This has been a long time coming, but some of our community is having an ‘open’, well semi-open, discussion about Torah and the Land of Canaan.
You are welcome to see what it’s about:
Join in, if you agree to the terms. 🙂
I sometimes ask myself why I believe Torah. Why do I desire to serve Almighty?
Continually, I get knocked off my feet with discovered errors.
Always, it’s a lonely traipse through time.
The end of the matter – I have absolutely no skin in the game. There is zero lineage in my family line that ties to the People of the Book. I am listed on a family pedigree, part of a registered family history, that extends back to the 1500s, of European descent and documented immigration to the colonies in 1629. I am European American. Or hillbilly, in tribute to my dead mother.
There is absolutely nothing I gain by my desire to serve Almighty, except that I soothe my own soul.
I’m ostracized in some circles for staunchly defending my integrity. My blood family steers a wide berth around me since they don’t understand me — that or they attempt to proselytize me. My spouse thankfully tolerates and accommodates me, but disagrees with my beliefs, so I will not be a citizen in the land YHWH calls Israel, unless by means beyond my control. Should I find myself there, I would have to beg for scraps, scrape by and feed off the corners, hope to become a servant to survive. I have no inheritance.
You see, I am nobody. I have no reward for what I believe.
What I have is a deep belief that what YHWH has set down in Torah is the most perfect system I could ever imagine. I am a follower of rules, a cynic who tests but a guardian once I am convinced. I could keep the instructions, I believe, should I be in the position to be in the land. But what if I’m wrong? If I don’t keep the Law in the Land, I would be expelled or killed.
Harsh? Or perfect?
Either way – there’s no reward. Yet, I will continue.
We can point to this, that, or the other as prophecy – and even look at old text and say that it was prophesied and came true – not knowing for certain when it was written. But Torah gives us concrete instructions for what a messed up and lost nation Jacob would become.
We can look at irrigated fields, with neighboring bodies of water sucked dry and call them miraculous signs of blessings; we can tout technological savvy and military prowess, backed by other nations not familiar to our ancients, as preordained and call them proof of biblical texts. But we ignore what Almighty pictured in Torah as our proof of being in sync with Almighty:
3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you; and will establish My covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old from before the new. 11 And I will set My tabernacle (Not Temple) among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright.
We cannot seem to look at Torah and take it seriously, literally – have we not acknowledged that we CONTINUE to WALK AGAINST OUR ALMIGHTY?
Contrary to what two of the major religions claim, Torah shows us the truth about today and the Covenant with the tribe of Israel:
The critical piece is as follows – I will make the text red and put notes in parenthesis and in blue text for what I am calling attention to:
32 And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it. (desolation is ‘without Israel’ but not unoccupied, as the enemies are dwelling there) 33 And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you; and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. 34 Then shall the land be paid her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye are in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and repay her sabbaths. 35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall have rest; even the rest which it had not in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. 36 And as for them that are left of you, I will send a faintness into their heart in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as one fleeth from the sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. 37 And they shall stumble one upon another, as it were before the sword, when none pursueth; and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And ye shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. 40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me. 41 I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity; 42then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. 43 For the land shall lie forsaken without them, and shall be paid her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them; and they shall be paid the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected Mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred My statutes. 44 And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. 46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
So – Israel, Jacob, Hebrews – I beseech you – confess that your course is off kilter and that you are no longer in concert with the Covenant, no longer doing your part in keeping The Law.
May YHWH Remember. And may there be people left alive To Hear, and To Do. And may The Land be once again the Joy of YHWH, Eternal.
Our Hebrew observance of Yom Kippur is not what you’ll find in the search engines; the current traditions that have been set for many years are not followed among our people.
In fact, I was astounded to see a search option come up to show that the scapegoat was taken to its death on this Holy Day.
In fact, as I pondered on that change to the commands, it occurred to me that my picture of that scapegoat was also in error.
When the bull and the two rams were chosen for Yom Kippur, it would not be clear which of the rams was to be the offering and which was to be the scapegoat, as the lots had not yet been cast by the High Priest. The rams would have both been choice, healthy and vigorous animals. Fit, without blemish, choice for offering to Almighty.
The ram that was sent away with the sins of the community figuratively upon its head would have been capable of survival in that wilderness, should it make it past the predators in the early time period. Accustomed to domestic life, there would be a quick learning curve – or death. But the ram was not sent to die – rather it was released to freedom, to a clean slate. Its choices would determine its future.
So it is for us, should we follow the commands – the command to refrain from work and the command to afflict our souls.
Unlike the days of unleavened bread, where we’re commanded not to eat leaven, we are not commanded not to eat on Yom Kippur. We’re commanded to afflict our souls. That is a hard concept and leaves some room for translation. To my mind it means to reflect, to self-examine and find my inner motives, my inner workings and check them against Torah expectations to see where I find myself lacking. It’s also to recall where I’ve made outright errors according to the Torah laws and to acknowledge that guilt, that fault that should have already had restitution made and to bring that to the forefront as an item that would today be released.
And so the day began. A pot of coffee to stir the mental works. A bit of rest upon the cozy sofa as the achy morning muscles and joints stirred and loosened. A little bit of music once the brain cells were beginning to fire.
Then the journal and favorite pen were pulled out and the commencement of self inspection began.
Well timed, the Holy convocation – the meeting with the community – was announced and began, only moments after the pen was set aside and just after I had snacked on curry seasoned cashews.
We discussed our perspectives on the day. We talked about the happenings of the week, and a few current events. We discussed concerns over family, and life. And then we spent some time talking of those joys we’ve had, those things we look forward to and relish, and how thankful we are for those.
After the convocation, a quick lunch and a short walk for the dog, I returned to the inspection and discovered a few more items for which I could find reason for relief of guilt, for cleaning the slate. Items that I could improve upon.
Not every moment of the day has been spent wallowing in self pity for wrong doing – and moments outside of the meeting and the self inspection were not swept away by napping.
I set a bluegrass station on the stereo as background and did some wishful thinking, some reading, and some thinking about the fall weather approaching.
And look forward to the evening and a clean slate – and a full return to the rituals commanded by Almighty.
Fragmented communities, one of the hardest obstacles in today’s Hebrew life, become a very sobering circumstance when there are dangers to parts of the community based on their geographical location.
It’s difficult navigation on a day to day basis. But an impending natural disaster situation for a small portion of the community makes you stand up and take note of your real community bond.
We don’t see each other, except on Holy days when the budgets and the timing works out. Technology allows us to assemble otherwise, to keep in touch and to keep a finger on the pulse of our connections, our commitment to Torah.
Irma threatened my family. Firstly, my Torah family, but also my extended family – and my friend’s family. I could do no more than sit from very safe sidelines and worry as I watched the mesmerizing giant wheel storm approach. As I kept myself busy with my housekeeping tasks, I kept the radar going, with a commentary running on the speakers – touch-points, an audio and visual perspective to those spaces that contained a portion of my important peoples.
All have reported in safe, and I’ve yet to hear all of the damage reports – but it seems to be minimal.
But I’m changed a bit.
My disconnect, my aloofness, my resolve to be independent of My Almighty and never make requests has been shattered.
I cried, and I asked for Mercy for my connections, my Community. My priorities became more clear than ever.
That, I need to remember. My bonds.
I have had depressive bouts for a long time. In the early years, they would come on as a result of a life situation, or circumstance, or poor decision, and cling to me like a strong sedative for a short duration. I would loll in the depths of despair for a few days, allowing the emotions to be acknowledged. Then, I would pick myself up and shake off the dredges – usually finding a positive action to perk me up – and resume. Don’t worry, be happy. Happy face on, life goes on.
At some point though, I stopped recognizing the depression, as it would not necessarily be tied to a thing that I could pinpoint, but rather, an accumulation of things that were akin to being in the pot of water, as the fire is started below. You don’t notice the heat, until it’s reached near boiling point. These depressive bouts didn’t give me the awareness to acknowledge and feel the pain, which I had earlier found to be an integral piece in the process of healing. Rather, these bouts were more like a drug addiction, where the chemical has lost its potency. I had built up a tolerance to the depression and a deeper state would settle on me before I would become aware.
This last bout, coupled with its added menopausal symptoms, struck a nerve finally. Likely, it was because I could finally point my finger at a cause and effect. Estrogen, you bitch! How could you do this to me?
No matter the reasoning, I now feel that I have the arsenal to effectively combat this bout, and be more aware of any future bouts to stop them before I become mired.
I’ll admit, the emotions do start to roll in, creeping from the edges like fiery smoke, and it’s usually the awareness of an angry edge that raises my alarm. I’m aware now, that alarm means it’s time to take action – turn up the music, sing it off. Take a walk, reason out the emotions. Drink some water, and redirect my attentions to some neutral subject for five minutes. And suddenly, I’m back. Me. The me who finds the positive in life – the upbeat, still reclusive, but happy me. Not the angry, withdrawn little ogre I’ve been.
So – wordy insight now given you to explain my dilemma, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me recover and get myself back to stability, sans pharmaceuticals or intense psycho-therapy.
- Supplements – first three taken daily, with EPO taken once/week (due to effects of blood thinning – I always check counter-indications for any alternative therapy on WebMD):
- Vitamin B12
- Fish oil with Vitamin D
- Grapeseed Extract
- Evening Primrose oil
- Topicals – mixed with carrier oil and a few drops rubbed on top of feet a few days a week:
- Clary sage
- Roman chamomile
- Foods – needed to counter the effects of the estrogen loss
- Green tea, and occasional Tulsi tea
- Colorful vegetables: leafy greens, beets, red cabbage, etc
- Nuts, seeds, legumes
- Wild caught salmon, sardines and mackerel
- Oils: EVOO, Flaxseed oil
- Probiotic yogurt
- Reach out to and spend time with friends
- Exercise at least 3 times a week for 10-30 minutes each
- Music therapy – something I can do at work, at home, or in the car
- Art therapy – the picture above is from my adult coloring book – a great way to redirect my attention at home
- Outdoor time
- Education – more time with actual pen and ink books and less internet
- Reduced social media time
These are the things I employed to counter my situation, and it has worked wonderfully. Being aware is key, I believe. I had to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to find the balances necessary for me to put into effect. Then I had to act.