Culture, Religion

In our mouths and in our hearts: Day 7

Today: Defense Against the Dark Arts.
61. “There shall not be found among you anyone who practices divination…” (Deuteronomy 18:10) = understood to refer to a different type of divination from #60
62. “Do not practice soothsaying.” (Leviticus 19:26)
63. “[There shall not be found among you…] anyone who casts spells…” (Deuteronomy 18:11)
64. “…or inquires of the dead…” (Deuteronomy 18:11)
65. “…or inquires of ghosts…” (Deuteronomy 18:11)
66. “…or inquires of familiar spirits…” (Deuteronomy 18:11) = #47 and #48 refer to doing it yourself, while #65 and #66 refer to consulting a professional.
67. “…or who is a sorcerer.” (Deuteronomy 18:10)
68. “Don’t round off the side-growth on your head.” (Leviticus 19:27)
69. “Don’t destroy the side-growth of your beard.” (Leviticus 19:27)
70. “A man shall not wear women’s clothing.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
71. “A woman shall not wear men’s clothing.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
72. “Don’t incise marks on yourselves.” (Leviticus 19:28)
73. “Don’t gash yourselves.” (Deuteronomy 14:1)
74. “Don’t shave the front of your heads because of the dead.” (Deuteronomy 14:1)
75. “When a man or woman commits any wrong toward a fellow person, thus breaking faith with God, and that person realizes his/her guilt, s/he shall confess the wrong that s/he has done.” (Numbers 5:6-7) = and repent!

5 thoughts on “In our mouths and in our hearts: Day 7

  1. “Defense against the Dark Arts” Oh, BZ, that’s brilliant. Who knew that 4th-years got talmud?
    70. “A man shall not wear women’s clothing.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
    71. “A woman shall not wear men’s clothing.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
    “Except on Purim, when women shall wear men’s clothing, and men shall wear women’s clothing, especially if it is ill-fitting and floral.” (Esther 12:34 “the lost book”)

  2. It seems to me that some of these strange mitzvot (no shaving, no cross-dressing) are prohibiting specific idolatrous practices that made sense in a specific cultural context. What are the practices that we would want to avoid in our own cultural context?

  3. It may be a stretch, but it seems to me that relying on “inquiries of the dead” or “spirits” for answers to our questions is a way of avoiding responsibility for shaping our own lives… so in today’s world, that would mean that we should treat horoscopes and palm readers as amusements, but not oracles. All of the “speaking to the dead” t.v shows and books shouldn’t be taken seriously. Because there’s a danger in coming to rely on such questionable practices when we should be looking to our communities and ourselves for the strength to make decisions. When one has a strong sense of self, which I think Judaism helps foster, one doesn’t need to pay “sorcerers” to reveal what “spirits” think.
    I don’t feel like I’m communicating this well… but hey, I tried. And no, I’m not going to call Madam Wanda to ask for writing tips.

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