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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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There Is A Season


book-lakol-zman

Title: Lakol Z’man: A Time for Everything
Author: Yossi Huttler

The Holidays are over (please, no applause). But if you find yourself already missing them, rejoice, rejoice. A pleasurable new compendium of poetry by newcomer Yossi Huttler will keep you warm until Chanukah, Purim and – dare we say it too soon – Pesach once again come into view.

In the collection, entitled Lakol Z’man, Huttler goes through the Jewish calendar, offering charming, one-page poems that help bring the seasons and their distinctive days into lyrical focus.

Thus, in Nissan (the sections are arranged by Hebrew months) Huttler includes poems called “Bedikas Chametz” and “Mah Nishtana,” and in Av, he has one called “Tears.”

The poems are easily accessible even for those without much experience reading poetry, but many contain a subtle and introspective beauty. Here’s one (called “Na’anuim”) whose transcendent imagery catches you by surprise:

hands shaking
lulav rustling
shuddering
like a G-d fearing man
now how do I
turn my palm
frond around
shake me up
likewise

Each one individually is certainly enjoyable (and that’s how they were written; as individual poems as Huttler was inspired by “the annual journey through the various minor and major holidays,” as he puts it). But when read together, in succession, the collective effect brings the reader on a path that both expands the inner tingling sensation that we get as we experience the Yomim Tovim and amplifies our anticipation.

Most of the poems are serious, which is to say Huttler is approaching the subject matter seriously, but he can also be lighthearted.

One Nissan entry – one of my favorites – called “Machzir Gerushato” (literally, “Returning to one’s divorcee”), and subtitled “Motzei Pesach,” goes like this:

re-acquainting myself
with you
I walk down the aisle
then, another
trying not to act overeager
you haven’t changed
(have I?)
so why do you look so different tonight
from all other nights
in the florescent light
of the supermarket
it’s only been eight days

Lakol Z’man is a pleasure. Buy one by e-mailing the author at yhuttler@aol.com, or calling him at 323-655-0973.

About the Author: Shlomo Greenwald is associate editor of The Jewish Press.


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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/there-is-a-season/2012/10/24/

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