Permanent Act of Romance


How one author and rabbi uses a tattoo in her fiction to show true biblical passion.

The verse below is excerpted from The Scroll of Anatiya by Rabbi Zoë Klein, and is a fictional work about a young woman named Anatiya who is madly in love with Jeremiah, one of the major biblical prophets. Klein’s book, told in the style of ancient prophets, is based on Hebrew texts and, in the verse below, Anatiya, age 13, describes her belief that she has been destined to love Jeremiah since she was “a swell in her mother’s belly.”

When God put out a hand and touched your mouth,
God put out another hand,
and touched the tip of a finger to my lips,
whispering, “Shhhhhhhhhh.” I never spoke again.
But I would gladly give my tongue, Jeremiah,
if I might be your life companion,
that I might be your quiet rose
among the damsels of the land.

I tucked almond blossoms into my hair
and scratched your name with a twig under my thigh,
over and over until it scarred,
that my body might never forget whilst she slept
the one whom my soul loves.

I set my pot on the fire
and the steam curled away
from the heat in my fingers.
My fingers could have been fire-sticks.
They dripped thick myrrh as candles running wax,
longing, forgive me, to touch.
I was quick to stir tea
and warm up the rocks that I might bake cakes for you.

I took three measures of flour and hastily kneaded.
My fingers spread outward over the dough,
wings of a white dove a-flutter.
I baked you honey cakes with crumbled mint
and I left them by your door every morning,
And so my fingers touch you

—wrote Anatiya

For more information on The Scroll of Anatiya, visit Wipf and Stock Publishers.

About the Author

ZoeKRabbi Zoë Klein received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998 in New York City. Upon ordination she served Temple Shalom in Norwalk, Connecticut. Rabbi Klein pursued the rabbinate out of a passion for ancient texts, mythology, liturgy, and poetry. Zoë Klein has written numerous articles, poems, and prayers, which are used in houses of prayer all around the country. Her novel Drawing in the Dust was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009. Rabbi Klein gives numerous presentations and is a panel participant or keynote speaker at various assemblies all over the country.

One Comment

  1. ruth elise housman February 15, 2014 Reply

    This is beautifully, moving. There is such flow of feeling in these lines, that speak love. Hands like white doves, a flutter, honey cakes with crumbled mint. Your fingers, Anatiya, touched mine, and made my heart leap for Jeremiah, your Jeremiah! Miah. My Awe!

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