Dedicated to two Rachels: my beloved hevrutanull, Kohenet Rinah RachelLavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. Galper, who told me that Rabbi Raachel Jurovics says, “We are all little TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. scrolls.”
My Body is a Torah Scroll
My body is a Torah scroll
Across the Earth that is my bimahThe stage or platform on which the person leading prayers stands.
I roll and roll and roll
Have I authored the stories of my Life
or allowed others to be my scribes?
Who decides if they are truth?
Who decides if they are lies?
Debunking the myths
that have been written in my name
Recovering, rewriting, retelling, reclaiming
Finding my way out of the tales
I have gotten lost within
Stories I could not escape before
nor wash out of the linen of my skin
Losing parts of my Self
in and amongst their landscapes
The empty pages of me
aching for the ink I make
Now I write my own tales
blessed by all I have been through
I am still learning, though
I invite others’ perspectives, too
Ultimately, I trust my own eyes
Excited to scribe upon the rest of my body
Staining the flesh
of the Asherah that is me
Welcoming layners, darshans and darshanits
Hold my handles!
Dance with me!
around my beautiful sanctuary
I have rebuilt from rubble and ash
Picking up the pieces
of what was pillaged and smashed
Washing them in my lake of Love
Assembling the shards of my soul
into something new and different
Celebrating all of my whole
Filling in the empty spaces
with rainbow-colored fire
Creating my own world
as I chant what I have inscribed
on my entire being
of Shadow and of Light
and everything in between
in my own Book of Life