2009-02-25_OT - OT Page 1 of 6 Teaches Midrash and other...

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OT February 25, 2009 Page 1 of 6 Teaches Midrash and other: Rabbi Segger Won’t be long before we are learning from the Song of Songs: An interesting process in the rabbinc world Midrash: to seek or to inquire, to read into, to read out of. It is an inquiry of a special sort: Why couldn’t these tools be used to read into Shakespeare or Ovid? It’s an inquiry into a community that is a text-centered community. Wedded to a particular text. You can’t jettison it, you can’t leave it behind, you can’t ignore it. It comes from a particular historical time. There are particular historic moments that help us to separate heaven and earth. Then you look at a process, a political and social process that we call canonization. What does this mean? That this body of people say this is from heave and this is from earth? How about the non-canonical gospels? Does it pay the penalty because it was discovered late? Is that enough to disqualify something to be bartred from the canon? At the end of the day, one group of books that are thought of as Holy, and the others are on the outside. And once you seal the canon, or you receive the canon as it was sealed, as a legacy as an inheritance… how is that that you receive meaning from it? It’s not like there will be a nother version that will explain the meaning in this version. All meaning must be derived from it. It has a consititution. Like the US constitiution. Then it becomes that it is the reading of the word that is important, not the word itself “All men are created equal” is that men and not women? Who has authority to tell you what these words mean? Is it an individual, the church? The Temple? After the destruction of the temple… This group of people, called Sages or Rabbis, with a newly formed canon in their hands, were actually involved in the formal canonizing of the whole thing…. Debated over a good number of books, trying to decide which to include, which to exclude. If scripture were a manual, then it might not have been a cultural asset. Don’t wait for
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OT February 25, 2009 Page 2 of 6 someone to write a libretto and write an opera. The US constitution is not, either. If at first it was a manual: how to do things, at a certain point it became a cultural instrument. Everything has to be in it. What is work? How do we keep the Sabbath when we don’t know what work is. How do you bring your timely questions to the timeless text? What is the corner of a field that you leave to the poor? How many stalks? Gen 22: Abraham’s almost sacrifice of Isaac… Heresy and Canon are twin. Sages in the ancient world have the opportunity of rising to an awareness of their own awareness… and make the canon. Song of Songs, one champion in particular. The Rabbis themselves were not so whole-hearted about whether it should be part of the
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2009-02-25_OT - OT Page 1 of 6 Teaches Midrash and other...

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