This Shabbat, in Parshat B'Chukotai, we read a series of blessings and curses
if we do not heed the commandments. There is a custom to whisper the verses that contain curses. There is discussion of who might even take an aliyah when a curse is read? How do we combine the honor of going to the torah with the curses? This is my second poem for Parshat B'Chukotai. May all of us merit blessings always.
Do you hear the whispers?
They pierce the silence
a torrent of staccato softness.
You struggle to hear them
even when you softly murmur to yourself,
"I do not want to hear these words."
so different from shouts
Don’t you always want to hear the whispers?
Don’t your ears perk up just a little bit,
like a dog that hears thunder in the distance,
so you can hear those words you’re not supposed to hear?
I see you listening
your head cocked to the side
your ears open,
your eyes drilled onto the floor
your shoulders back
Afraid to move
lest you miss a word
Hush... Do you hear the whispers?
The words that are
coated in black ink
dripping threats and dark skies.
Words that contain no rain
that contain death
Some avert their eyes
some look away
some stare at the floor
some feign indifference
Can you hear them?
They rise and fall like a net over us
we are caught in that net
We strain not to hear those words
we cover our ears
but they catch us
Be still, my child.
do not listen.
if you don’t see it
then you don’t hear the words
if you don’t hear the words
they will not register
if the words do not register
they don’t exist
they won't exist
Vayikra 27:15-46. The curses of Parshat B'Chukotai.
I would rather not include the text here on this page.
https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/260335?lang=en On reading curses in synagogue.