صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the ground in the most out-of-the-way corner of the room. All the members of the family, of whatever age, each with his or her fowl of corresponding sex, following in due succession to make the atonement as above described. When all is finished the fowls are immediately carried off to the duly authorized slaughterer, who cuts their throats and despatches them in quick succession. The Talmud, though it says nothing about the atonement of the cock, expressly says (in Yoma, 5a.), “There is no atonement but by the shedding of blood," or, as given in New Testament phraseology, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission."

One of the things which the casual observer overlooks regarding this custom of the Kapparah is, the conclusions that the Hebrews draw from the first letters of three Hebrew words mentioned above, i. e., Chalapathi, Temarathi, Kapparathi. If one will take the trouble and put together the first letter of each of these three Hebrew words, he will find that it spells, “Chatach,” which signifies "to cut," and this word is the proper name of the angel who is appointed to cut off the measure of life for every human being, like the atropos of Greek mythology. "Chatach, the name of this angel, is spelt out also from the final letters of the three words (Ps. cxlv. 16), i. e., “Thou openest thine hand." Chatach, by Gematria, has the numerical value of 428; and 428 is also the numerical value of the Hebrew phrase, i. e., “This shall be an atonement for thee." Catach is the name of the angel who is the Lord of Life and the appointed minister of the atonement of the cock. This cock is appointed to die that the soul that sinneth may live. Sin is the transgression of the law and the penalties ordained by the Law for its violation are either stoning, burning, strangling, or beheading. In order to make full satisfaction for every possible crime, the cock, as the substitute for the sinner, has to undergo what is intended to be a representation of all four modes of capital punishment. The throttling of the victim resembles strangling, casting it to the ground symbolizes stoning, the cutting of its throat reminds one of beheading, and the cock after a fashion performs what does duty for burning, in cooking the cock of atonement for table.

The Talmud states in Sanhedrin that all criminals about to be executed were urged to confess because by making confession they secured a portion of the world to come, etc. It is also maintained that confession is necessary. While the cock can die as a sinner, he nevertheless cannot be made to confess as a penitent. It was therefore resolved to make every Jewish sinner confess on the day of atonement, a custom which is regarded with the greatest reverence and held in the greatest sanctity.

The Kapparah as was contended above, by three great authorities on Jewish law was regarded as one of the relics of oriental paganism which the Jews must have brought from the banks of the Euphrates during their exile. Its heathen features can plainly be seen through the thin veil of Judaism, behind which certain mystics had intended to conceal it.



[ocr errors]

HAT Communism, like many other great movements, springs

from something great and ideal there can be no denying. The idealists who have formulated the lofty schemes for the brotherhood of man have included in their number many of true vision and exalted purpose. The first of them is undoubtedly Christ, Whose teachings all tend that way, and give color to the tradition that He belonged to the Society of the Essenes, a sect which practised communism in daily life. This great psychologist used His powers of intuition: "He knew what was in man," St. John tells us—for the high purpose of leading men into the Communism of a Kingdom which is not of this world.

Plato, too, was a great communist. His Republic sets forth his conception of an ideal state, which is to be a real commonwealth: there true communism is to be practised, a communism of effort and agreement no less than of goods and remuneration. He is concerned more with the desirability of such a state of affairs than with their practicability. Yet Plato has no delusions about the equality of men-he grades his citizens into marked classes, and does not hesitate to label them as “superior" and "inferior.” Unfortunately, his system fails to take into account many of the most primitive and most powerful instincts of human nature. Yet today no one can suggest a different means of regeneration from what he does, Education and Nurture.

That great practising Communist who has just gone to his account, Lenin, differed vastly from other big figures in the movement. He, too, “Knew what was in man,” but he used his knowledge to increase his feeling of power : he exploited his intuitive knowledge of all that was evil in man. He made tools of those lesser individuals who are ever ready by nature and circumstance to fall under the unreasonable sway of some powerful demagogue. It is of such lesser communists that this article would treat, lesser as individuals, but forming a class which by its numbers and its tendencies is a tremendous menace to civilization. They are within the practical experience of us all, and without them all the ambitious schemes, all the wild imaginings of a Lenin or a Trotsky would be impossible.

They menace all the culture and progress of the ages. Given their way, they would demolish civilization, and drive man back to the beginnings of things. The cataclysmic happenings of the crash of nations and the uprooting of all standards and established laws of living would reduce man to the elementals. Once more he would become a mere animal, wresting from nature his daily bread, and caring only for the satisfaction of his natural instincts. The law of the herd would have to be built up afresh. What Russia has seen and is seeing would be a mere trifle to what would come to pass. “God's own country” would become the prey of the beast, but a more awful beast than that of Apocalypse,—the beast of man's lowest nature, a law unto itself.

Such is the threat with which the Communism of the meaner natures overshadows our times. Can we afford to be ignorant of it, its cure? This article is but a suggestion, a flicker of light upon the darkness. But like the little candle it may serve to show how great is that darkness. If so, it will not have been written in vain.

The Communist is to the “political person" as the child is to the grown-up. He is undeveloped, primitive. He suffers from an “inferiority-complex.”

It is a psychological fact, though a paradox, that those who are most busily engaged in asserting their possession of certain qualities do so because they do not possess them. They know their want, and think that assertion will make it come to pass. The man who insists that he is, say, very religious, and misses no opportunity of proving it to all seeming, or of dragging it into his conversation, is actually deficient in that particular. He who has it in reality takes it for granted, and says nothing about it, either in himself or in his fellows. So the Communist of the French Revolution, the sans-culottes, insisted most strongly on Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, while by his behavior he denied to thousands of his brothers the possibility of liberty, and égalitè was an unknown quality in his treatment of les aristos.

Again, psychology shows us that one is inclined to "project" on to others the very faults one possesses oneself. None is harder upon the girl who has gone astray than the very person who has done so herself, or would do, were circumstances to allow. So the Communist imputes to others that very love for gold, and lust for power which is an important part of his own make-up.

The Communist of today, who loudly asserts that all men are equal, and that he is as good as you (if not better), is merely declaring that in his heart of hearts, his Unconscious, he knows that he is really inferior.

This inferiority may be in two spheres: either he may feel himself mentally inferior, or his physical build may make him one of the little folks who feel they are apt to be overlooked. Consider the declared communists, say of your own acquaintance, or if you have none, of Russia, and see how many come under the latter category. In either case, in order to effect "compensation,” we find the natural reaction of self-assertiveness. Little men are proverbially “cocky," like bantams. This law of compensation is not, however, without its good points . . . it was that which made, for instance, an orator out of Demosthenes, congenitally aftlicted with an impediment in his speech. The Communist arises as an abnormal development of this law of compensation.

He remains in many ways childlike in his attitude to his fellow men. It is a fault in development, sometimes a regression. Children as a rule have a very clear idea on the subject of "meum"; but "tuum" is a very different matter altogether. You may not meddle with what is mine, but I shall do as I please with yours, if you are silly enough to let me! So the Communist does not desire to have his possessions, rights, or privileges touched, but will deal in arbitrary fashion with those of others, under the pretence of making them the same for all. Children, too, are naturally cruel. They are Sadists. Ask a group of children how some offence (which does not touch themselves) should be punished, and you will find their sentences severe; and the suggestions of the younger children will be harsher than those of the older. As we grow older we tend more to mercy. So it was in the childhood of civilization. The code of Hammurabi is severe in the extreme; the harshness of the laws which Draco made for ancient Greece is still commemorated in the phrase "draconian severity.”

So the Communist is cruel. He wishes to gain his way by brute force. He acts on impulses, motivated by the lower centers and not censored by the higher. In many cases, he personally finds violence of speech a sufficient outlet for his reactionary feelings but too often,

« السابقةمتابعة »