Thursday, September 2, 2010

Competing Images of Rosh Hashana - !

An earlier post

What imagery does"b'nei Maron" evoke?

Are we to be compared to sheep being reviewed by the shepherd?
Are we better compared to a Ruler reviewing his loyal troops?

Are we to be "Bent over and subservient"?
"Erect and dignified"?

Here is the "more later":

Mishna RH 1:3 -
And on the 1st of Tishre all the comers of the world pass before Him Kivnei Maron

What does this term mean
The Bavli gives 3 explanations
The Yerushalmi 2 explanations.

The girsa as espoused by Hanoch Albeck is Kivnumeiron. This is related to the Latin
Numerion. This suggests a Legion of Soldiers. See also Danby ad .loc. and footnote 12. This is also supported by a passage in the Tosefta.

The common understanding based upon the more popular reads in the Bavli and Yerushalmi are like sheep under the shepherd's rod. [Maron is apparently a Semitic word meaning sheep/flock.]
What connotation is invoked by this metaphor? Are all of us helpless sheep under the protection of a pastor? How do we view ourselves?

On the other hand, what imagery does the concept of legions invoke? How do we NOW view ourselves? Do we see ourselves as loyal troopers in God's Legion?

The issue to me is one of dignity! The common, popular, albeit “source-text” challenged point of view, is that we should humble ourselves as sheep. Is this humbling or humiliating? What are the images of the Holocaust? Does not sheep invoke the image of passive victims?

Now soldiers in the Emperor's Legions are every bit as subject to massive slaughter as are sheep. Let's face it, the military is called upon to sacrifice humans just as often as sheep were sacrificed in days of yore. But THAT sacrifice invokes a DIGNIFIED image!

Meir Kahane was challenged just what did he mean by NEVER AGAIN? His retort was not that no further oppression or attacks could take place against Jews. That was impossible for Jews alone to prevent. What he sought to prevent was that Jews would NEVER AGAIN submit passively to oppression, that we would rise up and defend ourselves - much like our ancestors the Maccabbees did!

Now that God has revealed to us the original etymology by teaching us how this single word was in the time of the Mishnah and how it has been inadvertently distorted into 2 words, we should take this NEW lesson on the Old Torah to heart! We are now called upon to view ourselves as members of God's Legion and to abandon our self-imagery of the "sheep on the way to slaughter." Not only has history demanded such a paradigm shift in our thinking, but the newly revealed discoveries in text have confirmed that this has been God's desire all along, only we did not quite get HIS message!

Next Post on the Shape of the Shofar
Shanah Tova