Monday, November 5, 2007

Saturday's Service: Haftarah

Today, we didn't go over the Torah portion for the week.  Instead, the Rabbi wanted to talk about the Haftarah portion, which was from the beginning of 1 Kings.
It was about the death of King David and the succession of King Solomon to the throne.  The Rabbi was particularly interested in the references to political machinations among Bathsheba, Adonijah, Solomon, and David himself.

This represented the second time I've heard the Rabbi compare the story of King David to The Godfather.  It's an interesting comparison, the way he tells it.  David had a protection racket going, which is one of the ways that the Mafia made money.  He also had a hitman in Joab, who he specifically instructed Solomon to kill, almost as a last dying wish.

It seemed particularly apt, as I watched American Gangster with my mom after I was done at the synagogue.  I will admit that it was the Magen David around Russell Crowe's neck that initially made me think of comparing the kingpin to King David, worked, at least on the surface.  I want to study more, because I probably don't know enough about either the Mafia or King David to be accurate.  My prior lessons in the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament) are best characterized in one word: brief.

If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that the characters in the Bible were human.  They were good people who did bad things, and  sometimes bad people who did good things.  What I take away from it, more than anything else, is that I don't have to follow tradition to the letter; it's more important to learn, understand, and make things relevant.

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