Our Bridges, Ourselves

This post is part of the “Readers Take Over Hevria” challenge, where our readers provide the Hevria team with topics to cover. This poem is a response to the following prompt: “Write about bridging worlds. Be it between modern and traditional Judaism or having a mixed religious family or coping alone as a Jew in the diaspora outside of Israel and the U.S.”

The whole world is a very narrow bridge”

Which is to say, perhaps,
that we’re all just squeezing our way through.
“And the main thing is to not fear at all,”
which makes me wonder if the main thing is to not think too hard about the whole thing,
about Ideology and all.

Because frankly, I’m over the fuss about living in contradictions and listing examples of mine-
citing my commitment to Shabbos and to my Prince records,
my absorption in Rebbe Nachman and my enrollment in Buddhist Ethics this semester.
It’s not that these balances are not worth considering, but at this point, for me,
it’s just called living.
I’ve grown bored of pointing out every time someone defies expectations that were based on our socially constructed narrow pathways anyway,
of admiring the Rebbetzin who is “so normal” because she too shops at Loft.
It just doesn’t move me to act as though nuance is rare,                                        when only the fascination with it is,
when complexity in fact covers more surface area than it doesn’t,
when the “little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky” aren’t home to many people at all,
and never quite were, at least not the masses we imagined,
because little boxes can only hold so much weight and the ticky-tacky crackles,
crumbles, collapses the convenient containment we had conjured cautiously.
“The whole world is a very narrow bridge”
Which is to say, perhaps,
that all is one.

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That there are no worlds to be “bridged” really,
that we are living at the intersection of it all,
that the chaos is in the matter beneath our feet and the air we breathe and the vessels into which we inhale, which is to say


Who distinguishes between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the Seventh Day and the Six Days of Doing”
Which is to say, perhaps,
that at first, all was one.
When G-d “divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so,”
did He also separate us from one another?
did He
segment us so that these bridges we think we built would seem revolutionary,
when the whole world itself has been a very narrow bridge,
but a bridge nonetheless,
all along?