Jewish Journal

A Poem on Forgiveness - Parashat Vayeshev

by Rabbi John Rosove

November 22, 2013 | 3:46 pm

I can’t stop the dreams
That come in the night,
For even while awake
I’m gazing towards light.

My mother died,
My father sighed,
And he wondered
What will become of me
And my dreams?

Trusting a man along the way
I found my brothers lying in wait
To banish me from the clan
And send me away.

They could not utter aloud
Even my name,
And, casting me into a pit
They spat me away
And broke my father’s heart.

My name had been written with stars –
But I became a slave
And as flesh in a woman’s heart.

Her master, incensed
Sent me to Sheol,
But still a seer
I glimpsed a glow
And blessings bubbled
Into my dreams.

Alas, I was given reprieve,
Restored to the King,
And I served him faithfully
With shaven head, an Egyptian name,
Secure at his right hand.

There, alone, my heart hardened,
I trusted no one,
Neither man nor angel,
But I dreamed my dreams
And waited for redemption.

My brothers came,
Their faces forlorn,
Begging for bread
Before the throne,
Thinking me Viceroy,
With scepter in hand,
Not as Joseph
From their clan.

My heart had shut down
For twenty odd years
My love blown away
In cold desert tears.

As my father re-dug his father’s old wells,
Seeing my brothers
I recalled where I dwelt,
And water seeped up
Into my steeped-up heart,
To open me to love again.

I forgave them
And brought them near,
And saved them
from their fears,
As God intended
all these years.

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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