Now the year gets serious. And stays that way for about 5 months. In Israel, The Day After Sukkot, until about Purim, is the window during which things – if they are going to get done at all – get done. (Of course, with a weeklong break for Hanukah about midway.)

After Purim, it’s almost Pesach (Passover). After Pesach, it’s all the national holidays. After that: end of year parties, then summer, then beginning of the year stuff, then The Holidays. So now is when stuff is supposed to happen, get launched, get fixed, get learned, get rained on (insha’allah). Israeli winter is a lot of high pressure for both people and the weather: We’d both better bunker down and precipitate productivity, stat.

This Shabbat we will be reading (and by ‘we’ I mean those people who, good for them, make it to synagogue, but maybe should have written ‘they’ given my recent track record) the Torah portion of Bereishit. In the Beginning… there was a lot to do. So much creativity in just six days; I guess God knew he’d better get it all done before Purim. But a week is just showing off. 

In that spirit, and speaking of Fall, I have an old poem relating to the Adam and Eve story that Ploughshares and the The New Yorker wouldn’t take, so I am pawning it off on you, dear readers.

Wishing you all a creative and inspired Beginning.

Eve (at Dawn)

My Eden was built slowly,

over time,

assuming that –

like Adam –

I’d prefer to live forever

in the light;

the wellsprings of eternity and God

and all his “angels”

presented to me simply, like a neighbor:

(Acquiescence meant to be the Thing

I cherished over all.)


It was not the snake

who caught my eye,

entwined within the branches of that great forbidden knowledge tree;

not the patient serpent,

who took the ripe universe

and cracked it open,

offering me half…


It was the tree itself,

the Fruit,

that heard me listen for it,

waiting for a taste of what

the others tried to hind behind the sun.


And now I wonder:

will they blame this lovely sticky creature

for my Hunger,

after all the twisting round the roots that he has done?

Will they believe I wanted Eyes

as open as the moon,

to taste the night as only God knows deep inside we should?


(But had to leave it up to me –

 because He knew I would. )


-         SKE, February 1998

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