Friday, November 16, 2007

Salt and blood

I was cooking dinner tonight and as I was stirring the gravy, and stirring and stirring I saw the box of Koshering Salt in the open cupboard at eye level. Since I was stirring gravy, did I mention that? With nothing better to do, I read the Koshering directions for meat.
In brief;
Soak in water 30 min
Cover completely with salt
Let stand one hour on slanted board
Shake off salt
Rinse twice in cold water.

Sounds like alot of trouble. I was intrigued. What a strange requirement. So I looked for more info and found this;

Have You Considered
The Effects of Consuming Blood ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk
“One of the mitzvahs of this week's parsha is the prohibition of consuming dahm, meaning blood. "And you shall not eat any blood..." Leviticus 7:26
One may wonder why we would discuss such a subject. Most normal Jews are not in the habit of consuming blood... or are they? This is an interesting command.
A Jew who does not observe kashrus is in extreme danger of violating this mitzvah. Even observant Jews must be precautious in avoiding blood. Within the finely tuned makeup of the Jewish nefesh is a very delicate balance that is extremely sensitive to consumption of blood. It can be compared to a deafening effect. Over a period of time a person who listens to noises without protection will incur hearing loss. The amount of hearing loss is dependent on the several factors regarding the noise. The point is, one may suffer hearing loss, G-d forbid.
In a similar way one who consumes blood suffers both spiritual sensitivity loss and physical sensitivity problems. One's ability to function as Hashem intended will definitely be impaired. This is because blood is the essence of all living creatures. The Torah states that "the life of all flesh is in the blood." Leviticus 17:11 So if one consumes blood, G-d forbid, they absorb the presence of the being whose blood they consume. One simple example of this fact is disease. Yet there are other factors that are not as easily perceived that greatly affect one, like animal brutishness, cruelty and territory issues.
Then one considers the spiritual issues. Consuming blood greatly hinders the avenues of spiritual enlightenment. It is like trying to run a powerful electric tool on a very cheap extension cord. The cord cannot supply adequate current, the draw is too great. It is also like a bucket filled with rocks. The rocks weigh one down and prohibit the total use of the container for carrying its full potential.
So not only should a Jew purchase kosher meat, but one should be careful to extract blood by using salt and by roasting blood-concentrated parts like liver with fire before consuming.
Now considering this, why would a Jew, Jesus, who many consider to be their own personal savior... their own individual god... the one whom they credit with creating the world and writing the Torah... say words that contradict what he was purported to have said in the Torah?
"As they were eating, Jesus took {leavened} bread, {NOT MATZOH} and blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take this {bread}, eat {it}; this is my body.' He {Jesus} took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.'"
One MUST ask, what is the intention here? Why was leavened bread used at Pesach? Why was bread offered before the wine? Why was wine identified as blood?”

Why indeed! According to Dr. Belk if one consumes animal blood one becomes like an animal. Therefore if one consumes the blood of Christ one becomes like Christ. I think he gets it!

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."
As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Not to be nit-picky or anything, but why in his article does the Dr. parenthesis "leavened bread"? I always thought that it was assumed that it really would have been UNleavened bread?

Germanicus said...

The author of the article I quote is Jewish and I think his assertion that the bread Jesus and the disciples ate at Passover was leavened is to make a case that Jesus knowingly violated the commands of God and caused others to do the same. Imagine a Jewish scholar accusing Jesus of breaking Jewish law…

Simplest explanation to his accusation is because that is how the Greek reads.
The verse he is referring to is in Mt 26,26 in the upper room. “

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."

The word used in this verse is same used for common everyday bread “artos” in Greek.
The word for uleaveaned bread is “azumos” in Greek (matzoh in Hebrew.)
The LXX translates matzoh as azumos in Ex 12 when describing the unleavened bread to be eaten at the Passover meal.
Mt 26,17 translates the feast of unleavened bread as azumos.
Most other renderings for bread in the gospels is artos

The literal meaning of azumos is without yeast. That it is unleavened bread is implied.
To illustrate; the word for yeast is “zumos”. In Mt 16,12 Jesus warns his disciples to watch out for “zume” they misunderstand him to be speaking about bread “artos” when in fact he means the zume of the pharisees. They assume bread because that is the understood usage. Bread made without yeast.
Notice the 1st part of the word for unleavened bread is “a”…”zumos”, the last part is the word for yeast. The “a” can be understood to mean non or un or without. “azumos” that which is without yeast. To imply the subject or object is common in Greek. Another good example of this is Jn 13 when Jesus gives Judas a “sop” which can be translated little morsel. In English we would ask little morsel of what? The Greek doesn’t do that.

The meaning of artos is simply bread. It is bread made with or without yeast. I am not sure if there area any examples of the construction “bread with out yeast” other than those rendered “azumos”. Again in Greek, context and inference must be understood.

The question is really when and how does a writer use azumos and when and how do they use artos? Without getting too deep into 1st century culture or practice a plain reading of the text shows that in the gospels azumos is only used in reference to the Jewish holiday which bears the same name. The Feast of Matzoh. When the bread as food is mentioned the word used is artos.

Uses azumos
In the gospels the word is used only in reference to the Jewish event the festival of unleavened bread.
Paul uses it symbolically to represent freedom from sin or righteousness; probably close to the jewish understanding of it.
John never uses the term in his gospel

Uses of artos
This word is used extensively throughout the NT
In the gospels it is the common term used for the bread that is eaten
John uses it extensively including in the “I am the bread from heaven discourse.”

So the meal in the upper room was the feast of azumos where Jesus and the disciples ate artos made without zuma (the last can be implied from the context)

This answers his question in a satisfactory way but still one (me) is tempted to ask why was the writer not more specific? Why not be more definitive?
Many problems of interpretation can be better understood when one realizes that the text was not really written to us or to solve our problems or answer our questions. We are receiving the letter second hand. This does not mean that it has no meaning for us, but we do need to be careful not to force our meanings on the text, in order to solve our problems. That is why Christ gave us Bishops and Priests.