The Frierdiker Rebbe

And isn’t it amazing
that men walked by you in Latvian hallways,
and had no idea they were passing a man
who knew the day they would die and the women
they would marry,
but also asked simple questions
at information booths, like
How many miles to Nikaloyev?
and Will I arrive before nightfall?
until these words too were flooded
with the mysticism of every Russian lake.

And at the station in St. Petersburg,
where your Chasidim had gathered,
risking their lives
to see you one last time,
you turned from the steps of the train
that was to carry you into exile
and proclaimed,
They only have our bodies;
the soul was never separated from God.
The soul is never in exile.

There was even holiness in the rain
that fell on the hats of your followers
as they paced before the river in Rostov,
reciting your discourses by heart,
line by line,
until they would float like boats
into the luminescence of your teachings.

From the book G‑d's Optimism by Yehoshua November