Interfaith Ki Tavo

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Sep 18, 2005.

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  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Yes... Ki Tavo.

    Deut 26:1 - 29:8 according to Jewish translations. This is a parsha that's going to give me personally a bit to wrestle with as we get into it, but for now it starts off easier.

    From chapt 26.

    http://www.chabad.org/parshah/TorahReading.asp?AID=36238

    Some questions to spark thoughts that you don't have to stick to, some content based, some context based:

    Why does it specify a basket for the first fruit?

    Why does the declarator say "your God?"

    That line about an Aramean is bad in this translation. In a better translation it's a reference to Jacob, who was an Aramean. But this is going according to, I think, Rashi. Please see another translation for this. Why is such an odd phrase used?

    Why does the individual have to recount Jacob's travelling to Egypt and slavery there and the Exodus?

    Why does it say he lays the fruit before God instead of before the altar?

    Who is the stranger among them?

    Does this text remind you of any other text from any other tradition?

    What is this text saying to you? Does it speak to you? Does it feel dead? Does it make you angry? Does it seem archaic or foreign or remind you of times you'd rather forget?

    What is your reaction?

    Dauer
     
  2. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Why does it specify a basket for the first fruit?






    I think this is the same thing as Feast of the first fruits. Deut. 8:8: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.
    did not they mark the first fruit so it would not get mixed up with the later fruit, or so there would be no fake ones offered?


    They held the basket while reciting the passage, then handed the basket to the priest.

    I am not sure of the symbolism of the basket.




    Why does the declarator say "your God?"



    I think it was used that way often, making a distinction between the God of Israel & those who would serve other gods & not the true God. Egyptians said the same thing when it came to the God of Israel. It says Lord thy God about 8 times in that passage. My bible has THY GOD but I think it means the same as YOUR GOD. There is only ONE GOD, I don’think it is trying to declare MANY, but a possible distinction from others who worship differently.

    That line about an Aramean is bad in this translation. In a better translation it's a reference to Jacob, who was an Aramean. But this is going according to, I think, Rashi. Please see another translation for this. Why is such an odd phrase used?




    I have Syrian there for Jacob. I don’t know why they would use that instead of Jacob, but I would like to know. Possibly another reminder of who what & when.

    Why does the individual have to recount Jacob's travelling to Egypt and slavery there and the Exodus?




    Maybe to remind them of how the whole of the peoples were delivered & travelled , so that it would never be forgotten. I think this was like a commandment from the Lord to recount it at that very specific time.

    Why does it say he lays the fruit before God instead of before the altar?




    Is it because they had to wait before taking it to the temple? Or maybe before God means the same thing as doing at the alter…so they would not just be looking at the altar, but but giving it before God.

    Who is the stranger among them?


    Could it just be a visitor or someone outside of the camp & they would share with them. The Levite was not included in the inheritance, but in the 3rd year of tithing all would be filled.

    Does this text remind you of any other text from any other tradition?




    There are probably others, say Thanksgiving. but I don’t know what they all are unless you are talking of traditions of Israel, unleavened bread, harvest offering etc..

    What is this text saying to you? Does it speak to you? Does it feel dead? Does it make you angry? Does it seem archaic or foreign or remind you of times you'd rather forget?




    It makes me feel good & joyful. This was given at that point somewhere in the middle, where you have to look back at where God has brought us from & look forward & trust Him for where he is guiding us to. that is how we learn to trust Him. Bringing God our firstfruits is a pleasing thing to do, for God gave us the blessing & we give the best & first of what He gives us, back to Him.

    It has been a long time for these Dauer, but my church is big & always anxious on studying the OT. I hope I can learn & share what I have learned without messing up too much.
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Yes, it seems very much to be a thanks offering, a remembrance of all God does and has done for Israel.

    This part of the parsha seems good and uplifting to me (sorry if my contribution seems simple--I'm totally a lightweight at this :) ). It reminds me of the thank offering we give at church, food and things to donate to the local food pantry are brought to the alter and blessed, as are the money donations given to the church. The word that comes to my mind is Providence. All is from God, we just sort of have it on loan. The thank offerings are in a way a remembrance of this, as well.

    As for the promised land and milk and honey, I think that it harkens both back to Eden and also to the future Kingdom of God. I think retelling the story of the exile is a strong reminder of the relationship between God and His people, whom He saved and loves. It is told over and over again throughout the old and new testament, so that we are not really even telling the story so much as breathing it. And really, exile is what we all suffer from since the event in the Garden, which in my tradition is called the Fall.

    Related to the above, I think that is why the words "your God" are chosen, to emphasize the relationship we have with God. "Your God" seems more personal and close than just "God," like someone we walk and talk with.

    We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the Garden. :)
     
  4. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    General statement of clarification:

    Thanks to Bandit for picking up on this unclear statement. When I said that the text reads "your God", I meant that this is what the bringer of the first fruits is supposed to say to the priest. Why? Isn't it his God too?

    The questions I've posted don't have any specific answers that I'm looking for. I'm more looking for dialogue, although I will be entering the dialogue a little later and most likely engaging on some of these questions with some answers that might appear more informed, and at other times they may appear much less informed. This does not mean that my answers are correct or incorrect and other answers are incorrect or correct, because there can be many ways to understanding the text and all are welcome, especially because each different view comes from a different individual who brings a unique set of life experiences, a unique pair of eyes, to this process. And please don't feel limited by these questions. They're only a launching off point for those who need it.

    Bandit, although everyone else is invited to take note,

    thank you so much for jumping head first. I'm not going to give my own two cents on the answers to the questions now because I want to leave room for others to join in and say their own words. I honestly don't have answers to all of the questions. I just looked over the text and came up with the first things that struck me. I'm not looking for certain answers. Some of them are intentionally open-ended, like the one about other texts. I'm simply making it explicitly clear that texts from any tradition are invited, ("Christological to Krishnalogical" is my new buzz phrase) and how that might work. However, if you see texts from within the Tanach, the Old Testament, that is of course welcome as well. Don't worry about messing up. If you feel like a question doesn't make sense, just take it more fluidly and you'll probably get my gyst. There's no such thing as a bad answer. I'm not just looking for what in Judaism would be referred to as a plain meaning. But if that is the only place that you want to look at the text, that is wonderful too because it balances off some of the other discussion and only gives more of a floor for the discussion to work from.

    Looking forward to dialoguing with you on this text soon.

    Dauer
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    yes. i thought of this as well Luna. there is a personal relationship there with Israel between them & their God. the same it is today for the Kingdom of God, whom we walk with & talk with from earth to glory, giving OUR GOD our firstfruits. Giving my firstfruits to MY God.
     
  6. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Luna, you may not realize it but you did exactly what I was hoping people would do. You came at this from your perspective, from your tradition and background, and that's exactly what I'm hoping people will do because it's the only real way to approach the text. That is a biased statement, yes. But I am also coming at this from my own perspective.

    There is nothing lightweight about your contribution.

    The relationship you see to the church, I've heard about this before, and that it could go a bit deeper, but I don't want to ask you to go deeper because I think that would better fit when we get to some of the sacrificial passages. However, if you feel compelled to speak more on that please do.

    Bandit,

    I'm asking some questions based on your responses that I don't necessarily have answers to, but I hope that some of my questions will help bring out deeper answers from the text.

    Why would Jacob be called an Aramean as a reminder of who, what, and when? What are the whos, whats, and whens that this particular title is trying to recall?

    The text seems to make it clear that there is a commandment to use a specific formula, recalling the exodus, linked to the activity of giving the first fruits to the priest, but why is the giving of first fruits linked to this particular formula?

    If God and the altar are interchangeable, as words, then what would make one situation a "God-word" situation and another situation an "altar-word" situation? What is the difference?

    Is the stranger referred to in any other places?

    Are you really studying this with your church? That's cool.

    Anyone else who wants to take on some of these questions, please jump in at any time.

    Dauer
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    the altar can be seen as a workmanship in its beauty in wood or stone by some, but to others they use the altar to pray & worship the living God. so instead of giving it all to the altar, we are in reality giving our all to God.

    i see it that way, others may see different.

    what if it is also in reference to Abraham there with Joseph? i think it means there was the power to do harm & cause evil as in with bad intention, like hatred without a good reason. i see a cycle of persecution, exile and also redemption to different generations.

    seems this is going back to Joseph in this cycle. i think father also means fatherhood because that is what a father does, while Leban/Pharoa (not sure which) would have taken the women & children & all the possesions, destryoing Jacobs fatherhood.
    For example, a slave belongs to his master, so that could be why he is called Aramean.
    i think stranger can mean someone who lived in a strange land, not necessarily a stranger that we dont know. yes stranger is used in other places right along with the fatherless & widows, but i dont have them all at my reach right now.

    Dauer, I dont have all the answers for these & these are just my feelings about it from my studies & the studies we have shared at the church over the years. So I will be looking forward to your responses to the questions as well.:)
     
  8. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    I absolutely love this one .... and I will try to make my interpretation brief because it really has symbols within symbols and you know how I love symbols ... lol ....


    in part of the south pacific when a person dies you will sometimes find a post with a basket on top over the grave .... the basket is a symbol of the head (which is why in some pacific island myths there is a strange story about a head that is place a basket) ....

    since i interpret biblical texts as related to an internal landscape and stories related to movement through time and space upon these landscapes .... the land of milk and honey, in my view, is related to the location of the energy that has reached the brain .... the spiralling energy that moves up the spinal column enters through the brain base and into the center of the brain .... the location of the 'altar' .... in order for this to happen two chemicals are secreted by the brain .... one chemical is secreted by the pineal gland and the other by the petuitary gland and one is a milky white color and the other a honey color .... this is the land of milk and honey .... there are other references, but it takes time to explain all the connections .... it's all in how one interprets the symbols in the stories themselves .... and there are the four levels of meaning ....

    everything is connected and when you go to Exodus 23 and 24 you will find the references to the borders of this "land" and the parting of the red sea (which is also a symbol) and in Exodus 24:4 "And Moses wrote down all the Lord's words, and he rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel ..." ..... "early in the morning" is the time in which we enter a dream state that is somewhere in between deep sleep and wake, this is when we usually have that "aha" sense or answers that come to us .... "the mountain" is a symbol for the human head .... and the "twelve pillars" are related to the twelve pairs of cranial nerves that operate the whole internal symbol of energy movement .... to reach the place of visions and revelations one must move the energy up the spinal column into the center of the brain which is the "altar" ....so this whole section talks about the promised land which is the sacred place in which we can meet god face to face ....

    I know this sounds strange to some, but it is how I see most scriptures and texts .... through the symbols .... some may agree with this interpretation, some may not ..... but it is my offering to the "kukakuka" (dialogue) ....and I really do love this part ....it is beautiful .... he hawai'i au, poh
     
  9. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    My responses...

    Why a basket?
    Well, a basket is the first thing the picked fruit is put together. The first fruit is put into the first vessel and taken from there to the kohanim. There is eagerness in this, eagerness to fulfill this mitzvah, which I see as tied directly to the whole debacle in Mitzrayim, the tight spot. Also, the first fruit might be seen as a rememberance of the first born that were slain in Egypt, on both sides, as if to say that all of that bloodshed is over, and this offering of fruit is a hope that someday we won't need to shed any blood at all in the name of God.

    Why does the bringer of fruit say "your God?" When I was preparing myself for this parsha, I saw a note that this is the way a few different prophets and other people of higher kedusha are addressed. If anyone is interested I can find the references.

    Why does it say, in the Hebrew, arami oved avi? I think it refers to Jacob because Joseph didn't go down few in number. Jacob did. And while he was down there, he prospered, on account of Joseph's handiwork, or God's work through Joseph. Fox suggests this is a mnemonic device. I think he might be right.

    Why does the individual recount the entire saga in Egypt? I think it's to place greater emphasis on God's power and God's compassion, such that all an individual would want to do is return that compassion in some small amount as in this offering.

    Why does it say before God and not altar? I think that it is the act of submission, humility, and thanksgiving that makes the presence of YHWH palpable. Before that point, there is only an altar. But a true act of worship transforms a space into a sacred space. That's my sense.

    Who is the stranger among them? That's a very long conversation that might work better at another parsha.

    How does the text make me feel? Well for whatever reason, studying Torah always seems to enliven me. Regardless what Torah. I read this and the first thing I'm doing is translating. Because I don't believe what I think these people believed. But I can relate to how they were feeling. This ritual of the first fruit, connected with Egypt, just seems like such an idea. The first born dying was such bloodshed, and now it's the first fruit. Like the fruit in Gan Eden. Maybe someday, all we'll have is fruit, and no animal at all. But that happens within Israel, so I think there's a messianic pull even there. I don't see any of that as the plain meaning, but rather as a midrashic interpretation, however one that enriches my reading of the text. It's very beautiful for me how there are so many gaps. It means that the reader gets to fill them. I love it. Especially if I don't go too far from the text. Then it's even better for me. But sometimes it's nice to go far too. Bandit, I'm glad you're here to add to the dialogue. This is going really well.

    Dauer
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I'm going to introduce another section, but please feel free to continue any discussion that has already started, or to make a comment on the previous section, after this post.

    Chapt 27.

    1. And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Observe all of the commandment that I command you this day. 2. And it will be, on the day that you cross the Jordan to the land the Lord, your God, is giving you, that you shall set up for yourself huge stones, and plaster them with lime. 3. When you cross, you shall write upon them all the words of this Torah, in order that you may come to the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, God of your forefathers, has spoken to you. 4. And it will be, when you cross the Jordan, that you shall set up these stones, [regarding] which I command you this day on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with lime. 5. And there, you shall build an altar to the Lord, your God, an altar of stones. You shall not wield any iron upon them. 6. You shall build the altar of the Lord, your God, out of whole stones. And on it, you shall offer up burnt offerings to the Lord, your God. 7. And you shall slaughter peace offerings, and you shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God. 8. You shall write upon the stones all the words of this Torah, very clearly. 9. Moses and the Levitic priests spoke to all Israel, saying, "Pay attention and listen, O Israel! This day, you have become a people to the Lord, your God. 10. You shall therefore obey the Lord, your God, and fulfill His commandments and His statutes, which I command you this day. 11. And Moses commanded the people on that day, saying, 12. When you cross the Jordan, the following shall stand upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13. And the following shall stand upon Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naftali. 14. The Levites shall speak up, saying to every individual of Israel, in a loud voice: 15. "Cursed be the man who makes any graven or molten image an abomination to the Lord, the handiwork of a craftsman and sets it up in secret! And all the people shall respond, saying, 'Amen!' 16. Cursed be he who degrades his father and mother. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 17. Cursed be he who moves back his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 18. Cursed be he who misguides a blind person on the way. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 19. Cursed be he who perverts the judgment of the stranger, the orphan, or the widow. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 20. Cursed be he who lies with his father's wife, thus uncovering the corner of his father's garment. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 21. Cursed be he who lies with any animal. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 22. Cursed be he who lies with his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 23. Cursed be he who lies with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 24. Cursed be he who strikes his fellow in secret. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 25. Cursed be he who takes a bribe to put an innocent person to death. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!' 26. Cursed be he who does not uphold the words of this Torah, to fulfill them. And all the people shall say, 'Amen!'

    28

    1. And it will be if you obey the Lord, your God, to observe to fulfill all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord, your God, will place you supreme above all the nations of the earth. 2. And all these blessings will come upon you and cleave to you, if you obey the Lord, your God. 3. You shall be blessed in the city, and you shall be blessed in the field. 4. Blessed will be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your soil, the fruit of your livestock, the offspring of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep. 5. Blessed will be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6. You shall be blessed when you come, and you shall be blessed when you depart. 7. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you, to be beaten before you; they will come out against you in one direction, but they will flee from you in seven directions. 8. The Lord will order the blessing to be with you in your granaries, and in every one of your endeavors, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. 9. The Lord will establish you as His holy people as He swore to you, if you observe the commandments of the Lord, your God, and walk in His ways. 10. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the Lord is called upon you, and they will fear you. 11. And the Lord will grant you good surplus in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil, on the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers, to give you. 12. The Lord will open up for you His good treasury, the heaven, to give your land ?ts rain in its
    time, and to bless everything you do. And you will lend many nations, but you will not [need to] borrow. 13. And the Lord will set you at the head, and not at the tail, and you will be only at the top, and you will not be at the bottom, if you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am commanding you this day, to observe to fulfill [them]. 14. And you shall not turn right or left from all of the words I am commanding you this day, to follow other deities to worship them. 15. And it will be, if you do not obey the Lord, your God, to observe to fulfill all His commandments and statutes which I am commanding you this day, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. 16. You shall be cursed in the city, and you shall be cursed in the field. 17. Cursed will be your [food] basket and your kneading bowl. 18. Cursed will be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your soil, the fruit of your livestock, those born from your cattle and the flock of your sheep. 19. You shall be cursed when you come, and you shall be cursed when you depart. 20. The Lord will send the curse of shortages, confusion, and turmoil upon you, in every one of your endeavors which you undertake, until it destroys you and until you quickly vanish, because of your evil deeds in forsaking Me. 21. The Lord will make pestilence cleave to you, until it has exterminated you from upon the land, to which you are coming, to possess it. 22. The Lord will strike you with consumption, fever, illnesses with burning fevers, a disease which causes unquenchable thirst, with the sword, with blast, and with yellowing, and they will pursue you until you perish. 23. And your skies above you will be [like] copper, and the earth below you [like] iron. 24. The Lord will turn the rain of your land into powder and dust, raining down upon you from the heavens until you are destroyed. 25. The Lord will cause you to be broken before your enemy: you will come out against them in one direction, but you will flee from them in seven directions. And you will become a terrifying [example] to all the kingdoms on earth. 26. Your corpse will be food for all birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth, and no one will frighten them [away]. 27. The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with hemorrhoids, with oozing sores, and with dry lesions, from which you will be unable to be cured. 28. The Lord will strike you with insanity, with blindness, and with bewilderment. 29. You will grope at midday, as the blind man gropes in the dark, and you will be unsuccessful in your ways. You will be only oppressed and robbed all the days, and no one will save [you]. 30. You will betroth a woman, but another man will lie with her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not redeem it[s fruits]. 31. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat from it. Your donkey will be snatched right in front of you, and it will not return to you. Your flock will be given over to your enemies, and you will have no savior. 32. Your sons and daughters will be given over to another people, and your eyes will see [this] and long for them all day long, but you will be powerless. 33. A people unknown to you will eat up the fruit of your soil and [the result of] all your toil. You will be only wronged and crushed all the days. 34. You will go insane from the vision before your eyes that you will behold. 35. The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with a terrible skin eruption from which you will be unable to be cured; [it will eventually cover you] from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. 36. The Lord will lead you and your king whom you will have established over you, to a nation unknown to you or your fathers; and there, you will serve other deities [made] of wood and stone. 37. And you will become an [object of] astonishment, an example, and a topic of discussion, among all the peoples to whom the Lord will lead you. 38. You will take much seed out to the field, yet you will gather in little, for the locusts will finish it. 39. You will plant vineyards and work [them], but you will neither drink of [their] wine, or gather [the grapes], because the worms will devour them. 40. You will have olive trees throughout all your boundaries, but you will not anoint with [their] oil, because your olive trees will drop off. 41. You will bear sons and daughters, but you will not have them, because they will go into captivity. 42. All your trees and all the fruit of your soil the cicada will make destitute. 43. The stranger who is among you will arise above you, higher and higher, while you will descend lower and lower. 44. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be at the head, while you will be at the tail. 45. All these curses will befall you, pursuing you and overtaking you to destroy you because you did not obey the Lord, your God, to observe His commandments and statutes which He commanded you. 46. And they will be as a sign and a wonder, upon you and your offspring, forever, 47. because you did not serve the Lord, your God, with happiness and with gladness of heart, when [you had an] abundance of everything. 48. Therefore, you will serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, [when you are] in famine, thirst, destitution, and lacking everything, and he will place an iron yoke upon your neck, until he has destroyed you. 49. The Lord will bring upon you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50. a brazen nation, which will not respect the elderly, nor show favor to the young. 51. They will devour the fruit of your livestock and the fruit of your soil, to destroy you. They will not leave over anything for you of the grain, wine, oil, offspring of your cattle or flocks of your sheep, until they annihilate you. 52. And they will besiege you in all your cities, until your high and fortified walls in which you trust come down, throughout all your land. And they will besiege you in all your cities throughout all your land, which the Lord, your God, has given you. 53. And during the siege and the desperation which your enemies will bring upon you, you will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord, your God, gave you. 54. The most tender and delicate man among you, will begrudge his own brother and the wife of his embrace and the rest of his children, whom he will leave over, 55. of giving any one of them of the flesh of his children that he is eating, because not a thing will remain for him in the siege and in the desperation which your enemies will bring upon you, in all your cities. 56. The most tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set her foot upon the ground, because of delicateness and tenderness, will begrudge the husband of her embrace and her own son and daughter, 57. and the infants who emerge from between her legs, and her own children whom she will bear, for she will eat them in secret, in destitution, in the siege and the desperation which your enemies will inflict upon you, in your cities. 58. If you do not observe to fulfill all the words of this Torah, which are written in this scroll, to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord, your God, 59. Then the Lord [will bring upon] you and your offspring uniquely [horrible] plagues, terrible and unyielding plagues, and evil and unyielding sicknesses. 60. And He will bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt which you dreaded, and they will cling to you. 61. Also, the Lord will bring upon you every disease and plague which is not written in this Torah scroll, to destroy you. 62. And you will remain few in number, whereas you were once as numerous as the stars of the heavens because you did not obey the Lord, your God. 63. And it will be, just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do good for you and to increase you, so will the Lord cause to rejoice over you to annihilate you and to destroy you. And you will be uprooted from the land which you enter therein, to possess it. 64. And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other deities unknown to you or your forefathers, [deities of] wood and stone. 65. And among those nations, you will not be calm, nor will your foot find rest. There, the Lord will give you a trembling heart, dashed hopes, and a depressed soul. 66. And your life will hang in suspense before you. You will be in fear night and day, and you will not believe in your life. 67. In the morning, you will say, "If only it were evening! " and in the evening, you will say, "If only it were morning!" because of the fear in your heart which you will experience and because of the sights that you will behold. 68. And the Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, through the way about which I had said to you, You will never see it again. And there, you will seek to be sold to your enemies for slaves and handmaids, but there will be no buyer. 69. These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.​
     
  11. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Some potential questions:

    Why are there so many curses?

    What is going on with this complicated ceremony with the stones and the different tribes on each mountain?

    Why are the tribes divided as they are?

    What day were these commandments given?

    Which Torah is "this Torah"?

    Why is God referred to as the Lord, God of your forefathers? What significance does this title carry?

    What significance does Mount Ebal have?

    What significance does Mount Gerizim have?

    Why were the particular commandments chosen to be linked to curses?

    Are there differences between the blessings and the curses?

    How do you react to this text? Do you see any echoes of anything in other texts of any tradition? Please feel free to go deeply into any one of these questions, or speak briefly on them all, or skip over them and just speak what first comes to you.

    Dauer
     
  12. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    my interpretation is a continuation of my previous post .... same concept ...


    I did a quick search on Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim and found some interesting parallels to what I interpret as the landscape within ....

    Mt. Ebal (Mt. Ayval) and Mt. Gerizim are twin peaks that stand above Shomron Valley. Mt. Ebal is a desolate mountain with barren slopes while Mt. Gerizim has beautiful tree covered slopes .... Mt. Ebal with its barren slopes is the mountain connected with curses if people do not follow the way .... Mt. Gerizim with its beautiful tree covered slopes is the paradise if they do .... the twin peaks or twin towers (another metaphor) stand at the entrance to the center of the brain, they are the pillars of the fornix .... aother way to look at the two mountains is that one represents the desert or barren lands and the other represents paradise or the garden of eden .... at the web site that I found there was also a reference that the Holy Ark (Ahron HaKodesh) set between these mountains (Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim) .... this also ties in to the concept that the Ark of the Covenant is also a metaphor for the center of the brain .... it said that
    "Moshe Rabbaynu commanded the Bnai Yisroel that as soon as they crossed the Yarden (Jordan) they were to take 12 stones from the river bed and build a Mizbayach on top of the mountain with the words of the Torah written in 70 languages"
    .... the circle of stones (which consist of 12) is a metaphor for the 12 pairs of cranial nerves (already mentioned before) .... so curses or blessings have to do with our decisions about which fork in the road we decide to take .... return to the desert or proceed to the garden .... he hawai'i au, poh
     
  13. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i dont know why so many curses but i think God means business & He is seriousabout His relationship with Israel. The first thing that comes to mind is, they dont see that it is possible to stay in the love of God through the keeping of the commandments while being blessed, so they discard it & find a bunch of problems that are created by themselves.

    What happens is people take life so serious, that they dont take God serious enough. OR, they turn everything into a joke, thus making a mockery out of God. It is not that difficult IMO, to at least try to do the things God asks us to do considering the blessings are for our benefit.

    28 is a rough chapter, but there is a balance if one tries to find it. :)
     
  14. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Bandit,

    do you think the number of curses has any connection to the complaining in the wilderness?

    There is another story by the Dubno Maggid (I'm reading one for each parsha) that I will retell in my own words. The Dubno Maggid was a maggid, a storyteller, from the town of Dubno. His name was Jacob Kranz. He lived not so very long ago. He even wrote a story about Columbus and another about Napoleon. So anyway... He was bothered by these passages. Why do there need to be so many curses? I mean, wouldn't one good one have even been enough? Why does it go on for so long? So he tells a story, which mine may be slightly different but still the same story.

    Lady Weatherby was in her son's bedroom, fretting over him. He was lying on his bed, pale, thin, barely moving. Lord Weatherby was pacing back-and-forth along the wall.

    "We've got to do something, Margaret! He's sick and he'll die if we don't do something soon." Lord Weatherby had stopped and was looking at his wife.

    "You're right, John. But oh, he's so frail. How can we possibly help him but to comfort him in his misery?" Lord Weatherby raised an eyebrow.

    "Hey, what about that doctor?"

    "Did somebody call a doctor?" The doctor, due to a few missing lines in my version of the story, had appeared. The doctor went up to the child and immediately began examining him head to toe. Lord and Lady Weatherby looked on in shock, afeared the child's weakened condition could not tolerate such rough treatment.

    The doctor called over one of the servant lads. "You there, boy, take this list and bring me back all of these ridiculously high quantities of these potent medicines."

    "Yes mista docta sir. Wight away." And he was off... And he returned. "Heah you ah."

    "Good lad. For your troubles you can have whatever I don't use. Now then..." The doctor took out his mortar and pestle and began to grind up the medicine. When the family saw how much he was taking they were horrified, because there was just so much of it, but they just stood there in shock. The medicine smelled so horrible, they were afraid their poor son wouldn't be able to take it. And the doctor kept making more, and many different types, which all just smelled worse and worse. Until the whole room was filled with such an awful stench that the family had to back away.

    Just at that point, the sick child started to roll over and then began to wretch. The doctor came over to him and rubbed his back.

    "That's it. Good lad. Keep it up. Several more times now. Empty yourself out." After the boy had finished he made sure he was well and tucked him in. "You see," he said to the boy's family, "if he was in a better condition I could have only given him a very little bit of just one of those conditions, but he was so sick that he couldn't take a little of any of them, but I knew I could make a lot of them together and let him get a good whiff, and then he'd start to bring up what was making him sick, empty himself out, and feel better. I never intended to give him any of those medicines in the state he was in."

    And so the Dubno Maggid explains that this is the reason there are so many curses. It's the whiff, because even a little curse actually given would be too much, but a whiff of a ton of curses is enough to help. And while it doesn't explain it in the book, I think he also tied it to the fact that this is the time of year for teshuva which is repentance/returning, on the Jewish calendar. He was an interesting guy.

    Dauer
     
  15. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i am still not sure, but the story by Maggid is about the best metaphoric explanation i have ever heard.

    it could be tied with the complaining in the wilderness because it only takes one person to get a complaint going & it spreads quickly. Not saying that some complaints are not warranted, but there in the wilderness I think they were bored with the same old things & were forgetting the greatness of God. In that, I can see where it could be related to the complaining, causing turmoil for others when everything was freely supplied.

    i think life is that way, we complain when we are in our wilderness & forget that we actually being carried through it. If we complain, then we start looking for other alternatives & forget the commandments...so here God is giving them a big 'whiff' & hopefully most of them will remember the life in Egypt.

    the one i am thinking about mostly is

    this can go from the smallest thing as building a fence without consideration or measuring or creating a path through someones property, to waging war to obtain land.
    some will gladly share the extra foot, where others make a constant fuss for it.
    the smallest things get some people into turnmoil & upset & complaining that does not need to be. but that is a topic in itself.:)
     
  16. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Bandit,

    do you think that the curse, the damning, of line 17 is merely a forewarning about the consequences between neighbors of moving the marker? I just feel like there's something deeper to the curse, something that goes beyond the consequences a person would face in this world for such actions, because actions not listed there may be equally damnable. I wonder what the connection is between these particular items on the damning list that makes them so damnable.

    I'm enjoying this discussion. I don't want to introduce a new piece of the parsha for a couple days because this is most of it, so if there's an issue you want to bring to the discussion, or anyone else for that matter, that's found here or in the earlier section, or in some of the section I glossed over, please feel free to ask. I only ask questions because nobody else does, but that has nothing to do with my role as the leader of this dialogue. As leader of the dialogue I simply make sure there is material to discuss in a democratic fashion.

    Dauer
     
  17. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    well, some of the curses seem real obvious & others are little more obscure IMO. i think that is why i chose the lot lines from 17.

    it is hard to describe Dauer, but yes i think it is a forewarning & i also agree there is something deeper to it that makes it damnable. it seems some of these commandments can be disobeyed in a sneaky way & that can be where the issue is with God because he can see the intent. it makes me think that someone who would do that, (move a lot line) has some weird kind of issue with themselves & that is where the 'deeper part' seems to be. otherwise, if ALL neighbors are on the up & up, there would be no reason for God to have mentioned it there. So, God must have been seeing things that the others could not see readily, in the heart.

    here is one brief example from my own experience-

    there is a walk 5 feet wide that extends the whole 2 acres on the east side of my property. this walk allows students to get to the school without going 3 blocks out of there way. the walk allows the public to use bikes, walk there dogs etc. and it is a sort cut to downtown.
    it has been this way for 100 years & the walk is literally my property & does not belong to the city in any way. I dont have a problem with giving that space for others to use. however, some take clear advantage of it by making other short cuts through the property, throwing there garbage all over the walk, not picking up the dog poop. and i have that big 'IF', someone gets hurt will they come after me in court.

    so you can see it is a concern for me that can turn into an issue real fast. i can easily get a permit to fence off the walkway & now everyone has to go the extra 3 blocks.
    but i dont want to be that way.
    i also consider the times have changed & there is a lack of respect that was not present 30 years ago, when EVERYONE appreciated the shortcut through the property. It is the few who still appreciate it & show me the same respect that makes me want to give the length & width of my property for the public...and i end up picking up all the garbage & dog poop & going to the principal each year to ask her to give a reminder to the students.:)

    What are you seeing in the deeper meaning of the curses?

    other than all that, the biggest thing i have been thinking about is the 'complaining' you mentioned earlier. for some reason, those who complain constantly, seem to rub a certain negative influence & look for strange ideas that cause problems for others, rather than finding a solution. they tend to pick, pick, pick things a part.
    (i am not talking about real legitmate complaints), but the silly things that create havoc & turmoil on purpose. i also think there was a lot of doubt created, ( about the power of God), by the isrealites who complained too much, and that is a good reason why we see this whole scene between the 2 mountains.

    i would like to hear what you see in that.?
     
  18. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    aloha e dauer - is this the purpose of the parsha, perhaps i didn't understand this well enough .... i thought it was to offer an interpretation .... i've never been involved in a parsha before and didn't know how it works .... mahalo nui, poh
     
  19. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Poh, parsha simply means portion. There is a portion assigned to each week of the year. The format that I want for this project, for this look at the parshiyot, is one of dialogue. Usually this is what would happen in a Jewish context; dialogue with earlier commentators, dialogue with fellow people studying, so in that sense it is similar. It is different because I want to do interfaith dialogue. I think it's fine to say something that's not dialogueable, just to share, but at the root of this project I'd like to try and have a real flow where people from very different backgrounds can come together and still be able to acknowledge each other's views and opinions, and even disagree with each other about the meaning of the text, although in my opinion there should be some recognition that when someone is going beyond the plain meaning of the text, there isn't so much need to disagree because it's clearly going for something more homiletical or exigetical, extrapolating something beyond the simple words.

    Bandit, I will reply to you when I get back from work.

    Dauer
     
  20. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    hmmmmmm.... thanks dauer .... this is not going to be easy for me because I see and think in symbols (been doing it for so long) ....for example in hawaiian mythology there is a legend about the twelve alaneo that came and taught the people of hawaii-nei about healing, etc.....it is said that they were androgenous beings (neither male nor female) and four stayed behind and are now four great stones that can be located at a place near Waikiki Beach (famous tourist spot) .... the word "alaneo" has many levels of meaning, one of which is "the silent path" .... after so many years of looking and studying these myths (which are simply metaphors or parables) I don't see them as physical beings or the stones as anything more than reminders of what they mean .... in my mind I can also link this story with the inner meaning of the twelve tribes ....


    so when I read about two mountains and six of the twelve elders associated with each mountain and there are curses and blessings .... my mind goes directly to the symbols .... sometimes I wonder however if others see these in the same way or do they even think it is relevant to the discussion ....

    I think I was reading part of a dialogue once (I subscribe to a publication called "Jewish Times" on-line) about a seven-headed serpent and there were a number of questions raised .... I was fascinated because seven-headed serpents are found throughout the mythology of the south pacific .... bb and I had a brief discussion about it so I won't go into details here .... but bb's explanation of the "root meaning" of the hebrew words helped me to see that the inner meaning of the "mazik" was the same as the inner meaning of our symbols using the seven-headed serpent ....

    I'm enjoying the exchange between you and bandit and I'll try in the future look at some of the possibilities in the different levels of meaning in the text, but it will not be an easy task for me .... I keep going off the "deep end" so to speak because that is my comfort level .... if at anytime you don't think my input is relevant or helpful to the dialogue, please feel free to let me know .... I have no agenda except to share my thoughts .... aloha nui, poh
    p.s. meanings of my closures
    'aloha nui' much love
    'me ke aloha pumehana' affectionately
    'he hawai'i au' I am Hawaii (I carry her values through the way I
    live my life) hmmmmmm.... makes me wonder if someone could
    say 'he torah au' (I am the Torah????) is there such a concept??
     
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