Peace Not Slaughter – A poem for Parsha Acharei Mot

April 28, 2022
Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

…and slaughter them as peace offerings to the Lord.

-Leviticus 17:5

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed
slaughter and peace commingling together
in a single sentence in the Torah.

Animals are slaughtered as a peace offering.
Some people don’t regard animals
in the same way I do, so to kill one

to offer as a peace offering to the Eternal
may seem like no big thing, but I woke up
with a cat next to me this morning

and I have a desperate need to
separate those concepts.
Peace should not involve slaughter.

In Ukraine slaughter is happening
and people around the world are
crying for peace.

This is where these two words
belong together, one as an antithesis
of the other.

If I had to choose a winner, I’d suspect
the hearts of the world would pick peace.
Though sometimes guns are bigger than hearts.

War is brutish like Goliath. Peace is David
writing poems under a waterfall outside
his city of peace, a place where

no-one has figured out how to live up to
the legacy of the name of where they live.
I hear some peace-starved individuals

have to leave their pets at the border
as they run from the slaughter.
Imagine having to leave even one

family member behind. This is the
curse of slaughter. My God asks
only for peace. Never slaughter.

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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