Tribute to Rabbi Shohama by R. Evan Krame

In the style of a prophetic writing.

When I was meager of spirit but full of days
The word of Shohama came to me and said:
O’ student, say to the soul teacher inside you:

Thus, instructs the Divine, source of all life,
You have been absent from your best self,
Unaware of the Holiness you possess.
Ascend to the throne of your finest nature.

While you are but a person not a God,
Within you resides a Godliness:
Sealed as in a vat of cellared wine,
Covered as is the songbird’s cage,
Jailed by the scientific mind,
Overshadowed by the modern sensibility.

You have gained riches not measured in gold.
You have acquired power not measured in weapons.
You are more than your intellect.
Within you is a treasure trove of wisdom.
Upon you is a seal of perfection.

Radiant Shohama found luminescence in me.
A light that burns without fire.
She roused my spirit.
She perceived my desire.
Upon her invitation, I entered Eden,
I meditated upon its beauty,
the verdant hills of conception,
the soul fruited orchards for harvest.

Every precious stone paves Eden’s paths:
Carnelian and chrysolite,
Sapphire and emerald.
I found you there, Shohama, the opal,
Mined for me the day I was formed,
Waiting to be chosen,
Anticipating my approach.
Created as if a cherub
With outstretched guiding wings,
Your beauty draws me forward.

Your markings call to me.
Smooth as a peaceful sleep
Radiant as a rising moon
Whether standing on God’s holy ground
Or walking among pits of fire.

Blameless in your way,
Modest in your brilliance,
Simple in your splendor,
Your welcome is a sanctuary and
Your dignity is an altar.

You helped restore the fortunes of my soul.
You depose the dominion of my decadence.
I am bestowed with the power of purpose.
I am vindicated from my wanton ways.
I am anointed by your grace.

The word of the Lord came to me:
Say to the people gathered here,

Do not wail and weep this day
Set aside common dread or fear.
Her departure is not upon us.
Shohama enters each time
We sing and dance and gather to pray.
Upon her ladder do we climb.
Count the months, the days, the hours.
When darkness rests on evening’s ridge
Light your torches on the towers
To guide Shohama back o’er the bridge.

Like cedars watered, she helped us grow
With leafy greens, and upward flow.
Like winds aloft, she helped us rise
With outstretched wings, and focused eyes.
None compares to you in kindness.
None equates to you in tenderness.

Call it out from pier to pillar,
Shout it from the homes and hills,
She is like the sun in glowing brilliance,
Like the stars in guiding resilience.

Shohama, just as daily we hear
the call of a faithful dove,
You forever blessed us
with your smile, peace and love.

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