I wrote this piece after hearing the first genuine alert siren in Jerusalem in twenty years. It expresses the deep spiritual unity that exists among Jews all over the world, and the unique tasks and challenges that we in Israel face as mirror-images of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora. It is a fact of our history that our close bond is often hidden until our backs are to the wall. If we have now entered into another critical juncture of divinely-induced pressure, it is only so that the collective soul of the Jewish people can express itself and turn its face toward G‑d in trust and prayer.

In this poem I speak of “concealed wrath” and “revealed love." I explore the idea that concealment is a state of mind. Concealed wrath is what happens when Divine providence is chalked up to “natural disaster.” This can happen anywhere. Many who observed (or experienced) what went on during Hurricane Sandy felt that calling it “natural” was a misnomer. The dual meaning in the poem is that there is G‑dliness hiding within the place of concealment (exile, natural disasters), which shines out like a beacon when it is sought, and is especially revealed within the acts of kindness that we perform for one another.


Given the choice between concealed wrath and revealed love,
I lodge in the cleft of the rock where You seek the voice of the dove.
Still my eyes gaze westward, into my soul’s mirror image,
whose pure heart lies with me, beneath this eastern ledge.

Concealed wrath is the unnatural disaster of Torah scrolls
washed out to sea, their parchments unfurled in the rollers.
Cruel osmosis draws their ink into the Sound,
as their letters fly upward to heaven, unbound.

In the place of concealment, G‑dliness shines forth like a beam,
when five hundred brothers ride three hundred miles,
strap on hip-waders and masks to bail out the mire,
“That the Name of heaven be made beloved through your deeds.”

Sisters make up extra beds where there are none,
wash mountains of laundry, open their hearts.
They set yet another place at the table,
and bear hot soup to a meal made rich on their love.

Revealed love is embedded within metals fired by malice,
that plummet into the sea or plow through empty acres;
that refuse to cooperate, lie in their launchers like corpses;
or explode in the skies above the heads of their authors.

If sirens accompany Shabbos,
truly Your people will have no choice but to be still
and sit beneath ourselves; “no man shall go out of his place.”
At the center of the cube of six days, we discover Your Face.

The seeds of Yizrael have been sown through the far reaches,
and we find You in every letter, in every square inch of ground.
You harvest Yisrael back in a hundredfold blessing,
as space sanctified in time awakens, shakes off its ashes and shrouds.

From four corners, we rise up like a wave and land on these shores, filled with the strong force that knits together all of the worlds.
Here, concealed and revealed join to form the three-ply cord,
when knowledge of You fills the earth, as water covers the sea’s floor.