Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Talmud on the bygone priesthood

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: On Priestly Perfection. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ how ancient Talmudic rabbis recreated and understood the lost religious culture of the First Temple.
The priesthood, like animal sacrifice, is one of those Jewish institutions that were once centrally important, but have been basically defunct for the last 2,000 years. People of priestly descent—often designated by the last name Cohen, which is the Hebrew word for priest—still offer a special benediction for the congregation on certain Jewish holidays. But this is a mere relic of the glory that belonged to the priesthood in Temple times. In the Torah, it is clear that only the correct performance of sacrificial rites by the priests—the descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses—allows the Jewish people to enjoy God’s favor.
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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