Leann Shamash
Author of the blog Words Have Wings


LIght and dark
Image by Leann Shamash
LIght and dark Image by Leann Shamash

Parshat Ki Tisa speaks about the stone tablets of the law which are broken by Moshe in a fit of anger.  Once again the people disappoint and behave in a way that is unseemly in the eyes of God. Moshe pleads for them and eventually the tablets are rewritten and a new set given to the people.

These shattered tablets  can teach us about brokenness and picking up the pieces that lie scattered.   Following the physical destruction caused by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, broken nations will rebuild.  Following the near destruction of the Jewish people seventy years ago, a broken nation picked themselves up and rebuilt.  Even now, nations which seem so very broken will eventually pick up the pieces and rebuild. This is history. Systems break and are rebuilt.

The firefly can teach us that lights that go out will shine again.  So shall  nations, so shall the people.


Broken doesn’t mean forever.
The firefly knows that.
Each time her light is extinguished
the world stops for a moment,
but it begins again with a flash.
Space is once again illuminated.
The light is tiny,
but luminescence has returned.

There are so many
 moments of brokenness.
Weeks, months, years even.
Profound brokenness.
It may be you.
It may be one who is dear.
It may be a set of hopes,
a set of beliefs.

It may be a neighborhood,
a ruined village,
or a fractured planet.
It may be a shattered nation

People who lie broken in the rubble.

So many pieces.
So little time.

If broken meant forever
life would be so very narrow.
Instead of light,
darkness would abound
and, yet,
however improbable,

there is still light.

It is only through brokenness
that fixes come.
Shards slowly, painstakingly collected.
Maybe it will be tomorrow,
or maybe next year.
Maybe even longer,
but the fixes will come.

Broken buildings painstakingly repaired.
Shattered tablets rewritten.
Broken hearts slowly healed.

It is through fixes
that the world is illuminated
again and again.

Again and again.

Just ask a firefly.

About the Author
After a career in Jewish education, Leann Shamash is the author of the blog Words Have Wings, which addresses the parsha of the week through poetry.
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