The Priestly Blessing – Judith J. Katz

For the daughter of the priests
none of the rules apply:

No one washes our feet,
we do not go into the sanctuary barefoot.

We sit on the women’s side of the temple
and don’t seek each others’ eyes.

All are forbidden to look at the priests’ face.
We furtively watch our fathers’ hands channel God’s blessings.

We are not pure enough to bless anyone
nor tainted by association with the dead.

We know the song for dreamers
but dare not sing it in public.

Uncounted in the census of Judah
how many have felt His electricity surge

between our fingers
through the five windows of heaven?

We do not meet to learn
into the early morning

nor speak of bringing
wind through a closed room.

I am the last of my line
and these secrets die with me.

Judith J. Katz is the Lead Teacher for Creative Writing at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School in New Haven, Connecticut, where her signature courses focus on writing poetry. Ms. Katz’s work has been published in The Muddy River Poetry Review, Crossing Class Anthology, 101 Jewish Poems for the New Millenium Anthology, and Ritualwell.

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