Mark 5:1-13 relates the story of Legion, the crazy person Jesus meets in a cemetery. The first thing we notice is the name, “Legion.” It is not Hebrew or Aramaic. The Hebrew or Aramaic name would be either, “רבים מאיתנו,” “Rabbi May Ten You,” or “משוגע,” “Mishugana.”
The Greek would be, “Οἱ πολλο,” or the “Hoi Polloi.” It is not even Latin. The Latin name is, “Multitudo de nobis.” Legion is a Latin word, but refers to a multitude of soldiers, Roman Legions.
Legion asks to go into a herd of pigs and the pigs then run to a bank and drown. Pigs are a non- kosher animal. They are one of only a few non-Kosher animals which are Kosher on the outside, but non-kosher on the inside. Professional soldiers are spit and polish, on the outside, but their reason for being is violence, being non-kosher, on the inside.
First century Israel desired to remove the Roman legions from Israel. St. Mark relates this story to explain how. In order to remove the Roman legions we must sacrifice our pigs, that which makes us non-kosher, not pure enough to enter the presence of God. Today, we ask ourselves what we must do to remove big government from our lives.
If only we could remove big government from our lives, we could release our creative energy and return to full employment. St. Mark tells us that first, we must remove our pigs; we must remove the need from big government in our lives. We must remove all the hatred, the poverty, the economic inequality, the pollution, the host of sins we commit everyday in the name of capitalism, rugged individualism, and the protestant work ethic.
Mark 12:13-17, the same chapter where Jesus gives us the Great Commandment, tells how some of the Separate Ones asked Jesus if it was proper to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus asks for a coin and explains in essence, “Give to Lincoln (for those who live in Nebraska) what belongs to Lincoln, to Washington what belongs to Washington, and to God what belongs to God.”
Jesus cannot mean, “Give Lincoln and Washington allegiance and patriotism.” Israel asks how to remove the Roman Legions, from their lives. Jesus tells them, if Caesar’s image is on it, if Lincoln’s or Washington’s image is on it, you must return it. That includes the aqueducts, and the famous Roman roads. The Jewish people are co-dependent upon Rome at the same time the pray for their eviction. Jesus tells them that before he can evict Rome, they must remove their pigs. They must cease to be co-dependent. They must first become Jewish again.
There is only one person who gets the message, Judas, in Matthew 27:3, when he returns the 30 pieces of silver. In order to clean ourselves, we must remove our silver and gold and return to Torah, the love of God first, and neighbor second. We see the point in the Great Commandment. “Hear you who struggle with God, God is Almighty God is One; Love God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.”
How do we love God? What do we give someone who already has everything? We respect his property, his planet, and everything in it, in particular what he made in his image, each other. This also means respecting our neighbor’s obligation to do the same, his obligation to love us. Deuteronomy 30 tells us:
The Mitzvah I give you, this day, is not too remote for you. It is not in the heavens, for you to say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, for you to say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” It is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.
“It is not those who hear the law who are צודק/charitable in the sight of God; rather, those who guard Torah will be מוצדק/made charitable. When the Goim who do not have Torah by nature guard the prescriptions of Torah, they are Torah for themselves even though they do not have the Torah. They show that the demands of Torah are written in their hearts.” Romans 2:13-15
Torah really is just that simple. There really is not that much to it. It is all about guarding and tending the Garden of Eden, just as it was from the very beginning. Now, do we want to get rid of big government, or keep complaining about high taxes and excessive regulations? The choice is ours, not the government’s.