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"A Psalm Admitting
Reluctance" &
"The Replica"

Rich Orloff

A Psalm Admitting Reluctance

Sometimes I think that my reluctance to believe in God

Is nothing more than adolescent spite

A scoop of “You can’t make me believe in you”

In a cup of “I’m in control here”

With a dollop of “If you’re so divine, why aren’t I happier?”


It’s as if I’m saying 

“I’ll believe in you if…”

As if God might say, 

“I gave you the heavens and the earth and the miracle of life

But if that’s not enough

Here’s another fifty bucks

Now are you satisfied?”


I’d love to scapegoat God

And bring God down to size

Beneath it all 

I yearn for God to say “I’m sorry”


(Although I suspect that if God ever did apologize to me

I’d be awestruck

Or possibly just embarrassed

That God called my bluff)


Perhaps I’m simply afraid

To leave the solitary confinement of my ego

And allow myself be released into the vastness of the unknown


It’s like I want a pre-nup

Before I’m willing to have a relationship with the Divine

And say

Yes, I will give you my love

The Replica

I believe in the Commandment

Not to worship false idols

But some of them are so shiny and famous

They obstruct my view of the Divine


I think the god I was raised to worship

Was only a replica of God

So popular in my neighborhood

That my parents felt obligated to believe 


Rooted in their identity

Not in their experience

Their God was a concept

Backed up by stories with plot holes I was supposed to ignore


I hesitate opening the door to God

Because I fear the replica will enter

And my disappointment will be so deep

That I’d prefer atheism to this second-rate deity


I open the door just a crack

Praying to connect

Not with a replica

But with the tantalizing incomprehensibility 

Of the Divine   

Davening at Ariel's  by Rena Yehuda Newman

Rich Orloff

Rich Orloff writes both poems and plays.  His poems have been published in The Poet, Fragments (published by T’ruah), Fresh Words, and The Jewish Writing Project, and they’ve been presented at churches and synagogues, performed in theaters and schools, read at meditation and yoga groups, and spoken at events both lofty and intimate.  Rich’s plays include the Purim-themed musical comedy Esther in the Spotlight (performed so far in New York, Toronto and Tel Aviv), the comedic revue Oy! (over 50 productions in the United States – and one in Bulgaria), and many more, of all lengths, styles and subjects.  Rich’s plays have had over two thousand performances on six continents – and a staged reading in Antarctica.  More at

Rich at Favorite Party.jpg
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