Beyond the Cusp

May 24, 2019

What are the Jews to Expect from the World?

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:02 AM
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We are told that we are not supposed to expect much from the world. We are further told that the world is not likely to understand or be particularly favorable towards us. We are not to expect the world to understand Jews or Judaism as they are unlikely to have read the Torah or the Bible, in this case the Old Testament. We are told that this does not matter as it is the Jews responsibility to learn Torah and practice all of its Laws and Commandments, all six-hundred-thirteen Commandments. We are to obey the Oral Law which will be our duty and through learning and practicing to live as Hashem desires of the Jews, we can affect the world. Through our actions we can affect the world both for goodness and for evil. The main expectation we have is that should we ever master living lives worthy of Hashem, then the world will take care of itself and peace will rule over the world. But then again, if all Jews were to meet this expectation for a decent length of time, such would usher in the Messiach which would perfect the world. We should not see our actions as repairing the world, we are to repair that in ourselves and should we actually perfect our own lives, then the world will take care of itself and the Messiach would arrive to set the world on its course of perfection. This is, of course, a near impossibility, for every Jew to obey the Laws and Commandments from Torah and as instructed by those knowledgeable of these laws and are charged with teaching us. We also are told to read the Torah and engross ourselves in its words and its ways such that we are to be holy before our Creator. The entire being a Jew sounds easy, except it is not nor is it intended to be easy. Following all that Hashem expects from us is supposed to be a struggle which only a few ever succeed in each generation. These select few may not be the Torah scholars but rather these righteous individuals can be anybody and it is their actions which save our world. The Jews can make the challenge put before these righteous individuals much easier simply by taking care of our own actions.

 

This brings us to what we are to expect of the world. Basically, not all that much is to be expected of the world until we have perfected ourselves. This is the actual instruction given for us to perform to perfect the world, to practice that which we call Tikkun Olam. Largely, Jews are expected to live a Torah observant life and to be holy before Hashem. Would the Jews master this calling and all stand before Hashem and be found worthy of the Messiach, then Hashem will allow for the Messiach to come and rule over the Jews and the rest of the world would see how wonderful our lives have become that they will, in turn, desire to become holy before Hashem, or at least do so as best as they are able. As Jews, we are not to attempt to take on the world and all its problems, threats and challenges as until we have perfected ourselves, who are we to perfect the world. Our example of living a holy life and reaping the rewards which come with such observance will take care of making the world become more perfect. When those who are not Jewish come and ask for guidance towards living a holy life, we are to instruct them on performing the Noahic Code (listed below). These are the seven Commandments provided Noah which were to lead to a perfected world, a perfected world simply by humankind following seven simple rules. These rules are listed in the Torah as a barometer on how the people of the world are behaving. Part of the reason for the Torah and its six-hundred-thirteen Laws was for setting one peoples before the world as an example for how to live a moral life. These laws, when followed, allow for the world to be perfected and thus all will see the Jews living as Hashem expects of them and the rewards they receive in the form of crops and other endeavors taken up by the Jews yielding great rewards, the example provided by the Jews will bring people who will ask, demand even, for the Jews to share with them the ways of Hashem so they too can have the goodness of the land.

 

This brings us to what the Jews are supposed to provide as answers to their questions of how they are to follow Hashem. The expectations the world is to follow has radically fewer Commandments as there exist in Judaism. This Divine Code of laws were initially provided before Noah which is why they are also known as the Noahic Code. This group of laws is significantly less in numbers from the six-hundred-thirteen Commandments expected of a Jew, the Divine Noahic Code consists of a mere seven laws (see graphic below). These, we are told, are the minimal number of laws required in order to have a functioning, good and civilized society. Through having humankind obey the Noahic Code will the world be set on the path towards redemption. This sounds easy, but remember that first the world will be required to meet expectations, something that the world finds difficult to do as they stray from the path which Hashem laid out before them. This was partly the cause of the Great Flood. Hashem promised Noah that never again would Hashem destroy the world in the same manner. We are to remember this promise as a challenge for us to all follow the Noahic Code. When non-Jews inquire of Jews to be instructed in the proper way to live, we are not supposed to inundate them with the Mitzvoth of Torah and all that is entailed in the Laws; instead we are to give them the Seven Noahic Code of Laws, the Divine Code. Should they respond with the query as to ask, is this all that we need, the Jew is supposed to tell then it will suffice and is not as easy as one may believe and they should first attempt to live by the Seven Laws and wish them well.

 

The Divine Code of Seven Universal Commandments

The Divine Code of Seven Universal Commandments

 

The Jews need follow the entirety of Torah and Oral Law which requires that we rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Inside Judaism there is the controversy as to whether we mortals are to rebuild the Sanctuary and the Temple or should we wait for the Messiach before rebuilding. Then there are those who are of the belief that Hashem will provide the last Temple and it will either drop out of the sky or simply appear out of nothing, but we hold the belief that we are required to build the Temple, but not until we have gathered the ingathering and are following the laws of the Written and Oral Codes ourselves. There are those who claim that this is a task which we will never reach completion as it demands too much from us. Where six-hundred-thirteen Laws does initiate quite a challenge, we need remember that approximately one-third of the Laws deal with the daily services and rituals performed by the Cohanim and Levites and the correct distribution of the eaten parts of the sacrifice. These Laws are all concerning the rituals and instruct the order for the daily sacrifices. It was Maimonides wrote in, “The Guide for the Perplexed,” stating, “that God deliberately has moved Jews away from sacrifices towards prayer, as prayer is a higher form of worship,” and this has been taken as a sign that the sacrifices will instead be prayers with the expectations that all Jews will be expected to pray and assist in carrying out this burden. This is another of those items which time will tell and provide us with signs and answers if only we are sufficiently intelligent to interpret them.

 

Initially, we were taught back in the times of the two Temples, mankind was brutish and uncivilized with the majority not even aware of the Divine Code nor aware of Hashem as they worshiped idols and their idolatry included often human and child sacrifice. Judaism spends an inordinate amount of effort refuting any possible reason which might claim that idolatry was a good thing. Many of the idolaters also practiced human sacrifice even to include child sacrifice, something the Jews were forbidden from doing. In Judaism, all human life is precious. As to what the Jews were to expect from the world during the Biblical and Temple period was very little. The outside world was perceived more as a threat than an opportunity. We were warned that should we follow in the path of Hashem, then we would receive the necessary rain for our crops and would not be defeated by those others who basically surrounded us. Should we fail to follow the Commandments from Hashem, then initially the rain would stop and famine would come as a warning to repent. Should the Jews not repent, then they would be conquered which is exactly what occurred bringing the First and Second Temple Periods to an end. Jewish sages placed the main reason for the destruction of the First Temple to the people turning to idolatry and the Second Temple’s destruction was due to Jews disrespecting one another. These horrific disasters which struck the Jews could have been used as a moment of learning, but as is usual, no lessons were taken to heart by the world. One good sign that the Jews may have learned something from the destruction of the First Temple came from archaeological excavations of Jerusalem, Hevron and other ancient cities before the destruction of the First Temple, it was common to find what would have been household idols and personal idols and in excavations of post First Temple Period almost completely devoid of idols.

 

In current times and with the return of Israel, our ancient homelands, Jews will once again have their own nation. This will bring up the question as to what the Jews expect from the world. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and with the peoples of the world. We do not expect that suddenly the Jews will have become the darlings of the world with everyone loving them. What we expect is rejection of our return by at the least half of the world if not more and indifference from the majority of the remainder. The United Nations has proven that even that might have been overly optimistic. We do not expect acceptance by many who practiced replacement theology as they took a path in which the Jews are the accursed. Jews have no chance for redemption unless they renounce Judaism and convert to whichever Christian or Islamic sect or denomination holding to this theory. Islam believes that they not only replaced the Jews but also the Christians and that they are the final reformation which was inspired by heaven. Any following of replacement theology views the Jews as accursed and having been cast away by Hashem never to be restored to their ancestral position or to their ancestral homelands. This is partly why the Catholic Church, almost all of Islam and numerous Christian sects which denounce the Jews returning to Israel and demanding that the Jews and Israel be destroyed. This comes down to a basic and central concept within replacement theology in that the Jews cannot return to their ancestral lands and rebuild the temple as such would be proof that Hashem never did condemn the Jews and forsake the Jews but rather still holds to the covenant between Hashem and the Jews. The Jews cannot expect anything other than continued rejection from these peoples.

 

From the world at large, the Jews pretty much expect little to nothing. The Jews require a more inward inspection where they need to reach some conclusions to some very deep questions. The biggest of these is whether or not to rebuild the Temple and, if so, where. Such an effort will have those holding to replacement theology doing everything in their power to prevent this from being completed. We hope that with time Israel will become more religious and we will live better lives following the Commandments. As we improve our totality and come closer to Torah, we will then expect that we can affect the world in a positive manner and expect the remainder of the world to at the very least attempt to follow the Noahic Code. We will, as the nation of the Jews, continue to provide disaster relief around the globe whenever disaster places people in need. We will continue to make advances in every field and share these with the world at large. We expect nothing more from the rest of the world beyond please just leave us alone within our tiny lands west of the Jordan and stop attempting to destroy what little we have remaining from the British Mandate, a whole twenty-two-percent with the Arab Palestinians already having been given the seventy-eight-percent of the region. We desire peace and an end to terrorism. Not just in Israel, but over the entirety of humankind wherever we reside and on whatever planet we may find on which to start a colony in the future. We would like to lay claim to Planet Israel pictured below should such ever be found. Otherwise, we simply desire to live amongst everyone in peace and mutual respect.

 

Planet Israel

Planet Israel

 

In the end, the Jews merely desire to be considered as one of those civilized peoples and we simply hope that such a reference continues to apply to more peoples each year. We wish to grant respect to all and hope they will return the same. We hope to treat others with respect, caring, love and peace and hope to receive the same. As Jews we will try and set an example of living a good life where all are granted the respect due them as creatures beloved of Hashem. This, we hope, will spread to the entirety of the world and we can all work together for the mutual benefit in all things. We will respect life. We would like to be able to expect such in return. We wish to grant the world the Noahic Code and in time share the wisdom and ways of the Torah with those who feel the desire to become closer to the teachings in the Torah. We are not seeking to convert any unless they come and ask us. Our mainstay for attracting others is by living the life as defined in Torah. We will not proselytize and only answer those who inquire. Even those seeking to convert will find that it is not easy to do. This is intentional as we only wish those who will represent Judaism with the warmth, love and respect for human life and Hashem with all the Commandments held in their heart. We hope to be mindful of others and pray to receive the same. We do not desire more land or to rule over the world or even rule others, taking care of ourselves is sufficient challenge. We do not seek wealth but are not afraid of it either. We do seek acceptance and know to receive such one must first grant acceptance which we will to all with a special place for those following the Divine Code and an even closer place in our heart for those of the Covenant, keepers of the Commandments. It really is that simple.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 15, 2019

American Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Reprimands Europeans

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:55 AM
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Just as Elan Carr’s speech to the confab of European Rabbis was concise and to the point, we will try and match his efficiency in use of words. But first we would like to link to our source for our material. It was refreshing to have a representative if the American Administration finally fighting for the Jews rather than finding excuses to give such efforts the sort shrift. Further, to hear one speaking truth to power, where too many people have been reluctant to call out the Europeans for making laws which basically tell their populations that Jews are no longer welcome, is a relief and gives one hope. In particular, he brought out the examples where nations have targeted Judaism stating, “We have these disgraceful pieces of legislation that ban ‘shechita’ and contemplating banning ‘Brit Mila’ … well let me tell you what this is, this is nothing other than a forced expulsion of the Jewish communities …” The beginning of his presentation was used first as a tribute to the pro-Jewish individual we have in President Trump, likely the most positive in his support and love for the Jewish People and Israel. Then Envoy Carr moved rapidly to the main points he wished to convey.

 

United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr

United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr

 

About the only thing he missed was how these thus far European acts against vital parts of Jewish life is just another means by which Hashem is performing the In-Gathering of Jews to the Holy Lands. Envoy Carr touched on the fact that the United States is also facing a series of crises of its own makings. He continued noting the universal rise in anti-Semitism worldwide while targeting both left and right wing anti-Semitism stating, “We have a confluence of sources of anti-Semitic hatred, from the ultra-right ethic supremacist movements to the ultra-left, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist movement, to radical Islam – movements that should hate each other far more than they hate everything else, and then united in this age old sickness of humanity known as anti-Semitism.” It was good to hear somebody fight the good fight as we have contributed to with our own miniscule means. We have yet to receive an invitation to anything resembling the stature of those to which Mr. Carr’s words were directed. About the sole omission was admitting that the United States is close behind Europe, where anti-Zionist and anti-Israel positions have been obviously manifest and celebrated on both ends of the Atlantic Ocean. So, here is United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism Elan Carr with his address given before the annual Conference of European Rabbis, this year in Antwerp.

 

 

We like the fact that Envoy Carr gave these European Rabbinical elites much to consider along with suggestions for the treatment of the growing anti-Semitism. Then he presented these Rabbis with direct orders to take back to their synagogues and Yeshivot the words of warning spoken that day. The remedy is what it has always been, education leading to understanding and recognition of the first seeds of anti-Semitism is when the fight needs already have been initiated. Pro-active steps are better than reactive steps, but even reactive steps are better than no steps at all. We would have to agree that the two scourges of Judaism are evidenced within his speech, growing levels of anti-Semitism and assimilation. These have been with the Jews ever since Pharaohs first restricted our use of straw provided by the Egyptians.

 

Where and when these forms of anti-Semitism will finally end is anybody’s guess. Ours is a traditional figuring that these will remain with us until the arrival of the Mosiah. It cannot be honestly claimed that these problems do not exist within Israel, as they are ever-present. What makes Israel a different case is that the anti-Semitism comes from within our people, the worst and most difficult type to fight. Where does one turn when the core of much anti-Semitism comes from within the tribes? This too is not anything original as such has posed problems from those faced by Moses upon his return down the slopes of Mount Sinai only to find those he was presumably bringing to the Holy Lands were themselves facing a crisis of the faith of the Jewish People in the sin of the Golden Calf. Imagine his dismay as Moses was coming upon this scene of debauchery being performed by the Jewish People. This was sorted out by Moses and set straight before Hashem. If only that had been the last time that the ancient Hebrews turned to a darker side and disappointed Hashem and Moses similarly, yet Moses fought for them repeatedly and properly as molding these people into a unified group capable of living a Torah defined life in the Promised Lands was his task assigned by Hashem. This difficult task was achieved only through weeding out those who were not worthy and educating a new generation which was worthy of receiving Hashem’s gift of the Promised Lands. That is what is so amazing about the Jewish People, we are continually fighting the same battles which largely exist today exactly as they did in the times of Moses. The difference is that today much of the problem could be rectified simply by bringing everyone home and then stand against the onslaught which assuredly would be coming as the Arabs would believe that this was their time to act. That form of overt hatred and anti-Semitism is far more easily fought than is that which rises from within our own ranks. The internal struggles are part and parcel of our eternal struggle and has often seen us as our own worst enemies. When we have first unified our own house, then we can administer to the rest of the world. To do so before that would be premature and leave us open for scorn. May the day soon come when we no longer sew hatred nor war anymore as we will have finally put down anti-Semitism in all of its manifestations and moved beyond primitive and petty hatreds, learning acceptance for all in our midst. Then will come the day when the words of Isaiah 2:3-4 will have come true, and finally we will realize these words.

 


And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 19, 2018

If Israel Was a Normative Nation

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:53 AM
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If Israel was a normative nation, then the fact that the percentage of citizens who were Jews would simply be an anomaly. If Israel was a normative nation, she would not worry about what was the right thing to do. If Israel was a normative nation, her actions would be completely based on what served her interests. If Israel was a normative nation, other nations and groups would fear the potential retribution she is capable of loosing on any threat. If Israel was a normative nation, other nations would fear her nuclear and other military capabilities. If Israel was a normative nation, Hamas and Islamic Jihad would have been wiped from Gaza a long time ago. If Israel was a normative nation, the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, the PLO and their security forces would have been sent packing to whatever nations would permit their exile and the Arabs would have been given the opportunity to reside as resident aliens provided they accept Israeli law and renounce terrorism. If Israel was a normative nation, none of the Arabs remaining within her borders would even give the slightest thought of entertaining any acts against Israel. If Israel was a normative nation, the world would not dare push as far as they currently push as they would know it would not alter how she acts. If Israel was a normative nation, her new northern border would be the Litani River or further north after making a deal with Russian President Putin to divide Lebanon between the two nations and pushing Hezballah into extinction. If Israel was a normative nation, so many things would so completely different. But Israel is not a normative nation and things are so different because she is so different.

 

Israel is many things, but normative is not even a possibility. The Children of Israel (Children of Jacob who was also referred to as Israel by HaShem) were the original nation beginning with Abraham passing Isaac and then with Jacob from whom we became the twelve tribes. Then we spent our formative years in Egypt in forced labor, like the majority of Egyptians whose laborers performed forced labor. Then Moses lifted us from the drudgery of forced labor and started the Children of Israel (Jacob) on the most formative journey in history, and it is recorded closely in Torah. The initial lesson we received after the Ten Plagues, which did not affect the area where the Children of Israel lived in Goshen, was being pinned to the Red Sea with the might of the Egyptian Army about to close and descend upon them. Next came HaShem parting the Red Sea, the Children of Israel crossing and the Egyptian Army following only to be drowned when the parting was released, showing the greatness of the power of HaShem. Now the Children of Israel camped at Mount Sinai, where they were to receive the Law, Torah’s Commandments, all six-hundred-thirteen Commandments. Initially, as the tale is told, HaShem came amongst the Children of Israel to allow them to individually hear His laws directly, the entirety of the people died and HaShem was required to revive them. This was attempted again the next day with the hope that after having experienced HaShem, being present would make a difference, but the result was identical. This resulted in having Moses receive the Law and then teach them after receiving them directly from HaShem, as only Moses was able to stand in the presence of HaShem. One would expect that such an experience would also have a lasting effect. These laws received at Mount Sinai were also one of the bases for the morality and systems of governance with its emphasis on the respect for human life and the proper treatment of the stranger and the fact that the community is responsible for even the most vulnerable amongst us which were referred to as the orphan and the widow. For almost another twelve-hundred-years, the Children of Israel lived under Torah and the mitzvahs and commandments finding themselves often falling well short of the expectations.

 

The Children of Israel resided in the area close to the lands they currently reside. The main differences are the northern border used to be the Litani River and some of the tribes lived on the eastern bank of the Jordan River (see map below). The problem was the Children of Israel were internal and external difficulties and challenges. The first was the splitting of the tribes with the northern ten tribes splitting taking the name of Israel and the southern two tribes taking the name of the larger and more dominant tribe, Judah. The northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrians and assimilated and became lost to history and the southern tribes were conquered by the Babylonians. The Judeans returned as a province of Persia, built the Second Temple, and then fell to Greece and eventually Rome who then dispersed the Judeans, now referred to as Jews as Judeans was too difficult for the Romans to say, but despite all the troubles, the Jews remained a separate group. The one thought which held all Jews together was the simple faith and knowledge that the day would come when they would be returned to their ancestral lands. As in all things, there are Jews who argue over when and under what conditions we are to return to our ancestral homeland. The one thing we all agreed upon was where that land was and that the capital would be Jerusalem. So, it really is no wonder that Israel is not a normative nation.

 

Eretz Yisroel from back in the time immediately after Exodus and before the additional conquest by King David and King Solomon with the original division of the lands between the Tribes covering both sides of the Jordan River. The Israelis and Jews in general could attempt to demand that Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel be made whole as was First Apportioned by Hashem.

 

So, now we live in the age where almost half of the world’s Jews live in their ancient homelands and passing that halfway point is probably less than a decade away. The world can now honestly say that the ancient Kingdom of Israel has been reestablished. Israel has returned and her ancient language of Hebrew has become the first language to return to use after being a dead language used solely in prayers. That is but one of countless miracles which have come about supporting the nations of Israel which is obviously not normative. This little nation of Israel has been facing a constant threat from the neighbors surrounding her and well beyond her border all claiming that she is an interloper and a trespasser who deserves to be destroyed in order to set the world to rights. What makes things worse is that it appears that many nations, groups and international organizations such as the United Nations and its tentacle agencies all agree that if only Israel were destroyed, then all would be right with the world. Any normative nation facing such threats would be very belligerent and overly sensitive to threats lashing out with all their military might to defeat any and all potential enemies. Any normative nation if forced into a war for their survival and find that miraculously they had prevailed and gained lands five or even ten fold their original size would simply retain ever square-millimeter claiming rightfully that all the lands were required to give additional depth for her ability to properly defend herself. Any normative nation would be permitted such remittance from the people who had attacked and thus after the Six Day War, the new Israeli borders would have been the Golan Heights, Jordan River and the Suez Canal with Israel retaining the Sinai Peninsula. But that was not to be permitted for Israel, as she is not a normative nation. Piece by piece, Israel was required to return lands which could have permitted her to better defend her people and survive in a hostile neighborhood and there are pressures to return every millimeter that continues through today. Some nations clearly state with great volume and determination that Israel must not be permitted independence at all and must be completely eradicated, yet the world condemns Israel for not accommodating these enemies.

 

Star of David Ornate

 

But Israel is not a normative nation and as such she has been known in times of great distress in her history to have bent and bent and bent until it appeared she would break, but instead of breaking, Israel would snap and then become a very normative nation striking out at those who wished her harm with a ferocity of unexpected vehemence. That is one historic trait which the modern world has yet to witness, and it would be horrific should such become unavoidable. Israel is not a normative nation and probably wishes to avoid such a response as much if not more so than do those who would bear the brunt of such violence. What has been a great mistaken judgement by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and those supporting their current rioting and incendiary attacks using kites and balloons to burn almost a thousand acres, if not more by now, and their attempting to breach the border with promises of tearing out our hearts and eating our livers, and all sorts of threats depicting the ways they intend to wipe us from the world as we do not deserve to live on this their lands is that we will never defend ourselves. That is really a mistaken thought. The people of Israel are growing exasperated with these antics and the stressful conditions these threats produce. Do not believe that this is true only of the Israelis residing within the range of these attacks because not only is Israel not a normative nation, Israelis are not a normative people because we are all the Children of Israel, the Children of Jacob, we are all family and those who are threatened are actually our bothers and sisters and their families. This makes their children our nieces and nephews and we care deeply for our family members, enough to demand that our government begin to act like a normative nation and respond in like kind to these violences. As ours is a democratically chosen governance, the ruling coalition is not capable of forever ignoring the desire of the people for the Gaza threat to be eliminated with every amount of malice which can be delivered. Eventually, even if we really were saints, there is a point where provocations require a response and that response is almost always an overreaction. The measure of how much of an overreaction is often directly proportional to the amount of time restraint has been the practice. The Israeli public has been showing restraint for at least twenty-five years, and possibly seventy years, or someplace in between, and that reticence will not continue for much longer. We may have the patience of saints, but we are not saints, we are men and women who worry and care about our brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and every other member of our family and that worry will drive our reacting, nay, overreacting. All we can warn our neighbors in Gaza, continue to push Israel until acting becomes necessary at your own risk, and it is your risk.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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