Parshat Shemini

a brown feathered hawk
Do numbers matter?
October 7th it was 157 in the morning,  by night
over 200
it rose each hour, it seemed
over 1000
but then some weren’t counted for weeks because there was only
ash to sift and teeth to compare to dental x-rays
1,200 and then 240 and 105 exchanged, then 4, and 1 freed, then 134 left and 20 dead and 2 rescued and then one by one more dead and then 600 soldiers.
Purim, my stomach tightened knowing I would hear another number
chapter 9 Megillat Esther
when the Jews were supposed to be
murdered, every last one, but then fate changed but the edict couldn’t be altered
First we hung Haman, that’s fair, our children’s children eternally shake
his grave, no rest for the wicked
Haman Hamas – no difference, only the
repetitive theme over and over and over in every generation they rise up
V’he shi’amdah to kill us
then 10 hung children of Haman, who have been taught by Haman and Zeresh, they
must be
This is the first year I thought, how old were those children?
I sat at the edge of my seat knowing a big number was coming
towards the end of the Megillah, but I
couldn’t remember the exact one
32,000 I thought. Numbers mixed up,
chanted 75,000- we killed and then rejoiced.
75,000 the number we haven’t yet reached
I’d heard that number every year
those we’d murdered
just in case they would murder
But it was different this year
I’d heard it before like a story, every other year,
a parable.
I’d heard it knowing that Jews are people of peace.
We, the gentle scholars, the scientists, the people of the
Book. 75,000 was not real people, a forgettable number
Not the number of real people, of children, some innocent
some who may still be in the womb.
Parshat Shemini, another number, 8, we are
forbidden to eat birds of prey because
we don’t want to become
like them.
Are eagles, hawks and owls evil?
their eyes and beaks designed
to hunt
mice and fish.
What is the number that makes you a predator or makes you prey?
Six million means you are prey
30,000 not yet predator, 75,000 maybe
If you hunt to feed your young, to make your nest
a safe place for your babies
what is number that identifies you as
predator or prey?
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