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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Poem: Ki Teitzei

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If you are at war and find
your captives are beautiful
the laws of our people,
seventy four of which are
listed this week, tell you
this could lead to a
bonafide engagement.

If you are at war and you
find your captives are
beautiful, how does that
make you feel about
having taken them captive?

If you are at war and find
your captives are beautiful
who has captured whom?

If you are at war and find
your captives are beautiful
do you forget what it is
the war was about?

Do you forget the meaning
of the word war? Do you
get in the cage with your
captives and lose yourself
in their beauty?

If you are at war and find
your captives are beautiful
you may take them home.

That is allowed, according to the words we read this
week, and every time this week comes along in the
years past, and the ones which will pass. You may
find, after a time, your beautiful captives, in your
home, may not find you the way you find them, and
after a time, you will have to let them go to wherever
it is they wish to go.

That is the law. That is the sacred word on
the beautiful, who you’ve captured.
(Did you see they were beautiful before or after you captured them?)

Let them go. They will not
sing in your cage, these birds
of war, these human birds,
these spoils of war who
will not spoil, these captives.

You know what to do.


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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