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Minnemingo Review


Torah                                                                    Emily Hampton


There are 248 positive mitzvot –
“do” laws, Thou Shalts. One for each bone
in your perfect hollow body. Throw
your whole self into the mechanics
of loving, so that your index fingers might practice
gentleness, that your knees might know
the altar, your ears curl to honor elders,
that your ankles and feet might run
in the land that the LORD has given you.


There are 365 negative mitzvot –
because there are always more don’ts
than dos. There is one for every day of the year,
so you that you might not tell lies
on Mondays, cheat neighbors in April,
abandon your children on the longest night
of the year, or think any idolatrous thought
in the time of the lilies.


The difference is 117 – the leftovers,
which are like seeds in brown-paper
envelopes, humming with potential
and beginnings.