Sunday, June 27, 2010

The First Disciplinary Case

Last week on Bad Lawyer,I was telling you about the first law partnership:  Moses and Aaron [LLC]; forged by the Creator as recorded in Chapter 4 of Exodus.  Also, in the Oxford English translation (1970) of the Holy Bible, we find the first use of the term: "mouthpiece" in the context we use it, here. 

What I did not know until late last week is that near the end of this partnership, and it is certainly the most prodigious law partnership of all time, with the whole of what we know as Judeo-Christian law being received and implemented, Moses and Aaron commit the first disciplinary infraction and do not kid yourselves, the sanction is most profound.  For the story we go to Numbers Chapter 20:2-13, the Waters of Meribah.  As you will recall when Moses first talked to Yahweh at Mount Horeb, the Creator gave Moses a staff that was famously used by Charlton Heston to great pre-CGI effects in the Cecil B. DeMille version of the Ten Commandments.  This powerful tool, "the staff" was to be used by Moses for precisely the sorts of effects intended to persuade Egyptians and Israelites that there was one God, and that the God of Moses and the Jews was the real deal--which is not all that different from how the staff was used by DeMille.

One of the most important things to remember about the creation story is the role of words, and much of the writings about creation focused on the coming into being of not only the world, but also of the word especially, the formation of letters!  Thus the sacred aspect of God's name which we Christians read as Yahweh is not uttered by pious Jews, the letters the most sacred of name of God is not to be uttered.  In fact Yahweh is just one of some 72 names of God, or 42 names of God--go ahead and look it up.  But the point is that the use of words, and language is very important--and, it still is--ergo the study of linguistics and semantics, and even popular fiction like Dan Brown's the Lost Symbol.  But we're talking something very profound and instructive lost to most of our consciousness--Moses argues with God on his very first encounter as I talked about last week.  Moses, says--I am not a good talker, lousy with words.  God assures him that he, God--the, "I AM," will provided the words and Moses and Aaron will be his mouthpiece. 

Most of us know how well this works out, because the Semitic tribes, Moses leads out of Egypt are some pretty tough customers who are rarely happy or satisfied with anything or anyone often least of all: the leadership of Moses and Aaron.  The tribes of Israel are argumentative, and frequently sinful--leading to the actual receipt by Moses of Torah and Talmud:  the written and oral laws and procedures underlying all of International law.  So with that digression we come to Meribah where once again in a desert setting we have--no water.  The people are in near revolt and Moses is at wit's end.  He and Aaron go to the Tabernacle and throw themselves down and ask God what to do.  The Lord tells them, go to the prominent rock taking the staff with you and before the assembly speak to the rock, and it will bring forth water.  Got that? 

So what does Moses do?  Does Moses do exactly what God has commanded him to do?  Nah. 

Moses goes to the rock, staff in hand and he strikes the rock twice, water comes gushing from the rock, voila`--and guess who's angry?

The act of ignoring God's commandment costs the partnership their goal of the Promised Land.  Moses and Aaron are de-barred by God from entering the land of milk and honey, Judah, Israel, Zion. 

It's ridiculous to add at this point, that I am not a biblical scholar, nor am I even a competent homilist.  I did hear a brilliant homily on this topic and the teacher spoke of the "sin of Moses" as it is often called as not a sin at all, but an important demonstration of God's love and awesome power.  But intrinsic in this story is a "taste of hell," failure of faith in the power of mere words, and even darkness--and, in another sense it is a demonstration by Moses and Aaron of something they demonstrate repeatedly as they occupy this historical stage, the willingness to give up their lives for their followers and in that sense genuine unselfish love for mankind. 

Wednesday, I will enter a guilty plea to a tax felony, explicitly agreeing that I failed to follow the words (of my oath), and obey the law.  This is very serious, and it may spell the end of this "blawg" for the time being.  I don't yet know.  I recognize in all sincerity my complete responsibility for my situation and the justness of whatever outcome the Court may determine  I also am more than okay with not reaching whatever promised land I thought I would reach in my lifetime--I am fully satisfied that the next chapter in my life is what God intends for me and my family.


  1. Thanks, Martin! As I understand it following my plea a couple of months will ensue while a office investigates the appropriate disposition in my case. So we will see, I'll keep posting until then--unless I'm told to stop.

  2. Perhaps they'll order you to write a blog. You know we love and respect you, BL.