From the valley below, the ebullient notes of celebrants,
the beat of tambourines liberated after four hundred years of abuse.
Sing unto the One,
Who smites the tyrant,
Who hears the cries of the oppressed,
Who parts the Sea and plants the seeds for generations yet unborn.
Ana, pool your gold. Adonai, give it to God.
Hoshi’a, smelt it down. Na, cast the throne.
Ashira, link your arms. Ladonai, circle the fire.
Ki, spin into oblivion.
Ga’oh, let go, let go, let go.
Ga’ah, God is One, we are one.
With broken bodies of former slaves, we undulate,
following the Source enthroned into the wilderness of promise.
And up over the ridge, the Levites wait, in formation,
swords on thighs, servants of the Lord, privileged
to follow orders, to do as they are told.
A martial clan descended from the heroes of the Battle of Shechem,
they wear their forebears’ medals proudly.
They have been instructed in the proper use of herbs and oils,
in the dire consequences of disobedience, of initiative, of openheartedness.
In formation, they await the signal from Moses, down from the mountain,
to charge, to slay three thousand defenseless, spent from a night of celebration.
Moses claims that You love only him,
that we were spared because he intervened,
that You do not like our offering.
Moses, who has never seen Your face—
not in the silent, steamy eyes of Tzipporah,
from whom he stays cloistered,
not in the bloody foreskins of his sons,
whom he ignores in the name of his holy work.
Moses, who doesn’t touch.
Moses, who doesn’t dance.
Moses, the bridegroom of blood.
Guide him please, Holy One of Compassion.
We don’t need another Pharaoh to lead us into freedom.
Love him doubly, forgive him his wrath.
He was taken as an infant from his mother.
Only You know what befell the lad in the palace,
but below, all we see is his sweltering rage.
Otherwise, as You surely can foresee,
generations will mistake
fervent worship for idolatry.
What's lost and found in two new translations of the psalms
Making peace with Jesus
Sex, drugs, and God in all
Jacob J. Staub
Israel on Campus
A Conversation with Sam Brody and Zach Gelman
Samaria for Rent
Does Mysticism Prove the Existence of God?
Patrolling the Boundaries
The Wheel World
Our 700 Back Pages
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From previous issues:
Lag B'Omer: Sound and Vision
Andy Alpern and Shir Yaakov Feinstein-Feit
Josh Visits the Holocaust Museum
The Spiritual Foundations of Bushism