Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rage over slights swamps our ability to perform the mitsva of loving our neighbor.*
Does the Tora have a fail-safe system to deal with these rages?  Yes.  It's called circumcising the heart and it is found in Deuteronomy 10 and 30.  In chapter 10 we are commanded to circumcise our heart, whereas in chapter 30 God is the one who does it.  This implies that both God and man have a part in this operation.
Deuteronomy 30 shows me that -- to paraphrase and contradict the New Testament -- the "ruler of this world" is God and He has cursed (30:1) me to rage in exile (30:1).  But I can 'return' (so to speak) from this 'exile'.**

* remember, even an enemy (the ass who cut me off on the road and made me rage) is our 'neighbor' and so I am commanded to love him

** a return along the lines of Ezekiel 11:16: "... yet I have been a mikdash me'at (little sanctuary) in the countries where they went."

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


Deuteronomy 30, Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 11 and 36 propesy that the Tablets (representing 'the Law' and the Covenant) that were kept in the Holy of Holies -- which was destroyed -- will be put into the Jews' hearts.
In other words, Moses, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are prophesying that the Tablets / Law / Covenant [that were in the Tabernacle/Temple, and by implication 'remote'] will no longer be hidden and distant (Deut.30:11,14), but will be written on the heart.
This writing on the heart (instead of stone) is what Jeremiah may mean by a "new covenant-not-like- [old]-covenant".  Again, this new covenant will be written/inscribed/cut into the heart, which is not like the way of the 'old' covenant that was lying 'remotely' in the Holy of Holies inscribed on stone.
All this implies that the Tanakh sees the [stone] Temple (and the Land [of Israel], the Priesthood, and kingship) as a crutch, at best, that would eventually have to be destroyed so this 'new' way could take hold.  The Pharisees/Sages/Rabbis were conscious of this task and started the transcription (from stone to heart- i.e. from the 'Written Tora' to the 'Oral Tora') just in time. ("Give me Yavneh and its sages, [not Jerusalem and its stone]" - Gittin 56b)*

* Judaism survived because it became 'portable'.  That is, the 'Oral Law' transferred to the individual all the 'mana' (the supernatural power, effectiveness and prestige attached to an object or person) that had been attached to Priest, Land,Temple, and king.
Another -- more prosaic -- way of saying this is that the Oral Law (or Oral Tora / Jewish Law / Halakha) is how a Jew applies the mitsvas of the Tora in daily life

No comments: