Leviticus 1 – Poems from the Parshah

And He Is Calling

What kind of frantic love

calls from an open door framed in firelight

barefoot in linen pjs, holding a knife

and a basin to catch a life to cover me?

When I come, you’ll bear

the weight and breathe the knife

till we both come apart and I am clean

but you always end up on that wood

while I end up alive

around and among bright swirls of red

you go up and I go free

as close as I can come

to holy.

Photo by Michel Paz on Unsplash

Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying,  “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord.  He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces,  and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar;  but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. (Leviticus 1.1-9)

Hi, Readers. I know this is a departure for me to comment on a Torah portion by trying to write a poem, but I don’t know what to say about a lover who is so desperate for us that he will do anything to give us the chance to get close to him. I have a few versions of the poem. The non-negotiable parts have to do with the bare feet, the open door, the wood (which is the same word as “tree”), and the blood, which doesn’t get destroyed–did you notice that? I think it’s because he preserves life; it’s a picture of our eternal life. I opened Leviticus this time around and saw a frantic lover calling out to mankind in a doorway. He’s made a way for us. I want so much to go in and be with him.


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