How We Study on Shabbes Morning
Part 3: Homer
We welcome the two Homers from the land
Of the south wind
Named from the intersection of its French
And Indian heritage
The Quapaw tribe a member of the Sioux nation
The French called them Arkansas
there was controversy over spelling and
pronunciation until the state legislature clarified in 1881
spelled Arkansas pronounced Ar-kan-saw.
Homer and Homer
Homer the name of disputed origin
He who puts the song together
Offered the songs to a place that didn’t want songs
As the legend goes he took the name to shame the place
Much like Bo Diddley took the name of the primitive twanger
Of the cotton fields to either honor
Or tickle his roots.
We welcomed the two Homers
One working to relieve the suffering of elders
In the south wind
The other working on being lazy
Because there are so many distractions to true
We began with a prayer
Make it pleasant on our lips
The lesser known of the two blessings for learning
In our morning liturgy the Birchot HaShachar.
We discussed two articles from the weekly
The 2000 year old seed from Masada
that has sprouted
Indigenous date palm now 1.2 meters high
Is it male or is it female?
If female and we can find a male
They will reproduce
If not — ?.
Israel’s date trees are imported species
Because the Romans did not tend their date palms carefully
They built aqueducts to carry the water everywhere
But neglected the date palm
A clue to their eventual irrelevance.
By Crusader period, the indigenous date palm was gone.
We discussed the recently announced hoopoe
As Israel’s national bird
Hardly mentioned in the Bible
But celebrated in legend as the messenger bird
That flies between King Solomon
And the Queen of Sheba
Thus its place in the mythology of the country
As exemplar of shuttle diplomacy
In Hebrew duchifat.
The sense of longing in this choice of bird.
We discussed Aeschylus’s strange death
And Peres taking his name from a bearded vulture
And why Benjamin Franklin thought the bald eagle
Was a bad choice
And the Sufi version of the hoopoe
The leader of the bird search to find the King of Birds
Which is of course
We turned then to the portion Torah
We drank no tea at all
Convinced that tea
From a mix
Is not a good idea.
I have completed a year’s cycle of poetry
Based on the portion and the musical figure associated with it
I began with B’haalotecha and we have returned to
I read my piece and we parsed it
Which includes this:
Always we are moving forward
three days journey
the ark moving forward
Moses could have been hiding in a cloud
the cumulus drawn up over his face
I just can’t talk to another child of Israel, he might have said
I need some time to myself
but he didn’t
He dusted off the menorah he saw floating in the sky
Build it this way — God showed him
The light from its central shaft
that’s the Torah light
it will need a little lift
Don’t leave me in the dark.
That night we had the most wonderful concert.