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Reaching Far To Bless My Child

Reaching far to bless my child   

At the dinner table
she spreads her open palm,
ready to offer a Shabbat blessing
but tonight, the high chair is empty.

With an ache in her heart
she takes a deep lung-filled breath
and extends her hands past their limits,
a long reach on some imaginary plain.

In some mystical way,
her hands lengthen and follow a path
stretching past the city limits,
south, south, down south and further south.

Past acres of date palms,
past miles of highway
past graveled roads
past border fence.

Searching, and finally finding her taken child,
she lays her stretched out hands on her crown
and begins whispering ancient words
with tears welling and spilling and flowing.

There in the dark tunnel, she notices her child’s captor,
a simple man, just like any other man, and she murmurs:
in this place, where there is no humanity,
for my child, my heart, my life, hishtadel lihiyot ish.
(strive to be a human being)

About the Author
Hanna Yerushalmi grew up in the Midwest, where kindness is a priority and listening is the first step in a relationship. And so relationships became the lens through which she views the world. Over the years, this lens further propelled her to the rabbinate and working in relational life. Hanna is an ordained rabbi and also a licensed professional counselor and currently works in a therapy practice with couples around issues of intimacy. Hanna lives in Annapolis and together with her husband is raising four children by teaching them about kindness and the value of listening.
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