אודות המחבר
Yakov Azriel was born in New York and came to live in Israel after finishing his BA in English literature in Brooklyn College (summa cum laude) at the age of 21. When he came to Israel, he studied at Mercaz HaRav Kook for two years, and later on, completed an MA in Judaica, and in May 2004 he received his doctorate (on the stories of Rabbi Nachman of Braslav). He is presently a lecturer at Herzog College. He has published four full-length books of poetry: Threads From A Coat Of Many Colors: Poems on Genesis (2005); In The Shadow Of A Burning Bush: Poems on Exodus (2008); Beads For The Messiah's Bride: Poems on Leviticus (2009); and Swimming In Moses' Well: Poems on Numbers (2011), all published by Time Being Books, a literary press that specializes in poetry. Over 250 of his poems have been published in journals and magazines in the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, and his poems have won eighteen different awards in international poetry competitions. In addition, Yakov has twice been awarded fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture for his poetry. Dr. Azriel can be contacted at: yakovaz@hotmail.com
A Poem for Parshat Ki Tisa
יעקב עזריאל
אדר תשע"ז
CRAFTSMEN
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take unto you sweet spices — stacte, onycha and galbanum — sweet spices with pure frankincense, there being an equal part of each; and make it into incense, a mixture expertly crafted, refined, pure, holy.” (Exodus 30:34-35)


The Temple-priest prepares the incense, pounding frankincense
With pestle and mortar; he weighs stacte and adds onycha to galbanum;
He measures cinnamon, then steeps it all in white Cyprus wine; behold,
The portion is ready.

The apothecary prepares the medicine, pounding fennel seeds
With pestle and mortar; he weighs camomille and adds senna leaves to camphor;
He measures ground orris roots, then steeps it all in castor oil; behold,
The potion is ready.

The miracle-worker prepares the omen, pounding moonbeams
With pestle and mortar; he weighs starlight and adds the whispering of winds;
He measures clouds’ shadows, then steeps it all in a prophet’s dream; behold,
The portent is ready.

From these, my teachers, I learn — measure the meter; let repetition pound;
Allow alliteration, allusion and allegory to flow, consonance and assonance
To ascend; steep it all in image and metaphor, simile and symbol; behold,
The poem is ready.