Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Metzora 5776: Take Me Apart

Cleaning House - Scrubbing TileParashat Metzora details a particular form of leprosy that afflicts the mortar of a home (Leviticus 14:33-53). The home itself gets a spiritual sickness. This home-leprosy must be diagnosed by a priest. In extreme cases the mortar is removed, the stones scraped and some discarded. This meditation imagines a human being as “the house,” that we can be afflicted with an internal spiritual sickness that can only be cured with an inner dismantling and, even then, only with the help of G-d. Word choices are designated with a slash (“/”). This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Take Me Apart
Take me apart,
Bone by bone,
Sinew by sinew,
Organ by organ,
To reveal the lesions and strange bumps,
The fungus and the broken glass,
That blacken my veins,
That grind my joints,
That cloud my eyes.

I will take a knife and a wire brush
To scrape out the poison,
I will take rags and bleach
To wipe out the sludge,
Until my heart glows
And my soul shines
With the fruit of my own labor.

Only then,
Holy One,
When my flesh shimmers
And my spirit soars,
Reassemble me into
The man/woman/human
You intended
For me to become,
Clean and ready,
Holy and strong,
A sacred mirror,
Reflecting Your vastness
And Your glory.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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