Vayishlach: "And he sent"
Genesis 32:4 - 36:43

In sleep I agonize

Behind shaded eyes

Lost in self-torture

Under insurmountable walls of what if's
and might have been's

Deep within tired arms lasso a tethered spirit
bruising an already engulfed body

As beads of sweat collect in a pool
of agony beneath mortal feet

Who is this I wrestle?

Some creature born from my questioning soul

Whose shades of blackest night
rob my lungs of breathe

My mind of barest hope

Come from out of the deafening night
as it proves its hand over mine

And so I clench my teeth
fighting and pushing

Praying to escape this shadowy figure
who cannot be angelic for it sprouts no wings

Nor a man for its face is not yet familiar
as it conquers the match between my fear and demand

My strength drains from my veins
like moisture from a dying leaf

Rough

Hard

And cracking

Dare I know this beast or man?

Yet a familiar scent emanates
from his sinewy complexion

Breaking open his hidden soul

To reveal my own frightened face

As I wrestle with weak yet searching heart

Holding tightly
while asking for its tender blessing

All in seeking to find the G-d sleeping soundly within

Rabbi Tad Campbell


(Rabbi Tad Campbell is a published writer and poet who holds an MA from the University of Oxford, England, the MTS from Duke, and his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary. He is a board certified chaplain and pastoral counselor and currently serves with Suncoast Hospice in Clearwater, Florida.)
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CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL OF THE PALISADES