As completely absent of goodness and holiness as war is, afterward, we must remember that all humans are infused with divinity. All sides are the children of God. As Deuteronomy teaches, the bodies of the deceased must be taken down and buried - in this case, an upright burial with stones. After the chaos, the time for being human begins once again.
As of June 2018, according to Forbes Magazine, the national student debt is $1.5 Trillion and impacts 44 million current and former American students.
With interest rates for advanced degrees (6-7%) that surpass averages for car and home loan interest rates (around 3-4%) - the question remains why are we squeezing our greatest resources (young minds and the natural world) to the utmost degree?
In this week’s 929 weekly roundup I focus on Leviticus chapters 11 and 15.
Leviticus 11 talks about Kosher food laws. So I reflect on what the origins of those food laws were. Is it all really just about a lack of refrigerators in biblical times or is it about child sacrifice (see below)? Honestly, nobody knows. But the ways in which Jews are relating to how we our eat is changing nowadays with regards to the “why” behind our food choices.
The book of Exodus dedicates half of its chapters to the Israelites building the Mishkan from scratch, the abode to house the presence of God.
Leviticus, on the other hand, focuses on the importance of the internal work that must be done, first and foremost, before one can even consider entering into that newly built presence of God.
Studying Torah in the modern age can be a tricky endeavor sometimes. Engaging with ideas from 3,000 years ago will inevitably lead to a culture clash between our modern sensibilities and those from the Iron Age of the Ancient Near East.
With stories that touch on the necessity for war, strict hierarchies, and with enough gender insensitivities to fill an entire semester long course for ‘smashing the patriarchy’ it can be very challenging to hang in with the process of talmud torah.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the 929 project is seeing how the daily chapter interacts with the regular Jewish calendar. Whether it is the weekly Torah portion, the daily prayers, or a special holiday reading - they all have connections to the stories that we read throughout this two and a half year cycle. Recently, I found one such connection particularly inspiring as it reminded me the majesty of stories.