Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It then goes on to quote what St. Bede had to say about this passage:
"The drama of Caiaphas tearing his vestments signifies the termination of the Old Covenant priesthood. In contrast, the seamless garment of Jesus is not torn, but remains intact (Jn 19:23-24), signifying that the new priesthood of Christ will last forever (Heb 7:23-24).
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Why is [perpetual Korban Todah] a happy tiding? After all, the Korban Todah is brought by one who has been saved from danger. If the Korban Todah will never cease to be brought, that means that people will never cease to find themselves in danger!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves, but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
"[The Jews] are asked in a small way to experience [the bitterness of slavery, the mortar of the bricks] at Pesakh (Passover) and at every Pesakh. The Haggadah (the "telling", a book used at the seder) is very explicit about this one: one is to retell the story of Exodus as if he, too, had been liberated from slavery in Egypt. Indeed, this idea is conveyed emphatically at several points in the text... "I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God."(1)
Rabban Gamaliel used to say: Whoever does not describe the following three symbols on Passover has not fulfilled his duty:PESAH, THE PASSOVER OFFERINGMATZAH, THE UNLEAVENED BREADMAROR, THE BITTER HERBSPoint to the shank bone:The Passover offering which our ancestors ate in Temple days, what was the reason for it? It was because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is written: "And you shall say, 'It is the Passover offering of the Lord, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians and spared our houses.' And the people bowed their heads and worshipped."Point to the Matzah:This Matzah which we eat, what is the reason for it? It is because there was not enough time for the dough of our ancestors to rise when the King of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them, as it is written: "And they baked the dough which they had brought out from Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread' for it had not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and they could not tarry; nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves."Point to the bitter herbs:These bitter herbs which we eat- what is their meaning? It is because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is written: "And they embittered their lives with hard labor, with mortar and bricks, and with every kind of work in the fields; all the work which they made them do was cruel.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
In the beginning there was only water. A miraculous compound, it is the primary source and vivifying factor of all sustenance and, by extension, all life as we know it. But Judaism teaches it is more. For these very same attributes -- water as source and sustaining energy -- are mirrored in the spiritual. Water has the power to purify: to restore and replenish life to our essential, spiritual selves.
The mikvah personifies both the womb and the grave; the portals to life and afterlife. In both, the person is stripped of all power and prowess. In both there is a mode of total reliance, complete abdication of control. Immersion in the mikvah can be understood as a symbolic act of self-abnegation, the conscious suspension of the self as an autonomous force. In so doing, the immersing Jew signals a desire to achieve oneness with the source of all life, to return to a primeval unity with G-d. Immersion indicates the abandonment of one form of existence to embrace one infinitely higher. In keeping with this theme, immersion in the mikvah is described not only in terms of purification, revitalization, and rejuvenation but also -- and perhaps primarily -- as rebirth.
The water of the mikveh is designed to ritually cleanse a person from deeds of the past. The convert is considered by Jewish law to be like a newborn child. By spiritually cleansing the convert, the mikveh water prepares him or her to confront God, life, and people with a fresh spirit and new eyes--it washes away the past, leaving only the future. Of course, this does not deny that there were good and beautiful aspects of the past. But, in the strictest religious sense, that past was only prologue to a future life as a Jew.
In a sense, it is nothing short of the spiritual drama of death and rebirth cast onto the canvas of the convert's soul. Submerging into waters over her head, she enters into an environment in which she cannot breathe and cannot live for more than moments. It is the death of all that has gone before. As she emerges from the gagging waters into the clear air, she begins to breathe anew and live anew--as a baby struggling to be born.
If we take this graphic metaphor a step further, we can sense that the mikveh is a spiritual womb. The human fetus is surrounded by water. It does not yet live. The water breaks in a split second and the child emerges into a new world. "As soon as the convert immerses and emerges, he is a Jew in every respect" (Yevamot 47b).