Burying a Bible
In Jewish tradition, when a manuscript or item contains God's name and/or passages from the Bible it is treated with the utmost respect. It is never placed on the ground or brought into a bathroom. When it is no longer usable it is buried underground in much the same way a person would be. Although typically this is only done with Hebrew materials, it can be a worthwhile practice for English materials as well.
At First Fruits of Zion, we have written about this practice in our book Hallowed be Thy Name: Sanctifying God's Sacred Name. A few weeks ago a woman named Suzanne contacted me and said that she and her family wanted to observe this custom to show reverence for God's Word. I thought it would be encouraging to share her story. Below is her testimony and some pictures.
Several weeks ago in our class time one of the children said her Bible had missing pages. Upon inspection we noticed from Ephesians to the end of the Bible was missing. I told the children we had to properly dispose of it.
I contacted FFOZ to find out how to do this. The information is located in FFOZ's book, "Hallowed Be Your Name" in chapter 7 pp 45-47.
We have a man in our congregation who is a carpenter, so he made a box for us, placed our damaged Bible in it, and sealed it.
At the end of Shabbat services yesterday our Rabbi let everyone know what we were doing and why. Those who wanted to, braved the pouring rain to participate in the burial service. The children placed the box in the prepared hole and our Rabbi had special prayer and a brief teaching on how precious God's Word is and we should take special care of our Bibles. Then, one by one each child took turns putting shovelfuls of dirt (which was fast turning to mud) on top of the sealed box that contained our damaged Scripture until our little grave was completely covered and filled in.
It was quite an experience. One I will never forget, nor those who participate. It made us aware of how precious God's Word is and that we must take notice in how we take care of our Bibles.
I heard many of the adults say they never gave it any thought about where they set their Bibles, and they would more careful from now on.
The children were eager to please God and wanted to right a wrong that had been done. They were excited about doing this from start to finish. It was fun to watch them participate. The rain and cold temperature did not deter their enthusiasm.
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