Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hearken (Shamar) Then Peform (Asah): The Implications for the "One-Law" Passage in Exodus 12

In the Torah, HaShem tells the Israelites to hearken (shamar) to His commands and perform (asah) them.

I think of how I tell a command to my daughter:

"Pick up all of your shoes."

She hears...[then she discusses, I have to repeat the command]...and then she performs as I instructed.

Why do I command her to do things?

Because I want a relationship with her.  I will be to her a father; she will be to me a daughter.

It's the same way between G-d and the Israelites.  He wants to be their G-d and wants them to be His people.  So He commands, they listen (shamar) and then perform (asah)....(at least some of the time).

Now for the Gentiles out there who are responding to the call to Torah, you are much like the ger (proselyte) of Exodus 12:48.  It's interesting how Torah phrases this verse.  The ger isn't "invited" to perform the Passover.  He performs (asah) Pesach.  This phraseology tells us that G-d commanded the ger to follow in the footsteps of Avraham, a journey that, for the convert, begins with faith and culminates in circumcising all the males of the household.

TECHNICAL NOTE:  I believe there were originally two types of proselyte and two classes of "ger" in Ancient Israel:  (1) paroikos--uncovenanted and; (2) proselutos--covenanted (which could be circumcised or uncircumcised).  Where do I get the idea that a proselyte (newcomer) can even be someone who is uncircumcised?  Because Avraham, the first proselyte, was uncircumcised when he entered into covenant with G-d (circumcision came later as a sign of the pre-existing covenant).

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