Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Parshat Va-etchanan: 5772/2012 thoughts

Basics here.

Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses Our Teacher) is such a nag, and a pessimist, too.  "I know you're going to sin.  I know you're going to get kicked out of your country."  (See particularly D'varim/Deuteronomy 4:25-26.)  Nice positive reinforcement.  Not.

And there's this interesting statement (from D'varim Deuteronomy 4:2):

ב לֹא תֹסִפוּ, עַל-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם, וְלֹא תִגְרְעוּ, מִמֶּנּוּ--לִשְׁמֹר, אֶת-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי, מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Um, what are mitzvot d'Rabbanan--commandments from the Rabbis?  If we're not supposed to add, where did we get the idea that we need separate dishes, etc., one set for meat/poultry products and a separate set for dairy dishes, which is certainly nowhere in the (Written) Torah/Bible?  As a former rabbi of ours pointed out, I can't be a Karaite and still light candles before Shabbat (Sabbath) and Yom Tov (a major holiday), a Rabbanite idea, but still, I think the Karaites have a point.  But, of course, that point depends entirely on whether one truly believes that both Torah Sheh-Bi-Ch'tiv (the Written Torah/Bible/Law) and Torah Sheh-B'Al-Peh (the Oral Law, starting with the Talmud and continuing in rabbinical interpretations down to the present day and beyond) was given to Moshe Rabbeinu on Sinai or not.

Oops, looks like Woodrow/Conservadox beat me to it.

Another gem (from D'varim Deuteronomy 4:15--apparently, I have a thing for chapter 4 this year):

טו וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּם מְאֹד, לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם: כִּי לֹא רְאִיתֶם, כָּל-תְּמוּנָה, בְּיוֹם דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֲלֵיכֶם בְּחֹרֵב, מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ. 15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves--for ye saw no manner of form on the day that the LORD spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire--

Don't other parts of the TaNaCh (Torah/Pentateuch+NaCh/N'viim/Prophets&C'tuvim/Writings) actually describe the appearance of G-d?  No wonder some say that D'varim/Deuteronomy was written as an addendum to the first four books of the Torah/Bible, and others say that the idea that G-d is invisible is a later development in Jewish tradition (which the Rambam/Maimonides taught)!

See my previous Va-etchanan posts.  The first two are among my earliest posts, from my first week of blogging.  I still think they're rather nicely written, if I do say so myself.


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