They Heard There’d Be Bread – A poem for Parsha Miketz (Aliyah 6)

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[When] Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the overseer of his house, "Bring the men into the house and [give orders] to slaughter an animal and to prepare, for the men will eat with me at lunch."

In the time of Joseph, in the nation of Egypt
lunch was the first meal of the day.
It sounds counterintuitive as all the rest of

our sacred learning teaches us that
breakfast is the most important.
But Joseph’s brothers, at his insistence

and without knowing they shared his blood
agreed to come because they heard
there would be bread there and that’s

the whole reason they came to town.
Bread was scarce in Canaan and you
can’t base a neighborhood on a location

where there’s nothing to eat. They grovel
and prostrate, which is often how I am
when I’m hungry, but it’s never really

the emergency it was for them.
I’m lucky like that. I’ve got so many loaves
of bread, the breadbox demanded more money.

But I know it’s not like that for everyone.
And it sometimes feels like it’s held together
by a fragile thread. Anything could break it.

I might have to wander to the next town
to grovel for my lunch. Present their Joseph
with whatever they ask for just so my stomach

stops rumbling. This is the fire that keeps my
fingers moving. This is my portion of wheat.
This is my luck in life.

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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