Beha’alotcha is one of what I like to call the “Goth Parshahah”. This list uplifting Torah portions includes Chukat (snakes on fire biting your ankles), Behar (eating the flesh of your children) and Haazinu (grapes filled with blood).
This week we learn about the Grave of Desire (sounds like a Cruxshadows song). The short version of the story is that the Hebrews are hungry, they beg for some meat, God gets mad bur finally says “OK” and throws down some quail. Of course, the Hebrews go at the poor birds like rednecks at a KFC buffet and God gets mad (again) and strikes people dead. Ouch. The place where they died carries the name Grave of Desire.
Goth culture revolves around freedom and romance. Clearly God likes freedom: if that weren’t the case, human beings would be really different…almost Stepford Wife in appearance. And I have to admit that the Torah is the greatest piece of romance literature ever written: God’s love for the Jewish people, often unrequited, is enough to write love on your arms. Jealousy, anger, rage, passion, demands, covenant, abandonment, reconciliation, forgiveness…”Jewish” is the greatest love story ever.
So the next time you see a kid wearing a Birthday Massacre t-shirt and Twilight bracelet from Hot Topic, you’ll think, “wow, there’s someone with Judaism on their mind!” Probably not…but at least I can hope.