Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parsha Poem: Chayei Sarah / חַיֵּי שָׂרָה

בראשית / Bereishit / Bereishis / Genesis 23:1-25:18

Printable PDF version here.

image I’m just a thirsty camel and I’m looking for a drink;
I’ve been walking through the desert, and now I’ve stopped to think.
What a dry and dusty walk it’s been, I hope for water soon,
We’ve been on the road since 6 am and now it’s nearly noon!

We’re standing here beside this well, just waiting for a while;
I thought my master might open it, which kind of made me smile.
I thought he’d pour a drink for me; at last, for I am parched,
It’s been at least a billion miles that all of us have marched.

But, no, it doesn’t look as though he’s going to touch that well.
Perhaps we’ll have to stand and wait ‘till someone comes to sell
Us water for some silver coins, some cups or buckets worth.
Hey, maybe he’ll buy some extra to wash away this sandy earth!

imageWhat now? He must be thinking out loud; making up a test.
“The girl who comes out to give me water must be the very best.”
If she gives him water and then to us, too – both man and camels combined
Then she, for Yitzchak, a bride could be; a most precious desert find.

I could have told him right away that he’s got this thing all wrong
Just find a girl who’s lovely, who can sing a pretty song.
What kind of girl is strong enough, so kind and gentle, too,
To think of us, just lowly camels, straight out of Brooklyn Zoo?

What kind of girl could do it, when she saw how thirsty we are,
Keep bringing those buckets of water, without even having a car?
“Dream on Eliezer,” I told him: “Give up now and head back home.”
But I guess he couldn’t understand, just stared down at the loam.

But, look! Who’s coming out, along the dusty road;
A regal girl with manners fine, her skin so fair it glowed.
No way she’ll stop or notice us, dry camels thirsting hard,
Or else she’ll scream and run back home and send a nasty guard!

She turned! She’s heading here, straight towards the well,
She speaks! Her voice so pure, it rings out like a bell,
“Oh, dear, good sir, a day so hot – you must be struck with thirst!
Please let me open up our well lest heat might do its worst.”

“Why, thank you, miss,” my master replied, “that would be very kind.”
And so we stood and watched him drink – don’t think we didn’t mind!
“Wait here,” she said, “and while you drink, I’ll help these ungulate mammals.”
“Say what?” he blurted, so she clarified. “Whoops! I meant your camels.”

It’s her! No way! I can’t believe my master’s had such luck!
Of course, we still have to walk back home – and we still don’t have a truck.
Maybe it’s true what the people all say in Kna’an about Avraham,
Hashem looks out for him all the time and led him to what he’s become.

Then again, what do I know? I’m just a camel, a dry and dusty beast,
Though I’ve walked some to the west and I’ve walked more to the east
Maybe it’s just an odd happenstance,
And that girl happened out of her home just by chance.

But if it’s true what they say at home, you know, about Avraham and his kin,
Then this girl, Rivkah, is special indeed, for the nation that she will begin.
She and Yitzchak together will set the world on a new and holy track;
In which case, you know, I just might not mind the long, hot and dry journey back.

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