Saturday, Jul 2, 2022

The Flame

On the first night of Chanukah, standing behind one of the great tzaddikim, watching him gaze intensely for almost an hour at the ner Chanukah, Bashevkin muses, “What could be some of the many thoughts he sees through the depths of the flickering ner?” I sat that night And watched him stare At a tiny Glinting ner

He sees the flame

He sees the wicks

And suddenly

His eyes transfix

 

I stand away

And wonder what

The rebbe sees

That I see not

 

In that small flame

What does he see?

History?

Eternity?

 

A burning bush

That does entice?

The fire burning

In thick ice?

 

Perhaps he sees

Within the spark

The amud aish

That lights the dark

 

Or just the fire

Aharon brought

Day in, day out

No change, as taught

 

And standing back

Behind his chair

Gazing as

I watch him stare

A tiny krechtz

Is what I hear

 

And now I know

What he does see

The fire of

A destiny

 

The flames that come

From Paris carts

When burning our

Souls and hearts

 

The flames from Spain’s

Auto de fé

From Chelminicki’s

Foul play

 

From pogroms

Through the Russian night

Crematoriums

Do ignite

 

His eyes now close

He stops the stares

And from those eyes

The flow of tears

 

He shuckels, stops

And then a smile

It widens and

Remains a while

 

And eyes that pierced

The flames he lit

Now drift upward

Just a bit

 

And back he looks

I know he saw

The fire that

We all wait for

 

That will descend

So suddenly

To build our home

Bayis Shlishi

 

And from the flame

Before his eyes

The secret of

The smile lies

 

For what he feels

His ner does burn

Aharon’s menorah

Shall return

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