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Blessing over Separation, by Shelby Handler

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Blessed are you, Spirit of the Universe, who creates distinctions
between a ripe persimmon
and an unripe persimmon,
between the hot water urn and the whistling kettle,
between brine and saltwater,
between our mothers and ourselves,
between the choices of ancestors and the choices of ourselves
between stars and the black beyond,
between the moon and the face of a lover beneath it, paled and glowing too,
but warm and here and singing,
between a button and a buttonhole,
between the ripped cotton of grief and the ripped denim of play,
between the separations that hold the world intact, and the separations that tear at its seams,
between sewing needles and pine needles,
between kneading dough and needing to rise on our own,
between hawks and sparrows,
between dew and frost,
between curds and whey,
between the moment after you have spoken
and the moment after you have sung,
between who we were and who will we become,
between the soul of the week and the soul of the sabbath.

Blessed are you
who gives a space to stare at both sides of
the everythings,
to gallop into this infestation of brokenesses
and make an altar to the between.

Here, what we hold in our palms:
one small single broken,
this split, this severance, this separation all our own.
Alongside it, a beaming braided flame,
the fire of collectivity hot in our hands.
Each wick yearning alongside each other.
Bless each one, holy in its separateness and
blazing as a chorus —
each red boundary required
for the great fire
we will need to sustain a hearth,
to cast a path towards another world,
to make a lantern strong enough
to show us our shadows.

Blessed are you, Great Murmur and Stillness of the World,
who creates a land between what is broken
and what is endlessly, effervescently more whole.

Blessed are we to reach into and towards the infinite,
to sing to that space, just within earshot
and ever widening in the distance.

The Blessing over Separations was first read by Shelby Handler on Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev at the 2017 ADVA Reunion, a reunion of the community of Adamah Farm fellows and Teva Learning Center educators at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center.

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