Ken Rosenstein

Clouds of Glory - Wellsprings of Salvation

Divine Cloud incandescently white brighter than
Noah’s Dove Shekhinah hovers over the mishkan
As a loving mother bird shelters her nest
Presence of God dwelling amongst the Israelites
“Make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within you amongst you.’
“I will dwell in the Sanctuary of your heart.”
Heart of Israel Sacred heart 12 tribes 12 hearts beating as one
One Heart One Will: to journey onward as a people to the Promised Land
The Cloud mandating rest calm collected still waters
Still waters of Miriam’s Well a sustenance source
Miriam gathers water from the Sea of Reeds a proto Rubicon
Depositing Waters of Life into the Well of Salvation
Water as Watchword words of Torah: As water quenches thirst
Thirst for guidance, knowledge, hope, comfort, blessing, abundance
The abundant waters of Balaam’s blessing: “Water drips from his branch
And his root in abundant waters.” Waters of the Well of Torah
The 4 branches of Gan Eden’s River: Pishon, Gichon, Tigris Euphrates
These as well comprise the waters of Miriam’s Well
The mouth of the Well open receptive the mouth of God mandating rest
Of Israel at night commanding journeying by day
The Watchword from God’s mouth as a secure deposit kept by
The community of Israel
The Watchword of God descended in a pillar of cloud (not fire)
By the oracular opening of the Tent of Meeting the Well moving
Opposite to the Tent now where the enflamed rebuke of God confronts
Aaron’s and Miriam’s challenge of their brother Moses’ closeness to God:
“Mouth to mouth do I speak with {Moses}.”
In days to come, Moses would die by the kiss of God’s mouth.
Some say that Aaron and Miriam died by that kiss as well whereupon that Kiss bestowed by God upon her the Well vanished consumed in a pillar of
Black fire on one side White fire on the other an inversion of the Israelites’
Salvation at the Sea of Reeds for the Torah is written black fire on white fire
Others say: the Well continuously accompanied the Israelites as a
Wellspring of Salvation available to us all even to this day.
Ken Rosenstein


Explanatory Notes to Clouds of Glory Wellsprings of Salvation

This poem focuses on chapter 9:15-23 of the Book of Numbers which describes God’s Presence in the Cloud of Glory that positioned itself at the mishkan, the Hebrew word for the Tabernacle-Sanctuary the Israelites constructed in the desert. The Cloud would station itself by the Tabernacle at night where God commanded the Israelites rest and transform into a pillar of fire by day denoting journeying onward.

The feminine Presence of God is known as the Shekhinah a cognate word to mishkan denoting presence. Shekhinah is symbolized by many images including a dove.

This poem also focuses on the legend of Miriam’s Well which sustained the Israelites as they wandered in the desert.

I refer to the Sea of Reeds where the Israelites escaped Pharaoh’s pursuing chariots by walking between two opposing columns of water and where Miriam led the Israelite women in victorious dance.

I refer to Balaam a non-Israelite sorcerer hired by the Moabite King Balak to curse the Israelites however Balaam is moved to bless the Israelites.

I refer as well to the Garden of Eden denoting its Hebrew name Gan Eden.

Aaron and Miriam challenge God’s close relationship to Moses at the Tent of Meeting where God would speak to Moses.

I consulted Tree of Souls by Howard Schwartz and Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg.