The Negligent Tailor

By Yakov Azriel

The ephod of time unravels.

And I, an unskilled tailor,

Did not notice there are no tzitizt

In the tunic of my prayers,

Or how the stitches in my linen breeches

Have become undone.

Only now do I see

The needle I sew with

Has not penetrated any cloth —

Not the cloth of arvit,

Of minchah, musaf, shacharit,

The cloth of Lecha Dodi,

The cloth of Shabbat.


In the faded fabric of worn-out time,

Of wasted moments, hours

Of snapped threads,

Days of patch on patch, whole years

Of tattered rags,

Oh, if only five minutes —

Five fine-woven minutes —

Were I to dedicate to You,


Yakov Azriel has published four books of poetry based on the first four books of the Torah. Threads from a Coat of Many Colors: Poems on Genesis (Time Being Books, 2005), In the Shadow of a Burning Bush: Poems on Exodus (Time Being Books, 2008), Beads for the Messiah’s Bride: Poems on Leviticus (Time Being Books, 2009) and Swimming in Moses’ Well: Poems of Numbers (Time Being Books, 2011). His upcoming collection, based on Deuteronomy, will be released in 2013. Over 200 of his poems have appeared in journals and magazines in the US, the UK and Israel. In addition, he has won fifteen poetry awards and has taught in Israeli yeshivah high schools, as well as in Bar Ilan University, the Hebrew University and Herzog College. Azriel lives and teaches at a yeshivah high school in Efrat, Israel, where he lives with his family. His books of poetry are available at http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.timebeing.com/.


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