September 23, 2018

I Hear the Third Temple is Hiring – A Poem for Haftarah Emor by Rick Lupert

I’m going through the list of things required of priests
for jobs in the third temple and realize I’m, probably,
not going to get the job.

I’m okay with not letting my hair go wild, but that
definitely rules out my son who, if you mention
the word haircut is ready to join the other team.

(the team of people who don’t cut their hair.)
I’m okay with not going near a corpse. Honestly
I have so little to talk about with dead people.

But with wine so intertwined with my every
Jewish movement, I don’t think I can roll with
its prohibition during priestly duties.

I’m okay with not eating things that died of
natural causes, but to be fair, I already make
a point of not eating things that were killed.

I’m not sure I’m okay with wearing a linen hat
instead of a wool one. Just feels like we’re getting
awfully picky with the uniform.

I can’t say it’s an issue for me to only marry a
descendent of the House of Israel as I think I’ve
already got that covered. Do they take

married people into the priesthood? I don’t see
anything about that in the job description.
I’m a little concerned about the salary too.

I see the point about not receiving anything but
God. I’m all for God’s presence but I’m not sure
the bank will accept that as a mortgage payment

and, though I’ve never tried to buy a sandwich
using only the Lord as collateral, I’m not sure that
would go well. Is that like a higher level of Apple Pay?

Finally, it seems like it may be a risk taking this job at all.
I don’t have the heart to tell the search committee, there
may never be a third Temple.

And even if there was, if they’re going to put it
where I think they’re going to put it, I’m really not
willing to relocate. Can I telecommute?

My third temple comes when people lift their voices.
It comes when song spills from their breaths.
This is the holy place I will build.


God Wrestler: a poem for every Torah Portion by Rick LupertLos Angeles poet Rick Lupert created the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 22 collections of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion“, “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Beautiful Mistakes” (Rothco Press, May 2018) and edited the anthologies “A Poet’s Siddur: Shabbat Evening“,  “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.

Torah Talk: Parashat Vayikra with Rabbi Jerry Seidler

Rabbi Jerry Seidler is a staff chaplain with Sinai and Northwest Hospitals, and the spiritual leader of Adat Chaim Congregation, all in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002, where he was an Eisenstein Scholar, and was the rabbi for synagogues in Rutland, Vermont and Amherst, New York before coming to Baltimore in 2008. Rabbi Seidler has his BA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and JD from the Vanderbilt University School of Law. Prior to joining the rabbinate, he served on active duty as a US Army MP and JAG officer, and was a litigation attorney with law firms in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Board Certified as a chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains, he is co-author most recently of Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives about Xenotransplantation which is set for publication in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of the International Xenotransplantation Association.

This week’s Torah Portion – Parashat Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26) – is the first portion of the book of Leviticus. The portion introduces the sacrificial service and describes five different kinds of sacrifice. Our discussion focuses on the relevance of the sacrifices described in the parasha (and of the book of Leviticus in general) to our lives today.

 

Previous Torah Talks on Vayikra:

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein

Rabbi Jay Sherman

Rabbi Scott Meltzer

 

 

7 Haiku for Parsha Emor by Rick Lupert (again with the showbreads…)

I
Stay pure, priests. No dead
people. And for the High Priest
we’ll need a virgin.

II
It feels like the guy
with mismatched limbs gets a tough
break in this story.

III
Rejoice animals!
You will not be castrated!
No ugly ones though.

IV
and for the rest of
us, there are holy days to
observe and to count

V
We still atone but
how do we offer a fire
to the One above?

VI
After the heavy
we go into booths. The air
and sky shelter us.

VII
Twelve showbreads on the
Shabbat table. I hope the
judges pick the best.


Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created a the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 20 collections of poetry, including “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.

7 Haiku for Parsha Tzav (where the priests learn to love meat) by Rick Lupert

I
Before anything
clean the ashes up from the
altar. Day begins.

II
Don’t forget to tip
your priest well. They can’t live on
all this meat alone.

III
In case I wasn’t
clear last week, do not eat blood.
It just ain’t Kosher.

IV
You know you’ve arrived
when your costume designer
is Moses himself.

V
Not a good day to
be a bull. Oh, how complex
to welcome our priests.

VI
Unleavened bread and
a ram’s thigh – recipe for
sanctification.

VII
Seven days covered
in oil. Both a fantasy
and mandate from God.


Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created a the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 20 collections of poetry, including “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.

7 Haiku for Parsha Tetzaveh by Rick Lupert

I
If you’ve seen Raiders
of the Lost Ark. A lot of
this is familiar.

II
Four rows of three stones
one for each tribe. Beware the
Breastplate of Judgement

III
If you do not like
to wear a uniform, then
don’t become a priest.

IV
If you put on the
uniform you should expect
a consecration.

V
If you, impending
priest, like sprinkles of blood you’ll
love this ritual.

VI
Burn the lamb, burn the
lamb. That’s twice a day. Do it
for the Holy One.

VII
All the incense they
used to build this place. It was
like Venice Boardwalk.


Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created a the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 20 collections of poetry, including “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.