Thursday, March 30, 2006

In the Name of G-d

Some people have the constant tendency to exalt the part and abandon the whole; this is the oldest and most pervasive truth of humankind. Take an eco-system for example, which not only the physical but the spiritual is likened to, where everything has its part and its role, even if the human eye has difficulty discerning it. This is probably why G-d tells of Creation as a Garden; every tree and plant in it has a purpose. Settling with the part and abandoning the whole would be like standing in this Garden and choosing a tree over the Garden. The sheer “size” of the Garden in relation to us, and the infinitely intricate complexity and inter-dependency of everything in existence makes the choice and exaltation of one separate thing particularly alluring; it is easier for us. Reverence for the parts, or one part, becomes a good option when the intricacy and complexity of the whole is recognized, considered, and deemed to difficult to make the focal point of one’s life. When this occurs, a person generally focuses in on one part of existence and attempts to transform that thing into the whole, at least in his or her head. This puts that person entirely out of whack with the rest of existence because G-d created existence as a whole, and we exist in tension with G-d and His Creation, the world, and with each other. Suffice it to say that many people do this, many people choose a path in life that does not recognize the existence of a whole picture, and this is the very reason why humanity exists in such a troubled state. Even the spiritual people of the world, who recognize and believe in a wholeness, are satisfied with selection and exaltation of one part in this mosaic; this explains polytheism. Polytheists were people who believed in deities; gods and goddesses, and they perceived that the nature of existence was oneness, but they also believed that this oneness was segmented into many other forms, all essentially independent, so that all of the forces of existence were separate, but related. In their belief systems, gods or goddesses were assigned to each one of these separate forces of nature, and hence all forms of polytheism choose the parts, and their alluring variety, over the whole. Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people, saw beyond the fragmentation of that Oneness and in doing so merited a special relationship with that Oneness, Who them revealed Himself to Abraham; that Oneness is a living Being and He is G-d. His role, and after him, the role of this descendants was to bring the truth of that Oneness out into the open. Even today, in societies where real polytheism does not exist, and theism in general is not taken seriously, there are secular forms of this breaking the Oneness into many; it is especially true that a god or goddess does not need to be the subject of one’s worship in order for a person to be worshipping something; spirituality can be tied into almost anything. Here again we see that many people choose the part over the whole; they attach themselves to a specific or particular goal, a movement maybe, a cause of some sorts, even if it is a worthy, just, and noble cause, and make that the focal point of their understanding of life. It is not bad to choose a goal and to stick to it, but if one chooses such a goal for its own sake and not for the sake of the whole, then whatever it is that they are attempting to improve in the world will not come to fruition. Of course, it is not the easiest thing to contemplate the whole all of the time, and that should never stop a person from doing something positive, because surely the world (and the individuals involved) benefit from any positive action, but the person should not fool him or herself into believing that this one endeavor is the world in which he or she lives, for that would be to ignore the whole. What negative though could possibly come from simply ignoring the whole and choosing a part? Surely it is not bad in and of itself? It is not bad because it neglects the whole, because there is only so much that one human being is able to accomplish, but it is bad because if a human’s efforts are not directed at the whole, then whatever endeavor he or she is involved in, that endeavor becomes a manifestation of that person’s desire to please him or herself, it becomes a means for self-aggrandizement; it is concerned with the self and not with the whole, and therefore it is done for the wrong reason. Still though, we can say that even though a person does a good thing for the wrong reason that the world still benefits because he or she is doing something good. However, a person’s intent in an action determines the actions that he will take from then on, and if his intent is to do something good in order to please himself or to gain acknowledgment, then eventually his desire to please himself will come through, and he will not do a sufficient job in whatever task he has chosen. In other words, if his goal is himself, then even though he has chosen a noble task, if his goal is not the improvement of the whole, then he will have limited success in his endeavor, which could be ultimately damaging to that endeavor and to the people involved. That is why the sake of the whole, or “shem Shamayim,” in the name of Heaven, is necessary when living in the world. Everything that one does should be in the name of G-d, and it is also why people should only do good things then.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I saw that her profile showed a picture of clouds shaped in the spelling of G-d's name in Arabic, so I asked her if that's what it means that G-d has His signature written all over the world. This was her beautiful response.

Well, i never met a real Jew in my life. But Allah got a "mouthful" to say about The Jews. So I considered HIS words is the ONLY correct view on The Jews.

1. Jews are all cursed. If there is any good Jew upon Truth and Justice he is a muslim. If he/she is not yet, he/she will end up becoming one.

2. All Jews who die upon Judaism goes to Jahannam (Hell) forever. Allah never prescribed a religion called Judaism. Their deeds are useless trash before Allah.

3. Some Jews has noble qualities, ie trustworthy and character, they are to be treated and accord proper treament equal or better in relation to thier traits and characters - as with anybody elses. But in the end even such Jew is stilled cursed for being a Jew, neither valid nor has any worth with Allah. Na'uzdubi-(a)llah.

4. Regardless whatever Faith, we give people respect to practice whatever they believe as long as they do no mess in our affairs and impeach on our space and annoyance. Except idol worship, that we don't tolerate an inch.

5. Whoever follows Tawraah is a threat to the world. Coz (1) they must rebuilt the third temple and return to Zion. (2) they must enslave the world under Jewish dominance by hook or crook. subtle persuasion, or brute force. Whatever way.


7. Jews are mischiefmakers. The more they follow tawraah strictly the more destructive, vindicative etc they becomes. And Allah says they are the worst group who hates The Muslimiyn. Allah is right everybody is wrong.

8. The Zionazis are the superior Jews just as the fundamentalist are the superior Muslimiyn.

9. Jews will bring down Al-Aqsa to the ground.

10. Jews will be wiped out by 'Iysa(y)-(i)bnu Maryam A MUSLIM JEW (from the Kindgom of Judaea) and the Muslim army under his commandership. Total slaughter! Jews don't know this coz they rejected two Divine Message, na'uzdubi-(a)llah. So the fools are walking right into a Divine trap there at Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Conclusion: We can have bussiness acquintances and dealing with The Jews just like anybody else. BUT NEVER AS A FRIEND.

We do not fratenizes with the enemies of Allah's Muslimiyn except on a need to basis.

Jews are so pathetic and filthy to Allah, HE forbids them to speak of HIS Name, whereas Allah commanded us to praise HIS name as infinitely possible. The more the merrier and better. As HE likes listening to Muslimiyn praising HIS Name.

Her Myspace profile:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This week’s Parsha was “Ki Tisa,” which means, “And you will elevate,” but this post is not about the Parsha, but rather about its Haftarah. In the Haftarah, the Prophet Eliyahu rallies against the Israelite King Achav (Ahab) who has resorted to mingling idolatry into the Israelite kingdom and society, partially, it seems, to appease his wife Jezebel, a practitioner of Ba’al-worship. There was one part that I found most interesting, when Eliyahu, who had a following of some one hundred men, challenged the worshippers of Ba’al to see if their god could ignite an altar. The way he set it up was to set up a wooden altar and for both him and them to sacrifice a bull on it. After that, they each covered the altar in water until it filled up the ditch surrounding it, and then to pray for it to be struck by fire and lit ablaze. As the worshippers of Ba’al performed this, and there was no response, Eliyahu criticized them rather humorously, asking if perhaps their god was away, or if he was relieving himself. The reason behind this taunt is that the worshippers of Ba’al believed that relieving themselves to him pleased him, and his criticism was based on that. Eventually, after dancing and praying to their god and getting no response, they began to cut themselves, and at this point, still getting no response, Eliyhau prayed to G-d, Who then struck down his soaking wooden altar and lit it ablaze. At was at this point that the worshippers of Ba’al of Pe’or realized that G-d was the true G-d and began to follow Him.

Instead of speaking about the theological implications of this Parsha, which fascinate me, I will tie this into the known Jewish intellectual, Noam Chomsky. I once read an article by Noam Chomsky where he compares himself to Eliyahu, not necessarily to aggrandize himself, but to show that, just like Eliyahu was railing against a wicked idolatrous Israelite (Jewish) king, he (Noam) rails against wicked idolatrous governments (since in those days, kingdoms were the form of government). This is basically a response to the label that some Jews give Chomsky of being anti-Israel; clearly his retort is to say that he, like Eliyahu, is actually pro-Israel, although in some wacky hard-to-understand anti-Israel’s existence type of way. He bases his argument on the verse in the Haftarah (I Kings), “And it was when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, the troubler of Israel?’ He said [to him], ‘Not I have troubled Israel, rather you and your father’s house [have], by your forsaking the commandments of Hashem; and you have gone after the Baalim!” (I Kings 18:17-19) Chomsky likens himself to Eliyahu, and most likely, Israel and America (and other Western powers) to King Achav and his prostitution of the covenant with G-d. However, his charge against these powers is of the political secular form, violating an anarchical sacredness for a democratic capitalistic idolatry; clearly he misses the point of the events that took place in Israel at that point in time.

The similarity between Eliyahu and Noam Chomsky is that both are Jews with something to say about their government and therefore their people, but both are saying extremely different things and living in extremely different scenarios than each other. Eliyahu was living in sovereign Israel at a time when its king was striking alliances with polytheistic nations and integrating idolatrous worship of all types into the Jewish worship of G-d, the fabric of Israelite society. This itself was a vicious assault on the Jewish establishment’s internal order and all that they valued, an invasion, which led to further invasions and to even further destruction, which culminated in the take-over and exile of Jews from their homes, an exile which has only been physically ended with the recent establishment of the State of Israel, and even then, only for about half of world Jewry, and is a secular democratic sovereign Jewish state. We see clearly now the relationship between idolatry and destruction that the Prophets all spoke about; it is so simply correlated that we can measure it empirically, and if statistics was a developed field in those days, Time Magazine would have published a study showing the correlation between religious and cultural assimilationist patterns of Jews into polytheistic cultures and the ebbing way of their own societal fabric, and eventually, their sovereignty. We therefore clearly understand what Eliyahu stood for when we read that he called for the ending of this idolatrous corruption and flirtation (which he names “prostitution”) with the nations and their deities – he was calling for a return to the proper and just value system of the Jews and their covenant with G-d, which placed Him above all. But Chomsky, with his arrogant and self-aggrandizing anarchical arguments, seeks to superimpose the succinct and powerful message of the noble Eliyahu onto his own intellectually manipulative (and flawed) ethos, and therefore to “inherit” his spirit, to depict himself like Eliyahu.

According to Uri Zohar, a famous Israeli actor and television show host turned Orthodox Jew, "The revolutionary, for example, rebels against the facts, structures, and practices of his particular society and no other(emphasis included). The revolutionary theoretician, of course, tries, as it were, to dress up the structures of his own societies past and present in the clothing of his own society. He hopes hereby to give the struggle of the moment some kind of universal, trans-generational, or, at the very least, international appearance. His theories are, however, as much a reaction to the narrow circumstances of his own historical setting as are the actual revolutionary activities which he seeks to justify or encourage. The revolution and the prisons that it will build when (and if) it wins are designed and modelled by the prison bars of the regime against which it is fighting."

It is interesting to say that here, he is speaking both analogically and literally; the mental prison bars, i.e., meaning that there will be a place in society set aside for the new criminals, i.e., dissentors, will be placed in the prisons that were built for those who were the criminals in the old system. The new system despises with fire the old system, but not enough to build new prisons; the existing one's will suffice even though their usage was to imprison innocent people.

In reality, he sharply negates what the Prophet was conveying; Eliyahu loved Israel (like G-d) and called for an internal and complete restoration of justice and the service of G-d, which were inseparably interwoven, and Chosmky similarly calls for the ending of corruption as well, but he places in the center of his attacks a struggling Jewish sovereign state and accuses it of violating international sanctions (a word that shares a root with “sanctity”), therefore placing their law on a pedestal above not necessarily Jewish law, but above Jewish sensibilities, desires, and values. This is why he is sensed by most Jews as being a “self-hating Jew.” Noam Chomsky is clearly closer to being an Achav figure than an Eliyahu figure, nay, he basically epitomizes King Achav, attacking Israel, troubling it greatly, and calling for its destruction. Furthermore, in the same way that Achav exalted the gods and goddesses of the neighboring polytheistic nations, Chomsky speaks out in stark defense of the Palestinian movement, and more generally, rails against American policy and defends Arab sensibilities; has he forgotten his own people, does he care more about his enemies than his own family, does he speak in their defense in the name of G-d and the Torah, closing his eyes to what it really is? He is like Achav, and it is a blessing from G-d that he is not a king, but just a tattered and troubled Jewish professor of linguistics at MIT in Boston.

Slightly Related

If you study polytheistic religious systems from around the world, and covering a range of thousands of years, you will see that one thing that a majority of them had in common was the practice of human sacrifice in service to a god or a goddess. It was such a common ritual in polytheistic societies to sacrifice human being in religious ceremonies, either their own people or prisoners of war from other nations, that human sacrifices can be understood as being an intimate element of polytheistic religious systems. This was seen as an act appeasing their god or goddess, which they believed had to be done for a variety of reasons, depending on the nature of the particular deity to which they were sacrificing.

A few days ago, I watched a play for a class, which played on an ancient Aztec myth of their moon goddess, Coyolxauhqi. At the end of the play, one of the actresses made a comparison between the rationale behind human sacrifices and suicide bombing; I was shocked to hear such a comment made in what was generally a quite liberal audience – I have a feeling, although it is irrelevant, that had this statement been made before suicide missions were carried out on American soil and by one Muslim to another (in Iraq), when it was only Palestinians killing Jews, such a statement would have insulted the sensibilities of many liberal thinkers. Since the threat of suicide terrorism has become more of a general and global threat, it has become more acceptable to criticize it publicly.

Let us examine this supposed correlation and see if it holds any water; do the human sacrifices of old and the suicide bombings of today share any common spiritual/theological/emotional bonds?

When referring to the people that were willfully taking part in being a human sacrifice, and comparing it to suicide bombers, we see a common strand; both share an exuberant embrace of death, an emotional and spiritual high which compresses and basically eliminates the fear of death, making the cause one that they are able to die for. The most tragic mistake people make is that the embrace of death is fueled by sadness, frustration, or desperation; a classic misunderstanding probably based on a Western correlation with the man who goes on a shooting spree in his office due to intolerable feelings of loss of control and failure. The motive and situation in each of these scenarios, the eighteen year-old Palestinian suicide bomber of Ramallah and the middle-aged white American in suburban Washington, are alarmingly incomparable – one is ideologically motivated, eager, and maybe even joyous, while the other is depressed, emotionally distant, and is haunted by feelings of failure.

This almost completely eclipses the presence of an ideology in Judaism that also allows for a Jew to end his life for a cause. There is such a thing, but the difference, however, is categorical. According to Jewish law, a Jew must choose his/her death under three circumstances; martyrdom is only allowed when a Jew is faced with violating the commandment prohibiting idolatry, sexual transgression, or murder. He is, in no way, allowed to seek out his own death otherwise, even to kill an enemy, for this would require him to seek out a situation where he is forced to violate a commandment. However, as we see, he is required to take his own life in this situation, not the life of another, nor of several others.

What Jewish martyrdom shares in common with Muslim martyrdom is that both involve the command to die. The difference is that one views one’s own death as a final resort, in short, giving that life to G-d, and the other views death as a way to remove an oppressor, giving his and their life to G-d. Both conceptualize this act of choosing death as a “sanctification of G-d’s name” or “an act of witnessing G-d’s greatness.” Jewish martyrdom says that one must die before ending the life of another, and Muslim martyrdom says that one must die while ending the life of another. The definition of the word “murder” is open to interpretation, and in the Muslim understanding of martyrdom, it is killing, not murder, to end the life of an oppressor; “killing” is a neutral word meaning "to end one's life," the word used for an essentially legal ending of another’s life, “murder” is the word used for the illegal ending of one’s life, and this is the understanding in most religious systems. A martyr is not a murderer, he is a sanctified killer. For those that abhor political assassinations, how much more so should they abhor a political assassin who assassinates civilians by using himself as the weapon?

The liberal is sickened by Israel's political assasins in the Mossad, but are infatuated by the Palestinian's murders in Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. Here is where the two meet; in Jewish thought, the victims of the bombing are the martyrs, in Muslim thought, the suicide bomber is the martyr, and the Jews who perished were souless pieces of a machine that had to be shattered in order to bring the entire thing down. Perhaps it is because the Palestinians terrorists deserve to die and that the Jewish civilians do not that fans the flames of the part of the human psyche that is enthralled with violent death, the part that is intimately attached to spirituality and that tingling sensation felt in the head. Again, like in the human sacrifices of the polytheists, the magic was not in the preservation of life, but in the loss, and the more violent the method was that took that life, the louder the apes shouted. Have you ever seen a group of baboons' reaction to the communal killing of a prey, or the sounds made by wolves after they've slaughtered theirs? It can only be described as sheer murderous elation. This is why it is hard to "convince" people that suicide bombing is wrong, because it is not their logical faculties that are being affected by this ritualistic behavior, but their emotional areas, which then connects, in a strange way, to their spiritual functions. That is why the Palestinian suicide bomber can kill himself and murder a group of innocent people for G-d, because it speaks to his spiritual side.

*On an interesting side note, when Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, there is a point in the trip where they throw rocks at a geometrically-shaped statue intended to symbolize Satan, or Iblis. Connect this to the idealized Palestinian child that throws rocks at the Israeli forces, which his society so fittingly calls "the Little Satan." Is there a connection in his mind to the religious practice of throwing rocks at a symbol of Satan, and does it make sense that the Jews are Satan? Whether or not he has visited Mecca himself and taken part in it, it is likely that he has learned of this religious ritual at some point, either at school or through osmosis.

Yet, there is a visible difference between human sacrifice and suicide bombing. The one giving his life up as a human sacrifice to a deity, even though he embraced his death (which, like suicide bombing, probably came with a degree of anxiety, which contributed to the exuberance), he was the only one whose life was being taken. Conversely, in suicide bombing, the one who chooses his own death also chooses the deaths of anyone who happens to be in his proximity. Suicide bombing, and I never thought I would say this, makes human sacrifice seem relatively benign, because even though it is a despicable act, he is ending only his own life. The priests of Molech would sacrifice their sons to that deity by setting them ablaze, while alive, in service of this god. To make an analogy, suicide bombing (with the express intent to kill others) would be like setting your son ablaze and then sending him to walk into a wooden building; the fire on his skin would set the wood on fire, and then everybody in the building would also be burned to death. He then, in the service of his god, kills himself and others – this would actually be more of an abomination than the human sacrifices, which G-d banned with Abraham. When the religious believer in G-d did not believe that it could get any categorically worst than a willful violent human sacrifice to a non-existent deity – we have a willful ultra-violent human sacrifice to an existent deity – G-d Himself. Furthermore, only the one who sacrifices himself is willing, all those who he kills are entirely unwilling and unaware that such a “religious sacrifice” is coming. On top of this, it is the Muslim, who (claims) to believe in the “same G-d” as the Jews, kills Jews in G-d’s Name! And when it could not get any more bizarre, the descendant’s of Abraham’s second son murder the descendants of Abraham’s first son, after G-d banned human sacrifice with their common Patriarch. Obviously, one of the groups has strayed from the true path; G-d and Abraham, not to mention Muhammad, would be outraged with their actions.

In the “Akeidah” account, the binding of Isaac, the Torah tells us that an angel of G-d told Abraham not to kill Isaac just as he lifted the knife to go through with it. The Q’uran tells the story different, clearly placing an emphasis on the ability of Abraham to go through with it. The Muslim commentator explains that the Jews told the story wrong, that had Abraham only lifted his hand in preparation to sacrifice Isaac, he might have backed down in the last second. This is why the Muslim oral tradition explains that Abraham actually went through with slicing his son’s throat, but that at the last moment an angel (probably the same one) placed a thin metal sheet at his throat, which was sliced in place of it. This is intended to remove any doubt from the reader’s mind that Abraham was fully committed to the command of his G-d, which apparently is lacking in the “Jewish version.” Therefore, sheer and total commitment to Q’uranic Law is made the central message gleaned from this story. Furthermore, in the Q’uran’s version, Abraham is sacrificing Ishmael, not Isaac, and the location is the Q’aba in Mecca, not the future sight of the Temple in Jerusalem. Can we imagine the psychological effect this has on the followers of Islam? Total dedication to the point of death – it does a lot in explaining the Q’uranic rationale behind suicide bombing. The answer is not found in the myriad oral law of Islam, but in the founding story, the point of origin of the ancestor of the Muslim religion.

We see one of the most famous elements of polytheism rising to the surface in the monotheistic Islam, the “final religion.” Noam Chomsky, a Jew, a son of Isaac, is one of the most outspoken defenders of the Palestinian movement, the self-proclaimed sons of Ishmael. It is here that the ill-of-spirit sons of Isaac defend the ill-of-conscience sons of Ishmael, and the opposite never happens.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Paganism is Real

Today I went to a play that I needed to for a class; the name of the play is "Coyolxauhqui ReMembers," and it is about the disturbing struggles faced by Mexican immigrants to America and a re-interpretation of the Aztec goddess myth, whose name is Coyolxauhqui.

I noticed a few interesting things while I was watching this play. First, I realized that paganism is alive today. However, the play did not prove that to me, I had a real inclination that it was a real force in humanity today for a while now, but this play proved it. I remembered my Jewish archaeologist-in-training friend, Akiva, who goes on digs in northern Arizona and stays with Native Americans, who told me that some "real avodah zarah is going on there." "Avodah zarah" is loosely translated as "idol worship."

The lesson was also enforced that every society or peoples has gods and/or goddesses that are woven into the very fabric of their society and mentality, or should I say, that most societies are relatively inseparable from their conceptualization of the Divine, be it of many or of the One. Monotheists are the only people that have the One G-d woven in their society's fabric. Therefore, for polytheists, their gods and goddesses serve as historical indicators as well; they are not simply matters of theology, but are also matters of history and politics and the events that shape the experiences of those people. For example, if a people faces severe agricultural hardship, they might conceptualize that their nature god or goddess has become ill and is therefore unable to maintain a healthy harvest. Another type of reaction might be that they fear that they the god or goddess has not found them favorable in its eyes, which causes for the drought. The deities also come into play in regards to political and social situations, such as peace, war, victory, defeat, or oppression; a defeated and oppressed society might view thier god as having been subjugated by another of their gods. Interestingly enough, that society does not view that their god has been subjugated by the god of the victor society, for they do not know anything about the neighbors' gods, which leaves the only possibility that their own national gods are at war.

If we understand this to a certain depth, and we observe this by viewing how a society depicts its deities and how they speak about them, their deities sprout from literary extensions of themselves, metaphorical figures that serve as indicators of that specific society's viewpoints, or that of an individual, or a group of them; a god or a goddess is an external manifestation of a human character trait, given a name and a title, deemed a transcendent being. Furthermore, the people who believed in these deities found it necessary to depict them in literal, physical forms, since they represented such abstract idealizations of real things, and this is why polytheism and idol worship are so intimately related, and why true monotheism forbids imagery, for G-d cannot be fathomed in a finite manner. This is also why the stories of the deities also resemble soap operas, tragedies, or plays, and this concept has been passed down into the Greek culture, which terms them "divine comedies," "comedy" meaning "play."

This is also the reason why the deities of a society express human-like qualities, all of which those who believe in them readily admit, and it is why the gods and goddesses fall into some of the most disturbing human qualities; paranoia, depression, ecstasy, and elation, for example. The gods become external manifestations of deep-seated human qualities that every wise society understands is at the core of the human mentality and behavior. This is why we see manifestations of a "devil" in virtually all religious thought systems, as well as some original creator of nature (as limited to the region of residence). In most religious systems, the devil-character reeks havoc on humanity and is an enemy of the creator deity. In others, it is still an enemy of the creator deity, but was formed from the very deity itself; there is some degree of variation among the different philosophical belief systems. In many of them, it is a male. Furthermore, it is not portrayed as a divine being, it is understood to be a god, a "god of evil" in this case. Interestingly enough, there is not understood as being a "god" or "goddess of good," there is simply a creator deity; there is no duality between a god of good and a god of evil - there is nature and there is evil, and evil comes from nature. Nature and evil are represented as understood as being beings as well as manifestations of an internal human dynamic, and therefore we see the connection between the human being and nature in polytheistic systems, and therefore nature and evil are forever locked in a repeating battle, a cycle, which is represented by the image of the circle - a repeating artistic rendition found in the remains of polytheistic societies.

The cosmos are usually also portrayed as semi-divine beings, assistants to the creator god or goddess, and who counsel it. The stars, for example, serve as counsels for that particular head deity, which makes sense considering that virutally all polytheistic peoples looked to the stars for prophecy. The society and the individuals view the goddesses or the gods as being around since the beginning, meaning that the deities created humankind (or a specific race of humans), and not the vice-versa (that they created the gods) because nobody believes in a god or goddess that they themselves created if they concede that they created it.

Peoples can use their gods and goddess as psychological outlets for suffering, and have, which is the essential theme of the play that I saw today. The play basically plays along the feminist viewpoint of Latina women who find a real struggle both within their own societies and within their place in America. They re-interpret the Aztec myth of the moon goddess, whose name is "Coyolxauqui," who was believed to be a traitor after killing her mother, who was nature. According to the myth, the nature mother goddess felt that her daughter was having "out of this world premonitions" of some sort of impending doom, and therefore killed her mother in order to prevent it. However, her mother was unkillable, which the daughter did not know, and therefore she created an evil god (her son) in order to terrorize the world. In the end, the evil god slices Coyolxauhqi's throat in the same manner that she sliced her mothers, and the nature goddess mother, along with the stars, weep loudly. In their interpretation, the acting group re-depicted Coyolxauhqi as being misunderstood, which has feminist undertones aimed at weakening the inequalities that Mexican women face in their trials.

After the play, the women actors spoke about the meanings behind the play and their lives. One of the women, to my amazement, since it is a topic that I have written about, made the blatant relationship between polytheism and the human sacrifices that the Aztecs practiced, a theological tragedy. The word "Aztec" signifies a general area, not a specific peoples, and the specific people that we call "Aztecs" were actually from "Mexchic," which is the origin of the word "Mexico," which means that many Mexicans are of Aztec origin. They went on to speak about the power of the Aztec empire and how it imposed heavy taxes on its neighboring societies, and became a hated peoples, and tied this into America's role in the world. Furthermore, also to my sheer amazement since it is another topic that I wrote about, was the connection that one of the women made about the willingness of a person to be a human sacrifice and its similarity with suicide bombing. It is clear that in Islam, the world's third monotheistic religion, exists a very powerful polytheistic element - the exuberant desire to kill one's self. Remember that G-d abolished human sacrifices with Abraham, and here we see the descendants of Abraham's second son killing the descendants of the first (and now themselves) by that very method. The rest of the human sacrifices were usually warriors captured in war, an offering to the gods, which is one reason one of the women gave for the defeat of the Aztec empire; their conquerers had scores of living prisoners of war to fight for them.

Lastly, the word appearing in the title, "ReMembers," can also refer to the dismemberment of Mexican women victims while on their way to low-paying jobs in cities throughout Mexico. They were dismembered, so by remembering, they were able to re-member themselves, to put themselves back together. The clay depiction of the Aztec moon goddess shows her in a circle with her arms and legs cut off. It is horrible nightmare, the things that happened (and are happening) to these women, but it is an indication that polytheism is alive in peoples' minds. Monotheism has its work cut out for it yet.

At a point somewhere during the middle of the play, I realized that I was witnessing a polytheistic ceremony of sorts taking place, and I had the strong desire to leave. Thousands of years ago, not even, I might have had the pleasure to see a living human being set ablaze in the service of one of these non-existent gods or goddess. Regardless that I empathize with the plight of the women, I see no real or necessary connection between this plight and the belief in these deities. However, I understand that, even though G-d is the only true G-d, that societies and people have to come to Him on their own, because we have numerous historical examples of what happens when people force their views on to others, even if they are true. People have to adopt G-d, that's the only way it will work. In the end, there is no difference between the Aztec moon goddess, Coyolxauhqi, the Canaanite moon goddess, Asherah, or her Greek counterpart, Astarte; how could a peoples believe a god or a goddess to be real when a different society believes in a similar yet different god or goddess of the same type? Can they not see that their concepts of those deities are almost entirely subjective? Does it not make sense that there is an objective Deity, G-d, the "G-d of the Hebrews?"
Redemption is a building that humanity is trying to build. If we listen to the word, “redemption,” we see how the effort in building and bringing redemption lies with us. When you redeem yourself in someone’s eyes, you have done it, not the other person; the other person can only be credited with accepting your redemption. In this analogy, we, humanity, are the person attempting redemption, and G-d is the redeemer, the One who accepts our redemption, our effort, and considers it worthy.

Back to the building analogy, any solid building needs solid parts. It is unlikely that we will find a perfect piece to put in the building; every piece has some sort of flaw. On a very small scale, a piece of wood with a crack in it will not harm the integrity of the building. However, when we begin to construct larger parts of the building, we see very quickly that if each piece of the building has a crack or some type of flaw in it, the integrity of the building is deteriorated exponentially quickly. If a piece of wood has a crack in it, if the cement is too watery, or if one of the pieces is flawed, the integrity of the building will be severely cut short, and the building will likely fall down. In this analogy, we are the pieces in the building; the wood, the cement, or whatever piece is used to build it. Therefore, we need to be solid pieces; we need to work on our flaws so that we will be solid. If we are wood, we need to fill in our cracks, if we are cement; we need to have the right amount of water or solution. We do this because we care about the building.

However, we, the pieces, also have a vested personal interest in having a solid composition; we derive spirituality and well-being from the fact of being composed properly. However, we do not exist alone, and we would not want to, which makes it clear that the real purpose beyond our structural integrity is our place in the design of the building – our relationship to the other pieces and also to the larger structure. Using the building example on small scale, even a table needs to be made of healthy parts, but the smaller the structure, the more room there is for the pieces to have flaws; a table can have a bad leg and it might still stand straight (depending on where the fissure is located). On the other hand, if a table has only four legs, if one leg is flawed, then one-fourth of the structure is damaged (excluding the top of the table), but in comparison to the whole house, the leg might be an irrelevant fraction. Even if we consider a table with four flawed legs, depending on the type of flaw, the table can still stand. However, if the table is moved, then it will collapse, which is why even a table needs to have four strongly composed legs. In other words, our flaws would be perfectly acceptable if we had no relationships with other people or the world around us; nothing would move us and we would not collapse, we would be able to stand up despite our flaw because we were not moving. But since we have relationships with other people, and these relationships move us, we must try to be solid so that we do not fall at the slightest vibration.

We care about the building because it is our project, and we also care about the building because we will be living in it. Furthermore, we have been instructed to erect this building by an Architect who created a contract with us.

It just so happens that the building’s Architect has created living pieces and it also just so happens that He has given the pieces a blueprint for themselves to use in order to attain premium functionality. He has charged them with the job of creating a building, He has spelled out to them what the building will look like, and He has given the blueprint by which to build it, and it just so happens that the way to erect the building is the way to solidify the self; each piece is a structural parallel of the entire building. In other words, each piece has an obligation to the building, per the instruction of the Architect, and the way to fulfill its obligation to the building (and to the Architect) is by following the instructions and thereby solidifying its own structure. It is as idealistic as it is simple. It is as complicated as each person’s free will to do as he or she chooses.

But some people think that, since a self’s perfection is impossible, that the entire project should be abandoned. A building with a majority of its parts flawed will have a hard time standing, but a building whose pieces are in constant state of improvement, refinement, and strengthening will be, in effect, be in a state of improving, refining, and strengthening itself to a similar degree. That is why when we say of the world, “It is a good place,” or “it is a bad place,” we understand that the world is not a conscious entity, rather, we are really saying that we are making it a good or a bad place; the “world” means “us.”

Those who think that the project should be abandoned believe so due to their inability to cope with a world that needs to be improved, and which stems from their inability to cope with an Architect who would charge them with what seems to them as a dauntingly over-complicated and burdensome task. Therefore, they simply strike up a new contract with the Architect, a contract which places all of the responsibility on Him and none on them. We must ask if the Architect has agreed to the terms of this contract and whether or not He has signed it with His Name, which is something that the new contractors have assumed to be answered in the positive.

The new contractors believe that every piece in the building is beyond reproach to such an extreme degree that there is no purpose in attempting to improve their own structural integrity. Therefore, they ignore the stipulations laid down by the Architect when He charged humanity with the erection of the building, rejecting that such a building exists, or needs to exist, or can possibly exist, and rather believe that when they perish, that they will find themselves in a different building altogether, one that does not exist in three dimensions but rather only in Heaven. They are free from the burden of this task, but little do they know that the Architect still demands from them work, and therefore they contribute greatly to the overall deterioration of the building. Their standards have changed, but those of the Architect have not.

They also believe that there was one perfect piece that existed in the layout of the building, a piece uniquely and specifically designed by the Architect Himself, a piece with absolutely no flaws. This piece would need to be destroyed in order to make up for the imperfection of the other pieces, which would, once and for all, make irrelevant any flaw that they had, regardless of the fact that even after its obliteration, they still retained their flaws. The Designer Himself is required to smash the piece to bits in order to repeal the set of instructions that He Himself gave to the builders; in a “moment of mercy,” He annihilates the special piece that He created and reneges on the entire contract that He charged the builders with in the first place. We must then consider His ultimate authority irrelevant when we understand that He could have changed His mind without having to obliterate a piece of wood. We almost must consider that even through His omniscience that He did not know that the set of instructions He gave would be difficult, and if we are to abide by this view, we are left with no choice but to view Him as a crazed and confused lunatic who learns by trial and error. This is how the new contractors depict the Architect. Anyone who signs this false contract will be, in effect, contributing to the gradual deterioration of the building, having believed that suddenly, the building is no longer of any importance.

The new contractors, in the analogy, are Christians. The most ironic thing about their belief system, and it should be an expected irony, is that even though they claim not to believe in the commandments, they still have a deep understanding that applying the commandments to life somehow enriches life. This has led Christians to believe that G-d gave the commandments simply as an act of grace, mercy, and love, which they view to be the three pillars upon which the entirety of the world stands, and nothing else. However, G-d explains Himself in the Torah that He did not give them as simply an act of grace, mercy, and love (which they are), but as a set of commandments, which means that He requires His believers to perform them – they are obligated. He so cares about His world, His creations, and His commandments, that there is punishment for those who reject them. Christians want their cake and to eat it too, they want their “fun commandments” at the same time as wanting perpetual sinlessness; little do they realize that one can only be sinless by keeping the commandments.

Furthermore, the Christian understanding of sin offerings if flawed. In the Christian view, G-d Himself brought Jesus to be sacrificed; no responsibility can be given to the Jews, the Romans, humanity, or anybody else. True, in Christianity’s view, G-d realized the necessity of the sacrifice due to the sinful state of humanity, and therefore it can be said that we are to blame, but however, we are not to blame for Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden; they sinned and were punished, and the children (us) are not punished for the sins of the parents (Adam and Eve).

In the Torah, the one who sinned brought the sin offering, G-d did not. In other words, the individual was responsible for his own atonement, G-d, no matter how graceful He is, did not atone for His creations; this would turn them into mindless zombies completely under His control, completely smothered without any free will. A child that is never punished by the parent never reaches maturity. In Christianity, G-d destroyed humanity’s free will by imposing on them a sin sacrifice that they did not volunteer to bring; He actually forced Himself on humanity, which is anathema to everything that G-d reveals about Himself in the Torah.

The last time someone brought a human to be sacrificed was Abraham bringing his son Isaac. People used to bring other humans as offerings to their gods and goddesses, and not all of the offerings were sin offerings either, although some were. When G-d told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, he abolished human offerings and at the same time revealed that He was the only G-d. Thousands of years later, supposedly G-d Himself brings a Jew, a human being, as a sin offering for the sin of man; G-d becomes what He told His believers not to be! Cannot one see the polytheism sprouting in Christianity?

Jesus was beat, cut, thrown around, etc. on his way to his death (many of us have seen the movie). By what means exactly did G-d determine how much physical abuse Jesus was to receive before his atonement for the whole of humanity was complete? How many gashes did he need to receive? How many punches and kicks? How much physical abuse was necessary to remove all of the sin of man from the entire world? Since Christianity believes that humanity is so firmly rooted in sin, they mean to say that being beaten and tortured for one little hour was enough to atone for all of mankind’s sin for all of time, both past, present, and future? Jesus would have to have been beaten until his bones turned into ash in order to atone for all of the sins of mankind for all of time. If G-d can do all, why did He not simply require that Jesus could have been punched in the face once, or received one cut, or better yet, and kinder and more graceful, one slap on the wrist? If G-d can do the impossible and manifest Himself into physical form, then surely He can atone for the sins of all humanity for all time by having someone slap Jesus on the wrist and telling him to get lost. Actually, G-d could have just wished for sin to disappear and it would have happened.

Furthermore, it is senseless to say that G-d ended the Law by using the Law itself, i.e., He showed humanity that sin sacrifices were useless by sacrificing Jesus for sin! When G-d told Abraham that human sacrifices were to end, He did not show him this by sacrificing a human! If G-d ended sacrifices, then why did He sacrifice Jesus?! In reality, there is no good answer to this question. Rather, the Christian usage of G-d bringing Jesus as a sacrifice to end sacrifice is no more than a patronizing and haughty expression of Christianity's triumph over Judaism, but it is enigmatic and doesn't make sense.

This is a moot point, and it is precisely the problem we run into when people violate a commandment that tells them not to portray the divine in physical forms; they fall subject to human subjectivity and begin to create fanciful and imaginative accounts of visible deities and the lives that they lived (and the way that they died). This makes Jesus an idol and Christianity idolatry, even if Christians believe in G-d. The Egyptians also believed that G-d (“the G-d of the Hebrews) existed, and it is hard to imagine that any intelligent Christian has a hard time fathoming this, especially after reading the “Old Testament” and how often the Jews fell into idolatry, which they justified in similar ways that the Jewish followers of Jesus did. If we are to understand the sin of the former, then we are to understand the sin of the latter, and we are to condemn them both equally.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


What is Amalek, what is he all about? The Torah says that Amalek had no regard for G-d at all.

When the Jews were leaving Egypt, Amalek and his boys attacked the Yids from behind in an attempt to destroy them. Think about this, this takes a lot of chutzpah; in a place and time when G-d was making amazing things happen to the Jews in front of everyone's eyes, Amalek decided that this would nevertheless be an acceptable time to make an attack. It's not that Amalek did not understand that G-d was tangibly active in the lives of the Jewish people, he understood and saw that He was but did not care; it was a direct affront to G-d's Presence. He was basically saying, "Up yours."

Rabbi Brumer said an interesting thing about this parsha, he said that Amalek stands for random chance. In the parsha we see that Amalek, by chance, came upon the Jewish people; he did not see their trek as being under the control of any Divine Being such as G-d, rather, chance was their pilot.

How does this make sense? So big deal, so Amalek believed in chance, how big of a sin is that? This is how it made sense to me; Amalek was a person of a philosophy and worldview that said that there is no ruler to anything, that what's done is done and that nothing really causes this world to function the way that it does. In this world, it is no wonder that Amalek felt no qualms doing what he did, he did not perceive G-d to be a real force in the world, perhaps he thought that the miracles that just occurred were chance. Even if G-d did exist, it didn't figure at all in to how it reflected human actions, and so he attacked the Jews.

This ties into Purim specifically because Haman is a descendant of Amalek. G-d commanded the Jews to wipe out all of Amalek's nation and all that belonged to them, but they did not, and a few thousand years later, in Persia, a Hitlerian figure rose to power and was respected by the Persian king Achasverosh (Ahasuerus, or Xerxes) and found a way to annihilate the entire Jewish population in the Persian Empire. The Talmudic commentary explains that what could have been an act of mercy towards the Amalekites caused as much bloodshed as it did, which would have been avoided had the Jews carried out the command as it was given. An eerie, yet chanceful occurrence that today's "prince of Persia," the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, is also calling for an annihilational program for the Jewish people, in the form of a nuclear attack on the State of Israel.

Is there a familial, or biological, tie between Amalek, Haman, and Ahmedinajad? Such a thing would be extremely difficult in determining, but one thing is for sure, that we cannot buy into the standpoint that G-d is not acting or withdrawn, or that things occur only by chance; today Amalek is manifested in a viewpoint that attributes everything to humanity and nothing to G-d, and as Jews, we cannot ingest this worldview. That is how Amalek sees things, and it is not how the Jews should see things.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

So in class today, I and my group gave a presentation about American Jews. After the presentation, the class was opened to questions. Our teacher asked me a question regarding the term "Political anti-Semitism." Her question to me was if political anti-Semitism was really a wild card term for opposition to Israel's policies, under the guise of anti-Semitism. I brought up two points. The first point was that, like all other forms of anti-Semitism from the past (religious and racial) that proponents of anti-Semitism always had a logical and rational reason to hold that view. The second point was that proponents of the anti-Israel view never isolate Israel's policies for rejection, rather, they isolate all of Israel and the very fact that it exists - since Jews live there, and since Israel is a Jewish endeavour, this is anti-Semitism.

Then a man in the back asked me a question about the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. He asked what "Jewish nature" means, and I answered that it means having a Jewish government, Jewish majority, and Jewish laws. "Jewish nature" means the same thing as Jordan's Muslim nature and Denmark's Christian nature. After the class, we continued the conversation outside when he told me that he wasn't entirely convinced. I told him that every country in the world has a dominant cultural, social, or religious group, and if someone attacks Israel on the basis of it having a Jewish majority, then that it is racism, and since racism towards Jews is anti-Semitism, being anti-Israel is being anti-Semitic.

Understanding this more deeply, anti-Israelism has its own name; "Anti-Israelism." There are people that have problems with country's policies, but they never call for their active dissasembly. There are people that loathe Jordanians and can't stand Danish people, but that doesn't make them "anti-Jordanian" or "anti-Danish," it just makes them racist, and they don't wish the state to be dissasembled to cure their hateful itch. With Israel it's different; hatred of Jews allows for calls to dismantle the State of Israel. In normal cases, even racists understand that their hatred of a particular people does not require them to call for the dismantling of a country, but with Israel it's a unique case; hatred of Jews is not enough, Jews should also should be stripped of their right to sovereignty. Israel's case is truly unique because the Jews' case is truly unique.

Racism against anybody is essentially the same, but here we see that there is a particularly disturbing component to anti-Semitism that perhaps other forms of racism do not contain. Your "normal racist" simply wants the subject of his loathing to be far away from him; he does not care if the hated people go somewhere else and "disappear." A Jew-hater, however, does not feel it enough that Jews relocate, he wants to see them fail, he actually is inspired to follow their movements, like a snake, wherever they go. It is for this reason that Israel is targeted; it was not enough that the Jews left Europe and the Arab countries, where they were not wanted, now there are people that want them to be terrorized in the country that they live, most ironically, Europeans and Arabs make up the crux of those people -- their "descendants."

The arguments that some people bring up about Israel reject its sovereignty, not its policies. Like all other forms of hate and racism, those who hate Israel find rationalistic ways to reject Israel through rejection of its policies. This manifests itself in their advocacy of policies that will work to undermind Israel's security and sovereignty. For example, if someone calls for the "right of return" of all Arabs forced to leave Israel in its war of inception, they are calling for a policy that will topple the Jewish demography of Israel and will create an Arab majority. In other words, it will destroy Israel. Either they are aware of the consequences and wish to see them occur, or they are painfully ignorant and blindly latching onto a cause of hate. Most ironically, this will turn Israel into an Arab state, and why should an Arab state have the right to exist and not a Jewish state? This becomes an even sillier question when we look at a map of one Jewish state and twenty three Muslim states; why should it be a ration of twenty four to zero?

Furthermore, Eritreans and Ethiopians, for example, who are locked in a battle of land ownership and ethnic and linguistic differnces, do not demand the dismantling of the neighboring country, rather, their deep divides are based on where the proper borders should be - they can't stand each other, and they even reject the way into the other country came into existence, but they do not believe that it should cease to exist. To contrast this, the Palestinians, the Arabs, and all those who latch on to "their cause," usually in a painfully ignorant manner, don't refer to where Israel's borders should be, rather, they proudly raise the question as to if Israel should have any borders, because a country that should not exist should have no borders. As it is, Israel is an illegal state and so was its formation; this is their argument.
A pessimist is a frail and empty clay vessel that breaks easily, and when it is, nothing pours out

An optimist is a clay vessel full of liquid that is hard to break, because the liquid exerts pressure outward, but when it is broken, its content spews forth like a river from Eden

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

  • I found this on a thread, and I can't get rid of this dot.

  • Darkness hates light.

    ... I'm not too sure about the idea of 'cosmos' as the word used. I think it's more relating to the bit where "the whole of creation groans under the weight of man's sin."
    Aliens? Dunno, but I'm inclined to believe not. However I'm not saying I don't believe it's possible. That'd be either very small-minded or awfully arrogant of me. I've had some interesting theological discussions on things like;

    + If there are aliens, do they have the "created in Our image" seal, and thus the special relationship with God that mankind enjoys, or are they like the rest of the animal kingdom?
    + If they have the 'seal', then does that mean that it should be a Christian mission to search them out and tell them the Good News, as part of the Great Commission?
    + Is it possible that before Babel there were families of spacefarers who, when the rest dispersed among the continents, they dispersed among the stars?

    Interesting stuff to think about, but I'd never make any conclusions about them until God revealed to me one way the other.
    by ‎wolfling400
    • I'm disappointed its not there any more.
      I liked your cockroaches example, and being serious: Who likes cockroaches ?: Christ did, and in a very reverent way He became one, just to save us. The Eternal Hands of Omnipotence were humbled by God to become the tiny hands of a vunerable and helpless baby. Those hands and wrists ended up growing bigger just to have nails driven through them: What did He ever do on anyone??? There is an answer, NOTHING AT ALL except to heal them, love them and then die for them (don't think that merits murder on a cross) unfortuately this world does think that the Lord of Glory and Love merited murder.
      'They hated Me without a cause' Jesus Christ. -Here we have 'unconditional' hatred.
      You are right about the creation statement, you said what i meant but you said it better and clearer and in a lot less words. All the best.
(This is my response here)

I find this little discussion interesting. The way I see it, if G-d created the entire universe, and let's say that He also made other life forms in very distant sectors of it, and that He also made with them with the ability to connect to Him as He did with us, then He probably also gave them a code of life to live by as He did for us, a code that would represent His holiness.

However, this brings up a problem, did Jesus, the human Jew on this planet, also die for the sins of all of the creatures in the rest of the universe, or did G-d sent one of their "Jewish beings" to die for their sins? Does He have sons scattered all over the universe that happen to look like the species from which they come?

Another thing; perhaps this is precisely why G-d commanded humanity (in the Torah) not to make images of Him, because what does G-d really look like? What would intelligent beings on other planets imagine G-d, or "His son" to look like, as one of them? Sure, for Christians (and I'm a practicing Jew) it's easy to imagine G-d, and therefore Jesus, as having human physical characteristics, but what about the K-Paxians, did they also imagine G-d in their image? Any culture that imagines G-d, or the Divine in their image, or in an image of something that they can physically see (which is what the various polytheists did) miss an essential point of truth about G-d, that He is not a physical Being.

And one last thing; Christians believe that Jesus redeemed them from the "burden" of the Law, but if we look at the development of Christianity, we see that a law of sorts is developed based on the commandments of Jesus. Whoa, wait a minute; commandments = Law, the Law of Jesus? He is believed to have died to remove sin, and since a sin is a trangression of a commandment, his death also nullified his OWN commandments. In other words, Christians don't need to listen to the things that Jesus instructed, it doesn't matter what Jesus said, and as far as what he did (what would Jesus do?), are all Christians required to die like he did? Christianity, if we speak about it logically, is only concerned with Jesus' death, not his life, not what he said, and not what he instructed. It's through his death that they believe they are saved, not by his commandments.

Anyway, here's a link to the video that apparently began the conversation.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Inability to Distinguish Truth from False

When I was younger and I would take "true false" quizzes, my teacher told us not to deliberately write the "T" or the "F" so that it would be hard to distinguish between them. She told us not to do this because she thought that some kids would to do this in order to force her from marking it wrong due to inability to tell what it actually said. They would do this by writing a "T," erasing it, writing an "F," erasing it, and continuing the process until the "T" and the "F" looked indiscernable.

Today we live in a world where we cannot tell the difference between many "T's" and "F's," sometimes what we see is ambiguous and hard to discern. Furthermore, many human minds are caught in this cloud of illusion, which still allows them to see truth, but only through this smokescreen; one of these smokescreens is "romanticism."

Take the following paragraph in the book titled, "Arab and Jew" by David Shipler. I've only gotten through a part of the book, but I can already tell that the author views the nature of the conflict between the "Arab and Jew" as a romanticized nightmare of mutual ongoing vengeance and hatred; this is incredibly inaccurate. The paragraph was not written by Shipler himself, but Alexander Finkelshtein, the author of this quote, said, regarding "the fighting in Lebanon unfold,"

"I felt myself like a split personality. I was running with the soldiers and cleaning up the area, and I felt myself standing with the civilian population, without water, without shelter. I had my flashbacks. And please understand me: I know the difference between what was done to Jews and to Palestinians. But there are two pictures in my mind, one of Palestinian children advancing with their hands up. You have seen the picture of the children advancing with their hands up. You have seen the picture of the children in the Warsaw Ghetto. Another, of an Arab woman in shell shock, holding the hand of a soldier. The Israeli soldier gave her water. She wouldn't let go of his hand. Take this soldier. He will never return the same man he was. And this Arab man. He could be my father. And I can't look at him like my enemy. You will enter a vicious circle, blood for blood, and at the end you cannot remember where was the beginning. And you are not more just than the other side. We now look like every other nation."

What a tragic paragraph full of fallacies; where do I even start in pointing them out?!

A picture is worth one thousand words, but it can also be worth a thousand misunderstandings; this is the problem with viewing without thinking. The context of the Warsaw Ghetto, as he explains himself, was different from what "was happening to the Palestinians," and he knew that, but his own emotions obstructed him from seeing this difference. This is not entirely bad in itself, for terror is terror, but in the case of an unnecessarily troubled Jewish psyche, it causes a Jew to humanize his enemy, who is really trying to kill him, by dehumanizing himself to the point where he parallels himself with the demonic memory of he who tried to annihilate him, Hitler. This is an unhealthy emotional and psychological response, a response to intense trauma, and perhaps some idealistic wishful thinking about a fanciful Messianic age between Arabs who want us gone and Jews who want to stay.

True, in war, it is of utmost important to regard the humanity of your enemy, and especially of those who are not involved in combat. Therefore, it was right of him to view the Arab man and woman non-combatants as people (his parents), but at the same time, it is not unrelated to his fanciful romantic notion of peace, which won't achieve peace, but will achieve his destruction by allowing him to view the real enemy, the Arabs with the guns and false peace treaties, as "his brothers." The vicious circle he refers exists not in the combat with these killers, but in his own confused psyche and emotional inambiguity, going back and forth between "T" and "F" and not allowing him to see the difference.

The Torah says that Adam, before he ate from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge between Good and Evil, did not judge things as either "good" or "evil," but rather, between "true" and "false." He who erases the "T" and "F" over and over again until they are indiscernable is the "yetzer harah," the evil inclination, or Satan. Just like the students did not want to be marked wrong, so too does he not want us to mark him wrong, so he meddles with the clarity of truth and falsehood until the two begin to resemble each other, and it is our job of utmost importance to distinguish between the two.
I'm going to start a new Jew-is-beautiful tradition, I'm going to write down a short dvar Torah that I heard this Shabbat.

This one was made by my friend Tom with regards to something that this high school track coach made back in the day. You see, Tom used to be a runner in high school, and one day Tom ran a race without his proper running clothes, and the coach got on his case about the importance of wearing the right clothing for the purpose that they have the needed positive effect on the attitude of the runner. He tied this in to the precise measurements that G-d gave Moses to make the Mishkan, Aron, and all of the other constructions necessary; everything had to appear a certain way, which was a testament that each arrangement in the Mishkan had a specific meaning. Yasher ko'ach, Tom!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The best thing to give up on Lent is Christianity.
A Democracy is.........

I just saw a bumper sticker reading, "A democracy is measured by the rights you afford dissidents, not by the rights you afford assimilated conformists," and it was made by a woman named "Abbie Hoffman," and I am not sure who she is.

The problem is, she's wrong; a democracy is measured by the rights you afford to everyone, for if a democracy afforded rights only to its dissidents and not its "assimilated conformists," which I guess is a euphemism for "people who agree," then you would have a totalitarian regime, the kind you have in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip with the dissident Hamas running amok.