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[Editor's Note: This poem is posted to mark the beginning of the Three Weeks.
The Hebrew terms are defined in a glossary at the end.]

Yitzchak ben Yehuda


Moaning like a dove crying “Alas for my children, for whose
iniquities I destroyed My House, burnt My Temple, and exiled
them among the nations” (Ber. 3a).


            In the silence before the midnight hour

            I awoke to nefesh’s deathful voice crying

            over my human acts of shameful behavior

            broken promises causing my lost spirituality


            Grass had grown in my cheeks left helpless

            to speak Hebrew letters from a sinful mouth

            in t’fillah exposing nefesh’s true essence

            choking for words from my unclean sanctuary


            Her muffled voice spoke of my soiled garments

            worn over two decades suffocating her spirit

            with an unexcised heart in darkness dwelt

            my Jewish blood scorching in Temple’s fire


            Jerusalem laid in ruins our Holy Shechinah

            ascending above its ashes, with heart now

            in mishmar, my flesh stared at its bones

            inner hatred woven amongst the living dead


            I layed drowning in chitzonim created misery

            in humid heat from Arizona’s desert floor

            with monsoon gusty winds blowing its sands

            and heavy rains flooding over my human remains


            Enough, enough! My ruach spoke out pleading,

            Shuvah! “By your blood shall you live!” You

            are a firstborn from the womb sanctified by

            Havayah to be his who designed your destiny


            In blindness my nefesh elokit opened my mind

            revealing Torah’s emet, wisdom’s paths I had

            traveled in childhood lessons never forgetting

            expressing a Jew’s passion for Havayah his Elokim


            With sekhel ne’eman my ruach took control

            taking nefesh elokit to wait nearby

            while AMSh cleansed heart’s sanctuary with

            Shin’s hissing fire, Mem’s purified mayyim


            And Aleph’s beckoning Yah’s breath of life

            the mothers in the neshamah, male and female

            igniting my receptive and creative powers

            with B’rith Halashon in Binah consciousness


            Where in the depth of heart’s taharah

            I uncovered its thin sack-cloth garment

            with esh mit’lakachat of passionate ahavah

            hessech da’at rectifying its divine covenant


            Revealing in sekhel mekudash nefesh elokit’s

            kavod and spiritual yichudim with Elokim a

            longing for his neshikah to return tashev

            rather than being enslaved by human frailties


            At midnight I stood silently ready to climb

            Yaakov’s ladder in sekhel kavua with re’uta de-liba

            joining dedicated neshamot standing in the nights

            of Havayah’s house declaring his kavod without milah


            Returning to tzafiyah for nefesh elokit’s yeshu'ah

            in kavanot rectifying those barriers I created

            with Yesod and the upper world of Atzilut

            in seeking hamtakat hadin toward my neshamah


            From Temple’s burnt ashes arose a new shachar -

            we were given la-chason Yisroel’s ultimate return

            to Zion, revealing my own nefesh elokit’s o-rach

            in greeting each days twilight in joyous mizmor.






Hebrew Words and Kabbalah Terms



T’fillah - prayer
Nefesh - “soul” - consists of three divine souls, nefesh elokit, ruach, and  neshamah
Soiled garments - thought, speech, action
Unexcised - one’s heart not being circumcised by removing its thin sack-cloth garment covering the inner heart
Shechinah - feminine manifestations of the divine presence
Mishmar - prison-spiritually enslaved
Living dead - those whose divine soul is cut off from Elokim, failure to repent
Chitzonim - evil forces
Ruach - one of the three divine souls within nefesh
Shuvah - command to repent
Havayah - one of G-d’s 72 names
Nefesh elokit - one of the three divine souls within nefesh
Emet - divine truth
Elokim - one of G-d’s 72 names
Sekhel ne’eman - faithful consciousness, the 22nd path of wisdom in Torah
AMSh - three mothers in the soul - Aleph, Mem, and Shin
Shin - fire, 23rd letter in Hebrew alphabet
Mem - water, 15th letter in Hebrew alphabet
Aleph - breath, 1st letter in Hebrew alphabet
Mayyim - waters
Yah - one of G-d’s 72 names
B’rith halashon - circumcised tongue
Binah - consciousness to understanding, the third branch to the tree of life
Taharah - ritual purification
Esh mitlakachat - “flashes of fire” / self taking fire
Ahavah - love of G-d in obedience to divine law
Hessech da’at - taking one's mind off
Sekhel mekudash - sanctified consciousness, the 2nd path of wisdom in the Torah
Kavod - glory
Yichudim - spiritual unification of broken vessels
Neshikah - Elokim’s kiss taking soul
Tashev - to return home
Sekhel kavua - settled consciousness, the 4th path of wisdom in the Torah
Re’uta de-liba - heart’s desire
Neshamot - “souls” (pl.)
Milah - “silent” or (“chash”) word-nonverbal speech
Tzafiyah - the sefirot of nothingness
Yeshiva - salvation or “helmet of salvation”
Kavanot - specific meditations by the Holy Ari
Yesod - foundation, connecting, or bonding
Atzilut - “my glory”-chakmah (wisdom)
Hamtakat hadin - divine, mercy in judgment
Shachar - dawn
La-chazon - for a vision
O-rach - spiritual path for each neshamah
Mizmor - song



Books of references


Torah, Genesis, Chapter one - 32 paths of wisdom/states of spiritual consciousness

Bahir (Kabbalah) text

Sefer yetzirah, the Holy Ari’s teachings/commentaries

Zohar (Book of Splendor) by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Tanya (Likutei Amarim) by Rabbi Schneur Zalmon of Liadi

Inner Space, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan z”l


By  Contributor:


Shema L'Kolee Bemidbar ("Listen To My Voice In the Desert"),

         Trafford Pub. 2003,

Nitzotzot Shel Kedushah (Sparks of Holiness), Publish America (Vol. I), soon to be

         released (December 2010).


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