Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Muse: Emor

Chapter 24 verses 10-16 referring to the sin of blaspheming God follows the commandments of the Temple service regarding the lighting of the Menorah and the placement of the Show Breads on the Table. This in turn follows the calendar of festivals. There is a seeming disconnect between these commandments.

There was a concern that our collective spiritual health as a people while guided by a calendar with benchmark holy days wasn’t sufficient to guarantee our daily ethical behavior. While our spiritual peaks are marked by the intermittent holy days, the flames of the Menorah were to guide and remind us daily regarding our spiritual disposition. The Show Breads were to serve as daily reminders regarding the ethics that govern our concern for acquiring wealth.

But what about our relationship with those transcendent values the very underpinnings that make us a holy nation? How were we to preserve and guarantee their continuity? The narrative regarding the blasphemer was to serve as a bridge between these Temple laws of spiritual transcendence and the ethics of social behavior. Blaspheming those underpinnings and the foundations of our holiness as a nation would lead to an eventual breakdown of the moral and ethical system by which we thrive and without which society can’t function.