Simchat Torah

It can be compared to a queen who desires
to marry a man, and writes him a generous
contract, saying: to you I will give this many
sheep, this many cattle, this weight in silver.
I will build you a house with this many rooms
and this many windows, and this many doors,
and this many women to tend to the household,
and this many men to work in the fields.
And the queen goes away, and after a year
the girls of the city come to him, saying
This bride of yours will never come back.
She has certainly died, or married again. Be sensible –
marry one of us. If doubt ever entered his thoughts
he’d return home and take out the contract
where she had promised him measures of silver
and vast flocks of cattle, and a house made of cedar
with great iron doors – his contract, written on skins
from a number of cattle, in vivid dark ink,
its letters crowned as if each were a queen,
stretched between mahogany handles,
and wrapped in velvet, embroidered in gold –
he’d seize the handles and pull the scroll open
and read from it with wondrous precision,
and feel as if he’d embraced his betrothed.
He thought, even if you never come back
and I have been longing in vain all this time
for a queen who arrives to drive out my sorrow,
whose face is so bright it drowns out all doubt,
even if I will never discern any mark
of your life in my life – even so, I would rise
to meet your contract as one meets a bride
and adorns her with silver to set her apart
from all other women. With your permission,
queen of creation, and with your permission,
contract of perfection, I will arise
once the reading is finished, to begin
the reading again.