There is Beauty in the Other – A poem for parsha Re’eh

August 29, 2019

you shall place those blessing upon Mount Gerizim,
and those cursing upon Mount Ebal.

This isn’t the first time we’ll be asked to line up
and sent in two different directions. We weren’t
uncomfortable with the idea yet.

No matter which mountain you went up
you were sure to, at least, get a nice view.
Imagine all the curses you could see

from on top of the blessing mountain
and, you could only imagine, from the top
of the cursing mountain, that you were

having a lot more fun than those other guys.
You need the sacred and the profane to
commingle in the valley between two mountains

to make a straight path to the promised land.

you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments,
burn their asherim with fire

This is how it all started, with
the very first Jewish Guy, smashing up
his father’s shop.

The Lord’s jealousy is on full display again.
How about instead of smashing the monuments
of the other

we set up an interfaith gathering?
We could put out cake, or the unique
delicacies of everyone.

How about instead of burning the Canaanite poles
(that’s what asherim are…ritual Canaanite poles.
I looked it up so you don’t have to.)

we tie ribbons around them and dance?
They say I’m a non-believer when I suggest
these irreverences.

I say the other has beauty and
there’s holy land enough
for everyone.

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 23 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 “Hunka Hunka Howdee!” (Poems written in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville – Ain’t Got No Press, May 2019) 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.

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