“Pleas” Knock

That place, just above the latch
to the left
that no one has or ever will touch
the place hidden, on which no one has laid a hand
the place that does not know how to ask-

It is the place that draws Rivka Miriam’s poetic gaze. The door is only a backdrop. The place is “the essential poem at the center of things,” as the American poet Wallace Stevens said. The place is its own poem waiting to be spoken. The place is Mysterious—hidden, yet in plain view just above the latch to the left. Despite all of the knocking pleas for entry, that place remains untouched.

The Place/HaMakom is an ancient Hebrew name for God. The place that is forever untouched, the place hidden in plain sight, is not only on the door but also beyond it.

God joins the image, and meaning deepens:  It is not only the place on the door that is limited by untouched hidden-ness. God, The Divine Place/HaMakom, is likewise limited. Both the place on the door and the place in the divine are innocent of touch and knock; neither has learned how to ask. Neither one knows how to resoundingly carry forward a plea. Both the place and The Divine Place await those who knock.

The “essential poem” burns itself into the grain of the door and opens to the inner and outer realities that make the poem true. The inner truth is that the poet and all seekers contain an inner place, forever hidden and untouched–a place which has not learned to ask.

The Divine Place/HaMakom is the outer truth–a place to which we have not yet brought our pleas.  The inner and the outer places are forever/l’olam and also hidden/ne’elam. They are features of the world/olam in which all dimensions are real at the same moment.

Images of the place within, among, and beyond make special sense during the time between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur when reflective seekers look for the place un-knocked, untried—the place where (like the fourth child at the Passover table) we do not know how to ask. This place, which we seek each year, forever abides in the cluttered obscurity of plain view.

The place awaits our search. If we don’t find the place, then the door, the divine, and the seeker will never learn how to ask. The Yom Kippur prayer, Ya’aleh, urges seekers to keep knocking:

May our knocking arise at evening
our rejoicing come with the morning
our pleas be favorably received ‘til nightfall
.

(Click here for Rivka Miriam’s poem and the Yom Kippur prayer in Hebrew and English)

This entry was posted in Days of Awe, Holidays, Poetry, Prayer. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Pleas” Knock

  1. Rachel Rosenberg says:

    Lots of layers here and I like comparing Rivka Miriam’s poem to the piyut in our machzor; the poem, while mentioning the door and the absence of touch, does not explicitly mention the more active “knocking”– but the piyut does. It is our search on Yom Kippur to figure out how to knock, how to gain entry into the internal and external. Interesting and meaningful to think about while preparing for Yom Kippur. Todah / G’mar Chatimah Tovah!

  2. God joins the image, and meaning deepens: It is not only the place on the door that is limited by untouched hidden-ness. God, The Divine Place/HaMakom, is likewise limited. Both the place on the door and the place in the divine are innocent of touch and knock; neither has learned how to ask. Neither one knows how to resoundingly carry forward a plea. Both the place and The Divine Place await those who knock.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s