How I read the Bible
Entering the summer semester

This week's portion: fruit


in God's hands
the staff of my body
and brings forth almonds

not a sign
that I am favored
or especially fit
for divine service

just garden-variety
the blessing
of whatever comes

This week's portion, Korach, tells the story of the rebellion of Korach, who argued that surely the whole people Israel could be holy and therefore a priesthood wasn't necessary. In this week's Shalom Report email, Reb Arthur Waskow gives over a teaching from Martin Buber, to wit, that "Korach thought the whole people was holy regardlesss of how it acted...It could kill, or worship gold, or rape the earth -- it could do anything, thought Korach, and still be holy." Moses understood, Reb Arthur explains, "that the people had to become holy, always and over and over -- had to act to make holiness out of ordinary life."

Anyway, that's a bit of a side note, because this week's Torah poem arises out of a piece of the story which comes after Korach's rebellion. God tells the Israelites that the head of each tribe should take his staff and carve his name on it, and then all of the staves are placed in the tent of the covenant. The following morning, Aaron's staff has burst into bloom. For me, rereading the text this year, that was the most resonant image, so it's what sparked the Torah poem. How does the image (how does the poem) sit with you?


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