We had a few away again, but we still had an exciting and uplifting time of fellowship.
I have copied below the short articles discussed a little. We also started working through Uriel ben Mordechai’s fascinating new ‘re-transaltion’ of Hebrews – a version of Hebrews that the Hebrews can own at last! Baruch HaShem!
We also touched on the amazing prophecies of Bil’am in this weeks Torah Portion and in particular the message to gentiles in Numbers 24:3-9.
Rabbi Sacks devotion for the 3 Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by Hamas Terrorists:
The powerful words of the great Rabbi Lord Jonthan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth in remembering the Israeli teenagers who were buried a couple of days ago:
“In Memoriam: Eyal, Gilad and Naftali:
This past Shabbat we read the parsha of Chukkat with its almost incomprehensible commandment of the red heifer whose mixed with “living water” purified those who had been in contact with death so that they could enter the Mishkan, symbolic home of the glory of God. Almost incomprehensible but not entirely so.
The mitzvah of the parah adumah, the red heifer, was a protest against the religions of the ancient world that glorified death. Death for the Egyptians was the realm of the spirits and the gods. The pyramids were places where, it was believed, the spirit of the dead Pharaoh ascended to heaven and joined the immortals.
The single most striking thing about the Torah and Tanakh in general is its almost total silence on life after death. We believe in it profoundly. We believe in olam haba (the world to come), Gan Eden (paradise), and techiyat hametim (the resurrection of the dead). Yet Tanakh speaks about these things only sparingly and by allusion. Why so?
Because too intense a focus on heaven is capable of justifying every kind of evil on earth. There was a time when Jews were burned at the stake, so their murderers said, in order to save their immortal souls. Every injustice on earth, every act of violence, even suicide bombings, can be theoretically defended on the grounds that true justice is reserved for life after death.
Against this Judaism protests with every sinew of its soul, every fibre of its faith. Life is sacred. Death defiles. God is the God of life to be found only by consecrating life. Even King David was told by God that he would not be permitted to build the Temple because dam larov shafachta, “you have shed much blood.”
Judaism is supremely a religion of life. That is the logic of the Torah’s principle that those who have had even the slightest contact with death need purification before they may enter sacred space. The parah adumah, the rite of the red heifer, delivered this message in the most dramatic possible way. It said, in effect, that everything that lives – even a heifer that never bore the yoke, even red, the colour of blood which is the symbol of life – may one day turn to ash, but that ash must be dissolved in the waters of life. God lives in life. God must never be associated with death.
Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were killed by people who believed in death. Too often in the past Jews were victims of people who practised hate in the name of the God of love, cruelty in the name of the God of compassion, and murder in the name of the God of life. It is shocking to the very depths of humanity that this still continues to this day.
Never was there a more pointed contrast than, on the one hand, these young men who dedicated their lives to study and to peace, and on the other the revelation that other young men, even from Europe, have become radicalised into violence in the name of God and are now committing murder in His name. That is the difference between a culture of life and one of death, and this has become the battle of our time, not only in Israel but in Syria, in Iraq, in Nigeria and elsewhere. Whole societies are being torn to shreds by people practising violence in the name of God.
Against this we must never forget the simple truth that those who begin by practising violence against their enemies end by committing it against their fellow believers. The verdict of history is that cultures that worship death, die, while those that sanctify life, live on. That is why Judaism survives while the great empires that sought its destruction were themselves destroyed.
Our tears go out to the families of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. We are with them in grief. We will neither forget the young victims nor what they lived for: the right that everyone on earth should enjoy, to live a life of faith without fear.
“May He destroy death forever, and may the Lord God wipe away the tears from all faces.”
May the God of life, in whose image we are, teach all humanity to serve Him by sanctifying life.” – <end quote>
Thanks Rabbi Sacks and may Israel – the light to the nations, the true People of the Book, and family of Yeshua HaMashiach; the commonwealth of Israel into which we can be grafted through Yeshua – live forever – Am Israel Chai!
Some Interesting and Illuminating Facts About Israel:
Israel, with a little over 8 million people, is the 100th smallest country with less than 1/1000 of the world’s population, but it can lay claim to the following:
The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
Much of the software in today’s computer operating systems was developed in Israel, as well as a lot of the ‘chip’ technology.
Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelites.
Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbours combined.
Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security. US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.
Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin — 109 per 10,000 people — as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
In proportion to it’s population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world.
In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies than any other country in the world, except the US (3,500 companies mostly in high tech).
With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of high tech companies in the world — apart from the Silicon Valley, USA.
Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S. Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.
Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.
On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.
Twenty-four per cent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland, and 12 per cent of its workforce hold advanced degrees.
Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship — and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 — in the world.
Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth.
Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity (including hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union).
Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books.
Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because, this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.
Israel has more museums per capita than any other country. Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.
An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment. Every year in U.S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.
Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany.
With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.
All the above was accomplished while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks Israel’s destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on Earth.
Between 1901 and 2011, around 850 laureates have been awarded Nobel Prizes. Of these, at least 170 Jews and persons of half-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide (vs 0.25% of that population) between 1901 and 2005, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period (vs 2% of that population.
In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Medicine, and Physics, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 39%, respectively.
Lloyd George stated in 1923:
“Of all the extreme fanaticism which plays havoc in man’s nature, there is not one as irrational as anti-Semitism. … If the Jews are rich [these fanatics] are victims of theft. If they are poor, they are victims of ridicule. If they take sides in a war, it is because they wish to take advantage from the spilling of non-Jewish blood. If they espouse peace, it is because they are scared by their natures or traitors. If the Jew dwells in a foreign land he is persecuted and expelled. If he wishes to return to his own land, he is prevented from doing so.”
“Certainly the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place. Humanity might eventually have stumbled upon all the Jewish insights. But we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual discoveries of the intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they have been revealed; but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person; of the individual conscience and so for personal redemption; of the collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice…Above all, the Jews taught us…Monotheism” – from Paul Johnson, ‘A History of the Jews’.
The Khazars Hoax:
Some anti-Semites try to argue that all the Jewish people in Israel and descended from the Khazars in Russia and aren’t really Jewish. This despite the fact that the first proponent of this argument admitted he made it up!
As recent as 2010 a research paper in The American Journal of Human Genetics, clearly invalidates this Khazar hypothesis.
Also, the genetic researcher M.F. Hammer, wrote in the Proc. Nat’l Academy of Science (May 9, 2000): “Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.”
Y-chromosome research of the Jewish people began as an outgrowth of the study of Cohanim—the Jewish priestly family. These studies showed a very high genetic affinity among PRESENT-DAY Cohanim, indicating that they do have a common paternal ancestor, estimated to have lived some 3,000 years ago.
The most recent genetic research using both mitochondrial and y-chromosomal dna has looked at the question of whether the scattered groups of modern Jews can be identified as the descendants of the ancient Hebrews of the Bible, or whether their common ancestry has been diluted through influx of converts and through intermarriage so that little remains of their “Jewish genes.”
This research was based on samples from 29 populations, 7 Jewish, categorized into five major divisions: Jews, Middle-Eastern non-Jews, Europeans, North Africans, and sub-Saharan Africans.
The findings were that most Jewish communities—long separated from one another in Europe, North Africa, the Near East and the Arabian Peninsula—do indeed seem to be genetically similar and closely related to one another, sharing a common geographical origin.
These Jewish communities are more closely related to each other and to other Middle Eastern Semitic populations—Palestinians, Syrians, and Druze—than to their neighboring non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora. The results also indicate a low level of admixture (intermarriage, conversion, rape, etc.) into the gene pool of these various Jewish communities.
One study (‘Nature’ January 2, 1997), involved 188 Jewish males (they thought they were Jewish at least) from Israel, England and North America, who were asked to identify whether they were a Cohen, Levi or Israelite, and to identify their family background.
The results of the analysis of the Y chromosome markers of the Cohanim and non-Cohanim were indeed significant. A particular marker, (YAP-) was detected in 98.5 percent of the Cohanim, and in a significantly lower percentage of non-Cohanim. Calculations based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today’s Cohanim resulted in the highest “paternity-certainty” rate ever recorded in population genetics studies—a scientific testimony to family faithfulness.
This lead Dr. David Goldstein of Oxford University to state: “For more than 90 percent of the Cohens to share the same genetic markers after such a period of time is a testament to the devotion of the wives of the Cohens over the years. Even a low rate of infidelity would have dramatically lowered the percentage.” -Science News, October 3, 1998
The 2nd Word Revisited – A Prophetic Statement?
In his brilliant book, ‘If: The End of a Messianic Lie’, Jewish author and teacher, Uriel ben Mordechai points out that most English translations of Exodus 20:3, which is the 2nd Word (Commandment) are incorrect.
He points out the the phrase עַל-פְּנֵי (Al Panai) has been mistranslated as ‘before me’ or ‘over me’, wherein fact the phrase should be translated as ‘upon the face of’. This phrase occurs in Genesis 1:2 for example and is translated as ‘upon the face of’.
The Hebrew for Ex 20:3 is לֹא-יִהְיֶהלְךָאֱלֹהִיםאֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי and this is transliterated as “Lo yihyeh lecha elohim acherim al-panai.”
Most translations put this is English as “You shall have no other gods before Me.”.
Commentaries such as the Pulpit Commentary explain that “Before me” literally means, “before my face,” and is a Hebrew idiom, and equivalent to “beside me,” “in addition to me.”
However, Uriel goes into great detail to point out that a more accurate translation is “You shall have no other gods before me” or better still “There shall not be for you another G-d of Israel upon My Face’.
He then goes on to explain that the Almighty is making it clear that the Jewish people were called to never, ever place a face of any being, man, animal or spiritual entity onto the image of God. No being with a face of any sort can fully be YHWH.
As Uriel ben Mordechai puts it “.. we are forbidden to ASSIGN OR ATTACH ANY (visible) FACE, ON OR UPON THE FACE OF GOD’.”
Therefore, this commandment means
“You shall not regard another persona imposed upon My Face, as the G-d of Israel’.
What a prophetic statement!
How many have tried to place a ‘face’, a persona upon the Face of the God of Israel and tried to call someone else the Creator and King of the Universe?!
This is a great book – get it now – see http://above-and-beyond-ltd.com/store/books/if.html
A couple of others who share this understanding:
“It is crystal clear in many, many verses that the Almighty G-d of Israel is the ONE and only creator. He was, is and will continue to exist forever. He shares his glory with NO ONE. He is the only Rock and Saviour.
There is NO ONE else. That is the crux of Judaism’s belief. G-d made that very clear to my people at Mt. Sinai from the Ten Commandments alone. Why does it say as part of the Second that you shall not have any G-d’s upon my face?
It means that you shall not add on any additional G-ds. We must worship the One and only G-d of Israel.”
– Rebecca – http://disqus.com/proud_conservative_mom/
“After witnessing what Israel had witnessed in Egypt, the mere thought of projecting onto G-d an image or “Face” was not an option.
The second commandment accurately states this. In English, it is translated as; “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex.20:3).
Actually a correct translation should read, “You shall have no other gods upon my Face.”
– Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok – http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources/avodah-zara.pdf
A Re-take on Isaiah 9:6:
This prophecy is one, which is extremely well known within Christendom, or more accurately, it is very often quoted and preached on by Pastors and preachers in the mainstream Christian churches. For example, I have attended Christmas Day services where this was the main Scripture quoted and discussed.
One of these occasions some years ago led me to write to the Pastor of a large Pentecostal church here in Brisbane, and try to share with him my understanding of the many ways in which he was mis-interpreting this passage.
Now, in looking back over what I wrote, while I still believe I was pointing him in the right direction, I now believe that if I had better understood this passage in Hebrew, I would have been much more able to show him how very far his understanding was from the truth. I am fairly sure though, that I would still not have influenced him in any significant way to change his cherished Hellenistic doctrines and lens through which he read this passage.
Here though is the utterly remarkable way in which the Hebrew of this passage can be fairly and accurately translated into English that sheds an amazing light on what this passage was really revealing.
Let me first share his translation and then try to explain how this comes about and what it means:
“… For unto use a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders.
A Wonder, a Counselor, Mighty G-d, my Father in perpetuity, shall call him … “Prince of Peace”’ – translation by Uriel ben Mordechai
There are many Christian ‘Hebrew scholars’ who have translated this phrase differently, but very few of those ‘Hebrew scholars’ have been native speakers of Hebrew like Uriel.
As Uriel points out in much detail, his translation is much closer to how a native Hebrew speaker who knows his/her Tanakh would pronounce it, in particular because they would know how to read the ‘nikud’ (a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels and distinguish between alternative pronunciations and determine the intended grammatical structure).
Many Hebrew versions of the text also have ‘cantillation marks’ (a system of marks to help with chanting the text which are very much like todays commas and colons, but which dates back to the time of Ezra – circa 510 BCE). This clearly establish where breaks occur in the text and thus establishes that the first 4 ‘nicknames’ belong to the ‘caller’ and only the last nickname, ‘Prince of Peace’ belongs to the one being ‘called’ by the ‘caller’.
Further evidence that these first four nicknames; Wonder, Counselor, Mighty G-d and ‘my Father in perpetuity’ all are labels/names for the Creator and King of the Universe; the God of Israel, is seen in these verses from the Tanakh, where each of this ‘nicknames’ are applied to the Almighty:
פֶּ֫לֶא – ‘Peleh’, a noun meaning a ‘Wonder’ – see Ex 15:11 “Who is like you, Adonai, among the gods? Awesome in praise, doing a wonder (peleh)?”
יוֹעֵץ (Yo-etz) – a noun meaning ‘a counselor’ – see Psalm 16:7 “I will bless Adonai, my counselor.”
(Gibor) גִּבּוֹר (el) אֵל – meaning ‘mighty or powerful God’ – see Deut 10:17 “For the LORD your God, He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God (Ha’El – הָאֵל), the mighty (ha-Giborהַגִּבֹּר), and the awful, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.”
אֲבִי-עַד – (Avi-ad) – meaning ‘my Father for eternity’ or ‘my Father for perpetuity’ – see 1 Chronicles 29:10b “…Blessed be Thou, O L-RD, the God of Israel our father for eternity”
So we can see that al these ‘nicknames’ have been used elsewhere in the Tanakh to refer to the Almighty. It is true that ‘El Gibor’ can also refer to great leaders of men, but in the grammatical structure of this verse, Uriel shows very clearly, that here it is referring to YHWH Himself.
Lastly שַׂר-שָׁלוֹם (sar Shalom) refers to a Prince or Ruler of peace (see Psalm 2 for example). In could well be that Isaiah had Hezekiah in mind when he penned this, but we can also see how this verse may apply to the end-times Mashiach when he comes to rule the Earth and bring the Peace of God to this world.
This is all articulated in great detail in ‘If: The End of the Messianic Lie’ – get it at http://above-and-beyond-ltd.com/store/books/if.html