Friday, August 29, 2008
This article was published in Fall 2007 in the OCMC Magazine. As we come to the end of 5768, a year of shmittah\שמיטה release and rest for the earth, the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Eliezer Ben Yehudah. He revived Hebrew, a dream that came true.
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) recently began supporting the
work of Archpriest Alexander Winogradsky in Jerusalem. Fr. Alexander leads a small community where he performs the Liturgy in Hebrew. Offering Church services in the native language of the Israeli people has allowed Fr.Alexander to build bridges and reach out to those who are seeking Christ in this ancient
and Holy Land. Fr. James Bernstein of St.Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Brier, Washington, interviewed Fr. Alexander about his remarkable ministry.
Fr. James/ Fr. Alexander, you are authorized to serve the Divine Liturgy and other services in Hebrew in the Holy Land. Is the servicing of Orthodox
services in Hebrew a recent development?
Av A./ Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament or First Covenant, and is held in very high esteem because God Himself chose to deliverHis first message in this language. This is why I call Hebrew my “Father tongue,” and indeed the Lord’s Prayer begins as Jewish prayers often do: “Our Father Who art in Heaven – Avinu shebashamayim\אבינו שבשמים.” It is a paternal tongue, only written with consonants. Hebrew is also the major language of the Mishnah or Talmud, the oral tradition that explains the First Covenant.
The Church was born from first century Jewish Semitic Christendom, and thus the Greek Scriptures used by Orthodox Christians contain a lot of Semitic phrases or expressions. Hebrew has always been a living tongue,though at times limited to scholars and pious disputes. The revival of modern Hebrew as a spoken language is due to the insightful courage of Eliezer Ben Yehudah, who, in the nineteenth century, envisioned the ingathering of the exiled Jews, in the Eretz Israel (Earth of Israel – cf. Matthew 2:21). He thought that they would need a common language. Ben Yehudah was from Poland and met, in Paris, an Algerian Jew, and they simply began to speak the Hebrew they had learned from use in the prayers! He could have chosen Esperanto or any other language, but he chose Hebrew, feeling it was a special time to revive and make Hebrew a living spoken language.
The use of traditional and Biblical Jewish phrases common to both Judaism and Christianity enables the Christian faith to be connected with its roots. Hebrew is ancient, yet new, in its use within the Church. The Moscow Russian Mission in Jerusalem proposed a translation of the Liturgy in about 1845 that was blessed by the Holy Synod at that time. The version is excellent, and this is the text I use (with slight corrections or updates) when I celebrate the Divine Liturgy. It is used within the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Hebrew is also my “liturgical mother tongue.” As a child I learned to write in Yiddish, which is written with Hebrew letters, and I often read the prayers and the Psalms in Hebrew. Some find it astounding that an Eastern Orthodox priest knows so many of the prayers and Psalms in Hebrew by heart. In Jerusalem, both Jews and Christians read the Psalms regularly, and
this constitutes a significant link between us. As a priest whose ministry is to develop and organize Hebrew-speaking Orthodox Christian communities in Israel, I meet with a lot of Israeli people, Jewish or Christian faithful, for whom Hebrew is their primary language.
Over three decades, Hebrew grew into a mature colloquial language. This has a real impact on the children who go to church. At home, the children usually continue to speak Russian or Ukrainian with those of the previous generation, but speak mostly Hebrew among themselves. And indeed, this does have a real impact on the way they think, speak and pray. Our words contain a mixture of Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic and Greek which connect us with thousands of years of history and diverse cultures. The use of Hebrew has appeared as a great prophetic sign as we now speak the language of the Prophets.
Fr. James/ Are there many people in the Holy Land who prefer to hear the services done in Hebrew?
Av A./ We know that approximately 400,000 people among those who arrived in Israel over the past fifteen years – mainly from the former Soviet Union but also from Georgia-Caucasus, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania – had been baptized Orthodox Christians in their home countries. The former Soviets are numerous, and visit the monasteries and holy sites in large groups. They are usually very openminded, well-read and love to tour the country.
Many come to my services by buses and then we collectively make a pilgrimage to a holy site. A number of them want to go to confession,
but because they are suspicious also want to protect their privacy. This is an outgrowth of their communist background and educational system. Most Russian-speaking churches gather about sixty faithful each week. The use of Hebrew attracts the younger generation. These
faithful are thoroughly Israeli, and as such they have to deal with Israeli problems including military service, the educational system health care and administration, relationships with the
Jews, and mixed marriages. Over the past ten years I have seen many young children become adults using Hebrew as their mother tongue. They clearly want to pray in Hebrew. At the same time they are very interested in the Arab Christian Orthodox heritage in the Holy Land, and the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus Christ. They want to have a church life that does not disconnect them from the Israeli reality. The use of Hebrew in the Orthodox Church constitutes for them a sign of divine favor and prophetic revival.
It is important for the Church to have Hebrew communities speaking the language of the Bible, as it has significant ramifications for the reading and understanding of the Scripture. This is important for the entire Church. We are now able to more profoundly explain the Old Testament roots of our faith and how the Gospel is to be lived in the land of Jesus.
Fr. James/ Do you think that it is possible for Orthodox Christianity to also have a Jewish ethnic expression as it did during the time of the Early Church?
Av A./ All people or ethnic groups enjoy equal rights as members of the Body of Christ. The Orthodox Churches have traditionally encouraged praying in local vernacular languages. In my church of Saint Nicholas in the Old City of Jerusalem we pray mainly in Hebrew, but also include Modern Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, some Yiddish, as well as Georgian, Finnish, German, French or English as needed. It depends on who is attending the services. I call this a “symphony” a collection of voices into one. True, Christianity is linked to Judaism in a very special way. It would be good for Christians of Jewish origin and theIsraelis to know that, in Israel, it is possible for the Orthodox Christian faithful to feel at home here and not to view themselves as displaced persons.
The use of Hebrew among Orthodox Christians here is growing, and it is for me
prophetic and resurrectional.
Fr. James/ Being the only priest authorized to serve such a large community in Hebrew makes your task overwhelming. Do you have any hope of having other clergymen continue to build on your ministry?
Av A./ We live in the Holy Land. You may find ancient artifacts anywhere. Hebrew in a sense is a living artifact or relic in the Church. With the help of OCMC, I have organized spiritual pilgrimages after the Divine Liturgies. Soon, I plan to have some young men blessed as readers and create a native Israeli Eastern Orthodox clergy who are at home here. This requires the development of educational programs that are respectful of the enculturation of Christianity in the Jewish society. Just as the Jews plant trees everywhere, we need to have local believers dedicate their lives to Jesus and plant spiritual seeds throughout the land, in full respect of personal identities. This presupposes that we need help: prayers, financial support and educational exchanges for training the future priests abroad.
In the past three years, I have developed links with some Russian institutes of theology that are very interested in our existence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. They provide assistance in the education of readers and possible sub-deacons. It would be good to find some seminaries and institutes in the west that would also provide similar assistance, even if only through the internet or brief encounters and conferences. These efforts assume that we have funds with which to sponsor the studies. We have many visitors to our services here in Jerusalem who appreciate meeting us and receiving our warmhearted hospitality. During these visits connections are made and doors of opportunity are opened. Perhaps they will be opened wider still.
Israel would like to have Hebrew-speaking Christian communities, as they are
similarly very interested in Aramaic-speaking congregations. It could pave the way towards more understanding of Christianity among Israelis. It is a real challenge, but Christ says that “nothing is impossible to God” (Luke 1:37). Continued prayer and financial support will make it happen.
For two thousand years, the Resurrection of the Lord has been proclaimed everywhere in the world. Now we renew our faith in the Resurrection here in the Holy Land among the ‘People of Christ’s Flesh,’ where it all began. May every single person here ask, “Who are you?” and discover ultimate identity in the Living God while truly following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
This Jerusalem Ministry is a real "challenge", an "impossible task" that imposes much respect for each individual and their identity. Still, it allows a lot of people to find their way. Funds to help support this important ministry can be sent through the Orthodox Christian Mission Center.
Please designate: Jerusalem Ministry or Winogradsky/Jerusalem Ministry on
checks and send to OCMC, PO Box 4319, St. Augustine, FL, 32085-4319.
O C M C M I S S I O N M A G A Z I N E • W W W. O C M C . O R G - O C M C
M I S S I O N M A G A Z I N E • F A L L 2 0 0 7
Photograph: Blessings from Jerusalem
Thursday, August 28, 2008
By: Rev. A. James Bernstein
[This book is a genuine life path of Rev. A. James Bernstein. With regards to the Israeli law in force against proselytism, it should be noted that the book is very respectful of Judaism and its development today - Av Aleksandr Winogradsky Frenkel].
Surprised by Christ is the story of a man searching for truth and unable to rest until he finds it. Raised in Queens, New York by formerly Orthodox Jewish parents whose faith had been undermined by the Holocaust, Arnold Bernstein went on his own personal quest for the God he instinctively felt was there. He was ready to accept God in whatever form He chose to reveal Himself—and that form turned out to be Christ.
But Bernstein soon perceived discrepancies in the various forms of Protestant belief that surrounded him, and so his quest continued—this time for the true Church. With his Jewish heritage as a foundation, he studied and evaluated, and eventually came to the conclusion that the faith of his forefathers was fully honored and brought to completion only in the Orthodox Christian Church.
Surprised by Christ combines an engrossing memoir of one man’s life in historic times and situations—from the Six-Day War to the Civil Rights Movement to the Jesus Movement in Berkeley—with a deeply felt examination of the distinctives of Orthodox theology that make the Orthodox Church the true home not only for Christian Jews, but for all who seek to know God as fully as He may be known.
"Surprised by Christ is an autobiography, an intellectual history, and a conversion story, and more than these, conveys a spiritual and theological vision in a message that touches people from many different backgrounds. That vision is of the Living God revealed in Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant, the life of the Faithful, the hope of the despairing, and the motivation for those who strive to preach the Gospel in all its integrity."
-- Hieromonk Jonah (Paffhausen), Abbot of St. John of San Francisco Monastery in Manton, California (from the foreword to the book)
"The story of Fr James' journey is fascinating. It reminds us again of the sovereignty of God, and his desire to reach every one of his beloved children, no matter where they are."
-- Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of Real Choices and Facing East
"In life you meet a handful of people whose stories crash through the usual categories of human experience and form a new kind of stand-alone narrative. Enter: Fr. James Bernstein. Son of a Jewish rabbi, national chess champion, leader with Jews for Jesus in Berkeley, Orthodox Christian priest – whew! You will love and be greatly encouraged by his unusual story of life in Christ."
-- Fr. Peter E. Gillquist, author of Becoming Orthodox
"A marvelous volume! It shows how in our time, just as two millennia ago, the question posed by Christ, 'Who do you say I am?'" (Matt 16:15), is resoundingly answered: 'The Messiah, the Son of the living God.' All conversions are miracles of God's grace. Fr. James Bernstein allows us to share in the special miracle of his conversion."
-- H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Ph.D., M.D., Professor, Rice University, Professor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine, and Senior Editor, Christian Bioethics
"Fr James Bernstein's roots are here in Jerusalem even as he ministers in the Pacific Northwest. Though separated by vast distance we are one and united in our desire to actualize an authentic Jewish Christian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land as in the beginning. His book compellingly presents why of all branches of Christianity, Orthodox Christianity has by far the greatest kinship to Judaism."
-- Fr. Alexander Winogradsky, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate – Jerusalem (Head of the Hebrew-speaking community)
"In sharing his 'surprise' with us, Fr. James Bernstein shows that he is a Hebrew prophet in the definition of prophecy provided by that other 'Hebrew born of Hebrews' who knew the same 'surprise.' In sharing his story and convictions, Fr James 'speaks to people for their edification and encouragement and comfort.' (1 Cor 14.3) The grace and spirit of His words match the grace and truth of their content. We thank God for this prophetic gift."
-- Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
Sunday, August 24, 2008
"Рiк у рiк/rik u rik: from one year to another"! The State of Ukraine was created 17 years ago on August 17, 1991[= Aug. 11, 1991 Jul. cal. and Ellul 14, 5751\יד באלול תשנ"א] by the adoption of the Constitution voted for the "independence - самоcтïйнiсть/"самодержава"" of the former Soviet union republic. Independence [День Незалежності] developed quickly with a large consensus of the citizens about the Constitution passed on December 1. On December 25, 1991 the final act of independence was reached by stepping out of the Union. The new state was then recognized by the international countries.
It is possible consider the history of the Ukraine as a restlessly tossing up and down process of unsured long-term existence. The state is located on one of the most ancient Indo-European linguistic and human cradles and cross-roads. It is composed with many ethnicities and the modern republic has to deploy the richness of its past. In Israel, we should carefully observe how pioneers and newcomers coming from the Ukraine positively integrated a lot of local traditions.
17 years are nil compared with centuries of hardships, conquests, embattling a multi-faceted Ukrainian group of different ethnicities with their neighbors. They swayed from enmity to political opportune connection, then hatred. Isolation and diversity nurtured a country tempted by unity and scission.
This year, the republic of Ukraine has a special anniversary. Twenty years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church was leading the celebration of the thousand years of the baptism of the Rus. It was in 1988 and Soviet Union was on the move to self-liberation. Thus, in 1991, Ukraine became an independent country. Last year, the Russian Orthodox Church re-unified with the Church Abroad (Русская православная церковь заграницей). She is now involved in the re-establishment of the Russian Orthodox tradition, the return of properties and own search for the role she should play in the modern society throughout the world. In July-August 2008, the Kievan Rus' celebrated the 1020th anniversary of her baptism by a decision taken by grand duke Vladimir/Volodymyr-Володимир.
In many relevant respects, the republic of Ukraine also relies upon this long diachronical series of blessings received through the adoption of Christianity. Ukraine can track back to essential international backgrounds born out of her baptism some 1020 years ago. And this move was European from the very beginning. Grand duchess Anna was born in 1036 in Kiev. She was the granddaughter of Saint Vladimir, her mother was Swedish - and she married Henry I King of France. Their son Philippe I reigned on the throne of France where she died. She is buried in La-Ferte-Alais. She knew about the Great Schism between the Roman Latin and Greek Byzantine Churches (1054) that did not directly affected Kiev at that time. The point is that the Kievan Rus' was built upon the unity of the then-One Church of Jesus Christ as underlined in the last century by the Russian theologian Vladimir Soloviev.
Thus, this year seems to be centered on the original spiritual unity of the faith, to begin with the roots inherited from Judaism and united Christendom. The country is imperiled by the same demons of splitting movements that affected the territory throughout history.
This is indeed a special anniversary. The country is not limited to the borders of Ukraine today. More than 150 years ago, a lot of Ukrainians settled in North America, in particular in the Western provinces of Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia), the United States and some South American countries (Argentina). At the present, as a consequence of the perestroika and the drastic impoverishment of the country, a great number of Ukrainians work in the Arab peninsula, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Israel.
The political issues that affect the republic of Ukraine are somehow linked with a real search for freedom and coherent identity that takes into account their ancient Christian roots. The Kievan Church collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century and the leadership passed to the Russian clergy that also had to fight for their survival. It undergoes the same intra-Slavic and intra-Orthodox-Christian quests as the very old Orthodox patriarchate of Georgia and the ancient Orthodox Church of Armenia. We have to be aware of the tremendous efforts developed by the faithful in the East in their struggle for life.
Ukraine needs time as all of the Eastern-European countries, incl. the Federative Republic of Russia. In the "East", all the Churches come out of the ashes of a frightful and cruel century. They all have connections in the whole world. This creates a unique role of interfaith and international mediator between East and West.
Многiï лiта Украïна! Many blessed years, Ukraine!
av Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel
Photograph: Tryzub/тризуб - trident, symbol of Ukraine. An ancient pagan sign adopted by Saint Vladimir.
Mishney Torah\משנה תורה or Book of Deuteronomy repeatedly teaches the Commandments in order to inscribe them in the heart of every Israelite that lived out till the time close to the entrance into the Land of Canaan/Eretz Israel. The Kabbalat Mitzvot\קבלת מצות or traditional acceptance of the light yoke of the Mitzvot\מצות/Commandments.They are given by God and recurrently hammered out so that the Jewish people accept these teachings as full part of their mental reflexes. They are a nation of "redeemed slaves".
The reading portion of this week is "Reeh\ראה = See (I/God am setting before you today a blessing and a curse" in Devarim/Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17). God reinforces Moses and the Israelites with a spirit that will allow them combating idolatry and destroying all the idols, pagan altars and worships after their take-over of the Land of Canaan.
The reading portion starts with the interjection: “Reeh\ראה – Look, see”. This is the point as we come closer to Ellul\אלול that precedes Tishri\תשרי, New Year’s autumnal month. The original root has different meanings connected with “sight and meeting”. Thus, “He who sees comes to a place” (Berachot 9,1). “Look upon the blood of this ram as if it were the blood of an offering” (Bereshit Rabba 1) or “Mah raah?\מה ראה - What did he see, i.e. what is the reason of such a situation (Baba Bathra 123a). “Nirah\נרארה – it looks like, appears” : “He had said that things were nirin = supposedly acceptable”. As also: “What has been considered as fit on one feast and then discarded may again become fit” (Sukkot 33b). There are some interesting extensions to the word: “re’iyah\ראיה = sight, seeing, glance” as in “the faculty of sight – for childbirth” (Niddah 31a) but also “appearance, ascent to the Temple, aliyah): “the appearance in the Temple (pilgrimage, cf. Ex. 23:17) since all males have the obligation to appear in the Temple (Hagigah 1, 1; Peah 1,1). Finally, the word means “evidence, proof”: “It rests on him to produce evidence that he is an Israelite” (Baba Kamma 3:11; Ketubot 23a/15b (in Aramaic). This week we are called to envision the goal of the most important Mitzvot. This is first the capacity to choose to receive from God a blessing and not a curse (“bracha uqlalah\ברכה וקללה”). This is the “shtey drachim\שתי דרכים – two ways” options.
Let’s say it is not easy. Nobody would spontaneously choose to be cursed by God!! For instance, some alcoholics would start drinking in order to socialize. They finally meet with much lonely people in despair. From quenching thirst and feeling on the top of the world till drying any mouth pleasure, solitary addiction seemingly leads to self-destruction and hopelessness. More and more in Israel drink beer, spirits and liquors and the cheerful get it down the neck can turn to some family hell or personal curse. The same happens with drug-addicted. I used to find legless rolling drunk men and a few women out of their skulls illegally lodged in some cave in the outskirts of Jerusalem. They felt a bit fragile as many broken souls because of their tragic backgrounds. Curiously, they only could get out of such a hell by a personal decision, knowing that, being under the weather, God could bless them again and again.
Indeed the main purpose of the sidra is propositioned in two real, test-proof mitzvot / commandments. Alcohol, drug-addicted, prostitutes and sex-addicted should be considered like true “poor and needy folk”. There are dissocialized inmates who feel cursed by their environment or their own mental stand, or were the victims of historic dramas and need God’s help to reinvigorate their egos. Assistance is very Jewish. The first medical and social care system in Eretz Israel were developed by the Ultra-Orthodox Jews.
This traces back to the spirit of the portion. “There will be no one in need – efes ki lo yihyeh eviyon\אפס כי לא יהיה אביון” as stated in Deut. 15:4 “because the Lord is sure to bless you in the Land that the Lord you God is giving you to occupy”. The word is special: “eviyon\אביון = poor, distressed” “who is distressed because he longs for everything (Baba Metsia 111b). Then there is another verse, specified after this first mitzvah which states: “There will never cease to be some in need on the earth (eviyon bekerev haaretz\אביון בקרב הארץ), therefore I command you: open your hand to the poor and the needy (“le’aniyecha uleeviyoncha\לענייך ולאביונך”) neighbor/brother in your land” (Devarim 15:11). The same is said in the Gospel: “Jesus said: you will always have the poor and needy with you.” (Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8).
How come that the first verse seems to secure all the inhabitants and the second one commands the mitzvah which is in the heart of Judaism? It should be noted that this commandments are given together with the “shemittah – year of remission, especially of the debts” (Deut. 15:9-18). The ending year 5768 is a shemittah\שמיטה – a year of remission. We are facing here the same quest as for “Shma’ Israel\שמע ישראל – Hear Israel” that is a pure and strict commandment to revere God without expecting any reward. The same happens with regards to the poor and the needy. It is true that we are going, in Israel, through a terrible period of impoverishment.
Statistics and ads show that thousands of children and numerous unemployed, old pensioners (Shoah survivors in between…) don’t have enough food or resources. Some charity movements or volunteers do a wonderful work to correct these situations. In Israel, there is a widely “tzedakah\צדקה” acting system that corresponds, to some extent, to the Muslim “zakat – charity money”. The Christian Churches have been always very generous towards the local Arab people (hospitals, elderly homes), also providing some money and assistance to the Jews in many ways and for various purposes. Interestingly, the Greek-Melkite (Catholic) Patriarch Gregorios III (Lutfi Laham) who served many years in Jerusalem as archbishop, developed and continues to enhance with his hierarchy a strong network of assistance to the poor, the sick, the elderly people. It is a fundamental part of the religious love towards God and the humans.
Thus, if we pretend that we love God, we firstly have to show that we are able to love our fellow people whom we see. Look at this psalm: “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises all who are bowed down, the eyes of all look to you, and you given them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living one” (Tehillim 145:14-16). The “You” form is both applicable to God and to the human beings. It is incumbent to the believers to show a real love of the neighbors/fellow people / others / enemies. In return, God largely provides His blessings.
This is exactly the same move as for Yom Kippur. On the Day of “At-one-ment”, the Jews are called to forgive each other and then be pardoned by God as a consequence of their mutual love and choice of blessing and not curse. It may look a bit dreamy… In Israel, as in many countries, some secular organizations would seemingly show more charity and assistance than the religious groups.
For the Jewish tradition, “’ani\עני – poor / ‘aniyut\עניות - poverty” must be combated and is considered as a shame as regards social stand that leads to diseases, filth, immorality, sloth and depravation. But it is should be noted that the shemittah / year of remission of the debts and rest of the earth allows another consideration of “poverty”. Human beings must give a “leave, holiday time, refreshing year” to the earth that nourish. Of course, the Jews can reverse the mitzvah by hiring non-Jews, but the mitzvah is great and nice toward the soils that also need some vacation.
Judaism highly respects the spiritual wealth of the poor who expect everything from God alone and confide in the Providence / Hashgachah\השגחה. This implies a good knowledge of who we are and a lot of self-control that is challenge by a system of consumption that increases in Israeli society since 1967. “Israel asked the Lord: who are Your people? He said: the poor (ani’im)” (Ex. Rabba 31, Avot 1,5). In the Gospel, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20), Jesus praises the “aniyut deruchot\אניות דרוחות = poverty of spirit”.
Saint Francis of Assisi is called “Poverello – Little poor man” in Italian. 800 years ago, he launched a thanksgiving movement of freedom and pure love for the poor, praising God in His creation. The Baal Shem Tov and the Chassidic groups appeared in a similar context. Poverty does not mean “poor thing!” On the contrary, it shows that every single soul is worthy and that everything is possible.
Baba Bathra 123 has a question: "Mah raah\מה ראה?": i.e. what does this situation mean? Can is to be seen "with insights". The Eastern Orthodx Churches come to the celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos. She sleeps into death and is taken by God and Her son to live for ever. The cross has the same meaning. Jesus sleeps into the cross, tortured and killed by all mankind represented by the Roman soldiers that followed the decision of the Jewish authorities. What can be seen, understood? One thing is constant and inherited from the rabbinical tradition: "yoshney efer = those sleeping in the dust (of Machpelah cave at Hebron, the patriarchs): the departed are born to be reinvigorated, to sleep into rest and rise again. The cross has the shape of the TAU - the last Hebrew letter. In the Hebrew tradition it moves back again till the "aleph" that links heaven to earth; the letter shows God's Presence above and in the world underneath; it also means teaching and governing, thus companionship.
How can we see that in the present in the hardships of monologued dialogs based on power and rules, rituals. The believers sanctify the world because they know whom and what they see.
av Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel
August 22, 2008 - כ דאב תשס"ח
Photograph: night over Jerusalem