The Day of His Birth — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

The quarter-moon hovers low on the horizon as Gadi speeds the pickup truck the length of the Jezreel valley. From the passenger seat I gaze up at the stars sparkling above the Hill of Moreh, where Gideon mustered his troops. It’s my second trip down the valley this night to the hospital in Afula. In predawn darkness I think: my third child will be born this morning.

In remembering that night, I recall a poem by Avraham Halfi, versifier of dark nights and the radiance of the soul. For Halfi the moon is an illusion. Those who see it as such are blind—they do not understand that it is God’s lantern.

A sightless God with lantern in hand
Seeks a path in the evening dusk
And everyone says:

Here comes the moon
And like a tree it rises
Pouring light on the road.

Yet God, too, cannot see. He is blind, like justice, like a man groping his way forward on a moonless night.

The road is empty. It’s the ninth day of Shevat, January 24, 1991.

Read moreThe Day of His Birth — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report