The Elusive Fire — A poem for Parsha Shoftim (Aliyah 3)

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The Levitic kohanim…shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel; the Lord's fire offerings and His inheritance they shall eat.

Deuteronomy 18:1

Nothing but the best for the workers –
except for cash, of course, but bring them
an ox or a sheep, or the best parts if
you know how to disassemble them.

Nothing but the best for the workers –
I mean not property, of course, but bring them
the best of your crops, the wine you were
saving for yourself, the oil which you
were going to do God-knows-what with.

Nothing but the best for the workers –
except for anything that requires legal documentation,
of course, but the fleece you took off your sheep
(if you didn’t give the whole sheep) Not the
leftovers from your special night out
but the whole meal!

Nothing but the best for the workers –
They don’t need you to take taxes out.
This is all under the table, and they’re
already getting Fire – the kind of Fire we
don’t get and distract ourselves from
not getting with our sheep and our
possessions and our land.

Nothing but the best for the workers –
And would you mind learning their names?
They have them, you know, although, at this point
it’s all the same last name, or last names
hadn’t been invented yet.

But know the faces of the workers –
Develop an appreciation for their
unique mannerisms
Look into their eyes
This may be the only glimpse of
that Fire you’ll get.

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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