Passover is winding down. I am among the few sad to see it end, not finding the food “deprivations” that difficult. For sure, no other holiday has us thinking about food more (except Yom Kippur) so here is a food related posting that also sheds light on Trump and Amazon. Torah can always be relevant.
We all know that the Torah says pork is a no no (Deut. 14, Lev. 11.) There is no explanation for why pork is bad and beef not, maybe it was in part about differentiation from the neighbors. Archeology should help us know if that is so. It does, sort of. Digs in areas inhabited by the hated Philistines found lots of pig bones, and those nearby where Israelites lived found far fewer. Mystery solved. But then we look closer and find complications.
In Philistine urban areas, places like Ashdod and Ekron in cities north of Gaza with large Philistine populations, there are plenty of pig bones. But in rural areas of Philistine, almost no such remains were found. Archeologists can’t figure why the difference. And then, more to our interest, there aren’t many pig bones in any Israelite site in Iron Age I but they appear in Iron IIB (780-680BCE). Not in every Israelite excavation however – significant numbers of pig bones were found in the northern Kingdom of Israel and basically none in the southern kingdom of Judah. So, some Israelites were raising/eating pigs and some not. Remember the two kingdoms didn’t get along. The north was a breakaway with its own kings, own sacrificial system, and evidently own dining practices. Remember the Torah was basically produced (transmitted and/or edited) in the south. Maybe the pork taboo in the Torah wasn’t directed at Philistine practices at all but more a rebuke of the northern Israelites for adopting too many of the habits of the neighbors?
If that hypothesis is true, then once again we learn that things may not be the way we think they are. And that brings us to Trump’s attacks on Amazon. Let me be the first to say, and friends will confirm, that I worry that Amazon is bad for America. It is putting a lot of businesses in danger – think books and food for a start. So when Trump began piling on Amazon, I thought “here he and I have finally found common ground.” But then it began to be suggested that Trump doesn’t care about Amazon but only about its founder, Jeff Bezos, who happens to own the Washington Post, one of the most anti-Trump media outlets of all.
So, if it’s not about Amazon, then is pork OK? Not so fast. At the least, some food for thought. Best regards and Chag Sameach. Bill Rudolph