The binding of the favored, the promised,
did not happen once on now what we call,
the Temple Mount.
There, on that day, in the white heat. a lesser
being stopped the hand of the father, and
then pointed to the ram.
Repeated, at the edge of a river, in the reeds,
another binding permanently mangled the
sciatic nerve, never now
To be eaten, sacred, set aside because of the
Hand of God. This binding ended in a
Given out of mercy and justice, to prove to
the chosen one that, yes, he was chosen,
and to limp until he died.
So the binding continued, year after year,
the hesed tying unruly men to God, who
wrestled with them
Willingly, over and over. So, too, do
I wrestle, in pain, with the same nerve
reminding me of
The ancestor at the river's edge, daring to
demand of God Himself the covenant.
I ask myself,
Why do some have to strive, to enter into
the combat, to feel the Hand of the Angel
pierce the nerve?
Why do some walk crooked, with a stick
prodding the sand and ruefully recognizing
weakness, faults, sins?
Jacob's akedah marks Abraham's binding,
as I am bound by God in this ageless game
of blessing or curse.
Obeying out of trial, knowing the answer lies
in the Holy Book, for if thou hast been strong
How much more shalt thou prevail against men?
I have wrestled and lost, wrestled and won,
Results. Akedát Yitzḥák, but who is testing
Who? Do I test God, as He tests me by
wrestling in darkness?
Jacob demanded justice, as he tested the
Angel, God Himself, but not without
So, today, I limp away, leaving the cool
reeds at Jaboc's ford, moving away into
the sunrise, beyond
Phanuel, where God was met, face to face
and Jacob survived to tell the tale
as we are impelled
To do, and move on into the sunrise
of a new day.
(note...Akedah One was written at Notre Dame and published in the poetry mag then. I do not have a copy of that poem with me on this computer.)