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Poetry section

Four poems by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

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"God Gives, God Takes:

God gives opportunities, but not forever.

God takes opportunities away after a while.

So don't hesitate or delay or curse the darkness

while remaining mired in hopelessness,

because God gives; and God takes away.

Blessed be the name of the LORD.


But why bless the LORD when God takes away?

Because if the opportunities were always there,

we would wait until the time was right

and never make the leap,

and another year would waste away.

So each year God gives and God takes away

opportunities for a better year.

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Deuteronomy 29:5 on Aging:

I am not afraid of dying

But I am afraid of declining.

Forgetting a name or a word,

Waking up stiff with aches and pains,

Having to walk because I cannot run.

Not being able to do what I always could do,

Feeling betrayed by my body’s decline.

Then one Shabbat morning

As the Torah was being read

I heard these words from Deuteronomy 29

For 40 years in the wilderness

your clothes did not wear out,

nor did your shoes wear out and fall off your feet” (29:5)"


How could that be?

Everything decays and wears out.

Everyone declines, deteriorates and becomes decrepit.

Then suddenly I understood the Torah’s teaching.

Old age isn’t a one way street.

You can change from hiking briskly in the mountains

To walking slowly in the valley,

Looking at birds, flowers and trees.

You can still appreciate seeing and hearing

Even if not so sharply anymore.

You can still do a lot

If you do it unhurriedly.

If you understand the Torah’s teaching

You can spend even 40 years

In the wilderness of decline

Without wearing yourself out,

And falling off your feet.

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What is an angel?

Each individual

is like an angel

with only one wing

who can walk

and even run.

But joined

with a partner

you trust, you a

partnered angel

can fly.

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Loving Relationships:

Loving relationships make two into one

and also enable two to make another one.


At Sinai God revealed Torah to Israel

and ever since

Torah has revealed God to Israel and

Israel has revealed Torah to God.


Torah makes Israel faithful to God

and God makes Israel faithful to Torah.

Torah makes Jews and Jews make Torah;


The ongoing Brit between God and Israel produces Torah;

and the Brit between God-Torah-Israel will someday

help humanity to make a Messianic Age

of world peace and justice for everyone.

About the author:

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after serving for 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Los Angeles. His web site is: http://www.rabbimaller.com

Site navigation:

Home >Website features> Poetry > here

Home >Visitors' Essays > here

First posted: 2013-AUG-27
Latest update: 2013-AUG-27
Author: Rabbi A.S. Maller

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