On divisions in the J-blogosphere, and President Obama's Cairo speech
Offering God compassion (Radical Torah repost)

This week's portion: apart


The people wailed
every clan apart

no one sought
her sister's arms

bundled in nostalgia's
snug swaddling clothes

until God rose up
in our whining image

and quail rained down
we ate ourselves sick

too busy gorging
to be grateful

shreds of bitterness
in our clenched teeth

Toward the end of this week's Torah portion, B'ha-alot'kha, there's a story about the children of Israel bewailing the lack of meat in their lives. (This is Numbers chapter 11.) They get whiny; Moses gets angry; God becomes furious, and rains down quail six feet high all around the camp. The people gather everything they can reach and begin to consume, but before they've finished their meal, they're struck down with a plague.

To me, this year, this reads as a morality tale about unhealthy cravings, ingratitude, and overconsumption. So that's the direction this week's Torah poem went in. I'm curious to know, how does the story read to you? And what do you make of the brief episode of prophecy which is contained within it, which didn't make it into the poem but is a fascinating digression from the narrative?


Technorati tags: , , , , .