Returning To The Table
Midrash Poem by Lisa Levine
After I had been banished by God
For gossiping about my gioret-toshav
There came the day I had to return
To the camp and face her.
Who could blame her for hating me
For I indeed had spoken ill of her
Calling her Cushite in anger
I was in a really bad place that day
Something set me off
Aaron and I also, leaders of this people!
I couldn't hold my tongue
Even thought I knew it was wrong.
For that mistake, I almost paid
With my life. My skin turned white.
White as the manna we ate each morning
Moses pleaded: El Na, R'fana La
And Yah spared me.
I had time to think about my self
The error of my ways
And how my words hurt the ones I love.
So, it's time for me to make my apologies
And return to your table.
Should I bring a gift? An offering?
What can I do to make amends?
Should I catch you alone and try to explain
I was having a bad day?
Or should I be honest and tell you
That my jealousy and immaturity kept me
From accepting you as our own.
Your table is always filled to overflowing
With chatting women and tasty dishes
Even here in the wilderness
You set a lovely repast for family
And strangers alike.
After all, you and Moses are the leaders
Of this rag tag lot of stragglers.
All of this I thought to myself.
And tried to think of what I was going to say.
So the day came and I squared my shoulders
I entered your tent and said 'hello'
You responded with a smile and said
"I'm glad to see you back with us, Miriam.
Please, come and sit with us. Eat."
I should have known that you would
Forgive me, without a word, an explanation.
I learned a lot about you that day.
I learned that a forgiving heart
Is more precious than gold.
I learned that time, sometimes,
Is the only healer.
And that with patience, kindness and grace,
I can learn to forgive myself.