Monday, August 27, 2007

Ma'akeh: to fall adequately

Are we going through a normal and standardized summer time? This year, Hurricane Dean swayed the Martinique and the Guadalupe islands, Haiti, and licked with heavy storms the Dominican Republic, then turned to Yucatan and Veracruz in Mexico. It wipes from our memories or more accurately the images of our media the tremendously whirling hurricane Katrina that destroyed New Orleans and Louisiana, with billions and billions of damages and homeless.

This year, America breaks its bridges that fall into the rivers and continues to burn oil: waste, waste carelessly the best of the cream produced in the world, especially in the Middle-East. Oh, they are very nice and heartfelt people. At the end of the war of Vietnam, in 1975, they left a bled white Asian country of ancient culture with all sorts of traitors and betrayers, easy businessmen, women and raped children.

The refugees had to show affidavits of support provided by American citizens, mostly the families of the soldiers or their friends that had visited the country during the war. They got very sincere and warmhearted documents allowing them to settle in the United States.

We see them from time to time in the Holy Land. Israel had also given asylum to some Vietnamese refugees who became full Israeli citizens and would almost speak Chinese or Vietnamese with a touch of Yemenite intonation, lol.

Less than 40 years later, the United States and some Allies are still involved in oil conquest, but the country progressively grows old, buildings and public work structures are not that safe. New Orleans is still swampy.

True, California could support most of the States, but there is a move toward new cultures, Spanish is now a must. But it is so easy to revamp and to swagger when a multi-state-fragmented entity is sliding down, too slowly to be on open alert.

Nobody even anticipated the financial real-estate crash…And who would show off in Puerto Rico, the rich harbor full of homeless. This year, there are hurricanes and overheat in Eastern Europe, Greece, Romania while Asia is drowning under the powerful monsoon in India, China. The United Kingdom had floods and muds.

The Arctic cap melts too quickly and soap opera writers anticipate the coming floods that would wet up and clear out huge parts of Europe, creating a sort of real Atlantida. As we live on the Syrian Phoenician Rift that drifts away from the inland everyday, we might have, in some generations, to go to work by scuba diving in some aquariums like Eilat...

But the crazy thing is that the world is actually losing its polar kippah / skullcap because humans are drained with consumption products and wasting mania is so ethical at the present.

Not only waste but also squander in time, opportunities and resources. For instance, Israel has a strong health educational system based on prevention of diseases. In response, narcotics, anorexia, drugs, sexual and alien sicknesses, psychological weaknesses attack the structures that should prevent from more affection.

One year ago, a young Austrian Viennese girl, Natascha Kampusch, escaped from her jail. She had spent eight years in the house of a man who had abducted and kept her imprisoned in a sort of underground attic. She survived and slowly recovers, showing real compassion for her tormentor. She somehow symbolizes all the Mitzvot given by God in the reading portion of the week and the odious infringements of all kinds of ethical behaviors, to begin with sexual direct or fanciful perversions.

Indeed, the parshat hashavua or reading portion of the week is taken from Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:10-25:9 in this Shabbat “Ki tetsei – (when) you go out (to war against your enemies)”. It precisely deals with morals… Of course! All Mitzvot and the whole of the Written and Oral Laws are reflecting on ethics throughout the ages, teaching each generation how to behave.

It does not mean than we understand or even cope with the God’s Commandments. But they are our substantial green that allows us ruminating slowly like our dear milking cows (Tehillim 1:2, “uv’torato yehggeh yomam valeylah – and considers/ruminates His Torah day and night”). Thus, what do people ruminate about? Sex. Well, there is a little problem. “Sex” does not exist in Hebrew.

It may sound bizarre to some citizens, because we are sinking in sex genital prolegomena to the kernel issues of our planet out society. In the reading portion, again God prohibits rapes, women abduction in war times, transvestitism, prostitution, adultery and slander against women, mutilation of male genitalia. This really sounds “sexual”. Actually it might be! But we don’t use the exact word in Hebrew to discuss a matter that is at the heart of any existence. Alas, pedophilia is developing in Israel as it was current in Ancient Greece for different reasons.

Some years ago it created a national cultural and mental shock in Belgium, as also in France and within the Catholic Church in the United States, Ireland and other countries. “Sexus” comes from “secare – to divide, cut. Humans are divided in order to determine their qualities of males and females collectively. The parashah is dealing with the various ways of how to comply or reject the “genital” identity of humans as to control their impulses or taboos.

Sex(us) is declined in the present in: heterosexual, homosexual, transsexual, same-sex, over-sexed and unisex. This has nothing to do with mechanics. And it is indeed a pity that modern religious teachers do not dare clearly and loudly instruct about the mental, physical and spiritual values of our limbs. They do not function as separate robots or golems, but reflect on personal purity or soul life.

“Males and females are called to be one body and soul”, states the Talmud (Menachot 93a). This confirms the value of the first commandment, i.e. to quit father and mother and to “clutch” to a wife (Gen. 2:24). In Hebrew, “Min = sex” and “Person (to the fullest)”. It also interrogates about our origin and destination (Avot 3:1): “Me’a’in = where from”, “min = who, out of (where)”, “man, mah = what” clarifies the irreplaceable dignity and fulfillment of whom and what human beings are called to do with their members, bones and souls, brains, intellect, mind, conscience.

Apparently, sex appears as “raw and wild instinct”. Hebrew shows that it cannot be mechanical or temporary. It always involves creation and therefore feeling. As in a paradox, we hardly would understand and admit that “making love / love-making” is nonsense. Bodies are not toys, robotic actions trying to substantiate human fancy or throw away fears and obsession. “Love = Ahavah = Gr. Agape” undoubtedly refers to Divine Light of creation (= la’assot, yatsar = to make, create, shape”).

Again, Mishney Torah – Deuteronomy hammers down how consciousness should abide our souls and never affect, harm or even damage other inmates, in particular women. One could think that this “wedding warnings and strict commandments” are a consequence of some women weakness. There is no evidence that women are weaker than men. The TaNaKH insists on the fact that woman was shaped in order to assist and even contradict maleness (“ezer kenegdo = a helper against him (Adam) Bereishit 2:20). This maybe nothing new, but the newness is not in the repetition of prohibitive mitzvot. Newness consists in being more aware that any human would like or even prefer to test, taste what is wrong – then get wounded and fall.

In Israel, most women wear pants, and men become more feminized (ornaments, beauty products, unisex clothing). We look again toward own-sex groups that would turn to individual hedonism and loneliness.

Sexual perversions or transgressions are universal; transvestitism can be initiatory (shamanism or Japanese No theater) as pedophilia is for the African Siwan people or the East Bay Papuans. They show up in ancient Jewish and Christianized cultures as symptoms of degenerative tendencies that are very close to primary mental panicking impulses.

We have more cases of incest, which – besides any mitzvot system – is condemned by all human groups with two amazing exceptions: Egyptian Pharaoh’s and the Mormons. This is definitely not some primitive depravation. It only proves how difficult it is for humankind to eradicate the early commencement of a world ruled, without the assistance of a self-controlled conscience; and driven by sudden and instant rages to have a hell and let people fall.

This is why, it is said that we ought to save a fallen donkey or ox (Deut. 22:4), not to kill the mother of fledgings in a nest; and “assita ma’aqah legagech / to build a parapet for the roof of a new house: “otherwise you might have blood-guilt on your house if anyone should fall from it / ki yipol hanofel mimenu” (Deut. 22:8). Now, this commandment should be read in most cities of the country as regards the building of solid security parapets / ma’aqot everywhere.

This sounds a bit peculiar: is there on our roof a being who may fall and make us blood-guilty? The prayer of the Amidah (18 Benedictions) “Mechalkel” has it: “God sustains the living with loving-kindness, resurrects the dead with great mercy, somech noflim / supports the falling…”

There is no competition in faith. There cannot be any sort of jealousy or will to hurt or damage the others. And still, ages have passed and believers would often trap and wrap people in their own stiff-necked spiritual views. As the blessing says, “God sustains and reinvigorates” all beings while we would love to trip someone up because casting down is such a pleasant game for which personal wounds cannot stand.

In times of floods and hurricanes, people are often saved from their roofs. This would also mean that people are not only born to fall in catastrophic situations! This is the kind of hope beyond any hope that Jews have shown: we are like bouncing babes that stare at the sight that what seems impossible is real and extant.

In August 79 CE, Mount Vesuvio lashed its stream of volcanic fire destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum that remained hidden for centuries.

Why in the world is the Arctic ice removing the (skull)cap of the Earth at present?

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