Page:Guideforperplexed.djvu/436

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Lord," but, on the contrary, a smoke despised and abhorred. For this reason the burning took place without the camp. Similarly we notice that the oblations of a sotah is called "an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance" (Num. v. 15); it is not a pleasing thing [to the Lord]. The goat [of the Day of Atonement] that was sent [into the wilderness] (Lev. xvi. 20, seq.) served as an atonement for all serious transgressions more than any other sin-offering of the congregation. As it thus seemed to carry off all sins, it was not accepted as an ordinary sacrifice to be slaughtered, burnt, or even brought near the Sanctuary; it was removed as far as possible, and sent forth into a waste, uncultivated, uninhabited land. There is no doubt that sins cannot be carried like a burden, and taken off the shoulder of one being to be laid on that of another being. But these ceremonies are of a symbolic character, and serve to impress men with a certain idea, and to induce them to repent; as if to say, we have freed ourselves of our previous deeds, have cast them behind our backs, and removed them from us as far as possible.

As regards the offering of wine (Num. xv. 5, seq.), I am at a loss to find a reason why God commanded it, since idolaters brought wine as an offering. But though I am unable to give a reason, another person suggested the following one: Meat is the best nourishment for the appetitive faculty, the source of which is the liver; wine supports best the vital faculty, whose centre is the heart: music is most agreeable to the psychic faculty, the source of which is in the brain. Each one of our faculties approaches God with that which it likes best. Thus the sacrifice consists of meat, wine, and music.

The use of keeping festivals is plain. Man derives benefit from such assemblies: the emotions produced renew the attachment to religion; they lead to friendly and social intercourse among the people. This is especially the object of the commandment to gather the people together on the Feast of Tabernacles, as is plainly stated: "that they may hear, and that they may learn and fear the Lord" (Deut. xxxi. 12). The same is the object of the rule that the money for the second tithe must be spent by all in one place (ibid. xiv. 22-26), as we have explained (chap. xxxix. p. 184). The fruit of trees in their fourth year, and the tithe of the cattle, had to be brought to Jerusalem. There would therefore be in Jerusalem the meat of the tithes, the wine of the fruit of the fourth year, and the money of the second tithe. Plenty of food would always be found there. Nothing of the above things could be sold; nothing could be set aside for another year; the Law orders that they should be brought "year by year" (Deut. xiv. 22); the owner was thus compelled to spend part of them in charity. As regards the Festivals it is especially enjoined: "And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow" (ibid. xvi. 14). We have thus explained the reason of every law belonging to this class, and even many details of the laws.

CHAPTER XLVII

THE precepts of the twelfth class are those which we have enumerated in the section on "Purity" (Sefer tohorah). Although we have mentioned their use in general, we will here offer an additional explanation, and [first] fully discuss