Just Women, Map Pins and Replaceable Men – A poem for Torah Portion Pinchas (Aliyah 4)

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I

Zelophehad's daughters speak justly.

Numbers 27:7

When modern courts made up of men
decide the fate of women – their dictums
based on ancient beliefs

let us refer back to the oldest text
where there is precedent for the wisdom of women
validated by the Arbiter of all Arbiters.

Case closed.

II

Go up to this mount Abarim and look at the land that I have given to the children of Israel.

Numbers 27:12

I’d like to visit Budapest, Hungary and Vienna
before I send my child onto this holy land without me.
Maybe even the Highlands of Scotland.
I’m putting pins on a map and, though I feel
accomplished so far, I know there is far more
space for pins, than pins available for me.
There are so many cities in Italy I probably
will never get to eat pasta in. It hardly seems fair.
I’m going to treat every set of forty years
as if they were my last. Enjoy every breath
I’m lucky enough to take.

III

Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, a man of spirit, and you shall lay your hand upon him

Numbers 27:18

The stakeholders always appreciate
a solid plan of succession. Think of all the
irreplaceables who left us and needed to
be replaced:

Jobs, Washington, Lincoln, Tubman, King.

We regard ourselves as invincible
until doctor appointments become
more frequent than bowel movements.

What you do now may make an impact
but you are not forever, so make a document
with all your passwords, and teach a younger person
everything you know, for when your dust
becomes part of the spinning globe.

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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