Shlach Lecha/Not a Sound

(Parshat Sh’lach  (Numbers, 13:1-15:41)

By Rabbi Gray Myrseth

And
all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron
and
the whole congregation said to them, 

“I
wish we had died in the land of Egypt or that we had already died in this wilderness!”
(Numbers 14:2)

Fear
is not an animal.
It
is not warm.
It
does not bend.

Once
the ocean bent
beneath
my hand.
Was
it that simple?
Yes.

The
crabs and fish
felt
the dawn of their apocalypse.
The
ground we walked on
was
a moving thing, fins and shells
spread
out beneath our feet.

Now
I would offer
all
my songs of praise
in
exchange
for
a fish in my hand.

While
I walk, I dream
of
translucent muscle and silvery scales.
While
I walk, I clutch a stone
and
will it to become water.

Fear
is this stone in my hand.
Fear
is this stone in my mouth.

If
stones do not turn to water,
did
water ever become dry land?

The
sky over my head
is
neither land nor water
and
it does not speak a word.

Rabbi Gray MyrsethRabbi Gray Myrseth was ordained in 2017 by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA, and is currently serving as School Director at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont, CA.


Interested in a possible career in the rabbinate? Read Rabbi Dan Judson’s article “Jewish Lessons on Meaningful Work.“ Rabbi Judson is Dean of  the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. He has a PhD in Jewish history from Brandeis University.

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