And then, tucked into the end of the Torah portion -- after the Flood -- there's an entirely different story, the wild parable of the Tower of Babel. Judy Klitsner makes a compelling case that the sin of the people building that tower was a kind of coercive groupthink. It's fascinating to notice that that story begins with the observation "And all the earth was of one language and of one set of words..." What would our world, what would our poetry, be like if we had only one language available to us?
The story of Babel's given rise to some great stuff too, like Barbara Hamby's collection of that same name.
What can we take from the juxtaposition of flood and tower? The lens of poetry is one of the hermeneutics I like best. Read the portion itself as though it were poetry. Look for repeated words and images, for surprising turns of phrase...
That's from my final post this week at the Best American Poetry blog: The poetry of Noah [by Rachel Barenblat]. Thanks again to the BAP editors for inviting me to share some ideas there! It's been a lot of fun.