Hebrews 9:19-22, The Hebrew Club

When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood …

//When we were kids, we formed clubs and built forts and tree houses. We hung up signs that said, “No girls allowed.” We made up secret handshakes and lots of rules. We scavenged for used cigarette butts and snuck them into the fort, where we smoked what was left of them with reverence, sitting around a tin cup of exhausted filters.

When we grew up, we took down the “No girls allowed” sign. Turns out they’re human, too. We swapped the secret handshakes for embraces, and the rituals lost meaning.

I’m not Jewish, but I wonder … do Jews sometimes look back on their history with the same sort of embarrassed nostalgia? All that playing with animal blood, all the dress-up games, all those rules, meant only to draw lines in the desert sand delineating the Hebrew Club? 

Sometimes when I read the book of Hebrews, I get the feeling that’s how its author felt.


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