Beyond the Cusp

January 22, 2018

Current Assessments of Arab-Israeli Conflict Unhelpful

 

There are a number of glaring false assumptions about the Arab-Israeli conflict which serve only to minimize the antipathy felt by the aggressor which began the conflict and set it in motion for perpetuity. The most easily identified errors are that the conflict began in 1948 with the founding of the state of Israel, that the conflict is one-hundred years old, that the disagreement is over borders, that Jerusalem is a central core of the problem and a dozen other such falsities. This war started at the oasis of Khaybar outside Medina. For close to a thousand years Jews lived in the oases of Teyma, Khaybar, and Yathrib peaceably with the surrounding communities, both idolatrous and the growing Islamic community in Medina. There was one area of contention between the Jewish communities and Muhammad, the Jews refused to convert and refused to accept him as the final prophet holding to the historic Jewish belief that the period of the Prophets was long ended. In the year 628-9 A.D., Muhammad gathered his forces and invaded the Jewish community at the Oasis of Khaybar defeating them. In less than a decade, the Islamic forces had defeated all of the separate Jewish communities driving them from the area. It is partially because these were the first groups with whom Muhammad warred or due to the stiff resistance and lack of trust as treaties were disregarded when they were considered inconvenient and no longer to one’s advantage that a great animosity was built between the Jews and Muslims that the Jews are chosen for a particular hatred by Islam. Consider the example of the Qurayza Tribe of Jews, who were defeated by Muhammad despite their leader opting to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army that was sent to take revenge for Muhammad’s deadly caravan raids. Their sin was not joining the fight to defend Muhammad and his fellow caravan raiders who were within their town. The tribe killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back. Yet still Muhammad had every male member of the Qurayza Tribe beheaded. The wars between the Muslims and their continued history of periodic particularly harsh treatment of Jews emanate from these battles.

 

Further, the Quran even states, in Sahih Bukhari 52:177, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” This requires the followers of Islam to war against the Jews, some now interpret this to mean defeating Israel, before their end-times can commence or at least have its time set. This adds to their reasons to fight against Jews which now means Israel. Additionally there are the two spheres which the world is divided among in Islam, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. Dar al-Islam is the House of Islam, the area under Islamic rule and thus considered to be at peace; and Dar el Harb being the House of War which includes all lands with which Islam is at war that includes everything outside Dar al-Islam, simply put, everywhere else. Another point is that once Islam conquers any territory, it is to then remain under Islamic dominance forever and should Islamic territory be lost, even or especially were it to revert to previous (infidel) ownership thus falling outside Islam, that becomes a mortal affront to the supremacy of Islam. Hamas has in their preamble to the Hamas Charter a quote from their founder, Imam Hassan al-Banna “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Obviously, throughout history at numerous times the Jews and even Israel was an area of supreme importance and considered to be the ultimate threat facing Islam. But then, we would simply ask ourselves, why should Islam be any different from everyone else. Before you get up and demand what we mean by everyone else, let us give a partial list of everyone else throughout history; the Pharos’s Egypt, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Roman Empire, Byzantines, Islamic Caliphate, Crusaders, English Empire, Rome’s Inquisition, Spanish Empire, Nazis, Communists and others.

 

In all honesty, we are not claiming by any stretch of the imagination that Israel’s only difficulty is with Islam as there are a plethora of others who would love for Israel to disappear. Many groups outside the Arab and Muslim worlds would also be happy for Israel to disappear. We also need to point out not all of the Arab and Muslim worlds actively want to destroy Israel. One of the main forces which in ambivalent at best and animosity at the worst we have Rome, Vatican City to be more precise where the Catholic Church has a long history of following Replacement Theology which turned the Jews from the Chosen People into the Cursed People. Much of Replacement Theology is based upon the Jewish People being dispersed and denied any return to the Holy Lands. The fact that Israel had been destroyed and the Jews apparently thrown from their homelands was all the proof that the Christians, or in this case the Catholic Church, had replaced the Jews as the Chosen People and the Jews cursed. Then we come to Martin Luther who carries Replacement Theology one-step further and claiming that the Catholic Church has sold their souls and were to join the Jews as cursed and his church was the replacement and true faith. This idea of Replacement Theology continued being used by each Protestant Church during the Reformation. The Church of England, Episcopal Church, also took the position of being the singular holy church for the British Isles which led to years of fighting between the Catholics and the Anglicans. Every step along the way, Replacement Theology was utilized by each Protestant Church founder claimed to have the rights to the title of the Chosen People and all previous forms of Christianity and the Jews now being the cursed people. Islam was no exception as when Muhammad came forth with Islam, he declared that he was presenting the final incarnation of Allah’s word and Islam would be the last and only Chosen People as they replaced all the various Christian faiths and especially the Jews, just as the Christians had denoted the Jews.

 

Refuting the Lie of Replacement Theology

 

Along with each religion, the nation which adopted these various sects of Christianity, the different forms of Islam and the anti-religion Communism all declared their animosity against the Jews. When Israel was reformed by David Ben Gurion declaring Israel founded, all the aforementioned religions had a total conniption-fit expressing their protestation in various means. Most Christian faiths declared this not to be the real return of the Jews and in no way made them once again the Chosen People with the Catholic Church even declaring Israel as an abomination while much of the Islamic world and the Arab League declared total genocidal war of cleansing of the Zionist Entity. The thing which is interesting is how the Arab Islamic worlds ignore the reestablishment of the Jewish homelands of Israel by referring to Israel as the Zionist entity such that they can claim that this is not the reestablished Jewish or Israelite homelands. This is also why they also claim that the Jews of today are not related to the Jews from antiquity despite genetic proof of their having Middle Eastern DNA markers and many families have traceable histories back many centuries even beyond one millennium. They even doubt those Jewish families who have never left Jerusalem except temporarily after Christian and Islamic expulsions always to return as soon as they were able.

 

What makes much of the efforts in the modern era since 1948 to solve the various forms it has taken adjusting to changing conditions and models presented is that they take that the entirety of the problem either began in 1948 with the founding of Israel, it started with the treaties and conferences after World War I or it began with the onset of modern Zionism. These are all completely wrong, as Islam had been at active war with the Jews throughout their history at various levels. People will point to periods where Jews thrived under Islamic rulers but most of these rulers did not follow strict Sharia, the Quranic defined statutes of law. The other difficulty is that despite periods where Jews were treated fairly well, these were always limited periods similar to the periods under European rule in the various nations where Jews were accepted for periods always eventually to come under critical treatment and even actively murdered often by burning at the stake, hanging, boiled in oil and the many various tortures of the Inquisitions. Islam began with mistreatment of the Jews either demanding the Jizya, a special tax levied against non-Muslims for the privilege and protection living under Islamic rule. This tax varied depending on the requirements of the governance, the greater their need the greater the Jizya often leading to a condition which becomes unlivable. This war against the Jews began, as we pointed out at the beginning, in the year 628-9 A.D. and continued, as has the Christian warfare against the Jews, intermittently ever since or as the anti-religious forces of Communism and Nazism have constantly since their inception.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 8, 2018

Are the World’s Jews About to Come Out of the Desert?

 

There are some interesting numbers concerning the Jewish People over their history. Their time in Egypt supposedly was four-hundred years. These years in which them served as bonded workers building the Pharos’s city, left them unable to act as a people or serve in a military capacity. This resulted in their spending forty years in the desert wandering from camp site to camp site until the generations of bonded workers had mostly died off or were too old to be expected to fight, they had become the hangers on. The youth who came out of Egypt did largely have the ability to fight so were allowed to enter the lands which are Israel. With this math behind us, forty years in the desert to remove four-hundred years outside being responsible for protecting themselves, let us move onward.

 

Ezekiel said the Jews were to be punished for 430 years because they had turned away from Hashem. This was to become the Babylonian exile. 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. 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. Since most of the Jews freed from Babylon decided to live in the Persian society and adopted pagan ways, which is not exactly repenting, their remaining 360 years were multiplied by seven meaning their time in the Diaspora or under foreign occupation became 2,520 years on the original lunar Jewish calendar which translates to 2,484 years. Count from 536 BCE forward 2,484 years and you arrive at 1948. One can only imagine how long it will take to bring the Jews from their over two millennial exile to having their faith restored in themselves as a people? What is interesting is the difference we have noted in the Jews who have returned from many corners of the globe living here in our little berg in Israel to the majority of Jews who have thusfar remained in the Diaspora. The differences are stark.

 

We have spoken about how the majority of people in the synagogue we belonged to in the United States were confounded when we informed them we were on our way to live in Israel. They could not understand why we would leave what they viewed as the promised land to go to the ravaged lands in the Middle East, of all places. They cried about leaving the safety of living in the leading nation in the world to live in an undeveloped land in the world’s hellhole. These were the same Jews who recoiled at the thought that one of their fellow members had served in the Army, even if it was the United States Army, because Jews did not serve in the military. They were equally if not more deplored at the news that we had firearms, numerous firearms, and we enjoyed shooting them at targets. Perhaps it was better not to talk about hunting season as even had we denied ever having shot any animals, they had already considered our morality shot, as were our targets. And that we voted for conservative politicians and refused to denounce Netanyahu for disagreeing with President Obama on Iran, well, what can we add.

 

One of our staff has resided all across the United States and can attest that this final congregation was pretty much indicative of the vast majority of Jews which they met. One thing, being the exception was something a politically conservative Jew outside of Orthodox communities was an outlier and treated as an outcast. Israel is slowly becoming more Zionistic and conservative, though many of our friends might take exception. With time, Israel is very likely to become more religious, and our same friends might disagree, but that is our best prediction. What is nice is predictions cannot be judged as valid or invalid until we reach the future. What could make a difference in the balance would be if large percentages of European and North American Jews make Aliya, bring their liberal politics with them, and refuse to alter their opinions to meet new realities. Then, many may not see any new realities and remain entrenched in their political bubble. That could be detrimental for the future of Israel as it already took Israel twenty years to come to the realization that the Arabs do not desire an actual state for their Palestinian brothers, they just want Israel destroyed and the Palestinian Arabs are the bludgeon they plan on using for that purpose and they will forget them should they ever succeed. Fear is that should large numbers of Diaspora Jews come to Israel because they are forced from their homes or feel a changing societal structure where they are no longer safe and secure, that might work to Israel’s detriment and it might just be the wakeup call needed to bring them to realize the world is not anywhere near the utopian dream they had imagined. Dreams are a difficult thing to give up upon, though sometimes reality has its way of forcing people to admit new realities and with it, make what would otherwise be drastic changes to their mindset.

 

Where is this leading, well, to the old discussion of what is one Jewish life worth? Through far too much of the histories of the two main Jewish societies, the one throughout Europe and the one spread across MENA* Muslim lands, a Jewish life often was taken without penalty. Under Sharia, a Jew was worth half that of a Muslim and often even less and a Jewish life could be taken by a Muslim for the most minimal of reasons without question. In Europe, often when there was some calamity, be it from natural causes, financial difficulty or any other cause, the Jews were often found to have been the cause and they were dispossessed of their wealth, if they were fortunate, or murdered often after torture and cruelty all but unimaginable in much of the modern world. Both lines of Jews had their golden ages when the Jews were free to study, invent, discover and make strides for the human race. These ages grew slowly and all too often ended quite abruptly and violently. Then there were the fringes where Islam and Christianity met. The two areas we will talk of are the Holy Lands in general and Jerusalem specifically for one and Spain for the other. Spain is the easiest example ever as when the Muslim conquests reached Spain, their initial plunge left Christian and Jew often fleeing their homes leaving much behind and those who remained often were put to the sword or dispossessed of their wealth and permitted to live in service of their conquerors. After a period, Spain had its initial golden age where all three religions lived with Jews residing in Christian and Muslim areas and enjoying the peace and security provided them. Then things changed when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella decided that Spain would be a purely Christian nation and thus began the Spanish Inquisition. The initial and main target was to be the Muslims who were driven back across the Gibraltar Straights into Northern Africa and those captured were forced to endure torture and often death and if fortunate simply offered the choice of conversion or death. In some cases, they were executed shortly after their conversion for not having been sincere. The Jews fled with the Muslims, even if they had resided in Christian areas, as they were also being forced to convert or die if fortunate while others were simply tortured and then executed. These conversions led to a group of Jews known as Marranos who took on the vows for Catholicism but continued to practice their Judaism in secret evading the oversight of the Inquisition who at the slightest suspicion would raid former Jewish homes looking for signs of the illegal worship. These raids were also used to steal items containing precious metals, gems or simply stealing their money.

 

The other area where the two religions face one another was over the Holy Lands and Jerusalem. We list Jerusalem separately because of its importance to both religions, to the Christians because of Jesus’s life and death at the hands of the Romans with complicity of the Roman approved Jewish leadership in the Second Temple. The Jews were the religion between the waring parties and as they swept through an area; the Jews were often executed for virtually any reason. They were accused and convicted of spying for the other side, aiding and abetting the other side and even of taking up arms against whichever side was under attack. In Jerusalem, things were more severe and strict as whichever side controlled Jerusalem, their efforts to convert or sometimes eliminate all those not following their religion in a purification of the Holy City. Jerusalem changed hands numerous times during the Crusades and each time the Jews were to be counted amongst the losers. Christians swept in and Muslim and Jews were endangered and Muslims sweep in and Christians and Jews were endangered. There were brief periods when Jerusalem was not in danger of being attacked and all three religions were permitted relative freedoms though the ruling religion could change those conditions on a whim or suspicions of things more dire. Still, it must be noted that Jerusalem was a religious prize and not a political one as it was never named as the capital of any state, it was simply Jerusalem, holy to Christians as the place where Jesus preached and was crucified and to the Muslims because it was holy to Christians and Jews it represented their superiority over the other religions.

 

Burning Israel Star of David

 

The idea that a Jewish life is next to worthless has changed, at least in Israel and much of the developed world. Jews are no longer murdered by the actions of the state in most of the world and in places where being a Jew and practicing Judaism is illegal or almost extinct, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, Judaism is treated almost as a museum piece, a curious oddity. The Daily Wire has a more extensive list which we chose not to use. Still, much of the Arab Muslim world and a few additional Muslim nations refuse entry to Israelis and some to any who claim to be Jewish. This and their having expelled the largest majority of their Jews with only the oldest remaining and thus their Jewish population is either not having children or are mostly marrying outside the religion and bringing the children up as their spouse’s religion, as allowing them to continue as Jews would make their lives far more difficult. North Korea is rumored to exclude Jews from entry except on diplomatic passport and has no surviving Jews within their population. In Europe, they are finding that protecting Jewish life can become expensive and burdensome. This is why, with few exceptions, protection of Jewish institutions is taken only after an attack on one and then only for a few weeks until the issue dies off and is not covered in the news and needing to show police guarding a synagogue or other Jewish institution is no longer necessary. France is a notable exception as they have stationed active duty military to guard Jewish schools, day care facilities, synagogues and even some kosher markets as promised by the former Prime Minister and the Parliament. We can only wonder how long that will last, probably until the next election when a more leftist government is elected. In the United States, the Jews are treated as equal to every other citizen, granted the same rights, have the same privileges, free to work or reside where they please, and are protected against any discrimination. Still, there is a growing anti-Semitism in the United States, and if you were to ask, most people would claim it was groups like the neo-Nazis, the KKK and other “right wing” haters (Nazis of any stripe are still socialist which is a leftist ideology). The problem is, unnoticed by many, the growing anti-Semitism on the left. They claim they are simply pro-Palestinian and are fighting against racism when in reality they are anti-Semitic or at least anti-Israel, which is much the same. These people did not protest when the Syrian government shelled their largest Palestinian refugee camp for three days straight and then bombed it with barrel bombs. That was Arab on Arab hate and not the kind of anti-Palestinian action about which they care. When Kuwait expelled three-hundred-thousand Palestinian workers after the First Gulf War, as Arafat supported Saddam Hussein, there was no cry from the pro-Palestinian forces, that was completely understandable and not at all like Israel when they shoot a Palestinian simply for brandishing a knife; well, brandishing and using to stab and slash Israelis at a bus stop or other gathering place. Israel has placed a high price on a Jewish life and has proven they will make war against those threatening Jewish lives. Israel has proven the value of Jewish life and all life by protecting their citizens with the most advanced defensive anti-projectile defense in the world, Iron Dome. Israel has developed and deployed a three and soon to be four-layered anti-ballistic missile and other projectiles defensive set of systems at great cost. Israel will defend Jewish lives, and all Israeli lives to the ends of the Earth which was proven with the rescue at Entebbe, the reason many Israelis celebrate July 4th as another miracle. The rescue was pulled off on July 4, 1976, with Operation Thunderbolt (video documentary below). Israel and the IDF protects innocent lives to the best of their ability. This is written into their “Code of Arms” the same as it is in most modern armies. Israel has made Jewish lives and all Israeli’s lives valuable and has even made efforts to spare civilian casualties and thus save non-combatant civilian Palestinian lives.

 

 
As far as the future for Jewish lives, we foresee a critical point in time when virtually all Jews remaining in the world will reside within Israel. This is due to interfaith marriage being unbelievably high for non-Orthodox Jews in the United States and Europe. This means after one or at most two or three generations of interfaith marriage, the children will not be raised Jewish. They will have completely assimilated into the Christian population or the secular population having no active religion. This will mean that Israel will be the guarantor of the future of the Jews and not the United States, as many living in that great nation believe. They do not yet see the shrinking numbers in the synagogues as they themselves barely ever join in services and when they do on major holidays, everyone is there and things look wonderful, they are not. Most non-Orthodox, and that is whom we are discussing, do not go to daily services and most synagogues do not offer daily services. Some will offer a once a week service in an evening, often Wednesday, for those requiring Mourner’s Kaddish. Almost none offer morning and evening services, the three services of traditions. Even on Shabbat morning, Saturday morning, most synagogues have some degree of difficulty having a Minyan, ten males over the age of thirteen, and presumably cannot perform parts of the service including reading from the Torah. It is sad but that is where the slow fall away from the Jewish religion has reached. The same has occurred for many Christian sects but the Evangelical Christians appear to be holding better than most of the remainder but the Jews do not have the sheer numbers to afford to lose so many brothers and sisters to assimilation. Europe has seen its Jewish population continue to drop after World War II as living in Europe, as a practicing Jew, has become life threatening in some locations such as Malmo, Sweden and other major European cities. France has seen a virtual exodus with her Jews heading for the United States, Canada and Israel predominantly. These are hard times for the Jewish faith outside Israel so it will fall to Israel to set a high price for the life of a Jew and to protect the faith as the return has begun and what will follow will be determined by prophesy, Torah and the efforts of men and women great and small.

 

Star of David Ornate

 

The Jewish People are coming out of their years in the desert as they have proven they have the will to fight and make their lives count for something. Israel has taught her children well the value of a human life and the particular value of a Jewish life. They have internalized the lessons from the Diaspora and know that they must make the price of a Jewish life prohibitively high and see all life within Israel as equal in value. They learned that Judaism is not just a religion but also a family and as such, we must love each other as family which often means being a little more sensitive and understanding of one another’s shortcomings. We have hopefully learned that to be Jewish is a way of life and a way of living which is guided by Torah and the Mitzvot. True, there are a good number of secular Jews and sects of Orthodox Jews and each of these extremes have difficulty at times with the remainder, but these are problems that time will slowly erase. A Jewish life is not more valuable than any human life, but it does have something special that cannot be denied. Some proverbial stories tell of a king asking one of their advisors, often a Jewish advisor, to prove the existence of Hashem, and the answer has always been “the Jews.” The fact we are talking about the future for the Jewish People is partial proof of this miracle. The biggest problem for Judaism today is the final recognition that as Jews we belong as one family and thus acceptance of differences, while required, must be combined with the understanding that no one sect of our family is any different than any other and all must toil together if we are to make Israel function and reduce friction. We all, as Jews, have traversed difficulties to reach this time in Israel and no one group has any privilege or is owed special compensation over any other group in our family. Until we realize that we all need the soldiers, we all need the Torah scholars, we all need the scientists, we all need every last Jew because we must be special to one another if we ever expect the world to see us as special. When we are attacking one another, the world sees weakness and will use the very same arguments we throw at one another to lessen the value of every Jew making ridding themselves of their Jews acceptable, and we have all seen how that ends. We lost the Second Temple to gossip and interfamilial hatred, we must not lose Israel again for that or any other reason, as this will be our last chance to get things right. The mere existence of the Jews after all the persecutions and other blights which have befallen them above all others and they persist and retain their ability to produce. This was one of the items which appeared to have been noticed by many throughout history, as seen in this video with which we will close.

 

 
Beyond the Cusp

 

* MENA = Middle East and North Africa

 

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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