The Redemption of Israel

By Daniel Greenfield

How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,
Close by the street of this fair seaport town,
Silent beside the never-silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!

But ah! what once has been shall be no more!
The groaning earth in travail and in pain
Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again.

The Jewish Cemetery at Newport – Longfellow

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and the LORD carried me out in a spirit, and set me down in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones

And He said unto me: ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered: ‘O Lord GOD, Thou knowest.

Then He said unto me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.

Therefore prophesy, and say unto them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.

Yechezkel 37

Human beings quickly learn to take things for granted. A century ago the prospect of a Jewish state was as likely as a city on the moon. There were those who busily worked, agitated and struggled for it, but to the majority of Jews it was a distant dream. And yet as in a dream it exists. It is a matter of a plane ride for a Jew anywhere in the world to arrive there and walk its streets.

Most people think of miracles as entities of smoke and flames. As insubstantial things you cannot see
or touch. The incredible and the unbelievable. But those are wonders. Miracles are everyday things whose wonder is difficult to hold in your mind. The tree that shades the lane. The sun that shines above. A state built out of the ruins of fallen empires rising like a green shoot in springtime to the light.

Now that the State of Israel exists too many take it for granted. Others have unknowingly slipped into the narrative crafted by our enemies, whose goal is to portray the State as a terrible burden, both for the Jews and for everyone else. A burden that is best dismantled for a return to Egypt.

Miracles after all are not supposed to exist and people react badly to them. When the Jews multiplied in miraculous numbers in Egypt, Pharaoh shuddered and brought out the chains and murdered their children. When G-d threw open the gates of Egypt, still he pursued them into the falling waves.

For thousands of years, The Country That Should Not Have Been, struggled against pagan invaders. And when Israel finally fell and the Jews became exiles, for thousands of years they became The People That Should Not Have Been. Now Israel is once again, The Country That Should Not Have Been.

Arnold Toynbee proclaimed that the Jewish people were the fossils of history. And then the fossils rose again. The cemeteries disgorged their dead. A nation composed of farmers and Holocaust survivors stood off the armies of the Jordanian Legion and that of five Arab nations, each of which was many times larger than Israel. And at the end a blue and white flag waved over a new land.

Within a decade that land was bursting with productivity and industry. With settled cities and great works. With toil and labor and art and song. A land that had once been a pile of stones and dust. A relic of history had become new again.

And at the wall of the temple, priests who were the descendants of Aaron raised their hands once more to bless the people. “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”

And he had.

None of this stilled the fury. The world does not like miracles. Miracles testify to the miraculous. They warn us of the limits of our powers. They wake the Pharaohs of the world out of their dreams of godhood and endless power. They remind they of that which they do not wish to be reminded of. That there is a G-d in this world. Miracles testify that they and their dreams of a thousand year Reich or a united world are mortal.

Pharaoh did not respond to G-d’s wonders by bowing out. He only increased his fury and viciousness. Tyrants, whether they hold thrones or academic chairs whose scepter is the rule of the unyielding ideology of historical necessity, do not bow to miracles. Miracles only demonstrate to them that there is more in heaven and earth than had been dreamed of in their philosophies.

Pharaohs who see slaves becoming free, a nation reborn and the dead rising from the graves have one simple response, to fill the cemeteries with the dead again.

Nations which had cried unendingly, “What Shall We Do With This Accursed People”, which had screamed that the Jews had seized their industries, their jobs, their governments– suddenly discovered that the one thing worse than the exiled Jew, was the unexiled Jew.

By artful crafty propaganda, the forsaken people which had finally rebuilt its homeland were the colonizers and the hate-filled sons of an Empire that had blotted out and continued to blot out freedom and human dignity across the Middle East were its oppressed victims.

The existence of a tiny state in an otherwise Muslim Middle-East was a blow to their honor they could not endure. They might murder their own daughters for stealing a kiss with the neighbor boy and they might make their pilgrimages to London and Paris as eagerly as to Mecca, buying up everything in the stores to haul home to their villas all the while laboring under this demonstration of the superiority of the infidel’s commerce and culture; but to tolerate a Jewish State was too much.

And when these modern Egyptians and their Muslim brethren gathered their armies and harnessed their steel chariots and watered them with the oil that flowed from their wells, the world smiled its awful secret smile as it saw them go on their way to drive the Jews into the sea again, as if four thousand years had passed but like a day. Theirs was the smile of those who find secret pleasure in this reassertion of a natural order devoid of miracles in which the Jews should not be.

And then another miracle happened. And another. Burning chariots filled the desert. Great armies came undone. And the Pharaohs fumed in their villas, there was a great gnashing of teeth in the halls of Moscow and all right-thinking Europeans wept.

But they did not weep for long. When a river turns to blood, Pharaohs know they can wait it out. When fire and ice fall from the sky, they may tremble but they will not bow. For the secret of the Pharaoh is that he knows that G-d may be strong but man is weak. And it is over men that Pharaohs rule.

And so the Pharaohs who had divided the borders of the Middle East and proclaimed that this group of Arabs was to be Syrians and this group of Arabs, Egyptians and that Jordan would be ruled by a Saudi King who was to now be a Jordanian King, said that if G-d can bring forth a nation out of nothing, so can they. And as the Egyptian magicians had cast their staffs into snakes, the political magicians behind the Iron Curtain and across Europe and the Middle East cast forth their staffs and behold there was a Palestinian people.

And so the Pharaohs said to G-d, “You have created a nation and we have created a nation and we shall see which nation prevails.”

Where G-d had created a Jewish nation to serve him and to bring light to the world, the Palestinian nation existed for no purpose than to strangle the Jewish nation. It had no identity except the name the Roman conquerors had given to Israel when they sought to eradicate the last traces of the Jewish people from their land. And fittingly, this became the name of a people whose sole striving was to once again eradicate the Jewish people.

When the Palestinians wrote poems, it was poems of murder. When they sang songs, it was songs of death. When they gave birth to children, it was to raise them up to kill and die. Old and young, men and women, they lived for no other purpose than to kill.

Given a piece of land, they set up rockets on it. Given a house they dug tunnels under it. Given a tool, they turned it into a blade. Given a child they turned him into a weapon. And as the worshipers of Moloch had done in ages gone, they passed even their own sons and daughters through the flame.

And having cast forth their serpents, the Pharaohs of the world leaned forward eagerly to see their work. And they lavished fortunes on them. And they ceaselessly agitated on their behalf in the international organizations of the world. Whatever Israel might do for them was spurned. Eagerly they waited for the end. Eagerly they waited for the cemeteries once again to fill with the dead.

And when the staffs had been cast, the burden had increased on the people of Israel. And the Jews cried out as they sought to appease all the Pharaohs. They cried out against the redemption wishing only that they could return to the condition of slavery they had become comfortable in. They believed the Pharaohs who told them that it was only because of the redemption that they were being whipped.

They cried out in the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times and on television. Their cry is always the same. “If it were not for you, we might live in peace. If it were not for the trouble you make, the editors of the New York Times, would like us.”

The cities may change. Ramses may become London and Pitom may became New York. The opinion makers may wear cassocks or coats or Armani suits or nothing at all. The broadcasts may be the gossip in the street or the transmissions of telecommunications satellites. The details change. The picture remains the same. The end of exile may be more bitter than exile itself.

Israel may be a free nation but Pharaohs do not easily give up. The Pharaoh is the representative of man’s tyranny over the world. The force that built up the Tower of Babel. The power that demands that all men be slaves, whether it is in the treasure cities of Egypt or in the academic theories of dialectical materialism. There are many chains and they are forged in many ways.

The redemption of G-d is the destruction of the tyranny of man. It is the miracle that shows that no matter how the chains are forged, they can be broken and no matter how strong the sword, it can be shattered. The culmination of the first age of the history of the world which will reach its close with the final redemption of Israel is the utter annihilation of the slavery of the Pharaohs, in whatever form it comes in. It is the fall of all the images of kings and leaders men have set up to worship. It is the destruction of all privilege and power that has set itself up in place of G-d.

It is the final undoing of history as man has seen it and its completion as G-d has chosen it. A dead nation has already risen and its flag waves over Jerusalem. And when the final redemption comes, the graves too shall give up their dead.

May 1, 2017 | 27 Comments » | 63 views

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  1. Arnold Harris here, with some news for Arnold Toynbee.

    It is not the Jewish nation that is the fossil of history, as you proclaimed. We got our Eretz Yisrael back, or at least much of it. And one day, young, tough Jewish men and women will take back the rest of our ancient homeland. Without asking your permission or even giving a damn what you think of us.

    But if you want to contemplate the greatest historical fossil — even greater than that of Rome — then turn your gaze inward to the almost instant decay and collapse of the British Empire.

    But you were still alive to witness the start of that process, weren’t you, old boy?

    And I suppose by now that hundreds of modern Gibbons have filled parts of many a library describing the utter collapse of the greatest of empires, starting with the rush to war in 1914 and culminating in the close of the Colonial Office for all time, many years ago.

    Too bad for you that you aren’t Jews like us. Because we always bounce back. And the rest of you, collectively speaking, stay dead.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  2. Superb! A history lesson, a moral essay and a prophesy for the future. Daniel Greenfield does it again!

  3. Let us not forget the hirelings of the Pharaohs. If Moshe Dayan and Company had not been leaning athiests, but vibrant believers, he would have rejoiced in the Miracle YHVH gave to Israel in reclaIming ALL OF JERUSALEM in the 6 Day War.

    OUR VICTORY WAS GIVEN TO US AND OUR FALSE SHEPHERDS REJECTED THE GIFT!! WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL !!!

    And so, the flock surrendered once again and was forced to
    wander in the desert of sin. Many died, many cried, and the innocent were destroyed one by one, year by year to this very day.

    Our leaders have failed us; both secular and spiritual.

    But, This is the time of Jacob’s trouble, and he will be saved out of it. Messiah will come on the clouds this time, because he already came riding the donkey. This is how the two mysteries become One.

  4. Let us not forget the hirelings of the Pharaohs. If Moshe Dayan and Company had not been leaning athiests, but vibrant believers, he would have rejoiced in the Miracle YHVH gave to Israel in reclaIming ALL OF JERUSALEM in the 6 Day War.

    OUR VICTORY WAS GIVEN TO US AND OUR FALSE SHEPHERDS REJECTED THE GIFT!! WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL !!!

    And so, the flock surrendered once again and was forced to
    wander in the desert of sin. Many died, many cried, and the innocent were destroyed one by one, year by year to this very day.

    Our leaders have failed us; both secular and spiritual.

    But, This is the time of Jacob’s trouble, and he will be saved out of it. Messiah will come on the clouds this time, because he already came riding the donkey. This is how the two mysteries become One.

  5. Mr. Greenfield, who always wrote political commentary in the usual nitty-gritty journalistic style, has suddenly turned poet, preacher and feuilletonist! (Look up “feuilleton” in an unabridged victory. It is a kind of poetic essay that used to be published in newspapers on a regular basis, back when even the masses appreciated beauty and craftsmanship. We have made progress in technology, sanitation and medicine, but have regressed way way back to the savage state in aesthetic taste). Where did Mr. Greenfield’s sudden poetic outpourings come from? How did he develop such a beautiful style so quickly? I don’t know, but I applaud him on his newfound eloquence.

  6. adamdalgliesh Said:

    Mr. Greenfield, who always wrote political commentary in the usual nitty-gritty journalistic style, has suddenly turned poet, preacher and feuilletonist! (Look up “feuilleton” in an unabridged dictionary It is a kind of poetic essay that used to be published in newspapers on a regular basis, back when even the masses appreciated beauty and craftsmanship. We have made progress in technology, sanitation and medicine, but have regressed way way back to the savage state in aesthetic taste). Where did Mr. Greenfield’s sudden poetic outpourings come from? How did he develop such a beautiful style so quickly? I don’t know, but I applaud him on his newfound eloquence.

  7. Beautiful. Longfellow, also in the Spirit of Mark Twain who started out as an antisemite and became a philosemite, Longfellows dates are:
    Born: February 27, 1807, Portland, ME
    Died: March 24, 1882, Cambridge, MA

    Twain’s (Samuel Clemens)
    Born: November 30, 1835, Florida, MO
    Died: April 21, 1910, Redding, CT

    Essentially contemporaries, though Longfellow was 28 years older. Did one influence the other? If so, which one? Similar tone.

    Twain also went to the Israel and wrote about it in Innocents Abroad.

    https://zionismandisrael.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/mark-twain-in-the-holy-land/

    “Concerning The Jews: The Essay”

    “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

    Mark Twain

    https://ohr.edu/judaism/concern/concerna.htm

    OK, Longfellow’s poem is written half a century earlier in 1852:

    http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/features-on-jewish-world/longfellow-and-the-jewish-cemetery-at-newport/2016/07/21/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concerning_the_Jews

    Interesting. Jewish Press article mentions 18 year old Emma Lazarus — famous for “give us your huddled masses” which was put on the base of the statue of liberty, removed and then, presumably put back, visited that cemetery in 1871 and wrote her own version:

    “In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport Related Poem Content Details
    BY EMMA LAZARUS

    Here, where the noises of the busy town,
    The ocean’s plunge and roar can enter not,
    We stand and gaze around with tearful awe,
    And muse upon the consecrated spot.

    No signs of life are here: the very prayers
    Inscribed around are in a language dead;
    The light of the “perpetual lamp” is spent
    That an undying radiance was to shed.

    What prayers were in this temple offered up,
    Wrung from sad hearts that knew no joy on earth,
    By these lone exiles of a thousand years,
    From the fair sunrise land that gave them birth!

    How as we gaze, in this new world of light,
    Upon this relic of the days of old,
    The present vanishes, and tropic bloom
    And Eastern towns and temples we behold.

    Again we see the patriarch with his flocks,
    The purple seas, the hot blue sky o’erhead,
    The slaves of Egypt,—omens, mysteries,—
    Dark fleeing hosts by flaming angels led.

    A wondrous light upon a sky-kissed mount,
    A man who reads Jehovah’s written law,
    ‘Midst blinding glory and effulgence rare,
    Unto a people prone with reverent awe.

    The pride of luxury’s barbaric pomp,
    In the rich court of royal Solomon—
    Alas! we wake: one scene alone remains,—
    The exiles by the streams of Babylon.

    Our softened voices send us back again
    But mournful echoes through the empty hall:
    Our footsteps have a strange unnatural sound,
    And with unwonted gentleness they fall.

    The weary ones, the sad, the suffering,
    All found their comfort in the holy place,
    And children’s gladness and men’s gratitude
    ‘Took voice and mingled in the chant of praise.

    The funeral and the marriage, now, alas!
    We know not which is sadder to recall;
    For youth and happiness have followed age,
    And green grass lieth gently over all.

    Nathless the sacred shrine is holy yet,
    With its lone floors where reverent feet once trod.
    Take off your shoes as by the burning bush,
    Before the mystery of death and God.”

    Source: 1871
    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/45637

    Greenfield, Twain, and Lazarus are clearly influenced by Longfellow. Was Longfellow, in his turn, influenced by Napoleon Bonaparte?

    “Napoleon Bonaparte’s Letter to the Jews
    April 20,, 1799

    Middle East news peacewatch top stories books documents culture dialog history Maps donations

    Introduction

    In 1799, the French armies under Napoleon were camped outside of Acre. Napoleon issued a letter offering Palestine as a homeland to the Jews under French protection. The project was stillborn because Napoleon was defeated and was forced to withdraw from the Near East. The letter is remarkable because it marks the coming of age of enlightenment philosophy, making it respectable at last to integrate Jews as equal citizens in Europe and because it marked the beginning of nineteenth century projects for Jewish autonomy in Palestine under a colonial protectorate. After the defeat of Napoleon, it was largely the British who carried forward these projects, which have in hindsight been given the somewhat misleading name of “British Zionism.”

    Notice – Copyright

    This introduction is Copyright 2003 by MidEastWeb http://www.mideastweb.org and the author. Please tell your friends about MidEastWeb and link to this page. Please do not copy this page to your Web site. You may print this page out for classroom use provided that this notice is appended, and you may cite this material in the usual way. Other uses by permission only.

    Letter to the Jewish Nation from the French Commander-in-Chief Buonaparte
    (translated from the Original, 1799)

    General Headquarters, Jerusalem 1st Floreal, April 20th, 1799,
    in the year of 7 of the French Republic

    BUONAPARTE, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMIES OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC
    IN AFRICA AND ASIA, TO THE RIGHTFUL HEIRS OF PALESTINE.

    Israelites, unique nation, whom, in thousands of years, lust of conquest and tyranny have been able to be deprived of their ancestral lands, but not of name and national existence !

    Attentive and impartial observers of the destinies of nations, even though not endowed with the gifts of seers like Isaiah and Joel, have long since also felt what these, with beautiful and uplifting faith, have foretold when they saw the approaching destruction of their kingdom and fatherland: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35,10)

    Arise then, with gladness, ye exiled ! A war unexampled In the annals of history, waged in self-defense by a nation whose hereditary lands were regarded by its enemies as plunder to be divided, arbitrarily and at their convenience, by a stroke of the pen of Cabinets, avenges its own shame and the shame of the remotest nations, long forgotten under the yoke of slavery, and also, the almost two-thousand-year-old ignominy put upon you; and, while time and circumstances would seem to be least favourable to a restatement of your claims or even to their expression ,and indeed to be compelling their complet abandonment, it offers to you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel’s patrimony !

    The young army with which Providence has sent me hither, let by justice and accompanied by victory, has made Jerusalem my head-quarters and will, within a few days, transfer them to Damascus, a proximity which is no longer terrifying to David’s city.

    Rightful heirs of Palestine !

    The great nation which does not trade in men and countries as did those which sold your ancestors unto all people (Joel,4,6) herewith calls on you not indeed to conquer your patrimony ;nay, only to take over that which has been conquered and, with that nation’s warranty and support, to remain master of it to maintain it against all comers.

    Arise ! Show that the former overwhelming might of your oppressors has but repressed the courage of the descendants of those heroes who alliance of brothers would have done honour even to Sparta and Rome (Maccabees 12, 15) but that the two thousand years of treatment as slaves have not succeeded in stifling it.

    Hasten !, Now is the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population of the universe which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations, and the unlimited natural right to worship Jehovah in accordance with your faith, publicly and most probably forever (JoeI 4,20).”

    http://www.mideastweb.org/napoleon1799.htm

    And, thus we have come full circle. Another spin on “what does around comes around?”

    Karma. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

  8. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    British, my eye. It was British Jews, Lord Rothschild and Prime Minister Disraeli who supported Zionism. I didn’t notice the copyright disclaimer though that has to be in public domain — you can find that in a lot of places, it was written by Napoleon over 2 centuries ago and I’ve seen that same translation in other places. His introduction is just a blurb. It could be a comment on this site. Gimme a break. Intellectual property fanatics running amok stifle creativity©. Monteverde wrote over 500 operas 600 years ago with a pencil or a goose quill pen. Mozart wrote over 500 works. Ya think they could have done that if they’d a been lookin’ over their shoulder the whole time?

    fine, here it is at another site:

    http://jewishliberation.blogspot.com/2015/08/napoleon-bonapartes-letter-to-jews-in.html

    and the Jews of France reciprocated gratefully. From a Marxist site, weirdly enough, but no less valid for it:

    “The Liberation of the Jews 1808

    A Prayer for Napoleon

    Source: Les décisions doctrineles du Grande Sanhédrin. Verdier, Lagrasse, 2008, Translated for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor.

    Liberated by the French Revolution, devoted to the republic that made this possible, French Jewry was no less loyal to Napoleon, who in this area at least continued the work of the First Republic. In 1806 Napoleon convoked the first Great Sanhedrin in centuries, including rabbis from France and newly conquered Italy. The Emperor posed twelve questions on the place of Jews in French society, concerning matters like polygamy, divorce, and usury, and the result of their responses and the assembly itself was an even firmer anchoring of Jews within French society. An Imperial Decree of 1808 prescribed “the reciting of prayers said in common in temples for his majesty the Emperor and King and the Imperial family. David Sintzheim, president of the Sanhedrin and the Central Consistory of French Israelites, “considering that it is important that the formulation of this prayer be uniform for all synagogues of the Empire,” composed the following.

    Eternal God, master of the Universe, from the height of thy Throne, thou tilt the gaze of thy Providence towards the heavens and the earth.

    Power and might are thine; through thee alone all things grow, all things become strong; through thee kings reign; it is thee who distributes the Scepter for the governing of nations.

    Cast from thy sacred residence a favorable, blessed gaze, preserve and assist our august Sovereign, Napoleon the Great, Emperor of the French, King of Italy.

    Amen.

    Pour upon him the treasure of thy benedictions; extend the length of his reign into the most distant future.

    Amen.

    May thy divine eye ceaselessly watch over him, and his brow be ever adorned with a crown of immortal glory.

    Amen.

    May his enemies yield before him, may happiness, peace, and tranquility accompany his reign.

    Amen.

    May the rays of thy light guide and protect him; may thy mercy and grace serve as his shield.

    Amen.

    May Louise, his beloved Companion, that model queen, participate in his glory and his happiness.

    Amen.

    Forever increase the might, grandeur, and elevation of our Sovereign and those of his family.

    Amen.

    Ensure the happiness of Israel by rendering us worthy of his benevolence, and see to it that we are agreeable in the eyes of all who approach him.

    Amen.

    Receive our expressions and the wishes of our hearts with favor; grant them, God our Creator and our Liberator.

    Amen.”

    https://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/1808/prayer-napoleon.htm

    I guess He said, “no.”

    some other interesting primary source documents about the emancipation of the Jews in France at this site.

    https://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/emancipation-jews.htm

    Ha! Twain wrote that in 1899. Napoleon in 1799. (Longfellow in 1852 and Lazarus in 1871)

  9. the graves will not give up their dead
    a literal interpretation of the texts is a Christian dogma derived of the ancient Greek mindset

    The ‘Jewish’ mindset is entirely literary

  10. @ mrg3105:
    Appears to be a little more confused than that. Seems literalism plays a role but not an exclusive role in mainstream Judaism and biblical literalism is more the domain of evangelical than mainstream Christians. The Hellenist influence inclined towards a rejection of literalism. Otherwise, it seems more of a cherry-picking mixture all around. Everybody wants to have their tradition and mess with it, too.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/819698/jewish/How-Is-the-Torah-Interpreted.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism

    Can you back up your assertion with an article?

  11. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    addendum – it won’t let me edit.

    I confess the only parts of the Jewish and Christian bibles I’ve read in their entirety are the Torah proper – the five books of Moses and the Gospels. Several times. I really don’t see the contradictions that literal critics point to. They seem like pretty straight-forward historical accounts. Even more so, when you look at the parts of the Writings that are just listings of family trees and major tribal events.

    Thing is, we’re not living in the Bronze Age now, not for thousands of years, and we just can’t stomach a lot of it.

    Jesus was probably a Jubu hippy monk with messianic delusions so the sermon on the mount can’t be taken literally by anybody who actually wants to live in a society with other people and stick around for a while.

    So we interpret. And cherry pick. Been interpreting for a very long time.

    Mohammad copied — in badly distorted form — the stuff he liked, made up his own religion out of it, threw some other crap in from various places and forbade interpretation. Mohammed was a psychopath, a serial killer and an official role model to what has become billions of people. And the rest is history. Scary.

  12. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    The above cited Chabad article says:

    “Any insight in Torah is acceptable as long as it (makes sense and) does not contradict any of our fundamental beliefs.

    Our sages tell us that “any chiddush (novel idea) which a reputable disciple will ever come up with was already given to Moses by Sinai.” Moses might not have heard this specific idea which the rabbi living thousands of years later has just thought of, but the basis of this idea was already given by Sinai.

    G?d gave us the tools to delve into the words of Torah and reveal the divine wisdom hidden therein.”

    OK. I’ve got one that I like that I came up with: We now know the identity of the manna that fell from the sky in the desert to feed our ancestors. It’s something we can extrapolate from the fact that it’s supposed to be the perfect food, at once nutritious and the ideal comfort food. And from the fact, that since Moses is supposed to have written these books that end after his death, he must have been transported to the future, sat in a classroom and come back. Well, if Moses could go forward, then, logically, why shoudn’t manna have been transported back.

    Reddiwip. One shot and you’re done, you really don’t need anything else, lemme tells you, cures all ills, Visualize cans and cans of Reddiwip — another reason Moshe, himself needed to go into the future to learn how to operate it — falling in the desert into the hands of a unhappy, hungry, thirsty, and grateful people.

  13. ArnoldHarris Said:

    Possibly more than a few of us who post comments here fancy ourselves as feuillitonists. Or am I mistaken?

    I am a decent woman !!!!!!!!!!!

  14. @ ArnoldHarris:
    @ honeybee:
    But, did you laugh?*

    *”laugh
    laf/Submit
    verb
    verb: laugh; 3rd person present: laughs; past tense: laughed; past participle: laughed; gerund or present participle: laughing
    1.
    make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively amusement and sometimes also of contempt or derision.
    “she couldn’t help laughing at his jokes”
    synonyms: chuckle, chortle, guffaw, cackle, giggle, titter, twitter, snigger, snicker, yuk, tee-hee, burst out laughing, roar/hoot/howl with laughter, crack up, dissolve into laughter, split one’s sides, be (rolling) on the floor, be doubled up, be killing oneself (laughing); More
    ridicule; scorn.
    dismiss something embarrassing, unfortunate, or potentially serious by treating it in a lighthearted way or making a joke of it.
    synonyms: dismiss, make a joke of, make light of, shrug off, brush aside, scoff at; informalpooh-pooh
    “you have to just laugh off their stupid remarks”
    informal
    be in a fortunate or successful position.
    “if next year’s model is as successful, Ford will be laughing”
    noun
    noun: laugh; plural noun: laughs; noun: a laugh
    1.
    an act of laughing.
    “she gave a loud, silly laugh”
    synonyms: chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, twitter, tee-hee, snigger, snicker, yuk, roar/hoot/howl of laughter, belly laugh, horse laugh
    “he gave a short laugh”
    2.
    informal
    a thing that causes laughter; a source of fun, amusement, or derision.
    “that’s a laugh, the idea of you cooking a meal!”
    synonyms: joke, prank, jest, escapade, caper, practical joke; More
    a person who is good fun or amusing company.
    “I like Peter—he’s a good laugh”
    synonyms: joker, jokester, wag, wit, clown, jester, prankster, character; More
    Origin

    Old English hlæhhan, hliehhan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German lachen, also to laughter.
    Translate laugh to
    Use over time for: laugh”

    The Okeh Laughing Record (Okeh)1922

    https://youtu.be/wAZlPNJhlO0

    Just kidding about reddiwip being dropped into the desert, because it was the perfect food, of course.

    It had to be the one to be dropped even though it’s only the penultimate food, because the ultimate food, cottage cheese and ketchup, would have been too messy to drop, see?

    “They make a dessert and call it peace.” Tacitus

  15. ArnoldHarris Said:

    Arnold Harris here, with some news for Arnold Toynbee.

    I sent this to a friend, she responded , “wow great comment by Harris”.

  16. Really beautiful.

    In today’s Forward:

    REVEALED AFTER 50 YEARS: What Elie Wiesel Wrote About The Six Day War
    Elie Wiesel May 1, 2017 Nikki Casey
    To mark our 120th anniversary, the Forward hunted through its archives for journalistic treasures. Here we present excerpts of a column by former Forverts staff writer the late Elie Wiesel published on Monday, June 12, 1967 — a heady time following Israel’s shocking Six Day War victory.


    Future generations will probably never believe it. Teachers will have a hard time convincing their students that what sounds legendary actually occurred. The children will naturally swallow each word, but later on, as adults, they’ll nod their heads and smile, remarking that these were fantasies of history.

    They won’t believe that this small state, surrounded by hatred, fire and murder, had so quickly managed a miracle. It will be hard to describe how, amid a sea of hatred, a tiny army drove off and humiliated several well-equipped military hordes of who knows how many Arab countries.
    How does acclaimed scholar and Talmudic genius Shaul Lieberman put it? In another 2,000 years, people will consider these events the way we think of descriptions of the Maccabees and their victories.

    Did I say another 2,000 years? No, make that: in another year, or even tomorrow.

    Last Sunday, the Arabs and their allies were boastfully threatening Israel that if she dared to make another move, she’d pay with her existence. And several hours later, our Jewish heroes advanced, and the entire world, holding its breath, followed their every movement.

    You’ll recall the radio broadcasts at the beginning of the week that sounded practically Job-like. Every hour, another Arab government declared war against Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia. And then: Morocco, Tunisia, Algiers. In Tunisia, an incited mob led a pogrom in the Jewish Quarter. Other Muslim — or part Muslim — countries rushed to sign up in [Egyptian president Gamal Abdul] Nasser’s “holy war.” Malaysia, Sudan, Mali, Guinea and more.

    We bit our lips, cracked our knuckles and could find no comfortable spot for ourselves. Quietly, we asked if the test was too hard this time. Was too much being demanded from the Jewish people and from their land? How could we expect to be redeemed, knowing that the enemy numbered tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people, against a mere 2 million Jews in Israel?

    And then, between Passover and Shavuot, the Hanukkah miracle occurred. It didn’t take long before the supposedly mighty enemy was rendered speechless and lost its nerve. Even the Soviet Ambassador to the UN, Nikolai Fedorenko, suddenly changed his tone. Instead of worrying about whether Nasser would finally curb his appetite for power, world leaders began looking for ways to make amends to Israeli Premier Levi Eshkol.

    It was as though a theater director, unfamiliar with his cast, suddenly switched the parts of his actors: those who had stubbornly opposed us now asked for mercy, as their former protectors now distanced themselves from them. Overnight, the mood at the UN Security Council seemed unrecognizable.

    We all need to recite the Hallel thanksgiving prayer for being granted the privilege of witnessing these events. The battle has not yet ended, but the enemy has already retreated and won’t easily recover.

    It may well be that future generations won’t comprehend how Israel vanquished her enemies. Yes, there are sacrifices, but in the long run nothing gets lost.

    And yet the blood that was shed by our young lions, the sacrifices endured, everything will be inscribed. Each widow’s tear, every death rattle of the fallen soldiers – they won’t pass unnoticed by our descendants.

    For Jews around the world, these last events are a deep source of pride. Every Jew witnessed and survived this trial together. Rarely, as a people, do we feel such a deep connection to each other, of loyalty to the purest principles driven by our shared history.

    Do you remember how thousands of Jewish youth besieged the Israeli Consulates, pleading to be sent as volunteers to Israel? Do you recall the mass demonstrations in the streets? And the countless Jews, including the poorest of the poor, donating their meager savings to the pushkes [charity boxes] of the United Jewish Appeal?

    This new Jewish awakening is part of that miracle, a part of the Jewish victory. Those who thought Jews were frightened by huge armies were mistaken, and those who thought you could separate the Jewish state from the Jewish people around the world clearly underestimated us.

    Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) joined the Forverts as a staff writer in 1956.

    Translated from Yiddish by Chana Pollack.

    Read more: http://forward.com/opinion/israel/370557/revealed-after-50-years-what-elie-wiesel-wrote-about-the-six-day-war/

  17. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    SZ on the rotten state of humor today in (anSweden

    ):

    Swedes, Sir, are not blessed with a sense of humor, especially about themselves. Their Northern grimness has been intensified by the burden of both Luther and Calvin.

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