Monday, April 13, 2009

'Lomo's Seder

I don't know man, the more I post on this blog the more I feel a need to post...and the less I do the less I feel it's necessary. ...many aspects of peoples behavior, I have always felt, follow that same "keep-on-doing-what-you're-doing" tendency..

Anyway, I (along with my family) "had" Pesach by my brother's house.. ..I would have liked to visit our cousins in Cincinnati for Pesach, though he wanted to stay where he was..which became a source of some discontent..

He asked me to say something of religious significance by the seder. ..a sudden idea came to me: A notion of "commendable rebelliousness" can be repetitively found in the Exodus narrative. I started by mentioning an idea from Aviva Zornberg, who says that the fact that the rasha' proceeds the h'acham in four sons list seems to indicatethat the rasha' is more commendable than the tam and she'eino yodea lish'al since he at least has the spirit of questioning burning within him. In the Midrash we find that Miriam displayed a sense of rebelliousness towards her father when she questioned his decisions concerning national family planning (which resulted in Moshe being born by her own parents). The daughter of the Pharaoh was doing something unorthodox by taking in a strange (Semitic) baby (especially considering the Hyksos issue, if the chronology we have is legitimate). In fact the Midrash says that she had to go out of her way and greatly exert herself to retrieve the child before he drifted away. Moshe obviously displayed a positive rebelliousness by exacting justice on a taskmaster and leaving Egypt (and act which ultimately ended in his being rewarded by the "burning bush" vision). In fact the whole idea of slave workers wreaking havoc and leaving is a rebellious notion.

Yet in other instances we find those who question authority being criticized, for example Korach's complaining that Moshe had an unbalanced level of power, or the Israelites who complained that G-d was not sufficiently providing for his people in the wilderness. And then again, Ber Borochov is known to have said that he finds the source of his whole ideology in the rasha', since he represents honest inquiry and an ability to express ideas imported from the general world, whereas the h'acham represents the passivity and acceptance of the status quo which is responsible for Jews remaining exiled in foreign countries.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that those whose complaints are frowned upon were lacking self-analysis of their motives, and that had they done so truthfully they would find they were lacking (Luzzatto's Messilat Yesharim speaks about the absurdity of spending time in religious studies that have little bearing on one's own reality, and not spending at least the same amount of time and sober analysis on reflection on one own religious intentions).

..all I managed to accomplish was making him make mock snoring sounds (he doesn't fancy himself the biggest intellectual). All in all I had a nice time though...

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