Threads from a Coat of Many Col­ors: Poems on Genesis

Yakov Azriel
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By – July 30, 2012
“…To photosynthesize,/The chloro­phyll of Torah/​Will grant you a gardener’s green thumb,/So that what­ev­er you touch/​Grows sacred green.” Yakov Azriel has craft­ed a unique­ly inspired, sacred set of poet­ic med­i­ta­tions on indi­vid­ual vers­es and sto­ries from the book of Gen­e­sis. Azriel describes the cre­ation of a human soul in Recipe: How to Make a Human,” “…In Jew­ish cui­sine, ingre­di­ents must melt, merge, blend — /A Shab­bat chal­lah./​Most impor­tant, add just before serving/​The breath of God — a human soul./Final result:/An Isa­iah, a Shake­speare, a Rembrandt./You.” Yet the poet does not shrink from acknowl­edg­ing the sep­a­ra­tion from the divine of which humankind is capa­ble, as in Cain’s mur­der of Abel or Eve’s treach­ery which poignant­ly con­nects to the Holo­caust, “…Why did you talk to the ser­pent? Don’t you know that even then he was plan­ning the gas chambers,/ Blue­print­ing the crematoria?/How can a moth­er be so naive?/Snakes devour/​Dust, like the cinder/​Of chil­dren belched from the chimneys./Lucky you — only one son will be mur­dered.” The Reunion Between Joseph and Jacob” par­al­lels the prayer thread­ing through the splen­dor of each poem here­in, Let me gaze into your eyes,/Let me hold you tighter./Never send me away again, Father,/Never aban­don me again.” Read­ers seek­ing a pow­er­ful, potent source of spir­i­tu­al growth will trea­sure this cre­ative col­lec­tion of poems.
Deb­o­rah Schoen­e­man, is a for­mer Eng­lish teacher/​Writing Across the Cur­ricu­lum Cen­ter Coor­di­na­tor at North Shore Hebrew Acad­e­my High School and coed­i­tor of Mod­ern Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture: A Library of Lit­er­ary Crit­i­cism, Vol. VI, pub­lished in 1997.

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