Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Just Because...

And just because it was kindly suggested to me in the comments section to share some of my poetry in my blog, I'll provide you with a poem that was published in a Canadian Jewish literary review a few years ago. It was written in memory of an aunt of mine who lived in Eastern Europe and died in 1942, age 15 -- at the hands of the Nazis. My daughter is named for this cherished little sister of my father.

As a child of a survivor, the Holocaust has played a great role in my life, in my way of thinking, of living, of being. And it often translates into poetry, some of which has been published, other poems just waiting patiently to be shared.

I am glad this one was published, and I am pleased to share it with you.

The Doll

Her body,
tattered and torn,
discolored dress
unraveling at the seams,
face smudged with dirt.

But her eyes,
lifelike in their ocean blue,
stare unceasingly at the world –
as if taking in all the fine details,
as if memorizing them
for some future time.

The little girl
clutches her prized possession.

Her dress, too, is tattered and torn,
its yellow star fading, but not fast enough.
Her face, too, is smudged with dirt.
Her ocean-blue eyes,
so like the doll’s
as they stare unceasingly at the world –
as if documenting the fine details,
as if memorizing them
for some future time.

The child looks
at the man
who offers her pieces of chocolate.
“Czekolada, czekolada.”
He holds out the treat to her.

She shakes her head no.

“Matka, Matka.”
Mother, Mother,
she replies.

Dead, he says matter-of-factly.

And as the little girl holds her doll
to her chest, she points to it.
“Lalka.” Doll.
And then she points to herself.

Rabbi Twerski's Words of Wisdom for Today

Tevet 23

Where were you when I established the earth? (Job 38:4).

One who reads the book of Job cannot but have compassion for just and pious Job, who appears to be unfairly subjected to suffering. All the rational arguments that his friends offer to account for his innocent suffering appear hollow, and the only acceptable answer is God's remark to Job, "Where were you when I established the earth?"

In other words, a human being can see only a tiny fragment of the universe, an infinitesimally small bit of time and space. Our vantage point is much like a single piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle, a tiny fragment of the whole picture, which makes no sense on its own. Only when the entire puzzle is assembled do we realize how this odd-shaped piece fits properly. Since no human being can have a view of the totality of the universe in both time and space, we cannot possibly grasp the meaning of one tiny fragment of it.

This explanation does not tell us why the innocent may suffer, but only why there cannot be a satisfactory explanation. Acceptance of suffering therefore requires faith in a Creator who designed the universe with a master plan in which everything that happens has a valid reason. This belief may not comfort a sufferer nor prevent the sufferer from becoming angry at the Designer of the universe. The Torah does not in fact condemn the anger of the sufferer (Bava Basra 16b), but does require that he accept adversity with trust that God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Acceptance does not mean approval, but it does allow us to avoid the paralyzing rage of righteous rage, and to go on with the business of living.

Today I shall ...... try to realize that nothing ever happens that is purposeless, and that I must go on living even when I disapprove of the way the world operates.

Publishing Houses Take Over Your Streets


If you can, do check out this link. It was a cute article sent to me today from a friend in Taiwan.

Being that I work in the publishing world, I couldn't help but enjoy what I was reading, and want to share it with you.

And as I told my friend, I wouldn't mind living on Penguin Place or Doubleday Drive. How about you...?