Can I Ask You A Question?

Sun, 01/12/2014 - 21:29 -- nze359

 

Mom, can we talk?

Can I ask you a question?

A question about a suggestion that was made by a man in the streets of Jerusalem. He stopped me on the street and stared at my bare feet forearms and knees,

and he told me that my immodesty was the reason our temples burned down,

that my disrespect was only neglect to the traditions of our fathers,

Our fathers who built up our religion,

whose tradition was the ammunition that kept our people alive,

But can we thrive on only payas and beards as hate

waits and grows like mold as our modern Jewish story unfolds?

 

Mom, can I ask you a question?

A question about a suggestion that was made by a man in the aisles of the sanctuary. Warily, his eyes followed me as I stood with the clergy,

and when he asked which one of the men was my father,

again his eyes followed my gaze as I pointed at you,

You who stood tall in your prayer shawl amidst the crowd of men,

But then in this man’s eyes I went from being a quintessential epitome of religious imagery to an unnerving case of absurdity.

He looked at me as if that fact were so hard to grasp,

 As if a woman could stand on the bima,

as if a woman could teach the Torah,

as if a woman could speak out loud,

as if anybody would listen.

 

Mom, can I ask you a question?

A question about a suggestion that was made by a man on television.

He said that when I grow up, it will be just my luck

 that I’ll make seventy seven cents,

paying the expense of not being a man.

But mom, it was no where in my plants to be submissive, to be dismissive,

simply because I’ll be pessimistic,

believing in the antagonistic voice of this man on the television.

 

Mom, can I ask you a question?

Were you scared? Were you scared twenty- five years ago as you were ordained, did you still feel chained to the notion that you were just a disgust to our tradition?

 

Mom, no one told me that you were a pioneer,

that you led the frontier of women of your years.

No one told me that it wasn’t like this everywhere,

that women across the nation still await the creation of people like you.

 

Mom, can I ask you a question?

A question about your suggestion that this world is ready to change,

ready to rearrange the hierarchy of intellect,

ready to suggest that just because I can give life,

doesn’t mean it should be taken from me.

 

Years ago you dared to ask a dangerous question.

A question which threatened the expression of gender.

And as an offender to the norm,

you were a contender with the reforming of our world.

 

But mom, there are still so many questions left unanswered.

So mom, can I ask you a question?

 

 

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