I remember the first time I saw it
in the home of a friend, above a laquered table —
a drawing of the holy sites of Israel.
Every detail was a Hebrew word,
shaped to form the landscape.
Words framed the Western Wall.
An intense hive of words formed the Temple Mount,
climbed the scale of Mt. Zion.
Think of those places in Israel —
sacred remains of a lost temple,
the burial place of a king.

At those sites in the Holy Land,
there must be unseen words
winding their way through stone and grass,
through generations of loss and suffering —
words like shalom, raham, baruch.
Think of the Talmudic scribes,
working over scrolls,
shaping the masorah into flowers, intricate patterns,
forming detailed carpet pages, elaborate biblical texts —
designing ketubot, contracts of marriage,
and fashioning passages from Psalms and Proverbs
into word-art.
These scholars drew language-paintings,
spoke for a people who had been silenced for centuries.
Micrography shouts a visceral beauty,
a call for remembrance,
an outcry,
like the wail of a shofar.

In Hebrew, raham means compassion or mercy & is derived from the word “rehem“, meaning womb.
Baruch means to bless G-d, or to kneel.
Masorah, which means tradition, is also the word for the commentary by Jewish scribes, written in the margins of texts.

Previously published in New Works Review

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