Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Parsha Puzzles

Some things that kept me up last night (not really)

1 - Why didn't the Torah prohibit soldiers from raping captive women? The oft given excuse - its a concession to human nature - doesn't fly. Why concede to human nature here, and in no other case?

2 - Why does the Torah seem to be addressing a specific time and place when it presumes that the screams of a violated woman would certainly have been heard? That was true in ancient Israel when towns were small and crowded, but it isn't true now. Every modern city has abandoned areas and desolate neighborhoods where its possible to rape a woman without her screams being heard.

3 - Why have we abandoned the practice of Leverite marriage? Isn't this something of a redefinition of marriage? The Torah says plainly that a man is required to marry his brother's widow if there are no children, and should he refuse to fulfil this obligation he is viewed by the Torah as something of a scoundrel and he is subjected to a public shaming. Yet, in our day a man who who chooses not to fulfil this obligation is not considered to have done anything wrong at all. The world shrugs at his sin. Why isn't this attitude considered a modern corruption of Torah values? Shouldn't we readjust our thinking so that its perfectly in line with the Torah on this subject? Why don't Jewish moralists who inveigh against so-called liberal corruptions of the Torah's timeless message ever mention this issue?

4 - How did we acquire the idea that 22:5 prevents women from wearing pants? The plain language of the verse and the earliest interpretations defeat this reading. Full story here.

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