Parshat Naso: Moving Words

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04 Jun 2008
Arts & Media

The thing with Movement is that it isn’t still –

If it were, it’d be called Stagnant.


(WARNING: due to the reckless use of the blatant and obvious,

The Scansion General hereby suspends this here writer’s

Poetic license until further notice)


In definitive prose, a journey is going from one place

To another, usually with a few stops in between and

Hopefully fewer obstacles. Be it the journey from

Child to man, from mind to heart, from exile to

Freedom, follower to leader, one must leave what

Was behind so that one can find what is ahead.


Throughout there are guideposts, lighthouses, right

Decisions and wrong turns, miles upon miles of asphalt

And abrupt dead-ends, long stretches of wasteland where

No man dwells and short stretches of in-density where too

Many stick their unwanted opinions into others’ privacy –

Such is the nature of the journey and its traveler: at times

A struggle

But never a helpless one!


The point of it all, of any healthy journey, is growth,

Ascent: achieving something otherwise unachievable.

Of course some – if not most – would rather sit tight

And not journey altogether but (thank G-d) we don’t

Always get what we want and some journeys are

Inevitable, the only variable – what we are gonna do

About it (and, sometimes, the weather).


(Further notice – above license reluctantly reinstated)


This is the service of

The Gershonite families

To serve and to carry


One must leave things behind to move ahead

But that’s only true with things that hinder our

Travel, like excess baggage and cheap suitcases

With broken wheels and handles; things essential

However, like our souls and holiness, remain with

Us throughout, even and especially in the wilderness

And darkness.


And while journeying in the wilderness, though we remain

People of the portable, not setting roots but carrying them

Along so that when we reach our destination they shall be

Stronger than ever, nevertheless, the presence of our roots

And fruit has a most-positive affect on the barren earth, even

Dropping seeds as we move along.


They shall carry the curtains of the

Mishkan and the Ohel Moed


Today, in exile, we haven’t a physical

Tabernacle but as we journey through

Our wildernesses and deserts, as we move

Closer and closer, we carry the spirit

Of the Divine resting place with us,

Within us, each one of us counted

Because each one of us is a home

For G-d, illuminating even the darkest



And when we carry such holiness, when

We move with such purpose, it moves

Us as well, lifts us up even as we lift it.


It isn’t words that move but actions:

Enough ink –

Let’s move it!

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.