Artwork by Daniel Kabakoff
This edifice G-d made, and made for good,
Was at one northern edge not finished quite,
And through that corner various death and blight
May enter, and uncleannesses intrude:
Some in our bodily natures claim their right,
The monthly fall of blood, release of seed,
While others come because we fail to heed
The guards of speech, or else some wordly sight
Draws eye and heart, till even where no misdeed
Has blotched the record, evil thoughts betray
Our prayers, and give the imnost soul dismay.
Yet with such thoughts we neither treat nor plead;
We fix our minds upon the illumined way
By which completion will arrive someday.
That Aharon might come into the dread
Place where G-d’s silent Name aloud could sound
And then return into his earthly round,
A ritual pattern he was told to tread,
That soul from body might not come unbound
And be annulled in the eternal Source,
Toward which it ever strained throughout time’s course,
And G-d’s work in this world remain uncrowned.
How otherwise with souls round which the coarse
Rind of concealment and exile has grown,
So that to find the spark within heart’s stone
We need contrition’s hammer, anger’s force,
Until, knocked free of what had weighed it down,
The soul ascends where it has always shone.