July 7, 2022
Olga Strelnikova/Getty Images
With Jews with whom they daven very many cannot talk,
and with those whom they like to talk they often cannot daven,
and though those who don’t follow halakhah don’t walk their walk,

they love the food for thought that’s coked in their unkosher oven.

Rabbi David Weiss-Halivni said that when the chips
are down he feels inclined to take the side of people whom
he davens with, depending more on what comes from his lips

to God than words with people with whom he can talk and zoom.

Our minds are flowers, frequently by total strangers pollened,
The benefit of strangeness not outweighed by all its dangers,
generating for the smartest ones a mental cholent,

no longer money changers, checking in as mental changers.

Inspired on 6/30/22 by a talk by Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, who began his brilliant weekly Zoomed discussion of a Shai Agnon story by recalling Rabbi David Weiss-Halivni on the day of the professorial rabbi’s burial in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Rabbi Bouskila quoted Rabbi Weiss-Halivni:

“It is my personal tragedy that the people I daven (pray) with I cannot talk to and the people I talk to I cannot daven with. However, when the chips are down I will always side with the people I daven with. For I can live without talking, I cannot live without davening.”

Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored “Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel.” He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

For Better or Worse?

One of my friends and I frequently disagree about a fundamental aspect of human nature. Our debate is as old as time. 

The Respect that Aging Deserves

Joe Biden’s profound ability to lead this country and the world, for that matter, is beyond imagination particularly as his age has been questioned.

Pelosi’s Historic Handiwork

Nancy Pelosi’s role in orchestrating Biden’s departure from the race demonstrates that the former speaker may be the most savvy political mind in modern American history.

Courting the Antisemitic Vote

We’re accustomed to politicians courting the Black Vote, or the Jewish Vote, or the Youth Vote. But what about the Antisemitic Vote?

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.