Mark 7:2

They had noticed that some of his disciples ate their food with their hands ‘defiled,’ by which they meant unwashed.

when wrong is looked for
it is but moments away
nothing can block
ever-creative conspiracy
quickly finding a greater fault
than our own weakness

the slightest jot
smallest tittle
stands out as a large affront
to sensibilities and privileges
an endless line of quo-ed status
built to continue order

before realization sparks
expected and unexpected heresy
breaks into the open
with chaos its expected wake
we prepare to fight not flee
to save god universe and all

hand wringing
takes precedence over hand washing
to such a degree
we wash our hands of responsibility
prepared to cut off hands
imagining heads

A helpful reminder for readers of many recent translations that either speak simply of eating or eating food. The Greek here is “bread”. This is loss of a reading signifier as we continue to live out of the hardened hearts regarding a feeding of 5,000.

Bratcher219 is helpful in looking at the word translated as “unclean” — κοινός (koinos, common).

koinos ‘common (to) all)’, ‘communal’: from this primary sense the word came to mean (in the N.T.) ‘ordinary’, ‘profane’. Here, then, it would mean ‘ceremonially unclean’. Morton Smith (Tannaitic Parallels, 31-32) adduces proof from Rabbinical literature to show that koinos in the N.T. refers to “objects of which the cleanness or uncleanness is uncertain, and which are therefore a sort of third class, apart from the clean (certainly so) and the (certainly) unclean.”

In hearing this accusation, Jesus, as usual, walks a third way between clean and unclean with the understanding that there is much that is simply uncertain about its categorization. He will respond from a point beyond the givens of an either/or proposition. When partnered with G*D and Neighb*r things are never as clear as we project them to be based on our preferences and heritage.

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