2019 Study Summary 34: Ye Are the Body of Christ
1 Corinthians 8–13
“Ye Are the Body of Christ”
There are many gods and many lords—To us there is one God (the Father) and one Lord, who is Christ.
Paul rejoices in his Christian liberty—He preaches the gospel to all without charge—He is all things to all men to gain converts.
Christ is the God of Israel and the spiritual Rock that guided them—Ancient Israel rebelled against Christ—Paul contrasts true and false sacraments.
Paul speaks of certain customs of hair and grooming—Heresies will arise that test and prove the faithful—The sacramental emblems are partaken in remembrance of the flesh and blood of Christ—Beware of partaking unworthily.
The Holy Ghost reveals that Jesus is the Christ—Spiritual gifts are present among the Saints—Apostles, prophets, and miracles are found in the true Church.
Paul discusses the high status of charity—Charity, a pure love, excels and exceeds almost all else.
What is an ordinance?
Ordinances are usually tokens or signs of covenants. Many times they represent a physical gesture or a spiritual commitment. An ordinance can also be a regulation, a directive, and can contain instructional value. The sacred ordinances of life deal with our commitment to accept the personal value of the atonement. Other ordinances of life deal with marriage and creating a family. Those ordinances lead us in fulfilling our responsibility as husbands, wives and children.
How can we compare a marriage with our relationship to God?
Jeremiah used the favorite image of an even earlier prophet, Hosea, comparing the relationship between God and Israel to that of husband and wife. Israel, in not keeping its responsibilities, deserted the true faith and had become like an unfaithful wife. Both husband and wife have a commitment to each other that should be like God’s and Israel’s dedication to one another.
What are marriage rituals in both parts of the House of Israel?
One of the greatest rituals and covenants that Jews maintain is that of marriage and, subsequently, family life. Notice in the following excerpts the similarities of LDS practices to the Jewish practices that seem to come from ancient times. The ritual of marriage in Judaism is considered without end; there is no statement, “Until death do you part.” The canopy or huppah is reflective of the ancient temple. In some cases the huppah is a tallit, the garment that reminds a Jew of the covenants and commandments he has bound to himself. A minyan or “prayer circle” is formed at the marriage. Two witnesses are also present. As in all religious ceremonies, men are separated from women on two sides of the room or hall. Head covering is also required. Blessings are given to the bride and groom. Where polygamy was once accepted, it later was rescinded.
How important is marriage?
“In Jewish teaching, marriage is considered the ideal human state and a basic social institution established by God at the time of Creation. Both the Bible and the rabbis reject celibacy as unnatural and harmful to the human personality, and insist upon the need for marriage, not only for purposes of procreation, but also for companionship and human self-fulfillment: “It is not good that man be alone; I will make a helpmeet for him” (Genesis 2:15) and “He who has no wife is not a proper man; he lives without joy, blessing and goodness.” The successful marriage in the eyes of the prophets and the rabbis was the most perfect symbol of a meaningful and purposeful relationship and was taken by them as the closest approximation to the idealized relationship between God and Israel, and between Israel and the Torah. The laws of marriage and the customs and practices of the marriage ceremony which developed over the generations are numerous and varied, but all take as their goal the glorification of marriage as a sanctified state and the desire to facilitate to the greatest possible extent the maintenance of a successful and harmonious marriage.” “The biblical idea of marriage was essentially monogamous, although polygamy was common among the upper classes of society. Among the rabbis, polygamy was almost unknown, but it was not until the 11th century that multiple marriages were legally prohibited. Then an enactment associated with the name of Rabbenu Gershom ben Judah was promulgated which established monogamy as the legal norm for all the Jews living in Europe.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What are the cultural and traditional practices of a Jewish marriage?
“A Jewish marriage consists, from the point of view of rabbinic law, of two separate acts, called kiddushin and nissu’in, which were originally performed at an interval of a year or more apart, but which from the 12th century onward became united in one ceremony.” “Kiddushin is a legal act of acquisition of the bride by the groom: by handing over an object of value (usually a simple ring) to the bride in the presence of two witnesses and reciting the formula, “Behold you are consecrated unto me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel,” the groom signifies his intent to reserve the bride exclusively to himself, and by accepting the ring the bride signifies her consent. (The halakhah also recognizes the validity of kiddushin performed through the writing of a contract or through actual cohabitation, but both these methods became obsolete at an early date and today kiddushin is uniquely performed through the transference of an object of value.)” “Kiddushin is thus a legally binding form of betrothal, but it must be followed by nissu’in, the marriage proper, for the couple to be considered completely married. In the nissu’in ceremony, the bride is led under a canopy (huppah) symbolic of the (Lord’s) house, and benedictions are recited, after which the couple may legally live together.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How might Jewish marriage customs be likened to Latter-day Saint practices?
“The separation of the two ceremonies in Talmudic times allowed the arrangement of long betrothals, but the uncertainties of life in medieval Europe made such an arrangement impractical and perilous, and it was for this reason that it became customary to perform both ceremonies together. The actual wedding ceremony as performed today is an amalgam of customs and traditions which developed over the generations, but its basic features can be summarized as follows: “Before being led to the huppah the groom, in the presence of witnesses, undertakes by an act of kinyan the obligations of the ketubbah (marriage contract; see below). He is then escorted to the place where the bride is waiting and lets down the veil over her face, while the rabbi pronounces the blessing invoked on Rebekah, “O sister! May you grow into thousands of myriads” (Genesis 24–60). (This ceremony is known in Yiddish as bedeken di kale (“veiling the bride”) and is not practiced by Sephardi Jews.) The groom is then led to the huppah by his and the bride’s father, while the bride is accompanied to the huppah by her and the groom’s mother.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
In addition to a Bar Mitzvah, when do other “prayer circles” gather?”
“The ceremony proper (customarily performed in the presence of at least a minyan of males — a precautionary measure eliminating the possibility of secret marriages ) then begins with the recitation of the marriage blessing over a goblet of wine, from which both bride and groom drink. The groom then places the ring on the forefinger of the bride’s right hand and in the presence of two witnesses repeats the marriage formula. Kiddushin has now been performed, and in order to separate it from the nissu’in which is to follow, the ketubbah is read out loud. Seven marriage blessings are then recited over a second goblet of wine and the ceremony concludes with the groom crushing a glass under his right foot, as a sign of mourning over the destruction of the Temple. To the rejoicing of the invited guests, the couple are then led to a private room in which they spend some time together, while witnesses are stationed outside. After this yihud (being alone together) they are finally considered to be man and wife.” “Both the week before the wedding and the week after are celebrated in special fashion. In the synagogue on the Sabbath preceding the marriage, the groom is called to the reading of the Torah and, in some communities, while standing at the bimah is showered with nuts and candies, in symbolic representation of everyone’s wish for his fruitfulness and happiness. This custom is called in Yiddish aufrufen. During the days immediately preceding the wedding, bride and groom customarily do not see each other (the actual period varies in different communities from a week to the day of the marriage), and both fast on the day of their wedding as an indication of the spiritual importance of marriage and the fact that they are about to start a new life together. Following the wedding ceremony a festive meal is served, during which the guests entertain the newlywed couple and following which the seven wedding blessings are again recited. The seven days following the wedding are known as the Sheva Berakhot, for festive meals in honor of the couple are arranged each day, and at the conclusion of each the seven wedding blessings are recited in the presence of a minyan of invited guests.”
What symbolizes an unending marriage?
“Although the act of marriage can be effected in different ways it has become the universal Jewish practice to use a ring (except in very few oriental communities where a coin is used). By law, the ring must belong to the bridegroom, and can be constructed of any material, as long as it is free of precious stones and its value is more than a perutah, the smallest denomination of currency in Talmudic times. “(The Ketubbah) is the marriage contract, the document which records the financial obligations which the husband undertakes toward his wife consequent to their marriage. In principle, the obligations recorded in the ketubbah are imposed upon the husband by law, independent of the writing of the contract, but the halakhah still dictates that a deed be written and that it is “forbidden for the groom to live with the bride until he has written and delivered the ketubbah to her.” According to the Talmud, the ketubbah was instituted in order to protect the woman, since it imposes a monetary punishment upon the husband in the case of a divorce, and it also assures the wife at least minimal compensation upon the death of her husband. In the ketubbah are spelled out the minimum compensation set by law, as well as all additional sums willingly offered by the husband.”
How does the “huppah” or canopy represent a temporary Temple?
“Today, the term huppah refers to the decorative canopy under which the wedding ceremony is performed.” “The Talmud relates that there was an ancient custom to make staves of the huppah from a cedar and a pine tree planted specifically for this purpose at the birth of a male and female child respectively. In medieval France, it was customary for the groom to cover the bride’s head with his tallit as a symbol of sheltering her; and in modern-day Israel, for weddings of soldiers on active duty, it is not unusual to see a huppah constructed of a tallit supported by four rifles held by friends of the bride and groom. Generally, the huppah is erected inside the synagogue or the hall where the wedding is to take place, but among Orthodox Jews, the preferred custom is to erect the huppah outside, or at least in a spot open to the sky, underneath the stars, because of God’s assurance to Abraham that He would make his descendants “as numerous as the stars of the heavens” (Genesis 22:17). (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Some explain the huppah, outside of a building, as the Lord’s House, representative of the Temple they anticipate and pray for daily.
How does clothing is used for marriages reflect on ancient temple practices?
In some Jewish circles, a special garment is worn in remembrance of repentance and represents the purity of the covenant of marriage. It is also used to clothe the dead. It is called the Kitel in Yiddish meaning “gown” or garment. “In Ashkenazi tradition it is not just the bride who wears white on her wedding day. The groom, too, stands under the canopy wearing his white kitel, or robe, over his wedding finery. The day of their marriage is a solemn one for the bride and groom. They pray that their past sins will be forgiven and they can start their life together afresh. The white of their clothing symbolizes the purity and the forgiveness of sin for which they are hoping. For this reason a similar garment is used to clothe the dead for burial. The kitel therefore also serves to remind the wearer of how brief life is, and of the necessity for atonement.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Another interesting similarity to Latter-day Saint practice is the significance of a proper ritual marriage in the faith, even though a secular marriage has already been performed. “A convert to Judaism is considered a new-born child, and, from the halakhic point of view, he has no father or mother. Thus, if a whole family converts, the children and the parents start their lives as Jews with no legal relationship. Because of this state of affairs, converts are always named as though they were the sons of Abraham, the first Jew. A husband and wife who convert must also have another wedding ceremony in order to be married under Jewish law.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How is the holiness of marriage a part of both the Jews and the Latter-day Saints?
“The primary restriction of sexual activity in Jewish law is that it should take place within marriage, as an expression of love between husband and wife as well as out of a desire to fulfill God’s commandments. An element of holiness is added by the laws of niddah (separation during the period of menstruation; which ensure that the couple does not indulge in sex on impulse but rather directs the act to holiness.” “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalms 127:3). In Jewish tradition, the central purpose of marriage is to have children. Children are considered a great blessing; they are the hope and the promise of continuing life.”
What are the responsibilities of both men and women?
“Responsibilities of a man, a woman and of children are stated in the scriptures, Talmudic and oral traditions. In many religious Jewish families, the father blesses his wife and children on a weekly basis. Women and children are to be cherished and blessed. They have different responsibilities, yet they should share an honorable status without preference. Yet, as Judaism spread without the guidance of living prophets, some discrimination became evident.” “The woman’s legal status, as de fined in the Bible, is generally the same as that of man, as is her moral responsibility but certain laws do discriminate both for and against her. For example, special attention was paid to injury suffered by a pregnant woman, and the conditions applicable to a woman sold into slavery were far better than those of a male slave. The owner was expected to marry her himself or have one of his sons marry her and he had to treat her as a daughter-in-law.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What is Jewish tradition about women?
Women roles places them on a lofty pedestal. “It is said that a man without a wife lives without joy, blessing and good, and that a man should love his wife as himself and respect her more than himself. Women have greater faith than men and greater powers of discernment. The Torah, the greatest joy of the rabbis, is frequently pictured as a woman and is represented as God’s daughter and Israel’s bride.” “In modern Israel, the Declaration of Independence ensures complete equality of political and social rights to all its inhabitants, regardless of religion, race, or sex, but the real Magna Carta of the Israeli woman was the Women’s Equal Rights Law of 1951, giving women equal legal status with men. The only field of law in which there remains a degree of discrimination against women is that of personal status. Matters of marriage and divorce come within the exclusive jurisdiction of the religious courts and thus, for example, a divorce must be given by the husband to the wife. On the other hand, in accordance with the halakhah, children take the national identity of their mother and not that of their father.” “Woman (Eve) was created primarily to serve man (Adam) as a helper, and throughout the Bible she is expected to be a good wife and mother. But in ages when many cultures regarded their women as mere chattels, the Jews did not disregard the girl’s wishes when a marriage arrangement was made. Womanly traits, good and bad, were proverbial in the Bible. Foolishness, contentiousness and indiscretion were censured. On the other hand, graciousness, industry and generosity were lauded, particularly in the paean of praise to the woman in Proverbs, whose beginning is usually translated as “A woman of valor who shall find, and her worth is far above pearls.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
“The Talmud teaches that it is a woman’s duty to beautify herself so as to appear pleasing to her husband. The rabbis said: “A woman beautifies herself by powdering herself, by parting her hair and leaving it loose over her shoulders, and by applying rouge to her face.” Said Rav Huna: “Only the young ones do so, but not the old ones.” Said Rav Hisda to him: “Even your mother does so, even your grandmother does so, and even a woman on the verge of the grave.” Though the talmudic attitude toward the use of cosmetics is basically favorable, it is combined with warnings against its utilization for immoral purposes. Furthermore, cosmetics were not permitted during periods of mourning.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How are Jewish and Latter-day Saint parenting views similar?
Jewish tradition places a strong responsibility on the husband and father. Further details of Jewish custom in the family parallel the Latter-day Saints’ lifestyle. “The father’s duty is to provide for his children, to give them a proper education, to teach them a trade, and to prepare them for marriage. Some authorities require that the father teach his son to swim. The father is morally accountable for the behavior and the sins of his children until they reach the age of their own responsibility — bat mitzvah at the age of 12 for girls, and bar mitzvah at the age of 13 for boys. The father retains responsibility in legal matters for his son until the age of 20 and for his daughter until she marries.” “Great emphasis is placed on the importance of education and religious training, which should begin early in the home. The mother’s role is vital since she is the one who creates the home atmosphere in which basic values are fostered and transmitted. She trains her sons and daughters in mitzvot and prepares them for formal education. The rabbis advised parents to be loving but firm in the upbringing of their children, and warned against showing favoritism.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How are “laying on of hands” blessings used in Jewish life?
“In some communities it is customary for the father to bless his children on the Sabbath eve when he returns from the synagogue.” “Children are obliged to treat their parents with honor and respect. Children must provide dependent parents with food, clothing and personal attention if it is necessary. This obligation is removed from a daughter when she marries.” “Judaism considers the establishment of a family a holy task. Children are a gift from God and childlessness the greatest misfortune that could befall a marriage. The virtues of domestic bliss have been frequently extolled by the rabbis, and the close knit Jewish family, where the home has been the center of religious practice and ceremony, has greatly helped the survival of Judaism and preserved the moral integrity of the Jews.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What purpose do covenants have?
Marriage is one of the greatest covenants God has given to man. The sanctity of marriage in evident in the Bible. The traditions of both Jews and Latter-day Saints similarly uphold the precious responsibilities and blessings of this covenant.