on the first day of Simchat Torah according to the count of the Land of Israel
When the Temple was destroyed the masters knew that the holy writ of biblical myth needed to be expanded and deepened. The temple, which was the archetypal object of erotic desire in biblical writings, was no more. Where was holy eros to be found? The ingenious and revolutionary answer for the masters, whispered to them from within the folds of the tradition itself was the textualization of eros! The sacred text itself became the Holy of Holies in the temple. Every student was potentially the high priest.
The text itself was regarded as a living organism whose soul could be erotically penetrated by all who loved her sufficiently. From the inside of the text the word of God could be heard and a new Torah channeled.
The model for eros is virtually always the sexual. Contemporary philosopher Joseph Soloveitchik implied but never explicated the ritualed eroticism in the Synagogue service. The Torah scroll is taken out of the ark for public reading and study. She is undressed. Her lavish coverings are removed, revealing a scroll of bare animal skin. She is then laid on the altar-like reading table and spread open. The reader places a phallic-like pointer on the spread parchment between the two scrolled sides and begins to chant the text aloud. The esoteric erotic mysteries are hidden in the most open of places.
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posted on marcgafni.com
posted by marc gafni