Out of the Land of Heaven

May 3, 2013

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Shabbat message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter.  Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, May 3, 2013. 

The Sabbath Queen, who visits us every week on Sabbath Eve and departs with the sunset at the end of the Sabbath on Saturday, is one of our most enduring images.  The following poem by Poet/Singer/Songwriter Leonard Cohen captures in poetry a Chagall-like vision of the Sabbath Queen.

Out of the Land of Heaven

For Marc Chagall

Out of the land of heaven

Down comes the warm Sabbath sun

Into the spice-box of earth.

The Queen will make every Jew her lover.

In a white silk coat

Our rabbi dances up the street,

Wearing our lawns like a green prayer-shawl,

Brandishing houses like silver flags.

Behind him dance his pupils,

Dancing not so high

And chanting the rabbi's prayer,

But not so sweet.

And who waits for him

On a throne at the end of the street

But the Sabbath Queen.

Down go his hands

Into the spice-box of earth,

And there he finds the fragrant sun

For a wedding ring,

And draws her wedding finger through.

Now back down the street they go,

Dancing higher than the silver flags.

His pupils somewhere have found wives too,

And all are chanting the rabbi's song

And leaping high in the perfumed air.

Who calls him Rabbi?

Cart-horse and dogs call him Rabbi,

And he tells them:

The Queen makes every Jew her lover.

And gathering on their green lawns

The people call him Rabbi,

 And fill their mouths with good bread

And his happy song.

For more Leonard Cohen entertainment, enjoy the video below of him singing Hallelujah.

Shabbat Shalom