“Passover” by Yehuda Amichai
My father was a god and did not know it. He gave me
The Ten Commandments neither in thunder nor in furry; neither in fire nor in cloud
But rather in gentleness and love. And he added caresses and kind words
And he added “I beg You,” and “please.”
And he sang “keep” and “remember” the Shabbat
In a single melody and he pleaded and
Cried quietly between one utterance and the next,
“Do not take the name of God in vain,” do not take it, not in vain,
I beg you, “do not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
And he hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear
“Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. Do not murder.”
And he put the palms of his open hands
On my head with the Yom Kippur blessing.
“Honor, love, in order that your days might be long
On the earth.” And my father’s voice was white like the hair on his head.
Later on he turned to face me one last time
Like on the day when he died in my arms and said
I want to add Two to the Ten Commandments:
The eleventh commandment – “Thou shall not change.”
And the twelfth commandment – “Thou must surely change.”
So said my father and then he turned from me and walked off
Disappearing into his strange distances.
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