Saturday, January 19, 2013

Interesting post on unity

Rabbi Ari Saks is a recently ordained rabbi from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. I  left this comment on his post but it disappeared.

The post is about an African priest visiting his Synagogue. R Saks then recalls a time davening in "my favorite little synagogue called Va'ani T'fillah (And I am Prayer)"

The phrase 'but I, I am a prayer' is in Psalm 109 v4. I was glad to see it out of context. In context, this is a very significant Psalm  for Judaism (preceding 110 and its two acrostics following).  In it, the elect, expressed in the first person singular (i.e. at unity) is persecuted and prays the most severe polemic on his persecutors.  From my pending book on the psalms (in Hebrew and English)
But I, I am a prayer (verse 4). How can יהוה be silent when the mouth of deceit and crime is so open? The cursing in this psalm seems worse than Psalm 137. But the promise of oil alleviates the blast of curses. The vetting of this barrage of curses works itself to grace (28a). The psalm ends with mouth – praise, as it began, and יהוה has not said a word. But read on. A response is imminent.
The following Psalm 110, an oracle, then outlines the wounding (מחץ) of the head - as if the elect is wounded on behalf of all.

Psalms 111-112 (as is the role of all acrostics) celebrates the prior psalm (110). Compare Psalm 36 (oracle) and 37 (acrostic).

I was moved by his post because the Shema implies that we must find that unity. Paul appeals to this unity in Romans. We know how difficult this is even within our own traditions.