Purim #2: Hester Panim, Hope
(יח) וְאָנֹכִ֗י הַסְתֵּ֨ר אַסְתִּ֤יר פָּנַי֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא עַ֥ל כָּל־הָרָעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה כִּ֣י פָנָ֔ה אֶל־אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֲחֵרִֽים׃ (יט) וְעַתָּ֗ה כִּתְב֤וּ לָכֶם֙ אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את וְלַמְּדָ֥הּ אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שִׂימָ֣הּ בְּפִיהֶ֑ם לְמַ֨עַן תִּהְיֶה־לִּ֜י הַשִּׁירָ֥ה הַזֹּ֛את לְעֵ֖ד בִּבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
(18) Yet I will keep My countenance hidden on that day, because of all the evil they have done in turning to other gods. (19) Therefore, write down this poem and teach it to the people of Israel; put it in their mouths, in order that this poem may be My witness against the people of Israel.
  • How would you translate the idea of the hiding of God’s face into your own experience and spirituality/ theology?

  • What might it mean that a poem or song is a witness in moments when God’s face is hidden? What (if anything) serves a “witness” for you in moments of despair, isolation, fear, etc, when “God’s face is hidden”?

Zelda (Schneurson Mishkovsky), Israeli poet, 1914-1984

When I was little, I wanted to live in a house made of iron…maybe because I was born during a war and with my mother's milk I suckled the fears from fire. Later, I understood that even houses made of iron—or of bronze or stone, for that matter—are still built on stony earth, that stand atop reservoirs of water, at a great distance from the great furnace at the heart of the world. Nothing but that thin beam of light [kav haor], intangible and invisible, traversing the greatest of distances from the soul, beyond the senses, to the Creator, protects me from the chaos and the void [tohu v'vohu.] For the earth moves and the roots move within it and the stars move—each one, each element, with its own rhythm. The blood within me moves and my thoughts move, and repose can be found only within this beam [kav].

Sometimes, however, there is the concealment of the Face [hastarat panim]—the thread breaks.

  • What does this text add to your discussion?

  • How does the idea kav (beam or line) resonate (or not) with you?

  • In your experience, what happens when the thread breaks? Can it be repaired? Is a new thread created? Or is there a thread that never breaks?

Shiree Teng & Sammy Nunez, Measuring Love in the Journey for Justice: A Brown Paper

Dominant culture via the Christian church, academia, corporatism, the military, etc. has separated our mind knowing from our heart and intuitive and spiritual knowing, and made rational thought ...the only path. If the practice of “knowing” is an iceberg with the tip exposed above the water line, the majority of the iceberg mass lies beneath the water line. In this case, what is unseen is generative...We need to integrate the emergent love with what is in the tip of the iceberg.

What does this text add to your discussion? What does it mean to that “what is unseen is generative”? What is “below the water line” for you? How does it inform your life?

Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

-Dallas Clayton

How do these poems speak to hope/ faith/ imagination/ creativity in the face of despair?