A New Shema

Let the whisper of the Infinite
Enter the secret chamber of your heart.
Yearning is a gift –
It pierces
The shell you build around who you truly are.
The Source of kindness
And the Source of justice
Are, in truth,
One Source,
The only one,
The Source of love.
Wrestle with the Infinite!
Limbs entwined,
Skin on skin,
Breath on breath,
You and the Great Other can meet –
Can meet yourselves –
Touch, dissolve,
Become One.
There is no other,
No otherness;
All that has been, all that is, and all that shall be,
All comes from One and all is One.
We all flower from the One Root –
We are KIN.

Fount of all blessings,
Beginning and home,
We kneel
In the cup of your hand.

Shem – 
Heavenly marriage
Of fire and water,
Essence beyond Essence,
Unnamable Name.

Eyes look down as hearts reach up,
We see your back, but not your face.
Our minds cannot fathom glory above
In glory below.

You are King and we your kingdom
Shekhinah, Queen and Bride
Who dwells within,
Come – lie with us.

L’olam va’ed –
Sustaining gaze
Through space and time
Ground of Being, beyond before,
No end, no end, no end, no end.


This liturgical poem (piyut) is an expanded-midrashic interpretation/translation of the first two lines of the Shema.

It is a fragment of a much larger poem that I have written covering the whole of the three paragraphs of the Shema. Every line here draws from alternative meanings of the original Hebrew, talmudic teachings, and traditional commentary. In addition, I have created extensive footnotes and commentaries that illuminate both the Shema, and my response to it.

The full text (with commentary) of paragraphs one and two can be found at http://www.lashon-hakodesh.co.uk. The project will eventually be published, God willing, as a book.

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