Rahameem Ram

Rahameem Ram

       was as sweet as a lamb,

so he always avoided

       the rams' ramming-jam.

The other rams ran

       to a place near the woods

where they'd ram one another

       as hard as they could.

They’d then start stampeding

       with all of their might

and keep butting heads

       from the dawn till the night.

They fought with each other.

       They wrestled and tumbled.

A scary event

       was that ram-ramming rumble.

They kept up their ramming

       till weary and worn.

Their hooves became scuffed

       and their wool got all torn.

But worst of all was

       what they did to their horns.

For I do not know

if you’ve seen rams up close.

They’re proud, noble beasts

       from their heads to their toes.

They look down at others

with insolent scorn

because they've been blessed

       with magnificent horns!

These horns fill the rams

       with a marvellous pride.

They wave them about

       as they sway side to side.

They take special care

       not to let them get scratched,

and make sure that each pair

       is exquisitely matched.

If it didn't sound rude

       I might say they were vain

when they polish their ram-horns

       again and again.

And yet–when those rams

       hold their big ramming-jams,

they batter each other

like…battering rams!

Through dust and destruction,

and pitiful bleating,

the rams give each other

a terrible beating.

It’s a horrible sight,.

Biff! Bam! Wallop! Wham!

There’s nothing as bad

       as a ram-ramming jam.

And when it is over,

between stalks of corn

the whole field is strewn

with a harvest of horns.

Those eager young rams

are now beaten and bruised.

A few come out winners

–but all of them lose.

Just two bumps remain

       where those great horns once stood.

They hobble back home

from that place near the woods.

Why do they do it?

I really don’t know.

It’s something they started

a long time ago.

Some think that they want

       to impress pretty ewes.

But the ewes think they’re silly,

       (and I think so too).

They’d rather the rams brought them

       flowers to chew.

Now the rams are downhearted,

       their butting-heads ache,

But one ram is saddest,

       for all of their sake.

Before it all started,

       the rams were so mean.

They made nasty fun

       of our sweet Rahameem.

"The most cowardly ram

       that we ever have seen

Is that Rahameem Ram,

       who won’t join the ram-jam!"

They taunted him cruelly

       as jam-ward they ran.

But when the great butting-fest

       finally was over,

Rahameem watched

       from his small patch of clover.

He did what he could

       to nurse swellings and cuts

from their heads to the bumps

       on their sore butted butts.

These were the same rams

       who’d shown such disdain–

yet Rahameem worked hard

       to soften their pain.

And Rahameem Ram was

       especially forlorn

at seeing his buddies

       without any horns.

Even when all of the rams

       had limped home,

Rahameem wasn’t yet

       ready to roam.

And that is why he was

       the only one ‘round

when that stranger slipped in there

       without any sound.

One moment the ram

       was alone, by himself,

the next he was facing

       an odd little elf.

Completely dumbfounded,

       he silently peered

at a tiny old man

       with a marvellous beard.

That beard flowed forever

       in sparkling swirls,

and two merry eyeballs

       peeped out from the curls.

The man jumped about,

       as his beard wagged and wiggled.

Then he flashed a bright grin

       that made Rahameem giggle.

You've probably guessed

       who this strange person was,

but Rahameem's head

       was confused and a-buzz.

He was far too bashful,

       and shy, and polite

to open his mouth

       and just ask him outright.

The little man glanced

       at the horns on the ground.

He wrinkled his forehead

       then spun twice around.

Rahameem wondered.

       He still couldn't tell he

had made the acquaintance

       of old Uncle Eli.

Uncle Eli then spoke

       in a voice warm and kind:

"I’m here on a mission.

       I hope you won't mind.

I've wandered the earth,

       searching lands near and far.

What I'm trying to find is

       the perfect shofar.

Shofars, I must tell you,

       in case you don't know 'em,

are horns that produce a fine sound

       when you blow 'em.

They‘ll waken our souls

       to be better next year,

and they're made out of rams' horns,

       like these I see here."

Then quick as an arrow,

       he winked and he smiled.

He swivelled about

       and dove into the pile

of the horns that remained

       from the ram-ramming jam.

He vanished from view

       before Rahameem Ram.

From under the big pile of horns

       could be heard

bumps, noises and grunts

       (and occasional words);

but mostly, the sounds of the shofars:

       –loud toots

that were shriller than tubas

       but deeper than flutes.

A long time elapsed,

       and then Eli appeared.

His eyes now seemed anxious

       beneath that big beard.

"These ram-horns

       do not make the right shofar noise.

They’re grating and angry

       like mean little boys.

A real shofar sound

       brings a tear to the eye.

It should tremble with feeling

       and cause us to cry.

It makes us feel sorry

       for bad things we’ve done,

so we’ll feel great compassion

       for ev-e-ry-one.

I sense that nearby

       there’s a shofar that’s right,

but I’ve checked out each ram-horn

       with all of my might.

Oh where can that one perfect shofar

       be hid?

I’ll have to keep looking"

       --And that’s what he did.

Rahameem Ram

       was still lingering there

when a tired Uncle Eli

       came up for fresh air.

He seemed just about to give up–

       but instead…

he pointed his finger

       at Rahameem's head.

"Aha! Now I see it!

       It was here all the time!

A shofar that 's gentle

       and sweet and sublime!"

He jumped up and down

       in exuberant joy.

Then he did a back-flip

       like a happy young boy.

"You! You are a ram

       who is gentle and sweet

from the tips of your horns

       to the soles of your feet.

You care for all creatures.

       You try to be kind.

A more worthy shofar

       I could not hope to find.

"And so, brother Rahameem,"

       Eli said slowly,

"I ask in a spirit

       that’s humble and lowly.

Because I have seen

       how good-hearted you are,

allow your horn, please,

to become my shofar."

I don’t know what you’d do

in Rahameem’s place.

A worried expression

passed over his face.

His head and his heart

       were so terribly torn.

He now understood

       that dilemmas had horns!

The poor ram was baffled,

       confused and perplexed.

The ram-ifications

       seemed very complex.

He pondered a long while,

       his forehead all wrinkled.

His eyes first seemed sad,

       then they started to twinkle.

In his heart he knew this was

the right thing to do.

At length he spoke up:

       "Yes, I’ll give it to you!"

With a click of his heels,

       Eli danced through the air.

You could see his eyes spark-l-ing

       under his hair.

He laid his hand gently

       on Rahameem’s top,

and he pulled off one horn.

       (It just made a soft "pop.")

One day, if you happen

       to pass through that place,

you might meet a ram

       with a smile on his face.

That gentle young ram

       is polite and well bred,

but only has one horn

       on top of his head.

Some people might laugh

       if they saw such a sight,

but he doesn't mind.

       He is filled with delight.

Though a ram with one horn

       might seem silly to some,

he's perfectly pleased

       at the good deed he's done.

He's glad that in lands

       close at hand and afar,

many people will gather

       to hear his shofar.

So on Rosh Hashanah,

       when you gather this year,

and the shofar is sounded

       in tones loud and clear,

be ever so careful

       to perk up your ears.

It should stir us to pray

       that our sins be forgiven.

It’s the same sound we heard

       when the Torah was given.

It was just such a ram

       with the same shofar-horn

that Abraham found,

in a thicket of thorns

when he went up to offer

       his cherished first-born.

That same trumpet sound

       will bring joy to our lives

on the day

       when our longed-for redemption arrives.


The shofar's sound calls us

       to be true and kind,

to uproot the bad thoughts

       that clutter our minds;

to stop being stubborn and mean,

       and headstrong;

to pardon a person

       who's done you some wrong.


If ever you feel

       that that task is too tough,

that you can't be so righteous,

       you're not good enough.

--When that's how you feel,

       then say loudly: "I am

going to be as good-hearted

       as Rahameem Ram."

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