Monthly Archives: January 2011
So Arizona, in addition to making it more or less impossible for Latino non-citizens to live in the state (and I imagine pretty difficult for Latino citizens to do so), has now banned a high school Latino studies program.
I recently read an excellent book called Wrestling With God and Men, an examination of homosexuality in the Jewish tradition, by Rabbi Steven Greenberg.
Lots of people talk nowadays about the idea that the sin of Sodom wasn’t homosexuality but inhospitability—that when God, in Genesis 18:21, said, “I will go down and see whether they have acted altogether according to the cry that has reached me,” He was talking not about homosexuality or sexual excess in general but about arrogance, greed, and scorn for the poor.
I always assumed that this was to some extent a modern reinterpretation, but it turns out that this has been the Jewish view of Sodom for literally thousands of years. Rabbi Greenberg has this to say:
“Rabbinic legends about Sodom describe an area of unusual natural resources, precious stones, silver, and gold. Every path in Sodom, say the sages, was lined with seven rows of fruit trees. Jealous of their great wealth and suspicious of outsiders’ desire to share in it, the city’s inhabitants agreed to overturn the ancient law of hospitality to wayfarers. The legislation later included a prohibition to give charity to anyone. One legend claims that when a beggar would wander into Sodom, the people would mark their names on their coins and give him a dinar. However, no one would sell him bread. When he perished of hunger, everyone would come and claim his coin. A maiden once secretly carried bread concealed in her water pitcher to a poor person in the street. After three days passed and the man didn’t die, the maiden was discovered. They covered the girl with honey and put her atop the city walls. The bees came and ate her. Hers was the cry that came up to God, the cry that inaugurated the angelic visit and its consequences.”
All I can say is that I’m very glad I don’t live in Arizona right now and that, if I did, I would make sure, as I got the hell out of there, not to look back.