PASSOVER VIDEO. In addition to traditional religious and archeological readings, the Bible book "Exodus" also can be read as a collage of metaphors illustrating philosophically an exit ("exodus") from deductive, systematic thinking, and an entrance ("enlightenment") into inductive, intuitive thinking. This Exodus involves leaving behind structured, rationally organized systems of thinking (city, roadway, eating habits, clock time, rules of biological functioning, etc.) to enter situations which in comparison appear at first glance to be chaotic and senseless. In this video I examine several of these happenings in terms of their underlying logical transformation. Overall I conclude that the Exodus legend is set up to champion the Platonic, mystical worldview of a macrocosm of pure ideas and a microcosm of polluted cause/effect thinking, with an unfathomable gap, "void", between them. This Platonic universe is set in opposition to the Aristotelian worldview of reality organized rationally as one huge organism with interrelated organs. The process is analogous to what happens in Gestalt Therapy, where the therapist ("God "of the process) guides his client ("Moses", "the Jews") to exit from rational, systematic thinking and to enter into the fertile void ("desert") of awareness, also known as "the contact boundary". According to the Gestalt point of view, this phenomenological bubble of awareness - including the environment, the body and the panorama of fantasies - is all the reality there is. The final existential message of the Gestalt dreamwork process is then, according to my analysis, analogous to the final message of the book of Exodus as the Word of God.
Hence it is no accident that the basic meaning of the Hebrew root letters of the word "Moses" (the combination "Mem" plus "Shin") indicates "to touch", "to feel", "to grope, search for reality", along with the secondary meaning "to rescue, remove". On the other hand, the mental state of Pharaoh, with his endless vacillations between extremely opposite points of view about whether or not to release the Jews, is a typical example of neurotic thinking due to being stuck in the impasses that result from excessive deductions and ingrained mental habits (games"). And in fact the root letters of the word "pharaoh" in Hebrew spell out "revenge", in the sense that dialectical thinking organically has built into itself the notion that all excesses and reifications ("games") which interfere with the unfolding awareness based river of reality which "grows by itself" eventually will be annihilated in the process by the unfolding reality itself. "The wheels of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small" is one traditional formulation of this point of view. In the overall dialectical/kabbalistic process of the story, Moses as the new idea, the intuitive, inductive enlightenment emerging from the void, encompasses and negates the negations of the "One Without A Second" symbolized by Egypt and Pharaoh. The final synthesis is the One in the Many, the Antithesis encompassed by the Thesis, God in the world, the world in God. Of course, the "hero" of this Jewish flavored take on history is the Jewish people, who after Sinai embody the ideal complete dialectical logic: from thesis to antithesis to synthesis.
Here are the Exodus events which I examine in the video, in my attempt to justify the outrageous program I just have outlined above. (1) Moses exits the beaten road and enters the desert, where he finds a bush that burns and is not consumed. (2) Rashi compares God's message to Moses that "they will serve me on this mountain by receiving the Torah on it" to the sentence "this year you will eat that which grew of itself". (3) A fragmented minority group exits its anonymous role in structured Egyptian society to discover a new identity as a Jewish people in the desert. (4) Rashi comments that when Moses extends his hand the sun stops moving, which muddles the system of timekeeping of the Egyptians. (5) God demands that the Jews exit their rational idea of what food is and accept on faith that this strange stuff called "mann" is food. (5) Yitro convinces Moses to exit his job has head judge in the new Jewish community to be a lone prophet speaking to God on a mountaintop. (6) God tells Moses to set up a Tent of Meeting outside the camp, so Moses and others can exit the camp into the desert to enjoy a high spiritual state.
If there is some truth in my analysis, then typical models of Jewish education, with their stress on rational systems and books of rules, are to be seen as a departure from rather than as an appreciation of the Exodus legend. Likewise the traditional label for our Passover ritual as a "seder" (meaning "order") also is less than appropriate, since "to go out of Egypt" then means "to go out of your mind". But the practical implications of this theoretic work are beyond the range of the task i have set myself in a short video.