Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Jewish Legend

whenever i come across old stories like this one i try and jot them down (in contemporary language) as quickly as i can. i discovered this little gem while researching the parable of the good samaritan:

In the old stories, whenever someone died they contaminated the land. Consequently, as people neared death, their families often fought about which land they would contaminate.

Two priests were arguing about this issue, specifically about the boundary between the Temple and the City. They argued about which of these places would become unclean, if someone died on the border between them. The Temple priest claimed that the House of God could never be contaminated. The City priest claimed that God would spare His people from contamination.

To settle the debate, the City priest grabbed a young man from the market and plunged a knife into his chest while straddling the border. As the young man lay dying, the Temple priest stood before the people and posed the question: what has now been defiled?

But the young man's father was there. He ran to his son, screaming that he was not dead. The father held his son and forced the people would bear witness. He cursed the priests. He told them: my son will not die, and his wound will never stop bleeding, until you recognize that loving religion is no substitute for loving another human being.

Because the priests failed to perceive the father's wisdom, just as they failed to perceive their own sin, the City and the Temple both drowned in the blood of the son.

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