Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah
“Put a curse upon this people for me.” (Number 22:6)
I feel like a lot like cursing. The last few weeks have given all of us a lot to fret, worry, fear, get angry …. to curse about. It is not simply the colloquial sense of cursing – like letting loose some choice expletives at frequent intervals and high volumes. No, I am talking about the biblical type of cursing … one takes their fear and anger and packages it into a metaphysical stink bomb for those creating the situation that has initiated those feelings.
It is this kind of Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah that we find in Torah this week. An enemy king, Balak, hires a local prophet, Balaam, to place a Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah on the Israelites. In Balak’s mind and heart, the Israelites bring him fear, anger and anxiety … so a curse feels like a natural course of action, one that I understand.
I want to place a Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah on anyone who who would shoot another human being in cold blood. I want to place a Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah on those in our society who want to make guns more accessible rather than less accessible. I want to place a Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah on those who would tread on the precious, intimate right of a woman to make a choice about her own body and well being. I want to place a Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah on a political system that seems to cater to the rigidity of extremes, rather than than cultivate the values that arise from and embraced by a majority and balanced, if uneven, middle ground.
Balaam does not end up cursing the Israelites, he encounters forces greater than himself that help him remember that Blessing ultimately trumps Cursing in the great calculus of what is most meaningful and essential. So, I find myself acknowledging what I am feeling – wanting to Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah. And, trying to remember to look for and to create Blessing. I am working on it and imagine that many of you are working on it, as well. In the coming days, weeks and months I look forward to working with you to move beyond Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah and towards Blessing. I look forward to hearing what is helping you, what your ideas are as to how we may go about creating Blessing and how our Micah community might contribute toward that essential end.
In the meantime, two poems spoke to me as I try to take the first steps in getting beyond the Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah. I share them with you in the spirt of creating Blessing.
Also, specifically in regard to Reproductive Rights, our progressive interfaith community is beginning to rally together. It begins tonight (with apologies for the late notice) with a Holding and Healing Service at 7:30pm at Temple Emanuel and then next Thursday (at a location TBD) for a work session on how begin the work of advocacy.
Let’s get the Curse – אָֽרָה – Arah out of our system and begin the move towards Blessing.