Tag Archives: community

Disconnected Hebrew

I am trying to reconcile life.  It’s going to get a bit messy in here, I’ll warn you now.

My last post (mere minutes ago) was about those considered essential workers for essential businesses in the good ol’ us of the a.

Feeling betrayed, seething with an underlying resentment.  I now understand why my recovering sorta alcoholic has resumed a pretty high daily dose of his favorite drinky-drink.  Why discussions are less comfortable and so we retreat to our spaces as his buzz wears off, hoping that I’m not falling asleep before we can have a comfortable discussion.

It’s not terrible.  Honestly.  We’re loners, both of us, so we do retreats well in our house.  Then we share space and chat, working through the daily grind, and sharing perspectives, sometimes debating, often agreeing… Good stuff overall.

Back to the point, back to where I was heading with this – divisions.  Resentments.  Differences.

Today, I am looking back.  Reading Exodus (Shemot) and thinking about the history, the story of the Hebrews being released, rescued from bondage by their Almighty, YHVH.

Much to think about there.  Instructions.  Inclusion or exclusion.  Divisions.  Consequences.  Definitions.  Schedules.  New normals.

And I mesh the news that I read this morning, the catch up information I received last night, the things I’ve seen and felt and overheard over the past week.

Churchgoers in my state are pressing against the gathering confines to be able to assemble in large groups on their holy day, my guess is that they are thinking themselves exempt from what may befall them should there be a shared germ amongst them.

I live in a state that is predominantly catastrophe denounced.  Most of the population that I have experienced are treating the current situation as an overblown attempt to control them, and so will not give space to those who are trying to be safe.  Their leader taught them well and they are holding fast to the early sermons from that pulpit.

And so my initial thought is – fine, let them assemble.  Germ in, germ out, populations decreased, so be it.  Because I am a witness to hearing a child two fences over  – who in the midst of playtime with other kids announced “I wanna be Hitler!!!!”

But that was a fleeting thought.  Because who am I to judge, truly?  And the child may grow up and realize the truth of the past and be truly remorseful for childhood play actions.

Who knows?

Here’s the serious part of my ramblings though – if you’re still here to read, and haven’t denounced me as a hate-filled anti-christ.

Quick truth – the same as I am not anti-social, but rather reclusive (assemble, I don’t mind – just don’t expect me to be there).  I am not anti-christ, rather I believe that the worshipped beings are false gods, of no worth or purpose and that only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the True God, Almighty.  One.  But I don’t have any problem with others worshipping their version of god.

So.  Again, the serious part.

Economy is only kept alive by the standard of debt.  An economy will only survive if peoples, companies, entities, feed the debt burden.  That’s economy in a nutshell.

So why is economy so important.  Consider that.

Why is safety not as important as economy.  Consider that.

Why keep the masses in debt and call it the health of the nation?

Barter.  Learn to garden, learn to barter.  Self sustenance.  Back to simpler lives, simpler times.

An extreme period of duress, for certain.  Hard changes, hard truths.  Hard struggles.

Hasn’t it already been hard amidst all the fineries?

Peace out, again.

 

In Anticipation of A Guest

zinnia rock

 

Tomorrow will bring with it the arrival of my best girl friend, in time to share the celebration of Sukkot.

The new moon sighting in Israel set the times for the Seventh month celebration, and Yom Kippur has passed.  Now we celebrate the time spent by the Israelites in booths/temporary structures as they traversed the wilderness.

On the agenda: some outdoor photo treks, some fun kitchen  and garden time, visits to local interests and a lot of chatting it up.  🙂

Yeah, I’m stoked!

 

Recompense

What is it that drives religion?  What keeps the gears of the masses oiled, the coffers full, the leaders employed?

Predominantly, it is fear of punishment or desire for reward.

Fear of hell-fire and damnation.  Fear of a god named satan, a devil, an angel gone bad.  Spending eternity in a fire pit ruled by the devil, surrounded by the worst of the worst sort of evil people – rapists, murderers, cannibals, thieves, liars.

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Desire to live in a paradise with no pain, no death.  Streets that are lined with silver and gold, and mansions galore.  Rights to rule over and judge other people, to enact punishments upon others.  Ultimate power, to be like a god.  Angels floating nearby, surrounded by all of the note-worthy saints and patriarchs of old.

I took up residence in that camp, or one quite similar, for a long period of time.

I’ll concede that there are many variations to this view, and I’ve taken the most liberal case in point.  The gist is still the same, however.

I’m no longer fearful of hell or a make-believe devilish character.

I no longer strive to spend eternal days in the heavens, ephemeral beings and blissful promises dispelled.

I’ve chosen my truth.  The fact that what I have, what I know, what I live, is what it is.  There’s no better place, there’s no better time.  This is my life and this is what I have to work with.

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The punishment, sans an operational Priesthood to govern, is self-imposed.  If I transgress in one of the minor issues, I do the best that I can to make the required restitution.  It’s pretty simple, really.  Thievery – pay it back, and add a fifth.  Liar – okay, there’s no punishment for this unless it’s been as a witness, or to incur punishment on another who is not guilty.  If the lie was to hurt another, then the pain should belong to me.  If my dog gets out and eats a neighbor’s chicken, I need to repay the chicken.

Major punishments – those I intend to never have to deal with.  I don’t want to be expelled from my already virtual camp, nor do I want to die.  I’ll keep myself from that evil by remaining faithful to my husband, by keeping the Sabbath.  I’ll control my anger and not go into a rage and kill another person.

As a result of grave misdeeds and vile doings, the people I would reside with, the community in the Land of Almighty’s choice, have been expelled, punished, judged to live outside of the Land, outside of the covenanted protection.  Therefore, the ultimate reward of Torah, to dwell safely, to have productive lands and productive wombs, is suspended and not available to those who would join the community.

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The ability to continue to enjoy Almighty’s creation, however, is still available.  The joy of Almighty’s created beauty is still reward.  The ability to wake up each day, to know that there is no other; this Creator, this Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is my God.

What more reward would I desire?

Love Thy Neighbor

An oft bandied phrase, one that has been ping-ponging in and out of my thoughts for weeks, months even:  Love thy neighbor.

How do I treat the woman next door who is sneaking out the back door to go cheat on her husband?  How am I supposed to love the two men at work who just announced their sexual relationship?  I believe those things are against Torah, so how am I supposed to love these people?

The attached condition, “as thyself’ also gives me pause.  How do I apply that if I don’t so much love myself?

I did an online search and looked at the context of the Law:  18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Ah, some context is now given.  It’s not simply a willy-nilly overview of how humanity should be each others’ doormats; to the contrary, this is a simple provision that it’s not up to me to take the matter of law/justice/judgement into my own hands and apply as I desire, angrily so.

Additionally, the condition defines that I’m not to act by my own determination against the sons of my people – against my tribe, so to speak.  This certainly isn’t an obligatory statement regarding the whole of humanity.  The whole of humanity is not addressed by Torah, just the nation of the Hebrews and those who would take that citizenship.

By extension, this relieves me of an obligation to pass judgement, to call to attention a broken Law of Torah unless the violation is made by a fellow Hebrew.  I can point out the matter to the violator, or serve as a witness when it’s my fellow tribesman, but assignment of the duty of repayment and the pronouncement of recompense is not mine to dole.

This also means that I should not take vengeance or bear a grudge against myself, right?

Not as simple.

When my guilt is intertwined with that of the culture in which I’ve been raised, the separation of the threads of real guilt and perceived and societal guilt is an intricate and timely endeavor.

Not truly an easy task, that:  cleanly separating what would be expected of me should I truly live in a Torah community, and take an active part in the scales of justice that would prevail there.  In order for a release from guilt, there is a penalty to be applied.  Justice served, penance done, go on and live your life.  Complete.

In absence of that community – well, what then?

So, I continue to live the Law as best I can, in a society not understanding of that Law, not conducive to the keeping of that Law.  I keep to myself, do my best to get along with others, because I have no need and no right to judge others’ choices or to preach my beliefs.

And wonder:  will there ever be a day that I could wholly practice this simple phrase?

Community Life and The Holy Convocation

An integral part of living the life of the Hebrew is the observance of the Holy days, primarily Shabbat – the Sabbath.

The seventh day, observed from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

A day of rest, to do no work.

A day to assemble as a community.

A day to touch base with the lives of the other believers, to recap the week, to share and to care.

A day that reminds us how important we are to each other.  A day that reminds us of the connection we have to one another:  Almighty and the Law of Torah.

We often talk for hours.  Some talk more than others, we’re just like everyone else in that aspect.

We talk about the week, our ups and downs.  We talk about joys, kids and grandkids and accomplishments.

We talk about disappointments, and hard times, and challenges.  We talk about Torah and the world around us – how those things are often at odds.

Sometimes, we talk about troubles between us, the differences we may have, or our contrasting opinions.

Most importantly, we talk.

Our time is mostly free for the talking.  Sometimes, we have other items on the schedule – family time, or time to gather with friends who believe differently.

Sometimes, there is simply a need to recharge with silence.

We’re so much like others, you see.

Except, we’re different.

🙂

Narrowing It Down: Define The Hebrew

Of all of the religions, all of the religious groups, and all of the belief systems that exist, the Hebrew religion – the Hebrew people – may be defined very simply.

Torah.  Only Torah.

No Talmud.

No Prophets.

No additives, no chemicals, no preservatives.

No heaven to aspire to.

No hell to be damned to.

Seriously, the basis for the Hebrew belief is that following Torah, in its pure form, is the requirement.

This presents a new twist on religion, a new but old thing which typically sends minds reeling from the shock.  Hebrews rely on the priest to deliver the Torah information, as defined in… (wait for it… you might already know this… ) Torah!

Just as Torah describes, the Aaronic priest is born into the duty, born into the hierarchy, to lead the Hebrews in their religious life.  The priest directs the community, according to Torah.  The Levites are directed to serve the priests, and to carry the Tabernacle (yes, tabernacle not temple) and Courtyard and Articles.

I don’t have a need to do Torah readings, Torah studies, although I spent nearly twenty years doing just that.  As my priest told me, “you know Torah, just go live Torah.”

Had I been a true member of a Hebrew community throughout life, or came upon such during travels, I would have been exposed to the Torah by the priests there.

Some of the differences between a Hebrew and nearly every other religion:

  • We work to accept our punishment.  The reality dealt to the Hebrew people and their generations for their refusal to keep Torah Law.
  • We do not ask of Almighty, YHWH.  This means we do not make prayer requests.
  • We, the congregation, do not read the Law.  We rely on the priest for matters that are too difficult.
  • We accept that we do not have the right to live in the Land.  We’re in exile, see the first point.
  • We are not commanded to ‘go forth and gather people’ to believe as we do.  You either believe as we do or you don’t.  Each and every human being has the right, the ability to choose.  If you choose differently, so be it, you are allowed to do so.
  • As exiled people, we recognize that the land we live in is not up to us to rule.  We are subject to the laws of the land we’re in.
  • A Hebrew may or may not be genetically tied to the original people of Torah.  The only difference for the Hebrew who voluntarily joins the community is that they don’t appear to be included in land inheritance.
  • There is no satan, no messiah, no king, no temple.  Our sole worship, our sole belief is in Almighty and the hierarchy set down by Almighty.  The anointed one is the High Priest.
  • The commanded Dwelling is the tabernacle and the enclosure – to keep out any but those who are of the tribe of Levi.  The priests are the only who offer, and the only who enter the tabernacle.  Only the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies.
  • It is up to the community to freely give items for construction of the tabernacle, the enclosure, the cloths and coverings, the Ark, table, lampstand, priestly clothing and articles of the clothing and tabernacle.
  • There are elders chosen who take the message of the priest to the community, should the community be too large for adequate delivery.
  • Only Hebrew Priests are allowed to say the blessing.  As described in Torah.

Those are the primary differences, for any who were wondering.