First of all, I think it's talking about something else entirely. The text is using ancient language and ancient metaphors to articulate some pretty universal values and concerns. A mentor of mine once taught me, you've got to listen for "the music
Again, the Torah's focus is cleanliness. Actual, literal bathing to merit entering the Temple: "Moses and Aaron and his sons would wash their hands and feet; they
washed when they entered the Tent of Meeting and when they approached the altar - just as Adonai had commanded Moses." (40:32) Shabbat Parah takes its special Haftarah from the writings of the Prophet Ezekiel. "Parah" literally means "Cow" or "Heifer," and on the surface it appears we are still talking about purification. In ancient times, the ash of a sacrificed heifer was used to PURIFY items and people performing Temple worship. However, Ezekiel then morphs this idea into a new concept. He writes, "As Jerusalem is filled with sacrificial sheep during her festivals, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people" (36:38). Speaking to Judean exiles in Babylonia, who were banished from their land, Ezekiel is talking about purification as a thing that will one day happen, when our people merit to return to our land. It's about national redemption and salvation; NOT soap and water!
Now it's our turn. We need to do the same thing. We need to listen to the music behind the words, and help our texts and our laws evolve. If purity really means "inclusion" and "exclusion" today, how can we bring more people in? Our Pesach observance is no longer about bringing sacrifices to an altar, but it IS still about remembering how we were redeemed, and praying for peace and redemption once
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