Friday, August 10, 2012

Parshat Ekev: 5772/2012 thoughts

Basics here.

ח בָּעֵת הַהִוא, הִבְדִּיל יְהוָה אֶת-שֵׁבֶט הַלֵּוִי, לָשֵׂאת, אֶת-אֲרוֹן בְּרִית-יְהוָה--לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לְשָׁרְתוֹ וּלְבָרֵךְ בִּשְׁמוֹ, עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. 8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name, unto this day."

This text doesn't distinguish between the Kohanim/Priests, whose job was "to stand before the LORD to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name," and the rest of the tribe of Levi, whose job was "to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD" by doing the literal heavy lifting--dismantling, moving, and reconstructing the Ohel Moed/Tent of Meeting whenever the Israelites moved.

Korach's complaint to the contrary notwithstanding, the more I read the parshiot (parshot, parashot?), the more I think that the clear and permanent distinction between the Kohanim and the (rest of the) Leviim developed over an extended period of time.  I would welcome information regarding this change in status from my more learned readers.

Here's a follow-up to my related post, Naturally,just because I don’t believe it literally . . .  (Thursday, August 04, 2011), regarding the second paragraph of the Sh'ma, found in Parshat Ekev:

טו וְנָתַתִּי עֵשֶׂב בְּשָׂדְךָ, לִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ; וְאָכַלְתָּ, וְשָׂבָעְתָּ. 15 And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied.

Maybe we're supposed to eat pasture-raised grass-fed cattle and find it satisfying, rather than stuffing our confined cattle full of corn, which is not their natural diet.  Chana's recent posts on meat and (Jewish) ethics are well worth reading.

My previous write-ups:

Sunday, August 12, 2012 update--see D'varim/Deuteronomy, chapter 11:
ו  וַאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְדָתָן וְלַאֲבִירָם, בְּנֵי אֱלִיאָב בֶּן-רְאוּבֵן, אֲשֶׁר פָּצְתָה הָאָרֶץ אֶת-פִּיהָ, וַתִּבְלָעֵם וְאֶת-בָּתֵּיהֶם וְאֶת-אָהֳלֵיהֶם--וְאֵת כָּל-הַיְקוּם אֲשֶׁר בְּרַגְלֵיהֶם, בְּקֶרֶב כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. 6 and what He did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben; how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and every living substance that followed them, in the midst of all Israel;
Note that any mention of Korach is missing from this quote.  See DovBear's post here.  And while you're clicking,  look at my own Parshat Korach, 5772/2012 second thoughts.  In my opinion, the above quote supports the conclusion that I published in that post:

"Long story short:  If Korach was at the entrance to the Ohel Moed/Tent of Meeting with his censer, as ordered, how could he have been swallowed up when the earth opened up near his tent?

My conclusion:  With due respect to my more traditional readers, I'm calling "scribal error" on this one.  Korach died with the other censer-carrying rebels at the entrance to the Ohel Moed; Datan and Aviram were swallowed up by the earth."


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