Cherished is man,

For he was created

In the image

Of the Almighty,

An honor not to be taken lightly.


Man has been given

Great esteem.

But, what does being holy mean?

Hashem gave us laws,

To protect us from

Forces that cause

Us to become

Trapped by all the falsehood

That is seen all around

To stand in faith

On solid ground.


The Chasam Sofer

Answered a knock

At his study door.

The city’s wealthiest man

Was wealthy no more.

His business collapsed

He was penniless.

If he’d ever recover

Was anyone’s guess.

The Chasam Sofer

Gave him courage

Not to be anguished,

Even if he were to be impoverished.

Eternal was the good

He’d already accomplished;

He lent the businessman money

For the Leipzig Fair

And advised him what

He should do there.

Though skilled in his own right,

The man didn’t think twice,

But followed the Chasam Sofer’s advice.

When he returned to Pressburg,

Even wealthier than ever,

He brought a gift for the Sofer

For his benefacting endeavor:

It was a diamond ring,

Its jewel was exquisite;

The Chasam Sofer’s two students

Saw he was spellbound by it.

Then he broke the spell,

Saying, “I cannot accept this present”;

It would be taking interest.

But this mitzvah’s fulfillment –

It’s the thrill of my life!

The jewel is beautiful,

Give it to your wife.

The Chasam Sofer’s students

Then got the gist:

Their teacher’s thrill over the diamond

Was refusing it as interest.


We’re told to love our fellow 

As we love ourselves.

Is that possible?

Everyone is someone else!

But if we see ourselves

As one soul, one being,

We can forgive others’ shortcomings

As we give others space,

And are compassionate.

Kindness will come back to us, yet

If we look beyond

Physical reality,

The spiritual is true reality.

Our self and our fellow –

Two distinct entities,

But of singular essence


Like the spokes

On a wheel

Move in different directions,

They meet at the center

The Jewish soul, one.


If being holy is to love the law,

It is also to love the people

It was written for –

The children of my Creator,

Of my Father,

Are my brothers.

Am Israel Chai –

May we love one another!


By Sharon Marcus