Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Easily Frightened, Falls Away Silent"

3:15 PM - Day 3 of summer break. I don't know that I'm going to count each day, don't know how many days there are. It's like life. "Limnot yameinu kein nodah, venavi levav chachmah." I got the amud this morning, then watched more of Roshomon. It's amazing, very powerful work about memory and truth and lies and perception and and and. I had lunch with a friend and then subwayed it to "the city." I'm writing via Barnes and Noble free WiFi, soon I have errands to do (stopped here to use the facilities) (they have racquetball).

I happened to sit down in the Judaica aisle, if you believe in happenings. (Rav Noach Weiberg wisely said, "Happiness is not a happening.") Did you know that Rabbi Riskin has books on Chumash called Torah Lights? That's one of the books I picked off the shelf, one of the few that didn't "happen" to be by Jewish Lights. The Book of Letters caught my eye; in this masterwork Lawrence Kushner brings each Hebrew letter to life. I was particularly interested in my letter:

By Lawrence Kushner

Nun is a neshamah - songbird,
she is easily frightened
and falls away silent;
just like a nefesh - person.

In each person and in each soulbird
there is something - nekeivah - feminine;
ecstatic with a melody - niggun,
melody on top of melody on top of melody,
going higher and lower at the same time,
dizzy and frightened, yet unable to return,
hurling herself through laughter and tears,
cascading waterfalls of wonders - nifla'ot.

You do not open your eyes to see nun,
you close them.

Nun is what is holy in a person,
faithful - ne'emana
even to the end,
like the tiny eternal light - ner tamid,
burning in a temple
through the nights of its disbelief -
so there shines a spark - nitzotz
in each one of us;
some burn brighter, some flicker.

A light can never be distinguished,
only sealed off by wicked deeds.

And then, when you die,
the nun, the soulbird returns to G-d
Who warms her and blesses her
and sends her out again.


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