Shemot – a Poem

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While researching for my previous post, I came across this beautiful poem by Zelda. Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky (June 20, 1914 – April 30, 1984), widely known as Zelda, was an Israeli poet. I find this poem contributes to our understanding of the concept of name and hope you like it too.

Each of Us Has a Name

by Zelda (trans. Marcia Falk)

Each of us has a name
given by God
and given by our parents

Each of us has a name
given by our stature and our smile
and given by what we wear

Each of us has a name
given by the mountains
and given by our walls

Each of us has a name
given by the stars
and given by our neighbors

Each of us has a name
given by our sins
and given by our longing

Each of us has a name
given by our enemies
and given by our love

Each of us has a name
given by our celebrations
and given by our work

Each of us has a name
given by the seasons
and given by our blindness

Each of us has a name
given by the sea
and given by
our death.

You can read more about Zelda on The Jewish Women Archive

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5 thoughts on “Shemot – a Poem

  1. That’s very thought-provoking. We do indeed have ‘names’ that are given to us by all aspects of the lives that we live. And each of them results in us wearing a different ‘cloak’ as a result.

    • This is a poem which really spoke to me when I saw it. When you think about it, we do have quite a number of names depending on what we are doing and whom we come across.

  2. My children call me Eema. I say, yup, Eeema, that’s what they named me at birth! Because that name certainly sticks.

    I’ve never heard of the poet Zelda.

  3. Pingback: Bookish Weekly Review | Ilana-Davita

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