Interfaith Ki Teitzei

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Sep 11, 2005.

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  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Week 2! Woooooooooo! I'm excited. It's Deut. 21:10-25:19. Let's start with this piece right here:

    Chapter 21

    10. If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hands, and you take his captives, 11. and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife. 12. You shall bring her into your home, and she shall shave her head and let her nails grow. 13. And she shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself, and stay in your house, and weep for her father and her mother for a full month. After that, you may be intimate with her and possess her, and she will be a wife for you. 14. And it will be, if you do not desire her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.

    http://www.chabad.org/parshah/TorahReading.asp?AID=36237
     
  2. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Interesting. I don't think this would go over well today. I'm wondering why G-d would allow a foreigner to become a wife, forcefully or otherwise. Wouldn't this taint the Jewish bloodlines? Wouldn't this risk idol influence, assuming she's from a nation that worships idols? I mean, look at Solomon and his problems with foreign wives drawing him away from G-d. Further, didn't they kill everyone when they fought their enemies? Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Those are all excellent questions, Dondi. The only one I can surely answer is to say that, according to the text, the Israelites did not kill everyone. And also that matrilineal descent had not been established at this time, according to a scholarly account and not a traditional one. But the issue of bringing in a person from another nation who worships another god (and also is probably pretty resentful about having had her family killed, her life destroyed, and having been forced to marry an enemy) does seem like it could lead to a corruption of the system being developed.

    I actually think the traditional Jewish answer comes pretty close to the reason why this law was included, just as a response to the yetzer hara, the evil inclination. Because it sets rules for her more humane treatment while not actually banning something that might have been natural for a warrior in those times. Seems like a trade off with the avodah zera issue.

    Anyone else have thoughts on these questions or anything else in the passage?

    Dauer
     
  4. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    My thought on this is that the Jewish bloodlines are carried down through the man. I think Dauer said that but thats just what I am thinking.
     
  5. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    What I meant by Jewish bloodline, and I guess I used the wrong terminology, had to do with intermixing with gentile blood in general. I had the impression that G-d didn't want the Israelites to marry outside of the nation of Israel in order to keep the nation from impurities or ungodly influences. I metioned Solomon as an example of one who got carried away due to the idolness of some of his wives that he married from other nations. They drew he away from G-d.

    I guess what dauer is saying is that human nature often overrules and men are going to be attracted to foreign women when they take captives, so G-d make provision for those women to become wives in an honorable manner.
     
  6. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    The Isbitzer Rebbe, whose commentary I've been going over, takes this line of thinking a step further. At least, this is what his logic appears to be based on my analysis. First, he seems to be saying (without saying here because it's understood to be true by he and his audience) that the Torah is timeless and so anything in it is relevant to every generation.

    A little background on the other interpretation, it comes from the Talmud, in Kiddushin 21b where it says, "The Torah only speaks here according to the yetzer hara."

    The Isbitzer points to what happened with Judah and Tamar as an example of a time, somewhere else in the Torah, when someone was so overcome by their yetzer hara that there was only one way they could act. This is a proof text he uses for the concept he's going to introduce, which is to say that a) when it happens like this the action is from God, just like with Judah and Tamar. b) The reason this was included in the Torah is so that if someone acted in such a way, completely overcome by their yetzer hara, they shouldn't be depressed about it. It was the will of God.

    His interpretation has major implications for free will, for individual responsibility (although to me it appears like more of a way to comfort someone than an excuse for future behavior, as the struggle against the yetzer hara is a given), and that's about it. I was a little awed to see that interpretation. It's almost a nod to one of my own personal questions.


    Dauer
     
  7. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    i way just on my way out the door and i should probably wait until i return to respond .... but couldn't pass up the oppportunity to toss in a word or two ....

    i think this has nothing to do with interaction with foreign women or bloodlines .... if one looks at the mystic aspects of the torah it is shrouded (i like that word here) in the mystery of a women who hides behind the veil and is constantly enticing the interest of her lover (this is part of the hidden meaning in the song of songs and is seen in the zohar) ....

    "verily the torah lets out a word (sound) and emerges a little from her sheath, and then hides herself again .... but she does this only for those who know and obey her .... for the torah resembles a beutiful and stately damsel, who is hidden in a secluded chamber of her palace and whose secret lover in unknown to all others. for love of her, he keeps passing the gates of her house, looking this way and that in search of her. she knows that her lever haunts the gates of her house .... when he comes to her, she begins to speak words from behind a curtain (the veil) .... slowly in sight comes to him, and this is called 'derasha' (mode of interpretation practiced by talmudists, by which they derived the exoteric and oral doctrine from the words of scripture) .... only when he becomes familiar with her does she reveal herself to him face to face and speaks of all the hidden secrets and all her hidden ways which have been in her heart from the beginning .... such a man is termed the perfect "bridegroom" and is the master of the house to whom she discloses all her secrets, concealing nothing" (Zohar 'radiance' will get the reference to this later .... can't locate it now)

    in reading the passage for this weeks discussion, i see many references to this symbolism of the woman and her husband .... gotta go, but i'll get back with more specifics on how i read the text itself .... i just posted how i read the texts (from what perspective)on another thread within this one and this may help explain my views, even if they are not always so clearly stated or necessarily believed by others... aloha nui, pohaikawahine
     
  8. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    This is the next section I'm selecting, another doosie, if that's how doosie is spelled...

    From Chapt 21:

    18. If a man has a wayward and rebellious son, who does not obey his father or his mother, and they chasten him, and [he still] does not listen to them, 19. his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place. 20. And they shall say to the elders of his city, "This son of ours is wayward and rebellious; he does not obey us; [he is] a glutton and a guzzler." 21. And all the men of his city shall pelt him to death with stones, and he shall die. So shall you clear out the evil from among you, and all Israel will listen and fear.
    http://www.chabad.org/parshah/TorahReading.asp?AID=36237


    Dauer
     
  9. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    this exercise is really stretching my mind to seek possible interpretations .... but what i see here is first the reference to the role of father and son .... in abraham's spiritual journey he moves toward the holy land where he reaches the level of illumination called wisdom .... on this path he leaves a sphere along the way, each having part of himself that is left behind until he is sufficiently empty to be filled by wisdom .... "in imitation of abraham, says rabbi simeon, the kabbalist must prepare himself to traverse the spheres by stablizing the physical elements within himself ... only the perfectly tempered man could survive the symbolic tests of faith endured by abraham ... where the first patriarch abraham stood for wisdom, his son isaac came to embody judgement, and jacob was the symbol of beauty... in the same manner, each patriarchal sphere could be conteplated as a specific limb of the cosmic body, a letter or sound of the holy name ...." etc. (from kaballistic by perle epstein)

    while i'm not suggesting anyone believe or not believe this concept of kabbalah, it does offer a possible way of looking at the above text from deut 21 .... judgement for a rebellous son is handed out by the elders when a practioner or follow of the path of the kaballah does not have everything in order and pefectly tempered .... he/she is not sufficiently empty to be filled by wisdom .... there is a saying that we must die to our old ways and be reborn to the new in order to reach enlightnment .... so the elders (which i refer to as the circle of twelve .... sometimes symbolized as twelve stones) begin to pelt the rebellous part of the cosmic body with stones so that it will die and can be reborn on the path to wisdom .......

    sometimes even i think i've gone off the deep end in an interpretation and this is one of those .... and sometimes the words just come and i keep typing .... when i look at this anew, it has possibilities .... lol .... poh (i'm shortening my name to poh, it has a nice ring .... mahalo dauer)
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Okay, you've inspired me. I'm going to get drashy. Read "son" as "creation." It is something that we invest in and put our time into. It is an idea in the mind that has been circling in the mind. It eventually gets out of our control. "Father", this is when we try and brute it out, to make it submit, and "mother", this is when we try to nurture it more, neither work. It resists father, often kicking and screaming, and mother only seems to feed it. For how does a mother chasten? With a hug and comforting words, words that reinforce its existence.

    So this thought is taken to the elder, to the place of inner wisdom, that is at the gate of its place. The wisdom knows what is stirring, and is ready to meet it. But the mind will not stop circling, and it recounts the whole story despite the wisdom that is waiting at the gate. Only now the view of the thought is more negative, and this only reinforces further the existence of the thought.

    There is a stirring among the men, the ones who were sons but are now fully grown and matured, these are the ones who were bearing the wisdom at the gate. The understood wisdom quiets the mind and brings it back into focus. The son becomes lost among the men. In this way the thought which stirs up so much evil is cleared away, the God-wrestler can be present to this happening and maintain awe.

    That's my drash.

    I'm not going into the generic Jewish answer right now because I'm hoping, since there are a few other Jews on the site, that someone else might decide to take part in the conversation, even if that isn't what is wanted to be given as input. But I will say later if nobody else does.

    Dauer
     
  11. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    The children are our future. How important is it that we raise them in the values that we ourselves are raised in order to preserve the traditions that we hold dear. Children are an extention of ourselves. A rebellious child will not carry those values to the next generation.

    I look onto the history of the Israelites and I see how generational kings lose sight of G-d and the whole nation suffers for the ungodliness of the king. It reminds me of how today in the U.S. we are losing so much because our children are rebelling. Look at the differences in attitude from before the sixties revolution on up to today. How different our country has changed in just some forty years. How things that wouldn't have been tolerated, like are now becoming the norm. The rebel children have children of their own and the whole process steam rolls.

    G-d was in the preservation business when it came to His people. As horrible as it must seem to see someone's child stoned to death in that time, it was a necessary evil for the good of the people. Rebellious behavior must be punished. I am appalled that our justice system has so many loopholes for criminals to walk free, or gain reduced sentences in plea barganing, or sentences served concurrently, or sex offenders set free well before their time. It sickens me that we have to wait years on apeals in death penalty cases. How can our system work properly if we relax the laws so easily?
     
  12. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Traditional answer: it only applies to one specific offense. Even at this point, there are still many ways to get out of it. Amar Rav Bananabrain it was just a sort of boogie man to scare children into behaving. Next piece:

    From 22

    6. If a bird's nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young. 7. You shall send away the mother, and [then] you may take the young for yourself, in order that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days.
     
  13. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    two parts here: the "boogie men" are everywhere and have a role in the spiritual path .... in a posting that i just received from "the master course of himalayan academy by satguru sivaya subramuniyaswami" he states "who is Chellappan? Chellappaswami was an ardent sage, ablaze with God conscousness, immersed in divine soliloquy. Chellappaswami, initiated at age nineteen, lived alone in the teradi at Nallur temple. Absored in the inner Self, recognizing no duality, he uttered advaitic axioms in constant refrain: 'There is no intrinsic evil. It was all finished long ago. All that is, is Truth. We know not!' The Natchintanai says, "Laughing, Chellappan roams in Nallur's precincts. Appearing like a man possessed, he scorns all outward show. Dark is his body; his only garment, rags. Now all my sins have gone, for he has burnt them up! Always repeating something softly to himself he will impart the blessing of true life to anyone who ventures to come near him. And he has made a temple of my mind." Aum Namah Sivaya

    now back to the bird's nest: in the pacific culture we use to be trained as young children to protect our resources in order to survive .... this was the basis for much of the "kapu" (taboo) restrictions .... certain times of the year, some areas were "kapu" in order to allow the regeneration of life .... many proverbs have as their basis this concept .... when one dives for the giant clams, one may take the babies but must leave the mother to regenerate life .... when one looks for herbs that are used for medicine, one takes the plant standing alone and leaves the colony of plants (to regenerate) .... this part of the text sounds like the process of regeneration to me .... take the baby and leave the mother to lengthen your days .... he hawai'i au, poh
     
  14. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    That's insightful. I'm going to bring along a piece of the text that's more "in your face" in a quiet, I wonder what that's about way...

    Chapt 22

    9. You shall not sow your vineyard [together with] a mixed variety of species, lest the increase, even the seed that you sow and the yield of the vineyard [both] become forbidden. 10. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11. You shall not wear a mixture of wool and linen together.

    Dauer
     
  15. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    the copy of deuteronomy that i have is worded a little different?
    9. You shall not plant your vineyard with mixed seeds, lest the ripe crop be proscribed - the seed that you plant and the yield of the vineyard. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear sha'atnez, wool and linen together.

    the commentary on this section says
    9. lest the ripe crop be proscribed. This phrase, and any rationale for the law other than the separation of distinct categories, are equally obscure. The meaning of melei'ah, "ripe crop" (from the word that means 'full) is in dispute. "Proscribed" is literally "sanctified," but to be sanctified, or set aside, can also mean to be taboo, as Rashi notes with several biblical instances. In any case, no one has offered an entirely satisfactory explanation of why the crop of mixed seeds should be sanctified or proscribed.

    10. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. In this case, the separation of the two kinds of beasts has a clear humanitarian motive, for the smaller animal would suffer in this yoking.

    11. sha'atnez. The term seems to be a foreign loanword, perhaps from the Egyptian, and so, lest its sense be obscure, the rest of the verse is a gloss on its meaning. Minglings of wool and linen were worn by the priests and used in the sanctuary trappings, so the separation of categories here may be intended to draw a line between the profane and the holy.

    now the next piece 22:12 is also interesting because it says "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself." and the commentary says "tassels. the Hebrew word gedilim differs from 'fringe," tsitsit, used in Numbers 15:38-41, and here no mention is made that the tassel is a mnemonic device for the believing Israelites.

    in the south pacific "knots" were used as a mnemonic device.. don't know if there is a connection or not, but it strikes me as interesting ....

    I have a sense that the prohibition of using an ox and a donkey together to plow is something more than humanitarian .... but i can't put my finger on it yet .... I have to give more thought to this whole piece .... me ke aloha pumehana, poh
     
  16. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    the ox and the donkey .... one level of meaning appears to be related to mixed marriages of believers and non-believers (whatever that really means) .... referred to as "unequally-yoked marriage" .... the two animals are different in structure and strength and if yoked together it makes the furrows crooked rather than straight .... this is likened to what happens in "unequally-yoked marriages" (although I don't necessarily agree with this, this seems to be one interpretation) .... there are also references to the ox and the donkey in 1001 Arabian Nights, and of course there is the ox and the donkey always represented in the manger in christianity ....


    I'm still not comfortable with the depth of this translation .... it may have something to do with whether a believer or a non-believer can ultimately make it to the promised land of the mind .... also the ox is considered clean and the donkey is considered unclean .... I'll leave this one here, but it is one of those symbols that I will keep working on .... don't want to monopolize the discussion with my rantings ........ he hawai'i au, poh
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    there is a very strong idea that the mixing of categories is to be forbidden. shaatnez is one of these categories, as is the species-yoking. for example, an ox is kosher and a donkey is not. likewise, there are considered to be different domains - tumah and taharah (as in niddah and the various Temple rituals and statuses), meat and milk - and here we see, effectively, eggs and poultry. there's more but this isn't an exhaustive list. there are also some people who make arguments to say *why* these things are not to be mixed, but i think they mostly fall into the "because I Said so" set of commandments.

    you know, dauer, if we keep this up for a couple of years we've actually written a complete interfaith commentary on the Torah. wicked. should we call it the "shaatnez"? hehehe.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  18. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    BB,

    And even the word kedusha has to do with separation, right? Like the separation of the kohanim from the commonfolk. And the separations inside the beit hamikdash.

    I actually had a similar idea. At the very least the dialogue will be archived. I'm glad you're poking your head in once in a while. I was a little concerned you decided this idea was going to go too far in one direction or another or that there would be too many beginner's questions and wanted nothing to do with it.

    Well, I'm ready to move on... I apologize that this isn't the best translation. It's not my favorite either. I actually request that you use whichever one you are most comfortable with and please feel free to paste from it.

    From Chapt 25

    5. If brothers reside together, and one of them dies having no son, the dead man's wife shall not marry an outsider. [Rather,] her husband's brother shall be intimate with her, making her a wife for himself, thus performing the obligation of a husband's brother with her. 6. And it will be, that the eldest brother [who performs the levirate marriage, if] she [can] bear will succeed in the name of his deceased brother, so that his [the deceased brother's] name shall not be obliterated from Israel. 7. But if the man does not wish to take his brother's wife, the brother's wife shall go up to the gate, to the elders, and say, "My husband's brother has refused to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel he does not wish to perform the obligation of a husband's brother with me." 8. Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and he shall stand up and say, "I do not wish to take her." 9. Then his brother's wife shall approach him before the eyes of the elders and remove his shoe from his foot. And she shall spit before his face and answer [him] and say, "Thus shall be done to the man who will not build up his brother's household!" 10. And that family shall be called in Israel, "The family of the one whose shoe was removed."

    This will be the last entry I present. Tomorrow night I'll open up for whatever issues anyone has with the text. So if you find text between now and then to present, you will have your chance.

    Dauer
     
  19. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    that's right - kedusha is about separation. in fact, it is arguable that the act of distinguishing and applying judgement that is perhaps the human process at the heart of halacha.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  20. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    hmmmmm opposites .... the concept of balancing the opposite forces is powerful in many cultures and traditions .... war and peace cannot exist together or the man that abuses life and those around him is just as seperated from life as the one that leaves and becomes a hermit (this is suppose to be a reference to an excess on any path) .... it is possible that the lesson is one of balance .... is there such a thing as the perfect balance .... probably not, but I heard that this is part of the symbolism in the star of david .... and I can see the merging of two vortexes that forms the six sided star ....


    there is an ancient god on a small island in the south pacific, his name is 'ochaieu' and I was interested in this particular concept because as you can see all the vowels sounds are the in the name itself .... well turns out that 'ochaieu" is the representation of opposites .... he/she (both male and female at different times) is also manifested as a sting-ray (black with white spots) and a bird (white with a black spot) .... here you have black and white, and also ocean and sky and both forms in the shape of a cross .... (there are many other manifestations) but when a person goes by and see the sting-ray (this particular one) if he is sitting, he will stand .... if he has a hat on, he will take it off .... small things, but a constant reminder of opposition ....

    on these same islands is a tradition that if a woman's husband should die, she will be married to the brother of her husband .... I have one friend that is in constant dread that something might happen to her husband and swears that she will break with this tradition and not be forced to marry the brother of her husband .... although the concept is that the men would always be there to care for the family, including the family of his brother .... it is sort like the previous section that you let the mother bird go .... but times have changed and most of the women are self-sufficient with jobs, so some of the old concepts are not as applicable to life today .... in the south pacific and in hawaii, although wives use to go with the brother of a husband (taken in to keep the entire family safe and cared for) there was not expection of an actualy sexual relationship (although it might take place, the woman always has the option of not living as man and wife even under the roof of this household) ....

    now on the other hand, I know of an american who married a woman from one of these islands .... she died a few years ago of cancer and the family arranged for him to be married to a younger sister and he stayed on the island ....

    so maybe that is really what this section is all about .... laws that protect the family and maybe even related to family land issues so that the land remains in the family ..... he hawai'i au, poh
     
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