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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ceremony and change

This week's Torah portion iincludes Hashem telling Moses that he would die before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, to which Moses responded that Hashem should select a new leader and there should be a public ceremony in which Moses lays hands on him and creates that new leader. This prompted a discussion of life-cycle ceremonies (Brit milah, baby naming, Bat Mitzvah, wedding) in which the person enters the ceremony as one thing and emerges as something else, changed by the ceremony.

Listening to it, my mind drifted to Obama's First Inauguration, in which the Chief and Obama together flubbed the oath, creating questions of whether the ceremony had successfully "changed" Obama into the President. And to questions of what are the details that define a ceremony sufficient to affect the change and how precisely must those details be followed.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 20, 2019 at 11:24 AM in Howard Wasserman | Permalink

Comments

Ok.

Why did people assume that without the proper oath, he didn't become President? Does the Constitution or statute make taking the oath of office a condition precedent to becoming president? Or is it merely an obligation incumbent on a new president to do so?

Posted by: Biff | Jul 21, 2019 4:01:09 PM

That was the discussion being had in 2009, as shown in the various links in the post. And that concerned people enough that Obama retook the oath in private a day later.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Jul 21, 2019 7:18:29 AM

Why do you assume that without the proper oath, he didn't become President? Does the Constitution or statute make taking the oath of office a condition precedent to becoming president? Or is it merely an obligation incumbent on a new president to do so?

Posted by: Biff | Jul 21, 2019 1:44:53 AM

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