שְׁמוֹת / shemos / shemot / Exodus 6:2-9:35
Walking through the park with my silly little sister
Swinging my stick but making sure I always missed her.
When I thunked and I thwacked and I hit a little hill,
She called out, “Stop right now! I really hope you will!”
“Why not hit it?” I quizzed my sister in the park;
I really didn’t know, she had kept me in the dark.
“Don’t you remember?” like she thought that I should know,
“Racing madly down it, that day you felt so low?”
How could I forget? My sister knew me all too well,
But I still felt unsure of what she’d really meant to tell.
“Because I biked on down that hill, I shouldn’t smack it hard?”
“That’s exactly right,” she said, as we approached our yard.
You were lounging in our backyard but could not find a spot;
To the park you pedalled, just looking for a thrill,
And you found it gliding down that not-so-little hill.”
She had a point, I knew that, for the hill’s a perfect size,
And we’d spent all afternoon there, competing for a prize.
Just then I swung the gate back, pushed it with a clunk,
“Hey!” she cried, “Don’t treat it like the gate’s made up of junk.”
“Hey!” I muttered, “what’s the deal? It’s really just a gate!”
“Just think,” she said, “and while you do, I can stand and wait.”
I thought right back to the terrible day a dog was chasing me,
'Till I ran through that gate and closed it quick and finally felt free.
“I guess you’re right,” I finally said, “I owe it some respect,
At least I shouldn’t slam it so hard, because it might get wrecked.”
She nodded as I veered away, to whack a dandelion
“No way!” she hollered, “don’t do that – you'll hurt my yellow friend Brian!”
“Hey, little sis, what’s up with you?” I asked her at the door.
“You’ve never worried about this stuff – ever, ever before.
Why do you care so much right now for treating everything right?”
I felt like I could hardly budge, she'd gotten so uptight.
“Haven’t you read the parsha this week?” she asked incredulously.
“There’s a lesson for you,” she told me now, “if only you could see.”
“In Vaeira, some makkos start with a staff over water or over land,
But during those makkos, the staff is held in Aaron’s, not Moshe’s, hand.”
And now I remembered what she meant; really, I’d known all along.
Moshe would never hit the water – it saved him when he wasn’t strong.
And the dust, the sand, had buried the Mitzri, his body down so deep,
Moshe could not bear to turn it to lice, knowing they crawl and they creep!
When Hashem needed plagues, whether blood, frogs or lice,
He knew Moshe would follow his own great advice.
To be grateful, hakaras hatov, would come first
For water and sand helped when things were their worst.
Yes, my sister is right, but what’s even more true
Is we have to be grateful in all that we do.
Not just to things, but the folks all around,
Who help us and care with a love so profound.
So I opened the door, oh-so-gently, it’s true,
Ate supper all up, but before I was through.
I cleared all my dishes, no crashes and clanks,
Smiled up at my mom – and said quickly, “thanks.”
(special hakaras hatov to my still-TedTastic!-after-all-these-years husband for this week’s illustrations!)