Priests of Egypt

The rites and ceremonies of the Egyptians provides an interesting contrast with the Torah.  Some of the ceremonies are similar but only in a shallow way.  The spirit of the laws and ceremonies are poles apart.  Here are few quotes from Pierre Montet’s book ‘Eternal Egypt’:

The daily rites were performed by priest who had been specially trained for this function; these were the uab, or pure ones.  Theirs was a physical rather than a spiritual purity.  They were circumcised, shaved the hair from their heads and bodies, washed frequently, were dressed in linen robes and, if they had intercourse with a woman had to wash before entering the sanctuary.  They were not obliged to be celibate, or lead a life of austerity.  An inscription on a stele runs as follows: ‘O priest of Ptah, do not refrain from eating and drinking, from getting drunk or making love, from spending days in joyous celebrations, or following the dictates of your heart day and night.  After all, what are the years we spend on earth, however numerous?”

 Thy [priest of Egypt] did not preach any particular moral code, and ancient Egypt offers no example of a priest reproaching a Pharaoh with having committed an injustice, in the way the High Priest rebuked David….

Montet describes another scene from the temple:

Every morning the priest entered the holy of holies and made sure that the door was bolted.  he would then open the door, and see the god who was supposed to have slept.  he would wake him up, present him with his various garments, head-dresses and insignia, and proceed to dress him.  After the god had been dress, he ate his first meal; he would have two or three more during the day, like human beings.

This is quite a contrast to Yom Kippur!


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