Parshat Tzav: Commanding Eternity

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31 Mar 2009
Arts & Media

Command Aharon and his sons…an eternal fire shall blaze

She was so beautiful. She made me laugh and I knew she could make me cry. She was so beautiful and she made everything around her so beautiful. She made me so beautiful. And that is impossible.

I remember one time she walked into a dark cellar, dripping with murky water from a storm of tears not easily dried and smelling of a rancid breath from a mouth not easily shut. She walked in and I watched as it lit up, the Darkness it lit up: moldy vapors and selfish fumes evaporated like the substance of which they are made; and in their place Joy flew on the snow-white wings of what some would call Dreams but what I thought of as Reality. You see, for me back then, Joy and Beauty were Reality. She just did that to me. O, how beautiful she was!

How beautiful she was and how ugly I made her. I hurt her so bad. I broke the most complete thing that ever happened to me. I shattered the purist vision, soiled the cleanest diamond, and bruised the most delicate Soul I had ever known.

And I broke myself. I fell apart. Little bits and pieces of who I used to be strewn along the decrepit alleyways, among the glass shards of the matter once containing spirit and laying low with the infected needles once containing an infectious high.

As I write this, with a pen dripping black ink, it is hard. Not only because to remember is hard, but it is hard because I am afraid I have forgotten. I cannot picture her face, cannot see her beauty. I know she was – I know it – but the ugliness is now so complete I cannot see the beauty. I am so afraid, afraid I have forgotten her – I am more afraid she has forgotten me.

My Soul, the beauty you are, I am afraid I have forsaken you. And more afraid you have forsaken me.

Then, now, as I write in the darkness that is my mind and disposition, a light falls across the black ink of my thoughts. I look up and see a beauty vaguely familiar. It is she, my Soul, and I weep, my tears the pure oil with which she, the Flame, burns.

I ask her, “How could it ever be?” And she tells me, “It always was, and always is, and always will be.”

And I ask, “How?”

And she says, “Because I am a fire eternal, always blazing a warm path through even the blackest night.

“I am commanded to be thus, eternal, by He Who is Eternal. And when commanded to be eternal by the Eternal, commanded to be real by Reality, one cannot help but to be thus.”

She goes on to say: “No matter the darkness you think you know, through all the pain you’ve caused others and feel yourself, an eternal fire shall blaze. It is I, your Soul, and I am never going out or away.”

And in her beauty and light I have become beautiful and ignited, a flame dancing eternally, forever to the tune of she, my Soul.

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.