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 10 commandments and-- as far as I know-- the only ritual commandment (commandments between God 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 God; therefore I have not only failed myself and the person or society, but I have failed God as well.

I am now naked and ashamed. What do I do?  Become an Agnostic? (I can always dream!)

But wait a minute.

Perhaps I can redeem myself through a ritual, which is the only ritual-- remember-- that is in the 10 Commandments, and the only ritual that the prophets railed against its non-observance.

What does my moral / ethical failure represent? A lack of faith in God. How? Because if I really trusted God, 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 GOD BY HAVING FAITH IN GOD 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 GOD 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')

It is from this simulated moral victory that gives us the rest in order to come back to the real moral world (or at least be able to show our face in it, instead of hiding in shame).

I have still failed morally (the real moral test in the real world), but I have at least stayed within Judaism / the Tora, which has offered me a little rest and dignity through a simulated moral test.

..............................................................................

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

After 'Adam's' sin, God 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 to atone (KPR) for us.  The root of KPR is KP-- to cover.  Cover what?  OUR FAILURE TO ABIDE IN GOD'S KINGDOM.
Destroying a [kosher] animal -- who represents our 'destruction' before a righteous God and His uncompromisingly moral Kingdom* -- effectively illustrates this.
The purpose of the kosher system (kashrut) -- formally initiated after after the destruction of the 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 God'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 nothing





Tuesday, June 20, 2017

 Jung theorizes that men (or the male archetype) represent* God to women; so as soon as a man doubts that he is attractive to a woman he doesn't represent God anymore.
In other words, I can be a chronic masturbator who lives with his mother and is unemployed, but as soon as I feel that this makes me unattractive to a woman, I cease representing God [in the woman's eyes].
To make this clearer, God is invisible.  The male can easily feel invisible to women because he is not usually wanted by them in the obvious way of -- let's say -- pornographic magazines.  Women's sexuality is mysterious because she is not responding essentially to the male form but to an archetype: the visible representation of the invisible God.  Unless a man knows this, he can easily get 'lost in space' and exclaim like the character in 'Revolutionary Road' who asks his wife, "What am I"; to which his wife replied, "You are the most wonderful thing in the world.  You are a man"; or like the Seinfeld episode where the woman told Elaine how she loses interest in a man:  "They whine... and tell me that they are not good enough for me, and they don't deserve me, and eventually I say, 'Your right.'".  Physically attractive women usually don't have to do much to attract men; and likewise, a man (any man, even a physically unattractive one) usually doesn't have to do much either to attract a woman other than trust that he is "the most wonderful thing in the world": the visible representation of the invisible God.

* R. Hirsch comments that the root of the Hebrew word for likeness (damah)  in the verse  "In His likeness" (Gen.1:26) explains why Adam is called 'Adam'.  'Adam' is NOT referring to earth (adamah) or blood (dam) or the combination 'red earth', but to man's likeness to God.   He thus translates 'Adam' as "a representative" [of God], not simply a creature of earth and blood.  

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Sunday, June 11, 2017


Mythical man's (i.e. Orthodoxy's) need for Tanakh to be historically true and the secular position that opposes him both miss the point.*
History alone (and here Orthodoxy and its secular opponents both err in their dedication to 'history') is not enough.  Man does not  have to live by history (rational or mythical) alone, but can live with a drop of the mythical (or Holy fraudulence, if you will) over a solid foundation of reason and rationality.

* for me, "the point" is to either follow or reject Tanakh knowing its historical fraudulence and knowing it must be this way (for the reasons stated by Rozensweig in the previous post)