The Joy of the Mitzvah

I was sitting in the booth with
The truthful linguist
It was just after the turn of the Millenium

The truthful linguist
Stretched out in his chair
His hands folded over his belly

He was eating fish
Fish is a blessing, he said
He then talked about water

The early waters into which we pitch our sins
And the later waters when we draw them out
Those are the sins that become merits –

Transforming, he said to me
You know how that works,
don’t you?

The place where the turning one stands
The righteous cannot stand —
Yes, I said,

I do know how that works
But joy?
That’s elusive for me

Simchah is avodah, he said
You have to work it
It doesn’t fall out of the heavens for us

Then he began to sing until the hand of G*d came and rested upon him
We settled into our vessels and our vessels into our chairs
And our chairs descended into the earth

Later when we were finished
I pulled myself up by a strap of woven palm
Hung from the roof of the radiant booth

jsg, usa

Then I commended joyfulness [Kohelet 8:15],
this is the joy of the mitzvah. . .
as it is said, but now bring me a minstrel.
And it came to pass, when the minstrel played,
the hand of G*d came upon him [2 Kings 3:15]
— BT, Shabbat 30b