Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation

By Janet Tassel, AMERICAN THINKER

“The Hebrew Bible is the blueprint of Jewish civilization. And it’s the foundational document of some of the best in civilization as we know it. There in the Bible is the pledge of the Jewish people, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning.’ And then, in our lifetime, that pledge was realized, when the Jews regained their sovereignty in the land of Israel, after it had been under foreign domination for almost 2,000 years. And what’s more, they did it in the 1940s, in the same decade when one-third of the entire Jewish people had been eradicated in Europe. Now that is a miracle of truly biblical proportions.”

Kotel flagThus, with great solemnity, Ruth Wisse of Harvard introduces Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation, the latest documentary by Gloria Greenfield and her company, Doc Emet. The film, which will have its premiere later this month in numerous American and Canadian cities, as well as in Jerusalem, is an intensely moving experience, documenting — one is tempted to say “once and for all” — that Israel is, was, and always will be, the land of the Jewish people.

Greenfield deftly uses the format developed in her previous films, a succession of prominent “talking heads,” their authoritative commentary accompanied by historic photographs and films, paintings, and archeological objects, all conducing to the ocular proof of Israel’s history in its own promised land.

Wisse leads off the film’s chronological format with the longest and richest section of the film, the biblical evidence, “In the Beginning.”  Wisse is succeeded by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the UK, who tells us that “Jewish identity is born in the land of Israel. It begins with two momentous journeys, of Abraham and Sarah from Mesopotamia, and the other, several centuries later by Moses and the Israelites from the Egypt of the Pharoahs; and ever since, in a sense, to be a Jew has meant to be on a journey to the Promised Land.”

Wisse leads off the film’s chronological format with the longest and richest section of the film, the biblical evidence, “In the Beginning.” Wisse is succeeded by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the UK, who tells us that “Jewish identity is born in the land of Israel. It begins with two momentous journeys, of Abraham and Sarah from Mesopotamia, and the other, several centuries later by Moses and the Israelites from the Egypt of the Pharoahs; and ever since, in a sense, to be a Jew has meant to be on a journey to the Promised Land.”

The story continues. Author and historian Robert Wistrich points to the fact that though it is hard to document exactly when the special relationship of the Jewish people with the land began, it was at “the very minimum close to 3,000 years” ago, and possibly much longer.

Archeologist Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University buttresses the biblical evidence with extra-biblical texts and with archeology. An example he uses is that of Shalmanesser III of Assyria, “a great monarch of the ninth century before the common era,” who describes how he fought against a “coalition of Levantine monarchs led by Ahab the Israelite, who went to war with 2,000 chariots.”

And Aren Maeir of Bar Ilan University defends biblical history as but one type of evidence that, when studied critically, can reinforce other clues — from the Assyrians and the Greeks, for example, and their descriptions of this region in the Iron Age, thus giving us a “clearcut picture” of the early history of the Israelites and Judahites in the land during the Iron Age. [ca.1200 BCE—mid-6th century BCE.]

Wisse returns with the story of the temporary exile of the Jews, driven out by the Babylonians six centuries before the Common Era. Though they lived for 50 years outside their land, this “defeated” people was not broken by exile, but assuming they had somehow not fulfilled a contract with God, they waited and they prospered, and “sure enough, they were returned by Cyrus to the land of Israel to reclaim their sovereignty.”

The chronology of Jewish nationhood continues with Isaiah Gafni of the Hebrew University, who tells of the establishment of the Second Temple in Jerusalem; and Aren Maeir discusses the continuity between the Iron Age and the post-Iron Age: “We see various hints in names, cults, traditions”; even the focus on the area where people settled, Jerusalem, retaining the centrality of the Kingdom of Judah from the Iron Age.

Finkelstein then reminds us of the connection between the Temple of Solomon and, jumping ahead, the Temple of Herod the Great. When we go to Jerusalem, he says, we see this “amazing box” built by Herod in the first century of the Common Era. That “box” contains a wealth of archeological evidence, such as the Herodian gates standing to this day fully intact. The placing of the temple, too, like its predecessors on the highest promontory in Jerusalem, is a fact that links it with Iron Age building practice.

Gafni describes the duality of the Second Temple period: a large Jewish center in the land we call Israel, and contemporaneous with that center, a “thriving, assertive” Jewish diaspora outside the land, but identifying strongly with the center. Indeed, we have much evidence, says Israel Bartal of Hebrew University, of that diaspora in the Second Temple period, and evidence moreover, that Jewish pilgrims came to worship in Jerusalem from North Africa, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, and Asia Minor, all those people “united by the centrality of the Jerusalem Temple.”

Robert Snider, director of the Israel Museum, reminds us that residing in the Museum’s Shrine of the Book are the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran, the “oldest recorded Hebrew manuscript texts from the Bible, and related texts.” Here indeed is a connection, a touchstone to the Second Temple period, written between about 250 BCE and 68CE, when the Romans devastated Qumran on their march of destruction to Jerusalem.

The goal of this terrible march was of course the extinction of Jerusalem — and the Temple — in 70 CE.  Some years after the catastrophe, as Gafni says, there was a major Jewish uprising in the province of Judea led by the Jewish general, Bar Kochba. “That uprising, the last Jewish uprising of antiquity, failed,” and many thousands of Jews were killed or taken abroad as slaves.  The Roman emperor Hadrian, says Wistrich, built a new pagan city, Aelia Capitolina, on the rubble of Jerusalem after the Bar Kochba revolt (for Rome, the renaming of a conquered city, and the land itself, was an unprecedented punishment), and Jews were not only forbidden to live in Jerusalem, they were not even permitted to look at it from afar. Despite that, Wistrich stresses an extremely significant fact:

We need to remember that there was never a single period, in the whole of this 3,000 years…when some Jews were not…a physical, living presence in Zion.

With the ruins of Jerusalem Greenfield turns to the next section. Here Wistrich recounts the bleak history of the land after the destruction, which consists of a series of conquests:

In antiquity, we had the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Persians, then the Greeks and the Romans. Later the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Mamalukes, the Ottomans, and finally the British in the 20th century, before the rebirth of Israel. None of these peoples were able to establish themselves, or in any way turn the country into a homeland…. It’s very interesting that the land was always a mere outpost, a far-flung province ruled from afar.

When the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem, says Wistrich, they expelled or massacred most of the Jews. Despite that, the Jewish presence in the Latin kingdom was extensive.  A very significant Jewish presence existed in places like Akko, Haifa, the Galil, and many different towns across Crusader Palestine.

Meanwhile, beyond Israel, Jews never lost their connection, their hope of return. Those who could, came as pilgrims, and were hosted in Jerusalem by Jewish families, according to Bartal. Then there were the refugees, even a mass aliyah in 1211 of French rabbis, says Rabbi Jeffrey Woolf, and after the Spanish expulsion, the refugees who established a Sephardic community in Safed.  According to Wistrich, at the end of the sixteenth century there were as many as 30,000 Jews in Safed. And in the four holy cities in the Palestine of this period — Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias — the Sephardic population was considerable. And here Wistrich emphasizes yet again:

Remember that from the 1840s onwards, Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, outstripping Muslims and Christians. From then to now, that never changes.

Greenfield’s next section deals with the beginnings of Zionism.  Zionism arose in Europe in the nineteenth century with religious thinkers, says Lord Sacks, but then it became a nationalist phenomenon in which, as it were, Jews heard the call of God. When, in 1881, vicious pogroms broke out in more than 100 Russian towns, “It was no longer the idealistic pilgrimage of the few; it was the practical necessity of the many.

“The first three great secular Zionists,” he continues, “Moses Hess, Yehudah Leib Pinsker, and Theodor Herzl, were all driven by successive phases of antisemitism,” in Germany, in Russia, and on the streets of Paris during the Dreyfus affair. So “there was the pull of religion and the push of antisemitism.”

Once again, Ruth Wisse:

The Irish, the Italians, the Poles — so many people trying to reclaim or claim their national sovereignty…and so it was perfectly natural for the Jews to see themselves in that same light. As Moses Hess did: His example was Rome. He wrote Rome and Jerusalem, and by Rome he didn’t mean ancient Rome; he meant Garibaldi, he meant the risorgimento.

Yoram Hazony of The Herzl Institute agrees that of course Herzl saw terrible things coming in Europe, but Herzl “was a much deeper thinker than that.  His idea of the Jewish state was the internal unification of the individual Jewish person, the Jewish man, the Jewish woman.”

Herzl understood too, says Wistrich, that the alternatives being discussed at that time, such as Argentina or Uganda, had no historical, spiritual, religious, or cultural meaning for Jews. Return meant language, culture, land and sovereignty — in short: Zion. Similarly, Anita Shapira of Tel Aviv University sees the phenomenon of Zionism as a triangle: “The people, the Book, and the Land — three inseparable entities.”

Wistrich adds another factor: messianism. “A majority of the Jews who came home came from one part of the Middle East to another.” Why did most of these Middle Eastern Jews, who had lived for centuries in Arab lands, such as the Jews of Yemen, choose Israel? “They found, within Judaism itself, a very ancient aspiration, a profound messianic component.”

And no discussion of Zionism is complete without speaking of the poet-fighter Vladimir Jabotinsky. Wisse remarks how little attention was paid to self-protection; you might think, she says, “that one of the first things they would pay attention to would be the army, armed might.” Not so. “It was only when they were forced to do so by the Arab riots, by the increasing ugliness of the Arab pogroms….”

It was Jabotinsky, says commentator Rick Richman, who instinctively knew that it was not enough for Jews to be smart and clever and educated; they needed to learn to shoot. Jabotinsky, who formed the British Legion, the Haganah, inspired the Irgun and led Betar, “wanted not only that the rattlesnake be killed; he wanted it killed with Jewish bullets.”

Among the horrors of the twentieth century, Greenfield includes the inspiring story of the huge numbers of Yemenis, Russians and Ethiopians who made it to Israel. From Yemen, relates Wistrich, “the most backward country in the Arab world, in 1948 we had the famous Magic Carpet operation,” in what Yossi Klein Halevi of the Hartmann Institute calls the “re-indigenizing” of an entire people. And then “the largest-ever aliyah, or mass exodus of Jews in history” says Wistrich, “occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed.” At that point, one million Jews — Russian, Ukrainian, some from the Baltic states and from Central Asia — “after seventy years of Communist indoctrination, of state-controlled atheism, people who had no knowledge of Jewish history or religion…insisted on their repatriation to the Jewish homeland.”

And in one of the truly joyous sections of the film, we encounter the Ethiopian Jews through the eyes of Rev. DeeDee Coleman of Detroit. She exults, “I had never seen black Jews before. The beautiful Ethiopians, those beautiful children…. When I saw them…the babies were holding on to my legs and I was holding onto my chest.… I think the reason I was so overcome was that they were black, they looked like me! And yet they were Jews, and when they were found in Ethiopia they were practicing their faith! Israel found its children and brought them home.”

One is grateful to Greenfield (and Rev. Coleman) for this pocket of joy. But by 1945, as Wistrich notes,  “the Jewish people had hit “the nadir, the absolute bottom, the pit” of human existence. And yet, within three years they succeeded in the impossible: they established a Jewish state.

Anita Shapira adds an interesting twist: “I think the State of Israel was established despite the Holocaust and not because of it, because the great reservoir of the Jewish people…” the potential citizens of the Jewish state, had perished in the Holocaust. The Holocaust, however, did galvanize the American Jewish community around Zionism. Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University agrees: “American Jews knew that those millions who had been wiped out in Europe might have been alive…had there been a Jewish state, a place where when Jews came they had to be admitted.” And they “felt dearly” how their own country had failed in this regard.

Tales and pictures tumble ahead, with the Mandate, the betrayal and perfidy of the British, the Arabs’ 1948 attack on the nascent Jewish state, when, as Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern School of Law notes, “not a finger was lifted by the UN or anyone else to help Israel,” followed by Jordan’s takeover of the “West Bank,” and killing or evicting all its Jews. Nineteen years later the world witnessed the miracle of the Six-Day War. However, it only took eight years for the UN to pass its iniquitous Zionism=Racism resolution. Though later revoked, this was an ominous marker of what lay ahead: a frightening resurgence of anti-Zionism and antisemitism — what Halevi calls a “profound social pathology” — and the notion that Jewish nationhood is somehow inherently evil.

Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School discusses in this context the Yassir Arafat lie: “That the Jews never lived in what is now Israel, that it is all a myth, that the Jews really come from Eastern Europe, that they have no Middle Eastern DNA…and he sold that bill of goods to many, many Palestinians.”

Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch [palwatch.org] illustrates the extension of this “bill of goods.”  “One of the goals of Palestinian historians, begun in the 1990s, is to write a history of Palestine that won’t allow for the existence of any other people in the land” — what Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institution calls a “pseudohistory.” The Palestinian Authority, continues Marcus, “often cites the persecution of Jews in European countries as proof, not that the Jews were persecuted, but as proof of the Jews’ evil nature.”

And once this pseudo- or mythic history is indoctrinated, the academics make the necessary adjustments, says Hanson, and then will collect the material rewards. Marcus adds that if, according to the Palestinian Authority, Jesus was a Jew, then the Jews lived in Israel. So what they have done is turn Jesus into a Palestinian, indeed into a Muslim, and thereby denied Christian history.

And finally, says Simon Samuels of the Simon Weisenthal Center, the UN is recognizing Palestine as a legitimate state (a claim, says Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, that paves the way for even more dangerous claims to come — from Iran, for instance). Palestine is voted into UNESCO, continues Samuels, and they begin their work of inventing their heritage, claiming the archeological sites: the Church of the Nativity, the Cave of the Patriarchs, Rachel’s Tomb, Hebron, and believe it or not, the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Greenfield’s film, then, of necessity has a darker ending than we would want. But with advocates like the ones she has ingathered for us, it is hardly without hope. It is a must-see film.

October 20, 2014 | 59 Comments »

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50 Comments / 59 Comments

  1. dweller Said:

    “…piss

    Would you prefer I use urinate? I always thought piss was perfectly acceptable, but I you wish I will no longer use that particular word. You really searched to find that example?
    I must I am flattered!! Sweetie

  2. @ honeybee:

    “I think one line is mine. “

    Yes, the one I replied to in post #40, and repeated in #42

    — and which you had made in #18.

    No ‘confusion’ there on my part.

  3. @ honeybee:

    “…'[Kahane’s belief, as distinct from that of Jewish tradition (and common sense)] is that ‘the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel.’ There. FIFY.”

    Hear O Israel, there is no god but Kahane, and Yamit is his prophet.

    “who the fuck are you? An apikoros”

    “An ‘apikoros’??? — the very word is a bastardization of the Greek, epicureanone who makes a philosophy out of pleasure-seeking.

    Now, does that sound, objectively speaking, more like me — or more like you?”

    “When you find out, please let me know.”

    Don’t need to ‘find out’ (nor do you — the answer is obvious & inescapable): the question was strictly rhetorical. . . . as you knew perfectly well, the moment you read it.

  4. yamit82 Said:

    Did you have a good rest?

    Gosh it also midnight in Israel. We always watch ” The Five ” and Judge Judy in the afternoon, TX has been cutting down weeds and rabbit bush. I have found a boyfriend for Dag, the police dogs that took down the White House jumper.

  5. honeybee Said:

    Invite some Pink Elephants !!!!

    Not exactly what I had in mind and really never got that drunk since my American army and college days.

    I do understand Nirvana contexts better now.

  6. honeybee Said:

    Soccer says another useless way of spending three hours.

    We agree and I love malt whiskey, scotch vodka and tequila. Never get drunk I have a high tolerance and know my limits.

    Been a long time since I binged, a really long time, no fun drinking alone. 🙁

  7. yamit82 Said:

    The real winners are always the bulls because in the end they always throw the riders.

    The Bull throw their riders on their riders ends. Rodeo is like malt whiskey or soccer, an acquired taste. Soccer says another useless way of spending three hours.

  8. @ honeybee:

    One thing I never understood about bullridding. Seems a bit unfair because different bulls some get tougher bulls and others easier ones comparatively. The real winners are always the bulls because in the end they always throw the riders.

  9. @ yamit82:

    You inherited a legacy and it shows. >

    Got landscape to start as I said hectic morning. TX watch 3 hour of bullriding last nigh and he’s gone Brahma on me.

  10. @ honeybee:

    So Who are you Darlin, David or Solomon ????????????????

    Sometimes David, Sometimes Solomon and sometimes some of each but mostly David, Solomon was too cerebral….. Too many wives and a domineering mommy.

    My original Family name on my fathers side was MaganDavid.

    That is the real truth. Name was changed when my great Grandfather came to America…. I had a trace of the name done years ago and was told because of the uniqueness of the name it was traced to Spanish Jewry and as far back to King David probably his personal guard. True or not that’s what some experts found for me.

  11. yamit82 Said:

    dovele’ my hormones are fine and perfectly in-balance. it’s not hormones that motivate me if you really are interested much deeper than that.

    So Who are you Darlin, David or Solomon ????????????????

  12. @ dove:

    dovele’ my hormones are fine and perfectly in-balance. it’s not hormones that motivate me if you really are interested much deeper than that.

    As for digesting?? and in particular women? What’s there to digest? You have had a shock for Canadians but all credible pundits have predicted it could happen for years.

    If canadians or Europeans want to live in a La La bubble the enemy will shake you all out of your complacency. The real test is what you make of it and then how you deal with it.

    If I read Canada correctly, it will take more and severer attacks to change the long embedded liberal mindset and world view of Canadians.

    I have always liked you and supported you so your apparent upset with me is puzzling and I for one do hope you will reconsider and stay around.

    Pls accept my sincere offer.!!!

  13. @ yamit82:

    You know yamit, sometimes you have to let your hormones take a back seat while us women are digesting the recent tragedies in Canada and Israel.

    We are not going back yamit…..to the good old days? Not likely. I don’t care if BB is stupid enough to hook up with haredi. Hashem has heard our cry. I’m sure man wouldn’t want to be circumcised a third time??

  14. @ honeybee:

    I love Dove, we just clash, it ain’t personal.

    awwwwww

    This is the last thread I am subscribed to before my hiatus for awhile. I make sure I don’t become too consumed with events….not healthy to do so.

    Hopefully Canada won’t over sensationalize recent attacks. The enemy LOVES the attention. Hopefully we will learn from our American neighbour NOT to glorify terrorism.

  15. mar55 Said:

    from any news. Must be something horrible for HB to give you her condolences. I’m sorry also.

    I love Dove, we just clash, it ain’t personal.

  16. @ mar55:

    I’ve done this before Mar55….left for awhile. I have a busy life….too busy to be bogged down with repititious crap.

    We had a terrorist attack on Parliament hill today – had one a couple of days ago. Islamist extremists going after military and government officials.

    I am no stranger to threats myself…..an ongoing situation. I have a family to consider as it also puts them in harms way.

    Take care!

  17. @ dove:
    Dove, I do not understand. You are a pleasant contributor to this forum. Everyone likes you and respect you. Do not make a decision in haste. Think about it and sleep over it before you act. If you leave I hope it will not be for long.
    I have no idea of what happened in Ottawa today. I have been staying away from any news. Must be something horrible for HB to give you her condolences. I’m sorry also.

  18. @ honeybee:

    Dear Dove, I hope you are reading this, please accept my condolences over the terrible event in Ottawa today.

    Thanks honeybee. A very sad day for both Canada and Israel.

    Obama must put boots on the ground with ISIS and include the allies to also contribute boots – not the so called arab allies – are you kidding me?? France, Canada, Britain and Israel should contribute.

    I still get comments that go to my email but will be taking a break from Israpundit.

  19. @ yamit82:

    “In the past I suppied you with our references which characteristically was ignored…”

    I didn’t ‘ignore’ them; I just didn’t swallow them. What you offered wasn’t persuasive.

    “who the fuck are you? An apikoros”

    An “apikoros”??? — the very word is a bastardization of the Greek, epicureanone who makes a philosophy out of pleasure-seeking.

    Now, does that sound, objectively speaking, more like me — or more like you?

    ” a Jewish aposte…”

    A ‘Jewish apostate’ from what exactly?

    “…traitor to the Jewish people…”

    Who makes the charge? — and under what authority?

    ” and besides everything you believe…”

    Now, here’s a truly droll state of affairs:
    YOU (apparently} know ‘everything I believe.’

    — while I don’t YET know everything I believe.

    I have debuiked many times…”

    No. You have many times denied, protested, challenged, denounced, and cursed what you think I believe. But ‘debunked’? — no; not by a hair on my chinny-chin-chin.

    To DEBUNK something, you must first be sure that you understand — on its own terms — whatever it is you seek to debunk. That’s First Base. THEN you must establish beyond all doubt that what you seek to debunk is indeed BUNK. That’s Second Base.

    — But you’re still at Home Plate, slugger, swinging away at noonday phantoms, which you neither understand nor can even identify w/ reasonable clarity.

    “I never rely on Jewish theological matters only on my opinion.”

    If it’s only your opinion (or for that matter, only Kahane’s), then how’s that authoritative?

    “If you were intellectually honest you would try to refute my contention”

    Quite the contrary, it is precisely because I AM intellectually honest that I make NO such attempt to refute your contention. I recognize the nature of my responsibility here, and the nature of yours.

    Your contention is presumably based on exhaustive scholarship & analysis — processes which you put great stock in — so bringing them to bear upon your assertions should be right up your alley. Far be it for me to get in the way as you prove your case. Go for it. Show that Kahane’s [above] remark is truly reflective of Jewish tradition

    — and THEN show that that tradition is itself something more substantive than folklore & bobbe meises (which may also, in their own ways, be said to constitute ‘tradition’).

    “denial without foundation is worth shit.”

    Agreed. Thus the post in which you wrote that, and which post was chock full of nothing BUT denial — while lacking so much as a scrap of foundation — is clearly worth

    . . . . what you said that sort of thing was worth.

  20. @ dweller:
    In the past I suppied you with our references which characteristically was ignored and presumed rejected by you but who the fuck are you? An apikoros, a Jewish aposte traitor to the Jewish people and besides everything you believe I have debuiked many times and that you reject it is your porblem not mine.

    I never rely on Jewish theological matters only on my opinion.

    Any more than a medical practioner does not update his knowledge and seek advice from others when he has a difficlt problem…. That’s the way the rational and normal world works. Your arrogance you call certainty makes you stupid and arrogant, if not mentally deranged.
    If you were intellectually honest you would try to refute my contention based on something other than your deficient opinion which when viewed objectively has been shown to be never correct. You will deny but you are a sick SOB and denial without foundation is worth shit.

    Make your case. Or kop a hike!!!!!

  21. @ yamit82:

    “Kahane’s belief is that ‘the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel.’ There. FIFY.”

    Hear O Israel, there is no god but Kahane, and Yamit is his prophet.

    “You are an arrogant stupid ignoramus. I call it the arrogance of stupidity.”

    To be “stupid” is to be in a stupor. You fit the description way better than I.

    To be ignorant is to be lacking in information. Everybody is that.

    And the only reason you like to call me ‘arrogant’ is that I’m confident and sure of myself, and you don’t know the difference between confidence & arrogance.

    “I said Jewish tradition and Kahane only paraphrased it.”

    I know what you said, and it was wrong. Jewish tradition does NOT hold that the world was created “for” the Jewish People.

    Even that stuff you excerpted from the JVL survey of the traditions (and which is largely speculative when it isn’t purely metaphorical) doesn’t presume to make such an outlandish claim.

    And your attempt to take Kahane’s claim, and palm it off onto ‘Jewish tradition’ — to piggy-back it onto ‘tradition’ — by putting that phrase ( bolded, no less) in front of an unattributed Kahane quote is more than a little. . . disingenuous (that’s the polite word for it).

  22. dweller Said:

    Kahane’s belief is that “the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel.”

    There. FIFY.

    Hear O Israel, there is no god but Kahane, and Yamit is his prophet.

    You are an arrogant stupid ignoramus. I call it the arrogance of stupidity.

    I said Jewish tradition and Kahane only paraphrased it.

    Origin & Preexistence

    Jewish tradition holds that “Moses received the Torah from Sinai,” yet there is also an ancient tradition that the Torah existed in heaven not only before God revealed it to Moses, but even before the world was created.

    In rabbinic literature, it was taught that the Torah was one of the six or seven things created prior to the creation of the world. According to Eliezer ben Yose the Galilean, for 974 generations before the creation of the world the Torah lay in God’s bosom and joined the ministering angels in song. Simeon ben Lakish taught that the Torah preceded the world by 2,000 years and was written in black fire upon white fire. Akiva called the Torah “the precious instrument by which the world was created”. Rav said that God created the world by looking into the Torah as an architect builds a palace by looking into blueprints. It was also taught that God took council with the Torah before He created the world.

    Other Jewish sages, however, disregard the literal belief that the Torah existed before all else. Saadiah Gaon rejected this belief on the grounds that it contradicts the principle of creation ex nihilo. Judah Barzillai of Barcelona raised the problem of place. Where could God have kept a preexistent Torah? While allowing that God could conceivably have provided an ante-mundane place for a corporeal Torah, he preferred the interpretation that the Torah preexisted only as a thought in the divine mind. Similarly, the Ibn Ezra raised the problem of time. He wrote that it is impossible for the Torah to have preceded the world by 2,000 years or even by one moment, since time is an accident of motion, and there was no motion before God created the celestial spheres; rather, he concluded, the teaching about the Torah’s preexistence must be a metaphoric riddle.

    Judah Halevi attempts to alleviate the argument by explaining that the Torah precedes the world in terms of teleology; God created the world for the purpose of revealing the Torah; therefore, since, as the philosophers say, “the first of thought is the end of the work,” the Torah is said to have existed before the world.

  23. @ yamit82:

    “Traditional Jewish belief is that ‘the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel’…”

    Kahane’s belief is that “the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel.”

    There. FIFY.

    Hear O Israel, there is no god but Kahane, and Yamit is his prophet.

  24. @ yamit82:

    “Anita Shapira is a left wing old Labor socialist.”

    A Labor Zionist, yes, I’m aware of that. Have read some of her stuff. (Land and Power has some good insights in it, despite its pedigree.)

    “I don’t credit her much respect as an historian, too much persoanl bias.”

    You’ll have a hard time finding any historian (esp an Israeli historian) w/o a heavy measure of personal bias. Comes with the territory.

    Yet even WITH Shapira’s perspective, it doesn’t prevent her from coming up w/ a good point from time to time. I think her comment here [above] was actually quite sound.

    — The first part of it has been quite useful to me to fling in the teeth of those who rant that Israel was largely a byproduct of the Holocaust and foisted on the innocent, hapless Arabs — though I hadn’t realized till now that she had the same view.

    “Eastern European Jews were a mixed bag but where there was strong support it was from the mostly poor recent immigrants who had lost family in Europe.”

    Yes, largely so.

    “Survivors were not treated well by their American cousins and relatives nor from institutional America.”

    Well, again, it depends on how recent the arrivals of those American cousins & relatives had been. The more recent, the more likely to be sympathetic.

  25. From WSJ

    July 30, 2014 7:00 p.m. ET

    Eric Hoffer, writing in May 1968, quoted in Tom Bethell’s “Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher” (2012):

    The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

    Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey drove out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese—and no one says a word about refugees.

    But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

    Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

    Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover, but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

    No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Negroes are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him.

    The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

    The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.

    Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

    I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us.

  26. @ bernard ross:

    The rise of the Jewish State from the ashes and dung heap of history; the return of the people scattered and ground into the dust; the reemergence of a language, consigned to the libraries and antiquities of the Vatican and the House of Study; the stranger-than-fiction, miraculous victories over overwhelming enemies thirsting for bloody destruction and holocaust – these are the first steps into the final chapter of Jewish triumph and Heavenly kingdom.

    It is incumbent upon us to understand our greatness and believe in it so that we do not cheapen and profane ourselves. We must believe this lest we desecrate ourselves and think that we are like all the nations.

    Traditional Jewish belief is that “the G-d of History, the G-d of the Jewish people, called the world into being for one reason only and that was for the sake of the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel. All that occurs, all the eruptions of wars and catastrophes, the rise and fall of empires, have no meaning except that they affect the fortunes or misfortunes of the Jewish people. The Jewish nation is indeed, the heart of the world and there is no reason for the existence of empires, kings, rulers, masses or systems aside from their reaction to the Jewish people. This is the meaning of the destiny of the Jew and that destiny is a guaranteed one.”

  27. yamit82 Said:

    One cannot deny the close historical proximity of the most devastating even to the Jewish people and in 3 years after 2000 years the establishment of a sovereign polity.

    I don’t believe in coincidences in Jewish history!!!!

    I agree, I also beleive that the Holocaust was the precipitating event resulting in the birth of the new state of Israel. Without the Holocaust many Jews would have remained in Europe. Over and over we see that violence against the Jews causes the movement.

    “Jewish identity is born in the land of Israel. It begins with two momentous journeys, of Abraham and Sarah from Mesopotamia, and the other, several centuries later by Moses and the Israelites from the Egypt of the Pharoahs; and ever since, in a sense, to be a Jew has meant to be on a journey to the Promised Land.”

    Long before the Torah was given there was the promise of Israel and the covenant with the Jewish people: first was the promise, the covenants and the land….later came the Judaism.

  28. dove Said:

    I am not interested in providing anyone with their twisted jollies

    I am also sorry to see you leave and hope you will reconsider, I did not understand your comment about “twisted jollies”?

  29. @ dove:
    I am really sorry to hear that Dove and I do hope you will reconsider.

    I’m an open book and I submit nothing that can hurt me. I’ve been posting on this site for over 8 years with no problems.

  30. Anita Shapira is a left wing old Labor socialist. I don’t credit her much respect as an historian, too much persoanl bias.

    Israel never had the support of the Jewish American elite the German immigrants and most of those from Western Europe or Reform affiliated Jews. Eastern European Jews were a mixed bag but where there was strong support it was from the mostly poor recent immigrants who had lost family in Europe.

    Survivors were not treated well by their American cousins and relatives nor from institutional America.

    They were in short an embarrassment to American Jews.

    Most American Jews were never overly supportive to Israel until 1967 and after 73 much of that support began to wane.

    I think eventually there would have been a Jewish sovereign state but the Holocaust just pushed the timetable and circumstances ahead.

    One cannot deny the close historical proximity of the most devastating even to the Jewish people and in 3 years after 2000 years the establishment of a sovereign polity.

    I don’t believe in coincidences in Jewish history!!!!

  31. “Anita Shapira adds an interesting twist: ‘I think theState of Israel was established despite the Holocaust and not because of it, because the great reservoir of the Jewish people…’ the potential citizens of the Jewish state, had perished in the Holocaust. The Holocaust, however, did galvanize the American Jewish community around Zionism. “

    Yes.

    “Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University agrees: ‘American Jews knew that those millions who had been wiped out in Europe might have been alive…had there been a Jewish state, a place where when Jews came they had to be admitted.’ And they ‘felt dearly’ how their own country had failed in this regard…”

    And yes.