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Is this title Clickbait? That would be a neat historical twist:
You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deut. 23:18)
How odd a commandment this is! Money is money – why cannot the proceeds from these particular sources be brought to serve G-d? A dog and a whore… what could they possibly have in common that makes them uniquely unsuitable for a holy task?
Joseph Cox has a genius answer: the word for “offering” is the same word as “to come close” – the purpose of any offering is to build a relationship with the divine. Offerings are meant to build holiness. They are meant to further a relationship with G-d Himself.
Our closest (non-divine) relationships in this world are supposed to be with our spouse and our children.
Here’s the punchline: a prostitute is a proxy for a real marriage. Prostitution is purely physical, transactional, and devoid of spiritualism. It is animalistic and divorced from true intimacy. So proceeds from prostitution cannot be used to build a relationship with G-d.
And dogs, as anyone in America knows, are proxies for real children. People invest their own spiritual energies in their dogs – but the dogs cannot grow and carry on our legacy as children can. As beloved as they are, dogs are mere stand-ins for the real thing. And so the value of a dog, too, cannot be used to build a holy relationship with the divine.