Interfaith Mishpatim

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by Bandit, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interfaith Mishpatim

    this one looks like a whole lot of laws. 23 imperative commandments and 30 prohibitions. there is one law where if a man curses his mother or father he is put to death. (that does not make sense to me)
    i dont think i am going to be very good at going through all these laws & ordinances & punishments. it all looks real severe. i never took law in school so i dont know how much i will be able to offer this parsha, but do not want it to slip by.

    here is an example of one of the laws for stealing a lamb. if you steal one lamb you have to give back 5 cattle for one lamb?? or 4 sheep.

    there is probably something more to this parsha than just laws.:)
     
  2. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    one of the most interesting parts of this parsha is actually a reference that I have followed for a long time trying to understand its inner meaning and that is "a life for a life, eye for eye, tooth for toth, hand for hand, foot for foot....etc"

    the other part is "you shall give Me the first-born among your sons. You shall do the same with your cattle and your flocks: seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eight day you shall give it to Me.

    and of course, the ending with the twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel, then Moses ascends the mountain and goes inside the clouds and remains on the mountain forty days and forty nights...

    bandit - have you ever read the "parables of kahil gibran"? .... he has one called the "blessed city" in which he describes a city where everyone lived according to the scriptures .... "a man, in his youth, had heard about a blessed city, and in later life wanted desperately to see it. It was a distant city; therefore provisions for a long journey were acquired. He traveled for forty days; on the forty-first day he enter the city.

    "And lo! the whole company of the inhabitants had each a single eye and but one hand." He was amazed at what he saw. They, too, were astonished to see that he had two hands and two eyes. He approached them and inquired if this was indeed the Blessed City where each man lived according to the Scriptures. And they answered that it was. Then he asked them what had befallen them, and where were their right eyes and their right hands. Touched by his questions, they said they would show him. They took him to the temple which in the center of the city." (to be continued)

    It's late and I have to go to work tomorrow .... but I will continue the story tomorrow because I think you will find it quite remarkable in terms of its content and this parsha .... it's a very interesting perspective on these concepts .... aloha nui, poh
     
  3. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    story of the "blessed city" continued .....

    from "They took him to the temple which was in the center of the city.

    And in the temple I saw a heap of hands and eyes. All withered. Then I said, "Alas, what conqueror had committed this cruelty upon you?"

    And there went a murmur amongst them. And one of their elders stood forth and said, "This doing is of ourselves. G-d had made us conquerors over the evil that was in us."

    And he led me to a high altar, and all the people followed. And he showed me above the altar an inscription graven, and I read:

    If thy right offend theee, pluck it out and cast it from theee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body shouyld be cast into hell."

    Then I understood. And I turned about to all the people and cried, "Hath no man or woman among you two eyes or two hands?"

    And they answered me saying, "No, not one. There is none whole save such as are yet too young to read the Scripture and to understand its commandment.

    And when we had come out of the temple, I straightway left that Blessed City; for I was not too young, and I could read the Scripture."

    "The literal interpretation of the Scriptures has caused man to commit untold cruelties on man with holy sanctions. The declaration "An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe" has caused much suffering and agony since its first utterance. Even today, men misunderstand the symbolic meanings of Scriptural words. The meaning of "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee," and "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee" obviously is not to be applied literally. It would be against the teaching of love that the Scriptures are based upon."

    still to be continued .... this story is all from "The Parables of Kahil Gibran" (An interpretation of the witings and art of the arthor of "The Prophet" by Annie Salem Otto) .... gotta leave for work now .... aloha nui, poh
     
  4. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    i have never heard that before. the blessed city. it does not sound very blessed to me. so what happens when he gets to the temple? probably best to leave it to be continued...

    i am not sure, but i think a lot of these laws that we see in the OT were not necessarily Gods laws, rather laws that they created themselves to keep some kind of order. to this day some parts of the world are still practicing these laws literally & i dont think that is what we are supposed to be doing. they are barbaric IMO.
     
  5. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    it is like keeping a war going on. obviously should not be applied literally. you know there is something that rises up within us at times that would make us want to 'get even' so to speak. to be able to conquer that rival is not always easy to do.
    & so those who cut off hands & pluck out eyes are not in the love of God, rather into something that is not love.

    so what happens next in this parable of Kahil Gibran?
     
  6. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    0
    The "Blessed City" continued ....

    "The verb 'offend' means to cause dislike or anger, or to oppose or obstruct in duty. If we assume that 'offend' means to oppose or obstruct one's actions, and if we assume further than rather than to the organ called 'eye' or to the organ called 'hand', the words apply to the action of the eyes, that, what the eye sees, and the action of the hand, what it does, then we can say that these admonitions can mean: If we see or become aware of something in everyday life which obstructs us in our actions and our knowledge of actions, then we should leave it or cast it away from us for it is better to throw off one thing, no matter if it is as dear to us an an eye or a hand might be, rather than to keep it and have it destroy or corrupt our whole body. Likewise, if we perform an action of which we are ashamed, it is better to "cut it off" or forget it completely rather than let the memory of it disrupt and corrput our whole body, our entire life. Actions once performed are dead actions, and obstacles which cannot be surmounted should be left alone. From this concept is derived the spiritual lesson of Gibran's parable.

    The name of the city is quite ironic, but the people thought that they were being blessed in carrying out the instructions of the Scriptures to the letter. They were performing these cruelties on themselves because they considered that they themselves were evil. The thought G-d had made them conquerors over evil, and the manner of conquerors is to punish. Again they were giving a literal interpretation of the Scripture, which cautions against such misunderstanding.

    Who (G-d) also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (2 Corinthians 3:6) "

    while I still think there could be several other possible interpretation of concepts such as "and eye for an eye, a hand for a hand" etc.... the above was one example of what can happen when we interpret the scriptures so literally .... Gibran was certainly an interesting man and is sometimes referred to as "the immortal prophet of Lebanon" .... his parables bring many things to light and I enjoy reading them ....

    since this is a comparative religion site, it seemed like a good idea to introduce yet another perspective on some of the concepts in this particular parsha ....

    as for the "first born" .... I have always felt that these type of references may be related to "survival" .... I know that in the south pacific (and I'm sure this is true in many other places) it use to be the practice that when harvesting plants, or fish .... one had a particular way in which you did not take all of the species (such a diving for clams, one only takes certain clams and must leave the other so the species can reproduce) .... when one looks for medicinal herbs, there are certain practices that must be observed to insure that there is always enough left so the plant can reproduce .... etc. when the OT says that the "first born" is mine (G-d's) it is possible there is a relationship to survival .... don't know for sure, but it is an area that I will need to do further thinking and research on ....

    anyway .... outside of all the "laws", I found this parsha to be chocked full of symbolism ..... aloha nui, poh
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,172
    Likes Received:
    0
    this is how i have always seen it also. you cut off the thing that is hindering you & not the hand itself. i suppose it could even go as far to say if an individual is causing a hinderance or making someone to fall, then find a way to deal with that other than chopping off hands.
    grudges & gossip are another thing that can really bring us down, but it is so good & we become so free when we can let go of the grudge & not let it disrupt our thinking & lives.

    i am glad you brought all of this up. it fits well with this parsha.:)
     

Share This Page