Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Creak of the Doors Leading in to the Temple (Yoma 39b)

The creak of the doors leading in to the Temple
--The intimate chamber, the Holy of Holies--
Resounds for a distance--for eight times the distance--
That one is permitted to walk on Shabbat.

The scent of the frankincense burned on the altar
--The cinnamon, saffron; the cassia, myrrh--
Is smelled for a distance--a ten parsa distance--
Jerusalem-Jericho, traveled by foot.

The goatherds of Jericho's gated-in grazing ones
--Speckled and spotted, give Glory to God!--
Sneeze tickled in nostril--a goat-a-choo nostril--
When breathing in frankincense wafted on high.

The brides of Jerusalem's sages and scholars
--The henna-haired gazed-ats, gazelle-like in womb--
Purveyed not a perfume--forewent every fragrance--
The cinnamon, saffron; the cassia, myrrh.

My father raised goats in the high hills of Michmar
--Raised he-goats and she-goats and get-at-your-goats--
Who sneezed in a tempest--a lift-your-lamp tempest--
Who shuddered in pleasure from frankincense, myrrh.

An old man once told me: I went once to Shiloh
--The city of ruins, the mishkan dismantled--
I rested my face (My) between her two walls (God!)
The cinnamon, saffron! The cassia, myrrh!


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