A poem for Israel: Burned, but not consumed

To anyone who’s somehow stumbled upon this blog, allow me to say: shalom. Thank you for being here. I don’t need to tell you about the events which have taken place in Israel over the last few days – we’ve all seen the horrors. Upon witnessing them – from far away in my New England home – there was so much I wanted to do. So much I wished I could do. But one of the only things I knew how to do was write a poem. And so I did that. And The Times of Israel was gracious enough to let me share it with you. If you know anyone who might find some solace in its words, please don’t hesitate to share it with them. But before you read it, there are just a few things I must say.

These are dark days. But it’s in such moments that we’re most called upon to be there for each other. There’s a tradition among our people – one I learned only recently – where, upon the conclusion of a book of Torah, the congregation is to proclaim, Hazak, Hazak, V’Nithazek! Be strong. Be strong. Let us strengthen one another!

Simchat Torah marks the end of the year’s Torah reading – the last conclusion as a new cycle begins. In their cowardice, the forces of evil chose to attack on what should have been a joyous day. But because they were cowards, they made a severe miscalculation – they planted the seeds of their own demise. They failed to understand that on Simchat Torah – the conclusion of conclusions – we, the Jewish people, are renewed and at our strongest. And so long as we remember this, we will prevail.

Each and every one of you has the power to be a pillar – a champion – to those around you. In this way, we may build each other up into the people we were meant to be. In this way, me may strengthen each other to the point of invincibility. And in this way – by the grace of God – this evil will be stricken by a thunderous might, until it is nothing but a footnote in the list of fools who sought our destruction.

Pray for the people around you. Pray for Israel. Pray for the victory which will be ours.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Burned but Not Consumed – Simchat Torah 5784

I saw the news on Saturday

An anger burned my heart.

Sunday’s been a day in dwelling

Remorse – Disgust – Frustration

And tomorrow is another day

the world just keeps on turning.


“Did you see the people of the land

stand strong though they were burning?”


I have no right to be afraid

Just as the world keeps turning


Burned but not consumed.

The bush

was burned but not consumed.

About the Author
A writer from the Boston area, Matthew Goldberg is the author of an unpublished novella. His work has appeared in The Federalist and The Jewish Poetry Project Instagram page.
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