16 November 2005


Content Love passes on the Ten Commandments, had Coyote written them instead of Adonai. The first is:
Thou Shalt Have As Many Gods and Spirits and Personal Trainers and Gurus As You Like Before Me, But You Shalt Not Let Them Block the Exits, and More, You Shall Not Permit Them To Take the Last Beer, For That Beer Is Mine. Seriously. Don't.
Not that Coyote is really the sort for a top ten list. It's an Adonai style thing. Heck, Jesus sweated it down to two in Mark 12:28-31.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Those are pretty good. And most folks miss that lurking in that second part is the injunction that you gotta love yourself.

And doing a little web search on those two, I stumbled into a lovely Christian sermon which reads these as the root principles lying behind all of the commandments --- not just the top ten, but the 613 identified by the Talmud.

The summary of the law, as simple as it may seem, is actually complex. Jesus ingeniously combined love of God (Deut. 6:5) and neighbor (Lev. 19:18). Jewish scholars had devised other summaries of Torah, but Jesus' summary is unique, and his assertion that the two laws are inseparable is also distinctive.
We cannot avoid the dialectical relation of love and law: in fulfilling one we will possibly sacrifice the other. We can only apply the summary with the awareness that as Christians we live with the tension, that each one of us will have proclivities toward one pole or the other.
Mmmnnn. Love and law. I have a hunch I have some not-so-Christian readers of mine will like that last bit.


Reya Mellicker said...

Actually there are 613 commandments in the Torah, most of them in Leviticus, and as long as you aren't having sex with anyone in your immediate family, you're already complying to a large degree to all the commandments. But the rabbi teaching my Torah class says that somewhere in the Talmud they say that it's not healthy to follow all these rules and regulations to the letter - it's too extreme.

Thank goodness the trickster didn't write the Torah.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh ... and remember: you can eat locusts but not bats. Hmmm...maybe the trickster did have a hand in the Torah!

Jonathan Korman said...

Well, you know what the Gnostics and Yezidi will tell ya.

And I accept the Talmudic hairsplitting. The 613 commandments come from the Torah, where they're not very well organized; the Talmudic scholars picked through the text and identified them all in a master list.