Peace Not Slaughter – A poem for Parsha Acharei Mot (Aliyah 4)

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...and slaughter them as peace offerings to the Lord.

Leviticus 17:5

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed
slaughter and peace commingling together
in a single sentence in the Torah.

Animals are slaughtered as a peace offering.
Some people don’t regard animals
in the same way I do, so to kill one

to offer as a peace offering to the Eternal
may seem like no big thing, but I woke up
with a cat next to me this morning

and I have a desperate need to
separate those concepts.
Peace should not involve slaughter.

In Ukraine slaughter is happening
and people around the world are
crying for peace.

This is where these two words
belong together, one as an antithesis
of the other.

If I had to choose a winner, I’d suspect
the hearts of the world would pick peace.
Though sometimes guns are bigger than hearts.

War is brutish like Goliath. Peace is David
writing poems under a waterfall outside
his city of peace, a place where

no-one has figured out how to live up to
the legacy of the name of where they live.
I hear some peace-starved individuals

have to leave their pets at the border
as they run from the slaughter.
Imagine having to leave even one

family member behind. This is the
curse of slaughter. My God asks
only for peace. Never slaughter

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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