Vayikra

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.

Share this poem:

The man who has a conscience suffers
whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment.

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

I
Olah – The Ascending Offering

We start with the hardest one.
Let the people know what they’re in for
before you lighten up with food.

I think it was the
voices in Ralph Wiggum’s head
that said “Burn Everything”.

And so everything is burned.
Every piece of the animal.
Nothing left

but smoke
a pleasing fragrance to the Lord
a fan of barbecue, no doubt.

When we give away
something expensive
we all go up.

II
Minchah – The Meal Offering

This is where the Italians
got the idea for focaccia
unleavened bread

drizzled in oil. You can see
where we’re going with this.
The Lord was the first one

to emphasize the importance
of seasoning your food.
Salt with salt, God says

as if one could salt
with anything else.
Don’t forget the salt

God goes on
in the very same sentence.
No wonder it took

forty years to get somewhere
with so much time spent
on these details.

III
Shelamim – The Peace Offering

The instructions for the
peace offering read like
an episode of Hannibal.

The word blood already in
verse two, then three more times
before we move on.

Mentions of kidneys
and innards and the fat that
surrounds them.

The liver makes an appearance.
Who knew they were already
concerned with the names

of internal organs
back before history
could be proven.

It seems peace
always begins
with death.

IV
Chat – The Sin Offering

Justice is delivered
on a sliding scale.
The wealthy

gave a sheep or goat.
A person of lesser means
only two birds.

A pauper, required
to bring a meal. (Hopefully
they didn’t forget the salt.)

This was the first flat tax.
People required to give
what they could

no concern at all
paid to the sin
they committed.

V
Asham – The Guilt Offering

Have you ever
crossed a line you
didn’t know was there

only to find yourself
on the other side, surprised
by the wreckage?

Isn’t it true it is only
every other driver who is the pagan?
Until you veer into their

lane, with a wave
of acknowledgment
trying to communicate

that’s not who I am.
We are all unintentionally guilty.
Prepare your kidneys

the Lord is hungry.

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.

Share this poem: