Parshat Re’eh: See Through

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See Through
28 Aug 2008
Arts & Media

Eyes why’d hopin’…


Hopin’ for anything, for something:

A purpose to be, a reason to believe.


They look but don’t see; only black-

And-white flashes of shattered images

Tear-soaked: Dignity crawling in the gut-

Ter, soaking coat dragged through muddy

Puddle, weighing down the frailty that

Once was upright and proud; Royalty

Limping over to an alley dumpster, pre-

Paring a feast fit for a rat off its moldy

Offerings; Innocence selling itself on

The corner to the highest bidder and

The lowest scum; Holiness burning in

Its own home, spit on by its own children,

Kicked by its own shoes, buried by its

Own earth in its own garden – its very

Own prayer shawl, a     shroud.

Images flashing; not easy to comprehend and so:


Pupils (and teachers too) blur with watery sadness;

So sad, too sad and it trembles over the lid, rolls

Down the cheek in teasing slow-motion, never coming

To a stop but going further, deeper into parts that do not

Know inks, letters, words – and so they shall be and remain




A tear, a rip


Bro  ken


Curses… blasphemies…


Eyes don’t lie

(Some even say they are visionaries) –

And from this point of view

It’s just too hard to look


Eyes, too tired, close

Heart, too raw, closes

So closed, yet so far away…



I present before you today

A blessing and a curse


But how can He?


He Who represents all that is blessed

And good, holy and pure, true and

Real – how can He present before

Us, to us, within us…

a curse?


(Present? Do such presents come gift-

Wrapped and with an intricate bow?)


See and be seen:


So many years, slaves, destroyed, wounds

Dripping, scars never really calloused and

So our eyes have closed, we have forgotten

How to see a blessing (and, tell me, who can

Blame us – ‘tis better to see nothing at all than

To look upon our loved ones hurt and hurting)


Oh, we can still look at facades and borders,

Don’t worry; it’s just that we have forgotten

How to see through them and deeper – we’ve

Forgotten what purity, holiness looks like.


O, but have we really forgotten how to see or

Have we merely closed our eyes, a weary traveler

Coming to the end of his journey, coming so close

To home?




Open your eyes, sweet child, and see through the pain,

Through the curses and into the joys, the blessings clear

And lucid everywhere you’d just care to look – what, do

You for even an unholy moment think He, He who is Real,

Who is Reality and Truth, would present us with curses

Without presenting us first with the flame to uncover their

Blessings? What is a curse, a challenge, if not G-d saying:

I believe in you, I trust in you, I know you can take anything

And make it everything; I know you can take that which may

Seem like a problem and make it a solution, I know you can

Look at a broken body and see a complete, always complete



Eyes see whatever we open them to –

Don’t you think it’s past time we did?


It is a see-through world in which we live.


The only question is:

What do we see and what do we see through?

Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.