This week we begin reading ''the Joseph cycle.'' Joseph is the man destined to make Egypt into the literal breadbasket of the Middle East. He was fated to feed and nourish people on a massive scale. Indeed, the theme of nourishment is peppered throughout this week''s reading. First we witness Joseph symbolically dreaming of sheaves of wheat. What''s more, who joins Joseph in the Egyptian prison? None other than the cup-bearer and the baker to Pharoah. These two figures are archetypal ''providers'', feeding and watering the very King. And yet, even though Joseph is destined to provide nourishment to the masses and to bring salvation to his entire family, in this week''s reading we find him far from the fulfillment of his calling. The parsha closes with Joseph stranded helpless in an Egyptian dungeon. Joseph here is the epitome of unrealized potential. All of his vast talents, his promise, his gifts, have thus far only garnered envy, resentment, and alienation. What must it have felt like for him to be marooned in that dungeon when he knew that he was destined for so much more?The poem below playfullly likens Joseph stranded in the dungeon to a fork stranded in a bowl of soup – a fork, utterly unable to gather and dispense the very nourishment within which it seeps. This week we are invited to ponder the places in our own lives where we feel like a fork in broth. Where are we being stymied from giving over the goods we sense are ours and ours alone to give? How could we better feed others? How can we become fitter vessels for nourishing eachother? Or better yet, how do we deal with the waiting periods, with the times we feel cast into pits and prisons? How can our proverbial low points also be seen as necessary steps in our process of the fulfillment of our dreams?
Forkinbroth - A Prison Cell SoliloquyI am a fork of sorts- an otherwise useful tool - suddenly sold for a pair of shoesand thrust into an endless pool of soup Steaming, livid, lost in brothunable to clench this liquid with my sharp- tipped fingers and stymied teethNo lip, no dip to sip by, no curvacious bendto cup the stuff to lift to lips, to feed the famished …to magnanimously GIVEAll this iron - useless but for irony a squandering of talenta parody & mockery of hands to make, of tongues to taste, the senselessness of tables standing, and napkins napping.The utter futility of flames finding selves stoked so strenuouslyfor the sake of stewing this bowlthat will eventually go cold.And no to mention the wasted toil of well-tilled soil that set about to sprout fresh greens, to bud potatoes, to bear forth beansall for the sake of nourishing one day some mouth from some steam-tipped bowlof liquid life that I and I alone am destined to provideLike a flat note after the entire orchestra of creation a humility after harmonya travesty of talent & promise- a magnitidinous squanderingAnd I sit and imaginewaking one morningafter seeping so long in this cauldronand finding myself suddenly morphed into long-destined shapeand state ofspoonTo be a spoon - smooth and rounded, arched and holdingcupping, dipping long, fulfilling callingHow all my destiny there sits - to be a spoon -to grasp and holdand transmit "Come pass the spoon to all who swoon from hunger!" to all the aching famished families of man that long await the steady handthat sits enslaved – so sensely - in this dungeon.Ah, but turn me into spoonto serve this stewand I am sure to burn a tongue or two.And let me looseto share this foodand all my dreams will follow suit.