Tuesday, February 26, 2008

“My kingdom for a dry cleaner,” or Mrs. Cohen’s complaint

Nu, you think I don’t know what you read in synagogue last week? They took some blood from the consecration sacrifice and some olive oil and sprinkled it on Aharon's and the boys' priestly garments (Parshat Tetzaveh, Exodus, chapter 29, verse 21). And just when I’d almost forgotten about that, they had to go and mention that anointing oil again this week, even listing all the fancy-schmancy spices that had to be mixed with the oil to make it so special. (Parshat Ki Tisa, Exodus, chapter 30, verse 30).

Guess who got to clean up that mess?

Every day, Aharon and the boys would come home from the Ohel Moed/Tent of Meeting-with-God with their clothes covered with blood from the animal sacrifices. And I’d have to spend hours scrubbing their clothes with salt. No wonder you later-day rabbinic-law followers use salt for drawing blood out of meat and making it kosher—it really does work. But not well enough that I’d want to see any more generations put through what I and the wives of other Cohanim/Priests of the animal-sacrifice days went through.

N’shei Cohanim, Wifes of Men of the Priestly Clan, stand up for your rights! You tell those later-day zealots to give up any thoughts of a literal return to animal sacrifices, or you’ll make them clean the blood off the priestly clothes! Humph!


Blogger Elie said...

Very cute!

I would have to check this, but I think the bigdei kehunah might not have been allowed to be taken out of the Azarah - the holy area of the mishkan / mikdash. If so, then they would have to be washed there, which means it would likely have been the male kohanim who worked there that washed them!

Tue Feb 26, 03:10:00 PM 2008  
Blogger SuperRaizy said...

LOL! Ain't it the truth- the men get to act like bigshots and the women get stuck cleaning up the mess.

Tue Feb 26, 04:17:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

SuperRaizy, I hate to put the kabosh on both my own fun and yours, but Elie may have a point--it's quite possible that these garments were considered so sacred that they weren't allowed off the premises, in which case it may not have been possible for a woman to do the cleaning. Hmm, guys cleaning up after themselves--there's a pleasant change of pace! :) (Shira ducks.)

Tue Feb 26, 06:11:00 PM 2008  
Blogger SuperRaizy said...

That's OK. It's a mashal (analogy)-
Jews love a good mashal.

Tue Feb 26, 08:32:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...


Tue Feb 26, 09:36:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have responded to your comment on my DovBear post.

Wed Feb 27, 12:41:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Not fair, Mar Gavriel! You're gonna make Ms. Tech-Challenged set up the link? Well, you asked for it: Here's a link to one of the longest posts in blogging history, but at least there’s good food involved. :)

(There's no connection whatsoever between the current post and the post to which I'm linking. This link is just a courtesy to my readers, who are probably mystified. Next time, please e-mail me, Mar Gavriel.)

Wed Feb 27, 01:39:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't find your e-mail address. (And indeed, I still cant.)

But I have responded to your response.

Wed Feb 27, 01:44:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the link doesn't work. This should work.

Wed Feb 27, 01:45:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

See! The link didn't even work!

Take two.

Wed Feb 27, 01:52:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

What's so hard to find about my e-mail address? It's exactly where it's supposed to be: Click on "View My Complete Profile," toward the top of my sidebar. If the e-mail link in my profile has suddenly decided to malfunction, or if the link to my profile is no longer working, please let me know.

Wed Feb 27, 05:51:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These days, we would just leave them in the holy cleaning room, that and the end of the day would be sold to a gentile so it's no longer holy so the foreign workers could come in and clean them, after which, we'd buy back the room (and conveniently pay them for cleaning the garments) and away we go.

Every Kohen I've met has been amongst the Jews of privilege, I can't imagine them cleaning their clothes. Then again, at the time they may not have been that different from the other Israelites (assuming sufficient tribal Intermarriage), whereas today, the Kohanim are the cleanest Jewish "genetic" line there is.

Thu Feb 28, 05:15:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

A "kula" (lenient interpretation for cleaning, eh? :)

Thu Feb 28, 05:45:00 PM 2008  

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