We are returning to our chats, slightly derailed by Holy Days and observances. Here is the latest chat from the Hebrew Priest:
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.
I keep hearing ‘God-given rights’.
I want to know: what are those rights? Seriously?!
If those rights are based on something that isn’t factual, frequent repetition of those words doesn’t by default make them law.
If those oft-repeated rights are based on something seemingly factual but being attributed to the God of Torah, the God of the Old Testament, then the title of God has been taken in vain. Dangerous ground there, slippery slopes and all.
God given rights are to breathe, to multiply, and to die. Given equally to mankind, to animals as well as to plant life (breathe termed in alternate forms) and organisms.
Choice is an option given mankind. Not a right, an option. People often choose to be emotionally driven.
Right to live? Well, until you die… sure.
Liberty? No, not a right that Almighty granted, but seemingly a cultural perception graced upon society in general.
Pursuit of happiness? Whatever. That’s another cultural perception of mankind, not a God-granted right.
The words of Torah, the history of Tanakh comes to mind…
People were born poor.
People were in situations where there was no food, no water.
People were born into slavery. All colors.
People were isolated into groups.
People were restricted and persecuted for their beliefs, their race, their cultures. Across the earth.
These situations are often the direct result of consequences. Choices made and consequence of choice being the equal and opposite reaction. Assigned situations based on circumstance and consequence.
Rights equal to all.
The rest is conceptual. Even if penned by founders.
Sh’ma Yisra’eil – Return to the Law.
Torah Law, that is… the religion of the Hebrews.
I can keep it, it’s not terrifically hard, but it doesn’t matter.
Outside the land – It doesn’t matter.
I can live my life restrained only by civil law – eat, drink and be merry. An ocean away, across the border, on the moon… as long as I’m not in the land chosen by Almighty, the Law is not a matter to much concern me.
So why am I so morose, so concerned with doing what YHVH commanded? What keeps me on course, holding the line, standing apart and keeping separate from everyone and everything I know? Why do I not just blend in, become a comfortable fit with society, with culture, with family and friends and community?
If nothing else, so that I can sleep well at night, so that I can practice what I believe with all of my heart. Even if my obedience makes no difference, none. Inconsequential, insignificant. Important only to me. Important only that by extension, I hope to revere YHVH by keeping the commands.
Truly, YHVH said I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you – by you all of the families of the earth will be blessed.
Not me. Almighty didn’t say that about me.
Not anyone outside the land. Other nations didn’t get this condition, this special selection.
Only Israel. Chosen resident of the land.
So hey there Israel – Are you listening?!? – people in the land, citizens, strangers, residents of all shapes, sizes and beliefs – do you not believe YHVH?
Are you fearless, thinking Almighty, YHVH will not require? See Numbers 35.
The land is chosen, deliberately; forever claimed by YHVH – a possession only lent to others as punishment to those peoples who defiled it, those who denied that YHVH owned the land.
Israel – pay attention before you also are spewed from the land! Please!
There are terms. There are conditions. Go back and search for the God of your father Abraham. Look to the ancients, those Hebrews who came out of Egypt to serve your Almighty, and repair your ways. Strip your extraneous laws and traditions and return to YHVH who chose you – to be the blessing, to dwell safely in the land, to become the rightful servants of YHVH.
Look closely at Leviticus 26. Is the land and its people truly blessed?
Not according to Torah. Is the land and its people truly in the midst of punishment? It appears clearly so to me.
Find your priests, the sons of Aaron. Ask them to take their stand, to resume their eternal inherited positions. Support them. Give them reason to seek YHVH, to inquire of, and worship YHVH as they have been commanded. Ask them to seek out the old ways, the ways of Abraham. Ask them to become servants of YHVH, as designed.
Do your part – clean house, prepare yourselves and the tabernacle of Almighty – set yourselves straight. Accept the punishment and ask YHVH to Remember – to Remember the Covenant with Abraham – to Remember the Covenant with Isaac – to Remember the Covenant with Jacob – and to Remember again the Land.
Kick those rabbis to the curb. Eject them from the land if you have to, if they, like others before them, refuse to honor the established hierarchy set forth by YHVH. If they continue to usurp the position of authority, the priesthood, set forth by YHVH, then send them away. They lead you astray.
The rest of us are counting on you – whether we know it or not – our future hangs in the balance, waiting on you. All of the families of the earth are looking and hoping for a thing that will not happen without you.
Save yourselves, and allow us to rejoice in your resumed status, as Chosen of YHVH, rightful residents of the Land of Israel, Land of YHVH.
Not for me, not for the Sojourner. I have no position. I just have great hope for your future.
Oh Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I and my predecessors and my offspring have sinned and done exceedingly wrong before you.
Your laws have been spurned and cast aside, your priests denied and your dwelling treated as naught.
Your creation has been given no rest and your land is profaned.
Your people no longer know your Law and your Priests no longer know your people.
Justice is treated as wrong-doing and wrong-doings are treated as just.
Knowledge has become base and lawless and laws of men exceed all boundaries.
Men think themselves gods and make mere men their gods. Is there no hope for mankind? Is there no turning back to do right?
I see people whose intents seem good, yet they know you not. Will they get the chance?
Will you remember the Land and remember the Covenant?
Is there yet a remnant left to glorify Almighty God?
Are there yet punishments to be dealt and accepted?
Praise you, oh Almighty God – your mercy gives me hope, although my transgressions are many!
Thank you for Yom Kippur and the yearly cleansing of our souls.
May your established laws and statutes be forever known and kept to make difference between the clean and the unclean and the Holy and the unholy, to show glory to Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Happy Festival of Passover.
On the fourteenth day, at dusk, we eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter greens, with feet shod and loins girded. And any lamb left over from the whole roasted lamb, is not to remain until the morning, it is to be burnt entirely in the fire.
That’s what I recall from the reading.
And that’s why I don’t keep the feast, just the remembrance. I don’t have the means to roast a whole lamb, and I don’t have a physical community with which to share the extra meat.
I have purchased unleavened crackers. And I will rid the property of items that contain leaven tomorrow, as the First Day of Unleavened Bread, Hag HaMatzot, begins at sundown and will last for seven days. I will also bake unleavened bread tomorrow, using a favorite recipe.
Just like any other restriction, just before the deadline, you’ll find me cramming in samples of the restricted item, slice by slice, piece by piece, bit by bit. I’ve enjoyed buns and pound cake and toast and cookies and crackers this week.
It will be good for me to refrain for seven days. Likely a shock to my system, considering the past month of over indulging on bread and baked stuffs. I’m ready though.
I’m somber already, as the Holy Days always strike me as such sorrowful times. I simply don’t consider them to be the celebrations they were meant to be, when I’m living in exile.
But I’m extremely thankful to be able to observe the Holy Days.
A signal for special Hebrew preparations, the twelfth new moon sighting was recently announced. That triggers my attentions to my larder, my pantry.
As commanded in Exodus, the new year will begin soon. It’s signaled by the first moon during or after the aviv stage of the barley in Israel. From Wikipedia, ” aviv is the stage in the growth of grain when the seeds have reached full size and are filling with starch, but have not dried yet “.
This twelfth month means that soon there will be teams searching to determine the barley stage just prior to the next new moon – if the majority of the barley is at aviv, then the new year begins with the next new moon.
That means that Pesach/Passover and Chag Ha’Matzot/Unleavened Bread would follow shortly after. Time for me to begin using up what I have of leavened items/leavening in my cupboards.
Last year, I was not as prepared, and tossed out nearly $100 worth of prepared foods from the outer food storage areas: deep freezer and pantry. It’s what had to be done.
This year, I’m trying to be less wasteful. It’s so hard to remember when I’m at the store, buying in excess – “no, the remaining panko breading is enough to get through the next six weeks”. I hope I’m not talking out loud when I remind myself, but that seems to be one of my recently acquired skills. Ah, the freedom of age, eh?
I post a lot about feelings. This blog is basically my online journal and showcases how alike you and I might be with our differences in beliefs. Yet, I forget to let you in on some of the extraordinary portions of my life – the details that are specific to being Hebrew.
What I find to be one of the more complicated matters of Hebrew life is that of clothing.
The command not to mix fibers leaves a modern gal mostly flummoxed when confronting the clothing aisles. Linen/wool blends, linen blends, wool blends, cotton/poly blends, linen/cotton/wool blends… it’s like looking for a sinew needle in a 500 gallon bin full of multi-fiber yarn.
I can tell you that I have to be in the mood to shop when it comes time to buy clothes. The time I spend poring tediously over every content label would unnerve me to no end if I were simply running an errand on a tight schedule.
Since I work in an office, I typically settle on man-made clothing blends, hoping for a label of 100% unnatural vs mixing the natural cloth fibers. Poly, nylon and spandex are my primary work-a-day options.
When I find the rare item that is 100% single fabric, I’m overjoyed.
The most recent find was on clearance as well. Label me the proud owner of 9 (yes, nine) new pairs of 100% cotton jeans, purchased for $6.67 per pair, plus shipping and taxes.
Come now, don’t hate – I cannot find jeans without that tidbit of spandex added to the cotton. When I do…
Call it prepping, call it hoarding – I call it practical. It will save me hours of search time over the next few years. With that practical mindset, I also varied the sizes, to account for minor fluctuations on the scale over time. I like my chocolate and I’m prone to the occasional baked goods binge. It’s not going to leave me pant-less.
But wait, there’s ‘More’.
While commanded, there is no penalty listed for this guideline. Should I find myself facing no options but mixed fibers, it would not be a death penalty. There is no slap on the wrist listed. Many of the guidelines in Torah have no retribution, contrary to what some might believe. I like to think that Almighty was keen to the possibility that there would be times when it would be difficult to live those ‘lesser’ commands.
Would I know? Certainly. There is that. I would know that I had tried, but not met my obligation. I’d have to live with that.
What a beautiful methodology.
A day on the US calendar, declared a day of thanks, gives me the day off from work and a good reason to use it to spend with family.
I love my family, so a day when all of us – or many of us – can be together, to visit, to share, to eat (it really does always revolve around the food, yes it does)… those are good days. Those are days that I am extremely thankful for.
This year though, I’m taking the day off. No big to-do, no organized meal, because truly this is not a prescribed Holy Day for me. Not a day commanded by Almighty. It’s a culturally inherited day, one which I have the ability to enjoy if I so choose, but one on which I would also gladly work if needed.
Hubby countered me the other day when I was describing a conversation I’d had with a co-worker about the days I “observe”. In his mind, I observe Thanksgiving. Simply because we often host family in our home on this National Day with all of the fixings.
Easily misunderstood. It nearly does seem like our family tradition.
Thing is, it’s not.
Family tradition would mean that I would feel somewhat bereft in not following it – amiss, and off-kilter, nearly guilty.
I’m extremely thankful that today will be a day I am not required to be at my workplace and a day that I can simply do whatever I feel like doing.
Turkey cooking? Yes, in fact. Hubby brought one home from work and I have the day off, so I’ll pop that bird in the oven sometime today.
But at my own pace, because I’m not on a scheduled tradition clock today.