Friday, October 26, 2007


A Jewish Vampire Story


H/T Olvlzl

Update: Weekly Parsha Blogging

I ended up giving the D'rash last Friday night. If I had my wits about me, I'd have brought up the story linked to above as it deals with the theme of this week's readings: hospitality (one can also relate it to the Akedah -- also in this last week's parsha -- what with all the blood and such). Anyway, I gave a tried and true speech (which nonetheless seemed to impress people given its impromptu nature) about the difference between Abraham's mentality as a saint vs. what the Mishna refers to as the mentality of Sodom: "what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours" -- Sodom and 'Amora (however is this rendered as "Gommorah"? I just noticed last week how unlike Gommorah is the Hebrew pronunciation) going so far as to make any hint of saintliness into a sin.

I also mentioned Woody Allen's brilliant take on the Akedah and how Abraham went too far and didn't understand bounderies. Similarly Lot failed to understand certain boundaries. Also noteworthy is that, as was pointed out by the usual "Sermonator" at our shul, Abraham involves his family in the Mitzvah of hospitality while Lot doesn't, except when offering his daughters into sin. Some would argue that Lot also was insufficiently eager to be hospitable, but our shul's other resident bearded lefty moonbat pointed out that Lot had his reasons for trying to get rid of the guests ;)

I also mentioned that it is interesting that it is Sarah, who does all the (behind the scenes) work, rather than Abraham the host with the most, who really receives the blessing (Abraham already has Ishmael, but Sarah is rewarded with Isaac and the line going through Isaac). This contrasts, as I've pointed out on this blog, e.g., before, with the teachings of other faiths in which God rewards the host(ess) rather than the workers. Nu? What does that say about Judaism and the idea of kidush b'mitzvotav vs., e.g., justification by faith? Of course, if what really does matter is practice, then we Jews better practice what we preach as opposed to those who may preach even antinomionism or atheism but live by God's law. If the importance is on works, what does it profit us to point that out rather than to live what we say?

Question of the week: did Abraham violate the laws of Kashruth by offering the angels a calf with milk? DAS silly midrash says: nu? this is how the laws of kashruth came to be. Y'all know angels don't eat. Nu? The angels had to come up with an excuse not to eat, so they said "erm ... this meat and milk thing -- it isn't kosher" and Abraham said "nu? what's kosher" ... and well, that's how it started ;) So Kashruth is the "punishment" for Abraham's, e.g. with Isaac's near-sacrifice and with foisting food on others a la a Jewish mother, lack of boundaries? It is to promote bounderies even in mitzvoth like hospitality?

I was so hoping that you would comment on this story. Thought provoking as always.
I actually think I might have even more to say on the story, the portion and my joke Midrash ... or I would if my brain were more in gear: too much going on at work (not to mention trying to apply for a position or two).
But as always ... it's nice to have people drop by ... and again, thank you so much for pointing us all to such a wonderful story.

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