Exodus, part 8

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Tetzaveh
Maqam Sigah
E half flat F G

You asked me why Moses our teacher
was not present in the story this week.

He is present, I said, but hidden
or quiet
he is of course
the you in the first line [Ex.27:20]
Now you shall command the children of Israel
then he recedes to where he lives
the heart of the story
the quiet center.

For all the qualities we could remember him for
we remember him for humility.
Not for his accomplishments
humility we remember him for.

Moses our teacher is an empty vessel, I said,
plenty of room for God.
He also leaves room for his students
that space
he recedes so creativity happens
there is no place empty of God
the vessel cannot be too empty
but it can be too full.

No room for God in a vessel too full,
you said.

So he does not come into the Land, I said,
and he does not preside over the sanctuary –
two activities of expressed leadership.
He presides elsewhere
he is our spiritual center
and our story could not have happened
without him.

We know this, I said,
we know the difference between
what is rooted
and what is derivative
what is source
and what is appearance
what is heart
and what is bone.

You said you saw Aaron on TV this week,
the robes, the stripes a nice touch,
it’s Moses I need most, I said,
his eyes searching for mine when we meet.
He is the one who sits with us quietly,
when we are waiting through those awful waits.

Aaron — words, robes, coats, big lips.
Moshe of all eyes.

I see Moshe at the airports
pretending he is picking someone up.
His dress is unintentional, I am sure.
There is only one Moshe, the genuine article,
so many Aaron pretenders these days.

Something else gives Moses away –
his earnestness, his willingness
I read entirely through his eyes.
He is the one
the only one
who sits with us as long as it takes
and whatever it is he is wearing?
I forget.

jsg, usa