The Chapter 19 laws are beautiful for their mix of pragmatism and justice. Let me quote the middle of the chapter at length, it's so good:Dern. I guess I'm gonna have to go back over the Bible and find this part. This series has really become one of my weekly online news highlights.
You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the Lord am your God.
You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another. You shall not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.
You shall not defraud your fellow. You shall not commit robbery. The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning.
You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind. You shall fear your God. I am the Lord.
You shall not render an unfair decision; do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kinsman fairly. Do not deal basely with your countrymen. Do not profit by the blood of your fellow: I am the Lord.
You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart. Reprove your kinsman but incur no guilt because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the Lord.
You shall observe My laws.
Wow! Top that, Congress! In just a few sentences, the Torah speaks up for justice, charity, workers, and the disabled; it condemns financial crimes, gossip, and war profiteering; and it offers perhaps the most concise directive on human behavior ("Love your fellow as yourself"—Ever wonder where Jesus got "Love thy neighbor"? Not anymore.)
Monday, July 17, 2006
Absolutely a must read, since it covers the most fiery issues in our American culture war. It also culminates with this tour de force: