Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Month of Everything Idolatrous

I saw this Rabbeinu Bachye this week and thought I would share. Although frowned upon, in war a soldier is technically allowed to take what is called an Aishes Yefas Toar. Essentially, he is allowed to take a female captive to be his bride. Prior to marriage he must allow her one month to mourn her parents that she was taken from. (Devarim 21:13)

Rabbeinu Bachye cites from various Midrashic literature to demonstrate that this month is a time for her to separate herself from the idolatrous practices that she had been raised with. Rabbeinu Bachye points out that representation of the major celestial orbits that influenced the beginnings of idolatry take place throughout the course of one month. In thr course of this month, there are days that show the sun's apparent celestial motion. There are also weeks that contain seven days dedicated to the seven ancient plabets: the sun, moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Lastly, during the course of a month one sees the full orbital movement of the moon around earth. Thus, her waiting a month allows her to remove herself from these items, once considered deities. At each point she sees that her gods were powerless and could not save her. (Rabbaeinu Bachye Devarim 21:13)

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