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    Banning the Bible – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I am shocked at the terrible stories that come in various parts of the Bible. Why don’t we leave them out?

    A. Part of the answer is suggested by the rabbinic idea that young children should begin their Bible studies with Vayyikra, the Book of Leviticus.

    Their argument was that this Book deals with sacrifices, which are pure, so we should introduce pure children to a pure subject. This notion results in the stories of Genesis and Exodus being kept until the children were older. In consequence, small children did not encounter some unpleasant narratives and some difficult concepts.

    These days it isn’t the Bible that shows children about rape, robbery and violence, since almost every child watches TV and films and finds questionable material on the computer screen.

    The answer is not to ban the Bible but to discuss each story, explain it in context and, where appropriate, criticise its characters. The even better reason why we don’t and can’t ban the Bible is that there are countless beautiful stories and so much inspiring poetry and prophecy.

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