Parshat Masei: Journeylistic Instinct

BY
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Freedom
30 Jul 2008
Arts & Media

I once was a slave.

 

To other masters, certainly;

But mostly to myself,

And that was the tragedy.

 

I did not rise with the day.

I did not rise with anything:

(When one is constantly down

One does not easily get up).

And if I did set with the night,

I definitely did not set right.

 

I slaved in many forms and conforms:

Chains came in infinite verities, fences

In countless patterns. I was locked into

A certain mentality, jailed in a prison

Where I was the key – and barred from

My own self.

 

I am no longer ashamed –

 

I once was a slave.

 

These are the journeys of

The Children of Israel

Who left the land of Egypt

 

I have long since left slavery behind me;

From the land of con-strained breathing

To the land of broad horizons, I have

Journeyed long and hard: long not necessarily

In tape measures; hard not necessarily in surfaces.

 

Now I travel light –

Lit-erally:

Darkness has no place on these roads.

 

I travel light but also carry a lot of weight.

 

These are the journeys…

 

Not journey singular; journeys plural.

 

I once was a slave

And if I stop now I will become a slave again.

 

One journey from slavery makes me free only

Until that freedom becomes the norm, then its

Time to move on and become free again: that’s

The way freedom works – once it stops being

Earned,

It stops being.

 

We are people in flux, people of flow ‘n’ ebb:

What may be freedom for a slave can be slavery

For a master, what may be new and exciting to a

Novice may be dull and arbitrary to an expert –

Growth never stops, lest it be known on the street

As Pause

 

No matter how much one accomplished yesterday,

‘Tis still a confine in the light of what one can do today.

 

A journey begins, a journey ends – only to begin again.

A book begins, a book ends – only to begin again.

 

A journey, a book begins:

 

G-d spoke to Moshe

In the Wilderness of Sinai

 

In the desert wilderness many journeys,

Through birth and childhood, adolescence

And adulthood, parenthood and mid-life

Crisis, graying hair and satisfaction, old-

Age and young spirit, we’ve journeyed

And journey on…

 

A journey, a book ends:

 

In the plains of Moab

At the Jordan, by Jericho

 

Finally to reach the river, the

Border of the Land of Promise

The Promised Land…

 

A journey, a book begins again

 

And again…

 

Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!

 

Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek


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.