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Sunday, January 19, 2014
Deuteronomy 4: Purple People
Re'eh/See (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)
See, I present before you today a blessing and a
curse….God has chosen you from all the
peoples on the face of the earth to be a special people. (Deuteronomy
In Hebrew, am segulah, a special people, is related
to am segol, a purple people.
The Jewish People is assigned a special role to teach what
every artist knows – that purple emerges from mixing blue with red.
Bringing the blue of sky down into the red (adom) of
earth (adamah) lowers spirituality into the earth-bound world of
Those who see spiritual sparks emerging from all aspects of
their lives are blessed.It is a curse
to not to be able to see these sparks.
The biblical charge to be a purple people is followed by
rules for kosher eating, a spiritual practice rooted in daily mundane choices.
It teaches that spirituality mixed into ordinary material
experiences can transform them into moments of extraordinary significance.
We live above a shopping center in Petah Tikva where purple
jumps out at us in every shop:
Purple plums in greengrocer Avi's store. A purple vessel for
ritual hand washing before meals in Shimon's mezuzah and tefillin store.
Purple shirts in Batya's menswear store. Tinkerbelles in
purple boxes in Yosi's toy store.
Hamsters in purple cages in Liat's pet shop. And stamps with
purple flowers in the post office.