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A Shabbat Morning with Adrienne Rich’s words

In memory of Adrienne Rich we included segments of her work in Shabbat Morning service on March 31 which connected to the prayers of the morning.


For the V-Ahavta of the Shma:

“It will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
It will be short, it will not be simple”

― Adrienne Rich


For the end of the Shma where it says “YHVH your God is truth” (Adonai Eloheychem emet)

 “There is no ‘the truth’,’a truth’ – truth is not one thing, or even a system. It is an increasing complexity. the pattern of the carpet is a surface. When we look closely, or when we become weavers, we learn of the tiny multiple threads unseen in the overall pattern, the knots on the underside of the carpet”

― Adrienne Rich

As an introduction to the Aleynu where we sang “Takeyn olam b-malchut Shaddai” (“Repair the world into a sovereignty of the divine”)

“My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.”              ― Adrienne Rich


As an introduction to the Mourner’s Kaddish

Tattered Kaddish
Taurean reaper of the wild apple field

messenger from earthmire gleaning 

transcripts of fog

In the nineteenth year and the eleventh month

speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:

Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel

on ones we knew and loved 

Praise to life though its windows blew shut 

on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though ones we knew and loved

loved it badly, too well, and not enough 

Praise to life though it tightened like a knot 

on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us

Praise to life giving room and reason

to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable 

Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.

“Tattered Kaddish” by Adrienne Rich, from An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991

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