leviticus as literature

pohaikawahine

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bb - mahalo nui for the reference to both books by mary douglas .... absolutely fascinating and i have much more to read and digest ....

here is a short quote from chapter 4 "mountain, tabernacle, body in leviticus 1-7" (it is the preface to the chapter) "rabbi levi said: the upper waters are male and the lower waters are female, and these say to those: receive us, you are the creation of the holy one, blessed be he, and we are his envoys. immediately they receive them, like the female that opens before the male .... rabbi abahu called the upper waters 'bridegroom' and the lower waters 'bride' .... other sages speak of the earth as the wife of the rain, which is the husband." (Patai 1947:67)

"wife of the rain, which is the husband" .... this is the first time I've seen this from the perspective of a 'sage' (which I am assuming is referring to the sages of judaism???) but it is in my view so clearly related to what we would call the marriage of sky father and earth mother .... in hawaii nei this would be the world of wakea (the heavens or sky) and the world (earth) of papa .... or in native american tradition sky father and earth mother .... the rain is considered to be the tears of the gods and the chants tell us that from the void, the origin of time, follows the rain which cools the earth ....

also the reference to the upper water as male and the lower water as female .... in the hawaiian chant we speak of two waters "hanau kane ia wai'ololi, o ka wahine ia wai'olola" which translates as "born was man for the narrow stream, the woman for the broad stream"

this is only to suggest that both sources may be connected symbolically .... we even have our own rituals for the division of food and the sacrifice of animals, but the creatures would be much different because many of the animals mentioned in leviticus do not live in the south pacific .... but certain parts (traditionally) were given to different village chiefs based on their position in the whole society .... anyway just a note to say this is all so interesting ....

from "in the wilderness" (mary douglas) I'm reading the part of "Israel, the Mystic Bride" .... she looks as the possibility that the reference to 'women' may actually be a reference to 'a woman' (namely Israel, the Mystic Bride) and some of the images may be prophetic images for Israel's infidelity to G-d .... which would shed a whole different light on the interpretations in some of the parshas (especially related to Genesis) ....this would also fit with some of the references to the 'bride' as seen in the perspective of the kaballist .... and specifically in the 'song of songs' ....

then the refernce to 'sin-offerings' if the 'sinner' is either a priest (Lev 4:8-11) or the whole congregation (Lev 4:21) .... would seem to tie into the whole concept of the exodus and wandering in the wilderness .... (I don't know where this one is going, but the opening of the path looks inviting) ....

and her whole discussion of the symbolism of the "liver lobe" as a remnant to be saved .... "yet I will leave some of you alive' (Ezekiel 6:8) may be "an ingenious word play the long liver lobe would stand for the remainder of the people after the disaster that befell them.... it would express the leviticus writer's concern about the fate of israel and jerusalem .... in such a context, consecrating the liver lobe on the altar is like praying for a remnant to be saved, a reminder to G-d that he promised to bring his scattered people back again."

in reading these two references, the whole discussion and question about whether or not "animals are still sacraficed" by the jewish people relates to such a superficial interpretation of the OT .... the symbols and the inner meanings for each ritual and each act runs so much deeper .... something I always suspected but could not find the right references until now because I had never actually looked at the act of sacrifice symbolically through the animals .... today such sacrifices are not done, but the meaning does not change .... we of course also slaughter many animals and cut down many trees without any thought of reciprocation and thanks for their sacrifice to feed us which makes us lose our connection to the whole cycle of life ....

even in the south pacific when one when out at night to draw water from a well, it was important to toss in a small pebble to announce your arrival to the spirits of the water and thank them ..... small ritual, but large implications for understanding and balance ....

all this may not make much sense right now .... I'm just writing stuff from the top of my head .... the books are so exciting to read ....I suspect I can also apply some of this knowledge to a better understanding of some aspects of my own culture .... aloha nui, poh

p.s. another important point "the hebrew words for parts of the anatomy often have diverse meanings .... the word for head can mean summit of a mountain, leader, chief, as well as the head of a body." .... this would possibly correspond to the concept that what happens in the head (via the sprialling energy that runs up the spinal column) is related to meanings of what happens on the 'mountain top' which in the hawaiian concept would be the wild place of the gods or the 'wao akua" (a place seldom accessed by man) .... she (mary douglas) also says "the summit of the mountain is the abode of G-d; below is the cloudy region which only Moses was allowed to enter; and lastly the vast, lower slopes where the priests and congregation waited.... the order of parts of the anmial on the altar marks out three zones on the carcass, the suet set around and below the diaphragm corresponding to the cloud girdling the middle of the mountain .... a perfect example of analogical writing..." in the ancient ways of hawaii, the mountain is divided into zones and each zone has a meaning related to the survival of the whole community .... the gods also live above the clouds which in some myths are considered to be the home of the gods (those clouds) .....
 
poh,

you're definitely on the right track, although there is a danger - all too apparent in the biblical period between the exodus and the destruction of the first Temple - of falling into what i generally call "short-circuit" thinking; namely that when we talk about male and female we are talking about, effectively: god and goddess. we are not. we are using this terminology because it reflects *our* understanding, not Divine reality. it is nonsensical in judaism for there to be a "mrs G!D" - what we are describing is a relationship, but the relationship is symbolic and, in ways that you seem to have understood, the "female", as it were, can sometimes be understood as the jewish people - although, sometimes, we also relate to the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, as female. i guess what i'm saying is that it's complicated and the terminology reflects the relationship rather than the underlying reality. whenever we have fallen into the heuristic of sky god/sea goddess or whatever, the result has been a "golden calf", with all that implies. in fact, if the jewish people are, in some way, to be considered the "bride" of G!D, then the golden calf is the illegitimate child of our infidelity. in fact, this is often referred to in the Torah as "zenut" - prostituting ourselves. it became an even more explicit theme in the prophetic literature in Na"Kh - see the book of hosea, for example, who was commanded to marry a prostitute in order that he understand how infidelity really felt. and if it felt that bad for us, imagine how it made G!D feel.

at any rate, i'm glad you're enjoying the book!

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
this is real good stuff & i am so impressed with how much effort was put into this book & the wilderness book. i would like to see her go to town on the book of Lamentations. she put a lot of time into her studies & I cannot believe how many people she knows.

this will be a fun thread indeed!

her POH, i bought a whole bunch of other books today. one of them is the complete encyclopedia of signs & symbols. pick a symbol, any symbol, i gotcha ya covered now:)
 
if i am doing any good here it is by encouraging people to read the authors who have really got a clue, not just the meaningless blither and misinformation that's out there.

i've heard MD speak - a very interesting lady. kind of like the "dr ruth" of anthropology, except without quite as much bonking.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
bananabrain said:
if i am doing any good here it is by encouraging people to read the authors who have really got a clue, not just the meaningless blither and misinformation that's out there.

i've heard MD speak - a very interesting lady. kind of like the "dr ruth" of anthropology, except without quite as much bonking.

b'shalom

bananabrain

right. she gets down to the root of it. my spirit jives with her spirit in both books. i am real intrigued with how she is seeing & questioning these things & they are honest & sincere without the bonking. i am only in chapter one because i have to read this very slow for there is a lot of information to consider. i am really trying to take in what she is saying about the animals too:)
her approach is awesome. like no one i have ever met before.
 
bananabrain said:
if i am doing any good here it is by encouraging people to read the authors who have really got a clue, not just the meaningless blither and misinformation that's out there.

i've heard MD speak - a very interesting lady. kind of like the "dr ruth" of anthropology, except without quite as much bonking.

b'shalom

bananabrain

aloha e bb - I think you are doing much more good than you give yourself credit for .... I have really learned a lot from both you and dauer .... I have developed a love of judiasm and you have a fascinating perspective to share .... I thank you for that .... aloha nui, poh p.s. what is "bonking"??? I read these terms and I don't have a clue about their meaning sometimes :)

and bandit - I'm with you on the books .... we will go through them together ....
 
*blush*

sometimes i forget i am such a brit.

i think they call it "boinking" in the US, as well as many other things. don't know what they call it in hawaii, although i expect it sounds a bit like "humunukunukuapua'a". hehehe.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
bananabrain said:
*blush*

sometimes i forget i am such a brit.

i think they call it "boinking" in the US, as well as many other things. don't know what they call it in hawaii, although i expect it sounds a bit like "humunukunukuapua'a". hehehe.

b'shalom

bananabrain

auwe!!!!! that is soooooooo funny ..... now I will never think of humunukunukuapua'a the same again .... and it WAS such a sacred symbol before :) .... aloha nui, poh

p.s. humunukunukuapua'a is a manifestation of the god kamapua'a .... which in a rough translation would be the child or flower of the sun (it's inner meaning).... "pua" is a flower and "a" is the sound for the sun .... but the word together pua'a actually means "pig" .... one of my sisters has the name pualani (which is heavenly flower), but those brothers of ours use to call her pua'alani (which is heavenly pig) .... oh well ..... kamapua'a is the great uplifting force in the universe and represents the male and water .... so maybe we are getting back to humunukunukuapua'a .....
 
Imperatives in Leviticus - Two Styles of Thought

Aloha Pohaikawahine:)

The first parts she claims is from a P (priestly perspective) 1-16
The second is from a H (Holiness perspective) 17 to 27

the first part comes across as unattractive & distant & the second part comes across as more personal. in the first part God speaks in the third person & the second part He speaks as the first person.

this is one of her quotes:

Direct Commands are not necessary when authority is clear and if everyone knows what is to be done.

these people are not asking questions about the laws. they are just seeing that this law connects to this law & that connects to that etc. etc....so there are no questions about it, just this common understanding, or so it appears that way. she goes on to say in one place, that some laws are just plain obvious & do not need explanations...for example that Israel shold not turn ot mediums or worship Molech.
Another one is that ALL FAT BELONGS TO THE LORD...so they dont eat the fat. LOL

all this is from pages 33-40 - tell me what do you think about that POH?

Two Styles of Writing CH.#3 starts on page 40 & that is what i am going to be studying this week. I know you are already past chapter 4, but i was wondering what else you got out of chapter 2?

the reason i am asking is because there are other books in the Bible that kind of do the same thing.
 
aloha e bandit - I don't read books like most people from front to back .... I start somewhere in the middle and jump all over the place .... and sometimes I read from back to front (have done this for years and although it seems crazy it does work) .... so I'll try to follow where you are a little more systematically and we can compare notes and thoughts .... the books are so good that I also ordered another set (leviticus as literature and in the wilderness) to send as a gift to a young rabbi (don't know him personally) through a friend because I just felt he might be interested in them ....

don't forget in chapt 4 last paragraph she explains more about the role of the suet by showing the relationship to the mountain .... "the cloudy region which only Moses was allowed to enter" is just below the summit of the mountain .... the three parts of the animals and the placing of the parts on the altar mark out the same zones .... the "suet set around and below the diaphragm corresponds to the clouds girdling the middle of the mountain" .... so it would make sense that the suet or fat belongs to g-d .... she doesn't seem to go into the relationship of the mountain to the human body or just the head, but she does state that the hebrew word for 'head' can also mean 'summit of a mountain' ..... in chapt 10 you will also see the reference to the screens that you spoke of in the parsha and the structure of leviticus .... (the screens that divide the tabernacle into three sections) .... bandit I really think we are on the right path to understanding the inner meanings of the taberncle in the wilderness .... it will not always appear to be a coherent understandable translation, but almost an intuitative sense of what is meant .... and even as we share the thoughts on meanings, others will not see it the same way and that is just the way it will be .... I'm very glad to have you walk with me as a friend and that we see some of the same things .... aloha nui, poh
 
pohaikawahine said:
aloha e bandit - I don't read books like most people from front to back .... I start somewhere in the middle and jump all over the place .... and sometimes I read from back to front (have done this for years and although it seems crazy it does work) .... so I'll try to follow where you are a little more systematically and we can compare notes and thoughts .... the books are so good that I also ordered another set (leviticus as literature and in the wilderness) to send as a gift to a young rabbi (don't know him personally) through a friend because I just felt he might be interested in them ....

don't forget in chapt 4 last paragraph she explains more about the role of the suet by showing the relationship to the mountain .... "the cloudy region which only Moses was allowed to enter" is just below the summit of the mountain .... aloha nui, poh

that is ok. we can just meet up from time to time as we read through it & bring out the highlights. others can join in if they find what we are seeing interesting. i will take note on what you are saying about chapter 4 when i get there.
 
Introverted Parellelism

this is different from parallels. this is where the style turns in the middle & reverses the direction so the end reaches the beginning. it is really awesome to me to locate this from now on as i read. i suppose it is something i have noticed before yet never gave much thought to it being a style. you can find this on pages 46-47:)

here is an example:



A22:10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.

B22:11 But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.

C22:12 If the priest's daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.

B~22:13 But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat:

A~but there shall be no stranger eat thereof.
 
Bandit said:
Introverted Parellelism

this is different from parallels. this is where the style turns in the middle & reverses the direction so the end reaches the beginning. it is really awesome to me to locate this from now on as i read. i suppose it is something i have noticed before yet never gave much thought to it being a style. you can find this on pages 46-47:)

here is an example:



A22:10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.

B22:11 But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.

C22:12 If the priest's daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things.

B~22:13 But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat:

A~but there shall be no stranger eat thereof.

lol .... it is similar to the way I read .... start somewhere in the middle and go forwards or backwards .... maybe there is a pattern to this strange way of reading afterall ....:) .... this is interesting bandit, mahalo nui for pointing out the reference ....

p.s. my friend delivered the books to the young rabbi that I mentioned and said his eyes got big a saucers when he saw the author and said "she is the best" .... thanks to bb for this great reference .... aloha nui, poh
 
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