What Did the Heavenly Ministers Do?

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Zohar Atkins

What did the heavenly ministers do
when they found God eating
on a fast day?

One said, “We do not pasken from the Holy
One, May His Name Be Blessed.”
One said, “There is no day

and night in Heaven.”
One said, “The Lord needs us to teach him
in the ways of his World.”

One said, “God eats, but makes his food taste like ash.”
And One said, “For God, fasting has no meaning
since the Lord has no appetite.”

From this it can be derived
that to fulfill the mitzvah of fasting
God watches Schindler’s List instead.

“What did God do before the Holocaust?”
One angel asked.
Another asked, “What did God do before film?”

They answered in unison: “There is no before
and after in the Torah.”

Zohar Atkins is the founder of Etz Hasadeh and a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He holds a DPhil in Theology from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and semikha from JTS. He is the author of An Ethical and Theological Appropriation of Heidegger’s Critique of Modernity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and Nineveh (Carcanet, 2019). He is the author of a weekly d'var Torah newsletter: