Parshat Behar: Dreamland (as spoken on the mountain)

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13 May 2008
Arts & Media

The seed of an idea

(And the idea of a seed)



Work it, Man, by the sweat

Of your skin and the dirt

Under your fingernail; shape

It, Divine Creature, by the

Image of your beauty and the

Imagination of your innocence.

Let your soul kiss the soil, your

Mind cultivate the land, your

Heart pound the earth like a

Conun-drum to a heavenly beat.


Six years hoe it, sow it and grow it

Plant it, rant it and rave

Field it, shield it and save

Rare it, care it, steer it

Shear it (and even share it).

Make the best of the land

Given to you, the most of

Your talents and opportunities –

And, I know they will make the most

Of you.


Six years, turn the earth into a paradise,

Tearfully and painfully, no rest or respite

(How could you when the earth awaits?):

Take the barren desert and make it an



When you come to the

Land that I give you

The land will rest

A Shabbat for G-d


O, but on the seventh –

A lullaby to the land:


Close your eyes and drift away

Lying on a fragile bed of leaves

Your tendrils fly loose and your

Vines blow softly in the breeze.

Rest now, my peaceful flower,

Your eyelashes fluttering over

Rose-petal cheeks, pomegranate

Lips formed into a child’s smile,

And your tall grasses rise and fall

With every breath of pulsating



This here is the rest of the song

And the song of rest –

A lullaby:


Earth at rest and heaven wide-awake


It sings quietly to earth, soothing its

Aching limbs and tired muscles

Exhausted and drained, once sore

Now soaring in a land of dreams

And dreams of a land –




Where hopes run wild and the future is today.

Where we don’t have to prune or preen, for

Things grow divinely without the need of Man

To imp and impede: natural the way it was meant

To be. Six years it may take to tame the earth

But, then, only one – the seventh – to touch heaven.


But how, how to recognize the heaven in earth,

The soul in body, the colorful bloom in dirty soil?


G-d spoke to Moshe

On Mount Sinai…


From the mountain it comes

And into the man (and land) it goes:

Torah, the Word of G-d,

Creates reality and dreams

(Not, heaven forbid, do dreams and reality create Torah)


At Sinai a reality and dream was given

In it’s entirety:

Not only the symphony

But every individual key

Major or minor, sharp or flat –



From the mountain to the land

A dream inching toward reality,

Toward a Dreamland:


Dream peacefully, Earth –

And awake more peacefully yet.


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.