FEAST Excerpt for Passover: Spiritual and Physical

This is an excerpt from my latest book, FEAST, published by LifeWay. You can see FEAST at LifeWay.com or threadsmedia.com

The point of this excerpt is that people too greatly limit spiritual practice by assuming the physical and the spiritual are separate realms.

The Jewish understanding of the relationship between the spirit and the physical is much different than the Greek understanding. While the Greeks believed the body and soul are separate entities, Judaism stresses the link between the two. Think about how closely these two aspects of your being are linked together every day. Closing your eyes. Raising your hands. Kneeling or lying face down. Jumping. Clapping. Shouting. Crying. These are physical acts with a spiritual emphasis. The body and spirit are not separate, but joined. The mystery of the physical and spiritual is that they are one, not two.

We do a lot of things that are physical and in them we sense the spiritual. Worship is a lot like music. Music is composed of sound waves, but to produce the sound takes wood, steel, animal skins, metal valves, vibrating strings, and even physical work.

God taught his people physical acts of spiritual worship. A tambourine and a palm branch are not only physical objects. Used in the right context they are a form of prayer. So why not a meal? Eating is, after all, the most social of human activities. There is not quite any bonding like that shared over a table with food. That’s why there is a running joke in Judaism: “The Jewish holidays all follow the same pattern: they tried to harm us, they failed, let’s eat!”


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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