Acharei Mot – Kedoshim

A people’s desire for a strong monarch is accepted and criticised by the Torah. “If you decide… to have a king (melech) rule over you…. you are free to do so.” This desire for boundaries is understandable and human, it may even strengthen its counterpart, the boundless anarchic passion that truly fuels spiritual life. But when the desire for powerful rulers becomes too strong and breaks this balance, the people are in danger. “Do not allow any of your children to be offered up to Molech!” When everything we hold precious is sacrificed to an illusive power, when politicians become idols, when the boundaries of a system (state, friendship, religion) choke the spiritual passion they should protect and encourage – rebel!

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[Inspired by: Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 17; Sifrei Dvarim 43; Freud’s Civilisation and its Discontent; Königtum Gottes by Martin Buber; depictions of Moloch by Allen Ginsberg and Fritz Lang; and Goya’s Saturn.]

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