I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking. . . . I arose to open for my lover . . . but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. (Song of Songs 5:2, 5, 6, NIV)
Jewish traditional view on sexuality recognizes, and often celebrates it, as a necessary and crucial part of human life and development. For Judaism, sex is “not shameful, sinful or obscene,” neither is it “a necessary evil for the sole purpose of procreation,”1
Ever since the socalled “Reagan revolution,” Americans have heard a considerable amount of discussion on the importance of the family in our society. This phenomenon has been commonly associated with the more religious folks within our society, especially within the Jewish and Christian communities. However, even a number of secular sociologists have come to recognize that the family forms the essential foundational building block of a healthy and stable society. In the last several elections all political parties have attempted to jump on the “family bandwagon.”
The story of the young Daniel’s insistence upon eating only vegetables and water rather than the rich food from the king’s table is well known. The practice of eating only kosher foods is still an important custom for Jews today. But for many non-Jews, the practice of eating kosher (or kashrut) is a mystery.
Forces of Babel are in the way of the hope of Jerusalem.
From all corners of the earth the same clamor rises, the same stubborn frenzy to build the tower, the same excited desire to possess the gates of heaven (Babel). It is the same ambition to become the God of one’s life, house, town, and world. It would be unnecessary to draw out the precise design that these powers are tracing on the face of the earth in order to accomplish this purpose.
In the 1970s American comedian Flip Wilson used to recite the line, “The devil made me do it!” His point being, of course, that whatever sin he committed wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t help it. The devil made him do it.
The question of alcoholic beverages has been the concern of many religious communities. For both Jewish and Christian communities, drunkenness is considered morally inadequate. Yet, we often fail to perceive behind the usual reasons given for drinking, “to forget,” “to have a good time,” a more profound motivation.