When Temptation Bids Me Waver — A poem for Parsha Nitzavim (Aliyah 3)

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Perhaps there is among you a man, woman, family, or tribe, whose heart strays this day

Deuteronomy 29:17

There is a famous funny video
shown on a famous funny video program
in which a parent leaves candy in front of
a child, who is told they cannot eat the candy
until the parent returns.

The parent walks away, leaving the child
in front of everything they’ve ever desired
and a hidden camera waiting to see
what they will or won’t do.

The child fidgets
sometimes rearranges the candy
sometimes eats just one.

Sometimes there are two children –
one who wants to follow the direction
and the other, like a sweet-tooth Abel
who eats both sets of candy.

Sometimes a dog comes along
and eats the candy out in front of
the shocked child who, having done nothing wrong
will now have to explain why it is gone.

This temptation describes my entire life of choices –
an ongoing battle between good and evil
in which, sometimes, the candy is eaten.

It is hard to always do the right thing
especially when the wrong thing
comes in so many sizes.

A missing piece of candy is one thing, but
take the whole bag and the consequences reverberate –
others do without.

People have been disappointed, to say the least.
I sometimes succumb to the temptation
to say the very least.

I think of this as Moses reminds me
on this side of the river, that there is
always a Hidden Camera.

That the footage is constantly being reviewed.
That I chip away at the very fiber of my soul
when I succumb to my sweet desires.

Let my passage into the new year
find me on the right side of temptation
before the river dries up.

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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