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Pinhas: Pact, Plot, Passion

Numbers 25:10-30:1

Two strange words are used this week to describe what the Midianites did to the Israelites. We'll talk about what they are and why they are here. (Click here for source sheet.)

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Ben Tzur on July 13, 2012 at 4:37 am (Reply)
The underlying message then of the Torah text, through the resonance of the two quite different verbs that sounded alike, seems to be that this sin of Baal Peor was a kind of intentional and passionate taking over and "spoiling" or even "annihilation" of the Jewish people (recalling the lore that Baal Peor was served through defecating at his shrines), through contaminating them and Hashem at their root source, that is, in the Tabernacle itself where the Divine Presence dwelt. The method used was one of fiendish possessive passion, sexual passion to be precise, which was commonly employed in pagan temples by temple prostitutes both male and female (and women and men about to be married, who had to have at least one random sex encounter in the temple before the wedding -- a kind of godly jus primae noctis), all in the service of the gods (the prostitutes and brides and grooms were possessed by and embodied the gods in a kind of mediumship, and the gods through this received and enjoyed the sexual ardour of, and in turn fecundated, their worshippers).

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