Sunday, June 25, 2017

 Part 1
An Approach to a 'Hard' Jewish Law: Sabbath Observance

What if I find dignity and freedom in working and resting whenever I want?
Shabbat is the only ritual commandment among the 'Ten Commandments' and-- as far as I know-- the only ritual commandment (commandments between YHWH and man) the prophets railed against its non-observance.
So perhaps it's THE ritual link to the non-ritual / ethical / moral commandments.
How?
Let's say that I fail at a moral test-- which is really a test given by YHWH-Elohim; therefore I have not only failed myself and the person or society, but I have failed Him as well.
I am now naked and ashamed. What do I do?  Can I simply redeem myself through a ritual?
What does my moral / ethical failure represent? A lack of faith in YHWH-Elohim. How? Because if I really trusted Him, I would have allowed myself to move courageously into the do-the-right-thing zone and let the chips fall where they may by performing the famous 'leap of faith'. But I didn't, and so I now mourn in my nakedness and shame ('dust and ashes').
At this vulnerable point, the Sabbath stands as a beacon of mercy in the night of our moral failure, guiding us to a precious scrap of dignity by REDEEMING OUR FAITHLESSNESS IN YHWH-Elohim BY SHOWING FAITH IN HIM THROUGH OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH, WHICH IS REALLY ONE DAY IN WHICH WE CEASE 'TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS' IN ORDER TO RITUALLY SHOW OUR FAITH THAT HE WILL PROVIDE.
It's as if the coward has a second chance in a simulated area in which he can redeem his failure to 'leap' by sitting down! (the root meaning of Sabbath/Shabbat is 'sit')
This simulated moral victory gives us the rest that enables us to tolerate the relentlessly creative [and moral] 'world' of Genesis chapter 1-- a world that still exists for those strong, or foolish, enough to inhabit it, although it has been mercifully moderated by the Tora 'FOR THE REST OF US'.

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Part 2
An Approach to Another 'Hard' Jewish Law: Kashrut

After 'Adam's' sin, "YHWH-Elohim" (these names of God appear together as one name in chapters 2 and 3, indicating the transition from severity/Elohim [ch.1] to mercy/YHWH [ch.4 and on]) kills an animal to properly clothe them.  Abel then picks up on this 'illustration' by sacrificing a [kosher] animal on an altar.  Finally, there comes the bloody altar of the Tabernacle/Temple.
As written in Leviticus 17:11, the purpose of the blood is JUST to ILLUSTRATE atonement (KPR) for us.  The root of KPR is KP-- to cover.  Cover what?  OUR FAILURE TO ABIDE IN THE PRIMAL MORAL WORLD / YHWH-Elohim's KINGDOM / 'EDEN'.
Destroying a [kosher] animal -- who represents our 'destruction' before Elohim and His uncompromisingly moral Kingdom* -- effectively illustrates this.
The purpose of the kosher system (kashrut) -- formally initiated after after the destruction of this primal [vegan] world (Gen.9:2-4) -- is similar to the purpose of the blood sacrifices at the Temple: redemption** through an illustration-- only on a plate instead of an altar.


* the only 'justification' I can see for the extermination decrees (see esp. Joshua) is that Canaan/Israel -- the only area that straddles three continents -- is YHWH's 'portion', of which He is zealous/jealous of; therefore tenancy -- whether in a covenant with Him or not -- comes with conditions.  In other words, when the Amorites, Canaanites, and later the Israelites accumulated transgressions they were -- in a sense -- 'ritually slaughtered'. 

 ** like the one-tenth 'redemption' value for a bottle, 'religion' (see the 'December 12' post above) is better than [getting] nothing