One for the Artists — A poem for Torah Portion Vayakhel-Pekudei

March 11, 2021

And he made the menorah of pure gold;
of hammered work he made the menorah
Exodus 37:17

He is Bezalel, an artist.
Because the foundation of
any good society is its artists.

The Menorah, our first symbol.
It came before the star. A spot for
every day of the week –

One in the middle for the
day of rest, on which no flame
shall be made.

Most of us confuse this
with the one for Hanukkah
which has nine spots for light

and is spelled in
all the ways you can imagine.
It’s not easy explaining Judaism

when our symbols overlap –
when there’s a different holiday
for every time the wind blows

and an extra one that
comes every week, that,
despite the constant reminders

we keep forgetting to celebrate.
This is why we need the Menorah.
This is why it’s so specific how it looks.

So when Friday comes along
a golden beam will tell us what to do.
And if we forget, and we will forget,

the text will remind us again and again.
He is Bezalel, an artist. What he made
has always given light.

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 25 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 “The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express” (Poems written in Japan – Ain’t Got No Press, August 2020) 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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