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Three Mothers spelling out the connection between Genesis and Exodus


I.

Wait, did I miss it?

Welcoming kids home from college

Engaging projects for work and at home;

Caught a few pops and fireworks

In the distance out the window

on the eve of 2016.

Then there was that thing with the kitchen sink

and my Torah-time slipped right by.

Meantime, mean time, the scroll rolls on

Genesis slips into Exodus, enter and exit,

blessed family reunion replaced by a new set,

a new pharaoh and a nation enslaved.

Back to the departure lane in the airport.

Life’s story doesn’t stop for my story.

Did I miss the grand transition from Creation to Revelation?

Revelation, like creation and redemption, is on-going, we’re told.

Sinai not a momentary event, but a perpetual prospect.

It happens again and again,

Happening now, and now, and now.

Monday is also a day for reading-naming-making Torah.

II.

Beginnings (Breisheet) and Names (Shemot).

The Hebrew names of the first two books of Torah

Are intertwined in time and space and soul.

Genesis/Beginnings: Light is called into being, and promptly named.

“Elohim says, ‘Be light, and there is light.’”

Dark and Light, named Night and Day,

As if co-created, the name and the named.

Humans too are created-named, and for the first act of Adam,

he is dubbed “the Namer,” naming each of the animals in the Garden.

Exodus/Names: “These are the names, the names of the children and grandchildren of Jacob,”

Or is it Israel? What’s his name? What’s yours? What’s our name?

And the unnamed man of Levi, the mother, the sister, the child,

(and the named midwives?), and unnamed daughter of Pharaoh,

Who names a baby “Moses,” who later stands before a burning bush

To face the calling of a God who refuses to be named,

“I am who I am.”

I simply am.

Creator of, not creation of, language, mind, truth.

Tell that to the elders.

III.

Shemot, Vayeirah. The names of the first two portions of Exodus,

“Names” and “appearance.” Also intertwined.

When we name something, it appears to us,

A car model, a color, an injustice, a beauty, an act of love,

And they appear with more reality, more life, and more frequency.

Yes, names have power. Curious?

What's coming is a series of reflections

based on Sefer Yetzirah, a mysterious literary exploration of the formation

of language, life, of everything,

and of twenty-two symbols, or letters, of the Hebrew Alphabet.

IV.

The mother letters.

The mother of Moses, the sister of Moses, the daughter of Pharaoh,

Only later named Yocheved, Miriam, Batyah.

They are the prime movers in the first chapter of the book of Exodus.

Without them, no Moses, no challenge to Pharaoh,

no freedom, no Torah, no justice.

V.

And in language, and in creation, there are three mothers.

Aleph is space and potential, air,

raw energy and consciousness,

“Ahh,” wonders, unseen and unnamed.

Mem is the primordial waters of life,

into which the bundle of joy is placed,

over which it is lovingly watched

“Mmm,” and from which it is pleasingly drawn.

Shin is the primordial fire of desire

Wanting something better

Shouting sparks into the dark

“Shh,” Hearing the cries of oppression

And the echoes of these letters are perpetuated

in his name, MoSHeH, [Moses]

And in ‘The Name,’ HaSheM. [YHVH/God]

Mother, sister, daughter,

Yocheved, Miriam, Batyah,

Air-Space, Water, Fire-Place.

Three archetypal mothers

of be-ing-and-naming,

Coming and Going,

Genesis and Exodus.

Wait! Here it comes-goes.

Let’s not miss it.

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