These words come after.
The sophisticated might call them Experience;
Let us call them After Words:
Words that cannot be denied, because
They come post-event and are privy to
The mistakes of the past so they can
Inform the present and the future.
Or, for all intensive purposes
(And grownup grammar school nerds):
Present tense built on past tension.
After the death of
Aharon’s two sons
When they approached…
One would think approaching the face of G-d
Would be a good think: isn’t this every soul’s dream
(Or, if we were more philosopher than artist, raison d’être)
To thirst for the Divine, to yearn for the Truth?
Isn’t this why we are born?
He shall not come
At all times
To the holy…
People have died with holy intentions.
His own two sons, people of greatness,
Were consumed by their own passion.
But passion really isn’t the issue here –
We all know how to want, how to yearn;
It’s easy to wish to get high, to want to get holy,
It’s easy walking through the curtain –
What’s hard is walking back out.
Our challenge isn’t coming to the Holy.
Our challenge is coming away from it.
But to know how to come to and away from
The Holy of Holies
We first must know how not to come to it.
The Holy of Holies: a place of Reality.
And a place of Reality does not tolerate
False pretenses or unnatural smiles.
The only way to enter the holiest is if we
Are the holiest. The only way to be the
Holiest is if it’s not about us: he shall not
Come at all times, not when he wants to
Come to the Holy of Holies; only when
The Holy of Holies wants him to come to it.
With this shall
We must come in peace
In order to leave in peace.
We must come complete
In order to leave complete.
If it’s for a fix that we come –
We will leave so broken.
If it’s for a high that we come –
We will leave so low.
With this shall we come:
With our purity, our humility;
We shall come not to come close,
But because we are close.
There is only one High Priest
And he can only enter once a year.
But we must learn.
Even when we enter our own Holy of Holies
Even when we are so high, so holy,
We must remember another’s pain,
We must know that it’s not about our
Selves but about the Holiest of all Holies
After the death of Aharon’s two sons –
Let us live and be holy.
Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at jakeyology.blogspot.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.