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

defining

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

Jewish

 

In 69 years we’ve re-created

Unaware confident

Non self conscious

Natural

Jews

 

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

Doorpost

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

 

Remember

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

ONLY

ONE

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