Letter: A poetic voice for the weekly drasha


I have been reading the St. Louis Jewish Light continuously since returning to St. Louis in 1998. Before that, I read it as a child in my parents’ home, though not as I do now.

I appreciate the weekly rabbinical columns discussing the parsha, providing either a perspective on the exegetical writings of 2,000-plus years or providing the rabbi’s take on it.

With that said, I would like to say that my wife and I are fond of Rabbi Jim Goodman’s poetic license, though I would guess, to enjoy his particular style of interpretation might be an acquired taste for some.

Rabbi Goodman speaks in a poetic voice which speaks to my kishkas, the inside job of healing from brokenness. He speaks with a voice which is current and demystifies our ancient text with his own vision, pockmarked with lacunae and sink holes filled with hope amidst darkness.

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Though his drasha may not win a popularity contest, neither did the Rambam in his time, nor Dante, nor Tennessee Williams. Some of our canonical prophets were despised, and, I might suggest, many prophets and their writings did not make it past censors and murderous monarchs of our history.

Does a poetic drasha deserve a regular space in the St Louis Jewish Light, as part of our rabbinical weekly columns? My wife and I vote a loud, hearty yes! As well as a quiet, thoughtful yes.

Ronnie Fredman, University City, Executive Board Member of St Louis Poetry Center and Minds of Peace