the beginning, darkness and light one, a single seamless sourced good
then the challenge: subdue the dark, illumine the good.

Temple menorah lit by day to illumine the night. Hanukkah menorah
lit by night to reclaim dark. Light from darkness itself — the source of light.

Light from the luminous essence of darkness – this the Hanukkah light.

The Temple lights seven, Hanukkah eight, seven the spiritual cycle
the seven sefirot emanated from God, all natural cycles given in seven.

Eight — surrounding the seven, the extra measure laid around nature
The eighth lamp — light from darkness itself — darkness as an aspect of light.

Now stare into a candle see the flame see the darkness around the wick
see the dark candle it’s all light
all over.

jsg, usa

Second Night

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story**

The second night, he came dressed as an angel in Japanese embroidered silk.

Are you a man or a lady? I asked him — there are so many more possibilities
said the angel.

Oil is wisdom, poured over the head of the Priest King Messiah, overflowing like precious oil on the head, running down the beard of Aaron.The pure finely-beaten, most excellent of the olive oil —
the olive that releases its finest product when pressed.

Smell this, said the angel, pressing his wrist to my nose
another quality of oil — the capacity to absorb.

I smelled yasmina

When I make perfume the scent is absorbed into the oil — then distilled. Wisdom
is absorbed from the world this way — both its beauty and its contaminants.

Now, said the angel, one small vial of pure oil when fired up lights everything. Wisdom when it is tended burns pure burns long burns sure.

We are all in the game — attaching to the pure, resisting the contaminants lurking
everywhere around us within us.

O God — a heart of purity create in me bind me to the purifications, separate me from the contaminants —

Begin now.

jsg, usa

Eight Nights

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story*

The first one asked questions

What kind of light?
A miracle but which one?

Backwards we are telling the story
Elijah standing on the street corner

he asked for a match —

Fire, he said
as well as light
some specially created light

festival of lights

the kind of light
that burns.

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry Vayeshev 3

I dreamed a dream
stop me if I told you this
in it we were walking through a field
then we were alone in a small valley
a real emek
all the flowers brightly colored like acrylics.

The events released their deep significance
just as Rashi the poet described them
in color
the kind of colors G*d would draw —

The story opened to me like a flower
a field of stories

I’ll tell it to you again if you like
the whole story
sit down

yours truly,


Small alef; poetry
Maqam Nahawand

Small alef; poetry Vayeshev 2

Get comfortable and I’ll tell you the story
I love this part —
I was in the emek of Hevron [the valley]
Rashi the poet said — surely we know that Hevron is high
not a valley
[he means I am spinning into the amukah now
the depth of the story] –

I will find my brothers
they will sell me out
I will be taken to Egypt
I will thrive there
be enslaved there
we will find freedom
through the narrows.

That’s the deep story
we become a people with an edge in Egypt.



small alef; poetry
maqam Nahawand

Small alef; poetry Vayeshev 1

Father thought he was going to settle down
I love this part –

so he sent me after my brothers.

I couldn’t find them but
I go when called
Hineni I say
entirely here
but I wouldn’t make so much out of that
I don’t have the energy to be anywhere else –

my present is demanding enough
to require my full attention —
know what I mean?

Gotta go,


Small alef; poetry
Maqam Nahawand