Sunday, July 20, 2008


Pinchas Blogging, Round III

A few notes (what I actually ensermoned, after summarizing my planned sermon, since the Friday night sermonizer stole some of my thunder on the subject of transitions in Pinchas):

* Of course, one thing important in providing smooth transitions of power is the continuity of tradition (c.f. the arguments by Burke about "British phlegm" being necessary for democracy -- if we want to export democracy, we can't do it by force, but we must first export this "phlegmatism"?) ... nu? thus the placement of all the sacrificial discriptions in this last week's parsha of transition?

* Why the more severe response commanded of Israel to the Midianites? Unlike the Egyptians and the Edomites who presented "existential threats" to Israel, the Midianites presented an "essential threat" to Israel? And the Moabites, when presenting such a threat did so out of fear, but the Midianites did so out of hatred ... what are we to make of this today? Are the real threats to Israel the supposed existential threats against it (which are, IMHO, highly overstated considering that we in the US somehow managed to have a cold, not hot, war with a bunch of crazy, pinko commies who had the bomb) or the internal threats eating away at Israel?

If one is a Zionist, then the whole point of the Jewish state is to have a place of refuge where we Jews don't have to live in fear. Nu? Doesn't the fearmongering of the right in Israel (or similarly here) constitute an essential threat? Doesn't the argument "we have to do what we have to do to survive, so let's throw out our morals and traditional liberties" constitute an essential threat? Doesn't the whispering in our ears by seducers from another religion saying "we'll 'support' you ... and you know what we'll support" resemble that of the Midianites seducing Hebrews into the orgies at Baal Peor? Even the argument that we should write off the Judaism of most Jews in the name of Tahorkheit is an essential threat.

Nu? Perhaps it is these "essential" threats -- the seduction of fearfulness and that we should give up our morals and standards in the name of "survival" -- that are more of a danger than the very real, if not existential threats that Israel, the US and we the Jewish people all face?

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?