fbpx

The Words I Want to Read – A poem for Parsha Ki Tisa

The words we want to read aren’t always the words in the text.
[additional-authors]
February 29, 2024
francescoch/Getty Images

But you shall demolish their altars, shatter their monuments, and cut down their sacred trees. ~Exodus 34:13

If you pay attention to the TV you’ll see
some of us are taking this idea too seriously.

An entire civilization of ites and all the things they made
are crumbling to the ground on top of tunnels

built to facilitate slipping us into the sea.
I use the word us purposefully.

We are all lumped together by association
whether we live where David walked,

or in places where the rain will slide mansions
into the ocean while simultaneously

droughting us out of existence.
The world is in too much peril to worry about

words made up to suit the climate.
I know, later in the text, we’re told to not

cut down the trees of our enemies
so I’m not sure why it’s okay to do it here.

My neighbor’s insurance company sent
him a letter saying he had to remove all the trees

between our homes for reasons only
insurance companies could possibly understand.

And we get along just fine. How could any of this
happen hardly a month after Tu b’Shevat?

All trees are sacred. All people too.
This is the text I insert into the text.

The words I want to read.


Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 27 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.” Find him online at www.JewishPoetry.net

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.