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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Poem: Re’eh

Welcome back to the longest orientation meeting
in the history of orientation meetings. I hope someone
is writing all this down, because he is still talking.

He is still telling us about all the things we’ve
already done, and all the things we should make sure
to do, and the very fine points about how we should
go about doing them. You’ll never have to guess
how much of your fruit should go to the poor every
seventh year, or how much of your fruit you should
bring to Jerusalem and only eat in Jerusalem,
and if you’re concerned that transporting a lot of
fruit to Jerusalem is going to be an issue, not to
worry, there’s a backup plan where you can sell your
fruit locally, which the restaurants love putting on their
menus. We only serve locally sourced produce, they’ll say
and you’ll go there, and pay extra because it feels good to
read that, and you’ll use the proceeds of your locally grown
and locally sold fruit to buy food in Jerusalem, and then
you’ll eat that food in Jerusalem, and then, according
to this text, which is being written down, you’re good,
you’re covered so, I wouldn’t worry about it.

What I might worry about, though, is the choice between
two mountains, Gerizim and Ebal. Because, half of us
are going up one, and the other half the other.

Half of us will say a blessing and the other half a curse.

And we’ll be reminded that it’s always one or the other
and which one it is, is often a direct result of the
choices we make. And we have been making this decision,
this same decision, since we built a golden calf, since we
stole our brother’s birthright, since another brother
killed another brother, since the forbidden fruit went
into our mouths, since, essentially, forever. So make sure
you climb up the right mountain, lest you get kicked
out of the garden again, or burst into flames again
(it’s been known to happen, check the earlier chapters).

Since everything from your first breath to your last
is about this choice, this red pill or blue pill, this fork in
the road, this Gerizim or Ebal. Behold, your promised land
is a yes or no away. The other side of the river is coming.


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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