The 23rd Psalm
I rewrote the 23rd Psalm for my Fathers wake,
held at my house in Sonoma, CA
in June 2004.
He lived a good and noble life
He followed his heart and his heart was good
All his life, he served others
He did not believe in God
For him, belief in God was irrelevant
What mattered to him was what people did
in the world and to and with each other
Now that he has passed away, I can write this:
I always thought of my father as a
one of the 36 unknown saints in the Jewish Tradition,
scattered across the far-flung Jewish tribes. It is said that these saints
justify the existence of mankind to God, even if
the world has degenerated all around them.
It is for their sake and what they do
that God preserves the world.
None of them
knows he is one of them
and none of them know each other.
The Jewish Tradition says that since no one knows
who is one of the LamedVavniks,
we should each live as if we were,
leading a life of love and service.
My father lived his life this way
and that is why I consider him a Tzadik.
It is said that 'a Tzadik
is a man whose merit
surpasses his iniquity.' Such was my father.
He was the foundation of the world.
This poem is a celebration
of a life well-lived
and of how my Father lived
The short video that accompanies this poem
was taken three days before
my Mother passed away
We were staying at a house on the ocean.
It was where she spent her last days
You will see her lying on the bed
joyfully dancing with us
moving only her feet
At the request of my mother
I am dancing with my Father
It was a good and happy time
like I remember our life together
The 23rd Psalm
(rewritten for my father)
All of my life I have not wanted
For I have lain down in green pastures
I have walked beside rivers and still waters
I have been blessed all of my days
I have walked on the path of righteousness
Though I journeyed throughout the world
I have feared no harm
In all of my actions, I have practiced virtue
And graciousness has been with me
Kindness has been my rod and staff
Even in front of my enemies
I have been well-intentioned
And my care has overflowed and touched others
Surely goodness and mercy have followed me
In all the days of my life
It seems to me
I shall abide this way forever