Choose Life

In a 2007 lecture on Leviticus 14-15, Dennis Prager says: Skin disease here is not leprosy. It is not so much a pathologic condition as a condition representing death. Tame aka impure aka unclean means death-oriented.

The Torah’s great division is between life and death. Egypt was death-oriented. The world was death-oriented. The Torah is life-oriented.

What is death oriented today? The Torah wants us to remove ourselves from the death-oriented.

* Jihadist theology. Their motto is that we love death as much as Jews love life. This is their own self-description. Your child blows himself up and the parents give out candy.
* Nazism was death oriented. The SS uniforms were black.
* We have death metal music. Death plays a huge role in kids’ music. Many of the band names and songs are about death.
* We have Halloween, a bigger holiday in the United States than any but Christmas.
* Much of our art is death-oriented. The popular German art exhibit of dead bodies. You have urine and fecal matter in a number of exhibits and paintings. We had a huge exhibit in Britain about the Moors murders of children in central England.
* We have TV and movies that celebrate death for its own sake.
* Abortion is death.
* Drugs are walking death. Users may be biologically alive but they’re not growing. You die the day you become addicted.
* Zero population growth is the opposite of celebrating life. Among intellectuals, there’s a contempt for large families. You have to explain yourself, not the ones who don’t have children. The ones who have twelve kids are nuts.

Leviticus 14: 43 “If the mildew reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house scraped and plastered, 44 the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mildew has spread in the house, it is a destructive mildew; the house is unclean. 45 It must be torn down—its stones, timbers and all the plaster—and taken out of the town to an unclean place.

Dennis Prager: There is a concept here that your home is alive. That your house is a part of you. The house can suffer from death, from something eating it up, just as your scale disease can eat you up.

The idea that your house should be clean and not eroding is so civilizing. Judaism is a civilizing religion.

The literacy rate of Jewish women was virtually the same as Jewish men all through Jewish history. That is unparalled.

I am no ethnic chauvinist. Sometimes I joke that God made me a Jew so I wouldn’t be an anti-Semite.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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