Tekiah and Teruah
By Marjorie Cramer


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Tekiah and Teruah
By Marjorie Cramer

(A poem read in the synagogue on the second day of Rosh HaShanah, the day that the story of the binding of Isaac is read, see Genesis 22:1-19)

Tekiah and Teruah sound
Burning into the souls of the people
Stirring their hearts to repentance.
My sound.
People stand
God hears
So they say.
But why does God not also hear the sound of my bleating?
I left my flock
Lost my way
And now I’ve lost my freedom.
My horns are caught in a bramble tangle
And I can’t get free.
God stays the hand of the shepherd Abraham.
Good for Isaac
But not for me.
I will be slaughtered and burned.
Abraham demonstrating submission to God’s will
With an olah
His aliyah
Smoke ascending
And expiating sin.
Yet I am the one submitting
And I too am part of God’s creation.
Peace doesn’t come from violence
Abraham could go to the mountain
Trade his knife for a ploughshare
And let God rejoice in the goodness of the earth

TEKIAH: one of the long deep calls sounded on the shofar as prescribed in the Jewish ritual for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

TERUAH: one of the calls composed of a series of staccato blasts followed by a longer high note and blown on the shofar as prescribed in the Jewish ritual on certain festivals and at certain ceremonies.

OLAH: means "offering of rising" or "offering of assents", and it is usually mistranslated as "burnt offering".

ALIYAH: the immigration of Jews to Israel. However, in this context “Aliyah” also refers to going up to the Torah in the synagogue, and comes from the same Hebrew root as “olah”.