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Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 3

(Marigold, design by William Morris 1834-1896, English
textile designer, artist, and writer)

A mitzvah is a commandment or profound obligation to perform a meritorious act or good work. There are 613 such mitzvoth. Maimonides (1135-1204), the great medieval Jewish philosopher and Torah scholar, wrote that a man who performed even only one mitzvah was still worthy of salvation, provided he did so not to impress others or to win credit for himself, but for the sake of love and with joy.

And in his Sermon on the Mount, Christ said: “When thou givest alms, do not let thy left hand know what thy right hand is doing, so that thy alms may be given in secret; and thy Father, who sees in secret, will reward thee.”


Neither yielding to rain
nor yielding to wind
yielding neither to
snow nor to summer heat
with a stout body
like that
without greed
never getting angry
always smiling quietly
eating one and a half pieces of brown rice
and bean paste and a bit of
vegetables a day
in everything
not taking oneself
into account
looking listening understanding well
and not forgetting
living in the shadow of pine trees in a field
in a small
hut thatched with miscanthus
if in the east there’s a
sick child
going and nursing
if in the west there is a tired mother
going and for her
bundles of rice
if in the south
there’s someone
and saying
you don’t have to be
if in the north
there’s a quarrel
or a lawsuit
saying it’s not worth it
stop it
in a drought
shedding tears
in a cold summer
pacing back and forth lost
a good-for-nothing
by everyone
neither praised
nor thought a pain
like that
is what I want
to be

~ Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933), Japanese poet, translated by Hiroaki Sato


Anonymous said...

I never heard of this poet, but it's so inspiring.

Anonymous said...

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