The Salty and the Sweet – A poem for Parsha Eikev (Aliyah 4)

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From there, they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Yotvath, a land with streams of water.

Deuteronomy 10:7

The first time I thought about how good it is
when the salt and the sweet blend together
was in Israel.

I was there on a program, because even if
one isn’t on a program, a trip to Israel
is different from going to Palm Springs

or even Paris…It is a journey with weight.
It is the culmination of thousands of years
of history. It’s what your ancestors

always wanted for you, and what was
promised to you before anyone had a pen
to write anything down.

I had some free time, which is unusual
on a program when so much is packed
into your every day, you need a lifetime

to sleep it off when you return to
what you call home. And there,
across the street from the beach, in the

magnificent and modern city of Tel Aviv
sat Yotvata – a miracle of a dairy restaurant
with a beckoning watermelon and salty cheese

on the menu like a revelation. In my young state
(my hair hadn’t even thought about turning gray
or leaving my head yet) I had never heard of

mixing fruit and cheese. My tongue was in love.
Soon all kinds of opposites started showing up
in my diet, the most significant addition –

sea salt and chocolate. According to
all the knowledge available to me, Yotvata
is permanently closed in Tel Aviv though

some sources say they moved to Rome
perhaps to rejuvenate the empire.
But Kibbutz Yotvata still thrives

on the land where the Israelites visited
after a stop in Gudgodah on their journey
to their permanent home across the river.

Sometimes things are too salty, sometimes
too sweet. But the blending of these disparates
ascends above all the conflicts of our tongues.

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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