Numbers Shlach Lecha/Not a Sound

By Rabbi Gray Myrseth

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

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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