Interfaith Nitzavim

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This is a shorter parsha, but it has its fair share of anomalous passages. If anyone can find me a nicer translation online that goes by the Hebrew numbering, please let me know. I have some issues with this one myself. I can't copy from the JPS because it's not allowed. Oh, and this is the info for this week's parsha, and this links to the NJPS translation:

The first section I have selected is:


"12. in order to establish you this day as His people, and that He will be your God, as He spoke to you, and as He swore to your forefathers to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 13. But not only with you am I making this covenant and this oath, 14. but with those standing here with us today before the Lord, our God, and [also] with those who are not here with us, this day."

What is the significance of lines 13-14? It seems safe to me to say that this refers to those who haven't been born, (and please disagree heartily if you do) but what is the implication of that? And what kind of contract is this, that it applies to people who are not present and cannot speak for themselves? How do you react to the making of such a contract? Line 9 and 10 earlier mentions the woodcutters and water-drawers along with women, children, strangers within the camp, and all of the leadership. There seems to be some effort being put into including everybody. What do you make of that? Anything else that occurs to you, please speak up. So far nobody has had a negative view of the text, or a clearly liberal take, (besides myself,and poh's drashes are certainly unconventional.) That's disappointing, not in the people who have come, but in my ability to attract a thoroughly mixed crowd. Okay. I'll stop talking. Forward. Upward. Onward. And away!

Peace and blessings.

Another passages that might be of interest:

28. The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah.

Please feel free to look at surrounding passages and quote from them, and also to continue with the previous passage. What are the hidden things? What are the revealed things? How does this relate to the fulfillment of all the words of "this Torah?" What is "this Torah?" How does this passage tie to the passages that appear directly before it? After it? You don't have to stick to my questions. They're simply there as guides for those who would rather have some points to jump from.
I'm offering another selection, Torah buffet. Any of these or the earlier options are open for discussion and study at your leisure. Discuss from what interests you here.

From Chapt 30.". 6. And the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, [so that you may] love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, for the sake of your life."

What does this mean?

"10. when you obey the Lord, your God, to observe His commandments and His statutes written in this Torah scroll, [and] when you return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul."

What is the difference between heart and soul?

I will offer more selections tomorrow.
i am going to use a different verse for heart & soul because it makes a little more sense to me, if that is ok.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind...." [Luke 10:27]

The word for "heart" here is "kardia" = "the thoughts or feelings (mind)" It does not refer to the flesh of the heart that pumps blood, but really our "mind" in the sense of our "soul" or "spirit." The word translated "soul" in the verse is "psuche" (breath). But the word translated "mind" here is not referring to our "soul or spirit" for the Greek word used is "dianoia" which refers to our "deep thoughts" that is, the exercise of our minds. So the verse used "heart and soul" for emphasis, since they really refer to the same thing: the "spirit," and then adds that we are to love our God with our actual thoughts.

here is what i got for the words used there in Deut. Heart seems to be a compound word, more or less in this context i would say, meaning mind & feelings, since the flesh heart pumps blood.

3820 leb labe a form of 3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything:--+ care for, comfortably, consent, X considered, courag(-eous), friend(-ly), ((broken-), (hard-), (merry-), (stiff-), (stout-), double) heart((-ed)), X heed, X I, kindly, midst, mind(-ed), X regard((-ed)), X themselves, X unawares, understanding, X well, willingly, wisdom. 3823 labab law-bab' a primitive root; properly, to be enclosed (as if with fat); by implication (as denominative from 3824) to unheart, i.e. (in a good sense) transport (with love), or (in a bad sense) stultify; also (as denominative from 3834) to make cakes:--make cakes, ravish, be wise.
3824 lebab lay-bawb' from 3823; the heart (as the most interior organ); used also like 3820:--+ bethink themselves, breast, comfortably, courage, ((faint), (tender-)heart((-ed)), midst, mind, X unawares, understanding.

Here is what i got for SOUL which again appears to me to mean LIFE.

5315 nephesh neh'-fesh from 5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental):--any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead(-ly), desire, X (dis-)contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart(-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-)self, them (your)-selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.

I am glad you did that because this is a kind of intertextual quoting that I think can be very helpful since it is bringing it back to the text, instead of going off away from it.

I wonder if soul does refer to life in the original passage. Look at line 6. The word ?? is used at the end for life, but it may be an affirmation of the word nefesh. I don't want to look back at Bereshit, at Genesis, to get a comparison of the word nefesh because we'll be there very soon. But I also think that in this case it does mean life, associated with the blood maybe. I think this is the one that's associated more closely with blood whereas ruach and neshama have more to do with breath. I'll have time later in the week to pull out my BDB if no one else gets the chance, but I think all animals contain a nefesh and there are some passages that relate it to blood. Have to check on that. That might also be why nefesh and lev are used together! Lev pumps dam, which is in some way connected to nefesh, so if you love God with all your lev, then your nefesh will follow. Maybe... I'm musing out loud.

If you ever want to pull out vulgate or septuagint of Torah, please do. Or anyone else. I don't know if you consider either of those texts canonical, but it would be warmly welcome.

"Chapter 30

11. For this commandment which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away. 12. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" 13. Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" 14. Rather,[this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it."

Talk amongst yourselves.
I'll try to get back to this one this evening .... have to leave for work and have been taking care of my grandson for the last three days so I haven't been on-line much .... but thought I'd share one of the translation comments from my copy (commentaries by Robert Alter) ....

"14. but with him who is here standing with us this day .... and with him who is not here with us this day. This idea is paramont for the whole theological-historical project of the Book of Dueteronomy. The awesome covenant, evoked through Moses's strong rhetoric, whereby Israel binds itself to God, is a timeless model, to be reenacted scrupulously by all future generations. The force of the idea is nicely caught by rabinnic notion that all unborn generations were already standing here at Sinai."

for those that believe that all that came before and all that is to come are still present in some form of energy (and I believe this) the above reference would take place within a matrix of life forms in different times and demensions .... to see it, one would probably have to visit the great "hall of records" or the place in which all knowledge is held (this is making me think of the Dome of the Book that circular museum) one could look at it physically (each of us carries the seeds of the future generations), energetically (all is present at all times in different places within the matrix), or spiritually (Israel binds itself to God) .... it is quite beautiful and gives the soul a sense of peace that all is right into the future .... he hawai'i au, poh
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