A Soldier’s Sabbath

At our house, the seventh day
isn't quite what it is
in the book of Genesis.
The separation between sacred and profane
is measured differently:

how many days left...how many days before...
how many days till...

grasping a pass in his hand,
setting his gun down at the front door,
switching his fatigues for a tee shirt,
resting his head on his father's shoulder
and mine,
my son Iyar comes home
from the army.
Only then are the heavens and earth
and all that is within them finished
and I bless the Sabbath candles
and we rest.

Come my beloved, groom of the Sabbath
Crowned by his homecoming, any day
is sacred -
Fribath -
Tuesbath -
A whole week home, and we replay
the saga of creation from
chaos and the void
to Adam wrought in the Divine Image.
There was darkness on the face of the deep.
Now there is light.

Watch over him for me, King of the universe.
Blessed are You who gives us purpose in life.
Praised are You
who hallows the Sabbath of soldiers.

Translated by Miriyam Glazer
Prof. Miriyam Glazer‘s most recent book is Psalms of the Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to their Beauty, Power & Meaning (Aviv Press, 2009). She is Professor of Literature at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, and an ordained rabbi.

Published in: Dancing On the Edge of the World - Jewish Stories of Faith, Inspiration and Love. (Ed. Prof. Miriyam Glazer), Roxbury Press/McGraw Hill, USA 2000.


Iyar Semel, soldier 1997

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