Leann Shamash
Author of the blog Words Have Wings

I See You: A Poem for Parshat Vayechi

I See You. (Photo by Leann Shamash)

Parshat Vayechi finishes the eventful book of Breisheet, during which the family of Avraham grows, encounters jealousy, battles and famine and makes ready for their descent to Egypt. Of course, we are the readers who know the text and know what will happen next, so we can see that everyone has their prescribed roles in God’s plan for the Jewish people.

One of the many themes in the book of Breisheit is the theme of blindness and seeing. Isaac is blind when he is fooled into giving the birthright to Jacob and much later we find an old and blind Jacob on his deathbed when Joseph brings his sons to be blessed. Despite his age and his inability to see, Jacob sees something in Joseph’s sons. Once again the birthright is bestowed to the younger child and perhaps we are no longer surprised that this is happening. Perhaps here we learn that there is more to seeing than sight and many ways to recognize others when our eyes have lost their potency.

I will miss the book of Breisheit. With all of its twists and turns, its vivid characters and emotional presence, it never grows old. I look forward to returning to it once again.

I See You


I see you.

I see you in the places you shop

    and in the car you drive.

I see you in the baseball cap on your head

   and the sneakers you wear.

I see you in the dogs you walk

   and in the ice cream you order.

I see you in the flags you fly

   and the brands you choose.

I see you in the items in your shopping cart

   and in the dishes in your kitchen sink.

I see you in the dust on the furniture.

   and the pictures on your fridge.

I see you in your music play lists

   and in the beverages you prefer.

I see you through your open windows

   and through you front door.

I see you in the books you read

   and in the jokes you tell.

I see you in your questions

   and in your answers.

I see you in the friends you keep

   and in the family that surrounds you.

I see you in what makes you laugh

   and what makes you weep.

 I see you in the words you choose
   and in the tone of your voice.

I see you in the way you listen

   and the way you respond.

I see you when you celebrate

   and when you commemorate.

I see you by who you accept

  and by who you reject.

I see you in what you choose to discard

  and what you choose to save.

I see you in what you give

   and what you take.

I see you in how you greet

   and how you say good-bye.

I see you in what you reveal

   and what you keep hidden.

I see you in the way you treat others

   and how you treat yourself.

Most of all.

How you treat yourself.

With my eyes I see

about you,

through you,

with you,

around you.

My eyes are full of you.

I see.

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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