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Sunday, January 21, 2018

For Sunday, a religious question

First: I hope to have a major piece up soon about Molly's Game, which is simultaneously a well-made film and a stunning cover-up. Most people will come away hating Tobey Maguire. I came away feeling betrayed by Aaron Sorkin, whose previous work has always impressed. Anyone who knows something about the original indictment of Molly Bloom and her comrades will understand that this film is bullshit -- although, like a palimpsest, it does allow us to glimpse the truth.

Why the hell is Sorkin protecting Trump and the Russian mob?

Second: This blog used to talk about non-political matters on Sundays, but that tradition ended when the Trump presidency began. Taking even one day away from the Resistance feels like a betrayal. Nevertheless, just this once, I'd like to bring back our little Sunday tradition.

I've been researching the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of Solomon's Temple. Why? Because. Reasons.

The illustration to the right gives you a basic overview of the situation. The interior of the building was covered in in gold. (Naturally, that was the first thing to go in 70 A.D.) The larger section of the room was called The Holy Place; only priests were allowed. There was a thick, magnificently-embroidered curtain covering one end of the room, segregating (roughly) one third of the structure away from the rest. The area behind the curtain was called the Holy of Holies. This is where the Ark of the Covenant sat -- or stood, or rested, or whatever it is that Arks do.

Only the High Priest was allowed to venture into this place, once a year. He had to make a blood sacrifice before doing so.

My research has focused on the curtain, which the Gospel of Matthew dubiously claims was torn by an earthquake when Jesus died. (You'd think that such an event would receive mention outside of the New Testament.) Josephus said that the colors purple, blue and scarlet were used, and that the pattern was very intricate. It is thought that this "veil" was of Babylonian design. Although Babylonian textiles were considered the finest in the ancient world, we apparently have no extant examples. So I don't know if the pattern was purely abstract or if (as some claim) the embroidery depicted cherubim.

There is a very old tradition that, twice a year, 82 Jewish maidens sewed a new curtain for the Holy of Holies. One popular apocryphal gospel offers the fanciful claim that the Virgin Mary was one of these seamstresses. Early representations of the Annunciation often depicted Mary sewing a large bundle of purple and blue cloth (which I guess she would take home with her). Over time, the colors shifted to scarlet and red, which became the colors of Mary's own garments.

My question is simple. Let us presume, for the sake of argument, that there is a factual basis for the Jewish tradition of 82 maidens continually sewing two new curtains each year. Who installed the new drapery?

Remember, only the High Priest was allowed to see whatever was beyond that curtain -- and even he could venture into the sacred space but once a year.      
Who said the original curtain was removed before the new one put up?
You mean curtain on top of curtain on top of curtain? After a hundred years, the Holy Place would be noting but curtains.
My bathtub has two shower curtains - a decorative one (outer), and a plastic inner liner. I can replace one without removing the other. For me, it's always the liner being replaced. But I could see replacing the decorative outer curtain while keeping the liner in place.

The trick? Doing one hook at a time.
Remove the old one only after the new one was already in place?
The Russians were living in Trump Tower at the time of the indictment, right? That's the basic fact Sorkin ommitted?
Wonder what the Russians've got on him?

The trailer seemed to remind me of something, sort of like Tang reminds oneof oranje juice.
Tom, it's a well-made film, but I have begun to wonder if Sorkin was not forced to take it on. It is, after all, his first directorial effort; he may have had to cut a deal to get in that seat.

While watching, I was reminded of Hitchcock, though not in a good way. Toward the end of his career, Hitchcock was forced to make "Topaz," a propaganda film apparently forced on him by spooks loyal to Angleton (who is actually in the movie, played by John Forsythe of all people). Here's the difference: "Topaz" is a terrible film which becomes fascinating once you learn what really happened. "Molly's Game" is a fascinating film which becomes kind of repellent and sickening once you learned what really happened.

What bothers me is that the film presents itself as the REAL story. It comes right out and says: The book version was only the partial truth, now we are giving you the unvarnished truth. In fact, the film is a cover-up.

And what it covers up is the connection to Trump Tower. That location isn't even mentioned in the movie! It sure as hell is mentioned in the indictment.
Biblical indications and general historical knowledge would suggest that the Jerusalem temple was a slave-holding institution, where a caste of goy slave families performed the menial labor. After all, someone (certainly not the High Priest himself, and only on one day of the year) had to to the regular housecleaning, dust off the Ark, remove the rat shit etc. In the near-Eastern religious mindset, a prohibition for the High Priest or any other Hebrew to set foot on the sacred space was quite compatible with such a scenario.
Carol Merrill?
Since no one else has acknowledged the brilliance of maz's comment, please allow me. And remember, always switch if offered the chance.
I posed your question to my local orthodox rabbi. He had never heard of the 82 maidens and would like to know your source. In any event, Jewish law would have stipulated that the Levis were the assistants to the Kohanim. But as long as we are discussing biblical law, there is a very interesting section of the Torah that we have been reading the last two weeks, specifically Pharoah's moves against the Hebrews. For those of us who view the Bible, any of them, as non-inerrant, unlike anonymous above, the issues presented here are fascinating. Pharoah says that he is concerned that the Hebrews will join his enemies and LEACW. Wouldn't the natural concern be that they join his enemies and stay so that the Hebrews can rule over them? And why is he concerned anyway? Then he imposes taxes and the Hebrews continue to thrive. He then determines to enslave them, but why? Most rulers would only be concerned that his citizens pat their taxes and not revolt. The Hebrews paid their taxes and didn't revolt, why then enslave them? It seems there are clear lessons for today, that xenophobia leads to disaster, that dictators tend to paranoia, and then my, perhaps unusual, take on the story.
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