preface — the rebbe’s queer daughters — the uriel tree

The Uriel Tree grew from ancient times to the present almost nowhere on earth.

But where it took root, it grew hardy and strong, and could survive where others could not.
It preferred, unbelievably enough, arid, marginal environs where not much else could survive.
Curiously, it did not at all mind the wind, or even, on occasion, a thick damp fog. 

But the Tree grew lonely in its preferred clime, and so it befriended a she-goat,
and taught the black silky-haired one her secrets.
The goat laughed, being fairly light-hearted, and agreed to be complicit in the affairs of the Tree.
In gratitude, the Tree grew for the goat thorny spines, treacherous to other beasts
who could neither access nor digest them.
Thus, a Covenant was made between the Tree and the Goat, binding them together.

 

Generation after generation, goats, both male and female, have honored the secrets of the Uriel Tree
and imparted the knowledge of the Tree to their keepers (if they had any),
if and when their keepers seemed so attuned.
Thus, in each family there might be a maiden who was chosen to learn of the gifts of the Tree,
if she were willing to labor on the Tree’s behalf, knowledge, after all, entailing obligation. 

Malkah was one such maiden.  But surely, she is not alone.

* * * *

This is how the tale begins, as absurd as it may sound. I’ve found solid evidence for much of it—especially about Malkah.
I know this part of the tale the best, for she is, after all, my sister.
I’ve watched her.  And I’ve followed.

This tale is for her. This tale is in her memory.

About mira

Mira Z. Amiras is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies and founder of the Middle East Studies Program at San Jose State University. She is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and has served on the Executive Council of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-founder, with Ovid Jacob, of Beit Malkhut, a study group in Jewish sacred text. She's most attached to the creatures of her body and her household — first and foremost, her kids, of course: Michael and Rayna — and then the other folks large and small of various species, including Roshi and Vlad, a whole lot of hummingbirds, the old parrot who lives next door, and a beautiful garden that does what it will.
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