This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
Think the prophetic. Prepare it for the coming year. Then give it up. Send the prophetic on its way.
Think the prophetic for Yom Kippur. Place the prophetic on a fasting regimen. Hope that Jewish will turn toward justice and compassion. Embody that hope. It’s the only way hope exists.
Experience yourself without the prophetic. Experience yourself without Jewish. Experience yourself by giving it all away.
Create the prophetic as a mandala made of sand. Build it. Destroy it. Listen to the prophetic’s transitory sound. You’ll know there’s no direction home.
Picture the prophetic sitting under a banyan tree. A banyan tree’s roots grow down from the branches to form secondary trunks. Sit still. Let the prophetic roots nourish you.
Mourn exile. Now give exile away. If it returns, be grateful for exile’s challenge.
Write an irate letter. Tell God you don’t want the prophetic. Send the prophetic back to God. Address it: “Return to sender.” If the prophetic returns, the prophetic is native to you.
Write a convincing letter explaining why you don’t want Jewish anymore. Address it: “To Whom It May Concern.” If Jewish returns, embrace it.
Imagine exile and the prophetic as bound together. Send both on a voyage across the sea. Note where they make landfall. Exile and the prophetic always turn up somewhere.
Wherever exile and the prophetic appear, they are. If they reach someone else’s shore, fine. If they reach your shore, that’s fine, too.
Laugh at the absurdity of the powerful. Even their language betrays humanity.
Laugh at the absurdity of dissent. Its language conceals powerlessness.
Practice exile with intensity. Practice exile as if your life depended on it. Now recognize that your life is more than practice and more than exile.
Practice exile. Practice the prophetic. Hold fast. Let go.