Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dangerous bore

Remember our old friend Job? He crops up everywhere! Here's a midrash where the rabbis are trading interpretations of Levitucus 2:3-4: "If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: / If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin ... a sin offering."
It is, needless to say, neither the first nor the last proffered interpretation. One of the striking fables which make midrash so rich, the story of the ship-borer is also interesting for the several things it suggests about the nature and dangers of Job's protests to God - and for the way it seems to imply that this part of Job, at least, may represent a danger to Israel.
Midrash Rabbah - Leviticus,
trans. J. Israelstam & Judah J. Slotki (London: The Soncino Press, 1983), 55

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