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Hagar's Song: A Poem for Parashat Vayeira

Hagar's Song: A Poem for Parashat Vayeira

Silhouette of a woman staring into a pink sunset

The story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is a heartbreaking one to me. She was the handmaid of Sarah, who have her to Abraham when she, Sarah, seemed barren. Hagar had a son, but when Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac, she grew jealous and demanded that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away into the desert.

Though reticent, Abraham did as she asked, sending Hagar and her son away with only a water flask and some bread. When that little bit of sustenance was gone, Hagar and Ishmael cried out in their despair. God heard their cried and sent an angel to Hagar, to tell her not to fear, that her son, like Sarah's, would father a great nation.

As with so much of my writing, I use my poetry to explore our sacred text, to question the actions of our ancestors, and so perhaps find deeper understanding of God, or people, and myself.

Hagar's Song: A Poem for Parashat Vayeira

I hear the desert when you cry -
wide and open,
empty as Heaven.

I cannot hide from it,
neither the desert
nor your tears.

The angel bade me "Stay!"
with words of tarnished gold
and stolen silver.

What is greatness
laid against your pain?
What of glory
in a thousand years,
while you thirst and I despair?

I hear heaven when you cry -
absent and empty,
an echo of angels
and the glory of God.

Learn more about Parashat Vayeira.

Stacey Zisook Robinson is a member of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL, and Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, IL. She blogs at Stumbling Towards Meaning.

Stacey Zisook Robinson

Published: 10/24/2018

Categories: Learning, Torah Study
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