Parshat Ki Teitzei: Going out of my Mind

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Somewhere Here There Nowhere Sign
10 Sep 2008
Arts & Media

Of goings and comings.



In order to come, one must first go;

In order to arrive, one must first leave –


In order to arrive at a new place,

A new dimension, a holy land,

One must first leave the old place,

The monotonous, mundane take on



Of course, there are those who

Have arrived at brilliant conclusions

Without actually ever leaving the limits

Of their own narrow minds, their canyon hearts…


But if one wishes to arrive at a beginning and

Not a conclusion, one must surely first go forth

From the routine that is to the revolution that will be.


Some things arrive on silver platters –

The important things never do:

If they did, they either aren’t real important…

Or aren’t real silver.


(It’s strange how gold never seems to come on

A silver platter)



In order to come to peace with the world

One must first go to war with the self…


If you will go out to war

Against your enemies


Keep your enemy without very close;

But keep your enemy within even closer.


Fighting with other people is hurtful;

Fighting with yourself is a must.


One must go out to war, must do battle

With the status quotes that you have begun to

Pass off as your own, must fight the abnormalities

That have become the unfortunate norm.


And G-d will deliver them

Into your hands and you

Will capture its captives


If we were to just go out of our minds,

Out of our own little petty squared circles,

The battle would be won.


Most times, the battle, the war is lost,

Because we never even go out to fight.


If we were to just put up a fight against everything

False and artificial how could we, beings true and real, ever



G-d guarantees our victory; all He asks is that we

Go out, get out, and fight, struggle, shed a tear, sweat

A drop, work a little so that we earn what is ours –

Otherwise, if we don’t go out to war, if we never

Challenge what is, how could the peace be complete,

How could we ever know if what we haven’t done,

Haven’t earned, haven’t achieved, is real and eternal?


If we never go out of our minds how could we ever

Know if what we are getting into is pure or just a figment

Of our imagination?


Going out to war is not some anarchistic form of violence:


It is merely questioning everything, battling every ugly

Thing in this universe – not killing it – merely making

It beautiful –


For what is true peace, true victory? Not everyone,

Laying down their arms, but everyone raising them

Up in unison, in harmony, in true, divine peace.


If you will go out (of yourself)…

You will surely come in (to your own).

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.