23rd Psalm

“The righteous man rejoices in this world.

He rejoices in the next.

He rejoices in both.”

 

–  Buddha

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 an irrelevant issue

 

What mattered to him was what people did

in the world and with each other

 

Now that he has passed away, I can write this:

 

 I always thought of my father as a

LamedVavnik,

one of the 36 unknown saints in the Jewish Tradition,

scattered across the far flung Jewish tribes

who 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

in Florida.

 

 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 besides 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 has followed me

In all the days of my life

It seems to me

I shall abide this way forever