Eight Messengers Eight Nights, Night Two



On the second day of Thanks-giving, the messenger came with a story of extreme gratitude:

Near Thanksgiving on a visit to one of the high security institutions, one of the regulars was missing. Where’s S? I asked. In the hole.

The hole. I had never seen the hole, it’s a twenty four hour lock-up used to contain trouble within the institution.

I asked the chaplain if I could see S in the hole.

He deliberated for a moment, then: Sure, come on. Quick. We walked into the only building within the complex that was surrounded by an extra barrier of wire, the windows wired, we had to be buzzed in again as we entered, a prison within a prison.

It looked like Alcatraz, what I’ve seen from the movies anyway. Two floors, one down one up, big heavy metal unpainted doors with one small window, two guys in a cell, a lot of yelling from behind the doors but I could not see faces until I stood right in front of the cell. S was on the ground floor, I saw him through the window. He was delighted to see me. A lot of the guys I visit spend a good deal of time in the hole.

We talked through the window, hard to hear, a lot of hand signs and hollering.

I could see S’s work through the window behind him. He draws. He had been drawing.

As I was leaving, he pounded on his window before I got out of earshot. He was mouthing something.

I looked back and stood by the doorway just as the door slid open to let me out.

Rabbi, he was mouthing, rabbi – I’m alive.


Eight Messengers Eight Nights, Night One

Eight Messengers Came on Eight Nights

Each one brought a story of Thanksgiving

On the first day, the messenger came with a Thanksgiving wandering Aramean message:

When you enter the land go to the priestliness take baskets of first fruits go where G*d tells you give your baskets to the priestliness then tell what happened, in brief: we have been lost we are coming home.

End the story with gratitude bow down and sit together with the bigs and the strangers among you eat together set up large stones inscribe these teachings every word on the stones. – Deuteronomy 26

We became plural in the telling, we began singular it always feels singular when you make that break for freedom. You think you’re the first the only one to have to push on that way in your courageousness you have to go this alone, this leaving that we all have to strike in order to make freedom.

Then we join similar pilgrims, they all had to leave their complacency behind they had to get up and get on with it – you did – you got up and got on with it and when you did you arrived in the great swirl — the movement of time the flow you entered the flow — and you came into something, you got somewhere, and when you are telling your story to the priestliness you became plural, came into a place you could not have predicted you did not expect you could not have imagined because you were bold and went by yourself and once you did you became a part of the great freedom walk of human beings and came into something. Then you expressed gratitude.

O human being, you are strong-strong by your getting up and on with it and you believed for a while maybe a long while you could not do it but you could do it and you did and once you did you had a whole posse of similarly experienced souls joining you in that journey and you got somewhere and told the story. We became plural and it means something.

It’s a shorter trip than you think, you can make that trip from singular to plural, come into something, become plural and get on with it. It can happen within a paragraph.

Be grateful for the trip. This is what Torah says.