Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Leviticus: Chapter 23

From six to seven
from seven till tomorrow

Make the day a thing
dense as bone
immersive as blood

We will be at-one
each day in its day

Tomorrow, and tomorrow,
and tomorrow

[For full chapter, click here

From the creation of a "Tent of Meeting" (ohel mo'ed) in space, this chapter moves to the creation of "meetings" (mo'ed) in time.Time gains physicality and dimensions, becoming a "thing" (etzem, lit. "bone"): "any soul that does work on this very day (etzem ha-yom hazeh) shall be cut off from  its people."  If until now, atonement was to be found only in the blood of the offerings, now time itself becomes an atonement: "for it is a day of atonement, to atone for you before God, your Lord."
The pattern of 7-8 that defined the consecration of the Tent is even more defined. The chapter opens with the Sabbath--the prototype of all sanctified time--which is defined by "Six days shall work be done; and  on the seventh day a sabbath of rest." 
This introduces the lists of the holidays, which all revolve around the sanctified seven: "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread" "you shall bring an offering for seven days""count for yourself...seven complete sabbaths" "after the seventh sabbath...offer seven sheep." 
Yet from the pattern of seven, we move to the day "after the Sabbath"--the eighth day of consecration: "count for yourself from the morrow of the Sabbath." This turns into "the eighth day shall be called holy... a day of assembly."
Like the consecration of the Dwelling, the consecration of time  is completed on the liminal "eighth day", the transition out of the "seventh".]

No comments:

Post a Comment