The Ex-Big Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, Baron Aldgate

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, there’s a Big Jewish Festival coming up. Happy Something-or-other everybody! So we read the book of Ruth. The story of the Book of Ruth, which is very relevant today, is as follows… blah blah blah blah blah blah…

Oh and there’s the virus and Mental Health Awareness week and stuff.

17 thoughts on “The Ex-Big Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, Baron Aldgate

  1. Another Big Jewish Festival. I wonder if this is the one where you have to camp out in the garden. Or the one where you have to get your car valeted in case it might be harbouring crumbs of the wrong kind of bread?


    1. How about eruvin. Another nutty jewish idea with which the laws set down by their god can be breached unobserved. If the god of the jews is that easily deceived then why bother with him at all? And if Jews are so dishonest as to utilise an eruv to deceive their own god then why should I trust any of them?


      1. The South Trafford public meetings have been hilarious. It’s a fairly well-to-do area, lots of lawyers, and plenty of clever people as well. The two public meetings were extremely well attended, and simply shot down every single argument in favour of the eruv that the organising group put up.

        My favourite was pointing out that if existing walls were suitable for forming the boundary, and newly built wires over roads were suitable, then why not existing wires over roads? That is, telephone wires. Just walk round the area defining (not marking) a series of existing walls and telephone wires as your boundary, and there you go – job done. No need to build anything. No need for anyone not in the know to have the first idea about it. The knowledge would be limited to the pro-eruv group and god.

        Of course, this was never the point. The point, as every single person in the room knew, was to have a gatepost saying “Welcome to a Jewish Area”, and to use that to influence people’s house buying choices. It was tried once, it failed horribly. It was tried again, it failed horribly again. So the idea was dropped.

        “In the interests of communal unity, the trustees of the Hale Eruv Project have, after careful consideration, decided not to proceed with their current planning application.”

        Maybe they adopted the idea above. Who knows.

        It’s worth pointing out that STATE (South Trafford Against The Eruv) was supported by a majority of the Jewish people living inside the prospective eruv’s boundary. As with most of these things, we only hear about the activist groups, and so mustn’t extrapolate to all members of a particular community.


  2. I thought I might add an occasional “On this day” comment in the blog. If enough people like the idea then I might do it more often. So here’s the first one.

    On this day 22 May 2013

    Rev John Bell of the Iona Community

    Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

    Did you see the telly the other night? It was riveting: four hours’ coverage of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

    First, someone would stand up and make a theological point based on the Big Book of Magic stuff. Then someone else would stand up and express the opposite theological point of view, also based on the Big Book of Magic Stuff. It’s almost as if the Big Book of Magic Stuff was made up by different people at different times and it wasn’t the incontrovertible view of the Invisible Magic Friend after all.

    They were discussing The Gays. Parliament have been discussing The Gays too. Some MPs also have views based on selected bits of the Big Book of Magic Stuff. They select bits that state the incontrovertible view of the Invisible Magic Friend that just happens to support what they think.

    This topic, The Gays, seems to be all we ever talk about these days. It’s as bad as debating what the Big Book of Magic Stuff has to say about women.

    In the end, the Church of Scotland took the firm theological decision that those that wanted The Gays could have them, and those that didn’t want The Gays didn’t have to have them. So the issue is now finally resolved for good and we will never have to discuss The Gays or women ever again.


    1. If we have a regular flashback spot, could there be a link so that we could check out the original comments too? I’ve been following this blog for a long time, it would be fun to see what I said a few years ago and whether I still agree with myself.


      1. I think that would be a good idea. At the moment I only have the old blog running on a private server at home. I’ll need to look into what I would need to do to load it up on the public one again.


  3. There is a similar amount of stuff in the OT about tattoos as there is about gayness. Where is the discussion about the Church’s position on people with tattoos?

    At the time of this platitude I was just coming to terms with being diabetic and getting to grips with injecting myself with insulin and checking my blood glucose levels. Seven years on I’m doing well on diet and exercise.


  4. Love the ‘On This Day’ idea. More please!

    “Och aye the noo, in the auld days we only had tae worry aboot The Gays. These days we have tae worry aboot the whole of The LGBTQ+. The Kirk of Scotland is at sixes and sevens. What’s a body to do?”

    Sacks’s monologue suggests that he believes (a) the fable of Ruth actually happened; (b) King David actually existed; and (c) Ruth really was David’s ancestor. Yet he is supposed to be a wise and scholarly representative of his faith. He also seems to share with many Christians the view that human attitudes and behaviours are relevant only if they can be validated by something in his BBoMS. Not one of the nasty bits of the BBoMS, of course. We never hear about those.


  5. Ruth is a nice (Old testament) story, certainly when compared, for example, to Esther. People obey the Jewish life rules, and their IMF does not get involved.

    Naomi and menfolk go to Moab. The two sons marry filthy foreign girls (see Exodus 34 – “their daughters will lust after their gods, and will cause your sons to lust after their gods.”) The men soon die, but for once we are not told that this is God’s just punishment.

    Naomi decides to return to Jerusalem, but advises the daughters-in-law to stay and remarry. Ruth insists she will stay with Naomi “For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” She will worship the Jewish God not because He is great, etc, but because He is Naomi’s.

    Back home, Ruth goes gleaning in the field belong to Naomi’s husband’s kinsman Boaz. (Leviticus 19 orders farmers to leave gleanings for the poor.) Boaz notices and quietly tells his workers to leave more gleanings.

    Naomi now turns matchmaker. She gets Ruth to scrub up, go to Boaz’s bed and uncover his feet (euphemism?) and then for him to put his robe over her (another euphemism?). He, a much older man, is clearly delighted that a pretty young girl throws herself at his feet – and thanks her for not going after a younger man! Ruth points out that Boaz is “a redeeming kinsman”; a male relative of her dead husband and thus has an obligation to marry her. (These are the “levirate” marriage laws from Genesis; my favourite example is Onan).

    Boaz realises that another relative has first go, but this relative refuses, taking off his sandal. Deuteronomy 25 says why: “She shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull the sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and make this declaration: Thus shall be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house!” The brother’s house will be known as “the family of the unsandaled one.”

    So Boaz gets the girl. I always saw him as the popular old village granddad figure who lives happily ever after.


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