Jews and Poles Don’t Have to Be Enemies

avatar by Jonathan S. Tobin / JNS.org

The entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JNS.org – Jews and Poles spent most of the first half of the 20th century at each other’s throats. Must

they continue on the same destructive path as we head further into the 21st century?

If you’ve been following the pointless controversy engendered by a foolish new law about the Holocaus

t that was recently passed by the Polish parliament, your answer to that question is probably in the

affirmative. The legislation makes it a criminal offense for anyone to suggest that the Polish people

are in any way responsible for the Holocaust. Jews see this as an attempt to deny history and have

responded with the outrage that is always engendered when the Holocaust becomes part of any

contemporary debate.

But what is missing from many of the comments from either side is any awareness of how wrong it

would be if this debate is allowed to become a bitter addendum to the tragic history of Jewish-Polish

relations, which will drive the two peoples further apart after all they’ve both suffered.

The controversial law is rooted in Polish resentment when Auschwitz and other Nazi death factories

are referred to as “Polish death camps.” If, as is likely, the Polish Senate approves the bill, doing

so will be illegal. But the text of the bill goes beyond that. It says, “Whoever accuses, publicly and

against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the

Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich…shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of

imprisonment of up to three years.”

Phrased in that way, this is an attempt to deny the long history of Polish antisemitism, the fact

that some Poles helped the Germans kill Jews as well as the hostile and sometimes violent

reception Jewish survivors got when they tried to return to their homes after the war.

Why is the Polish government going down this road?

Domestic politics is a big part of the answer. The current nationalist government thinks

that whipping up anger about perceived slights to Polish honor is in its interests. At a

time when many on the continent are understandably resentful about the impact of

globalization and the outsized influence of the European Union, of which Poland is a

member, anger about the actions of Germans (past and present) or critics of Poland

is a political winner. This is shortsighted and does nothing to help Poles resist Russian

President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to reassemble the old Soviet empire that once counted

Poland as a captive satellite.

But as wrongheaded as this bill is, this is a moment for Jews to stop and think about the

meaning of history and its implications for our lives today rather than merely venting

knee-jerk anger over the Poles’ chutzpah.

Jewish attitudes toward Poles are still more the product of historical memories than t

he generally good relations that exist today between Israel and Poland. Jew-hatred was

widespread in the independent Polish republic that was destroyed by a German invasion

in 1939. It was also officially sanctioned by the government and rooted in centuries of

religious prejudice whipped up by many in the Catholic Church. Israeli Prime Minister

Yitzhak Shamir, who had grown up in Poland, spoke for many when he said in 1989

that Poles sucked antisemitism with “their mother’s milk.”

But even as they voice dismay at the new law, Jews would do well to remember the

extent of the Polish suffering at the hands of the Germans.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has noted, talk of “Polish death camps” is

inaccurate. The phrase shifts blame from the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust

to the invaded nation where the bulk of the murders took place. The Holocaust was

the fault of its German perpetrators and their collaborators, not the Poles. The fact

that the death camps were located in Poland was a function of logistics, not a belief

that that Poles would help the Nazis kill Jews. Germans, not Poles, staffed the camps

where many of the 3 million Polish Jews who were killed in the Holocaust died.

The plight of the Poles under German occupation was not as dire as that of the Jews,

all of whom were marked for death. But Poles were victimized more than any other

occupied nation. At least 1.5 million Poles were deported to Germany for forced labor.

Hundreds of thousands were imprisoned in concentration camps, and at least 1.9

million Polish civilians were killed during the war, including many who were

murdered by Soviet Communist occupiers.

The extent of Polish resistance to the Nazis must also be remembered. The Poles fought

bravely against impossible odds both at the outset of the war and in 1944 when they

rose against the Germans. That revolt was brutally crushed in a defeat that was enabled

by the cynical refusal of the advancing Soviets to help and resulted in the deaths of more

than 200,000 Poles.

Though some Poles helped the Germans, many thousands also risked their lives to save

Jews. Among them was Jan Karski, the Polish officer who brought word of the death

camps to the West and was ignored by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That doesn’t excuse the massacre of Jews at Kielce or at Jedwabne in 1941. But Jews

who are quick to lump the Poles in with the Germans need to understand there is a

reason why Poles consider themselves to be victims, not perpetrators. Moreover,

Poland’s victimization didn’t begin in 1939, but stretched back centuries as the

great powers treated it as a pawn in their wars and alliances.

A willingness to dive back into conflict with Poland over the Holocaust ignores the

enormous progress that was made to bridge the gap between the two nations in the

postwar era. The heroic efforts of the late Pope John Paul II to combat endemic

antisemitism both in his own nation and among Catholics everywhere deserve to be

remembered with honor. The post-Cold War government of Poland also should be

given credit for maintaining strong and friendly relations with Israel, something

confirmed by its recent refusal to support the United Nations resolution condemning

President Donald Trump’s stand on Jerusalem. Support for and interest in Jewish

culture among Poles also testifies to the way Poland is changing.

Jews and Poles don’t need to be enemies anymore. To the contrary, given Poland’s

delicate strategic situation and the ongoing attacks on Israel, they have much in common.

So rather than engage in mutual condemnations, Jewish critics of the new law should

speak with the same understanding and compassion for Polish suffering and sensibilities

that they demand for their history.

The Polish Holocaust law is a foolish mistake. Like other nations, including Israel,

they’d do better to avoid bills infringing even on hateful speech. But more than that,

it would be a pity if arguments about history were to undo the progress that has been

made to heal the historic rift between Jews and Poles.

Jonathan S. Tobin is the editor-in-chief of JNS. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

As taken from, https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/01/31/jews-and-poles-dont-have-to-be-enemies/

 

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El sentido de la vida

El sentido de la vida

Mientras no sepas por qué estarías dispuesto a morir, aún no has comenzado a vivir.

por Rav Noaj Weinberg zt”l

Durante los últimos dos mil años, los judíos de la diáspora han tenido muchas oportunidades para expresar su coraje y defender sus creencias judías. Fíjate por ejemplo en Natan Sharansky, un prisionero político que estuvo dispuesto a atravesar muchos años de tortura física y psicológica por el hecho de ser judío.

Las páginas de la historia judía están llenas de miles de Sharanskys. Ya sea durante la inquisición, las cruzadas, los pogromos u otras persecuciones y expulsiones, los judíos siempre han dado sus vidas por el judaísmo.

Para la mentalidad occidental, “sacrificar la vida por una creencia” suena como una acción demasiado drástica. ¿Tiene lógica alguna lo que nuestros antepasados hicieron? ¿De dónde sacaron la fuerza para dar sus vidas antes de aceptar otra religión?

Rabí Akiva y el Shemá

Una de las historias más inspiradoras del judaísmo es la de Rabí Akiva.

¿De dónde sacaron la fuerza para dar sus vidas antes de aceptar otra religión?

A pesar de que Rabí Akiva comenzó a estudiar el alef-bet (abecedario) a los cuarenta años de edad, fue tal su aplicación en el estudio que se convirtió en el sabio más grande de los tiempos del Talmud.

Durante el siglo I, los romanos trataron de eliminar el judaísmo y decretaron leyes que prohibían el estudio de la Torá. Pero Rabí Akiva reunió desafiantemente a todos sus discípulos y continúo enseñándoles Torá.

Entonces, los romanos arrestaron a Rabí Akiva y lo ejecutaron brutalmente arrancándole la piel con peines de acero.

Mientras lo torturaban, Rabí Akiva alegremente recitó el Shemá: “Escucha Israel, Hashem es nuestro Dios, Hashem es Uno”.

Sus estudiantes exclamaron: “Rabí, ¿no sólo debemos dar nuestra vida por el honor de Dios sino que también debemos hacerlo con alegría?”.

Rabí Akiva contestó: “Toda mi vida luché por tener el nivel de dedicación necesario para santificar el Nombre de Dios incluso con mi propia vida. Ahora que tengo la oportunidad, ¡lo hago con alegría!”.

¿Acaso Rabí Akiva era un superhombre? ¿Cómo puede ser que esta “oportunidad” le diera tanto placer que oscureciera por completo la agonía de su muerte?

Conoce qué es lo que da placer

Un fundamento básico del judaísmo es que no hay nada que un ser humano pueda hacer por Dios. Dios no tiene necesidades. Pero al mismo tiempo Él nos ha dado todo: agua, aire, comida, sol. Y nos dio la Torá, las instrucciones para obtener el máximo placer en este mundo.

En el Shemá Israel —el juramento de fidelidad judío— se nos ordena amar a Dios “bejol nafshejá”, con toda nuestra alma. Tienes que estar dispuesto a sacrificar tu vida antes de negar a Dios.

Si las mitzvot son para nuestro beneficio, ¿cómo puede ser placentero esto para nosotros?

Este es el placer de la claridad y el compromiso. Si puedes percibir que algo es tan importante que estarías dispuesto a sacrificar tu propia vida por ello, entonces tu vida tiene peso, propósito y dirección. Porque mientras no sepas por qué estarías dispuesto a morir, aún no habrás comenzado a vivir.

Los placeres materiales son necesarios y agradables, pero no se pueden comparar con placeres mayores como lo son el amor y tener una vida con sentido. Imagina que te ofrecen 10 millones de dólares por uno de tus hijos. Después de rechazar la oferta, ¡estarías impresionado por el inmenso valor de ese niño! Puede que siempre hayas conocido su valor en un plano intelectual, pero ahora se convirtió en algo real para ti.

Cuando vives por una causa lo haces con una fuerza y un placer desmesurado.

Similarmente, una vez que encuentras una causa tan elevada que estarías dispuesto a dar tu propia vida por ella, cuando realmente vives por ella lo haces con una fuerza y un placer desmesurado.

Este es el secreto del heroísmo judío. Esta es la razón por la cual tantos judíos a lo largo de la historia han sacrificado sus vidas por sus creencias: porque morir por Dios es un placer mayor… que vivir sin Él.

Vive por lo que estarías dispuesto a morir

Una vez conocí a un hombre que vivía en base a este principio.

“Zev” vivió en Israel cuando los británicos tenían el poder, y era miembro de un movimiento clandestino judío que tenía como objetivo derrotar a los británicos por la fuerza.

Durante los cuatro años que Zev estuvo en la clandestinidad cortó completamente la conexión con sus amigos y familia, viéndose forzado a trabajar como un trabajador itinerante, sin un lugar fijo al cual llamar hogar. Todos los días caminaba por las calles muy alerta, porque los ingleses detenían constantemente a los transeúntes y los registraban. Cualquier judío que fuera descubierto portando un arma era culpable de un delito capital.

Un día, los británicos hicieron un barrido sorpresa y Zev fue arrestado. Los británicos se dieron cuenta que él era parte de la resistencia judía y lo torturaron para obtener información. Zev perdió una pierna como consecuencia del maltrato.

Luego en 1948, cuando los británicos se retiraron, él fue puesto en libertad. Entonces Zev procedió a casarse, estableció un negocio y formó una gran familia.

Él dice:

“Mirando hacia atrás en mi vida, la mejor época fue sin duda cuando era miembro de la resistencia judía. Es cierto, gran parte de ello fue una existencia miserable. Pero en todo momento yo estaba completamente vivo. Estaba viviendo por algo por lo cual estaba dispuesto a morir”.

La vida se trata de placer, no de comodidad

La comodidad es muy agradable, pero no es significativa.

Un idiota es más que capaz de tener una vida cómoda. No sufre mucho, le gusta el helado, los insultos vuelan sobre su cabeza, siempre tiene una sonrisa… la vida es ma-ra-vi-llo-sa.

Pero no experimenta nada que vaya más allá de su helado. No tiene la capacidad de apreciar placeres elevados que están más allá de lo físico como las relaciones, el significado y la espiritualidad.

Vivir solamente por el placer material y la comodidad no es vivir realmente. También tenemos que entender el significado más profundo y existencial de la vida. Tarde o temprano, todo ser humano se enfrenta a la dura y fría realidad: “¿Cuál es el objetivo de mi vida?”.

El “objetivo” de la vida judía

Una infinidad de grupos a lo largo del mundo estarían dispuestos a dar sus vidas por diferentes causas. Los iraníes, los iraquíes, los kurdos… la lista no tiene fin. Entonces, ¿qué tiene de especial el pueblo judío?

Tarde o temprano, todo ser humano se enfrenta a la dura y fría realidad: “¿Cuál es el objetivo de mi vida?”.

A lo largo de la historia, el destino y la misión del pueblo judío ha sido enseñar monoteísmo. Los judíos no mueren sólo por su propio honor, sino que lo hacen por el honor de toda la humanidad. Al transmitir el mensaje del monoteísmo y amor al prójimo, continuamos siendo una “luz para las naciones” y preservamos por lo tanto la esperanza de una paz mundial.

Este concepto era una realidad tan evidente, que le daba a los judíos un placer más grande que cualquier placer material en la Tierra. Rabí Akiva entendió esto. Cuando tuvo que dar su vida por Dios, entendió la idea tan claramente que incluso experimentó alegría al hacerlo. Sabía que estaba conectándose con algo más preciado que su propia vida.

A pesar de las horribles persecuciones, los judíos siempre hemos apreciado la vida porque siempre hemos entendido el poder que tenemos para transformar el mundo. Sin embargo, cuando nos hemos enfrentado a la conversión forzada o a la muerte, hemos sabido luchar o morir para dejar vivo el mensaje judío.

Sin esa terquedad y adherencia a nuestra fe, el pueblo judío nunca habría podido hacer un impacto tan grande en las ideas y los valores de la civilización.

Nuestros abuelos entendían esto y por eso hasta el día de hoy somos judíos.

Por eso le enseñamos a nuestros hijos a decir el Shemá: “Escucha Israel, Hashem es Nuestro Dios, Hashem es Uno”.

Si quieres vivir, sé sincero. Descubre por qué estarías dispuesto a morir y después de eso estarás genuinamente vivo.

Shakespeare dijo: “Los cobardes mueren muchas veces antes de su verdadera muerte; los valientes prueban la muerte una sola vez”. Todos vamos a morir. La pregunta es: ¿Quieres vivir?

Según tomado de, http://www.aishlatino.com/e/bj/48420252.html?s=feat

9 Incredible Muslims that Support Israel

Sheikh al-Adwan was born in 1952 and raised in Amman, Jordan and studied Islamic Sharia at the College for Islamic studies in Amman. In Muslim circles he’s considered incredibly controversial as he not only supports Israel, which is rare for a Jordanian, but believes it is a religious duty for all Muslims to support the Jewish State.

Sheikh al-Adwan was born in 1952 and raised in Amman, Jordan

and studied Islamic Sharia at the College for Islamic studies in

Amman. In Muslim circles he’s considered incredibly controversial

as he not only supports Israel, which is rare for a Jordanian,

but believes it is a religious duty for all Muslims to support

the Jewish State.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Adwan

  • He believes Islam commands Muslims and Jews to be friends
  • He believes the Quran bequeaths Israel to the Jews
  • He believes antisemitism can be defeated through correct interpretation of Islam
  • He believes according to the Quran, Palestine should not exist as a country
  • He believes Israel is a peaceful nation and the Jews a peaceful people

On Jewish and Muslim friendship

The Jews are our cousins and therefore we must pray for them and visit them,

live alongside them, grant them respect and cooperate with them at the highest

levels of esteem and appreciation. This, because we are not more God-fearing,

smarter, or better than the Prophet Muhammad may he rest in peace,

who lived alongside them and behaved honorably, mercifully and

amicably with them. Let us state that it was permitted for Muslims to marry them.

On the Jewish State of Israel

Indeed, I recognize their sovereignty over their land. I believe in the Holy Quran,

and this fact is stated many times in the book. For instance ‘O my people!

Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you,’ [Quran 5:21],

‘We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things.’ [Quran 26:59]

and additional verses in the Holy Book.

And there are additional reasons: this people (Israel) is peaceful and

peace-loving, is not hostile or aggressive; [they are] a people that defends

itself only when necessary, while trying to minimally harm its enemies,”

he said. “In addition, I recognize the fact that God may He be praised

gave preference to these people over humans and demons until the end of days.

God does not give preference for nothing but grants all that which they deserve.

God may He be praised never turned to any [other] people by name and

grant them this honor, aside from the People of Israel, who are named

for their ancestor Israel (Jacob), may he rest in peace, as it says in the

Quran ‘O Children of Israel.’ In contrast, in approaching others it is

said ‘O Believers’ or ‘O people,’ which is a more general greeting.

On antisemitism

In my opinion the way to end anti-Semitism is to concentrate efforts and

call for peace, spreading knowledge and forthrightly educate people of the

values of justice and truth in accordance with what appears in the books

of God – the Torah, Tehillim, the Ingil [the Gospel] and the Quran, which

admired the Israelites, clarified their rights, gave preference to them and

bequeathed to them the Holy Land and their direction of prayer – to Jerusalem.

The books testify that this is a peace-loving and peace-calling nation,

and it is the first people for whom the Creator designated a role in

order to serve as its messenger on this earth until the Day of Resurrection.

In the Quran, it is written ‘Those who have faith and do righteous deeds,

they are the best of creatures.’ [Quran 98:7]. The intent in the word best

is ‘the best among people,’ but regarding the Umma of the Quran – that

is the Arabs and those who preach Islam – they have no recourse but to

return to the straight and true voice as appears in the Quran that many

of its scholars interpreted in a mistaken and deviant manner. They

distorted the true will of God may He be praised, as it is expressed

in the verses, in a false and fallacious manner to say that murder of

Jews is part of the commandment of Jihad for Allah and that this

land is not the Land of [the People of] Israel.

They continue to hold this villainous interpretation towards others,

and there will be no true peace but with the return of the Ummah of

the Quran to the book of the Quran, as God bequeathed to his adherents.

My religious education allowed me to strengthen what I say, and I

have merited much honor in succeeding in interpreting verses which

scholars did not properly interpret. These are verses which spell out

the obligations and rights of people and that which is required so

that peoples not be hostile to one another.

On Palestine

Allah may He be praised wrote in the Torah that this is the land of the

sons of Israel, he bequeathed the Holy Land to the sons of Israel and

called the land by this name (the Land of Israel) and so it is stated by

the Holy Quran: ‘O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath

assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye

be overthrown, to your own ruin.’ [Quran 5:21]. This holy verse is a

‘Kushan’ (deed) which confirms that this land is granted to the Jews.

It is also said ‘We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things.’

[Quran 26:59], and in the following verse, ‘And We said thereafter to

the Children of Israel, ‘Dwell securely in the land (of promise)”

[Quran 17:104] and there are many additional holy verses which

prove and confirm this.

So in an answer to your question, how can they (the Palestinians)

have the right to establish a State on the Jewish Land of Israel,

which Allah granted and bequeathed to the Jews? More than that,

even if all the inhabitants of the land forgot their right, or went

crazy and collaborated with those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’

to establish a state for the latter, they won’t succeed, and Allah

will not allow this until the Day of Judgment, this because Allah

Himself willed and specifically wrote in His book that this land

will be the land of the People of Israel under Israeli sovereignty

so that no-one would later dispute it.

 

Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed

Dr. Qanta A. Ahemd is a British-born Pakistani Muslim who today lives in

New York. She is a staunch defender of Israel, who has been accused by her

critics of being a “Zionist in a Muslim guise”. She is firmly opposed to the

boycott against Israel, saying that the movement attempts to vilify Israel

in almost every argument. While opposing the continued occupation of

the Palestinian Territories, Ahmed admits that she doesn’t know how

Israel can currently relinquish control over a region hosting “a virulent

Jihadist ideology” and leaders calling for her own destruction.

  • She believes Israel is required as a place of refuge for Jews fleeing antisemitism
  • She believes Muslims have an disproportionate interest in the Israel/Palestine conflict above all conflicts
  • She believes that Hamas are a fascist regime with no regard for life
  • She affords huge respect to Jews and Judaism
  • She will side with Israel and Islam, over Hamas and injustice

On Israel being a refuge from antisemitism

Call me an Accidental Zionist, if you must, but Eretz Yisrael is a vital shelter,

an only shelter, from lethal, genocidal anti-Semitism.

If we care for wider humanity at all, we must all be ‘accidental’ Zionists

and want for the Jews, for the Israelis, what each Muslim already has for

themselves: a future, a nation and a faith, secured.

On the hypocrisy of the Muslim interest in

condemning Israel

Israel’s eight-day operation “Pillar of Defense” sought to dismantle the Hamas

apparatus from within Gaza. The predictably seamless alignment of the Muslim

world against Israel was even more breathtaking than usual in the face of Syria’s

22 months of systematic genocide, one which has consistently failed to trigger

unanimous Muslim protest. What does this say about us as Muslims?

We are hypocrites.

On Hamas

To Hamas, a Palestinian life is worth more when “martyred,” a dead child more

of a blessing than one living. “The children of the kindergarten are the shaheeds

[martyrs] of tomorrow,” reads a sign displayed at a Hamas-run kindergarten.

The martyrdom mantra is their anthem.

Coloring their [Hamas] fascism with Islam, Hamas claims religious legitimacy

to openly seek destruction of the Jewish state and eradication of the Jewish

people. By grafting themselves onto Into Islamic ideals – the vertebral column

of that which is most sacred to Muslims – they render Islam itself heinous,

representing their true ruthlessness: theirs is a willingness to sacrifice

anything –including Islam – to portray Israel as evil.

This ethos was captured in a single unprecedented obscenity: Hamas’ morbid

motorcade. Cocksure thugs, defiantly cruising on motorcycles trailed exposed

cadavers of Palestinians – Muslim men – trousers pooled at dead ankles. To

chants of ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ as dozens of Palestinian onlookers silently watched,

Hamas took its ghoulish victory lap explicitly to show Gazans how they execute

‘suspected informers to Israel’. This is the Islam of Hamas.

This is why Hamas does not represent me, or other believing Muslims. This

is why Israel’s battle is mine. This is why Israel’s struggle – Israel’s jihad – is mine.

These are the ‘Muslims’ that Israelis must confront and these are the “Muslims”

who intimidate innocent Palestinians into subjugation to their monstrous

political Islamism.

On siding with justice

During Operation Pillar of Defense, Jewish friends said “this must be such

a difficult time for you, but I am glad of our friendship” implying that because

I am Muslim, my loyalty must surely be to Gaza, my enmity automatically

aligned with Israel.

Not so. As a Muslim, I am clear: my loyalty is with Islam, and therefore

explicitly with justice, justice for all humanity, a humanity that must include

Jews. Hamas is obscenely unjust, so how can my loyalty be with them? To

be loyal to Hamas is no less than to abandon Islam. To be loyal to Hamas

is the ultimate blasphemy.

On respecting Judaism

Followers of Judaism embody the oldest form of monotheist, Abrahamic faith.

Jewish scriptures, commandments, traditions and rituals are inextricably woven

into the fabric of faiths which would follow in Judaism’s wake. Muslims,

particularly so, are immersed in this fused engraftment. When I bend at the

hip during supplication and pause in ruku, I move according to a legacy of

Judaic prayer. When Muslim women enforce their Islamic rights to an

independent inheritance, they do so just as the Daughters of Zelophelad once

claimed of behalf of their brethren. While we would be guaranteed our

inheritance through Mohammed, these six Jewish sisters were guaranteed

theirs through Moses, millennia earlier.

Abdurrahman Wahid

Abdurrahman Wahid was a devout Muslim and the third president of Indonesia.

He was born Abdurrahman Addakhil in 1940. He was the long-time president

of the Nahdlatul Ulama and the founder of the National Awakening Party (PKB).

He was a famed moderate and peacemaker that was able to see beyond the

artificial divides between men of faith.

All religions insist on peace. From this we might think that the religious struggle

for peace is simple … but it is not. The deep problem is that people use religion

wrongly in pursuit of victory and triumph. This sad fact then leads to conflict

with people who have different beliefs

He saw absolutely no reason why Israel and Indonesia could not forge a strong

diplomatic relationship and this lead him, the leader of a devout Muslim country,

to visit Israel six times.

Israel believes in God. While we have a diplomatic relationship and recognizing

diplomatically China and Russia, which are atheist states, then it’s strange that

we don’t acknowledge Israel. This is the thing that we have to correct within Islam.

I think there is a wrong perception that Islam is in disagreement with Israel.

This is caused by Arab propaganda. We have to distinguish between Arabs and

Islam. Some people in Indonesia claimed that I was a stooge for the West, but

the fact that I am gaining in popularity all the time dispels this idea, and shows

that this is the view of only a small minority of the elite. I always say that China

and the Soviet Union have or had atheism as part of their constitution, but we

have long-term relationships with both these countries. So then Israel has a

reputation as a nation with a high regard for God and religion — there is then

no reason we have to be against Israel.

kasim-hafeez-cover

 

Kasim Hafeez

Kasim, a British born Pakistani-Muslim in his early thirties, could have easily

turned into a jihadist terrorist. He grew up in a community and a household

awash with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel ideas. His father had anti-Semitic

sentiments and revered Hitler as a hero (although he criticised the genocidal

dictator for not kill enough Jews). The negativity didn’t end at home, both in

the community and on campus, Kasim was exposed to a barrage of anti-Israel

and often anti-Semitic propaganda and within a short space of time Kasim

was well on his way to radical Islam.

Kasim got more and more involved in the politics of the Middle East, increasing

his anti-Israel activism and saving money to attend a jihadi training camp in

Pakistani. But instead of booking a flight to Islamabad he booked a flight to Tel Aviv

to see for his own eyes just how bad Israel was. This trip changed his life converting

him for an extreme doctrine of radical Islam, to supporting the Jewish State,

self-identifying as a Zionist and de-radicalising his beliefs and submitting to a

traditionally more authentic and moderate Islam.

Today he tours all over the world presenting his talk, “The Day I Stopped Hating

Israel – Confessions of an ex-Radical” to diverse audiences. Motivated by his

strong conviction which he summarised with the following words:

It’s not about being pro-Israel or pro-truth, I just want the facts to be heard.

Israel is a democratic state. Muslims in Israel have more rights than possibly

most Muslims in the Arab world and then there is the reality of the actual conflict.

In the UK, most of us can’t impact what will happen in Israel, we can’t stop

rockets falling from Gaza or forge a peace process, but we can tackle the

delegitimisation and demonisation of Israel

 

salim-mansur-cover

 Salim Mansur

Salim is a formidable force in the movement to promote moderate Islam,

his strong criticism of more radical streams within the Muslim world has

resulted in extremists issuing two fatwas calling for his death.

Originally born in Calcutta Salim moved to Canada, where he’s currently

an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.

In addition to promoting moderate islam, he has also been a vocal friend of

Israel and has publically bestowed praise on the young Jewish nation.

An objective consideration of the huge disparity in size and population between

the Arab world and Israel should dispel the drivel the world has been fed that

Arabs are the “underdog” in a colonial struggle against Jews as a colonizing people.

The reverse disparity between Israelis and Arabs is the tremendous human

achievement of the former as free people, and the contrast when measured

against the sullen reality of the Arab world just about at the bottom of the

UN human development index despite the resources available.

But here, too, Arabs, Muslims and their apologists in the West will fault Israelis

for the collective failure of the Arab world.

It is as if the plight of Palestinian “occupation” by Israelis explains the Sudanese

civil wars and genocide in Darfur, or the savage killings inside Algeria, or the

long list of atrocities, gender oppression, humiliation of religious minorities,

wars, military dictatorships, and with no end in sight of violence and murder

in the name of Islam across the Arab world.

It is sheer absurdity to hold Israelis responsible for the utterly dysfunctional

nature of the Arab world.

Palestinians are an integral part of this dysfunctional world, and their politics reflect,

in a heightened sense, the problems the rest of the world seeks to avoid discussing

for fear of being denounced as politically incorrect.

Israel is a very small country packed with immensely talented people.

Mudar Zahran

Mudar Zahran is a Jordanian pro-democracy politician of Palestinian heritage.

He is the secretary general of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition and a vocal

advocate for peace with Israel. Zahran now lives in the United Kingdom, where

he was granted political asylum after being indicted by a Jordanian military

court for four separate charges against him. He is well-heard and followed in

Jordan, for example when he called for Jordanians not to protest against the

Israeli Embassy in Amman, less than 200 people showed up for the

government-backed anti-Israel protest.

When talking about Israel he often refers to the Faisal Wiesel Agreement.

Which was an agreement between the one time King of Syria and Iraq and

the Zionists to create an Arab homeland out of 78 percent of Mandatory

Palestine (today known as Jordan) and for the Jews to create their homeland

out of what was left (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza). His endorsement

of this agreement has lead him to support Israeli settlements and annexing

the West Bank.

  • He believes the West Bank should be annexed by Israel
  • He believes the Palestinians have received more help from Israel than any other country

I came to Ariel to state clearly that the settlements are legitimate. The more

Israelis delegitimize the settlements, the more they’ll complicate the situation

and harm more Palestinians. You, the Israelis, need to wake up and realize

that most of the Palestinians in east Jerusalem, for example, want you to stay.

I know polls that show that 70 percent of the residents want that. I felt it was my

duty as a Palestinian to speak the truth, to present the Palestinians and to represent

them. I hope I’ll succeed in changing the situation.

The only assistance that we [the Palestinians] have ever received from any country

was from the ‘Zionist enemy.’ We really have no other options. It’s not that I’m a

Zionist. I care about Israel for selfish reasons, but how long are we going to fight

against the only nation that helps us?

The current situation is a mistake that must be corrected, and Israel must annex

all of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. The Palestinian Authority has no good

health-care system or policing system in all of Judea and Samaria. The whole idea

of establishing a Palestinian state here is not realistic at all. It cannot sustain itself,

and many of the Palestinian residents would like to leave the area. Their lives are

terrible. There’s a lot of corruption here.

m-zuhdi-jasser-cover

M. Zuhdi Jasser

M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum

for Democracy (AIFD). A devout Muslim and former Lieutenant Commander in the

United States Navy. Dr. Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the

United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for liberty

and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state. Dr. Jasser is a first generation

American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Baath regime of Syria in the

mid-1960’s for American freedom. He is leading the fight to shake the hold that

the Muslim Brotherhood and their network of American Islamist organizations

and mosques have on organized Islam in America.

Jasser has said that Muslims need to recognize Israel as a state, to stand against

radical Islamist groups by name, not by theory, tactic, or condemning terrorism,

but by name—Hamas, Al Qaeda and other groups. Jasser calls political Islamism

“the root cause of Islamist terrorism” and a matter on which it is “time to take sides.”

An outspoken supporter of Israel, Jasser warned against what he sees as the

increasing threats of Radical Islam to the West.

  • He considers the religious ideology of radical Islam to be the root of the Israel / Palestine conflict
  • He considers Israel to be on the frontline of combating radical Islam

Israel has always been a canary in the coal mine, dealing with the threat of

radical Islam. Now each country is going to have to deal with it.

I don’t believe Israel is a religious issue for Muslims … Hamas and other radical

Islamic groups have propagandized the issues for decades and the latest conflict

demonstrates that. It is constant warmongering. Hamas creates, starts these wars,

commits acts of terror, and then uses the war as a platform to say all its grievances

are Israel’s fault.

About Hamas and their corrupt ideology … You can compare it to drug addiction,

which leads to violence… Well, if you say the problem is the violence and you stop

the violence, it won’t work. It is the drug addiction that leads to the violence. We

believe the gateway drug here is political Islam.

Khaleel Mohammed

Khaleel Mohammed is a Guyanese-born Canadian professor of Religion at San Diego

State University. In 2004, he was one of the founders of the Center for Islamic Pluralism,

but left it believing it had become a front for anti-Muslim sentiment. He is an outspoken

friend of Israel and uses the Quran to justify his support for the Jewish National Home.

  • He believes the Quran bequeaths Israel to the Jews
  • He believes the medieval Islamic scholars agreed with his interpretation
  • He believes Muslims distorted Islam to justify their conquest of Israel

On Israel belonging to the Jews

It’s in the Muslim consciousness that the land first belonged to the Jews. It doesn’t

matter if the Jews were exiled 500 years or 2000 years, the Holy Land, as mentioned

in Quran belongs to Moses and his people, the Jews.

The Qur’an in Chapter 5: 20-21 states quite clearly: Moses said to his people:

O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you when He bestowed prophets

upon you , and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone

before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has

written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”

The Quran goes on to say why the Israelites were not allowed to enter the land for

forty years…but the thrust of my analysis is where Moses says that the Holy Land is

that which God has “written” for the Israelites. In both Jewish and Islamic understandings

of the term “written”, there is the meaning of finality, decisiveness and immutability.

And so we have the Written Torah (unchangeable) and the Oral Torah

(which represents change to suit times). And in the Qur’an we have

“Written upon you is the fast”–to show that this is something that is decreed,

and which none can change. So the simple fact is then, from a faith-based point of view:

If God has “written” Israel for the people of Moses, who can change this?
The Qur’an refers to the exiles, but leaves it open for return…saying to the Jews that

if they keep their promise to God, then God will keep the divine promise to them.

WE may argue that the present state of Israel was not created in the most peaceful

means, and that many were displaced–for me, this is not the issue. The issue is that

when the Muslims entered that land in the seventh century, they were well aware of

its rightful owners, and when they failed to act according to divine mandate

(at least as perceived by followers of all Abrahamic faiths), they aided and abetted in a

crime. And the present situation shows the fruits of that action–wherein innocent

Palestinians and Israelis are being killed on a daily basis.

On the medieval Islamic understanding of Israel

I also draw your attention to the fact that the medieval exegetes of Qur’an–without

any exception known to me–recognized Israel as belonging to the Jews, their birthright

given to them. Indeed, two of Islam’s most famous exegetes explained “written” from Quran 5:21 thus:

Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) said: “That which God has written for you” i.e.

That which God has promised to you by the words of your father Israel that

it is the inheritance of those among you who believe” . Muhammad al-Shawkani (d. 1250/1834)

interprets Kataba to mean “that which God has allotted and predestined for you in

His primordial knowledge, deeming it as a place of residence for you” (1992, 2:41).

The idea that Israel does not belong to the Jews is a modern one, probably based on

the Mideast rejection of European colonialism etc, but certainly not having anything

to do with the Qur’an. The unfortunate fact is that most Muslims do NOT read the

Qur’an and interpret it on the basis of its own words; rather they let imams and preachers

do that for them.

On Muslim sovereignty over Israel

When Abdul Malik built the [al-Aqsa] mosque there [on the Temple Mount],

and had false traditions ascribed to Muhammad wherein the Prophet is supposed

to have said that a man should set out for a journey only for three mosques,

the ones in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Now how could the prophet have

said this when ALL Muslims agree that when the Qur’an states “this day

I have completed for you your religion” (Q5:3), that Jerusalem was not

within Muslim geography? The completion means just that…with the

Arabic Qur’an for the Arab peoples, and the aspect of conquest of foreign

territory NOT an injunction of Qur’anic Islam.

When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, it should have been left open

for the rightful owners to return. It is possible that Jewish beliefs of the

time only allowed such return under a Messiah–but that should not have

influenced Muslim action. And in contrast to the report of Sophronius

above, there are also reports showing that Umar in fact opened the city

to the Jews. If this be the case, then the later Muslim occupation and

building a mosque on the site of the Temple was something that was

not sanctioned by The Qur’an. How honest is contemporary Islam

with this? Given the situation in the Middle East, politiking etc stands

in the way of honesty.

tawfik-hamid-cover

Tawfik Hamid

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, is an Islamic thinker and reformer, who was at one time

an Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of the notorious Islamic

terror group al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya alongside Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who

went on to become leader of Al-Qaeda. Long before the attacks on the Twin

Towers, Madrid and London (which Tawfik foresaw) he had recognised the

threat of Radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern

peaceful interpretations of the Quran.

His reformation didn’t end with Islam, he also called for better relations

between Muslims and Israel. He justified his support for the Jewish State

on his interpretation of the core Islamic texts, while simultaneously attributing

the vociferous and violent opposition to Israel in Muslim world to erroneous

interpretations by radical clerics of those same core texts.

  • He believes land for peace will not work
  • He believes the Quran bequeaths Israel to the Jews
  • He believes antisemitism is at the heart of the conflict
  • He considers himself a Muslim by faith and a Jew by heart
  • He loves the Jewish people and their faith
  • He considers Israel the flower of the Middle East

On the root of the Israel/Palestine conflict

Approaching the Arab-Israeli conflict from the perspective that it is about land,

so that giving more land to the Palestinians will solve the problem, is a failed endeavor.

Israel has already given Egypt the whole of the Sinai, and got nothing in return

except a cold peace and rising anti-Semitism in the country. Similarly the

disengagement from Gaza did not magically lead to a decline in the wave

of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.

Pro-Palestinian Muslim demonstrators across the world repeatedly use the

chant “Khyber Khyber Ya Yahood… Gaish Muhammad Sawfa Yaood,” which

reminds the Jews that the army of Muhammad is coming back for a repeat of

what was done to the Jewish Khyber tribe. According to authentic Islamic

history books, the Islamic army, led by Muhammad, annihilated the Jewish

tribe of Khyber, raping its women and killing all its men.

The Hamas charter also calls for the destruction of Israel. This violent principle

has its roots in the traditional Islamic teaching, based on Hadith books,

that encourages the killing of all Jews before the end of days.

Until US envoys to the Middle East realize that the problem in the eyes of

the Palestinians and their supporters is not the borders of Israel but the very

existence of the country, all future missions will similarly fail. Solving the Arab-Israeli

conflict must be done initially at the theological rather than the political level,

as the former is impeding the latter.

It is unfair to ask Israel to trust those who shamefully advocate the killing of Jews,

and claim that Islamic annihilation of the Jews by an Islamic army is a model

that must be emulated today.
The problem is not only in the existence of violent teachings in historical Islamic texts,

but also in the dangerous desire of many Islamists and violent Islamic scholars to

revive such violence in modern times. Violent texts exist in other religions as well,

but we do not generally see such destructive desire to use the texts to justify killing

others, and we rarely hear about modern scholars of other faiths who advocate

using such texts literally.
The problem is that this disastrous anti-Semitic religious dimension is not limited

to verses in books, but is also propagated by a powerful media machine that utilizes

vicious, Nazi-style propaganda across the Muslim world. Publishing dehumanizing

cartoons in the mainstream media, and blaming Jews for nearly every problem in

the world has become much too common in the leading Arab media over the past

few decades.

How he was taught to think of Jews

I am a typical Arab Egyptian with a Muslim background.
As any Arab, I was brought up on hating Israel and the Jews. When I was four

years old, the dehumanisation of the Jews everywhere around me led me to imagine them as green ugly people, full of evil.

The views he came to hold on Jews

I am a Muslim by faith… Christian by the Spirit… a Jew by heart

I loved the meaning [of the word Jews], because the word Jews in Arabic language is

“Yahood”. Even though most Arabs hate this word, for me it was the opposite, for the

following reason. The word ‘Yahood” in pure literal Arabic language is derived from

the word “Hado and Hudna” which means “returned back”. This word, according

to the Quran, was given as a gift from God to the Israelites when they “returned back” to him.

I used to ask people around me why do you hate the Jews while this beautiful

word represents those who “returned back” to God. Sadly, I had no answer as

the hatred for the Jews among Arabs and Muslims made them blind to any logic

The view he came to hold on Israel

I also loved the concept of gathering such a wonderful nation from around the earth

into their homeland again. For me, according to the Quran, this represented the

power of God who saved the Jews from the evil of pharaoh (28:4 Truly Pharaoh

elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections, depressing a small

group among them (children of Israel): their sons he slew, but he kept alive their

females to rape them: for he was indeed a maker of mischief 28:5 And We wished

to be Gracious to those who were being depressed in the land,

to make them guiding lights and leaders (in Faith) and make them heirs) Furthermore,

and again according to the Quran itself, God gave the Israelites the land as their

promised land (17:104 And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, “Dwell

securely in the land of promise”: The Quran went even further to consider the

Promised Land as the permanent inheritance for the Israelites (26:59 Thus it was,

but we made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things (the Promised Land)

In addition, the Quran considered that God wrote the Promised Land to the

Israelites as a final contract (5:21 “O my people (the Jews)! Enter the holy land,

which God hath assigned unto you).

In addition to the above discussion and according to some other unambiguous

Quranic verses God will gather the Israelites again into their promised land before

the end of the world (Quran [17:104] And we said to the Children of Israel

afterwards, “ scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world

is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land”).

This last verse proves that the Quran is declaring that it is the will of God

himself to gather the children of Israel again into their promised land before

the end days. Accordingly, No Muslim has the right to interfere with the gathering

of the Jews in Israel, as this is the will of God himself.

I will never forget Israel the country, Israel the civilisation, Israel the great meaning

that put its sons and daughters at risk to find the terrorists who hide amongst civilians

to only target them. Israel the democracy that allows different religions to exist on its

land (compare this to Saudi Arabia which prevents other people but Muslims from

practicing their own religions, does not allow Non-Muslims to build their temples

for use in prayer, or to be able to have their religious books).

For these reasons I will never forget Israel… the “Flower” of the Middle East.

As taken from, https://israelseen.com/2015/08/27/9-incredible-muslims-that-support-israel/

The Koran and the Jews

The Koran and the Jews By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 03, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Prof. Khaleel Mohammed, Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University.

 

FP: Prof. Mohammed welcome to Frontpage Interview.

 

Mohammed: You do me a great honor. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce my views to your readers. As you know, I am interested in a moderate Islam, one that is inclusive and is concerned about all human rights. My mission is to help reclaim the beauty that once was practiced in Islam, a message not currently in fashion amongst more traditional or fundamentalist Muslims.

 

FP: You are yourself a Muslim and yet, quite unconventionally amongst Islamic clerics and scholars, you teach that the Koran says Israel belongs to the Jews. Can you educate us on this Islamic teaching?

 

Mohammed:  The Qur’an adumbrates several principles that hover around a common theme:  God does not love injustice and will assist those who are wrongly treated.  And  it focuses so much  on this  that  the  person most mentioned in the Qur’an is Moses — who is presented as God’s revolutionary, and who leads a people despised and tormented for no other reason than that they worshipped God,  out of the land of bondage to the  Promised  Holy Land.

 

The Qur’an in Chapter 5: 20-21 states quite clearly: Moses said to his people: O my people!  Remember the bounty of  God upon you  when  He bestowed  prophets upon you , and  made  you  kings and gave you that which  had not been given to  anyone before you amongst  the nations. O my people!  Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”

 

The  Quran goes on to say why the Israelites were not allowed to enter the land for forty years…but the thrust of my analysis is where Moses says that the Holy Land is that which God has “written” for the Israelites. In both Jewish and Islamic understandings of the term “written”, there is the meaning of finality, decisiveness and immutability. And so we have the Written Torah (unchangeable) and the Oral Torah (which represents change to suit times). And in the Qur’an we have “Written upon you is the fast”–to show that this is something that is decreed, and which none can change.  So the simple fact is then, from a faith-based point of view: If God has “written” Israel for the people of Moses, who can change this?

The Qur’an refers to the exiles, but leaves it open for return…saying to the Jews that if they keep their promise to God, then God will keep the divine promise to them. WE may argue that the present state of Israel was not created in the most peaceful means, and that many were displaced–for me, this is not the issue. The issue is that when the Muslims entered that land in the seventh century, they were well aware of its rightful owners, and when they failed to act according to divine mandate (at least as perceived by followers of all Abrahamic faiths), they aided and abetted in a crime. And the present situation shows the fruits of that action–wherein innocent Palestinians and Israelis are being killed on a daily basis.

I also draw your attention to the fact that the medieval exegetes of Qur’an–without any exception known to me–recognized Israel as belonging to the Jews, their birthright given to them. Indeed, two of Islam’s most famous exegetes explained “written” from Quran 5:21 thus:

Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) said: “That which God has written for you” i.e. That which God has promised to you by the words of your father Israel that it is the inheritance of those among you who believe” . Muhammad al-Shawkani (d. 1250/1834) interprets Kataba to mean “that which God has allotted and predestined for you in His primordial knowledge, deeming it as a place of residence for you” (1992, 2:41).

The idea that Israel does not belong to the Jews is a modern one, probably based on the Mideast rejection of European colonialism etc, but certainly not having anything to do with the Qur’an.  The unfortunate fact is that most Muslims do NOT read the Qur’an and interpret it on the basis of its own words; rather they let imams and preachers do that for them.

FP:  You say that when the Muslims entered the sacred land in the seventh century, “they aided and abetted in a crime.” Can you expand on this a bit? How honest is contemporary Islam with this fact?

 

Mohammed: How did the Jews lose their right to live in the Holy Land? All reliable reports show that it was by the looting and burning that followed from 70-135 C.E.  When the  Muslims  entered  the  place in  638, liberating it from the Byzantines,  they  knew full  well to whom  it rightfully belonged.  But we find that  Muslim chroniclers state that  the Muslim  caliph  accepting  the  surrender of  the  Byzantine Christian representative, Sophronius, on certain  terms, one of them being that the Jews would not be permitted to enter the city.  I personally have a hard time accepting this story, and  aspects of  its historicity because as  modern scholarship  has shown,  Muslim reports about that time were  recorded long after the fact and  are not  as reliable as once thought.  And we know too that when the first Crusaders took possession of the place in 1096-1099, they slaughtered Jews and Muslims. If Umar had indeed signed such a treaty, what were Jews doing there?

By aiding and abetting in a crime, I refer to when Abdul Malik built the mosque there, and had false traditions ascribed to Muhammad wherein the Prophet is supposed to have said that a man should set out for a journey only for three mosques, the ones in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Now how could the prophet have said this when ALL Muslims agree that when the Qur’an states “this day I have completed for you your religion” (Q5:3), that Jerusalem was not within Muslim geography? The completion means just that…with the Arabic Qur’an for the Arab peoples, and the aspect of conquest of foreign territory NOT an injunction of Qur’anic Islam.

When the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, it should have been left open for the rightful owners to return. It is possible that Jewish beliefs of the time only allowed such return under a Messiah–but that should not have influenced Muslim action. And in contrast to the report of Sophronius above, there are also reports showing that Umar in fact opened the city to the Jews. If this be the case, then the later Muslim occupation and building a mosque on the site of the Temple was something that was not sanctioned by The Qur’an. How honest is contemporary Islam with this? Given the situation in the Middle East, politiking etc stands in the way of honesty.

 

FP: You lecture at universities exposing these politically incorrect facts. As a result, you have been frequently denounced by Muslim groups. Tell us about their criticism/harassment of you.

 

Mohammed: The criticism of my work is that I am out of line with the geo-political movement towards fundamentalism. What your readers must understand is that fundamentalism is rapidly becoming mainstream. Moderation is not. A perfect example is in Akbar AHmed’s “Islam Under Siege,” where he points out that the Taliban are no longer a fringe group in Pakistan; many Pakistanis are finding themselves drawn to their teachings.

 

Right here in the US, I present a problem to those at mosques who use social pressure to coerce others into accepting their extremism. On the personal level with my family: when my wife, after years of research, decided that she no longer felt that the head covering was mandatory, and chose to venture forth without it, many of the Muslim “sisters” she greeted refused to respond–without even checking on her interpretation. Many Muslims stand against me for no other reason than I say that Israel has a right to exist.

Overall, the criticism of me follows a strange pattern: they are upset that I should give any legitimacy to Israel, assuming that in doing so, I am denying the rights of Palestinians. My answer that I in no way deny that Palestinians have rights. But this is generally not considered by those that criticize my position: because for them, it is either all or nothing.

 

At a recent lecture in Santa Cruz, Muslim groups put up posters saying that I claim that the Qu’ran says bad things about Jews. In fact this was a gross misrepresentation of facts: I admit that the Qur’an has verses that are polemic, but my view is that the Qur’an in fact respects the Jews (which explains Moses being so often mentioned)…but that it is the oral traditions of Islam (the hadith) that demonizes the Jews. For many Muslims, this is a hard pill to swallow because for almost 12 centuries, they have been taught that acceptance of oral traditions are a creedal element of Islam.

Often, they try to argue with selective quotes from the Qur’an–and here they lose out, because when it comes to exegesis, I have spent years studying that.  And then there is the “challenge” aspect…at Santa Cruz they said that they wanted to debate. I agreed on one condition: that such debate be in public. They did not show up. In fact, the few Muslims who were present and had the patience to listen to me, could not find how I had misinterpreted or misrepresented Islam.

In Montreal, I was accused of being racist when I said that 95% of contemporary Muslims are exposed to anti-Semitic teachings. My answer, which the Montreal Gazette refused to print, was that every Muslim had to answer a simple question. Honestly. What is the interpretation of the final two verses of the first chapter of the Quran?  “Guide us to the straight path–the path of those upon whom you have bestowed your bounty, not those who have incurred your wrath, nor those who are astray.”

 

This verse has nothing about Jews or Christians…yet, almost every person learns that those who have incurred divine wrath are the Jews, and those who are astray are Christians. What is more problematic is that the average person learns this chapter and its interpretation between the ages of 5-8. And we know that things learned at this stage of life become ingrained, almost to the point of being in one’s DNA, if I may put it that way.

 

I felt that my answer was self-evident. Do you know what the result was? Some of my closest colleagues DENIED that they had been taught this. This was more painful to me than the rejection of some Muslim leaders–for I always ask that if we deny things publicly, at least in private we admit the truth. And when in privacy, my fellow Muslims could not bring themselves to admit that which was obvious to anyone, that was in itself testimony as to how low we have sunk.

Yet, on the issue of criticism and harassment–I must state that it is only in the form of argument, without threats of any physical nature. Whatever problem my fellow Muslims have with my views, they are aware that I am a Muslim. I do not deny my religion, and therefore we can argue. Here at San Diego State University where I teach, the local MSA attempted to have me disciplined for having accused them of anti-Semitism and homophobia. They did not pursue the issue–an astute decision for they would have looked very foolish. Their answer was that they too are Semites, (the writers of the letter were by the way not even Arabs), and that they could not be homophobic since their neighbors are gays and lesbians!

 

FP: If Islam is going to have a reformation, from what roots will it originate?

 

Mohammed: The reformation will come from Muslims based in the West, and the voices of women will be loud and pivotal in that reformation. Let us look at some names that are as yet unknown to many, but names that have done so much for changing Islamic thought…names of people who may disagree vehemently with each other, but names of people who, for all their difference have done much to purge Islam of the male chauvinism that has afflicted it for centuries: Fatima Mernissi, Azizah al Hibri, Amina Wadud Muhsin, Irshad Manji, Rifat Hasan, Asma Jahangir. Not that all reform minded people are women: there is Khalid Abou al Fadl, Abdallah al-Naim, Sa’d al din Ibrahim etc. Note that they are, with one exception, all now in the West, and that they have all had a western education.

FP: Prof. Mohammed, it was an honor to speak with you and we would like to thank you for being such a brave voice within the Islamic community, where honest dialogue, unfortunately, is often stifled. We encourage you to keep fighting for a moderate Islam that is compatible with Western democracy — and we hope your voice will have an increasing impact.

 

So to finish this interview, why don’t you briefly sum up for our readers — and for many Muslims who will hopefully read this interview – how Islam actually teaches that Israel belongs to the Jews and that Muslims are obligated, by the Qur’an itself, to accept its existence.

 

Mohammed: The Qur’an states at the very beginning of the second chapter “this is a book wherein there is no doubt, a guide for the God-conscious.” Its contents are therefore to be seen by every Muslim as being divinely ordained, and to be followed. The verses on Israel as in 5:20-21 are not there just to be read; they are there to be followed. In Islam also, there is the elemental maxim “Calamity must be removed” (al darar yuzal). Muslms must face up to reality–in the years since Israel has been established, the focus of the region has been to seek to have it removed. And they have been unsuccessful, and there seems to be no hope for success. The pragmatic, proactive thing to do would be to come to grips with reality: Israel is there to stay, and it can exist  in a state of peaceful coexistence, or in a stage of bellicosity. The Qur’an tells Muslims that God will not change their position until they change it themselves–and this is a classic example for putting that edict into effect. Only when MUSLIMS themselves accept Israel will they be following their Qur’an. Israel will negotiate from a position of guaranteed security, and while there may be tension from time to time, at least peace will be the norm.

 

FP: Prof. Mohammed, thank you for joining us today.

 

Mohammed: It was my pleasure, thank you for having me here.

 

As taken from, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=12825

Jerusalem belongs to the Jews: An Islamic truth

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.timesofisrael.com/blogs/uploads/2018/01/F171009YLFF09-1.jpg

Jews visit the Temple Mount compound, site of the Al Aqsa Mosque

and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, during the Jewish holiday

of Sukkot, October 8, 2017 (Flash90/Yaakov Lederman)

 

The Eternal City may never have been more contested than it is today. As many across the globe continue to challenge Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as its capital, US Vice President Mike Pence‘s delicate visit to the Middle East came at a critical time.

Palestinian rhetoric, triggered by US President Donald Trump’s announcement to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, has been magnified by the President’s recent decision to sever $65 million in US aid to the Palestinians. Elsewhere in the region, the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, staunch US allies, must acknowledge Palestinian outrage without alienating the United States.

In his 2011 book, Jerusalem: The Biography, historian Simon Sebag Montefiore captures the theological mystery within which Jerusalem remains suspended, describing it as “the house of one God, the capital of two peoples, the temple of three religions, and she is the only city to exist twice — in heaven and on earth.”

But as a believing Muslim observing Islam, I am compelled by the Quran to support Israel’s sole claim to the Holy Land; the Quran says it is so.

The 80,000-word document 1.6 billion Muslims accept as the revealed word of God, the Quran, is categorical about the destiny of Israel and the people who can claim its ownership.

The Quran states: “Moses said to his people: O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you when He bestowed prophets upon you, and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”

Nowhere does the Quran make mention of the Muslims’ claim to the Holy Land. Instead, God reveals in the Quran that The Holy Land is designated for the followers of Moses. Because the Promised Land is theirs according to the Quran, only the followers of Moses may determine where their capital must lie.

It is this Islamic truth that political Islamists vehemently deny.

Those who masquerade as Muslims

Fast-forward 1,300 years to the 21sth Century and we find totalitarian Islamism – profoundly distinct from Islam – ensures a new anti-Semitism courses through the Muslim psyche.

Today’s Islamists cry ‘Islamophobia!’ when challenged on their ideology, arguing that calling it political totalitarianism amounts to anti-Muslim racism and bigotry. Indeed, the notion of Islamophobia is becoming so powerful a social construct that it is chilling public discourse even for Muslims who dare expose Islamism.

It is these convulsions that have shaped the global outcry against Jerusalem’s destiny as Israel’s capital. This outcry is not confined to Muslims but is spread throughout the wider world, as many glorify Islamists as a persecuted religious minority rather than the totalitarians they are.

In the process, those naïve of Islamism condemning the designation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (in the belief they are advocating for Palestinians), become willing instruments for an explicitly fascist ideology, an Islamism that seeks not an accommodation, or parallel statehood to Israel, but its figurative and literal annihilation.

In the Palestinian territories, as in many Muslim majority societies, Islamism is effectively ‘the other occupier’ -– confining freedom of thought, critical analysis and educated scrutiny of Islam.

It’s time Muslims examined this other occupation of Islam by Islamism. In the guise of advocating for the Palestinian cause, many conceal or find socially accepted release for rabid yet sanitized anti-Semitism.

Unsurprisingly, arch-Islamists Hamas and Hezbollah, masquerading as Muslims, quickly announced ‘the Gates of Hell’ were to open in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Hamas preachers in Gaza called for Palestinians to ‘rise up and stab Jews’.

One Muslim commentator echoed the sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world when he dismissed the Quranic declaration of Israel as the promised land for the Jews as irrelevant claiming, “The Quran is not a historical document.”

This is how far we Muslims have strayed.

Muslims in fervent anti-Semitism have abandoned all memory of what is confirmed as beloved and revered to us — the Torah and its followers, Moses and his message, and God’s own promise to his followers of sanctuary in a Promised Land.

This renunciation of what the Quran tells Muslims is an uncontestable truth today. Theological destiny for the Jews is at the root of the Middle East conflict; whether as Jews it is pursued, or by Muslims, it is denied.

The Holy Land which God has written for you

The Israel-Palestinian conflict is neither about politics nor Zionism, neither about borders nor land or water. It is not even about the fate of statehood for the Palestinians. It is about the central denial of an Islamic truth: the denial that the Jews are indeed People of the Book, that their path to God is divine and righteous, and that they are indeed, by divine writ, the inheritors of the Holy Land.

The scholarship of Islamic scholar Professor Khaleel Mohammed, professor of Religion at San Diego State University and member of SDSU’s Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies is essential reading at this time. He writes that the Quran decrees that the Holy Land is destined for the Jewish people. He points out the Quranic use of the word, “written,” as it conveys “finality, decisiveness and immutability.” No mortal can overturn what has been written for another.

Muslim Author Tarek Fatah has noted in his 2010 book, The Jew Is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, that the use of ‘written’ as divine and irrevocable decree occurs 22 times in the Quran.

Few Muslims may realize Moses is the most often mentioned figure in the Quran, mentioned more often than even the Prophet of Islam. The Quran portrays Moses as a great Messenger who displayed courage in the face of fear, overcoming his own vulnerabilities.

Yet today, millions of Muslims, under the influence of Islamism, pursue lethal hatred of Jews, abandoning the Quran itself. 2006 Pew research confirmed anti-Jewish sentiment remains overwhelmingly centered in predominantly Muslim Majority countries.

A genocidal hatred

Cosmic anti-Semitism (anti-Semitism pursued as a divine mission to combat a cosmic, not mortal, enemy) is kingpin to Islamist ideology. Islamism – a political totalitarianism masquerading as Islam – religionizes anti-Semitism, rendering the hatred of Jews as religious creed and perverse marker of devotion among Islamists today. In doing so, Muslims add to the ferocity and fanaticism of anti-Semitism, granting it dangerous –if false — religious legitimacy.

Lacking critical knowledge, and access to Islam free of Islamism, faith-illiterate Muslims (including the Middle East and North Africa Region and Western Europe) accept anti-Semitism as Islamic creed. All too often, the rest of the world follows suit.

It is only a short step to Holocaust denial which has also a marked presence in the Muslim majority world. More than 51 percent of Muslims surveyed said they believe the scale of Jews murdered in the Holocaust is greatly exaggerated. In the Middle East North African region this rises to 63 percent.

Islamists use Holocaust denial to garner grassroots support for delegitimizing Israel and to recruit Islamist “foot-soldiers” who are terrorist collaborators or operators. Because the Holocaust “wasn’t real,” Islamists argue, the state of Israel was created on “false pretenses.” Seeking de-legitimization with a view to full destruction of Israel quickly gains legitimacy.

This is the progeny of 20th century anti-Semitism mating with Muslim sensibilities. During Adolf Hitler’s rule over Nazi Germany, seeking to mobilize Muslim support for the Third Reich in the Middle East and North Africa, Nazi anti-Semitism was readily inoculated into the Muslim psyche and then expertly fomented by Arab nationalists as an instrument to reject European colonialism in the region.

Modern day Islamism – birthed by the Muslim Brothers in 1928 Egypt — has since incorporated a new anti-Semitism, a lethal genocidal hatred for all Judaica, all Jewry and Israel as a central tenet of belief. This blinds Muslims with a religionized anti-Semitism that prevents us from seeing that Islam has mandated Israel and its capital for the Jews.

As Muslims, we can be blind no more. Islam demands, we must see what is written.

Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed, MD, is a British American Muslim, author of In the Land of Invisible Women, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Next Generation Council Member of the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

As taken from, http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-belongs-to-the-jews-an-islamic-truth/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=23dcc7c93d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-23dcc7c93d-54798245

NOTA

La siguiente foto fue utilizada fue tomada del Períodico El Vocero para el dia miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018, página 22. Préstele atención al claro matiz político de la misma.

 

Why It’s Okay That Free Will Is Paradoxical

The Jewish take on creatures that have their own mind

Free will is a cornerstone of Jewish thought from the very get-go. And from the very get-go it is presented as a paradox.

The Hebrew Bible opens with G‑d calling heaven and earth into being out of the absolute void.1 There’s an implication hidden there: that the very substance of each thing is nothing other than G‑d’s will that it exist. Things happen only because He says they should happen.

Yet the finalYet the ultimate creation of this all-powerful Creator is a creature that can choose whether to do its Creator’s will—or otherwise. and ultimate creation of this all-powerful Creator is a creature that can choose whether to do its Creator’s will—or otherwise. Namely, us, the human being.

And not by some Frankensteinian blunder. By deliberate intent.

“In the image of G‑d, He created them,” states the Book of Genesis.2 That’s a loaded phrase. The One who preceded heaven and earth certainly does not have an image.

Rather, the meaning is that G‑d intended this being to be unique as He is unique. Just as its Creator freely chose the nature of each thing He will create, so this being is free to choose whether to follow his G‑d-given nature, to transcend it, or to destroy it.

Indeed, after Adam disobeyed G‑d’s command and ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, G‑d says, “Verily, this human is unique, that of his own he can know good and evil.”3

And there is the puzzle: Even as this creature is defying its Creator, it does so with the current of vitality and will that flows to it from its Creator.

Free Will and the Impossible Rock

Remember the old question about G‑d creating a rock so heavy even He can’t lift it? Here’sG‑d has decided with His unlimited power to supply life to one thing so large that He depends upon it. that rock: G‑d has decided with His unlimited power to supply life to one thing so large that it is not in His hands—on the contrary, He depends upon it. And that is our free will to respect or ignore His authority.

That’s not a paradox you and I just discovered. In the Talmud, we find Rabbi Chanina teaching:

All is in the hands of heaven, except for the awe of heaven, as it says, ”And now, Israel, what does G‑d want from you, other than that you should be in awe of Him?”4

Rabbi Akiva presents the same paradox from a different angle. He says, “All is foreseen, and permission is given.”5

Meaning, there is a destiny that is known. It can’t be any other way. It is that way because G‑d wills it to be that way. And yet, He gives you permission to arrive there by your free will.

Free Will, Paradox and Reality

It’s a conflictIt’s a matter of making peace between the self-organizing phenomenon of life and the relentless entropy of causality. that is an integral part of human experience:

On the one hand, we all agree that we experience our actions as acts of free will. Indeed, our societies, laws and morals are founded on this assumption. Yet, at the same time, any thinking person realizes how impotent we are before the forces of a virtually infinite universe.

Resolving this paradox, then, is a matter of making peace between our subjective experience and the objectivity of human reason, between ourselves as individuals and ourselves as a part of this great universe.

On a deeper level, it is a matter of making peace between two great forces of our universe, the self-organizing phenomenon of life and the relentless entropy of natural law.

The Opportunity of Paradox

A paradox is not a blunder of logic. ItWhat appears to us as an irresolvable conflict of two aspects of reality forces us to see a higher reality. is a discovery of wonder. If everything would make sense to us, we would know that all the windows of wisdom have been closed. As in science and mathematics, it is the discovery of contradiction and paradox that allows us to realize that there is something beyond ourselves and our limited perspective.

Niels Bohr, one of the fathers of quantum physics, believed that discovery of a contradiction is a sign you are on the right track. He would often quote the words of Thomas Mann, “A great truth is that whose opposite is also a great truth.” He even created a personal coat of arms, with the motto, “Contraria Sunt Complementa”—opposites are complementary.

So too here: What appears to us as an irresolvable conflict of two aspects of reality forces us to see a higher reality. It reveals to us the limits of anthropomorphism of G‑d, to see that the Creator is not as the created. We begin to understand, to paraphrase the words of Isaiah, the prophet of peace, that G‑d’s thoughts are not quite the same as our thoughts and His way of doing things is not quite the way we would do them.

No, a paradox doesn’t always mean we’ve gotten things wrong. Quite often, it means that we are viewing a deep truth from a limited perspective.

The One-Dimensional Worm—A Thought-Experiment

Here’s an exampleWe are created beings attempting to understand the workings of our Creator. But the two exist on entirely different planes. from a one-dimensional world. That’s a line, like this:


Just for the sake of illustration, imagine an intelligent worm that inhabits a one-dimensional world. Let’s call him “Slim.”

Slim knows that he can stay in his place, or move to another place (forward or backward). One day, Slim decides to stretch himself forward. Stretching and stretching he suddenly bumps against something ahead of him, which it realizes is his own tail.

But how is that possible? How can Slim move forward and bump into that which is behind him? How could he stretch away from his place to come to his place?

In the one-dimensional world of Slim the worm, there is no answer. Slim will likely retreat back to his original unstretched length and pretend this never happened. But a two-dimensional creature might observe Slim’s conundrum from its perspective and attempt to explain to him, “Hey Slim, the line on which you travel is a circle!”6

So, too, Albert Einstein was able to solve many of the problems of physics by describing our world in four dimensions instead of three. Similarly, Bohr understood that our measurements of the quantum world were just that—only measurements. The reality is something we cannot observe.

The same applies with our primordial paradox. We are created beings attempting to understand the workings of our Creator. But the two exist on entirely different planes. No wonder that we end up with so many apparent contradictions.

Free Will From the Top Down and Bottom Up

How is ourWe prefer a neat and tidy view of our Creator that is problematic over a paradoxical view that works. perspective different from our Creator’s?

Quite simply, our perspective is that He is the Big Boss running the show, while we are the little characters, following His whim. Something like marionettes.

That’s such a neat and tidy view of G‑d. Problem is, it doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work is because we can’t neatly fit the Creator into the binary parameters of His creation.

How does G‑d see Himself and His creation?

There is no way to say, or to know. As the one-dimensional worm cannot know what we mean by a circle, infinitely more so we cannot know our Creator for whom even time and space are unnecessary parameters.

But through another paradox—one provided by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi—we can come closer to that truth beyond us, close enough to see from afar that which we can never touch.

In the Book of Samuel, Hannah sings, “For G‑d is an all-knowing G‑d.”7 The words she uses carry a second, deeper meaning. They can also be translated as “G‑d is a G‑d of two knowings.”

What are those “two knowings?” Rabbi Isaac Luria explained them in kabbalistic terms as “higher knowing” and “lower knowing.”8 But why would G‑d employ a lower way of knowing?

R. Schneur Zalman explains:9 G‑d brings the world into being by knowing that it exists. In order that it be a world that can know of Him, He employs two modalities of knowing it. One modality is from the top down, the other is from the bottom up.

The top-down knowing is so called because it sees that which is above—the Creator—as the only true existence, and that which is below—the creation—as a nothingness.

The bottom-up knowing switches that around: It sees that which is below as a true existence, and that which is above as a nothingness—since, as we said, the Creator is beyond the comprehension of the created.

Two Minds of Creativity

That being rather abstract,Human creativity is a good example of a balance of opposites. I’ll provide an analogy from human creativity:10

You’re standing with your back to the bonfire with a circle of campers. You need to make up a story quick. Thank G‑d, you’ve got a great imagination. Out of that imagination pops vivid characters, fantastic scenes and thrilling escapades.

Of course, you know that these are all just your imagination. None of them are real. All that’s real is that you are making up a story.

But a wild imagination alone is not enough to create an enthralling story. To bring your characters alive and keep your audience engaged, you’re going to need some tools. Like a plot. Like character development. And most of all, consistency: Once you’ve created a character, you’ll have to stick to the personality of the character you’ve created, or allow it to change smoothly and convincingly through the events of the story in what’s called a “character arc.”

Now isn’t that strange: It’s nothing more than your imagination, yet to make it believable, you need to believe in it yourself.

Look now at the genesis of the story which you inhabit—namely, this time-space continuum. True, there are some crucial distinctions between your storytelling and G‑d’s. As creative and original as you may be, your characters are modeled out of the clay of your past experiences, emotions and perspective on life. Your Creator, on the other hand, pulls us and our entire world out of an absolute void.

Nevertheless, when He does so, we’re still just a fantasy. We have no ego, no will of our own, certainly no free will. As long as we exist in the top-down knowing mode, we don’t fully exist.

Just as you want a convincing story, G‑d wants a real world—a world where His creatures will make choices and take responsibility for their actions. To accomplish that, He implements another kind of knowing. He knows us from the inside-out. He knows us because we are here. He knows what we do, because we do it. That’s the bottom-up knowing.

Now He has a world where there is no reality but Him, while at the same time the true reality of each thing is nothing but Him. Both are true, because He desires both realities. Both are true, because they are both essential elements of the story He tells.

But the absolute truth, the one impossible for us to grasp, is that He is capable of both together in perfect harmony. And that is seen in the miracle of life, of willful beings. Because that is where these two opposites converge.11

Body, Soul and Free Will

We don’t have an analogyThe phenomenon of life cannot be understood in terms of cause and effect. from our reality to grasp this clearly. But we have something close: The relationship between the soul and the body.

Soul and body are not the strict dualism many imagine. A living creature is not a puppet. The soul is not a ghost within the body.

Rather, when an organism is alive, every cell of that organism is alive. If the organism is wounded, its cells leap into action. Each cell knows what the other is doing, each cell knows what it should do, and each cell takes on its job dutifully. That is the meaning of life—that the physicality of the body transcends itself.

So the soul does not need to command the body to live. When the soul desires something, the body is not coerced by that desire. As many biologists have pointed out, we cannot speak about cause and effect in an organism the way that we do in physics and chemistry. Life is a holistic phenomenon. The body is a single whole, and behaves as such.

“Just as the soul fills the body,” the rabbis taught, “so G‑d fills the universe.”12 Of course, not in just the same way—the soul doesn’t bring the body into existence. And the soul is limited by the body, feeling its pain, delighting in its pleasures, while the Creator of the universe has no such limitations.

Yet there is still a simile: Just as the soul fills the body, so that the body and soul become a single, living whole, so G‑d can be found at the very essence and being of each of His creations, even as He is beyond all of them. His will is their soul.

This all occurs in the divine top-down modality of knowing creation.

As for the separateness that each creature senses, that it knows itself as its own being directing its own life—that is a result of the equally true bottom-up knowing of creation.

As promised, the paradox of divine knowledge and our free will leads us to a more meaningful, more real concept of G‑d. Not only our ability to choose is a reflection of G‑d in this world, but even our very sense of self as autonomous beings, that too is G‑d.

Two Ways of Knowing What We Will Choose

R. Schneur Zalman’sWith a paradoxical model, we are able to clear up much confusion. two-mind model not only clarifies many issues in the debate about free will, but also clears up confusion about what seem to be conflicting descriptions of G‑d’s relationship to our world.

The Talmud often uses a passive form for G‑d’s knowing: “It’s revealed and known before You …” Not “G‑d knows,” but “it is known” to G‑d. There’s no action-reaction here, no cause and effect.

So too, in our morning liturgy, we say, “You are He before the world was created. You are He after the world was created.” For Him, nothing ever changes. Indeed, relative to Him, even as this world exists, it remains essentially nothing.

That’s what we mean when we say that G‑d is One: He is an immutable oneness, unaffected by any of the events of time and space that extend from His will and knowledge—because that will and knowledge is not something separate from Him. As Maimonides lays out clearly, G‑d is “the Knower, the Knowledge and the Act of Knowing” who “knows all things through knowledge of Himself.”13

All this is in one modality—G‑d knowing from the top-down. But when we say that “the Children of Israel cried out from their labor” in Egypt, “and G‑d knew”14 —and now He gets into action to save them from their oppressors—then we are speaking of the bottom-up knowing. We are speaking of G‑d as He invests Himself in His own story.

The same applies to G‑d judging the behavior of the generation of the Flood, incurring wrath against the Egyptians, showing favor towards the righteous, or judging anyone’s behavior. How does He know? Because of our actions. And, in this modality, He reacts to those actions as well.

That’s why so many of the other Jewish thinkers claim there is no problem with G‑d’s knowledge and our free choice—because they are speaking of this ipso-facto knowledge. They explain that G‑d is beyond time, and therefore knows what we are going to do. But this knowledge of His does not cause us to choose. On the contrary, our choices cause Him to know. R. Schneur Zalman would say they are speaking of G‑d’s modality of bottom-up knowing.15

When we say that G‑d knows all, and His knowing brings all creatures and events into being, we are speaking of the top-down knowing. That’s why Maimonides and others teach that this knowing is impossible for us to grasp.

Yet neither can we say that His knowing causes us to do that which He knows.

That’s because cause and effect is a binary construct. There must be two things—one causing, the other the result of that cause. Like your hand inside a puppet. Everything the puppet does is because of you. It has no independence, no will of its own.

But with G‑d’s top-down perspective, there is nothing out there for Him to slip His hand into. So when a creature exists, the existence, will and life of that creature is the existence, will and life of its Creator. You have free choice because your Creator has free choice.

How Free Is Free Will?

We’ve discussedWe have yet to explain how a creature can say no to its Creator’s will. how G‑d’s creations can have their own will, unlike creations of the human being. That is because G‑d’s will is the very essence and being of each one of them—while at the same time, He remains entirely beyond all of them.

What we have yet to explain is how a creature—specifically the human creature—is capable of saying no to its Creator’s will. The key to understanding that conundrum is in the model provided us by R. Schneur Zalman, and in the analogy of the soul and body.

But it will take another article to open the door to this, perhaps most vital question of free choice: How do human beings choose other than their Creator’s will, and how does everything nevertheless remain in His hands?

Footnotes
1. See Ramban, Genesis 1:1, as well as other commentaries ad loc. The same is implied by Rashi’s statement (ad loc), “we have yet to be informed of when water and fire were created.”
2.Genesis 1:26. Ibid 5:1. See Seforno and Kli Yakar ad loc.
3.Genesis 3:22 according to the translation of Maimonides, Shemoneh Perakim, 8:10. See also Rashi ad loc. Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah 5: 1. Midrash Rabba, Genesis 21:5.
4. Talmud Berachot 33b. Ibid Megillah 25a.
5. Mishnah Avot 3:15.
6. Those familiar with logic will recognize this as a simplified exposition of Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem.
8. Likutei Torah, Shemot.
9. Torah Ohr, Parshat Vayera, Maamar Erda Na. Likutei Torah, Parshat Behar, Bi’ur to Shabtotai, part 3. Ibid, Parshat Bamidbar, end of Bi’ur to B’Sha’ah Shehikdimu. The concept is repeated in many more maamarim of R. Schneur Zalman, and elucidated in the works of his successors.
10. See Maamar Gadol Yihyeh, chapter 4. Maamar Patach Eliyahu, chapter 3.
11. See Maamar V’chazakta, last paragraph of chapter 2.
12. Midrash Tehillim to Psalm 104.
13. Maimonides, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 1:5.
14. Exodus 2:23–25.
15. See Likutei Sichot vol. 27, page 251, footnote 14.

¿A quien le interesa una religión con tantos “No”?

Por Naftali Silberberg

No conduzca si toma. No vaya muy rápido. No pase la luz roja. No conduzca a contramano. No hable en un dispositivo electrónico portátil, ni se pinte los labios, ni discuta con su esposo, ni se involucre en cualquier otra actividad distraedora mientras maneja un vehículo motorizado. No. No. No. Cada lugar tiene su propio manual de conductor que contiene decenas de páginas de prohibiciones.

¡Por D-os! ¡¿Por qué una persona sana entra voluntariamente a un vehículo que impone tantas restricciones a su libertad?! Vivimos en una sociedad que está muy enorgullecida de sus libertades, libertad de expresión, libertad de religión, libertad de privacidad, libertad de elegir tu propia compañía de cable, etc., libertades que defenderemos a toda costa. ¿Por qué, entonces, nos sometemos en forma diaria a restricciones tan drásticas?

Aunque esta pregunta suene muy filosófica, cualquier niño de cinco años la contestará en un instante: conducimos autos porque nos llevan a dónde queremos ir; y de forma sustancialmente más rápida que cualquier otro método de transporte disponible. Renunciamos voluntariamente a ciertas libertades cuando hacerlo nos concede una mayor libertad y sirve a objetivos más importantes.

En un nivel más profundo, ver a todas las reglas mencionadas como “restricciones” es un poco infantil. Porque en verdad, toda elección conlleva “restricciones”. Por ejemplo, si elige salir de compras, esto le imposibilita cortar el césped a esa hora. ¿Llamaría a eso una “restricción”? Una restricción real es algo que restringe la elección, no algo que uno elige para poder alcanzar su objetivo. La persona que elige conducir no se enfoca en las prohibiciones, esta enfocado en su elección, llegar en forma segura a su destino. No está agobiado por las reglas; apenas piensa en ellas. Resaltar las prohibiciones demuestra una falta de concentración en el objetivo.

Lo mismo se puede decir del judaísmo: No comas leche con carne. No vistas una mezcla de lana y lino. No prendas la luz en Shabat. No hagas chismes… El “Manual para Conducir por la Vida Segura y Espiritualmente” de la Torá contiene muchas más páginas y reglas que el librillo Publicado por el Departamento de Tránsito.

Pero uno tiene que elegir cómo enfocar la Torá. Uno puede elegir ver la Torá como un conjunto de reglas limitantes pensadas para hacer la vida miserable, o uno puede tener la cabeza abierta y reconocer la Torá por lo que realmente es, el mejor vehículo de todos. En realidad, es el único vehículo que está equipado para transportarnos a nuestro destino deseado, una vida de espiritualidad, propósito y conexión con el Creador. Si, conducir este vehículo nos restringirá de hacer ciertas actividades que pondrán en peligro la seguridad y el éxito de nuestro viaje, como así también comprometer a otros conductores y peatones inocentes, ¡pero toda elección implica restringir aquellas cosas que impiden que la elección sea implementada!

El santo maestro jasídico Rabi Mendel de Kotzk una vez dijo: “Idealmente uno no debería abstenerse de pecar porque los pecados están prohibidos; sino porque ¿cuándo encuentra uno tiempo para pecar?” Cuando uno está completamente preocupado con implementar la elección, no tiene tiempo de ni siquiera pensar en todas las otras opciones que su elección excluyó.

Segun tomado de, http://es.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1746333/jewish/-A-quien-le-interesa-una-religin-con-tantos-No.htm

Palabras judías comunes: su origen y significado

Palabras judías comunes: su origen y significado

¿Sabemos cuál es el origen y el significado exacto de estas frases judías comunes?

por Yvette Alt Miller

¡Oy vei!

Actualmente solemos exclamar “¡oy!” cuando algo no resulta como lo esperábamos. Pero no sabemos que estamos repitiendo una palabra con miles de años de antigüedad que se encuentra en el Tanaj.

Oy” significa “ay”, y se usa para describir el horror que la gente y las naciones sienten al ser amenazadas por sus enemigos. (Ver Samuel 4:7 e Isaías 3:11).

Vei” significa “ay” en arameo, el lenguaje del Talmud. (Ver Dictionary of the Targum, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature por Marcus Jastrow, 1971 y 2004)

Mazal tov

Mazal tov” es la típica expresión judía. Deseamos mazal tov cuando alguien se compromete, en las bodas y a los niños en su bar mitzvá. A menudo es traducido como “Felicidades”, pero el verdadero significado de mazal tov es mucho más profundo. “Mazal” se traduce como suerte o como signo (en hebreo los signos del zodíaco también son llamados mazalot), y denota algo que baja de arriba. “Tov” significa bueno.

Pero el destino del pueblo judío no está limitado por el mazal. El Talmud enseña que tenemos la fuerza de trascender a nuestras circunstancias externas y dar forma a nuestro propio destino. El Talmud analiza el ejemplo de lo ocurrido con la hija de Rabí Akiva, quien de acuerdo con los astrólogos estaba destinada a fallecer el día de su boda. Pero ella le dio comida a un pobre que llegó a pedir ayuda en su boda y, sin darse cuenta, mató un escorpión que debería haberla picado. De esta forma ella cambió su propio destino. (Shabat 156 a).

Al desearle a alguien mazal tov, estamos deseando que tenga la oportunidad de crecer, de elevarse por encima de sus propias circunstancias y de crear un mazal tov, una buena situación para sí mismo.

Lejaim

Muchas culturas tienen brindis tradicionales con vino o con otras bebidas. Lejaim, el brindis judío, probablemente sea el más antiguo. Lejaim significa “¡por la vida!” y es una forma abreviada del brindis que hizo Rabí Akiva, el gran sabio del siglo I. En la boda de su hijo, Rabí Akiva brindó por cada copa de vino diciendo: “¡Vino, y por la vida en las bocas de los rabinos y en las bocas de sus estudiantes!” (Shabat 67b).

El brindis de Rabí Akiva refleja una profunda verdad sobre el vino: él puede ser usado para bien o para mal. El Talmud advierte que “entra vino y sale un secreto” (Eruvin 65). La manera en que manejamos el vino puede elevarnos o, que Dios no lo permita, degradarnos. Repetir el famoso brindis de Rabí Akiva nos recuerda que debemos ser cuidadosos al usar el vino, aprovechándolo solamente para el bien y “para la vida”.

Rabí

El liderazgo espiritual judío tradicionalmente pasaba de maestro a estudiante: Moshé, quien recibió la Torá en el Monte Sinaí, le enseñó a su discípulo Iehoshúa, quien le enseñó a los líderes del pueblo judío que siguieron después de él, etc. Este método de transferencia directa del conocimiento y de la autoridad continuó en la Tierra de Israel durante miles de años. Al comienzo, los sabios judíos no utilizaban el título Rabí.

Tan sólo en el siglo I de la Era Común comenzaron a ser utilizados los términos Rabí y Rabán. Ambas palabras están relacionadas con la palabra hebrea Rav, que significa numeroso o grandioso, en referencia al enorme conocimiento de aquellos que dirigían las cortes y las academias judías. Rabán se refiere a la cabeza del Sanedrín, o de la Corte Judía, y los primeros sabios que fueron llamados Rabí fueron los discípulos de Rabán Iojanán ben Zakai. Durante cientos de años, Rabí se refirió a los líderes judíos que eran ordenados en la Tierra de Israel. (Los Sabios judíos en el exilio en Babilonia, en cambio, usaban el título similar de Rav). El imperio romano prohibió la práctica de ordenar rabinos en Israel, y aunque muchos sabios se resistieron, cada vez se volvió más difícil mantener la cadena original de continua ordenación maestro-alumno.

El término Rabí se volvió popular en la Europa medieval, aplicado a los maestros eruditos que dirigían comunidades. (Lamentablemente esos rabinos ya no podían disfrutar de la cadena ininterrumpida de ordenación que llegaba hasta Moshé). Hoy en día, Rabí significa que la persona está calificada para dictaminar reglas sobre la ley judía, responder preguntas y transmitir el conocimiento a la siguiente generación de judíos.

Goi

Actualmente muchos lo consideran un término ofensivo (y en consecuencia lo evitan). Pero la palabra goi literalmente significa nación. (El plural es goim, naciones).

La Torá contiene varios ejemplos en los cuales Israel es llamado un goi, o una nación. A Abraham se le prometió que Israel se convertiría en un “goi gadol”, una gran nación (Génesis 12:2). A Moshé se le dijo que el pueblo judío se convertiría en un goi kadosh, un pueblo sagrado. El profeta Isaías previó un día en el cual “ninguna nación levantaría su espada contra otra nación”, “lo isá goi el goi jerev” (Isaías 2:4). Esta emotiva imagen está grabada en la pared del edificio de las naciones unidas.

Salud (Gezundheit)

La costumbre de decir “salud” (o gezundheit) cuando alguien estornuda tiene un sorprendente origen judío. (gezundheit significa salud en alemán. En hebreo, cuando alguien estornuda se le dice labriut).

La Torá registra que antes de fallecer el patriarca Iaakov se enfermó. Iaakov fue la primera persona que es descripta en la Torá que enfermó antes de morir. El Midrash dice que él fue la primera persona de la historia que se enfermó antes de morir. Antes de Iaakov la gente simplemente estornudaba fallecía.

La idea de que estornudar se asocia con la muerte no es tan extraña. Cuando Dios creó a Adam, formó su cuerpo del polvo de la tierra y luego “insufló en sui nariz aliento de vida” (Génesis 2:7). Posteriormente, antes del advenimiento de la medicina moderna, estornudar podía indicar una enfermedad, lo cual podía llegar a tener graves consecuencias.

Rashi, el gran sabio judío del siglo XII que vivió en Troyes, Francia, aconsejó desear buena salud a quienes estornuden, sugiriendo que digamos “asuta”, lo cual en arameo significa “que seas curado”.

Shalom

El más básico saludo judío tiene muchos significados; hola, adiós y paz. “Shalom” deriva de la raíz hebrea shalem, o completo. Shalom denota completitud, un estado de perfección.

En hebreo moderno, cuando le preguntamos a alguien má shlomjá (a un hombre) o má shlomej (a una mujer), la traducción literal sería: ¿cómo está tu shalom? ¿Estás entero o te falta algo? Cada uno tiene la capacidad de valorar sus bendiciones y reconocer todo lo que tenemos para estar agradecidos. Ese sentido de completitud lleva a una ausencia de deseos y resentimiento. Esto fija el escenario para el verdadero shalom, una sensación de estar entero y en paz.

Segun tomado de, http://www.aishlatino.com/iymj/mj/Palabras-judias-comunes-su-origen-y-significado.html?s=feat

2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll deciphered, revealing 2nd Temple power struggles

Written in encrypted ancient Hebrew that had always defied researchers, one of the last unpublished scrolls illuminates Qumran sect’s split with Jerusalem over control of calendar

  • Inset of Plate 240 of fragments written in Cryptic A script from Cave 4 at Qumran. (Shay Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority, The Leon Levy Library of the Dead Sea Scrolls)
    Inset of Plate 240 of fragments written in Cryptic A script from Cave 4
  • at Qumran.
  • (Shay Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority, The Leon Levy Library of the Dead Sea Scrolls)
  • Remnant of scroll found in a cave near Qumran after it was removed from jar (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, Hebrew University)
    Remnant of scroll found in a cave near Qumran after it was removed from jar (Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, Hebrew University)
  • Roi Porat, an Israeli student of archaeology, works near the remains of a cave found at the West Bank archeological site of Qumran, near the Dead Sea Thursday, July 26, 2001. An Israeli antiquities official said November 14, 2016, that Israel is embarking on a major expedition to find more Dead Sea Scrolls and other artifacts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
    Roi Porat, an Israeli student of archaeology, works near the remains
  • of a cave found at the West Bank archeological site of Qumran, near
  • the Dead Sea Thursday, July 26, 2001. An Israeli antiquities official
  • said November 14, 2016, that Israel is embarking on a major
  • expedition to find more Dead Sea Scrolls and other artifacts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
  • An infrared image of a section from the Book of Psalms found at Qumran. The words in the fragment's dark lower margin were rendered visible by the IAA's imaging equipment, first developed for NASA (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
    An infrared image of a section from the Book of Psalms found at
  • Qumran. The words in the fragment’s dark lower margin were
  • rendered visible by the IAA’s imaging equipment, first developed
  • for NASA (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
  • Dr. Eshbal Ratson with an image of the newly deciphered Dead Sea Scroll. (University of Haifa)
    Dr. Eshbal Ratson with an image of the newly deciphered Dead
  • Sea Scroll. (University of Haifa)

Written in encrypted ancient Hebrew, one of the last unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls has finally been deciphered by a University of Haifa post-doctoral researcher. According to Dr. Eshbal Ratson, the almost impossible year-long mission was like “putting together a jigsaw puzzle — without knowing what was the picture.”

Using hi-tech images provided by the Israel Antiquity Authority’s Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, Ratson, 38, spent countless hours in front of her computer manipulating, deciphering and joining the 60 minuscule “puzzle pieces” which now form a comprehensive “calendrical scroll,” a document which outlines the intricate mathematical computations used by the Qumran sect to set the rhythm of their year and way of life.

Its discovery is being hailed by scholars this week as “important” and “exciting.”

Inset of Plate 240 of fragments written in Cryptic A script from Cave 4 at Qumran.
(Shay Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority, The Leon Levy Library of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

“It’s always exciting to discover a pile of tiny fragments that were basically considered to

be a hopeless conglomerate of fragments and realize that meaningful text can be

extracted from that,” said Tel Aviv University Prof. Noam Mizrahi.

“It is important on a number of levels.”

Plate 241 of fragments written in Cryptic A script from Cave 4 at Qumran. (Shay Halevi, Israel Antiquities Authority, The Leon Levy Library of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

The monumental deciphering of this scroll, the second to last of the cache of more than 900 scrolls discovered near Qumran in Israel’s Judaean Desert beginning 70 years ago, could only have been completed with new digital technologies, said Ratson.

What was revealed moves forward the scholarship in a number of disciplines: In addition to the technical aspects of the sect’s calendar, the contents of the scroll, written primarily by one scribe with occasional corrections and notes by another, confirm Hebrew linguistical assumptions, including the earliest use of the word “tekufa” for a festival or holiday at the change of the season, and is a rare mention of a little known “Feast of Wood Offering.”

Beyond mathematical calculations and linguistics, however, the scroll also opens a window into the very human power struggles during the 150 years of Qumran settlement during Second Temple Period, when the tiny sect rebelled against the religious authority wielded by Jerusalem’s centralized calendar-controlling priestly class.

Ratson’s preliminary conclusions were recently published in a Journal of Biblical Literature article, “A Newly Reconstructed Calendrical Scroll from Qumran in Cryptic Script,” which she co-authored with her supervisor, Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov, the head of the Haifa Project for Research on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ratson perhaps more than anyone is surprised by the results of her intensive work. During a lengthy conversation with the Times of Israel, Ratson said she assumed she was undertaking technical busy work. “But the puzzle came into being and I realized that I had something in hand.”

Assembling the 2,000-year-old puzzle

Extremely fragile, the scroll’s 60 fragments were grouped together decades ago with other encrypted Hebrew fragments and assembled on plates by early Dead Sea Scroll researchers. One, the Catholic priest Józef T. Milik, felt the fragments came from one scroll. The other, Stephen J. Pfann, thought they came from six different scrolls. Unfortunately, neither of the researchers left notes on their work, but Ratson said she took cues from how the fragments were laid out on the plate.

The scroll’s dark brown parchment fragments range in size from 3.9 cm × 2.8 cm for the largest fragment to numerous small pieces no larger than 1.5 cm × 1.5 cm. Ratson said she used a photo processing program similar to Photoshop to enlarge and manipulate the slivers of words.

Slowly, as Ratson shifted and joined fragments on her computer screen, she noted a very long, twisting and turning marginal note that she said “was key for deciphering the scroll.”

The reconstructed Dead Sea Scroll in infrared (University of Haifa)

The note, which is a detailed account of how to observe the esoteric Feast of Wood Offering, was broken in about six fragments. It began between two columns, but suddenly, the direction of the writing shifted, causing her to wonder whether it was indeed the same comment. In the Haifa labs, doctoral student Asaf Gayer suggested that perhaps the scribe merely ran out of space between the columns and so changed direction.

Based on Gayer’s comment, she reassembled the pieces of the margin note’s two-direction writing. This allowed Ratson to connect pieces of different columns, creating more cohesion in the swiss-cheese-like text.

“Sometimes you need the beginning and then it runs,” she said.

Ratson estimates the 60 assembled fragments are only about half of the original scroll. However, since the text follows a formula well-known from other calendar scrolls, she feels she was able to convincingly reconstruct the text based on half-words or suggestions of sentences.

Dr. Eshbal Ratson, who helped decipher a previously unpublished Dead Sea Scroll. (University of Haifa)

“Once you get a few full sentences you, you can guess all the rest of it,” said Ratson. “If you think of a puzzle, when we started, we didn’t have the picture, but after a while we knew what to expect, so knew how to put the pieces together.”

In general, Tel Aviv University’s Mizrahi accepts Ratson’s big-picture textual reconstruction, but adds that since most of the formulaic language is also based upon incomplete fragments, there may be holes.

“We always have to be cautious about a textual reconstruction, but this particular genre is very formulaic,” said Mizrahi. “The reconstruction is relatively safe, but keep in mind that it is schematic and can never be accurate,” he said. The reconstruction can give the reader a rough idea, but finding a mismatch or disparity here and there would neither surprise the scholar, nor take away from the whole picture.

This scroll, as well as some eight other Dead Sea Scrolls, is written in what scholar Milik labeled “Cryptic A script.” Deciphered in the 1950s, the script is a replacement code, said Ratson. The scribe would replace Hebrew letters with other letters from the alphabet, or special signs, including upside down letters or symbols that are similar to Greek or paleo-Hebrew letters, she said. “It’s quite a simple encryption… the language itself is Hebrew.”

Ben-Dov hypothesizes that the encryption is “a matter of prestige.” Mizrahi agrees, saying “writing in esoteric script had some kind of a social function. It makes one feel very important to read stuff that others can’t.”

At the same time, said Ratson, everything that has been deciphered that was written in Cryptic A has been found unencrypted as well, leaving scholars to continue to puzzle over its use.

He who controls time, controls the world

The margin note which spurred Ratson to crack the scroll’s riddle was about the Feast of Wood Offering. It is mentioned in the Bible in Nehemiah (13:31), “and for the wood-offering, at times appointed, and for the first-fruits,” but is an almost-unknown holiday in rabbinic literature.

“Every new text sheds light on some aspects of antiquity,” said Mizrahi. “This particular text adds an element not appreciated well enough — a controversial festival. Someone felt the urge to add it post-factum, insisting that this festival should be on this or that date. The original text did not read that way. Because we don’t hear about this festival at all, now we can reconstruct the legal and religious controversy about this festival,” said Mizrahi.

Two scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls lie at their location
in the Qumran Caves before being removed for scholarly
examination by archaeologists. (public domain via wikipedia)

The controversy, he said, is really about the proper conduct of the Jerusalem temple cult — “which is a much more complicated polemic of the religious life of the period,” said Mizrahi.

The intricate calendar detailed in the scroll is based upon a symmetrical 364-day system. According to the article, “Members of the Yahad [Qumran sect] adhered to a year of 364 days, which was different from the luni-solar year of the Jerusalem temple and the Hasmonean state… The number of 364 days is neatly divided by seven, a typological number with significant religious connotation. Each 364-day year contains exactly fifty-two weeks, a fact that allows anchoring the festivals to fixed weekdays, thus avoiding their coincidence with the Sabbath. In addition, the number 364 divides neatly by four as well, yielding a good symmetry of the four seasons, each season containing exactly 91 days.”

There’s just one problem: the calendar completely ignores the natural property of the earth’s rotation around the sun in 365 (and a quarter) days a year, and so within a few decades, seasons would have shifted entirely from their natural rhythm.

But the principle behind the sect’s obsession with their calendar and its calculations is very instructive for appreciating the Jerusalem temple’s social control — and the sect’s rebellion from it. Case in point, the margin note on the Feast of the Wood Offering, which in rabbinic literature is spread over nine days throughout the year, but in Qumran was observed for six days at the end of the year.

“The calendar seems like a technical aspect of this scroll, but is in fact a very significant subject,” said Ratson. “We think of time as a way to coordinate peoples’ activities in society, but actually it is a very political thing. This particular calendar is probably one of the reasons for the establishment of the sect, one of the reason that they left the temple,” she said.

Caves of Qumran (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

Caves of Qumran (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

Ratson postulated that the calendar is a corner stone in the difference between the sects “because anyone who rules the calendar rules the cult in the temple.” And he who controls the temple, rules the connection with Diaspora Jewry and the economy: citizens pay taxes according to the calendar.

“He who rules the calendar, rules every aspect of life,” said Ratson. The sect in Qumran wouldn’t accept such a man-made authority. “Their calendar is already set from the beginning of creation; it is the calendar that God has decided upon.”

Revealed by angels, “this calendar is perfect,” said Ratson, and removed conflicts that arose in the normative rabbinic calendar when, for example, festivals fell on the Sabbath, causing penitents to wonder which takes precedence. In Qumran, as the seasons shifted, the members of the sect blamed the “sinful stars,” joked Ratson, not their “perfect calendar.”

Outside of the Qumran writings, the 364-day calendar has all but vanished from history.

An infrared image of a section from the Book of Psalms found at Qumran. The words in the fragment's dark lower margin were rendered visible by the IAA's imaging equipment, first developed for NASA (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

An infrared image of a section from the Book of Psalms found at Qumran.
The words in the fragment’s dark lower margin were rendered visible by the
IAA’s imaging equipment, first developed for NASA (Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

“Every new text tells us something about this very rich and complicated picture of religious and intellectual life,” said Mizrahi. “It is gratifying to see how tiny fragments can nonetheless be so meaningful.”

Ratson is now working on the second unpublished Dead Sea Scroll — a calendrical astronomical scroll — which is also written in Cryptic A.

But whether it is truly the last unpublished scroll is yet to be seen. Over the past year, researchers at the IAA’s Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library discovered several boxes of previously unsorted fragments from Qumran’s Cave 11 in the IAA scroll storeroom. According to a recent newsletter put out by the Hebrew University’s Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, “For the most part, these boxes have never been systematically examined by scholars and the fragments have never been imaged.”

One IAA researcher, Oren Ableman, went through a box and removed 82 fragments in relatively poor condition. “In some cases, enough script could be deciphered to read full words and even to identify the manuscripts to which the fragments probably belonged,” according to the newsletter.

Ableman’s work, as well as a joint IAA-government initiative to survey for more Dead Sea Scroll caves, is ongoing — and eagerly anticipated.

As taken from, https://www.timesofisrael.com/2000-year-old-dead-sea-scroll-deciphered-revealing-2nd-temple-power-struggles/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=6860da41e2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-6860da41e2-54798245

 

Questioning Mahmoud Abbas’ Historical Revisionism

avatar by Pesach Benson

A view of Jerusalem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the more overlooked issues raised by Mahmoud Abbas’ recent speech was a claim that the Palestinians are Canaanites, whose presence in the Holy Land predates the arrival of Abraham:

We shall stay here regardless of the occupation and the settlements. We shall not leave this country. This is our country. This has been our land since the days of the Canaanites. By the way, our Canaanite forefathers. … The Torah says … and I do not want to go into history or geography… from the days of the Canaanites and to this day, [our forefathers] have not left this land. They were here before our patriarch Abraham. We were. Since before our patriarch Abraham.

Abbas reiterated this claim on Wednesday. The forum was Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which is regarded as Sunni Islam’s foremost institution of higher learning.

Religion plays a major part in the Israeli and Palestinian narratives, but it’s rare to see the foreign press take a deeper look at these beliefs and their impact on the conflict.

So how do Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, Muslims and Christians feel about claims that:

• The Palestinians are descendants of Abraham.
• The Palestinians are descendants of Canaanites (and Natufians).
• The Palestinians predated the Canaanites.
• Jesus was a Palestinian.
• A Jewish temple never existed on the Temple Mount.

Are Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders willing to explain the theological and political impact of these assertions? And — on a different level — if one’s religious belief can’t be reconciled with a national narrative, what does that say about individual identity? I don’t have any answers.

But there are plenty of questions.

Questions for the rabbis: Is there any reason for Jews to feel threatened by these claims? Do comments like these have an impact on interfaith dialogue, and if so, what? What do these kinds of comments mean for the Reform and Conservative rabbis who are sometimes more supportive of the Palestinians than their Orthodox counterparts? Do they view Abbas’ comments as helpful or hurtful for peace efforts? Does Jewish law’s prohibition on Jews visiting the Temple Mount strengthen Palestinian claims on the holy site?

Questions for the imams: What exactly does Islam say about God’s promise of the land to Abraham’s descendants? What does Islam say about who Palestinians descended from, and what difference does it make? Does Islam in general — and do Palestinians specifically — feel threatened by Jewish descent from Abraham? Is the idea of Palestinian descent from the Canaanites a long-standing Arab idea, or a relatively new assertion in response to modern Zionism? How does Hamas relate to the issue of Palestinian Canaanite identity? Can Muslim clergy in the West Bank or Gaza freely discuss these questions? In terms of the battle within Islam between extremists and moderates, where do these claims fit in? Islam, historically, accepted the existence of Jewish temples on the Temple Mount — why has that changed?

Questions for the priests: Is there any reason for Christians to feel threatened by Abbas’ comments? What does the church have to say about claims that Jesus was a Palestinian, and the implication that he was of Canaanite descent? Do Christians feel threatened by the competing Jewish and Muslim claims to the Temple Mount? How do Christians relate to Palestinian Temple denial? It’s been reported that there’s a rift between Christians in the US and the Mideast over the Trump administration’s stance on Jerusalem — particularly that Palestinian Christians are being forced to choose between their religious and national identities. Are Abbas’ comments also forcing Palestinian Christians to make a similar choice? Do Christians around the world have a responsibility to call out Abbas if Palestinian Christians don’t have the freedom to speak out?

I’m sure that there are plenty more questions that I haven’t thought of.

So — are any journalists out there looking for a story?

As taken from, https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/01/21/questioning-mahmoud-abbas-historical-revisionism/