Friday, January 17, 2014

Parshat Yitro, (Exodus 19:20-20:14)-1/17/2014

Moses ascends Mt. Sinai, and G_d descends. I guess we aren't supposed to imagine the big guy/gal walking down the mountain, but rather the sky and the Earth becoming one. I imagined it like a heavy fog.

How nice to go to the temple tonight and figure out that the two tablets above the Torahs are the ten commandments ... and that the one on the right is the commandments about our relationship to God, and the ones on the left is about our relationship to man.

I loved how the fifth commandment was about honoring our parents, and that was in the relationship with G_d tablet. I guess that relationship is beyond a fellow man relationship, and thus is with the other G_d commandments. Perhaps too, it is something we do (or don't do) because we trust that it is the right thing to do. It does not cover, like the other commandments, what we do when we go out into the world. I guess it is one of the two commandments that insure a long life. The rabbi I listened to at suggested this was because it takes a lot of time to care for your parents, so you'll be given a longer life if you do. This way you won't feel that time has been taken from you when you spend time doing things for them.

I was curious to learn that adultery is only if the woman is married. I guess the reason is that this would be a crime that could be penalized with capital murder. I'm not sure who gets murdered. Will have to work on that one. I'm not sure if a married woman has a relationship with a single man whether that is a capital offense, and, if so, who gets their head lopped off.

I liked hearing that all the commandments can be reduced to the first two ... and that the first two can be reduced to the first one ... and that the first one can be reduced to “I am.” I like to think about G_d as being in each of us ... and that because of our eternal nature we need to act in a way considerate of all.

There were a few confusing questions. God says that there should be no other G_ds in my presence. Is G_d ever not present?

I understand that idolatry refers not just to making graven (sculptural) images, but also toward defining G_d as a man. I'm curious if the coming messiah would be a form of idolatry.

Another issue is that God says something about him/her performing kindness to those that love him/her. What is that about? It seems that this is an invitation for non-Jews to be offended. I would like to think of God as kind to all. Sometimes love has to be won.

Moses ascends while G_d descends

1 comment:

  1. In Ex. 20:1-11, G_d sounds defensive, insecure, and petulant. In Ex. 19:21-25 G_d sounds incapable of self-control.

    Some Christian scholars say that when these texts were written, every tribal nation, including the Hebrews, had its own god or gods. The notion of one, universal G_d had not yet appeared. So this is a warning to stick with Abraham's G_d. (Other gods are referred to various places in the scriptures.)

    For Christians, the Messiah is divine, but this isn't true for Jews, is it?


Thanks for commenting. One cannot study the Torah alone.