Echad Mi Yodea? Who Knows One?

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

Share this poem:

Who knows thirteen?
I know thirteen

Thirteen could have been the tribes if they let
Jacob’s daughter Dinah have one.
How would this night have been different
if women ran the show?

Who knows twelve?
I know twelve.

Twelve is the age of boys and girls
a year before they come to Torah.
Still unsure if they’re wise or wicked or simple.
Too bold to know what they don’t know.
Do any of us ever know? I’m still waiting
to find out.

Who knows eleven?
I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars that Joseph saw.
Only saw. You can’t touch a star and
they see everything you do.

Who knows ten?
I know ten.

Ten are the commandments.
The famous ones, anyway.
There are six hundred and three more.
Most of them we don’t bother with
any more.

Who knows nine?
I know nine.

Nine is the number of months
it takes for your life to change forever.
For most people, that’s a good thing.

Who knows eight?
I know eight.

I know eight. Eight shows up all the time.
Nights of Passover. Nights of Chanukah.
Days of Sukkot (depending on where you live.)
Days between when your life changes forever
and when you hand the source of your change
over to the mohel and hope for the best.

Who knows seven?
I know seven.

Seven are the lamps in Israel’s Menorah.
When we see it, it’s like putting a sweater on our hearts.
When others see it, they imagine it at the bottom of the sea
forever invisible to human eyes.

Who knows six?
I know six.

Six is the number of days it took to make the world.
So what do we do on the seventh day of the week?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Who knows five?
I know five.

Five are the books in the Torah.
(Back when books were scrolls.
They hadn’t invented the concept
of the page-turner yet.)
I keep reading them so you don’t have to.
That’s not true.
You have to.

Who knows four?
I know four.

Four are my grandparents.
Each of whom had four grandparents.
Each of whom had four grandparents.
All the way back to the first four mothers.
I never met any of them. But this chain
is why I write these words.

Who knows three?
I know three.

Three are their husbands.
The numbers don’t work out with
our modern sensibility.
But they all spoke with the One.
Everyone wants their autographs.

Who knows two?
I know two.

Two are the tablets.
Two are the homes of those of us who live
outside the promised land.
Two are the eyes we use in our
forever search for the One.

Who knows one?
I know one.

One is the one who sent us to the place
I don’t know if They considered what would happen
once we got there.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

Share this poem: