Friday, July 29, 2011

Fill your hand, pardner

Years ago, when I read Black Elk Speaks, I was struck by how often he used "rubbed out" to mean "killed".  I learned later that Black Elk's son, who translated, was fascinated by 1920s gangster fiction.  I was reminded of this reading about the consecration of Aharon and his sons.  A Hebrew expression meaning literally "fill their hands" is used repeatedly.  In cowboy parlance, it means, "draw one's pistol", but here it means consecrate, make fit for service as priests.  It seems to come from the manner of separating the grain offering/minchah:  The priest/kohen takes all the frankincense/levonah and a handful of the fine grain mixed with oil/solet b'lulah b'shemen to burn on the altar/mizbe'akh.  The rest is eaten by the kohanim.

I also find it interesting that there is a separate verb for to serve, to minister (l'sharet) to and to act as priests (l'kahen).

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