Yom Kipur y los judíos ocultos

Yom Kipur y los judíos ocultos

Enlace Judío México.- Un inmenso cartel rojo. Debería haber sabido que eso significaba malas noticias. El museo judío de Córdoba Casa de Sefarad hacía alardes de un gran cartel rojo sobre las fiestas celebradas (o apenas celebradas) por los Marranos.

SHARON KATZ

El letrero explicaba que, a medida que la Edad de las Tinieblas avanzaba hacia los judíos ocultos de España, su observancia de las fiestas simplemente se desvanecía con sus recuerdos. Fingiendo ser cristianos fieles, los conversos / criptojudíos / marranos / anusim / etc. eran vistos con desdén por muchos judíos y con sospecha por la iglesia católica.

Cada año que pasaba, los conversos mantenían cada vez menos mitzvot, y limitadas incluso a las que se podía practicar en absoluta privacidad. Angustioso. Como en otros períodos de la historia judía, con frecuencia sólo las mujeres eran capaces de mantener la llama ardiendo (literalmente).

Durante los cuatrocientos años de la Inquisición, los conversos olvidaron mayormente el hebreo, el aprendizaje de la Torá, las oraciones y las costumbres que usualmente se celebraban públicamente. Sin embargo, Shabat se convirtió en una reunión social del viernes por la noche seguido de oraciones, Purim se atesoró como “Santa Esterica”, Pesaj se reprogramó como “El Cordero de Pascua” para coincidir con la fiesta de Pascua, y Yom Kipur siguió siendo “El Gran Día”.

Yom Kipur era la fiesta más importante de los conversos. Lo llamaban “El Gran Día” con “El Ayuno del Perdón”, y lo celebraban el 10 de septiembre, en lugar del 10 de Tishrei, cuando todos los judíos sospechosos eran vistos como un halcón. Yom Kipur fue el día que los mantuvo en marcha durante el resto del año.

Aprendí estos hechos hace dos semanas en un viaje de investigación a España para un próximo musical que estoy co-escribiendo con el talentoso Avital Macales. “OCULTOS – Los Judíos Secretos de España” sigue a una fiel familia judía en Andalucía, que sufre las consecuencias de la infame Inquisición. Teníamos tantas preguntas sobre la vida de los conversos, la inquisición llena de horror y la insistencia de tantos en permanecer en España a riesgo de sus vidas, que decidimos explorar estas preguntas de cerca. Participó en nuestra aventura española el productor asociado de OCULTOS Bati Katz.

En un viaje de torbellino, visitamos las Juderías (los barrios judíos), los museos judíos existentes, un museo de la Inquisición que apenas pudimos completar, y los palacios españoles y moriscos. Buscamos los escasos signos de herencia judía y tratamos de absorber las montañas de Sierra Nevada en nuestras almas. Muchas de nuestras preguntas quedaron sin respuesta en España, pero llegamos a casa con un respeto por aquellos judíos que fueron obligados a vivir una mentira, y que a menudo murieron por la verdad.

KOL NIDRE

La oración esencial para los conversos era el preámbulo de la fiesta, Kol Nidre. Bueno, no es ninguna sorpresa, Kol Nidre es una oración crítica para los judíos de todo el mundo.

Mi hijo el rabino me dijo que Kol Nidre fue escrito para los judíos conversos. Convertidos forzosamente al cristianismo o voluntariamente para salvarse de los horrores de la Inquisición, buscaron un perdón Divino por los votos y actos cristianos que emprendieron. Kol Nidre, sentían, limpiaba sus almas.

Ashley Perry, jefe de la organización Reconectar, que pretende reconectar a los descendientes de las comunidades judías española y portuguesa y el mundo judío, añadió: “En el Yom Kipur Machzor de los judíos españoles y portugueses, los Sefardíes occidentales, (por nuestros hermanos y hermanas en las cárceles de La Inquisición) … mientras que la Inquisición no puede ser físicamente activa, su efecto lleva a cabo en una oración de Mi Sheberach inmediatamente después de Kol Nidre: “A todos nossos Irmaos, prezos pela Inquisiçao” hoy en día con millones … todavía desconectados de su pueblo”.

MISTERIO EN LOS ORÍGENES DE KOL NIDRE

Mi hijo y generaciones de rabinos creían sinceramente que Kol Nidre fue creado en respuesta a la difícil situación de los conversos y su necesidad de anular sus votos de conversión. Sin embargo, sus verdaderos orígenes son un misterio.

Algunos creen que Kol Nidre fue introducido en 613 DC cuando los visigodos obligaron a 90,000 judíos españoles a convertirse al cristianismo. Algunos apuntan al período de conversiones forzadas al Islam por los Almohades españoles de 1146. Otros dicen que Kol Nidre fue la respuesta al dilema de los judíos de la Inquisición, a partir de 1478.

Sin embargo, otros niegan completamente cualquier conexión española y sostienen que los orígenes de Kol Nidre se encuentran en la Babilonia de los siglos VI y VII.

Quizás nunca descubriremos quién insertó la declaración de Kol Nidre como prefacio al servicio de Yom Kippur. Sin embargo, basta leer las palabras lentamente por un momento, casi podemos imaginar a los judíos conversos entonando estos enunciados con lágrimas en los ojos. Y si Kol Nidre fue escrito con los conversos de España en mente o cualquier otro judío amenazado de cualquier siglo o país, realmente no importa. Kol Nidre permitió a los judíos atormentados o judíos ocultos librarse de la carga de una falsa fe, al menos aquella noche.

“Con la aprobación del Omnipresente y con la aprobación de la congregación; en la convocatoria de la Corte de arriba y en la convocación de la Corte de abajo, sancionamos la oración con los transgresores. Kol Nidre, todos los votos, prohibiciones, juramentos … ahora los lamentamos … Nuestros votos no serán votos válidos; nuestras prohibiciones no serán prohibiciones válidas; y nuestros juramentos no serán juramentos válidos”.

Gmar jatimá tová.

Fuente: Jewish Press – Traducción: Silvia Schnessel – Reproducción autorizada con la mención: ©EnlaceJudíoMéxico

Según tomado de, https://www.enlacejudio.com/2017/09/28/yom-kipur-los-judios-ocultos/

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Yom Kipur, el Sábado de Sábados

AGENCIA DE NOTICIAS ENLACE JUDIO MÉXICO

La celebración de Yom Kipur acontece diez días después de Rosh Hashaná. Llamado el Sábado de los Sábados, completa los cuarenta días dedicados al examen de conciencia y al balance del alma.

Su origen se remonta a los tiempos bíblicos, en los días en que existía el Templo en Jerusalém. Su origen está en la Torá: Levítico XXIII 26-27-28 (VAIKRÁ) Ciertamente el día décimo de este séptimo mes (Tishrei) será el día de las expiaciones, convocación santa os será y afligiréis vuestras almas y presentareis ofrenda a D- s. Y no habréis de hacer ninguna clase de obra en este mismo día especial, porque es día de expiaciones por vosotros delante del señor, vuestro D- s”. Antes de estas palabras en Levítico XVI 30 de (VAIKRÁ) ya habla la Torá del concepto de purificación en Yom Kipur: “Porque en este día haréis para ser purificados y de todos vuestro pecados quedaréis puros delante de D- s.

Yom Kipur es un día de perdón y expiación de los pecados entre el ser humano y D- s y entre el ser humano y el prójimo. En Rosh Hashaná los seres humanos son juzgados por sus actos, pero el veredicto del juicio es fijado en Yom Kipur.

La conducta pasada del hombre se pesa sobre una balanza y D- s registra y sella su destino en el “Libro de la Vida”.

Es frecuente notar que la gente considera a Yom Kipur como un momento triste. Esta imagen es errónea y debe ser modificada. Al comienzo de Yom Kipur recitamos la bendición: “Shehejeianu”, agradeciendo el hecho de haber podido llegar en vida a este momento decisivo.

Costumbres

Yom Kipur, como toda festividad judía, comienza en la víspera. Este día se debe guardar ayuno completo. No se come ni se bebe nada y está prohibido bañarse, untarse aceites y perfumes, tener contacto sexual y trabajar. Es un día de plegarias, arrepentimiento y penitencia. Según la tradición, se logra el perdón a través de la plegaria verdadera y auténtica, el arrepentimiento y la tzdaká. Las plegarias que se encuentran en el Majzor (libro especial para Iamim Noraim, Rosh Hashaná y Yom Kipur) tratan de penitencia y arrepentimiento. En el hogar se encienden las velas festivas y también una vela de recordación a los difuntos, llamada NER NESHAMA. El padre bendice a los hijos y se parte rumbo al templo.

Una acción fundamental de la víspera es la de pedir perdón a aquellos a los que se le ha hecho algún daño. Esta mitzvá refleja el interés de la religión judía no sólo por la relación del hombre con H’ sino con los otros hombres.

En la tradición judía los atuendos blancos son símbolo de pureza y humildad. Cuando el Cohen Hagadol- Sumo Sacerdote- entraba al Santo de los Santos en los días reverenciales, en lugar de usar sus vestimentas típicas doradas, con campanitas, vestía simplemente atuendos de lino blanco.

El uso de calzado de cuero era un lujo en los tiempos antiguos y por eso se hizo costumbre calzar zapatos de lona o goma, simbolizando el día de aflicción.

El comer y el beber y demás placeres corporales nos incitan a continuar en la persecución de lo material y evitan que el alma procure la verdad y no es digno presentarse al juicio delante de D-s comido y bebido. Es por eso que el hombre debe en este día fortificar la fuerza de su alma para que ella sea digna de recibir la expiación de H’.

Antes del anochecer, en la sinagoga,dice el Kol Nidré: declaración solemne de anulación de las promesas incumplidas e imposibles de cumplir. Esta es la primer plegaria con la que se inicia Yom Kipur. Se abre el arca, se sacan todos los rollos de Torá, que serán portados por notables de la congregación y de pie se reza con antigua melodía esta plegaria, cuyo origen se remonta a los primeros siglos de la Edad Media.

Kol Nidré se dice tres veces. Está escrita en arameo y su significado es que todos los votos y las promesas que el judío ha hecho durante el año y no los ha podido cumplir, solicita a D- s que le sean perdonados.

Por supuesto, de esto se excluyen las obligaciones económicas asumidas, que nada tienen que ver con este pedido de perdón. El contenido de las plegarias, muchas de ellas escritas por orden alfabético como Ashamnu, tiene como eje el reconocimiento de los errores cometidos los pecados y las transgresiones y el pedido a D- s clemente y piadoso que las perdone.

En Yom Kipur hay un servicio especial de recordación (IZKOR), donde se recuerda a los familiares fallecidos, a las personas que dieron su vida por el pueblo judío y su fe y a los muertos en atentados u otros actos criminales. A partir de 1973 incluye a los caídos en la guerra de 1 Kipur en Israel, cuando el Estado judío fue atacado en el día más sagrado del año.

El último servicio, Nehilá, es el cierre del Juicio Divino simbolizado por el cierre de las puertas del Arca. Las puertas habían sido abiertas en Rosh Hashaná para exponer los “errores” personales. En el momento en que se cierran el judío debe haber recibido el perdón, las puertas no volverán a abrirse hasta el año próximo.

Este día solemne culmina en el templo después de la Nehilá, cuando se dice siete veces “A-onai Hu Haeloim” (A-onai es el D- s) y se toca el Shofar (un solo y largo sonido llamado TEKIÁ GUEDOLÁ). Se estila también en los Iamim Noraim visitar las tumbas de familiares y de hombres piadosos, para que esto ablande nuestro corazón para hacer TESHUVÁ (arrepentimiento).

Se concluye el ayuno con una comida que celebra con alegría el haber sido perdonado.

En Yom Kipur terminan los diez días de penitencia y arrepentimiento. En la dimensión divina, alcanzará con el pedido de perdón a D- s, pero en la dimensión humana esto no alcanza, hay que pedir perdón a las personas que hemos ofendido o despreciado. Nuestros semejantes deben escuchar el perdón de nosotros, sincera y verdaderamente. Hay que lograr el perdón de aquel que hemos ofendido; sólo de esa manera seremos perdonados por D- s. a atmósfera y la liturgia de Yom Kipur están caracterizadas por la solemnidad. Los rezos culminan después de la caída de la noche con la proclamación de fe judía con el sonido de una Tekiá prolongada en el shofar y con el saludo de “¡El año próximo en la Jerusalem Reconstruida!”

Se culmina el día con regocijo, ya que el judío puede confiar en que ha obtenido el perdón. El saludo tradicional es “guemar tov” (un buen fin), y tras finalizar el servicio religioso en la sinagoga, cada judío debería dirigirse a su hogar para romper su ayuno y para iniciar la construcción de la sucá, pasando de una mitzvá a otra ininterrumpidamente.

¿No es contradictorio que la Torá diga que en Yom Hakipurim se expían todos nuestros pecados, y que luego prescriba que hay que hacer todos los años Yom Kipur?

Lo que la Torá quiere enseñarnos es que estamos en constante cambio, no existe la quietud en lo que a humanidad se refiere. O progresamos (y somos moralmente, culturalmente, socialmente, etc.), o regresamos a etapas más primitivas o menos evolucionadas.

Cada año tenemos la oportunidad de enfrentarnos a nosotros mismos y de compararnos con lo que son nuestros ideales y poder concluir: avancé o retrocedí. La Torá nos brinda el regalo de que cada año podemos girar para ver a nuestras espaldas y luego continuar avanzando.

Fuente: Sefarad-asturias.org

Según tomado de, https://www.enlacejudio.com/2014/10/02/yom-kipur-el-sabado-de-sabados/

The Issues that Divide Us: Are the Jews a Chosen Nation? Part II

In my last post, I explained what the idea of the Jews being a chosen people means to me, guided by the biblical texts and later Jewish philosophers. In this post, I want to talk about how Catholics understand Jewish chosenness.

In broad strokes, for over a thousand years, the universally accepted Christian doctrine was that the Jewish people, while once chosen, lost that special status after rejecting Jesus. Since then, Jews have been exiled and cursed and forfeited their covenant. In their stead, Christians have become the “new Israel.” Galatians 3:28 puts it this way:

“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

In other words, after the coming of Christ, believing in Jesus became the new definition of being a Jew. So it follows that the Jews who continued to follow Old Testament law, rejecting Jesus, were replaced by the Church in regards to being the chosen people of God.

In a classic formulation, the early church father Melito (writing in the 200s C.E.) wrote that “the law was fulfilled when the gospel was brought to light, and the people (of Israel) lost their significance when the church came on the scene.”

This type of language is found all over the writings of the earliest church fathers like Melito and St. Augustine, medieval theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas), and popes of every century.

Fast forward to 1904 and Pope Pius IX sounded pretty similar to Melito when he responded to Theodore Herzl’s request for support of a future Jewish state in Israel by saying:
The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.

Thus, for about 1,700 years, the de facto position of Catholics and Protestants was that the Jews are no longer a chosen people. In their defense, it has a certain logic to it: if following the laws of the Old Testament no longer provides salvation —“a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16)—then the people of that Old Covenant are no longer special by virtue of following that law.
Put differently, If the old law is out, then the old people must be out too. Makes sense, right?
We’ll get back to that argument later.


Historically, however, the Catholic Church completely reversed herself on this issue in 1965, with the release of Nostra Aetate.

In that pivotal document, Catholics began to inch closer to accepting the idea that the Jews have in fact remained the chosen people after all, even after they rejected Jesus.

One revealing line from Nostra Aetate signals this shift:

 

“Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.”

This line paraphrases an important verse from the New Testament about the eternal nature of the Jewish people and their covenant. Paul says about the Jews:

“As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:28-29).”

In other words, because God chose the Jews way back when, He can never take that choice back, and so they remain eternally chosen.

Another line from Paul’s Letter to the Romans is even more explicit about Jewish chosenness:
Theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises… (Romans 9:4-5).”So the Church changed her mind about Jewish chosenness, but her “new” viewpoint is actually found in Paul’s Letters; Nostra Aetate was simply returning to scripture! And this old-new, scripturally inspired position asserts that the Jews remain chosen by God, their covenant with Him being eternal.

Pope John Paul II said this succinctly in an important speech in 1980 addressed to German Jews, calling them the “people of god of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked.”

Zooming decades ahead to the year 2015, the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews released a document on Catholic Jewish relations. Although it isn’t an “official” church teaching, it contains some remarkable language about the Jews. Here is a critical paragraph:

“The Church is the definitive and unsurpassable locus of the salvific action of God. This however does not mean that Israel as the people of God has been repudiated or has lost its mission (cf. “Nostra aetate”, No.4). The New Covenant for Christians is therefore neither the annulment nor the replacement, but the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Covenant…God entrusted Israel with a unique mission, and He does not bring his mysterious plan of salvation for all peoples (cf. 1 Tim 2:4) to fulfilment without drawing into it his “first-born son” (Ex 4:22).”

Great! The Jews are still the chosen people of God, and even have a unique mission to bring about salvation for the whole world. That sounds pretty in line with the Old Testament covenant and promises.

However, this paragraph also raises a contradiction, which comes about from the logic of replacement theology that I mentioned earlier.
If indeed the Church is the definitive locus of God’s salvation, then how can the Jews still be considered chosen? The “New Covenant” of Jesus is for all peoples, and fulfills Old Testament law by replacing it with grace. Why would God still need a chosen people anymore if “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free… for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)?”

That’s actually such a great question that the Commission throws its hands up and says that the Jewish role in God’s salvation is an “unfathomable divine mystery.” Because indeed, how could a people reject Jesus as savior and STILL be the chosen people with a unique mission from God?

This post will end with that question, because the Catholic Church has not yet arrived at an answer. I’m happy that the Church now acknowledges that the Jews are a people with a special divine purpose. It’s certainly better than Melito saying the Jewish people are a “thing without value!”

But I’m left unsatisfied with how the Church ends up defining the role of the Jews. My last pos showed how the Old Testament sets up Israel as a model nation to educate the world about justice, righteousness, and fearing God. But for Catholics and all Christians who believe that
A. Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and
B. regard Old Testament law as ‘fulfilled’ through Christ,

what use should God have for a people that
A. rejected His Son and
B. continues to follow the Law, which has been replaced by grace?

I don’t know. Maybe Paul had it right all along:

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!”
(Romans 11:33-34)

By Michael Weiner

As taken from, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/everythingoldisnewagain/2018/08/the-issues-that-divide-us-are-the-jews-a-chosen-nation-part-ii/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Best+of+Patheos&utm_content=57

Miguel Giner, el español que burló las leyes franquistas para salvar a cientos de judíos del holocausto

Su hijo Vicente recuerda en ABC como su padre, responsable de la aduana de Les en la frontera con Francia en 1943, dejó entrar ilegalmente a España a cerca de 500 judíos que huían de los nazis

Miguel Giner y su mujer Dolores, en Les

Miguel Giner y su mujer Dolores, en Les.

Vicente Giner (Altea, 1930) tenía 13 años cuando aquel grupo de quince o veinte judíos polacos llegó hasta su casa de Les, en Lérida, en plena Segunda Guerra Mundial. «Me acuerdo perfectamente de todo… aunque ojalá no recordara nada. Fue un horror», asegura a ABC. Había ido a parar a aquel pequeño pueblo de 600 habitantes, con su familia, al finalizar la Guerra Civil. «Mi padre estaba trabajando en la aduana de Barcelona, que era zona roja. Cuando Franco ganó, fue expedientado y desterrado allí, que en ese momento no sabíamos ni dónde estaba. Fue como un castigo», añade.

Aquel rincón perdido en el valle de Arán era la última localidad española antes de llegar a la Francia ocupada por los nazis. Su padre, Miguel Giner, fue nombrado administrador del puesto fronterizo a comienzos de 1940. Le acompañaron su mujer, Dolores; su otra hija, Isabel, y el pequeño Vicente. «Vivíamos en la misma aduana, donde estaba la casa y la oficina. Mi padre conoció al oficial de la Wehrmacht que vigilaba la frontera del otro lado como responsable del cuartel de Bagnères-de-Luchon. Se estableció una relación de convivencia entre ellos, de aduanero a aduanero, y hasta alguna vez comió en nuestra casa. Todo nos iba muy bien hasta que a finales de junio de 1943 la cosa se torció», cuenta.

Sobre las 9 de la mañana de uno de aquellos días de verano escucharon voces en la carretera. Su padre bajó del despacho para ver qué pasaba, puesto que no era muy habitual que la gente cruzara por allí. Su madre y él le siguieron detrás, para ver a aquellas personas que hablaban en un idioma extranjero y entre las que había unos cuantos niños. Caminaban rápido arrastrando una serie de maletas. Uno de ellos chapurreaba un poco de español y empezó a pedirle a Miguel Giner que, por favor, les dejaran entrar aunque no tuvieran visado. «Se lo suplicaron llorando, pero mi padre insistía en que no podía, que tenía que cumplir con las órdenes que le habían dado de no dejar entrar a nadie que no tuviera visado. Yo, mientras, jugaba con los niños, mi madre les daba de comer a todos y otra vecina de la vaquería les dio leche… pero al final avisó. No es disculpar a mi padre, pero era considerado un rojo desde el final de la guerra y, si no hubiera avisado, algunos dicen que lo habrían fusilado por rebelión. No lo sé, pero a la cárcel iba seguro. Y, además, cuando llegó el camión, los alemanes le aseguraron a mi padre que solo iban a llevarlos a un campo de trabajo, que no los iban a matar. La escena fue un drama, con todos llorando al marcharse», recuerda Vicente.

Vicente Giner, en su residencia de San Juan
Vicente Giner, en su residencia de San Juan – Juan Carlos Soler

Aquel grupo era parte de la avalancha de refugiados que se produjo en toda la frontera de los Pirineos con motivo de la ocupación de la Francia de Vichy a finales de 1942. En este momento, al frente del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores español estaba el general Francisco Gómez-Jordana, que luchaba por enderezar la posición española y conseguir una mayor neutralidad. Eso le llevó a mostrarse un poco más receptivo respecto a la llegada de refugiados. Según un estudio de Antonio Marquina, director de la Unidad de Investigación sobre Seguridad y Cooperación (Unisci), los aliados evacuaron a través de España a 20.500 refugiados (16.000 franceses y otros 4.500 aliados y apátridas) durante 1943.

A pesar de ello, conseguir visados para los judíos —a los que el franquismo consideraba todavía enemigos del régimen junto a los masones y comunistas—no era todavía tarea fácil. De hecho, el ministro Jordana barajó la posibilidad de que los judíos españoles que residían en Francia fueran enviados a Salónica, Constantinopla, Esmirna o algún punto de los Balcanes al entrar en el país. Finalmente, la idea fue desechada. El mismo estudio defiende que la cifra de judíos de todas las nacionalidades que lograron entrar por los Pirineos desde que se inició la operación Torch, en noviembre de 1942, hasta el desembarco de Normandía, en verano del 44, se sitúa entre 5.000 y 6.000. En junio de 1943, cuando el grupo de veinte polacos llegó al puesto fronterizo de Les, la cadencia de entrada era de uno o dos al día. Una cantidad que demuestra la dificultad de movimientos y los controles que sufrían estos en la Francia de Hitler.

Por eso, aunque la llegada a aquella España neutral suponía de alguna manera la salvación, Miguel Giner no se atrevió a actuar de otro modo. Tanto él, como los policías y los carabineros que le acompañaban, cumplieron con las órdenes y se quedaron más o menos tranquilos tras escuchar la promesa de que a sus visitantes —procedentes de una colonia de judíos polacos de Francia— no les iba a pasar nada. Una semana después, sin embargo, apareció el oficial de la Wehrmacht en la casa de Giner y comentó con toda tranquilidad: «¿Se acuerda de las personas que devolvió usted… pues los han fusilado en Toulouse». La misión del aduanero nazi era organizar las patrullas de los soldados por las montañas para controlar el tránsito de fugitivos en los Pirineos, los cuales eran a menudo ayudados por guías franceses.

«¡No devuelvo a nadie más!»

«Parece que lo estoy viviendo ahora —continúa—. Al escucharlo, mi padre subió al piso de arriba blanco como la cera. Se lo contó a mi madre. La contestación de ella, que era muy valiente, no la olvidaré en mi vida: “Miguel, tienes que hacer algo ya”. Y él respondió: “¡No devuelvo a nadie más!”». Según Vicente Giner, su padre fue después a ver a los policías y carabineros que estaban a su cargo, que también habían visto la escena en la aduana, para contarles lo que había revelado el oficial de la Wehrmacht.

Lo siguiente que hizo, sin saber como reaccionarían estos, fue comunicarles que él no iba a volver a ser cómplice de semejante barbarie, que no iba a detener a nadie que llegara huyendo por su frontera, a pesar de las órdenes dadas por el Gobierno de Franco. «Estos le escucharon y se convirtieron en cómplices también, mirando para otro lado cuando llegaron más judíos hasta esa frontera —explica—. Pero el que se merece un monumento de verdad es el pueblo de Les. Cuando sus vecinos se enteraron de que mi padre había tomado esa decisión, comenzaron a acoger a otros grupos de judíos que llegaban huyendo. Les ocultaban en sus propias casas, les daban de comer y, por la noche, les hacían pasar el puerto de la Bonaigua. Sabían que en el otro lado había gente que los ayudaba después a llegar a Barcelona, Portugal y Vigo».

Vicente Giner tiene ahora 88 años
Vicente Giner tiene ahora 88 añosJ.C.S.

Giner calcula que en los siguientes dos meses y medio, su padre dejó cruzar la frontera a entre 300 y 500 judíos que no fueron interceptados por los nazis en las montañas y que consiguieron llegar a su puesto fronterizo sin visado. «Hubo una especie de efecto llamada cuando se enteraron de que por allí se podía cruzar. Pasaban de forma regular grupos de quince o veinte. Yo escuché y vi a varios, siempre por la mañana temprano. Huían de los alemanes, se resguardaban por la noche en los montes y al amanecer bajaban hasta Les. De alguna manera, mi padre era considerado el cabecilla de todo, pero sin la colaboración del pueblo no hubiera podido hacer nada, porque si alguno de ellos hubiera hablado o se entera el oficial nazi, imagínate», explica, antes de puntualizar que, a pesar de ello, nunca se ha referido a su padre como un héroe: «No creo que fuera un acto de heroísmo, sino de humanidad. Mi padre no podía devolver a gente sabiendo ya con seguridad que los iban a asesinar. Y salvó a muchos de aquellos judíos a los que nunca volvió a ver y que nunca se lo agradecieron».

Desde aquel funesto día de junio de 1943 hasta la muerte de Miguel Giner (1970) y su esposa (1980), ni Vicente ni su hermana comentaron el episodio con sus padres ni una sola vez. «Jamás. Ni tampoco de la gente que salvó. No quiesieron hablarlo, era como un tema tabú. En primer lugar, porque se la jugaba con Franco vivo. Y en segundo, porque mis padres debieron temer que mi hermana y yo tuviéramos algún problema psicológico por ello, sabiendo que yo había estado jugando con los niños antes de que se los llevaran. Ten en cuenta que mi padre, sin saberlo, envió a la muerte a cerca de veinte personas. ¿Cómo crees que vivió con eso el resto de su vida?», pregunta.

Según tomado de, https://www.abc.es/historia/abci-miguel-giner-espanol-burlo-leyes-franquistas-para-salvar-cientos-judios-holocausto-201809130208_noticia.html

 

How Orthodox Jews Read Tough Biblical Passages: Part I—“Marrying a Female Captive”

by Michael Weiner

As the title suggests, I am beginning a new series of articles for this blog on the topic of how Orthodox Jews interpret some of the (seemingly) morally problematic, controversial sections of the Bible. The stuff about sex and violence and everything else. You all know those verses. But you might never have heard about how ancient and medieval Jews interpreted some of these stories and laws. This post will highlight one example of those interpretations.

Deuteronomy Chapter 21:10-14 contains the Biblical law regarding how a Jewish soldier is allowed to marry a female prisoner of war. The verses themselves seem to clearly say that if the Israelites go to battle, win the war, and take captives, a soldier is then allowed to take a captured female prisoner as his wife, if he desires her. Seemingly, this marriage could be enacted by force, and does not require the woman’s consent.

And that’s when the alarm bells begin ringing for religious people today: how could the Bible permit a soldier to forcibly take a prisoner of war as his wife?

Ancient rabbis seemed to struggle with similar questions. Hence, the Talmud
(an authoritative work of Jewish law completed around 600 C.E.)
has this bold statement to make about our case:

“The Torah permits this only as a concession to the evil inclination (Kiddushin 21b).”

The next line explains this quote by essentially saying that the Torah permitted marrying a female captive so that other, even more horrific acts would not be committed.

In other words, the Bible is not endorsing or encouraging soldiers to marry captives. It permits them to do this, but only because it would be impossible to forbid it. Soldiers, traumatized by battle and suffering away from home are prone to commit sexual atrocities. So insisting that the soldier marry his captive is a way to ensure that the woman is treated better than the alternatives: rape in the POW camp, forced prostitution, or sexual slavery.

In Biblical times, captive women were acquired by the winning army in the same way as the property of the losers was now theirs. In the context of brutal total warfare, the men of the losing army (as well as civilians) were killed and the women and children sold into slavery. See I Samuel Chapter 30 for an example of this practice.

The Bible does away with this historical practice of treating female prisoners as chattel. When the verse says, “And you take her as your wife,” this is a severe limitation. You cannot treat her like a prostitute or sell her into slavery. The only way to fulfill your desire is through marriage, taking her home, and letting her mourn her family. She is not to be treated as loot to be pillaged in the camp.

So ultimately, the Bible’s law in this regard is an innovation and an enormous improvement, morally speaking, on other ancient and pre-modern codes of ethics in war. At the very least, the Israelite soldier has some compassion and consideration for the woman and her suffering, and cannot abuse her or sell her.

However, the ancient rabbis added another layer of complexity to the story. They noted that the law of the female captive is placed right before a law of inheritance which states that if you have two wives—one hated and one loved—you must give the son of the hated woman her due. From this juxtaposition of laws, the rabbis felt the Torah was teaching that marrying a captive woman, while permitted, is a really bad idea because it’ll lead to conflict between wives and their children. It’s interesting to consider why the Bible would permit something, but then immediately imply that it shouldn’t be done because of what it’ll lead to…

In any case, the question still stands: what about the marriage? Isn’t it morally problematic to allow person x to marry person y without y’s consent? Here’s where ancient Jewish interpreters come in once again to add their take on the text. Here are their assumptions, step by step:

1. According to Jewish law, Jews are forbidden to marry non-Jews (see the book of Ezra chapter 9 for more on that)
2. Thus, we have to assume that the female POW converted to Judaism before being allowed to marry the Israelite soldier.
3. However, there’s another Jewish law that a forced conversion to Judaism isn’t valid; intent and sincerity are required.

Based on these assumptions, Maimonides—an incredibly influential medieval rabbi and codifier of Jewish law—concludes that if a female captive refuses to convert to Judaism for 12 months, she is set free.
(Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars Chapter 8).

So there you have it. Traditional Jewish interpreters and rabbis used a combination of careful analysis, context clues, and outside knowledge of other Biblical laws to heavily limit the applicability and scope of the law of the female captive. Instead of an Israelite soldier being allowed to march into a prisoners’ camp and take a woman there as his wife forever, he can take a woman home with him and ask her to convert to Judaism. If she agrees, they can marry. If she doesn’t agree, they wait a year, in which he cannot have sex with her, and then she goes free. This still isn’t something we’d imagine a righteous person doing, and the rabbis of the Talmud did see it as something bad. But it was permitted in order to make the best of a horrible situation, and enable soldiers to gratify their sexual desires through marriage rather than prostitution or rape.

I can’t speak to how well this system worked in practice, but I hope this explanation of the theory was enlightening to those who have wondered how Jews interpret this difficult passage. Stay tuned for more posts on topics like these to come.

As taken from, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/everythingoldisnewagain/2018/08/how-orthodox-jews-read-tough-biblical-passages-part-i-marrying-a-female-captive/

The Issues that Divide Us: Are the Jews a Chosen Nation? Part I

 

My first post to this blog made the case for expanding opportunities for honest interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews on the issues that matter most to us both. Efforts towards this goal have been going on since Vatican II and show no signs of stopping, despite pushback from religious extremists on both sides. So we are moving in the right direction. I just want us to get there faster, by improving the quality of the conversations we have.

In the next few posts, I thought I would begin to tackle head on some of the more controversial, confusing, and unsettled issues in interfaith dialogue. These will include questions like whether Jews and Christians worship the same God and how they read the Bible differently.

Today, my topic will be Jewish chosenness.

In this post, I’m going to lay out my interpretation of one Jewish position on this topic, using the Biblical texts, the Talmud, and medieval Jewish philosophers as my guides. In the next post, I’ll do my best to present what I believe to be one popular modern Catholic view of Jewish chosenness, based on Vatican documents and Papal speeches from post Vatican II.

i could have picked any number of Biblical verses to prove the point, but this one will do:

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 14:2).

There you have it, folks. The Hebrew Bible is pretty clear that God chose Israel.
But why?
And for what purpose?

To answer that, we have to go way back to the Book of Genesis when God first chose Abraham and commanded him to travel to Canaan in order to found a nation. We actually do not know why God chose Abraham over any other man. But we do know why God wanted a nation:

“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19)

This is a really important but under-examined verse. Apparently Abraham, and by extension the Israelite (or Jewish) nation was chosen in order to do righteousness and justice.

But that raises more questions. Why would one nation alone be given this task? Shouldn’t God want everyone to be righteous?

The Biblical context of this passage is important. Until Abraham is chosen by God in chapter 12, the first 11 chapters of Genesis are filled with disappointment. Human beings sin and are punished, sin again and are punished, and the cycle continues. From the Garden of Eden to Cain and Abel to the generation of the Flood to the Tower of Babel, every single story in Genesis up to Chapter 11 is about humans sinning and getting punished.

So God ‘wised up,’ as it were. Instead of continuing to rely on human beings to “just do” the right thing, He decided to create a nation dedicated to the purpose of “the way of the Lord”—doing righteousness and justice.

But are the Israelites just supposed to go about being good people in isolation, away from the rest of the world? No.

At Sinai, God made a covenant with the Israelites: they agreed to become His people and follow His laws. A key phrase in that story says that the Israelites are to be “a kingdom of priests unto Me (Exodus 19:6).” A 15th century Italian Jewish commentator, Rabbi Obadiah Seforno, explains this to mean that Jews are called to “teach the entire human race to call on the name of God and serve Him with one accord.”

That makes sense. Of course God doesn’t just want one nation to be righteous and just.Rather, He chose a nation to educate everyone else about justice, to model moral behavior/lead by example, and thus influence the rest of the world to become just. God saw that humans weren’t making any moral progress, so he chose one people to become a nation of educators and get the message out about goodness according to God.

Key takeaway:
the chosenness of Israel, properly defined, means the responsibility that this nation has to influence and educate the rest of the world in the teachings of “ethical monotheism”—devotion to God and to justice on earth.

So when the messiah comes, of course it makes sense that the Bible says he “shall execute justice and righteousness in the land (Jeremiah 33:15).” The Messiah, whose job it is to bring history to its ideal state, will do justice and righteousness, perfectly fulfilling the whole purpose of Israel as a nation.

When the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon and saw the nation of Israel at the height of its wealth, power, and influence, she declared:

“Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness (1 Kings 10:9).”

Once again, we see this core idea pop up. From the mouth of an impressed gentile onlooker, we are reminded of the lesson that God chose Israel and gave Solomon power in order to maintain justice, and thus hopefully inspire everyone to become more moral.

This is also one purpose of all the special laws that God gave the Israelites to observe, as His nation. As Moses says about these laws in the Book of Deuteronomy:

“Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people… “And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?”

That’s a pretty clear description of how Israel is to pursue education and influence: through good role modeling. Faithfully observing its own laws at the individual, family, and national levels is what will enable Israel to affect and inspire its surrounding gentile neighbors.

Finally, Israel’s role a model nation chosen to educate the rest of the world explains why God punishes her so harshly for her sins. After all, if this nation represents God and His standard of morality in the world through its conduct, then when she sins, that makes God look bad. Hence, the prophet Amos (3:2) says:

“You only have I chosen
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your sins.”

That’s my take on Jewish chosenness. Let me know what you think of it in the comments. Next post will be about the Catholic perspective on Jewish chosenness, and some possible Jewish responses to their position.

(Some of these ideas were inspired by the following excellent article. Check it out for a longer version of this argument: https://tanach.org/breishit/lech.txt)

MYTH: Israel was created by displacing Palestinians

 

byJose Eriel Muniz Gomez

José Eriel Muñiz Gomez

In 1947, the British–like they did in many of their colonies– lowered their flag from the British Mandate of Palestine, closed their military bases and went home. This tendency of theirs explains why today they enjoy the “privilege” of dissolving the Canadian Parliament, for example, thanks to the Commonwealth project. In November of that same year, the United Nations (UN), after having assumed control of the mandate, approved a “Partition Plan,” which impulsed the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state on the borders of the newly acquired territory. The Arabs rejected the plan, and the Jews accepted it. However, let’s go back to the history that the media leaves out.

Pogroms in Russia, Ukraine, and other European states (the home to 90% of world Jewry at the time) in the 1880s led Jews into what is now Israel, Gaza, and Judea and Samaria through several “migratory waves” between 1882 and 1945. After the Jewish “gold era,” Jews were  persecuted, many blood libels were attributed to them (particularly notable is the painful libel of Damascus in 1840), and they had nowhere to go.

In response, Jews began to move to what was then the Ottoman Empire and settled in what today’s Palestinians call “Palestine.” However, at the time, the settled territory  was not called “Palestine.” In fact, the term “Palestine” was given to this region by Adriano after quelling the Bar Kochba uprising. Bar Kochba is the name of the Jewish leader who led in the year 132 a rebellion against the Roman Empire, establishing an independent Jewish state that he even led for three years, until being defeated by the Romans in 135. On the other hand, it is during this period when the Jews began to be called “Palestinians”. Clearly, this was a reprisal to the Jews, and the Romans did it because it was very similar to the name of one of the most important enemies of the Jewish people: the Philistines.

In the 1930s when Palestinian nationalism emerged as a movement led by the anti-Semitic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husayni¹, he and other important politico-religious figures started calling the Arabs living in the British Mandate of Palestine as “Palestinians”. This was an effort  to legitimize and promote the idea that the Arabs were the real natives of that land (ignoring the fact they are genetically and historically rooted in southern Lebanon and Syria, and in western Jordan) and therefore were the only ones with the right to settle there. Hence: today’s definition of “Palestinians.”

Now let’s return to the 1880s during which there were 9,000 Jews, more than Arabs, in Jerusalem. In the height of the Jews’ migration to their ancestral land (from which they had been expelled by the Romans more than 2,000 years prior — a common understanding among historians, supported by archaeological remains), they began to create a Jewish communitarian model called “Yishuv.” Already paying the Ottoman Empire and the local Arabs, the Jews acquired land for their ‘utopian’ communities, deeply rooted in socialist and communist political philosophies. These ideologies  were the products of Jewish political experiences in their countries of origin. A crucial recognition here is that between this moment and 1948, 30% of all Jewish land was purchased by individuals, donors, foundations or through the Jewish Agency. So the theory that “the land was totally stolen” is a total misconception. Just take a look to the documents that serious historians like Benny Morris have found.

Between 1930s and 1948 (before and after the Holocaust), Jews struggled to escape from fascist, anti-Semitic countries, and several powerful countries, including the United States closed their doors. The only place the Jews could go was Eretz Yisrael. Actually, previous to the Second World War the only country that let Jews in was Dominican Republic. Although more than 1,500 went to the caribbean island, that country’s dictator wanted the Jews to come in so they can help to renovate the country’s economy. But that is another story.

Out of the many Jewish immigrants fleeing the Nazis, some emigration networks were attacked by the British, while others were captured and taken to concentration camps in Cyprus. Arabs leaders kept firmly rejecting the consistent arab-land selling to Jews, what allowed many Jews to permanently settled in what is now Israel (in spite of the disastrous White Papers in 1936 and 1939). That is why Arabs were concerned and continued to reject the Jewish presence in the modern territory of Israel and deny Jews of their right to Jewish self-determination in their ancestral land. This geopolitical crisis and migration coincided with the rise of Zionism and the endorsement of the Balfour Declaration² for the Jewish presence in the British Mandate of Palestine.

After the British left in 1947 and the Arabs’ refused to have a Jewish state next to an Arab state, the Arabs declared war against the Jews in November 1948 that would last until 1949. Despite the sparse support and international military aid to the Jews, they not only had the courage and persistence to declare a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, but they also proceeded to survive the invasion that several Arab States carried out. Some of these invasive forces were Syria , Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, (although it was only a strategic axis in the war, only sent a unit to fight and only had one soldier fallen), several Gulf states, Algeria, arab militias, etc.

There is a common rhetoric that by settling in historical Palestine/modern day Israel, the Jews “expelled the Palestinians” with the intention of “exterminating them”. It is true that David Ben-Gurion gave orders to expel Arabs from the south of what is now Israel (in the Negev area) as a measure to contain the Egyptian advance, and he did give orders that led to several massacres. But there were massacres of the Jews as well; there was even an ambush in which more than 30 Holocaust-survivors that were fighting in the Israeli side, were coldly killed by Arabs. However, the Jewish expulsion of Arabs is highlighted while the common rhetoric hides the fact that 300,000 Arabs were expelled by orders of Arab armies. Several Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptians newspapers and politicians have acknowledged this reality, and in fact, Mufti Husainy has recognized this scenario in two speeches he gave during that time. In fact, the result of this reality is the phrase that the Arab leaders commonly telling to the Palestinians during the 1948 war: “come to our lands, it will only be a short term suffer with a long-term benefit.” However, this “promise” was not true at all. On the other hand, a study conducted by the Beirut Institute for Palestinian Studies released in 1970 found out that “ 68% of the Palestinians left their homes without ever seeing a Jewish soldier or hearing a shot fired”. Nevertheless, this part of the story isn’t told in the mainstream version.

Then, why we only talk about the more than 700,000 Arabs “that were kicked out by the Jews”  referring to the Nakba; what Palestinian Arabs call “the catastrophe”) and forget the more than 850,000 Jews who were forced out of Arab countries, where they had  lived for generations, because the Arabs wanted to kill them. These exiles don’t even include the Jews that Israel later had to remove from hostile countries like Morocco, Yemen, Algeria, Ethiopia, and others.

Leaving out pieces of history in order to victimize a certain party and villainize the other is easy. We need to start addressing the missing parts of the story and asking why they have historically been left out. It is sad that to this day there are “Palestinian refugees” (including third and fourth generation people), but nonetheless, if states like Syria (where more than 3,500 Palestinians have died due to the Syrian Civil War) and Lebanon had given respective citizenships and labor rights to Palestinians like Jordan did the “refugee population” would not suffer so much from the reality of an impractical demand to return to Palestine. They keep the key to their houses generation after generation, but like the generations of Jews whose ancestors were expelled from or forced to escape from Arab states, they will never return “home.”

While it may be unacceptable that there are certain settlements in the West Bank, it is also unacceptable that the world continue to condemn Israel for its history, in which two peoples (although the Palestinians have a very recent identity and collective history) confronted each other. Israeli settlements outside of Area C (the zone-controlled by Israel), should not be supported, but  at the same time, the West Bank is not occupied but rather under dispute after Jordan relinquished control of that land in 1988.

Another problem is that since the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians (although they have only been given the promise to have “something”), have declared that the is theirs and has never been rightfully Jewish. However, places like Hebron, Ariel and Gush Etzion, which have always been Jewish (and where Jews lived before  the Jordanians drove them out during the 1948 war) and strategic settlements like those in the Jordan Valley, must remain in Israeli hands. Along these lines we must not forget that 80% of Israeli settlements are located just four kilometers inside the “green line.”

History is a matter of discovering and earning alternative stories and perspectives understanding and considering them, and resisting the urge to polarize and radicalize in either direction. We must let the lessons of history navigate us to the truth, even if we may not like what we find.

NOTES

¹Mufti Amin al-Husayni allied with Adolf Hitler during the Second World War, suggested-something that was confirmed during the Nuremberg Trials- killing the Jews in Europe so they would not reach Palestine, spent the majority of time in Berlin during the Second World War, and offered religious services to the Muslims in the Balkans were the Nazis where).

²The Balfour Declaration was a formal public manifestation of the British government during the First World War, to announce its support for the establishment of a “national home” for the Jewish people in the area of what is now Israel, Gaza, and Judea and Samaria. At that time this territorial extension was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Declaration was included in a letter signed by British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour and addressed to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, a leader of the Jewish community in Britain.

As taken from, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/myth-israel-was-created-by-displacing-palestinians/

About the Author
José Eriel Muniz Gomez is a student in Neuroscience and Israel Studies at the American University in Washington, DC. Among his achievements, he has performed internships at the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, and the National Committee of the College Republicans and The David Project in Washington, DC. In addition to his interest in Spanish politics, Middle Eastern affairs and diplomacy, Jose currently work as a coordinator of Israel related events for American University Hillel and as an event assistant for the Center of Israel Studies at the American University. In addition, Jose collaborates as a columnist with Diario Judío in Mexico and has written for several newspapers such as El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), El Vocero de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico), Latino Rebels (United States) and Red Alert Politics (United States). José is the author of two books: “Panorama Internacional: Una mirada a la geopolítica e historia mundial (2016-2017)” and “Puerto Rico: El nocivismo del insularismo y el colonialismo”. During his junior year at AU, José did an independent research project were he focused on the relations of Israel with Basque and Catalan Nationalism.

Beyond Conflict Resolution: Jewish-Christian Dialogue Reconsidered

This past semester, I was a visiting student at a local Catholic Jesuit university and took a course entitled “Jews and Christians: Entwined Histories.” This wouldn’t seem all that interesting, except for the fact that I’m an Orthodox Jew. Though my particular variety of orthodoxy generally embraces much of secular modern life, Christians and Christianity are treated with some degree of skepticism, or even suspicion. The blessing for the czar invoked by the rabbi from Fiddler on the Roof is a decent approximation of most Orthodox Jewish approaches to Christianity:
“May God bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!”

And for good reason. By way of example, when I told my grandmother I was taking this course, she responded by recalling the time when, growing up in the 1940s, her next door neighbor came home from Sunday School and accused her—my grandmother—of “killing our Lord.” Given that sordid history, I understand why many Orthodox Jews aren’t running to join interfaith groups and exchange latkes and Christmas cookies.

But I’m an irrational optimist. I grew up in the 21st century, and no Christians have (yet) accused me of deicide. Thus, I grew up maintaining the illusion that maybe our two faiths could actually be a lot closer than they currently are, and maybe we’d both be better off for it.

So filled with a somewhat naive amount of hope, I joined the class. Alas, my kumbaya vision of interfaith relations took a major beating in our very second session, when we read the following passage:

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’ All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!’”(Matthew 27:24-25).”

If ever there was a time for a trigger warning, this would’ve been it. Of course though, this being a college class, I wasn’t made to feel uncomfortable for too long. We glided past this “problematic” passage on our way to read the scholars who dismiss the reliability of that text, and all the others that highlight Jewish involvement in Jesus’s trial/crucifixion. They explain why the Gospel writers would’ve wanted to make the Jews look bad, how unlikely it is that mass murderer Pontius Pilate was a pious pacifist, and how crucifixion as a punishment was only used by the Romans for rebellion against the state.

Later, we trekked through 1,900 years of history and read Nostra Aetate, the 1965 Vatican document that finally rejected collective Jews responsibility for Jesus’s death.

But I wasn’t entirely satisfied. For one, the difficult Gospel texts remain. For another, Nostra Aetate still insists that “the Jewish authorities…pressed for the death of Christ.”

So where do we go from here? How do we share this sort of difficult text with others, if scholarly hand waving can’t help us?

One common approach is to just ignore them, and instead focus on what Jews and Christians agree on.

That surely has its place, but I refuse to accept that interfaith dialogue can be no more than conflict resolution. It has to be about more than finding the absolute lowest common denominator of beliefs to bond over.

No, we are not “all just saying the same thing.” That claim actually shuts down dialogue, because there’s not much to talk about if we agree on everything!

Applied to our example of the Trial Narrative, Christians should share what they truly believe about Jewish guilt for the death of Christ, and how that affects their relationship to Jews and Judaism—the people that should have been first to accept Jesus, but rejected him instead.

For their part, Jews have to accept that this claim as made today by peaceful Christians isn’t anti-semitic. At least with Catholics and liberal Protestants, they simply do not believe in the idea of collective guilt/punishment for Jews anymore.

So where does that leave us? Maybe there is a half decent case to be made that some Jewish authorities in Jerusalem, worried about Jesus declaring himself king and instigating a popular uprising to usher in the Kingdom of God, might have tried to prevent Roman violence by handing Jesus over to Pilate.

Maybe you think that theory is total bonkers, and that’s fine. My point is simply that we should talk about these issues. As President Josiah Bartlet put it so eloquently, “friends are honest with each other (West Wing Season 2 Episode 12).”

If we are indeed true friends, we must present ourselves to each other warts and all. If we photoshop the warts out, then we aren’t true friends. If many Christians do believe that some Jews brought about the death of Jesus 2,000 years ago, how should that affect our relationship today? How can rejecting the savior of all mankind not have serious consequences for subsequent generations?

But how can the Jews, a people that has an eternal saving covenant with God, not remain loved and chosen? These are good, tough questions. In our zeal to avoid conflict and being offensive, I think we end up avoiding the difficult conversations that would ultimately bring us closer together. Our faiths probably do have “irreconcilable differences.” But ignoring those is worse for the state of our relationship than acknowledging them, and thus understanding each other better.

I’ll leave you with one final issue: do Jews and Christians worship the same God? Well, if we actually talked about it, some Jews would have a problem with the trinity and the idea of Mary as God’s mother. Others might come to agree with Christians who say that trinitarianism is mysterious and confusing, but falls short of actual polytheism. That debate would teach us a lot about each other and ourselves, but it isn’t being had and that’s a shame. After all, friends are honest with each other. So how about we give difficult, honest conversations a try and see what happens?

As taken from, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/everythingoldisnewagain/2018/08/beyond-conflict-resolution-jewish-christian-dialogue-reconsidered/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Best+of+Patheos&utm_content=57

The Second Mountain

by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What do you do when you have achieved it all, when you have risen to whatever career heights fate or providence has in store for you? What do you do as age lengthens its shadow, the sun sinks, and the body is no longer as resilient or the mind as sharp as it once was?

That has become a major problem as life expectancy has increased in most parts of the world. There has been nothing quite like it in history. In America, in 1900, average life expectancy was around 41 years, in Europe 42.5. Today in Britain, for men it is 79, for women 83.[1] Much of that has to do with a huge reduction in infant mortality. None the less, the sheer pace in the rise in longevity – every decade since 1900, life expectancy has risen by about three years – remains remarkable. What will keep you young in spirit even if the body does not always keep pace?

The biblical case study is Moses, of whom we are told that even at the end of his life, “his eye was undimmed and his natural energy unabated.” At the opening of today’s parsha he says, “I am now a hundred and twenty years old. I can no longer come and go, and the Lord has told me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’” Rashi points out that the “I can no longer” does not mean that he lacked the strength. It means that he no longer had permission. The moment had come when he had to hand on the role of leader to his successor and disciple, Joshua. He himself stayed full of vigour, as the passion of his speeches in the book of Devarim, delivered in the last month of his life, testify.

To understand what Moses epitomises at the end of his life, two closely related concepts are helpful. The first is Erik Erikson’s idea of generativity, the seventh of his eight life stages. Relatively late in life, he argues, many people’s perspective changes. They begin thinking about legacy, about what will outlive them. Their focus often shifts from self to others. They may devote more time to family, or community, or care or voluntary work. Some mentor young people who are following in their career path. They make commitments to others. They ask themselves, how can I contribute to the world? What trace will I leave on those who will live on after me? What, in the world, is better because of me?

The second and related idea is David Brook’s concept of the second mountain. Speaking to people over 70, he found that early in their lives they had identified the mountain they were going to climb. They had specific aspirations about family and career. They had a vision of the self they wanted to become. By age 70, some had achieved it and were happy. Others had achieved it only to find it not entirely satisfying. Yet others had been knocked off the mountain by misfortune.

At a certain age, though, many identified a second mountain they wanted to climb. This mountain was not about achieving but about giving. It was less about external accomplishment (success, fame) than about internal accomplishment. It was spiritual, moral; it was about devoting yourself to a cause or giving back to the community. It is often, he says, a yearning for righteousness, an inner voice that says, “I want to do something really good with my life.” This second peak, associated with later life, may well prove more significant to our sense of self-worth than the ego-driven ascent of the first mountain.

The case of Moses sets all this in dramatic perspective. What do you do if you have already achieved what no human being had ever done before or would ever do in the future? Moses had spoken to God face to face. He had become His faithful servant. He had led his people from slavery to freedom, put up with their complaints, endured their rebellions and prayed for – and achieved – their forgiveness in the eyes of God. He had been the agent through which God had performed His miracles and delivered His word. What else is left to do after such a life?

His closest friends and allies, his sister Miriam and brother Aaron, had already died. He knew that the decree had been sealed that he would not cross the Jordan and lead the people on the last stage of their journey. He would not set foot in the Promised Land. Unlike Aaron, whose children inherited his priesthood to eternity, Moses had to live with the fact that neither of his sons, Gershom and Eliezer, would become his successor. That role would go to his assistant and faithful servant Joshua. These were, surely, huge disappointments to set alongside the momentous achievements.

So, as Moses faced his own life’s end, what was there left to do? The book of Devarim contains and constitutes the answer. As it says in its opening chapter: “In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the Israelites … On the east bank of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began expounding this law …” No longer the liberator and miracle-worker, Moses became Rabbenu, “our teacher,” the man who taught Torah to the next generation.

The way he does so in Devarim is stunning. No longer, as before, does he simply articulate the law. He explains the theology behind the law. He speaks about the love of God for Israel and the love Israel should show to God. He speaks with equal power about the past and the future, reviewing the wilderness years and anticipating the challenges ahead.

Above all, coming at the subject from every conceivable direction, he warns the young people who will enter and inherit the land, that the real challenge will not be failure but success; not slavery but freedom; not the bread of affliction but the temptations of affluence. Remember, he says again and again; listen to the voice of God; rejoice in what He has given you. These are the key verbs of the book, and they remain the most powerful immune-system ever developed against the decadence-and-decline that has affected every civilisation since the dawn of time.

That last month in Moses’ life, which culminates in today’s parsha as he finally hands over the reins of leadership to Joshua, is one of the supreme instances in Tanakh of generativity: speaking not to your contemporaries but to those who will live on after you. It was Moses’ second mountain.

And perhaps the very things that seemed, at first sight, to have been disappointments, turned out in the end to have played their part in shaping this last chapter in that great life. The fact that he knew he would not accompany the people into the land, and that he would not be succeeded by his sons, meant that he had to turn into a teacher of the next generation. He had to hand on to them his insights into the future. He had to make the people his disciples – and we have all been his disciples ever since.

All of this suggests a powerful and potentially life changing message for all of us. Whatever our life has been thus far, there is another chapter to be written, focused on being a blessing to others, sharing whatever gifts we have with those who have less, handing on our values across the generations, using our experience to help others come through difficult times of their own, doing something that has little to do with personal ambition and much to do with wanting to leave some legacy of kindness that made life better for at least someone on earth.

Hence the life-changing idea: Whatever your achievements, there is always a second mountain to climb, and it may turn out to be your greatest legacy to the future.

Shabbat Shalom.

NOTES

[1] Life expectancy in the United States actually fell in 2016 and 2017, largely as a result of a massive rise in drug-related deaths. Obesity may be playing a part also.

As taken from, http://rabbisacks.org/second-mountain-vayelech-5778/

Teshuvá: arreglando los errores

Teshuvá: arreglando los errores

Todos cometemos errores, el desafío de la teshuvá es trabajar para que no se repitan.

por Lori Palatnik

Todo el mundo comete errores. La Torá está llena de gente —gente grandiosa— que cometió errores.

Moshé mismo cometió errores, y Dios no le permitió entrar a la Tierra de Israel por ellos.

Nuestros patriarcas y matriarcas eran seres humanos de carne y hueso. De hecho, lo que los hizo grandiosos no fue que hayan tenido vidas perfectas, sino el hecho de que aprendieron de sus errores. Cuando cayeron, se levantaron y continuaron en el camino hacia Dios.

¿Qué quiere Dios de nosotros cuando cometemos errores?

Teshuvá. La palabra teshuvá significa regreso. A menudo se le traduce erróneamente como arrepentimiento. Cuando Dios nos pide que hagamos teshuvá nos está pidiendo que retornemos.

Volviendo a lo conocido

Si viajas a Europa con un pasaje de ida y vuelta, entonces primero dejas tu casa para ir a Europa. Después de completar tu estadía, usas tu pasaje de regreso para subirte a un avión y volver a casa. Regresar significa volver a un lugar en el que ya has estado, un lugar conocido.

Teshuvá significa volver al camino que Dios fijó para nosotros cuando nacimos, el camino que nuestras almas conocen como “hogar”, el camino hacia la bondad, hacia convertirnos en mejores personas.

Hay muchos tipos diferentes de teshuvá, así como hay muchos tipos diferentes de errores. Algunos son muy serios y puede que hayan descarriado por completo la vida de la persona. Aquí estamos hablando de los errores de la vida diaria, los cuales a menudo nos hacen sentir mal sobre nosotros mismos y deterioran nuestra relación con los demás y con Dios.

Por lo general sabemos en el mismo instante que lo que estamos haciendo está mal, pero nos convencemos de que en ese momento en particular está bien.

Todo el mundo comete errores de ese tipo. Todos sabemos cuándo racionalizamos, nos descarriamos, torcemos la verdad, evitamos el esfuerzo o ignoramos lo que es realmente importante y significativo en nuestras vidas. Por lo general sabemos en el mismo instante que lo que estamos haciendo está mal, pero nos vemos atrapados, nos distraemos o nos convencemos de que, por alguna razón, en ese momento en particular está bien.

Dios entiende eso. Todo el que tiene hijos no espera que sean perfectos. Uno sabe que cometerán errores durante su crecimiento. Incluso cuando les dices que no hagan algo que los dañará, lo hacen igual.

¿Cómo quieres que se sientan cuando se equivocan? ¿Oprimidos de por vida por la culpa? ¿Pésimo sobre sí mismos? Por supuesto que no. Quieres que reconozcan que se han equivocado, que lo sientan, que reparen el daño si es necesario, que aprendan del error para no repetirlo y que sigan adelante.

La culpa no es una idea judía porque es paralizante y deja a la persona absorta en sí misma. La filosofía judía es utilizar los errores para crecer.

La culpa no es una filosofía judía porque es paralizante y deja a la persona absorta en sí misma.

Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y no quiere que nos sintamos agobiados por la negatividad y el autodesprecio por los errores cometidos. Cuando tomamos decisiones equivocadas en la vida, estas deberían ser oportunidades para crecimiento y no cadenas que nos atan para siempre.

Maimónides define los pasos para hacer teshuvá. Cuando cometemos un error, debemos atravesar este proceso paso a paso. El resultado es el perdón y el crecimiento.

Paso 1: Deja de hacerlo.

Deja de hacer la acción destructiva que estás haciendo. Por ejemplo, si pierdes el temperamento con los demás, entonces lo primero es dejar de hacerlo.

Paso 2: Arrepiéntete.

Deberías arrepentirte de tu error. Está mal perder el temperamento ya que al hacerlo puedes herir a otras personas. Deberías sentirte mal por el daño que causaste.

Paso 3: Verbaliza.

Explícale a Dios tu arrepentimiento en voz alta. No hace falta que lo hagas en una sinagoga y tampoco tiene que ser necesariamente en hebreo. Habla con Dios en un tono que sea al menos audible para ti. Obviamente Dios ya sabe lo que estás diciendo, pero tú necesitas oírlo. Dile que te arrepientes de lo que sea que hayas hecho mal. Si tus acciones dañaron a otras personas, entonces tienes que resarcir los daños. Después de haber perdido el temperamento, debes ir donde tu amigo y pedirle perdón.

Paso 4: Haz un plan.

¿Cómo puedes estar seguro que el error no volverá a ocurrir? Debes idear un plan práctico de acción. Si sabes que determinadas personas son la fuente de conflicto entre tú y tu pareja, entonces quizás sería apropiado que hicieras un pacto para no frecuentar a esos sujetos por el bien de la paz.

La finalización del proceso es llamada teshuvá guemurá, o ‘retorno completo’. Esto ocurre cuando Dios te pone exactamente en la misma situación en la que estabas cuando cometiste el error pero no repites la equivocación.

Una vez que has completado la teshuvá, Dios acepta tu regreso y edita el video de tu vida, eliminando los errores.

En nuestro ejemplo de perder el temperamento con tu pareja, esto podría ocurrir un tiempo después cuando el tema sensible surge nuevamente. Si te muerdes la lengua y evitas una discusión, entonces, habrás alcanzado la teshuvá completa.

Una vez que has completado la teshuvá, Dios acepta tu regreso y edita el video de tu vida, eliminando los errores. En Rosh HaShaná y Iom Kipur, cuando Dios repasa tus acciones y pensamientos del año anterior, simplemente no ve esos errores.

Por el amor que siente por nosotros es que Dios nos dio este método para regresar al buen camino. Deja la culpa, la vergüenza y la negatividad en el pasado. Abandónalas y regresa.

Adaptado del libro “Remember My Soul”, de Lori Palatnik (libro en inglés).

Según tomado de, http://www.aishlatino.com/h/iom-kipur/ce/Teshuva-arreglando-los-errores.html?s=mm