By Joel Fleischman
“The Weaver’s Loom” is a poem inspired by a comment by the revered Torah commentator Rashi on a verse in the book of Sh’mos (Exodus). In that comment, Rashi refers to the ‘craft’ of the Patriachs Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov. The children of Israel are on the shore of the sea after having just left Mitsrayim (Egypt). The chariots of Pharoah are closing in on them to recapture or slaughter them. The narrative continues, “They cried out to God,” about which Rashi remarks: “They grasped the craft of their fathers.” What is meant by that? Our tradition tells us that the Patriarchs established the practice of prayer in the morning, afternoon and evening (Gemara Brachos 26, B).
Our ancient fathers knew a rule of truth,
the craft* by which a holy self is made,
and set 4 points – the weaver’s loom –
melech, ozair, moshia, umogain.**
They stood before Him every day
and with each draw and every pull,
morning, night and noon again,
warp and woof they wove with Him.
Through out, through in, they thread their wool
part to all, repeat to whole,
linking worlds high and low,
now every knot and loop would be
a point, a path in history
then He would both be in between and up above.
Compassion blooms on us this way, behold His everlasting love.
*Rashi Shmos 14:10
**king, helper, savior, shield – From the Shemona Esrai prayer
Joel Fleischman lives in New Haven with his wife, Reva. His book of poetry – The Village of S’fat – is available on Amazon.com.