Beyond the Cusp

February 11, 2018

World Anti-Semitism Will Never Die

 

There is an underlying distaste of the Biblical definition of the Israelites as the Chosen People. This has been taken by the non-Jewish world to mean that the Jews find themselves to be better than everyone else. It never occurs to them that what being the Chosen People was that the Israelites were, or at least Abraham, Isaack and Jacob were the first people who followed Hashem and were to live by the laws Hashem would impart to Moses at Mount Sinai during the Exodus. The Jews are not to believe they are any better than anyone else, they are to hold themselves to a higher standard through the six-hundred-thirteen commandments in Torah and the other laws and admonitions which would be imparted through the Oral Law. Jews were expected to try harder to be the best society they could possibly accomplish. The truth be told, the Jews were actually set up for continued failure as the standard set for them was to become beyond their societal ability to reach and maintain. Sustaining the egalitarian love of all and acceptance of equality of humankind all while living a structured life which kept to the strict thin line guided by Torah and the Oral Law was difficult. The rules Hashem had given at Mount Sinai were an addition to the former code which Hashem gave Noah as the basis for civilized society known as the Noahic Code which contained seven rules (see image below). These were the initial laws which predated the Ten Commandments which were in addition to the Noahic Code and even restated some of the Noahic Code. The Ten Commandments were just the initial installment at Mount Sinai and were followed by Torah which is a combination of history book and code for life and the means for governance when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. The one thing which becomes obvious to one reading Torah is that the Israelites, the modern Jews, were expected to live exemplary lives which would allow them to be granted the grace of Hashem which would also lead to their not suffering from want. The successes they would receive for following the laws set forth in the Torah and explained and fleshed out by the Oral Law would make others desire to live similar lives and also be thusly rewarded. The success was not supposed to make the Jews appear better than anyone else, they were supposed to be an example which others would desire to live a similar life and also be rewarded. Unfortunately, this was not how things were interpreted by much of the outside world.

 

Noahic Codes

Noahic Codes

 

What occurred instead was that some decided that they would simply conquer the Israelite lands and take their wealth. Most of the civilizations who attempted this met with destruction while the Israelites were observant of the Commandments given them by Hashem. But eventually the Israelites turned from the narrow path and this led to their being conquered by foreign powers. The first time this happened was when the Babylonians under Nebakanezzer conquered the Israelites. This still left two tribes from the Twelve Tribes unconquered, the Tribes of Judah and the far smaller tribe of Benjamin. These former Israelites were referred to as Judeans and they would also fall to the Babylonians some years later. The first ten tribes of the Israelites had assimilated by the time the Judeans fell and were considered lost and dispersed becoming the Ten Lost Tribes. When Judah finally fell, the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the First Temple. The Judeans went into captivity and this was referred to as the first exile which was described to Abraham by Hashem. The Prophet Ezekiel prophesized the Jews were to be punished for 430 years because they had turned away from Hashem. The Persians under Cyrus the Great defeated the Babylonians and freed their Jewish captives about 70 years after Judah lost independence to Babylon. This left 360 years which the Jews would require a second exile to fulfill as one must pay Hashem when one strays. We will have more about this when it becomes pertinent. Meanwhile, the Jews, some of them, not all as Hashem had commanded, returned and began rebuilding the Temple. Cyrus the Great was aware of the history of the Israelites and did not desire enslaving them as doing so could bring the wrath of Hashem onto the Persians, something which did eventually happen when the Persians attempted to kill the Jews within their kingdom many years later (the story of Queen Esther and the story around Purim in the Megillah of Esther). The real problem was that the Jews who remained residing in the Persian Empire rather than returning to the Promised Land and live as Hashem commands became assimilated and began worshiping the Persian idols and gods. This and the eventual straying by the Jews eventually spread also to the Judeans who had returned to the Promised Land who were again conquered this time by the Hellenist Greeks. This was followed by the Romans, which was when the name Judean proved too burdensome for the lazy Romans who simplified it shortening the name simply to Jew.

 

Do you remember the 360 years which the Jews still would be required to serve in exile we talked of earlier? Well, now we will explain their importance along with some very unbelievable truths from history. In Leviticus 26:18, Leviticus 26:21, Leviticus 26:24 and Leviticus 26:28 the Torah spells things out quite clearly, should the Jews not fully repent their sins they would be punished increased by a factor of seven. As we have already established, the Israelites, by then having become Judeans and who would soon become Jews, strayed leading to their being conquered and sent again into exile. Their required time left to serve was 360 years but was prophesized in Leviticus to be increased seven fold, meant that their exile would last 2,520 years. Yes, this was going to be a very long and unprecedented exile and if the Judean, Jews, were to actually survive and ever return to the Promised Land, it would be an undeniable miracle. On the original lunar Jewish calendar, this actually translates to 2,484 years. The exile, according to historical records, began in 536 BCE. If one takes 536 BCE and moves forward 2,484 years it required taking the 2,484 years of exile and subtract the 536 years before the start of the modern calendar and you get a result of 1948 AD, the exact year of the founding of the modern Jewish State of Israel. Another prophesy comes from Isaiah 66:7-8 where it states, “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” Israel did come into being in a single day declared a nation holding her Biblical borders from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, some parts of which were lost in her initial war against six invading Arab armies on the day she was founded on May 15, 1948, yet she has survived every attempt to dislodge the Jewish People to this day. The modern state of Israel has been a miracle in every sense of the word and the founding exactly as numerous prophecies had predicted to her survival despite all the efforts to destroy her. The continued survival of the Jews through all the challenges of history is another source of anti-Semitism. There are those who believe that the Jews were an ancient people whose existence today has to be an aberration against nature and as such, they believe the Jews are an affront before all they worship and believe.

 

Some anti-Semitism has religious basis in that they believe that the Jews and Judaism have been replaced by their faith. This is the basis of replacement theology which was prevalent throughout Catholicism, all of Christianity and throughout Islam. There have been some attempts at moderating the resultant hatreds spawned by replacement theology and the belief that because these religions which have presumed to have replaced the Jews as the chosen of Hashem, the Jews became under the control of the devil and now worship and do the bidding of the devil. The Jews have thus been relegated to hell and because of their being an aberration of Hashem and damned by Hashem are thus less than human and as such to be spurned. Further, as they have become damned, they are the first to be suspected of being responsible for any calamity which befalls a community. This has led to many historic pogroms where the Jews were blamed for crop failures, diseases, financial failings and untold other calamities and even simple restlessness leading to violence such as resulting from uncommon heatwaves or prolonged frigid times or any uncommon or distressed natural event. These are easily explained events just as when during the Crusades when the leaders of the forces would know that waiting until battle in the Middle East to have their men take life for the first time would lead to many hesitating resulting in their death at the hands of their enemies. Instead, often the commanders would find a Jewish town and have their men turn on the Jews killing many in the town until the rest fled into the surrounding forests becoming too dispersed and thus would take too long to hunt down. Some commanders would repeat these drills in successive Jewish towns which eventually led to the Jews in the path of Crusaders to flee their villages until they had long passed. These types of anti-Semitism have mostly ended in modern life but anti-Semitism continues leading some to ask why and seek explanations.

 

Modern anti-Semitism has a number of reasons, some remaining from ancient periods such as the remaining remnants existing from replacement theology. Some anti-Semitism comes from preexisting anti-Semitism where parents share their feelings so frequently within the home and between friends who share their bigotries among which include anti-Semitism. But there exists one heinous source for modern anti-Semitism which is all but impossible to stamp out because the sources itself are some Jews. There are those who watch the Jews in their lives closely seeking to find them failing to act honorably and being irreligious. They revel in finding Jews who fall short morally and that leads them to believe that all Jews are failed people. This eventually leads to suspicions that Jews are operating nefariously while using false religious observance to hide behind. They begin to claim that all Jews fake their faith and are really using their faith as a cover allowing them to gain wealth or power or success at the cost of others. Those who hold these feelings will blame their failures on these cheating Jews and this drives their anti-Semitism. They then spread their belief that the Jews are cheating everybody in order to gain their wealth, power and take over the society, steal and bankrupt their nations or other acts of bad faith spread to cover all Jews. They find one bad apple and damn the entire barrel. This form of anti-Semitism has proven to be very contagious, easily spreading throughout a civilization like a wildfire. The reality is that all it takes is one bad actor who was born a Jew to start the suspicions. Soon such suspicion begins to become the object to blame any Jew who has more success, more fame, more anything and the claim will fall back to that Jew they know gained through illicit acts and his guilt is passed on to every Jew who has success which a jealous person cannot explain. They will ignore the Jew working longer hours or having a better education or whatever might be a more accurate explanation and instead simply go to the more comforting idea that their gains were ill gotten. It is easier to explain away one’s lack of success and another’s faster rise to their cheating rather than their hard work. Thus, any Jew who succeeds gives cause for feelings of anti-Semitism. All because one Jew fell short in honesty or righteousness or whatever shortcoming they were caught committing. This should be sufficient for every Jew to exercise greater care in their actions and the way they live their lives.

 

The sources of anti-Semitism are numerous, some ancient, some contemporary. Many are impossible for the Jews to prevent. Some are religious in their origins. Some are pure jealousy. The reasons are impossible to quantify and all too many have so many various origins that they defy definition. The main means of fighting anti-Semitism would be for all Jews to live a Torah observant life and be an exemplary individual in their community and in all areas where they meet others. Jews need be above reproach in all acts and treat every person fairly and with great love of all humanity. But even if every Jew were to live up to the expectations of Torah, follow even all of the Oral Law and treat everyone as they desire to be treated, there would still be those who would find some reason to blame the Jews with cheating everyone to get ahead. Anti-Semitism will never be stamped out until the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Age. Until then the Jews will be singled out for special hatreds and suffer for unmet expectations. So, we await the Messiah and must assist every Jew to live a more proper Torah observant life and incorporating the teachings of the Oral Law within their lives treating all people with respect and fairness. It will not end anti-Semitism, but it might lessen the number of people suffering this societal disgrace.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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May 3, 2017

Israel Just Turned Sixty-Nine

 

The renewed State of Israel just turned sixty-nine in the usual emotionally roller-coaster ride. In Israel there is an unique lead in to celebrating the rebirth of the nation state for the Israelite People, also known in modern time as the Jews (more on that in a bit). A little while before the celebratory day we commemorate the remembrance of those lost in the Holocaust. Then the day immediately before Independence day we commemorate all those who have fallen in our defensive struggle to remain a thriving and wonderful nation, but we might be a tad bit biased as citizens living in Israel and very happy with our choice to make Aliyah. Memorial Day includes the soldiers and civilians including Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Bedouins, Druze, Baha’I, other racial and religious peoples who are represented in the society which is Israel and, of course, the Jews. Memorial Day also includes all of the above who have died or suffered debilitating and life altering injuries due to terrorism. Needless to point out, this is a very solemn day filled with tears and sorrow until sundown. That is when a transformation takes place that unless witnessed is impossible to envision. Sundown on the Jewish calendar marks the start of the next day, Independence Day and some of the highest spirits and joyous occasions in all of Israel. People dance in the streets, sing joyously, some pray, some chant their prayer aloud in the street, others soak it all in and are filled with a satisfaction and a warm glowing joy. Then there are of course speeches by politicians (something we unfortunately cannot prevent as they will talk, that is their job, to talk us into submission), singing (this is great usually even if in Hebrew and you do not yet speak Hebrew), dancing both with and without singing, music and in the midst of all this they launch a good half an hour or more of fireworks, and all this is in the town center of one of the smaller cities in Israel. If one wished to sit atop one of the twenty or thirty story building’s roofs, then they could gather in the little fact that the suburbs, other downtown neighborhoods, the neighboring Kibbutzim and all over the area there would be other fireworks and the sky would light up in sparkling explosions and bright sprinkles of joy in almost every direction one would look, well, except west as the Mediterranean Sea is west of our town.

 

Well, time for a short bit of history and why Israelite became to be known as Jews. If one were to take the refounding of the State for the Israelite People with Jerusalem as their Capital City, then Israel in approximately three-thousand-one-hundred-fifty-years old. That is because somewhere between 1,000 BCE and 1150 BCE King David took an elite group from his army and entered Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) in the middle of the night and took care of the majority of the night guard, took over the main gates and opened them to allow the rest of the Israelite army to enter Yerushalayim. From that day forward, Yerushalayim became the Capital City of Israel and the Israelite People such that wherever they would reside they prayed facing Yerushalayim. Many of their services, especially the Passover Haggadah, end with the final phrase of, “Next Year in Yerushalayim.” History would note that King David’s son, King Solomon would build the Temple to Hashem allowing for a place for Hashem’s presence on Earth to settle. The Ark of the Covenant rested within the Holy of Holies, the central chamber within a chamber within the Temple. Only the Cohen Gadol (Heb. כהן גדול) was permitted to enter and then only on Yom Kippur when he was to atone and account for the people’s sins and the state of Israelite society and its reverence towards Torah. The Cohen Gadol would have a strong narrow rope capable of dragging his remains from the chamber attached to his ankle in case the recounting went badly. There are many accountings of attributes, the positions the Cherubim would face atop the Ark of the Covenant and other strict rules on how the Cohen Gadol was to prepare for entering the Holy of Holies. Let it rest that we are quite glad that we could never qualify for the position.

 

There was the instance when during a war the Israelites lost the Ark of the Covenant allowing the Ark to be captured in a battle they lost because they took the Ark of the Covenant without having been instructed by Hashem to do so. Things went quite badly for whatever city it was harbored. City after city would pass it off to save themselves and finally they begged the Israelites to take the accursed item back and never to allow it in their lands again. The Israelites took the Ark of the Covenant back with great joy and great care in handling the Ark. The Temple was subsequently destroyed by the Babylonians and the Ark of the Covenant was nowhere to be found and has remained in hiding ever since. Also between the building of the First Temple and the Babylonian conquest and destruction of Yerushalayim and the Temple when Solomon dies the nations split into two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom held ten tribes plus their priests and was named Israel and the southern nations was called Judea as it was made up of Juda and Benyamin, two tribes and Juda was the larger of the two. Judea also controlled Yerushalayim. The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and never were they heard from until recently since the formation of the State of Israel, where these tribes emerge from around the globe and have proven genetic links to the Nation of Israel and the Israelite People. They were, and oft still are, referred to as the ten lost tribes of Israel. The Southern Nation continued until the Roman dispersion and their people were referred to as Judeans, which over time shortened and shortened until Judean became Jude and finally simply became Jew.

 

While in captivity, the Babylonians demanded our Priests sing songs for them so they wrote the Song of Babylon, which includes a very strong reference to the special place Yerushalayim plays in the lives of the Israelites. The Song of Babylon is also known as Psalms – Chapter 137 and those special lines are below.

Sing for us of the song of Zion.
How shall we sing the song of the Lord on foreign soil?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill (lose its cunning and strength)
May my tongue cling to my palate (roof of my mouth), if I do not remember you,
if I do not bring up Jerusalem at the beginning of my joy.
Remember, O Lord, for the sons of Edom, the day of Jerusalem, those who say,
“Raze it, raze it, down to its foundation!”

Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great who received the title of Great because he allowed the Israelites to return home to rebuild their Temple and worship Hashem. Truth be told, just as in Egypt with the Exodus, far less than half the Jews took the offer to return and reclaim their lands and make them productive. Many claim that both times the number was merely ten percent, we like to believe we could get at least double if not two and a half times as many, a full quarter of the Israelites. But many remained throughout the Persian Empire. Things went well until a descendent of one of the Israelites old enemies came back to haunt them. His name was Haman and he was the Visor (top advisor) to King Achashverosh. King Achashverosh called for his wife, Queen Vashti and her reply was, “No.” This angered King Achashverosh so he had her removed from her position as the Queen by beheading her. King Achashverosh held a contest to choose a new wife; a Jewess named Esther won and became Queen of Persia. Haman persuaded King Achashverosh that the Jews were a threat to his throne and had a Royal Order sent to all the regions that the Jews be killed on a set day. Esther’s Uncle Mordechai told her of these plans and asked her to intervene with the King, which at first she shrank from the task, but was persuaded to act. King Achashverosh could not repeal his first order so he issued a new order demanding that the Jews fight back and let the true people persevere. Haman and his sons hanged on the very gallows they had built to use on the Jews and on that fateful day the Jews won out and more anti-Semites died that day than any other day in history.

 

After this, there was a brief period of calm and then came the Greeks and Alexander who found circumcision to be abhorrent as they worshiped the human form and thought people to be born with perfection and it was an anathema to them to cut or change the body in any manner. Many Jews could not accept their making circumcision illegal and circumcision was simple to discern and once detected they faced sentencing to death. This caused them to live hidden in the caves of the Judean Hills away from the prying eyes of the Greek soldiers and officials. The Jews survived the Greeks despite many Jews being tempted and turning to following the Greek worship of idols. These were called Hellenized Jews and were very similar in many ways to the American and European Jews who have slowly over the years turned from their religion and now act as if they were gentiles in all manners except for attending church, but then many Europeans and a fair number of Americans, mostly leftists, also do not attend church. Then the Romans came replacing the Greeks and not much changed until the Jews managed to win their freedom briefly from the Romans who returned in force, defeated the Jews, and passed new restrictive laws in the hope it would break their will and force them to be Roman. Apparently, they were not familiar with Torah where the Israelites are often referred to as a stiff-necked people and stubborn beyond measure. The Jews managed the impossible and threw off Roman Rule a second time, Rome sent several legions, and this defeat was definitive. They dispersed much of the Jewish population to the far corners of their empire and everywhere in between with the hope that this dispersion would be the end of the Jewish People. Rome understood that a people without any connection to land became weak-willed and soon lost any mutual ties and became estranged and their being a nation terminated. The Jews were different because they were not tied to the land as much as they were tied to Torah, and the Romans could not take Torah away from the Jews, they had it memorized along with commentary, customs, celebrations and every iota which was within. This was the precious heritage that they passed on generation-to-generation and what kept the Jewish People defined as a people. It is Torah, which also is found in some traceable form that most of these tribes being discovered still observe to this day. They continue to observe the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday and hold the Seder for Passover and every other tradition plus a few new ones commemorating great miracles in their lives.

 

Timeline of Ancient Israelites from Abraham to the Roman Conquest

 

All of this brings us to the pertinent question, did Israel just turn sixty-nine as it was born in 1948, or was this the celebration of Israel turning somewhere around three-thousand-two-hundred-fifty years old from the anointing of the first King of Israel, King Saul? But that leaves out Moses which brings us to this being the three-thousand-four-hundred plus years old and even this is incomplete as the very first Israelite to live in the land of Israel was Abraham and from his founding of the start of a family, a religion, the following of Hashem and the rules he would teach to Moses all placed within Torah along with the History of a people. So the origin of the Israelite People and the Jewish religion begins with our Patriarchs and Matriarchs named Abraham, Izaak, and Jacob along with Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel. This makes this birthday approximately the four-thousand-seventeenth birthday as Abraham was estimated to have arrived in Canaan somewhere around 2000 BCE. The timeline above places Abraham appearance to be 2166 BCE, which makes our final approximation four-thousand-one-hundred-eighty-three years old, so have a happy, healthy and wonderful 4183rd birthday Nation of Israel. As we are writing this on Independence Day afternoon, we need to go to a picnic because in Israel we celebrate Independence Day much as it is everywhere, we go to morning religious services and a Bar-B-Q in the afternoon where there is lots of Kosher meat and no ice cream, it’s that meat and milk thing, so, good-bye for now.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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