June 19, 2020

Just out of Egypt for a year or so and we already have
a system of espionage. Spies! Sent to the promised land.

An advance party to gather intelligence. Human Jewish drones dwelling on the outskirts of Canaan.

For how long? Forty days of course. Forty is our default
unit of measure. There’s no need to think about how much

time anything will take. It will be forty. And at the end of that
particular time period, the report comes back.

Most of our secret agents tell us Large people! Impenetrable
walls! They put a scare in the masses that Caleb and Joshua
couldn’t assuage with a huge cluster of grapes, a pomegranate
and even a fig!

If only the purpose of spies was to gather fruit.

I would vote for that. Let’s replace our secret organizations
with orchards. Our racial profiling with bags of produce.

Our extra screening with a field of grass.

This is the kind of secret information that would march me
forward instead of back to Egypt, to the comfort of slavery.

But the wind doesn’t blow this way and we’ve failed another test.

It’s all Moses can do to convince our Savior to not, once again,
wipe us all out. He’s a vengeful one, the Holy One. And I
say he this time because I can’t imagine a woman doing this. But
a flock of forward thinkers head to Canaan anyway and are killed.

The naysayer spies who focused on the difficulty
instead of the fruit, don’t breathe another day.

And one man who gathers sticks on the Sabbath
is executed. You can see why the traditionally inclined
don’t manipulate light switches on the Sabbath.

If the Holy One would wipe one person out just for
gathering sticks on a Saturday, better to sit in the dark.

So choose the grapes, my friends, the pomegranate
and the fig. It is produce that will lead you to the promised land.

The future is organic. Pesticide free. Grown locally.

Farm to Table. In your mouth. Our land of Canaan
a farmer’s market. I’m feeling so bold, I may even
drive my car to get there on Saturday.

Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of 23 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.”

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