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Could We Live?–A Poem to Help You Breathe More Life into Your Shabbat

Could we live without the body You have given us?
Could we love without the body You have given us?
Could we survive without the body You have given us?
Could we sing Your praises without the throat You have given us?
Could we recite Torah without the mouth You have given us?
Could we read poems without the eyes You have given us?
Could we paint nature without the hands You have given us?
Could we reach for the stars without the legs You have given us?
Could we imitate the birds without the imagination You have given us?
Could we see You without the inner eye You have given us?

© 2015 Henry Rasof

Take a deep breath on Shabbat morning and read or recite or sing this poem.

Unlike some of the other nishmatim (liturgical poems that go with Nishmat, the Shabbat-morning prayer about the breath) I have posted to Boulder Jewish News, which precede the Nishmat prayer, this one traditionally goes after the prayer and before “Ilu Finu” [“Could song fill our mouth as water fills the sea…” (Siddur Sim Shalom)].

Although it’s meant for Shabbat morning–really, I urge you to find room for it anywhere in your day, any day of the week!

About Henry Rasof

I have been writing poetry for over fifty years. During this time, I have worked as a musician, chef, book acquisitions editor, and creative-writing instructor.

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