Gershon Hepner

Serendipity and chance

Is chance a name we may ascribe to fate,

or fate the name we should ascribe to chance?

You’d never get the answer from the late

lamented Fred Astaire, so let us dance

without distraction or preoccupation

about such problems, for which there aren’t answers,

and concentrate our minds instead on syncopation,

heartbeats not stopping while we’re mental dancers.

Whoever’s wise will learn with so-called chance to dance fantastically and lightly trip it. He will let chance, leading steps he makes, entrance him with serenity and serendipity.

The great leader of a Hasidic dynasty known as the Bnei Yisoschor writes in his work Agra DePirka that the sequence of curses described in chapter 26  of Leviticus teaches us that we should ascribe any misfortune to random “change”. This inerpretatation  is supported by the wordplay between qeri, a word denoting “chance,” in Lev. 26:21, and lariq, denoting “in vain,” five verses earlier, in Lev. 26:16.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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