This book focuses on the topic of 'circumventing custom' with special emphasis on the ingenious ways Orthodox (and other) Jews have devised to avoid breaking the extensive list of activities forbidden on the Sabbath. After examining the sources of Sabbath observance as set forth in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and rabbinical writings, some of the most salient forms of circumvention are described. Then drawing on Freud's insights as to the obsessive nature of religious ritual and his persuasive delineation of anal erotic character, an attempt is made to analyze such facets of Jewish character (in addition to circumvention) as an undue concern with purity, and a long-established tradition of indulging in nit-picking and argumentation.
Alan Dundes is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leading authority in the study of folklore. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books including Two Tales of Crow and Sparrow: A Freudian Folkloristic Essay on Caste and Untouchability, Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore, and International Folkloristics.
Part 1 Acknowledgments Part 2 Prologue Chapter 3 1 The Concept of Custom Chapter 4 2 The Sabbath in the Old Testament Chapter 5 3 The Sabbath in the New Testament Chapter 6 4 The Sabbath in Rabbinical Tradition Chapter 7 5 The Shabbat Elevator Chapter 8 6 The Light in the Refrigerator Chapter 9 7 The Eruv as Symbolic Space Chapter 10 8 Other Sabbath Customs Chapter 11 9 The Shabbes Goy Chapter 12 10 Circumvention and Jewish Mentality Chapter 13 11 Obsession and Religion According to Freud Chapter 14 12 Anal Erotic Character Chapter 15 13 Self-Imposed Repression Chapter 16 14 The Love of Argument Chapter 17 15 Conclusions Chapter 18 Bibliography Chapter 19 Index