Leviticus 17:18; A Brief Interpretation

18 “And you must not take a woman in addition to her sister as a rival to uncover her nakedness, that is, beside her during her lifetime.” …… 24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, because by all these things the nations whom I am sending out from before YOU have made themselves unclean.” ….. 26 “And you yourselves must keep my statues and my judicial decisions, and YOU must not do any of all these detestable things, whether a native or an alien resident who is residing as an alien in YOUR midst.”

What do you think the Jewish law was referring to when making these sets of law codes? Why did they consider rivaling one female relative against the other a crime against Jehovah? I’m guessing it’s because it could generate contempt (hatred) in the hearts of the female relatives who would ultimately end up competing for the same husband affections. In addition, the Old Testament book of Leviticus was the Isrealites’ law code. They were expected to follow these laws religiously and make atonement for them when they transgressed against them. These laws weren’t just for promoting beneficial social relationships like our modern criminal codes, they also helped prevent the proliferation of diseases, much like our modern day CDC. The book’s purpose was one of protection. Protection against unlawful acts and unlawful uncleanliness, both social and personal.

Religious study is like a stairway that leads us up and out of the darkness we were conceived in and what Hegel explains as the human condition consisting of, “this actual individual in the animal functions.” Hegel appears to imply defecation as an object of self-preoccupation “these [animal functions] are no longer performed naturally and without embarrassment, as matters trifling in themselves which cannot possess any importance or essential significance for Spirit; instead, it is in them that the enemy reveals himself in his characteristic shape, they are rather the object of serious endeavor, and become precisely matters of the utmost importance. This enemy, however, renews himself in his defeat, and consciousness, in fixing its attention on him, far from freeing itself from him, really remains forever in contact with him, and forever sees itself as defiled.” This “enemy,” as it were, is described as “the merest particular of the meanest character,” one which serves, unfortunately, as an object of identification for his “fallen” consciousness. Here, consciousness in its fall abjection has become like shit, lost in a self-referential anality, a circle of its own making. In Hegel’s words, “we have here only a personality confined to its own self and its petty actions, a personality brooding over itself, as wretched as it is impoverished. 

Significantly, it is here, in the effort to differentiate itself from its excretory functions, indeed, from its excretory identity, that consciousness relies on a “mediator,” what Hegel will call “the priest.”

In order to reconnect with the pure and the unchangeable, this bodily consciousness offers up its every “doing” to a priest or minister. This mediating agency relieves the abject consciousness of its responsibility for its own actions. Through the institution of counsel and advice, the priest offers the reason for the abject consciousness’s actions. Everything that the abject consciousness offers, that is, all of its externalizations, including desire, work, and excrement, are to be construed as offerings, as paying penance. The priest institutes bodily self-abnegation as the price of holiness, elevating the renunciatory gesture of excretion to religious practice whereby the entire body is ritualistically purged. The sanctification of abjection takes place through rituals of fasting and mortification [fasten und kasteien].” Because the body cannot be fully denied, as the stoic thought, it must be ritualistically renounced.”

It is through the “mediator” or “priest” that one is helped into a conscious state of awareness of his own defilement and by bringing to the fore of man’s conscious mode of thought, man becomes aware of  his “defilement.” Through this process one is constantly re-awaken to his own base state or condition, in his need to self-satisfy his desires and needs and he is given into self-sacrifice as a way to “tame” this constantly re-emerging animal who consistently seeks to gratify the human flesh.

Contemptthe feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn.

Und kasteien is German word  which translates to English as meaning  “to tame oneself through the act of self-denial.


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