Good Flies Out of its Prison

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Abe Mezrich

(Poem/Reading on the Book of Ruth)



The Moabites refused us bread & water in the Desert

& so now they may not marry us.


Moses failed to sanctify God

—he shouted at the thirsty people

as he took water from the rock—

& so he may not enter the Land;

he dies in Moab.


Moab is food & water never given

a kind word left unsaid

love that cannot happen

a traveler locked in the desert

longing for his Land.



Ruth the Moabite

loves Naomi like a mother

follows Naomi in her love

leaves her people, her life in Moab

journeys with Naomi to the Land

all the way to Beth Lehem: The House of Bread

and she does kindness for Naomi there

and she marries Boaz, Naomi’s kinsman, there.


Ruth is the bread, the water, the love, the journey,

shared at last

freed from Moab at last

arrived in the Land at last.




king of Israel,

is the great-grandson of Ruth.


What family will reign in Israel?

One that frees the good trapped within.


Numbers 20:1-13; Deuteronomy 23:4-5, 32:48-52; The Book of Ruth


Abe Mezrich is the author of three books of poetry on the Torah: The House at the Center of the World; Between the Mountain and the Land Lies the Lesson; and most recently Words for a Dazzling Firmament, all from Ben Yehuda Press.