Lee Diamond

Lee Diamond: The 4,000 Year Old Jew & The Slanted Mezuzah

Lee Diamond: The 4,000 Year Old Jew & The Slanted Mezuzah

The 4000-year-old Jew 

My father was born  on Hester street

In lower Manhattan

His father was Russian born

My father was a Jew but an

Unlettered Jew

Spoke some American Yiddish

But called this language “Jewish”

-not Yiddish but Jewish!


For him —speaking a broken

“Yidlish” was Jewish.

He spoke “Yidlish”

And he lived (when a Jew)

In this language.


Language is not just words

Language is identity


My father lived In English

And in “Yidlish”

Partly Jewish and partly American

Living in two identities


My sons live in Israel as I do

They are Israelis

Hebrew is WHERE they live

Oh—they speak “Hebrish” too

But live in Hebrew

Unlike my father

Hebrew is Jewish

Hebrew is their native culture

Not partly

Not just words

But Their culture.

Their language is Jewish



One son studied in America

But returned

To his home

To his Culture

To his native Culture

To thinking, to laughing

To crying, to celebrating,

To speaking Jewish.

For Hebrew is not just

A language

It is 4,000 years

And 69 years of Jewish expression


All my sons speak Jewish

All Israelis speak Jewish

Secular and religious Israelis

Speak Jewish

And they aren’t even aware,

And they aren’t torn

They live in Jewish skin

And their lips utter Jewish


Oh, They speak English

They wear Western jeans

But their skin

And identity

And inner being

And breath

Is their real being

Which is authenticity



In 69 years we’ve re-created

Unaware confident

Non self conscious




Speaking Hebrew

Speaking Jewish


Living in Jewish space

In Jewish time

And breathing Jewish


You might attempt to take the Jew

out Of Israel

But you can’t take the

Jew out of the Israeli


The Slanted Mezuzah



Did you ever wonder.

Why the mezuzah on the


Is neither horizontal

Or vertical.


Rashi: Vertical!!

Rabenu Tam: horizontal!!


Yaakov Ben Asher:

“On a slant”


But what about Rashi?

And what about Rabenu Tam?


Both “talmidim chachamim

Both right and both wrong


For the truth is somewhere

Between vertical and horizontal

The truth is in the content

It all “stands”andlies”in the words


Shema Yisrael the Lord “our” God, the Lord is ONE


The message is

Not “our” way

But the way of all humankind

All Ways

And always


“Bend” in honor

“Lean” toward


Eternal Truth



That we are all in the image

Though our languages

May Differ ever since the tower


Though our prayers may differ

And our  cultures as well


God is the One


And is only reached by

“Leaning” toward each other

None right

None wrong

None left

None right

Not vertical nor horizontal


But Touching in the middle

Leaning Toward the middle

As the Mezuzah points

Toward the



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