Tale signs of entrance:
Even some predators pray.
I’ve seen them, smelled them,
In their imitation shawls and
Counterfeit tears: they close their
Eyes, sway back and forth, and mumble
Some incoherent supplication that is more
Bargain than plea
But not every letter whispered is a prayer;
And not every liturgy is tagged for heaven –
Some people just like to hear their own voices
As they speak lofty words but say lowly things.
Praying – like preying – is not difficult at all.
Knowing what to pray for, well now, that’s a
Whole different matter – or spirit – altogether.
I implored G-d
Humility prays to Reality.
For what does a true leader pray?
Why does the faithful servant beg
Of his Master something he has already
Let us put our ears to Heaven’s keyhole and,
If not eavesdrop, at least listen in (and perhaps
Hear something for a change)
Let me please cross
And see the good Land
Here we are, finally, at the end of the desert
And the beginning of the Promised Land:
At the conclusion of being pampered by
Heaven’s bread and Glory’s clouds, and
At the threshold of working Earth’s magic
And earning what is rightfully ours – at the
Journey’s sunset and the destination’s sunrise –
At our biggest challenge yet – transforming the
Holy Land into something divine, building a
Permanent home for Heaven, living in harmony
Even with those from whom we differ, much more
Challenging than drinking sweetened water and
Walking through split seas.
(Playing our own music to a sacred tune
Isn’t as easy as listening to a recording)
Now, the musicians about to cue up the symphony –
And the maestro barred from the ultimate stage.
So he prays, he implores, entreats, begs G-d:
Please, let me cross over, let me just walk the
Land, let me in to everything we’ve worked for
And everything we will work for.
Do you for a moment think Moshe wanted
To enter the Land for his own sake, just to feel
Accomplished or perhaps good about himself?
Moshe is a selfless leader – and, by definition,
A selfless leader does things for the good of the
Nation, even at his own great expense.
Moshe wanted to enter the Land for the people:
At their greatest challenge, their change of reality,
Moshe implored G-d to let him be with the people,
Help the people, inspire the people, lead the people.
Moshe knew we would struggle; he wanted to ease our burden.
But G-d said:
Ascend to the top of the summit
And raise your eyes
You cannot enter the Land; only see it.
The purpose of the Land, to change things
Bottom up, a grassroots growth, cannot be
Brought about by you: the people must
Work it without your physical presence but
Your spiritual vision – you may not enter
The Land, but you definitely will enter
Their hearts, their souls.
Moshe prayed for we the people to
Fulfill our destiny and truly enter the
Let us answer his prayers.
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.