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A reflection on this week's Torah portion.
The first institution of Jewish society is the family. At home, mother and father induct their children into the universal covenant between the Almighty and all his children and into the special covenant between God and his eldest son, Israel. We all know the description at the beginning of Genesis: A man leaves father and mother (whose flesh he is) and cleaves to his wife, becoming one flesh with her. Each marriage participates in a primordial unity. The union of man and woman is a recovery—their mutual knowledge is a mutual recollection.
Account - Marriage - Deuteronomy
So then what to make of the rather bleak account of Jewish marriage in Deuteronomy 24? Here it is in full:
When a man takes a wife and is a husband to her, and she does not find favor in his eyes, for he finds something revolting in her, he shall write her a bill of severance, and put it in her hand, and send her from his house. If she shall leave his house and be with another man, and this man shall hate her, and write her a bill of severance, and put it in her hand, and banish her from his house, or if this second man who took her dies—her first husband, who banished her, may not take her as his wife after she has been defiled, for this is an abomination before the Lord. Do not introduce sin to the land that the Lord has given you as an inheritance.
Teacher - Mine - Someone - Thing - Form
A redoubtable teacher of mine once said that if you want to show someone how a thing ought to look, present it in degenerated form. Ugliness can push a man toward beauty better than beauty could have pulled him. The person for “moderation in all things” may trade ataraxia...
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