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Monday, April 7, 2014

Passover Seder's Fifteen Steps.

Nisan marks the beginning of the Hebrew calendar months and is associated with Pesach the holiday of redemption. At its opposite the seventh month, Tishrei marks the beginning of the Jewish new year and the holiday of Sukkot. Kabbalah teaches equal in opposites, so I look to Sukkot to see what we can learn about Pesach.

Once the lower or feminine waters complained to God, “We, too, want to be close to You!” God consoled them, saying, “There will come a time when you, too, will be close, when your waters will be poured upon the altar during the holiday of Sukkot, to celebrate the drawing of the water.” At Sukkot the Levites sang spiritual songs that kept Jerusalem wide-eyed till dawn as they stood upon the “fifteen steps of descent from the Israelite courtyard to the women’s (feminine) courtyard, that correspond to the fifteen ‘Songs of Ascents’ (shir hamaalot) found in Psalms.”

Here the priests descended those fifteen steps corresponding to the fifteen Songs of Ascents in the Book of Psalms, seemingly out of place?

Rav Chisda asked “a certain rabbi” why King David composed these fifteen Songs of Ascents to begin with. The rabbi replied that when King David had begun the excavations for the place of the Temple’s altar, the waters of the subterranean deep rushed upwards and threatened to engulf the planet. David thereupon composed fifteen Songs of Ascents, and the depths safely subsided.

If so, Rav Chisda immediately protested, why not call them the Songs of Descent, to reflect on the subsiding waters, instead of Songs of Ascents!

Replied the anonymous rabbi, this is what occurred: When the deep surged upwards, King David thought to inscribe the name of God on a piece of earthenware and cast it into the waters. His teacher, Achitofel, ruled that it would be permissible to do so reasoning; if, according to Torah, for the sake of harmony between a husband and his wife, God commands us to write His Name on parchment and erase it by placing it into a container of water and giving it to the woman to drink, then it is certainly permissible for King David to cast the divine Name into the surging waters to bring peace to the entire world!

King David immediately cast The Name into the waters, which then subsided sixteen levels. King David realized the earth’s irrigation needs would henceforth be lacking, and therefore voiced fifteen Songs of Ascents that brought the waters back up to a safe and useful level.

In his commentary on the Talmud, Maharsha adds that the particular divine Name that King David wrote was Yud-Hei, which equates the numerical value fifteen. The Name is associated with the final redemption of the Jewish people. The two priests who descended these steps on the way to draw the water on Sukkot paused on the tenth step, to indicate that the fifteen steps are divided into two parts, ten and five, corresponding to the yud (ten) and hei (five) respectively.

Maharal quotes the verse from Isaiah 26:4, “For in God (Yud-Hei) is the strength of the worlds.” Our sages stated that all creation comes into being via these two divine “letters,” yud and hei. These divine letters are likewise comprised of “form” that comes from the yud, and “matter” that comes from the hei. These make all material substance - the recipient, and all spiritual existence - the source of bestowal.

This, then, is the Kabbalistic secret behind the fifteen Songs of Ascents corresponding to the steps in the Temple that led a person upwards, from the more material, “feminine” women’s courtyard, to the more spiritual, “masculine” aspect, the Israelites’ courtyard. Israel having been redeemed, left the clutches of Mitzrayim (Egypt) journeying to the depths of the waters, Yam Suf (Reed/Red or some say Sea at the End) where they cast their souls, comprising God's name, into the lower waters and from where they made their Ascent as a nation.

Each year we renew the months by ascending through 15 steps of the Pesach seder. Pausing at the tenth we mention the Temple in Jerusalem before continuing to ingest the festive meal and complete the five steps of the seder. Then the chametz free body is infused from its innermost core by ingestion of the Pesach meal. Six months later the descendant 15 steps of Sukkot where we take the Lulav and the willow branches of the lower waters, then continue the week surrounding the body in the transcendence of the Sukkah.

Finally we have arrived at  the second half of the year 5774, but the beginning of the months for 5775. These are the years of the millennial hour considered ‘mincha gedola’ the time of transition, at the doorstep of Moshiach and Israel's final redemption. From this Pesach seder we provide the compliment to Sukkot’s 15 holy steps of the Temple. With it, perhaps we will finally realize our Jewish dream,so that even those who celebrate in Jerusalem will no longer need to utter the Seder's concluding words "next year in Jerusalem"!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is "God” your diminished substitute?

In Jewish tradition “God” does not exist as a term, any use of it is borrowed from a foreign language. The bleeding influence of international language and culture into Judaism has distorted essential Jewish thinking and left many with confused misunderstandings of their culture and religion. Nowhere is this more evident than foreign language texts that have diminished “The Name” - “HaShem” - “יהוה” - the unpronounceable Tetragrammaton.
The confusion is mired because “The Name” is also Judaism’s highest order, indistinguishable reference to “Without End” - “Ein Sof”, perhaps a term for The Infinite, but ancient Jewish offshoots and Christians, who translated the Bible conveniently collapsed these confounding complexities in a theistic term that became “God”. Since the printing press Jews have progressively lost touch with their holy Hebrew tongue and their important anti-theology has become infused with the Christian and later Islamic catch-all term. This obfuscated important Jewish distinctions made in the origin Biblical text that incorporates essential, albeit diminished spiritual forms that are intrinsic to and emanate from “The Name”. As Jews lost touch with these concepts, so Jewish assimilation increased; the victims were usually more progressive thinkers willingly exploring new nation languages and cultures.
Although reference to the term “God” has become widely accepted, it has different meanings to different cultures. I once asked a Christian friend whether he prays to the same “God” that Jews pray to, adamantly he replied - yes, of course! But, I often wonder whether concepts of “The Name” have truly been lost on prayer-filled communities devoid of intellectual understanding who emotionally pray to their deity instead. Then I begin to question what good comes from it? I’m not talking about the good communities who gather together and make efforts the world over to support or initiate many helpful causes, I’m talking about the quality and benefit of their meditation. Since the destruction of the Jewish temple the absence of devout holy practice has promoted rushed forms of worship with compromised benefits. The ladder of Jewish prayer to unify the Names of spiritual entities with and in “The Name” is a ritual meditation that once occupied priests each, entire day. But, millennial transformations now ensure many Rabbi’s are off on their errands after 30 minutes and on the Sabbaths a few hours at most. Nevertheless, within these modern windows of time, a serious practitioner can make a huge, positive and meaningful impact to their outlook and function in society. One cannot expect to obtain the benefits of Jewish prayer when their tools are confounded by the influences of other teachings. Its correct practice will open the mind of the practitioner enabling the flow of Wisdom. To some this may sound like a regurgitated familiar Buddhist theme, but the path to Wisdom is a wisdom and one must choose before beginning the journey. If you have chosen Judaism to guide access to your innate wisdom, beware of the foreign influences that would otherwise divert you and diminish your experience. “The Name” is the source of Its Wisdom and Its Emanations are the ancient Hebrew language Torah or Bible. There is no substitute! Participation in Jewish liturgy is by no means an easy accomplishment, for many it’s a practice of absorbing meditations that infiltrate every aspect of daily life. Every wakeful hour is accounted and the regimen for the devout well documented. The practitioner can opt-in or out of any or all to their direct benefit or detriment dependent on their personal level of satisfaction. For new practitioners, those who were not born to religious families or the religious who are dissatisfied I highly recommend you consciously discover or re-discover Jewish meditation. For many this aspect of Judaism is hidden and it will take some effort to reveal, but it can be re-discovered and is easily accessible through a simple beginners book like Jewish Meditation. If “God” is substitute for “The Name” remember Its manifestations are the only existence for Jews who are about to celebrate their national adoption of their monotheistic ritual. Pesach or Passover marks the conscious recognition of and exit from foreign influences that disrupt a Jew’s connection to Wisdom. It begins with your effort to understand that which distinguishes “The Name” above all. From this you can obtain concepts of time, chronologically ordered history and the root of Jewish customs, then your existing perspectives may surprise you and new perspectives invigorate your innermost core - a happy and kosher Pesach!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Exiled State - Shaping the Narrative!

Praying at Joseph's Tomb - Shechem - Nablus
Christianity made Easter coincide with Passover. The holiday lasts 7 days, but outside of Israel an additional day is celebrated, which in the orthodox service emphasizes the present state of exile and the future redemption of Jewish people. Israel’s national and mystical history associated with this day is as deep as heaven’s spiritual oceans and a study of the Biblical texts reveals the extent of the nation’s ancient connection to its land.

No other nation is privileged to have retained its written record in such a well preserved state as that of the Jewish people. Its Torah (Bible) records the story transcribed by Moses who brought it to the Jewish people some 3400 years ago, it documents historical periods and the mystical construct that pre-dated its authorship. At a minimum the record retains its relevance by the continuum of ancestral Levite priests who, to this very day, trace their family lineage from a father to son. During Passover and throughout each of the past 3400 years these direct ancestors of Moses and his brother Aharon, the first high priest of Israel, have participated in religious services to bestow blessing upon the world.

In the period that followed the exodus by Israel and those that fled Egypt with them, the self described chosen people undertook the difficult task building their national commitment to a closer, unified, monotheistic state of being through common customs, practices and religious belief. The initiation lasted 40 years until all males who were over 20 years at the exodus, had passed on. Other than for leaders Joshua and Caleb, no other male remnants were permitted to enter the permanent land of Israel chosen for and by the chosen people.

The fledgling nation crossed over the Jordan River and first made their way to the city of Shechem (modern Nablus), in the land that was once occupied by Kanaan a nephew of Egypt’s founder Ham. This was Israel’s northern entry point to its promised land. Some 300 years prior, Jacob (who later changed his name to Israel) had once settled there and his sons led by Levi and Shimeon, in almost premeditated preparation for their future nations arrival, massacred the Prince of Shechem and his kingdoms 24000 male adult inhabitants, a revenge act for his rape of their sister. It is also the location where Joseph was sold by his brothers before being transported as a slave on a caravan to Egypt. There the new nation buried Joseph’s bones making Shechem his final resting place.

One would expect such well documented history to sufficiently establish an entitlement of a people to its land, however the the modern narrative of Nablus or Shechem ranks among the world’s greatest examples of imperial fraud, deceit and denial. Notwithstanding, the depth of Israel’s connection to this city, its enemies hate every undeniable historical fact for fear that exposure will overturn their ambit claims. Whilst most cannot reconcile detailed matters already past, we are fortunate enough to be living in the dynamic digital era where writers and editors painstakingly recall the past, flavoring it to suit their insurgent desires and no more so than @Wikipedia where this living record is being written.

In Wikipedia’s world, rules of editorial engagement are defined in an effort to promote accurate representation, but abuse and misuse is common. The editorial prize in a popular or politically charged subject like Nablus ensures attention to editors who best manipulate the truth to meet the ideological demands of their peers and benefits come quickly to those who get the mix right. Support from other editors aggregates to the ideological victor who receives commendation for their targeted editorial contribution and participation. The ideologically charged Nablus narrative is evident in its Wikipedia page, supported by one of its primary editors Al Ameer son - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Al_Ameer_son. This editor has been awarded no less than 20 awards from his fellow contributors, he is a member of the ‘Early Muslim Military History Task Force’ and helped promote Yasser Arafat to Featured Article status.

Like the Roman name Palestine, editorial defenders of Wikipedia’s Nablus narrative open their article with this disclaimer; “This article is about the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, and its predecessor, the Roman city of Flavia Neapolis. For the biblical city of Shechem, at the same location, see Shechem.” From here on the authors deny Shechem a place in their Nablus narrative, suppressing its Biblical and archaeological history, in order to deliver the indoctrination of Roman origin that follows their reduced font disclaimer in their - ‘see Shechem’ link. The Wikipedia narrative denies the city its Israelite origin and promotes the perpetual suffering their denial imposes.

Joseph’s Tomb and its Torah inscribed twin mountain backdrop are a fundament of Israel’s connection to its land. Wikipedia’s Shechem entry describes the 2000 year history preceding its Roman occupation and connects it to the Egyptian archaeological record when events catalyzed the unification of the Israel’s tribes out of which the modern Israeli nation grew. Shechem, after whom the city was named, raped Joseph’s same age sister Dinah to whom daughter Asenath was born and who, many years later, married Joseph with permission from Egypt’s Pharaoh. The marriage of Joseph, (mother Rachel) and Asenath, (grandaughter to Rachel’s sister Leah), unified Israel’s matriarch’s and made Shechem Joseph’s father-in-law - another aboriginal fact the Nablus editors would rather ignore. Out of this marriage sons Manasseh and Ephraim were born and due to Joseph’s special status in Israelite history became entitled to 2 of the 12 permanent tribal memberships.

Whilst displacement of important elements of a city’s narrative denies its history, it also serves those affected to strengthen their ancient tribal connection against the growing weight of public opinion motivated by distortion. This is the common trait of natives displaced in South Africa, North America and Australia and is not uncharacteristic to the rights Israelis have to their origin city in the land they first occupied. It also strikes at histories various attempts to deny the history of Jewish people usually as a forerunner to their elimination and eradication. The Israelite people are so deeply rooted in their land, there is no place some ambit historical claim can deny them. Therefore, its enemies defer to deceit and denial in order to defend their occupation of Israel’s land and to continue the exile of its people.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Beit El of Binyamin on which border - Yehuda or Ephraim?

Three cryptic chapters placed at the end of The Book of Judges by the Prophet Shmuel relate to the earliest of this period which followed Yehoshua leading Israel in the conquest of their land and the establishment of the temporary mishkan (sanctuary) at Shilo. After Yehoshua and the surviving elders of that generation passed away, the only tribe that had not conquered and settled their allotment was the rear-guard tribe of Dan. It was then that these most gruesome chapters occurred. Strikingly the inter-relationships of each chapter emphasizes the competitive warring culture especially amongst the tribe of Yehuda, Binyamin and Ephraim, with particular emphasis to the location of Beit El.


Simply, Beit El means House of God, but it was more than 400 years after the events of these chapters that they were compiled into a book at around the same time the tribes of Israel finally agreed to a single site for their permanent temple in Jerusalem. These three chapters illustrate the preceding political, economic and social upheaval to define the temple's penultimate location on Binyamin’s southern border with Yehuda or its northern border with Ephraim.


The chapters begin with Micayhu (Micah) a man who lived with his mother in the Mountain of Ephraim close to Ephraims southern boundary with Binyamin (18:2). There Micah developed a unique religion devoted to a significant silver idol. It was not a copycat of other nation gods rather it incorporated the name of God written by Moses and once used to recover the coffin of Joseph in Egypt. He recruited a Levite boy from the tribe of Yehuda who had lived in Beit Lechem (in the territory of Yehuda) to serve as his priest. The Levite boy Jonathan ben Gershom ben Menashe was the disenfranchised grandson of Moses and was well known to all the tribes. The ‘n’ in Menashe was written as a superscript by Prophet Shmuel to emphasize the evil actions of the Levite expecting that with repentance the ‘n’ would be removed to revert the (Hebrew) letters to the name Moshe (Moses).


The second chapter explains how the tribal leaders of Dan were unable to conquer their difficult allotment in the south along the coastal route occupied by Philistine Egyptian allies. Absence of support from the other tribes may have left them embittered, so they traveled through Israel from Ashkelon (south) to conquer and declare Laish in the north (near the Golan) their land. Along the way, they stopped at Micah’s Beit el - house of god and recognized the Levite. They took him and the idol and located it’s religious center further north close to the sanctuary at Shilo (also referred to as Beit El). Most tribes, busy from settling and defending their land, had abandoned their prescribed tri-annual pilgrimage to Shilo as such they were losing touch with the religion prescribed by Moses.


The chapters conclude when a Levite from the mountain of Ephraim went to Beit Lechem to reconcile and recover his unfaithful concubine. On their return toward sunset, they passed Yevus (Jerusalem also known as Beit El - previously Luz)  because it was occupied by the heathen. They continued north through Binyamin to Gibeah where they sought overnight accommodation with an old resident. That night some Binyamite residents demanded the concubine, the Levite capitulated, they gang raped her and left her on the doorstep of the old residents home, where she died during the cold night. The incensed Levite took her back to Mountain of Ephraim where he dissected her body in 12 pieces and despatched a piece to each tribal leader demanding they support his request to force the leaders of Binyamin to hand over the perpetrators. When they refused, Israel’s eleven other tribes united in a civil war that killed more than 50,000 including 25,000 members of the tribe of Binyamin, which was almost eradicated.


The juxtaposition of these three locations, Beit El at Shilo, Beit el of Micah and Beit El at Yevus provide further evidence of the cryptic message left by Prophet Shmuel. These tumultuous events underlie the vicious competition for the economic and spiritual benefits brought by locating the nations one and only temple on the southern (Yehuda) or northern (Ephraim) border of Binyamin. The ultimate socio-dominant tribe would prevail in its conquest and Binyamin, wedged between the shoulders of Yehuda to its south and Ephraim to its north, would play a vital role. Competition and lobbying amongst the tribes to establish a permanent temple site plagued Israel, so much so that it took more than 400 years before King David was able to declare its location, after that King Solomon built it. The immediate response following King Solomon was upheaval, division of the nation, the re-establishment of Beit el in the Mountain of Ephraim and the return of national worship to the alien god.


Impressive and enormously complex, is the connection made by Prophet Shmuel at the time of King David through Jonathan the Levite boy from Beit Lechem of Yehuda. This was none other than Moses grandchild and in a nation where bloodline counts, he was construed by the Prophet with the evil root in the soul of Menashe. At the later period, he was named Shebu’el who repented at the time of King David and was appointed David’s treasurer. David’s direct descendant was the evil King Menashe. Through Jonathan, Shmuel intricately connected Judges to Kings, to deliver the key that Jonathan who served David also became the false prophet in Shomron (after King Solomon) at the time of King Yerovam ben Nabat. At that time Yerovam had led the 10 northern tribes to secede, to worship idolatry at Beit el and had plunged Israel into its protracted state of exile. Thousands of years later the tribes are yet to be reunified.


In an article I wrote after Pesach 2012 I deconstructed the cryptic Jonathan element of Shmuel’s message. Together these time separated Jonathans spanning Judges and Kings, the period in which the Mishkan stood, make it abundantly clear that Shmuel intentionally wrote them as the key to his code to reveal the importance of the ultimate location of the permanent Beit El. The repetitive theme of these distinct time periods and the events that relate to Beit El and Beit el amplify the nations great need to decipher the ultimate location in order to once again be unified.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Israels Forthcoming Miracle!

My friend Eliyahu recently recalled the days during the early 90’s when he miraculously escaped a posting to the military unit of the Russian Army destined to train Syrian ground troops in Damascus. The Assad Alawite regime had become the extended arm of Russian resistance to the rebels in Chechnya. Locking down Sunni radicals in Syria would prevent their recruitment by the Chechens intent on striking hard against Russian interests. The Russians were locking them down - in Syria. President Obama’s policies changed the character of the hidden Syrian lock-down, now Russia struggles, openly to keep the Assad regime alive and Chechen allies at bay. 


Having failed to shake Russian economic ties to Iran, President Obama’s Russian opposition moved to Ukraine where Americas developing options are limited by entrenched Russian political support juxtaposed against a weak EU consensus. As Putin reads Obama’s every move, his recent dispatch of Russian troops to Ukraine raises, to a crescendo Obama’s convergence toward an Obama / Kerry’s peace in the Middle East. Such a prospect would strike disaster for Russian dominance of Chechen rebels, who may rapidly obtain support from Syrian rebels that would otherwise be victorious against Assad.


The elevated risk provides an economic boom to US and Russian defense industries, while Israel and its Palestinian Authority nemesis provide the reactionary sparks necessary to keep gargantuan diplomatic maneuvers generating much needed heat. A little while back I wrote an article that the late Ariel Sharon, preemptively stopped these potential machinations spilling over into complexities that could have led to World War III in Israel’s back yard. He built a separation barrier, a land demarcation preventing the amassing of Arab refugees spilling over into Israel. Instead Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey received hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of refugees from Syria. 


Israel’s relatively simple ‘Palestinian’ problem is no longer the focal point of this wider conflict. Prime Minister Netanyahu has influenced Obama to prioritize and engage the Iranian / Russian issue, elevating it as the most volatile and vile relationship. Now, its too late for Obama to turn back. Although risks are significant and could quite easily spill over to serious regional conflict, the theater is likely be on Russian soil. As US - Russian brinkmanship approaches the red zone and Israel turns on its massive new supply of natural gas to Europe, the time for an Obama sponsored peace is premature. Frustrations will become increasingly evident as Israel’s political divide dig their heels, insisting on the core, fundamental issue - Israel is the one and only Jewish State, something there so called peace partners cannot accept! 


Now is the time for the world to recognize and make way for the perpetual Israel/Jewish State, not racial inequality as its detractors promote, but equality under a sovereign democracy. As Israel powers on economically and Jewish immigrants return from Ukraine, France and other volatile regions, the major world powers may be readying themselves for a serious military escalation that could shake financial markets and destabilize governments. However, Israel the global anomaly, will be the brightest light and warring nations will scratch their heads wondering how these global affairs were organised to enable Israels’ miraculously favorable outcome.






Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Under The Ashera - the idolators tree!

There remains a conflict of opinions regarding the age of Jacob’s daughter Dinah at the time she was raped by the Prince of Shechem. Its important to resolve because it infers with it the emphasis and urgency with which Jacob desired to first return to Beit El, the place to which he became emotionally obligated during his original exile. On his return, was Beit El his intended destination or did Jacob first inhabit Shechem as the Torah’s simply expresses. Or, perhaps that took place many years later as the Torah can be chronologically construed. In an earlier article I promoted the view of Rabbi Menachem Leibtag who supports the latter.


The sages say (Sofrim 21:9) Dinah was 6 years old when she gave birth to Aesnath; progeny of that rape. We are told (Berakhot 9:3, 14a) the embryos of Dinah and Joseph were miraculously swapped, which would imply they were born in the same year. In a contradictory explanation we are told (Sechel Tov B:34:3) Dinah was 8.5 years and Jacob 99 which extends the standard chronology 2 years. Now, Joseph was born in 2199 and Jacob emigrated to Canaan six years later in 2205. Whilst living in Shechem Joseph, at 17 (2216) was sold to slave traders. To experience Jacobs destination mindset, we must reconcile these conflicts.

In a short paragraph (Vayishlach 33:17) between re-entering the land and the story of Dinah beginning with their arrival in Shechem, we are told of Jacob’s temporary travel and dwellings in Succoth (mentioned 3 times). Then, between the story of Dinah in Shechem and their planned return to Beit El, another short paragraph (35:4), we are told Jacob took all their idolatrous deities and hid them under a tree that was near Shechem (the Hebrew word asher is used 3 times). Jacob’s father Isaac was specifically commanded by his father Abraham not to be exiled. Therefore, just imagine how disconcerting Jacob’s pending exile would have been at the time he made his covenant at the place he named Beit El. Now we can begin to understand how important it was for him to first return to Beit El after stopping along the way to hide (but not destroy) the deities in Shechem. 

This chronological retelling emphasizes Beit El’s importance to Jacob and suggests Dinah was indeed older than 6 when they returned to Shechem after a few years living in their temporary dwellings. During that time I maintain they lived six months at Beit El constructing the protective walls around the matsevah (monument) and sacred spaces Jacob dedicated. Then after Deborah, who had previously been sent by Jacob’s mother to accompany their return, passed away Jacob continued his journey to his parents home in Hebron. Along the way Rachel died, outside of Bethlehem whilst giving birth to Jacob's last child Benjamin. The balance of time was spent in Hebron where Jacob grieved for Rachel and his mother Rebecca who had also passed away.

We are left to speculate the reasons that compelled Jacob to return to Shechem. His entourage and the people that journeyed with them and suffered through family tragedies, had once hidden their idolatrous deities near the tree in Shechem. Perhaps they longed to return to their deities, perhaps Rachel’s death in someway connected them to the deities, some of which she had stolen from her father. Perhaps Jacob, who unknowingly cursed Rachel to die for her act felt compelled to return to the place they had been hidden.

The tragedies were to follow them to Shechem. From there they drove Jacob’s growing family back into exile to Egypt where the tragedies lasted 210 years. Then, Moses forged a nation during their 40 year journey and Joshua brought them back to Shechem where they buried Joseph and erected the monumental stones on which the Torah was written in 70 languages. The Jewish nation that started with Jacob 380 years earlier stood on Shechems mountains Ebal and Gerizim to recognize their blessings and curses in the hope these tragic events they had brought through idolatry were behind them forever.

Today the matsevah on which Jacob made his covenant and to which he returned to assume his name Israel, can be found at the City of David and although many are still confused as to its authenticity, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Under The Ashera - the idolators tree!

There remains a conflict of opinions regarding the age of Jacob’s daughter Dinah at the time she was raped by the Prince of Shechem. Its important to resolve because it infers with it the emphasis and urgency with which Jacob desired to first return to Beit El, the place to which he became emotionally obligated during his original exile. On his return, was Beit El his intended destination or did Jacob first inhabit Shechem as the Torah’s simply expresses. Or, perhaps that took place many years later as the Torah can be chronologically construed. In an earlier article I promoted the view of Rabbi Menachem Leibtag who supports the latter.


The sages say (Sofrim 21:9) Dinah was 6 years old when she gave birth to Aesnath; progeny of that rape. We are told (Berakhot 9:3, 14a) the embryos of Dinah and Joseph were miraculously swapped, which would imply they were born in the same year. In a contradictory explanation we are told (Sechel Tov B:34:3) Dinah was 8.5 years and Jacob 99 which extends the standard chronology 2 years. Now, Joseph was born in 2199 and Jacob emigrated to Canaan six years later in 2205. Whilst living in Shechem Joseph, at 17 (2216) was sold to slave traders. To experience Jacobs destination mindset, we must reconcile these conflicts.

In a short paragraph (Vayishlach 33:17) between re-entering the land and the story of Dinah beginning with their arrival in Shechem, we are told of Jacob’s temporary travel and dwellings in Succoth (mentioned 3 times). Then, between the story of Dinah in Shechem and their planned return to Beit El, another short paragraph (35:4), we are told Jacob took all their idolatrous deities and hid them under a tree that was near Shechem (the Hebrew word asher is used 3 times). Jacob’s father Isaac was specifically commanded by his father Abraham not to be exiled. Therefore, just imagine how disconcerting Jacob’s pending exile would have been at the time he made his covenant at the place he named Beit El. Now we can begin to understand how important it was for him to first return to Beit El after stopping along the way to hide (but not destroy) the deities in Shechem. 

This chronological retelling emphasizes Beit El’s importance to Jacob and suggests Dinah was indeed older than 6 when they returned to Shechem after a few years living in their temporary dwellings. During that time I maintain they lived six months at Beit El constructing the protective walls around the matsevah (monument) and sacred spaces Jacob dedicated. Then after Deborah, who had previously been sent by Jacob’s mother to accompany their return, passed away Jacob continued his journey to his parents home in Hebron. Along the way Rachel died, outside of Bethlehem whilst giving birth to Jacob's last child Benjamin. The balance of time was spent in Hebron where Jacob grieved for Rachel and his mother Rebecca who had also passed away.

We are left to speculate the reasons that compelled Jacob to return to Shechem. His entourage and the people that journeyed with them and suffered through family tragedies, had once hidden their idolatrous deities near the tree in Shechem. Perhaps they longed to return to their deities, perhaps Rachel’s death in someway connected them to the deities, some of which she had stolen from her father. Perhaps Jacob, who unknowingly cursed Rachel to die for her act felt compelled to return to the place they had been hidden.

The tragedies were to follow them to Shechem. From there they drove Jacob’s growing family back into exile to Egypt where the tragedies lasted 210 years. Then, Moses forged a nation during their 40 year journey and Joshua brought them back to Shechem where they buried Joseph and erected the monumental stones on which the Torah was written in 70 languages. The Jewish nation that started with Jacob 380 years earlier stood on Shechems mountains Ebal and Gerizim to recognize their blessings and curses in the hope these tragic events they had brought through idolatry were behind them forever.

Today the matsevah on which Jacob made his covenant and to which he returned to assume his name Israel, can be found at the City of David and although many are still confused as to its authenticity, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How many stones?

This single mysterious stone could change the course of Jerusalem's future. If its significance is upheld it will certainly be one of the most hotly demanded locations in the world. Presently buried underground, excavations will shortly expose it to the public view. It's location dates back to the oldest time in Jerusalem's history, the early bronze age, but the stone is more likely middle bronze age - the time of Jacob.

If you count 12 stones, then this may just be the famous stone of Jacob's dream. 

Click to enlarge and count the number of variegated stones.

The stone is located on a high-ridge above the Gihon Spring. To find out more see the video below and explore the previous articles



Click for more of ancient Israel's hidden secrets.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Earthquake at the Temple Mount!

As Israel experiences its fourth earthquake in the past few weeks, anticipation grows that the big one prophesied for Jerusalem is about to strike. What is foreseen may be a little more esoteric than it first appears. Prophet Zechariah's words are read every year on the first day of Sukkot, but most translate his words in their traditional form. A big quake will split the Mount of Olives somewhere along its north-south axis and a Valley will open. However a closer reading reveals an alternative complexity.
Click to Enlarge


The land, in two movements along the axis will shift east, west and north, south opening a chasm along the ridge of the Mount of Olives that expands into a new valley, stretching and flattening the land in between and re-aligning along the Kidron Valley floor (see squiggly line). This could mean that the black line - north (in the distance) that marks the bridge that once was used by the High Priest to avoid impurities conveyed by dead bodies buried between the Temple Mount and Mount of Olives, will be adjusted. The grave sites on the South Western apex of the Mount of Olives facing the City of David, will move toward it.
The chasm that will mark the new valley will run somewhere along the white line, which was relevant to a previous article I wrote regarding the location of the city of Ay (Ai). For those that are familiar with the landscape, the Seven Arches Hotel (immediately under the West Arrow) marks the spot Joshua’s army once awaited his ambush party sent to decoy the residents of Ay into the desert, east toward the Dead Sea after which he attacked and burned the city.
A re-alignment of the entire landscape makes sense only if the site of the future Temple in Jerusalem also shifts south to occupy the high ridge above the Gihon Spring at the City of David, which is documented in this video link. Many possibilities exist, but a static reading and understanding of Israel’s prophetic writings and teachings should not be taken for granted. In any event realization of Zechariah’s prophecy is not associated with the disaster one would normally attribute to an earthquake of this magnitude. However, its implication for Jerusalem, Israel and the world will be significant.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Excavation Update from City of David

Montague Parker Map - click to enlarge
Exciting new results from The City of David include the discovery of a new wall, which was mapped by Montague Parker almost 100 years ago. (see video) The map details many other features not yet seen in any of the excavations. The present site, approximately bounded by the rectangular area marked on the map, is expected to yield new discoveries.  
The circled area is most interesting to  me because it is immediately west and northwest of  the area marked ‘G’ (south) adjacent to the (colored) matzevah or monument that was discovered several years ago and which I have written about extensively.  
Some of the labyrinth of interconnected tunnels and walls around Area ‘B’ have recently been confirmed and can been seen exposed as the ground levels being excavated start falling. Behind (north) of the area marked ‘B’ also highlights the excavation boundary known as the ‘Crack’ which is visible in the next image and was one of the reasons Israeli authorities agreed to proceed with the excavation, primarily to avoid potential danger of landslides.

The Crack looking north


The Crack; ground level now excavated ±2.5 meters lower, looking south at the top of the ancient wall section (probably area ‘B’) exposed for the first time in thousands of years.


Excavated ±2.5 meters down - looking south
Below the visible ground levels in this image lies what I believe will be the most important discovery in post temple Jewish history. In the following image immediately adjacent and south of the room marked ‘G’ lies the room that includes the Matzevah or monument


The most important discovery from pre temple Jewish history?
Nothing equivalent to the image that follows has ever been discovered in Israel. It is unique because it's built on bedrock, is not a grave marker and is located in an area previously used for sacrifices. The stone monument appears to be a granite type rock distinguished by its variegation.


The Matzevah or Monument


In the room adjacent to and south of the Matzevah room are the now famous ‘V’ markings carved directly into the bedrock.

For my theories on this area and its relationship to Biblical and Jewish history I suggest the following reading;