Thursday, October 22, 2009

This week's lesson: Numbers 9-10

Manuscript Fragment, apparently meant as a footnote to Numbers 9:8

But even as Moses sought the guidance of the LORD, the elders did assemble and form the Interim Committee on Ritual Observances. And as was always the case, a grievous discussion did arise between those who did call themselves "The Party of Memory," and those who did call themselves "The Party of Hope."

"For if we should make an exception for those who are unclean to observe the Passover," said those in the Party of Memory, "then respect for the Law would cease, our family values would collapse, and our identity as a people would be in danger."

"And what would be the harm of that?" said those in the Party of Hope. "For the command that all should observe the Passover is obviously more important than all those other rules you continually cite. Indeed, this command speaks to our need for an inclusive community -- a community which . . ."

"Yes, yes -- we've heard all that before," interrupted a member of the other party (whose rudeness was only partially excused by the fact that he had, indeed, heard all this before). "But you're forgetting that our community is defined by its relationship to the Law.

"No, our community is defined by the way we treat each other!"

"But the Law tells us how to treat each other!"

"And there we have proof that people are more important than the Law!"

"No, you're just saying that people are more important than some laws -- and you reserve the right to pick and choose which ones!"

And so the discussion did continue in it's accustomed manner . . . until one who often came late to these meetings (and usually left early) did rise up and ask, "Isn't there some kind of compromise we could reach -- something that would include these people but still preserve our respect for the Law?"

And they were all silent as they did all look at each other . . . until finally, with one accord, they did shrug and say, "Nah -- that would take a miracle!"

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