Mordechai Jeselsohn Blau


Barred from the black bars of Tefillin

From the prisoners’ stripes of the prayer shawl

I enslave myself with a mark of women

I mark myself with an awl


For I have loved, I have loved

I have loved my master

I shall be a handmaid eternal

These bonds shall not be severed


So take me to the lintel

The mezuzah in which are etched

The same words that adorn your gear

I too shall have

A covenant in flesh

A little hole in my ear


My earring, my earring

Joy of the slave

Loving and fearing


And grave


Not baubles to cast to a golden calf

But an emblem, a halo, a helix

Of the Lord’s household are we not half?

Were we not there when ye left Egypt?


Had Moses’ staff no distaff?


We danced there, you know

With our earrings and bangles

With our tambourines

There by the sea

And as we swayed, our jewelry jangled

And rang


It sang

The slave of the Lord alone is free

This poem was first-place winner of the Yedid Nefesh (Powered by Yavneh) anonymously judged poetry contest.

About the Author
First place winner of Yedid Nefesh (Powered by Yavneh)’s anonymously judged poetry contest (, Mordechai Jeselsohn Blau is studying Tanach and Hebrew Linguistics at Bar Ilan University in Israel.
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