Fatherly Advice – A poem for Parsha Vayechi (Aliyah 4)

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Jacob called for his sons and said, "Gather and I will
tell you what will happen to you at the end of days.


Genesis 49:1

We’ll say anything on our death beds
Tell all the truths they didn’t want to hear.
Jacob has words for his sons –

Reuben has the restlessness of water
so make sure there are towels for him
in the final document.

Simeon and Levi are only successful
because they stole the tools that
let them do their job.

Judah will stand above the other eleven
because he knows what to do with his
hands and his enemies’ necks.

Zebulon will hang out by the ocean.
It is his way. Perhaps he has an
extra towel for Reuben.

Issachar is a bony donkey.
Holy God, how does one say that
to one’s own son?

Couldn’t Jacob have told him
to have a sandwich? He could’ve
invented the Jewish mother right here.

Dan, the avenger (before they were
in movies) is a snake in the road.
I hear he bites. Mind the horses.

I think about Jacob’s final words
to his sons every time I open my mouth
to say anything to mine.

Hopefully, I’m not on my death poem
and all the phrases that pass my lips
serve as a foundation for his legs.

He should stand taller than I ever was.
My little bony donkey.
My greatest invention.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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