Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shmiyah: Love, hear, memorize and not forget

Ingmar Bergman passed away. The son of very strict Lutheran pastor of the Swedish Church, he wrote the story of our human days and feelings with much perspicacity and insights. A man who always clutched to the women he was creating his films with in a move that could resemble love. In his book "Laterna Magica, Images", he explains that the big part of our education (he speaks of his generation but this is still real for most of us) is based on concepts like sin, extraction of confession.

This is alien to Judaism and to the Eastern Orthodox Churches and thus penetrated Jewish culture as Orthodox Christian new styles. In the relationships between parents and children, punishment could lead to atonement and ultimately to grace (inspirited as "dinim" in Judaism though not so submitted to vidui/confession). He has been a man of four women-actresses, among the most beautiful creatures of the Swedish movie wildlife face book.

I remember the fresh summer takes of "Hon dansade en sommar/she only danced one summer" that showed the nudity of a pure Scandinavian girl bathing in the sun. But I. Bergman mainly aimed at underscoring that such inter-generation relationships, stiffed and framed, could only be governed by clear-headed people thought they would understand and control but, indeed, it may have allowed inducing Nazism without opposing or condemning the system. "In hierarchical systems, all doors are closed", he said. The film master approached life and ethical changes "like the wind rusting through the leaves", dealing with the main “up-to-the-century” mal-etre of repeating crisis process: marriage, men-women relationships, fancies and neurotic clashes, sex and (ascetic) self-abnegation that, in the end, get rusty and out of space. The frightening scenes of "Fanny and Alexander" showed how the Western civilization prolongs its route with the foolhardy forlornness of the so-called "death of God".

This lines with the parshat hashavua/reading portion of this week: “Ekev- Subsequently, if you hearken these judgments…” in Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25. God insists on a specific commandment, given to the Israelites and constantly repeated, again and again, for the sake of their faith in God as humans living among humankind. Devarim 6;4: “Hear Israel/ Shma’ Israel” that links obedience to the Only One, accepting to hear and listen to His words, accomplishing them with love.

Let’s say that Ingmar Bergman powerfully depicted how the Western society drifted from the purity of the Commandments, emptying their raison d’etre till some deep nonsense and social disease.

A second major filmmaker died this week. The Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni belonged to the same generation, focusing on life and uneasiness in love. Major films on how frail and unstable human nature and feelings can develop into real malaise (as in the introspective movie “L’Avventura” with Monica Vitti in 1960 or “La Notte/The Night”). It climaxed with “Blow up” which reinforced this malaise by inserting sexual takes while unwillingly shooting in photos of a murder, in London.

This allows envisioning a world of images caught with perspicacity and figuring out the greatness and tragedy of a society. Today, images replace reality or subdue individuals into the mal-etre or difficulty to live, love and breathe. Thus, we are totally “mirroring us” into the memorizing system of cuts and takes, screens and images, moves as if to stop or circumvent despair, shortsightedness.

We are all actors directed by cameras of security protection. Any fish-eye lens can sink down to the surface of our intimacy. We desperately need to smile, laugh or answer with a pout. The Actors Studio turns to “Youtube’ing”and instant self-contentment.

It is evident that these new techniques prodigiously enhance our cultural attitudes and prospects. Pre-birth photos widen our family albums back to few weeks’ existence. Takes and films store actions, events. “Cinema” from Greek “kinein – to move” copes with the Hebrew tradition that praises dynamics. Hebrew “kolno’a – cinema = move/tottering (Niddah 25b) of the voice”.

The reading portion of this week profoundly insists on the fact that humans must love God to the full, via all their flesh and bone, intellectual and emotional capacities joined to their financial and economical assets. Again, after the destruction of the Temples and the Feast of love on Tu Be’Av, how can we sketch out what love implies?

Let’s get further and again scrutinize whether “love/ahavah” is humanly evident. The mitzvah is focusing on God alone. We often think as if it would suffice to ascertain our love to the Most High. This mitzvah does not imply any expectation of promise or reward from God. Because when Jacob woke up at Bethel, he vowed in a down-to-earth way: “If God will be with me and keep me in this way I go and give me bread to eat and raiment to put on so that I come back home in peace, then God shall be my God” (Bereishit 28:20).

I like this vow very much. It is not ecstatic… Jacob is the son of his mom who coached him to cheat his father Isaac, a normal nudnik and so many of us behave as if El Shaddai would be some Bituach leumi/national medical care and social assistance + first aid + recurrent money basket provider. But this is so humane. So real.

Now, the “shmiyah/obedience” means we do not dare expect anything but accept to lift all our being to the One God. There is more as regards any Jew: Abraham and his descent have nothing to do with any kind of ethnic or tribal or sub-tribal distinctive features. “In you, all the Nations (and generations) will experience how blessed they are” (Gen. 12:3). This relies on true love. Love is more than justice and righteousness, which are included in “ahavah”. Love obliges to do and give always more, much and even too much.

Still it is not enough. Look, Abraham was a sort of Moshe Rabbenu. He argued to save some inhabitants of Sodom: he disputed with God about the number of righteous, if any. But the Zohar (Book of Splendor) still considers that he did not accomplish his real duty: no use to count the just. There was more to do, said R. Eliezer ben Azariyah, and he did not push God into that: Abraham did not require God’s pardon and loving-kindness (Zohar 106a).On the other hand, Moses had intervened for the sake of the Israelites after the golden calf.

This is why it is important to “Understand that the Lord Your God does not give you this land to possess it for your righteousness; for you are a stiff-necked people (am-koshey-oref). Remember and forget not how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day you went out of the Land of Egypt till you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord (mamrim haytem im HaShem)” (Deut. 9:6-7). “Mamre” has different meanings, from the place of hospitality to rebellion. Strangely enough, the Israelites are called to serve as a priestly nation of tribes.

Still, it hardly can reach out to their own fellowmen, especially in the present situation of split culture. Hillel said: “Love the humans” (Avot 1,2). Similarly, “When you hurt your fellowman (reacha) even very slightly, do reckon this as something important, but if you show him much loving-kindness, consider this is a tiny thing” says the Abot deRabbi Nathan (B, 27a). Indeed, there is no difference between human beings but this too often turns to be a parrot-fashion speech – God “does execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loves the stranger in giving him food and clothes. Thus, love the stranger because you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Devarim 10:18-19).

When faith is distorted to some administrative or political issues/challenges, modern inter-tribal relationships are spoiled and defile God’s Oneness. The rules in force in the State of the Jews seemingly have a certain know-how and experience of how to save the fundamentals of the inspired Mitzvot and divine warning given in the wilderness.

Let’s be “movie”; it is indeed a serious Jewish quest to know whether filmmaking is ethically kosher or not. In 1987, the Danish film “Babette’s Banquet” (Feast/seudah) showed the life in a remote Jutland village in the 19th century. Two sisters scrupulously observe with the local inhabitants the stiff sectarian laws defined by their deceased father, a pastor who had created the sect. Refrained envies, frustrating self-control, spiritual narrow-mindedness have turned temptations (beauty is so beautiful, nu! Nu?) to routine loss of vitality.

By the time the sisters want to have a nice memorial day for the 100th anniversary of their father and community prophet, they give refuge to a French woman, Babette (French actress Stephane Audran performs a real feat in wonderfully pronouncing Danish and its famous glottal stop/stoed). The housekeeper who came from the south (cf. as out of Egypt) won 100 Francs and decided to order, in secret, special supplies for a refined French meal, sort of real “side (Yid.) – festive meal”.

And she got exceptional wines, liquors, living quails, turtles, dried cod and cakes with grapes and figs… The sisters got scared. A Swedish general, a French libertine writer full of lust, show the sensuality-addicted aspect of the Western ambiance. Babette cooked “quails in sarcophagus”, i.e. the Providential food from heaven: quails in “flesh-eater = Gr. sarco-phagus”, which refers to the manna and to Jesus’ words that “he is the bread of life” (John 6:35.48.51) who was buried to resurrect. And the guests silently started to stare at the dishes, slowly began to smile, talk, laugh and even dance.

This is how God works wonders. Love consists in welcoming and feeding any visitor, fellow people or strangers, enemies. Indeed, it enhances and stimulates freedom.

Tu Be'Av: "Love me, Tender..."

It is a hit, because it only can be a hit and we are so mild and cute, nice and lovely: "Mi ohev otach yoter mimeni = who loves you more than I love you" is the sort of syrupy broadcast song sung by many local singers. We are in need of care, cuddling, hugging so much and know that our hearts can share it with a soul mate, a sweetheart, beloved, girl/boyfriend, eventually a date, a boo, someone we can love more than anybody could love her or him... Is it the price of solitude? Or is love so natural?

The rape of the Sabine women is a Roman Empire saga and supposedly began with the abduction of the women. Indeed, the abduction lead to rape. Rape of foreign women is strongly condemned by Moses in the name of God as a sign of idolatry. As time passes, it is so amazing and strange to read the news about the development of different attitudes in Israeli society. Rape, incest, men raping their wives, women raping men at times, children or teens submitted to sexual assaults and the head of the State crashing down for forced and thus not so clear carnal temptations.

The Semites are inspirited by violence and baseless instinct of possession. This is what is softly meant by "yoter memeni = who loves you more that I do?" Okay a very sweet song with a slow rhythm but the guy does possess the girl and that's it. And girls can possess guys and guys think they own their friends. This is love, nu-nu?

Today is Tu Be'Av = the 15th of the month of Av (July 29, 2007). It is usually called "Chag HaAhavah = Feast of love". At the present we are very fond of such feasts that allow giving flowers or presents to our special someone. It may happen that this special someone may grow to two, well… say not more, but there can be no special one at all. The internationally celebrated Saint Valentine’s Day, in February, would seem rather parallel. This is not really the case. Tu Be’Av (like Tu bishvat = New Year of the Trees) falls on the 15th day of the Jewish month. In this particular case, it falls in the middle of the month of Av, i.e. one of the most tragic months in the Jewish history with the Ninth (tisha) of Av that forever commemorates the “saddest days” of the two destructions of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem. In the Jewish calendar, the 15th day always marks the short time of the lunar cycle, the monthly recurring “full moon” (“Hayireah bimlu’o”).

This is why the indefectible faithfulness of God was disclosed so many times throughout history as mentioned by Talmud Taanit 26a, 30-31b. Is it not appealing that the Jewish tradition is never overcome by disasters, destructions, death, and exterminations? And that Tu Be’Av, in the heat of summertime, should be the most joyous day of the year when the moon is full and ready for the birthing of new times and seasons.

We are a society that permanently faces despair with “va’irbu smachot be’Israel = let joys multiply in Israel”. Sarah’s laughter, lack of faith and lie (“I did not laugh” she said to the angels), Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s bursting into laughter at the sight of the foxes creeping out of the Devir/Holy of Holies inaugurated times of hope and redemption. We cannot say we have the same spirit at the present, but still, balloons and hagigot/festive encounters are a much astounding positive point of our society. But in this case, there is more: Tisha Be’Av is the destruction, ruining achievement to reduce God’s Presence to nil and annihilate Her, defile and abate the spiritual nuisance that, for the pagans, exists in the Jewish tradition.

Let’s talk a bit about tradition: it is said that Yom Kippur and Tu Be’Av are the two happiest days of the Jewish year. This relies upon the related birthing process that overleaps death to introduce into new months and times (Taanit 4,3). On the very day of the 15th of Av, in the fortieth year in the wilderness, the Israelites stopped dying in the desert. The clear sign of joy appears with the reply of the women to the punishment imposed by God to those who did believe the spies who slandered against Moses. Indeed, men were and remain too important for women.

Here is the interesting point of “the feast of love”: the daughters of Zelophehad came to speak with Moses and the priest Eleazar and they were upset (Num.27:1-11). Their father had died in the desert, there were no men and they wanted men and inheritance! This is the very Hebrew counter-point to “the rape of the Sabine women”! This also became a day of “duty-free” service in a very tribally structured society. Thus as it also developed after the destructions of the Temple, young girls and women could dress humbly and go dancing through the streets and on the squares and look for some nice lad and possible bridegroom.

It was a “duty-free” day in the sense that women could marry any member of any tribe as also, the sons of the tribe of Benjamin. As the Zohar states, the Jewish people are like the moon: going up and falling down, erring and reaching goals and then getting lost again. But every step enhances the quality of a new rise towards God and the Mitzvot.

“Veahavta lereacha kamocha – and you shall love your fellowman as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18). We are submitted to “love” because only God is Love. But as we just remembered the destruction of the Temples, we could reflect upon the fact that the first Temple was ruined due to rational and conscious hatred while the second Temple was razed out of a baseless / irrational hatred.

Now what happens if we compare these two reasons that prevailed for the destructions with the joyful “full moon” marriage-chasing that became a “feast of love”. Sex is a very small part of what love implies and encompasses. Nonetheless, at the present, in Israeli society, it shows to prevail as it always did throughout the TaNaKh: with much confusion, irrational pulses or slanders.

When the daughters of Zelophehad came to petition Moses, they did not ask for love: they asked for men and inheritance, which means they wanted to birth babies and be secure, as women. Women do need to be financially and socially secure even if they often initiate or support business developed by men. These daughters had a basic request: we need men to prolong the tribe – indeed all the tribes – that died in the wilderness and we need money, land, properties. At this point, it is evident that Tu Be’Av is a feast for women as they choose their partners, friends, special ones or husbands.

Men often don’t get to that. It is at times horrible to observe or even to audit how women are treated with much disregard and total lack of respect in Israeli society and “Jewishness”. It is incredible that the number of battered women, as also men and children continues to increase and is difficult to stop. Each sex is more and more victimized by rapes, incest and this is in full contradiction with the realm of the Mitzvot; a proper and traditional, usual family and lifestyle.

This is why more and more youths need to be coached, guided or “cured”. When the children of divorced or even multi-reconstructed families “live together” in order to feel some warmth and support for each other, they are hardly prepared for any real “love” and awkwardly move ahead or stay on, stand by knowing nothing or ignoring the risks of STDs (sexually transmitted disease) or venereal diseases. I see this in at many different levels of the inhabitants and this is the real quest.

This is why acting “theology” does not consist in parroting pious words of the Sages. Early in the morning or at night, when youngsters are spaced out as only those on drugs can be, they firstly need a hand. They gather in special areas of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other towns. But this hand must be full of understanding and, truly, the tradition of the Sages does provide a lot of answers to face the terrible increase of impoverishment. Impoverishment also includes lack of real love.

Love is not only lovemaking with condoms, pills and abortions. Thus, it can be reduced to a speechless relationship with no sincere and open dialogue. There is often nothing to share except bones playing with bones under skin. Indeed, the Jewish tradition has developed a highly positive view of sexuality. At the present, the situation is a bit confusing. Personalized desires of groups of individuals, egoistic and rather childlike behaviors tend to unbalance the relationships in new couples.

I recently heard two olot chadashot/female newcomers explaining that, according to the tradition, they were only obliged to have sex with their husbands on a regular basis, wash up the dishes, keep the house clean and get the most possible money. Plain and simple. This is another aspect in a country where it is rather difficult to marry and, till today, to find love outside of one’s own tribe (Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Mizrachim… and why not any other tribe living in Eretz Israel).

Love is a gift, a real gift sent by God. Love is like a miracle and it is a miracle that is renewed every day in so many families. And love can show at any age. A woman physician was visiting Jerusalem with her daughter who was leaving for the army. They were not Jewish according to the Halachah. The mother suddenly asked: “Is it so important to be Jewish?” Her husband had abandoned her. She was surprised when I replied: “Don’t you think love is more important than anything else?” Or a rabbi, who did not know what to do as his wife became fascinated by the Gospel, out of the blue. We had exceptional discussions: yes, he had the possibility to divorce her, but, she was still Jewish and, by the way, did he love her? They did not quit.

Jesus started his preaching by assisting at a marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11) and two Jewish miztvot/commandments were evident to him. He never denied them: marriage and priesthood. “Love” is a major motto for any Christian believer, just as “joy” (Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Seraphim of Sarov). With regards to “love”, we might not be quite so aware how milder, more caring, compassionate the world of the heathens became through Christendom. We don’t have any idea of the hideous violence that existed in the Barbarian society, even if new paganism recently emerged out of various trends.

This year, on Tu Be’av it would be so tender, like God: “HaShem, El rachum vechanun, Lord, Lord of mercy and loving-kindness”. And then we could also discover each other, without fear.

“Solitude” by Marc Chagall, the first painting he gave to an Israeli museum.
2. Tu Be'Av is also a time to reconsecrate oneself to love G-d as our Husband. The 9th of Av occurred because we turned away from G-d, that is ceased loving G-d and hence stopped loving our neighbour as ourselves, it is only after we make a choice to choose G-d as our Husband can we enjoy full redemption, and love one another in purity. Even to love our enemies, as G-d loves them.
Richard , USA, Jul 31 2:07AM
1. What is MST?
Yehudit, USA, Jul 30 7:07PM

Nachamu: comfort and never slay

The Rav of Berdichev as all the Sages of the Jewish tradition have detailed at length how God's loving-kindness covers all troubles, ruins and destructive forces with patience that humans feel as an overtime divine action and trustfulness. "Hope leads to redemption" and this intense belief is amazingly crossing throughout the history of Jewishness. Last Shabbat Devarim introduced to the memorial day of the Ninth of Av/Tisha BeAv that seems to collect and accumulate all the powers of destruction which ended up with the ruin of the two Temples and the process of recurring dispersion of the Jews, gargantuan despise and apparently useless deportations. Indeed Diasporas allowed the Reign of God to reach till some remote regions of the Antiquity. It continued to accompany and witness to God when the (mostly) Gentile Christian Church spread over Europe and Persia till the limits of Japan and down to India.

Both Judaism and Christianity persist and breathe of some inescapable though diversified "absence" in terms of "tzimtzum", i.e. God’s eclipse, cache, sort of concealment. This Shabbat is called "Va'etchanan - and I shall pray (implore, petition) You" and the parshat hashavua / weekly portion is read in Devarim/Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11.

The reading portion begins with a specific word used by Moses. He utters a special demand to God. He is recollecting all the actions that led from serfdom to the gates of entering the Land of Canaan/Israel. Then Moses speaks out his mind. This is an important moment because he is known for his humbleness and never asked nor begged for any personal favor. With regard to the attitude of the Israelites as the struggle he conducted against Pharaoh, Moses proved to have acted with a rare, singular spirit of equanimity and fortitude.

But, now, he definitely feels that his own life must come to the end because God will not allow him to enter the land. He thus prays, with much intensity, as to curve or metamorphose his own destiny and his deadline that might cause internal fears. He had frequented death all along the journey, but had brought Jacob’s descent out of the land of “death and idolatry”. He knows that humans are born to die but also that God truly is the Lord of the living Whose name in Hebrew clearly indicates that humankind is called to cross the barriers of dust of disappearance: “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – I am to be/become the whole One Who I will perpetually become”.

And still, the move implies to depart and accept to be a defunct servant and leader, i.e. leave his service (Latin: officium, task, duty) and give up his body and soul to the Life-giving Lord. As if the certitude that there is a world-to-come and a resurrection from the dead could seemingly resemble to some place of concealment that indeed remains invisible.

“Etchanan” belongs to the words used for depicting the posture of the faithful in the Temple during the offerings, a bowing move of the body down to the earth with the head placed on the right hand. “Chanan= to show loving-kindness”. Moses dedicated his life to the true emunah/faith and worship, thus prescribing the mitzvot to donning the tefillin/phylacteries and instructing how to build up the Mishkan/Tabernacle. “Tachanun – supplication” later became the fervent petition pronounced every morning at Shaharit / Morning-dawn prayer and also Minchah-arbit/ Dusk,Evening prayer, except on holidays and newness events (New Moon).

It is more extensive on Mondays and Thursdays after the 18 Benedictions Amidah. This habit to recite personal petitions seems to date back to the Temple Service and maybe earlier in the Tent of the Meeting. It is a “nefillat apayim – falling on the face (nostrils) without prostration to avoid any confusion with pagan rites, but it was substituted by reclining on the left and the right side (Megillah 23a; Avoda Zara 4,1). Tachanun became a sort of confession of sins and a plea for repentance and salvation (Daniel 9:3; Ezra 9:6; Nehemiah 1:4, cf. the reconstruction of the Temple). “Chanan = to cover, caress, grace, favor” as in “You graciously endow man with knowledge (Amidah: “chonen dat”, Shabbat 104a). It also means “to come to rest” (Berachot 30b) as in the Birkat Kohanim / priestly blessing “vayichuneka = and cover you with His grace” (Num. 6:22). The blessing was peacefully used by Saint Francis of Assisi who used to make the sign of the “Tau-tav, last Hebrew letter on the forehead of his brethren.

God told Moses to say a much peculiar detail to the Israelites: “You shall not prolong your days in the Land, but shall utterly be destroyed (“hishamed tishamedun”). And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you” (Deut. 4:26-27). Interestingly, tachanun introduces in the Jewish prayer the recitation of the Shema Israel/Hear Israel (Davarim 6:4) which is one of the major element of the weekly Torah portion. As regards the Ten Commandments that progressively were removed from the Jewish prayer in order to make a distinction with the Christian customs, the Mishney Torah introduces special elements to allow the Israelites to enhance their prayer after the sin of the golden calf.

The original Hebrew version of the repetition of the Ten Divrot/Paroles shows that 17 letters have been added to the text usually cited from Exodus 20. The tradition considers that it shows how “goodly” God is, i.e. “t(9)-o(6)-v(2)”. This also insinuates that, in the Mishney Torah or “repetition of the Torah”, God is willing to repair or give full capacities to the Israelites to repair their errors and track back to the first days of the creation, when He stated that the work of creation was “tov meod – very good “ (Gen. 1:31). Newness and constant renewal is the basic motto that keeps humans alert with regard to the blessing “mechadesh maasey vereshit – (The Lord Who) permanently renews and makes new the acts of creation”.

Still how come that Moses presents to God such a petition? His brother Aaron died before and was also told that he could not enter the Land. Well, Aaron did not show any spirit of patience and immediately forgot about God when he saw that the Israelites were in need to marinate with an old-fashioned pagan golden calf worshiping flava. He was too much “outdoors” in this wilderness. But Moses is the model of true and unique humbleness for Judaism and it should also remain for the Christians. In the name of God, Moses told the Israelites that few of them would reside in the Land and not for a long period of time. You bet! He even warns them about their future in the country, i.e. that they will be destroyed and scattered. What a great sign of hope and consolation!

Let’s simply draw a parallel with Jesus of Nazareth. Paul of Tarsus wrote about him: “He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (i.e. abomination)” (Philippians 2:8). This does correspond with the weekly portion that deals with “shmiyah = obedience”; capacity to hear and act together and respecting God’s mitzvot). Nonetheless, there is an real connection between the repetition of the Ten Divrot/Paroles and the sincere desire expressed by the Israelites to sanctify everything linked to the Land. Resting on Shabbat is matched with the exodus: “Remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Shabbat day” (Devarim 5:15). And thus comes the mitzvah to “honor your father and mother… that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you, in the land in which the Lord your God gives you” (Deut. 5:16). It is thus evident that the following commandment deals with slaying: “lo tirtzeach – you shall not kill, remove life from any human being” (Devarim 5:16).

Here is the first point on the Shabbat after Tisha BeAv: hundreds and hundreds of years after Moses approached God with his personal petition to enter the Land of Canaan, God, in repeating with tenderness the code of the Ten Divrot/Paroles obliges the Israelites to take into account the fact that He will never forget while humans may lose their memory and hide their misdeeds into some cache. The Beyt HaMikdash/Temple was the living House of God and the Romans razed it defiling the sanctity of the place and scattering the Jews.

This was simply foretold to Moses as a possible consequence of the Israelites’ lack of respect of the Mitzvot. It is still pending at the present. We do have the Western Wall but the tachanun/supplication insists on the possible rise of the Living Beyt. “May it be Your Will, Lord… to have mercy on us, forgive all our sins, atone all our iniquities… that the Beyt HaMikdash be rebuilt speedily and in our days, that we may offer before You the burnt-offering… as You have prescribed in Your Torah through Moses Your servant” (Shaharit/Morning prayer tahanun). Can we only imagine God playing some role game and “Boo-yaa!”, Jews are damned for ever because others thought they survived and continue to outlive for the sake of some spiritual archaeology? Everything is prophetically on the move with God, gyrating and twirling ahead. Y

ears ago, I explained to some Christian Church seminarists that we might one day– maybe not in our generation but this is not so important – really see the rebuilding of the Temple, not because of any Hollywood-like script and the salvation of some believers or for some political views. It is clear in this sidra / portion that Jewish presence in the Land maybe endure or be stopped for the described compliance with the Mitzvot and certainly not because of flamboyant scenario mixing power and might. And they were so young and lacking experience that their got scared: what would happen to them?!

The problem was not about the Ulam HaGoyim/Hall of the Nations, but they were taught they were to become, as priests, the first and definite leaders in the name of God. My answer was awkward because of their total ignorance of Jewishness, not only Judaism. And they could not feel concerned by the question that is parallel to Moses’ petition: The Holy Sepulcher is the Empty Tomb, the Anastasis (place of Resurrection). Either Jesus is risen, but nobody can prove it; others cannot believe that to the full. It belongs to the intimate conviction of our souls. Jesus was condemned by the Jewish High Priest Kaipha and rejected by his first apostle Kaipha /Simon-Peter. (Matthew 26:74; Luke 22:61; John 18:27). He was then crucified by the pagan nations symbolized by the Romans.

God reproaches to Moses one act that He Himself subsequently accepted by blessing His servant: Moses had killed an Egyptian. This is the point. No man, no way is ever entitled to slay or take the life from any other human being. But then, let’s have a real look at us today. We love to mirror ourselves. But we are damned killers and still blessed survivors. This midrash from the time of the Amora’im shows that any human life, the life of any enemy can be compared to destroying the Temple and, in comparison, for the Christians, as nailing Jesus to the cross. We see how often, definitely daily, we slander, calumniate, attack in words people we know or even never met with. The tongue of “lashon haraah/gossiping” is a killing muscle, thus the smallest one.

As we advance without the House of Jerusalem, Christianity faces the time of the Empty Tomb.Still we can comfort/nachamu as Prophet Isaiah wrote in his vision (40,1). The power of might is that God continues to trust in us. This is real breaking news: is it audible that He trusts in us and not that we trust in Him firstly. Are humans really like on swoll scrubs or, yes, hope is graven in our beings and we shall never wreck again, God forbid.