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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Destroy a Prophet Part II

We have heard it was said, “you will not harbor hatred for your brother,” but this does not apply for he is no brother of ours, and “you will not exact vengeance, or bear a grudge of any kind against the children of your people,” but he is not of our people. He has been banished from us. He has been stripped of uniform and rank. He has been removed from the rolls and his words cut from the scrolls. Send him out into the cold; let him suffer the wind.

As Moses’ own tribe rose up against him, so did we rise up against him.
And as Moses was cast into the water, so did we throw him into a pit.

By the decree of angels, and by the command of holy men we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn him, with the consent of God, Blessed Be He, and with the consent of all the Holy Congregation, in front of these holy Orders and Regulations, with the excommunication which Joshua banned Jericho, with the curse with which Elisha cursed the boys, and with all the curses which are written in the Book of the Law. Cursed be he by day. Cursed be he by night. Cursed be he when he comes in and when he goes out. The LORD will not spare him; the anger and wrath of the LORD will not depart from him. And his name will be blotted out from under heaven. We here do order that no one should communicate with him orally or in writing, show him any favor, or stay with him under the same roof, or read anything composed by him. Now and forever. Amen.

Let our respectable resentment be expressed with perfect freedom and we will stand aghast if the prophet, this holy man of God, should express his own imprecations. This is unbecoming. This is unacceptable behavior.

(Based on Jeremiah 18:18, Leviticus 19: 18, the Peskita de-Rav Kahana Midrash comparing Moses and Jeremiah, and the banishment of Baruch Spinoza. Part I is here.

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