Finding a Pause
This has been a week, my friends. The gauntlet between Purim and Passover is rugged and I was solo clergy-ing this week, so I felt it even more. Given that, I didn’t have much time to delve into a specific writing topic this week. Then, I came across the following poem, by poet James Crews:
After black clouds swirled in the sky,
and rain made a lake of the driveway,
the early evening turned so quiet
I could hear suds dissolving in the sink
from the sponge I just squeezed out,
bubbles popping, draining away.
And I dropped so easily into myself
like a rock sinking through clear water,
the scribe writing the story of my life
must have decided to insert the word,
selah, that appears over and over
in the Psalms, and which we can only
guess is an invitation to the reader:
Pause here in the text and leave room
between this breath and the next
for the sound of that still, small voice
rising up in you
Every line is worthy of analysis. As the resident dishwasher in the house, that imagery speaks to me intensely. It is a practical household task but also a meditative one, in which I can really listen to myself (and also, if I am being honest, catch up on a show!)
Mostly what I am focused on is “selah,” a word used often in the Psalms. Its etymology and meaning are debated among linguists but I love what Crews does here. Selah is an invite to pause and listen.
This Shabbat, Jews will read from three Torahs, a relatively rare occurrence in the calendar. One Torah is for the weekly portion that deals with childbirth, one is for the beginning of the new month of Nisan, and one is for this Shabbat Ha’Hodesh, being where we herald the aforementioned new month that holds the holiday of Passover, our celebration of liberation.
In other words, we are in a rebirth, renewal, and redemptive mindset. Take a moment to hear that selah and pause. There is something in the air. What are you bringing into the world? What are you recreating? What are you redeeming? Find that still small voice and heed its message.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Weekend!