Ki Tisa: Breaking & Entering

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Broken Tablets
11 Mar 2009
Arts & Media

He threw down…and shattered them…

Trust is hard to find and easier to lose. Merely one mistake, one act of betrayal and the entire thing, built upon years of commitment and rivers of sweat, crumbles to the ground like the grainy victims of a slob’s ravenous attack on a crusty French bread.

Broken lives in a big hole, an empty space once filled with Joy and Happiness. Broken is fragmented: bits and pieces strewn about, like that time when a porcelain vase fell and met a marble floor – only this time, that which fell was more sensitive than any porcelain and that upon which it fell more hardened than any marble.

Unfaithfulness comes in many forms and betrayals in many shapes. Their stories need not here be told, for who does not know them. But no matter which form or shape, the main character is always the same: a man Broken.

It all began when he made that mistake. Perhaps at the time it wasn’t a mistake but a conscious decision; in retrospect however it was the biggest mistake of his life. He betrayed the thing he loved most and, therefore, he betrayed himself. He took the tablets that were he and shattered them on the mountain that was his purpose. Just like that, one moment he is beautiful, in harmony with himself and everything around him, and the next he is Broken, disgusted with others, disgusted with himself, disgusted period.

Compassion is beautiful. Literally. Her face composed and serene, her eyes innocent and timeless, their depths containing no hidden agendas, and beneath her translucent skin pompous condescension does not lie. She does not often show her soft face, but she is always there.

Broken has never heard of Compassion. And if he saw her he’d probably think she too were Broken. The problem here is that Broken thinks he is Complete; all he knows is the reality in which he lives and therefore thinks this is it. Who can blame him really? Why should he think differently – he made his decisions and now he has to live by them! What right does Broken have to want more, to want the unity that was when he himself shattered it? What right does Broken have to wish for that love he once felt when he himself destroyed it?

No he hasn’t that right and is therefore alone by himself, Broken.

There are places, places so complete, complete with what is Real and True, into which Broken can never enter. As only the Holy of Holies can enter the Holy of Holies, so only that which is Complete can enter places of completion, only that which is Pure can enter places of purity, only that which is One can enter places of unity. When things broken touch things complete, that which is complete does not break, but that which is broken becomes complete.

Compassion is much deeper than Broken; in her world Broken means space for more beauty to shine through, for her Broken is a decision made yesterday that only makes the bond of today and tomorrow that much stronger – for Compassion, Broken is only an opportunity to fix it up even better than before.

Compassion doesn’t say anything to Broken. She doesn’t have to. When Compassion shows her soft face, Broken breaks down, his flaming tears welding any cracks, the razor edges of his own broken pieces needles with which to stitch the gashes.

The way Compassion sees it: the realities, the bonds, the promises that have been broken can always be made more complete – and that reality, that bond, that promise, can never be broken.

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.