Forty years . . . oof . . . – A poem for Parsha Sh’lach

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Your children shall wander in the desert for forty years...

Numbers 14:33

Forty years . . . oof . . . 
This number has been haunting Jews
since the incident with the rainbow.

Forty days of rain…
Forty days Moses spent
on top of the mountain.

The number of days it took David
to step up and defeat Goliath.
Forty gallons in a mikveh.

Forty years a person must have
at their backs before they can
touch a book of Kabbalah.

But forty years in the wilderness
seems like the worst of it.
Forty years sidestepping the
borders of the promised land.

Forty years with nothing but
manna to eat (ignoring that one time
the Holy One made meat
come out of our noses
[look it up.])

They say when your body turns forty
it is not a picnic.
You may gain weight.
Your eyes may work differently.
What did you say?
That’s right – hearing loss.
Let’s not even discuss bone density.

Forty years our ancestors’ children
had to wander in the desert
because just a few of their parents
spun giant tales.

It took forty years for their corpses
to fall into the sand
freeing us of their burden
on this side of the river.

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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