Parshat Tazria: Newborn

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03 Apr 2008
Arts & Media

Born pure into an impure world.

And why shouldn’t a babe cry.


Birth, the greatest miracle of all –

The birth of a child, the birth of

An idea, the birth of a concept, the

Birth of a dream, the birth of a world –

The birth of birth itself.


The greatest miracle – the miracle of



Who gave us the right, the ability to create

Such purity, such joy, such innocence, such

Life – who gave us the right to give birth?

From where, this gift to allow for purity,

In an impure world, a ray of light in a dark

Dungeon, a slice of heavenly truth in the false bottom

Of earth?


A woman

When she conceives

And gives birth…


We give birth – to children, to purity, to innocence.

Again and again we give birth:

We give birth through a good deed, through a warm hug,

A beautiful smile.


And we are born – not again, but

Again and again and again…

We are too busy giving birth to worry about dying;

We are too busy being born to be dying.


But it isn’t easy being born; nothing important is,

And this is the most important of all. The simplest,

Purest things are the most difficult to accomplish.

(This may be why purity is a lot less common than, well,

The common cold – one cannot catch purity, though it

Does have a contagious element; one must earn it.)


But, sometimes, in order to earn purity, we need to enter an impure

World; in order to be born, we must walk the skeletal streets of

A dead world.


And so we cry.


We don’t cry so that we can breathe;

We cry because we have to breathe.


We come from heaven, and in heaven we don’t breathe.

In heaven we are breath.


In heaven we don’t live –

In heaven we are life.


But in heaven we cannot give life, cannot give birth –

We have to be born in order to give birth.


The question is:


Does everything I touch become pure?

Does everything I touch become newborn?


Born pure into an impure world.

And why shouldn’t a babe cry.


Because, by being born,

We can give birth.

To purity.

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.