La Torá en chino, en español, francés, italiano…

La Torá en chino

Treinta y siete días antes de morir, Moshé se propuso enseñar la Torá. Pensarás que Moshé usó sus últimas semanas para enseñar misterios hasta el momento desconocidos, pero no hizo tal cosa. En cambio, tradujo la Torá a setenta idiomas.1

Todo esto para un pueblo que no hablaba ninguna de estas lenguas. ¿Alguna vez has ido a una conferencia en un idioma que no comprendes? Yo sí, y debo decirte que me quitó toda inspiración. ¿Por qué Moshé enseñaba la Torá en idiomas que sus estudiantes no entendían?

Esta misma pregunta debería en realidad hacerse sobre Di-s. El Talmud enseña que Di-s dijo los Diez Mandamientos en las setenta lenguas, aunque sólo fue escuchada la versión en hebreo.2 ¿Qué sentido tenía hablar en lenguas que nadie entendía, y mucho menos escuchaba?

Estas preguntas se complejizan cuando consideramos que la Torá escrita incluye varias palabras en arameo, en griego, en copto y en afriki,3 ¡lenguas que probablemente los judíos de aquellos tiempos no conocían!

El talmud en arameo

Uno podría sostener que traducir la Torá y los Diez Mandamientos a lenguas seculares trazó el camino para los futuros rituales de los judíos en la diáspora. Para que uno no crea que la Torá debería estudiarse y practicarse sólo en Israel, estas palabras extranjeras serían testigos de que la Torá no es propiedad exclusiva de los países que hablan hebreo.

Pero esto no explicaría por qué el Talmud fue escrito en arameo. Puede sostenerse que el arameo era la lengua judía coloquial de aquellos tiempos, y nuestros sabios escribieron el Talmud en una lengua que la mayoría de los judíos de entonces entendía. Aun así, ¿escribirlo en lengua coloquial es más importante que documentar la Torá de Di-s en la lengua de Di-s?4

Orígenes lingüísticos

Las setenta lenguas fueron creadas en la bíblica Torre de Babel. En el año 1996 desde la creación (1765 AEC), los descendientes de Nóaj se reunieron para construir una torre desde la cual planeaban declararle la guerra a Di-s. Como el grupo estaba perfectamente unido por la herejía, Di-s se propuso dividirlo.

Di-s hizo que cada tribu creara su propia lengua. El grupo, ahora dividido por sus diferencias lingüísticas, ya no pudo cooperar en su empresa conjunta. Como ya no podían entenderse entre ellos, las instrucciones y pedidos conducían a miradas perdidas o a respuestas incorrectas. Pronto se comenzaron a frustrar los unos con los otros y se dispersaron.5

¿Esto es apropiado?

La Torá destaca el hecho de que la Torre de Babel no fuera construida con piedras, sino con ladrillos.6 ¿Por qué esto es significativo? Los maestros jasídicos explican que los ladrillos están hechos por el hombre, pero las piedras fueron creadas por Di-s. Esta es precisamente la diferencia entre el hebreo y las demás lenguas. El hebreo es una lengua divina, sus letras fueron hechas por Di-s. Las lenguas seculares son producto de la convención humana.7

Esto refuerza nuestra pregunta original: ¿Debería Di-s ser venerado en una lengua que es producto de la convención humana?

Además, esta historia indica que las lenguas seculares se engendraron en la sacrílega Torre de Babel. ¿Debería una lengua engendrada en la herejía ser usada en las veneraciones religiosas?

Todo debe servir

Nuestros sabios enseñaron que cada ser que ha sido creado debe prestar servicio para realzar la gloria de Di-s.8 Si esto se cumple con los objetos físicos, entonces también debe aplicar con seguridad al caso de las lenguas, incluidas las que son producto de la convención humana.

Además, las letras y las palabras son recipientes que contienen ideas, sentimientos y conocimiento. Como todo el conocimiento proviene de Di-s, debe haber una chispa de divinidad en cada letra, sin importar su idioma. Si las lenguas seculares no fueran usadas en las veneraciones religiosas, las chispas divinas incrustadas en ellas quedarían para siempre cautivas en su molde secular.

Cuando Di-s dijo los Diez Mandamientos en las setenta lenguas, estableció un puente entre las letras de la herejía y las letras de la fe, y así las lenguas seculares se elevaron para ser usadas en el servicio divino. De una manera similar, la traducción que hizo Moshé de la Torá a las setenta lenguas nos empoderó para que convirtiéramos lo secular y mundano a la santidad de la Torá.9

Eliminar los bastiones

¿Por qué Moshé esperó casi cuarenta años antes de traducir la Torá? ¿Por qué las traducciones de Di-s de los Diez Mandamientos no fueron oídas por los pueblos? A causa de Sijón y Og, monarcas de los reinos emorita y de Basán.

Los pueblos vecinos les pagaron a estos reinos poderosos e influyentes para que defendieran sus fronteras frente al avance de los judíos. Los místicos ven en estos reinos no sólo un bastión físico contra los judíos, sino también un bastión espiritual contra la Torá. Sijón y Og se resistieron a la influencia de la Torá sobre los setenta pueblos y al uso de la Torá en las setenta lenguas. Cuando estos poderosos reinos fueron finalmente derrotados,10 Moshé pudo traducir la Torá. Su destrucción significó el fin de su resistencia. Ahora existía un camino para que lo secular fuera santificado y lo mundano fuera elevado. Las setenta lenguas podían ahora ser introducidas al ámbito sagrado de la Torá.11

Es por esto que nuestros sabios escribieron libros sobre la Torá en lenguas seculares en lugar de escribirlos en la lengua sagrada. El Talmud fue escrito en arameo. El Rambam escribió libros en árabe. Rashi solía traducir las palabras del hebreo al francés. Esta tradición se continúa hoy cuando escribimos y estudiamos la Torá en castellano.

Cada vez que se enseña la Torá en una lengua secular, las letras y oraciones de esa lengua son introducidas a ámbito de lo sagrado, y sus chispas se redimen. Esto purifica de manera gradual nuestro mundo y nos acerca inexorablemente al tiempo de revelación divina absoluta: la era mesiánica.

Notas al Pie
1. Rashi a Devarim 1:5; ver Midrash Tanjuma, Devarim 2. Había setenta pueblos en los tiempos bíblicos, por eso las setenta lenguas.
2. Talmud, Shabat 88b.
3. Cf. Bereshit 31:47 y Shemot 13:16.
5. Bereshit 11:1-9.
6. Ibíd., versículo 3.
7. Ver Likutei Sijot, vol. 6, pp. 13–25.
8. Ética de los padres 6:11.
9. Ver Shem Mishmuel (por rabí Shmuel Bornsztain, rebe de Sojatjov, 1855–1927) a Devarim 1:5, y Torá Ohr (por rabí Sjneur Zalman de Liadi, fundador del jasidismo de Jabad, 1745–1812), Shemot 87b.
10. Bamidbar 21:21-35.
11. Ver Shem Mishmuel, ibid., y Sefat Emet (por rabí Yehuda Aryeh Leib Alter de Ger, 1847-1905).
Advertisements

El Shemá, nuestras emociones y nuestros mandamientos

Devarim(Deuteronomio 1:1-3:22)

En una ocasión, Rav Iaakov Weinberg, de bendita memoria, caminaba por el corredor hacia la sala de estudios principal (Beit Midrash) de Ner Israel. De repente, se acercó a uno de sus estudiantes y le preguntó:

—Shimón, ¿cuántas veces dijiste hoy kiriat Shemá (el Shemá)?

Sin entender a qué se refería Rav Iaakov, Shimón respondió:

—Dos, una anoche y una esta mañana. (De esta forma se cumple la obligación mencionada en el primer capítulo de la Guemará de Brajot).

—¿Sólo dos? —Preguntó Rav Iaakov—. ¡Yo lo dije muchas más veces! ¿Estás satisfecho con aceptar el yugo del Cielo sólo dos veces al día?”

La recitación del Shemá solidifica nuestra aceptación de Dios como Rey. Allí se habla de amar a Dios, sacrificarse por Dios, estudiar Torá, la Unicidad de Dios, tefilín, mezuzá y muchos otros aspectos del servicio Divino. Sin dudas, todo esto explica por qué sentimos una conexión más cercana con la plegaria del Shemá que con otros mandamientos y rituales. Pero la conexión emocional de los judíos con el Shemá debe tener una razón espiritual más profunda. Hasta el judío más secular por lo general conoce el primer versículo del Shemá: “Escucha Israel, el Eterno es nuestro Dios, el Eterno es Uno”. De hecho, cuando es necesario, en especial durante los períodos en que predomina el terror en Israel, si alguien quiere saber si un desconocido es árabe o judío, generalmente le pide que recite el primer versículo del Shemá.

Comenzamos la vida con el Shemá. Desde los primeros días de vida nuestros padres lo dijeron al llevarnos a dormir en la cuna. Nos enseñaron a decir el Shemá apenas aprendimos a hablar (como legisla el Rambam en Hiljot Talmud Torá 1:6). Lo decimos en nuestras plegarias (por lo menos) dos veces al día. Y al final, morimos con el Shemá en nuestros labios.

Cada día decimos: Somos afortunados, cuán grandiosa es nuestra misión, cuán precioso nuestro legado. Somos afortunados por levantarnos temprano y quedarnos despiertos hasta tarde en la noche, mañana y noche, proclamando el Shemá” (Sidur, Plegaria matutina). ¿Cuál es el origen de nuestro amor y entusiasmo por el Shemá? La parashat Devarim y, en realidad, todo el libro de Devarim, nos ayudará a entender este fenómeno.

“ESTAS son las palabras que Moshé le habló a todo Israel(Devarim 1:1). Sabemos que Moshé transmitió toda la Torá a todos los judíos. Moshé no enseñó secciones de la Torá a unos pocos estudiantes elegidos, quienes después la enseñaron al pueblo judío. En cambio, Moshé enseñó toda la Torá a todos los judíos (ver Talmud Eruvín 54b). Sin embargo, este versículo implica que Moshé sólo transmitió el libro de Devarim a toda la nación. ¿Cómo se entiende este versículo?

La siguiente explicación aclarará el versículo y también el método con el que debemos estudiar todo el libro de Devarim. Los cuatro libros anteriores de la Torá son las palabras directas de Dios. Dios le dijo a Moshé exactamente qué escribir en la Torá, letra por letra. Incluso cuando encontramos una conversación entre dos personas, como Abraham y Paró, las palabras de su conversación son una parte de la Torá. No eran Torá cuando Paró o incluso Abraham las dijeron; pero después, cuando Dios decidió citar esa conversación, sus palabras se convirtieron en Torá. Dios le dijo a Moshé, palabra por palabra, qué escribir en la Torá respecto a Abraham y Paró. Así fue como su conversación se convirtió en parte de la Torá, tal como Dios la dictó.

El libro de Devarim también funciona de esta forma. Mientras que las palabras de los cuatro libros anteriores de la Torá fueron decididas por Dios sin ninguna participación de Moshé (Moshé era meramente el secretario que escribía lo que Dios le dictaba), no ocurre lo mismo con Devarim. Moshé tuvo pensamientos educativos profundos que deseó compartir con el pueblo judío antes de pasar a la otra vida. Después de que Moshé compartiera esos pensamientos con la nación, Dios decidió usar los discursos de Moshé como una parte de la Torá. Entonces Él le instruyó a Moshé escribir sus discursos en la Torá.

Este es el significado del versículo: “ESTAS son las palabras que Moshé le habló a todo Israel” (Devarim 1:1). Primero Moshé dijo esas palabras, y luego Dios le dijo que las convirtiera en parte de la Torá. Esto es distinto a los cuatro libros anteriores, en los que Moshé simplemente enseñó lo que Dios le ordenó que dijera.

Por lo tanto, al estudiar el libro de Devarim, debemos hacerlo en dos niveles:

1. ¿Qué tuvo en mente Moshé, el más grande de todos los profetas, cuando dijo esas palabras? ¿Qué quiso transmitir?

2. ¿Cuáles son los valores y enseñanzas absolutas y eternas que derivamos de las palabras de Moshé, ahora que Dios decidió que dejen de ser una declaración normal y humana para pasar a ser una sección de Su Torá?

De esta forma, pareciera que el estudio de Devarim requiere más esfuerzo que el de los otros cuatro Libros de la Torá. Aquí debemos analizar cada versículo en base a estos dos niveles, algo que no tenemos que hacer en los otros libros.

Esta idea aplica a los diversos mandamientos que figuran en Devarim. En Devarim aparecen algunos mandamientos repetidos y otros que se mencionan por primera vez. Muchos comentaristas se preguntan cuál es el común denominador de los mandamientos mencionados sólo en Devarim. Sin duda Dios ya había enseñado esos mandamientos al pueblo judío antes de que Moshé se los describiera. Entonces, ¿por qué Dios los escribió en Su Torá como si fuera la primera vez que Moshé habló sobre ellos?

La respuesta es que todos los mandamientos mencionados en Devarim tienen una mayor relación con el factor humano. Sí, Dios ya los había ordenado, pero Él quería que al estudiar la Torá, los judíos los encontraran como si Moshé los hubiera dicho. El efecto es que esas directivas no son sólo un decreto de Dios, sino que fueron creadas (en cuanto a su inserción en la Torá) por Moshé, un ser humano. Sólo fueron incluidos en la Torá Escrita cuando Dios le dijo a Moshé que registrara en ella sus propios discursos.

¿Cuál es entonces la raíz de nuestro amor y entusiasmo por el Shemá? Con todos los mandamientos de Devarim nos conectamos de forma más natural, innata y emocional que con los mandamientos de los otros cuatro Libros de la Torá. Esto, por supuesto, incluye al Shemá. Nuestra conexión especial con el Shemá, como nación, no hubiera existido sin el factor humano presente en la forma en que el pueblo judío recibió la mitzvá.

La próxima vez que digamos el Shemá y tengamos sentimientos especiales hacia la mitzvá, sabremos por qué.

Y cuando estudiemos Devarim, tratemos de descubrir el factor humano y la conexión emocional presente en el libro para aprender muchas más enseñanzas y mandamientos. Al tener en cuenta este aspecto de Devarim, podremos apegarnos emocionalmente a sus mandamientos de la misma forma en que estamos apegados al Shemá.

Según tomado de, http://www.aishlatino.com/tp/i/kol-yaakov/El-Shema-nuestras-emociones-y-nuestros-mandamientos.html?s=mm

¿Por qué el día más triste del año judío se llama moed, una “festividad”?

Encontrar la alegría de Tishá BeAv

Encontrar la alegría de Tishá BeAv

por Rav Israel Gelber

Aquél que cree que está cerca de Dios en verdad está lejos, mientras que aquél que cree que está lejos en verdad está cerca”. Baal Shem Tov

Esta enigmática afirmación del Baal Shem Tov, el fundador del movimiento jasídico, me mantuvo mucho tiempo pensando. ¿Cómo es posible que el que supuestamente está cerca en verdad esté lejos mientras que el que está lejos está cerca?

En Tishá BeAv leemos el Libro de las Lamentaciones. Allí, el día más trágico y triste del calendario judío es llamado un moed, una festividad. Esta es realmente una descripción extraña, un término que normalmente se reserva para festividades alegres tales como Pésaj y Sucot. ¿Cómo es posible considerar una festividad al día en que ambos Templos sagrados fueron destruidos, y en el que ocurrieron otras innumerables tragedias?

Recuerdo que una vez manejaba desde mi casa en Baltimore hacia Nueva York cuando de pronto vi al borde del camino un cartel que anunciaba: “60 kilómetros a Washington”. No podía creerlo. ¡Estaba conduciendo en la dirección equivocada! Por un lado me sentí sumamente frustrado conmigo mismo por haber viajado hacia el sur, alejándome de mi destino. Pero por otro lado me alegré de reconocer mi error antes de alejarme todavía más.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe zt”l, uno de los grandes sabios de musar, escribió que uno de los pensamientos más dañinos que la persona puede tener sobre sí misma es pensar que está completa espiritualmente. Este pensamiento lleva a la complacencia y no le permite abrirse a nuevos caminos de crecimiento.

Despertarse y comprender que uno no es espiritualmente tan perfecto como imaginaba es el primer paso, esencial para poder crecer. Sólo cuando dejamos de engañarnos a nosotros mismos podemos cambiar de dirección.

En este sentido, podemos ver el elemento de alegría que forma parte de la experiencia de Tishá BeAv. Reconocer nuestra devastadora pérdida y comprender que tocamos fondo nos muestra que estamos lejos de la perfección y nos saca de nuestro letargo. Es la señal que nos advierte que tenemos que cambiar de dirección. Al reflexionar respecto a cuánto nos hemos alejado, también podemos entender que nos dimos cuenta antes de seguir descendiendo todavía más y canalizar nuestras energías para corregir los errores que nos desviaron del camino.

Quizás esto es lo que quiso decir el Baal Shem Tov: mientras la persona considera que está cerca de Dios (es decir, se considera espiritualmente completa), no tiene ninguna posibilidad de mejorar y desarrollarse más allá de su estado actual. Pero al percibirse como alejado, al reconocer sus imperfecciones y su falta de completitud, sentirá la urgente necesidad de cambiar y crecer.

Tishá BeAv nos provee uno de esos raros momentos de la vida judía en los que nos vemos sacudidos de la complacencia; se nos exige efectuar un examen espiritual y confrontar la realidad cara a cara, a pesar de lo difícil y doloroso que esto pueda resultar. En este sentido es un moed, una festividad judía que nos impulsa a crecer en nuestra relación con Dios, con nuestros semejantes e interiormente.

Según tomado de, http://www.aishlatino.com/h/9av/a/Encontrar-la-alegria-de-Tisha-BeAv.html?s=mm

A Message to the Pope: Peace in the Middle East Cannot Be Built With Platitudes

by Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein / JNS.org

Pope Francis, Jan. 8, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Medichini / Pool.

Pope Francis, arguably the world’s most influential religious leader, offered platitudes in his prescription for peace in the strife-torn Middle East.

The pope recently spoke to a convocation of Christian clergy from the region. Because so many calamities are playing out there simultaneously, it was not always apparent to which disaster he was referring when he declared, “Let there be an end to using the Middle East for gains that have nothing to do with the Middle East.”

Who did he mean? The Ayatollahs, Putin, Trump, Erdoğan?

“You cannot speak of peace while you are secretly racing to stockpile new arms. This is a most serious responsibility weighing on the conscience of nations, especially the most powerful,” he said. Secretly stockpiling? The only Middle East country secretly stockpiling weapons is Iran. And it is unlikely that the pope wished to further inflame a regime that actively persecutes Christians and Baha’i.

Could he have been referring to Western powers? Is he suggesting unilateral disarmament of NATO or even perhaps the United States? We too pray for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision of beating swords into plowshares, but until the Messiah shows up, it’s unlikely that the evil-doers would follow suit. Does not the Church, to its credit, teach about the diabolical power of evil, and that until a time of universal redemption arrives, evil must be resisted and contained?

Concerning one part of the Middle East, the pope left little room for doubt: “No more occupying territories and thus tearing people apart!” He could have meant the Turkish occupation of a good chunk of Cyprus or even the Chinese occupation of Tibet. From another reference to “walls,” however, it seems that he meant the Jewish State of Israel. Could he really have said something so simplistic? Has he not noticed that the Palestinians have indeed been torn apart by the deadly power struggle between Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the kleptomaniacs of the Palestinian Authority? Does he need a refresher course in history to remind him that before anyone could spell “occupation,” Arab armies promised to eradicate Israel in a bloodbath of unseen proportions?

The worst line: “Truces maintained by walls and displays of power will not lead to peace, but only the concrete desire to listen and to engage in dialogue.” If only there were a truce. But since the return of the Jewish people to its homeland of thousands of years by acclamation of the world community in 1947, there have been no truces; indeed, Israel has not enjoyed one day of quiet without its neighbors planning her demise. More importantly, walls may be unsightly and disruptive, but they work. Vatican City is surrounded by walls. Walls keep the crowds away from the pope when he blesses them in St. Peter’s Square. After Mehmet Ali Ağca tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, the would-be assassin spent 29 years in a prison cell. It had walls. And a locked door.

In the case of Israel, the wall that Francis detests has kept suicide bombers out of shopping malls and Christian holy places. In an imperfect world, walls are a necessity. The pope has not yet proposed an alternative.

Pundits think that the Church has lost so many adherents in the West because it is too restrictive about behavior and too demanding about belief in dogma. But many people would stay the course if they received satisfying answers to questions about meaning and purpose, and practical advice on how to live a more elevated life. Religion fails when it gets mired in scandal or offers empty slogans. “Peace in our time!” “Workers of the world, unite!” Make love, not war!” (These prove that one-liners often make matters worse.) When religious leaders offer nothing but platitudes instead of practical ideas that can work, many of the faithful tune out or just check out altogether.

What’s a pontiff to do? Stick to basics. The word “peace” in the Hebrew Bible (shalom) relates to the word shalem or “whole,” “complete.” It suggests that peace will never come to the world until people are truly fulfilled and self-actualized. That is where Francis’ own personal example could be so effective. No one will ever feel let down by learning from Francis to live more simply and humbly, and to delight in being able to help those in need. His contribution, alongside other religious leaders, should be instructing more people how to become shalem, one by one, and therefore capable of peace.

With millions of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lives in the Middle East hanging in the balance, what’s wrong with admitting that bringing peace to that region may be above even the pope’s pay scale?

Sometimes, Your Holiness, “silence is golden.” Sometimes, that response will resonate with the faithful. It is certainly a better strategy than articulating simplistic and inaccurate formulas.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is director of Interfaith Relations. A version of this article was originally published by JNS.org.

As taken from, https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/07/17/a-message-to-the-pope-peace-in-the-middle-east-cannot-be-built-with-platitudes/?utm_content=opinion1&utm_medium=daily_email&utm_campaign=email&utm_source=internal/

Más allá de las asignaturas: Educación disruptiva para el siglo XXI

https://i1.wp.com/diariojudio.com/files/2018/07/Invitaci%C3%B3n-Feria-Internacional-del-Libro-Jud%C3%ADo-.jpg

Por Central de Noticias Diario Judío México

Estudiando en la biblioteca de Yad Vashem, en Jerusalem, leí en el Pirkei Avot 1:4, dos frases que he recordado siempre: “Haz que tu hogar sea un lugar de reunión para los sabios” y la segunda “¿Quién es sabio?”  Aquel que aprende de todas las personas.

El Talmud dice: “Quien no añade nada a sus conocimientos, los disminuye” Por ello, es importante siempre tener la intención de aprender, pero ¿qué significa aprender?

La educación es un factor estratégico para el progreso económico, social, cultural y político de la humanidad. Es necesaria y oportuna en todos sentidos, ya que para alcanzar mejores niveles de bienestar social y de crecimiento económico, así como para aminorar las desigualdades económicas, propiciar la movilidad social de las personas, acceder a mejores oportunidades de empleo, elevar las condiciones culturales de la población y ampliar las oportunidades de los jóvenes, la educación es una ventana de oportunidad que nadie debe dejar escapar.

Hoy en día la información y el conocimiento son la base de la competitividad entre las naciones. Por ello, las grandes economías han puesto mayor énfasis en el avance y consolidación de los procesos educativos, de manera que sus principales rubros de inversión se enfocan en tres aspectos fundamentalmente: innovación, desarrollo e investigación.

Una política educativa eficiente y democrática, es necesaria para alcanzar mejores niveles de aprendizaje. De acuerdo con Scolari, la sociedad actual está inserta en un proceso de “hipermediaciones”, en donde las formas de comunicación se concentran en una trama de procesos de intercambio, producción y consumo simbólico, que engloba sujetos, medios y mensajes conectados tecnológicamente. También hoy sabemos, que las Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación (TIC) impactan en distintos ámbitos que conforman la estructura social, identificadas conceptualmente como generadoras y habilitadores de la competitividad, por lo que las naciones enfatizan su implementación y desarrollo en Planes de Acción y de Cooperación, a escala nacional como internacional.

No obstante, el aprendizaje es una labor que desarrollamos todos los días. De ahí la importancia de rescatar los esquemas de enseñanza y aprendizaje que se logra a través de la experiencia. Día tras día, la persona aprende algo. Es aquí donde debemos preguntarnos, ¿estamos conscientes de lo que aprendemos y cómo lo aprendemos? ¿somos conscientes de nuestra participación como líderes educativos en nuestra sociedad?, ¿cómo podemos fortalecer nuestra capacidad de liderazgo educativa? Esta y muchas otras interrogantes son abordadas en el libro Más allá de las Asignaturas: Educación disruptiva para el siglo XXI. Invitamos al lector a descubrirlo y a descubrirse como agende de cambio y líder educativo, a través de un ejercicio de reflexión y análisis de cómo aprendemos, para qué aprendemos, qué aprendemos y por qué aprendemos.

Según tomado de, https://diariojudio.com/opinion/mas-alla-de-las-asignaturas-educacion-disruptiva-para-el-siglo-xxi/274724/

Mind-blowing 1,600-year-old biblical mosaics paint new picture of Galilean life

With its rich and vivid finds, Byzantine-period synagogue at Huqoq busts scholars’ earlier notions of a drab Jewish settlement in decline

  • A mosaic found in the 2018 Huqoq excavation is labeled 'a pole between two' and depicts a biblical scene from Numbers 13:23. The images show two spies sent by Moses to explore Canaan carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. (Jim Haberman)
    A mosaic found in the 2018 Huqoq excavation is labeled ‘a pole between two’ and depicts a biblical scene from Numbers 13:23. The images show two spies sent by Moses to explore Canaan carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. (Jim Haberman)
  • A fish swallows an Egyptian soldier in a mosaic scene depicting the splitting of the Red Sea from the Exodus story, from the 5th-century synagogue at Huqoq, in northern Israel. (Jim Haberman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
    A fish swallows an Egyptian soldier in a mosaic scene depicting the splitting of the Red Sea from the Exodus story, from the 5th-century synagogue at Huqoq, in northern Israel. (Jim Haberman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
  • Detail from the Huqoq synagogue's 5th century mosaic showing Samson carrying the gate of Gaza, from Judges 16. (photo credit: Jim Haberman)
    Detail from the Huqoq synagogue’s 5th century mosaic showing Samson carrying the gate of Gaza, from Judges 16. (photo credit: Jim Haberman)
  • The Huqoq synagogue's 5th century mosaic, with the upper register showing a war elephant. (photo credit: Jim Haberman)
    The Huqoq synagogue’s 5th century mosaic, with the upper register showing a war elephant. (photo credit: Jim Haberman)
  • Pair of donkeys in Noah's Ark scene at the Huqoq excavation. (Jim Haberman via UNC-Chapel Hill)
    Pair of donkeys in Noah’s Ark scene at the Huqoq excavation. (Jim Haberman via UNC-Chapel Hill)

In its eighth dig season, the vibrant mosaic flooring of a fifth century synagogue excavated in the small ancient Galilee village of Huqoq continues to surprise. The 2018 Huqoq dig has uncovered unprecedented depictions of biblical stories, including the Israelite spies in Canaan.

With its rich finds, the Byzantine-period synagogue busts scholars’ preconceived notions of a Jewish settlement in decline.

“What we found this year is extremely exciting,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Prof. Jodi Magness told The Times of Israel, saying the biblically based depictions are “unparalleled” and not found in any other ancient synagogue.

“The synagogue just keeps producing mosaics that there’s just nothing like and is enriching our understanding the Judaism of the period,” said Magness.

A recently unearthed mosaic shows two men carrying between them a pole on their shoulders from which is hung a massive cluster of grapes (the same as the easily recognizable symbol of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism). With a clear Hebrew inscription stating, “a pole between two,” it illustrates Numbers 13:23, in which Moses sends two scouts to explore Canaan.

A mosaic found in the 2018 Huqoq excavation is labeled ‘a pole between two,’ depicting a biblical scene from Numbers 13:23. The images show two spies sent by Moses to explore Canaan carrying a pole with a cluster of grapes. (Jim Haberman)

Before wrapping up the dig season last week, the team of 20 excavators uncovered a further biblical mosaic panel, which shows a youth leading an animal on a rope and includes the inscription, “a small child shall lead them.” It is a reference to Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

According to a 2013 Biblical Archaeology Review article by Magness, “Huqoq was a prosperous village about 3 miles west of Magdala (home of Mary Magdalene) and Capernaum (where Jesus taught in the synagogue),” located next to a fresh spring. It appears twice in the Hebrew Bible, in Joshua 19:32–34 and 1 Chronicles 6:74–75. “Our excavations have not reached these early occupation levels, however,” she writes.

University of North Carolina archaeologist Jodi Magness. (George Duffield © J3D US LP)

These two newly published mosaics join a pantheon of others — from 2012 and 2013, two Samson depictions, to fantastical elephants and mythical creatures from 2013-2015, Noah’s Ark in 2016, and colorful and as yet unpublished Jonah and the whale in 2017.

During this year’s dig, the team also continued to expose and study rare 1,600-year-old columns, first uncovered in previous seasons, which are covered in painted plaster with red, orange, and yellow vegetal motifs. Other discovered columns, said Magness, were painted to imitate marble.

However, despite these “imitation marble” columns, this was no poor man’s synagogue. Much in the manner of King Herod decorating his palaces with painted faux-marble frescos, the columns and gorgeous mosaics point to a wealthy, flourishing fifth-century Jewish settlement, said Magness.

“In general, unless you’re in a really important church in the Byzantine period, you won’t find marble, rather this common local alternative,” she said. She laughed, saying there is a feeling of “one-ups-manship” in the construction of the Huqoq synagogue.

A fish swallows an Egyptian soldier in a mosaic scene depicting the splitting of the Red Sea from the Exodus story, from the fifth-century synagogue at Huqoq, in northern Israel. (Jim Haberman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)

“Every village has its own synagogue,” Magness said. “In Huqoq there’s a feeling that the villagers said, ‘We’re going to build the biggest and best.’ It’s as if they decided to throw everything into it.”

The obvious wealth and disposable income displayed in the synagogue is “contradicting a widespread view — not my view — that the Jewish community was in decline,” she said.

However, not only the synagogue was rich and diverse, but also the Judaism it housed.

“The mosaics decorating the floor of the Huqoq synagogue revolutionize our understanding of Judaism in this period,” said Magness in a press release. “Ancient Jewish art is often thought to be aniconic, or lacking images. But these mosaics, colorful and filled with figured scenes, attest to a rich visual culture as well as to the dynamism and diversity of Judaism in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.”

The Huqoq synagogue’s fifth century mosaic, with the upper register showing a war elephant. (Jim Haberman)

According to Magness, “Rabbinic sources indicate that Huqoq flourished during the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (fourth–sixth centuries CE). The village is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud in connection with the cultivation of the mustard plant.”

Aside from the outstanding mosaics and colorfully painted columns, there are other features of note in this synagogue: Discovered in 2012, an inscription flanked by the faces of two women and a man (a fourth face, presumably of a man, is not preserved) might be the first donor portraits found in a Jewish house of prayer. The practice, said Magness, was “not uncommon in Byzantine churches,” but has no parallel example found in a synagogue of the era.

Although there are aspects of the synagogue which may point to a Christian influence, for example the possible donor portraits, Magness does not believe the Huqoq community was more impacted than other neighboring congregations.

Detail from the Huqoq synagogue’s 5th century mosaic showing Samson carrying the gate of Gaza, from Judges 16. (Jim Haberman)

“In general there was some interaction between Jews and Christians, as well as Judaism and Christianity, in the sense that both religions laid claim to the same tradition and called themselves the ‘true Israel,’” said Magness. It is not coincidental that the same biblical themes appear in both forums.

“They is clearly some sort of dialogue, broadly speaking… A lot of what we see at Huqoq can be understood on the background of the rise of Christianity,” she said.

“There is evidence of occupation at the site during the Persian, Hellenistic, Early Roman, Abbasid, Fatimid and Crusader-Mamluke periods. The modern village was abandoned in 1948 during the fighting in Israel’s War of Independence. In the 1960s, the site was bulldozed,” writes Magness in BAR.

2018 Huqoq excavation with students from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, surrounding dig director Dr. Jodi Magness. (Jim Haberman via UNC-Chapel Hill)

It appears that the Huqoq synagogue is the ancestor of what seems to be a later, 12-13th century Jewish house of prayer. Faint, broken remnants of that incarnation’s mosaic flooring have also been discovered a meter above the dynamic mosaics of the Byzantine era.

It is possible, said Magness, that this is a synagogue mentioned by French 14th century Jewish physician-turned-traveler Isaac HaKohen Ben Moses, aka Ishtori Haparchi, mentioned in his 1322 geography of the Holy Land, “Sefer Kaftor Vaferach.”

Regardless, there are no extant medieval synagogues in Israel today, making this find potentially no less important than the more attention-grabbing images in the fifth century mosaic floors, said Magness.

Pair of donkeys in Noah’s Ark scene at the Huqoq excavation. (Jim Haberman via UNC-Chapel Hill)

Both of these finds — the medieval synagogue and beautiful Byzantine mosaics — are all the more remarkable in that they are a by-product of a different scholarly quest: Magness decided to excavate at Huqoq to test a wide-spread Galilean synagogue dating system, which dated the buildings based on their architectural structures.

“Since the early 20th century, when these synagogues began coming to light, scholars developed a tripartite chronology: The earliest, these so-called ‘Galilean-type synagogues,’ were dated to the second and third centuries CE, followed by ‘transitional synagogues’ in the fourth century, and then by ‘Byzantine synagogues’ in the fifth and sixth centuries,” writes Magness in the BAR article.

Although housed in a fifth-century village, based on its architectural features, according to previous scholarly consensus, the Huqoq synagogue should have been classified a “Galilean-type synagogue” and dated to the second or third centuries. This is, Magness has proven, clearly not the case.

Pictured is the Huqoq synagogue mosaic depicting the month of Teveth (December-January) with the sign of Capricorn. (Jim Haberman UNC Media Relations)

What was originally to have been a brief excavation has turned into eight seasons. And although Magness is assisted by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University, the excavation is funded independently of the IAA, by sponsors including UNC-Chapel Hill, Baylor University, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto, the Friends of Heritage Preservation, the National Geographic Society, the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

There will be a 2019 dig season, said Magness, who estimated she needs at least another four years to complete the ever-evolving project.

As taken from, https://www.timesofisrael.com/mind-blowing-1600-year-old-biblical-mosaics-paint-new-picture-of-galilean-life/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=3868fc7269-EMAIL_WEEKEND_CAMPAIGN_2018_07_15_10_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-3868fc7269-54798245

Calling Jews ‘poisonous worms’ isn’t anti-Semitic?!

Do not underestimate the malice

Martin Luther’s vile invective was hate speech, no different from today’s racism disguised as anti-Zionism

A letter written by Martin Luther in 1543 has been put up for sale. In the letter, he refers to Jews as “devils incarnate” — but we are assured by a theology professor at Boston University that Luther was “not an anti-Semite.”

Prof. Brown told reporters,

Europe had a long history of mistreating Jews. Luther plays a part in this grim history, yet as appalling as Luther’s intolerance of his Jewish contemporaries was, Luther was not an anti-Semite. His criticism of Judaism was rooted in theological disagreement over the reading of shared Scriptures, not in racial animus.

Martin Luther described Jews as “wicked and hardened people,” “liars and bloodhounds,” “bloodthirsty, revengeful and murderous,” and “poisonous, bitter worms, who are not accustomed to work.” If that isn’t clear enough, he also stated that “the Jews…are veritably a mixture of all the depraved and malevolent knaves of the whole world over, who have then been dispersed in all countries…to afflict the different nations with their usury, to spy upon others and to betray, to poison wells, to deceive and to kidnap  children — in short, to practice all kinds of dishonesty and injury.”

But wait, there’s more: “Wherever you see or hear a Jew teaching, do not think otherwise than that you are hearing a poisonous Basiliskus who with his face poisons and kills people.”

Aoparently, none of this is hate speech. This American theology professor is telling us that Luther was not an anti-Semite, because hating us for our religion — the oldest form of anti-Semitism — is not anti-Semitism.

All around us — to the horror and consternation of most Jews — people and political groups are changing the definition of Jew-hatred. It seems that all incidents of anti-Semitism are now to be compared to the Holocaust, and anything that falls short of actually gassing us at Auschwitz or shooting us in a Lithuanian forest is not anti-Semitism. The standards are being lowered in order to make it easier to share hateful lies about the Jewish people. This is the way anti-Semitism spreads, because people hate us for what they THINK we do, not for what we do.

Here in the UK, the Labour Party has just rejected the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which means they have lowered the standard so that anti-Semitic hate speech can now be openly expressed within the party without fear of sanction. Labour Party members will now be free to contravene the definition of anti-Semitic racism that has been adopted by our government and by the 30 other countries who have signed up to the agreement.

The definition is being changed so that people can say the most terrible things about us without fear of social opprobrium or reproach.

Jews are a tiny minority, and it seems that there is very little we can do to stop the anti-Semites. We can sign petitions, go on demonstrations, write to our MPs — and all our protestations are turned against us. We are dismissed as “right-wing,” as racists, as liars, as politically manipulative and controlling, or as “Zionist agents of the powerful Israel lobby.” Arguments online end with the anti-Semites crowing with joy for having successfully baited us, the “Zionazis.” It has been years since I tried to engage in such online combat, because I go into these discussions filled with earnest goodwill, and come out of them in shock, dismay and disbelief.

And still it is getting worse. There is a new trope that is becoming increasingly popular — the notion that the Ashkenazim are all “converts,” who are responsible for “colonizing” the land of Israel after the war. Increasingly, I am seeing posts claiming that the Ashkenazim and everyone descended from them are “fake Jews,” who have no link to the Middle East:

This is becoming commonplace, and what it does is to enable people to tell themselves that they are not racists and anti-Semites, because the Jewish nation that they despise is not in fact Jewish. The real evil-doers, in their eyes, are not Jews but “fake Jews” — also known as “Zionists.”

In the newspeak of the Labour Party, it is not considered hate speech to paraphrase Martin Luther, so long as the word “Jews” is replaced with “Zionists.” Thus, “Zionists are wicked and hardened people, liars and bloodhounds, bloodthirsty, revengeful and murderous. Zionists spy upon others, poison wells and kidnap  children.”

Luther also anticipated “pinkwashing,” and the notion that anything Israel does that is seemingly praiseworthy is in fact an underhanded cover-up of its iniquities: “Should they at times do something good, however, know full well that it is not done out of love for you, nor for your good. In order to have space to live among us they must of necessity do something. But their heart is and remains as I have said. They are a heavy burden to us in our country, like a plague, pestilence, and nothing but misfortune.”

There is another way in which the storm clouds are gathering, and it isn’t pretty: Jews are joining the ranks of the Jew-haters. They are still a small minority in Britain, but they are recruiting. They are sharing the same terrible and manipulative lies and distortions about Israel that the mainstream Jew-bashers are disseminating, and. like many of the Gentile anti-Semites, they truly believe what they are saying. They are forming what they believe are “social justice” groups to support the Palestinians, which in principle is excellent — who doesn’t believe in justice? — but in practice, it is disastrous, because they are sharing the usual anti-Semitic tropes about exaggerated or imaginary human rights abuses, and they are distilling a complicated political struggle into a twisted tale of villainous conquering Jews and their helpless, peace-loving victims.

These groups are also embracing the notion that those of us who stand up for Israel are in fact murderous right-wing fanatics who do not wish for peace, justice or equality. These self-righteous children are sneering at those of us who think that Hamas is unlikely to join up with the Fatah party to form the government of a peaceful nation that will be a companionable neighbour to the people of Israel.

Saying kaddish for the Palestinians killed in the “March of Return” may be a symbolic gesture, but it is not harmless. What it does is to give license to anti-Semites, who can then point at these anti-Israel groups and use them to indicate that “the Good Jews are on our side and against the Zionists.” Another so-called Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Labour, is in essence a hate group run by people so anti-Semitic that some of them were actually thrown out of Labour (despite Labour’s low standards); it is a mix of Jews and non-Jews, and their commitment is to the destruction of Israel, which is to be replaced — via the “right of return” for Arabs — by a single Arab majority state.

I am curious to know where they think the Jews in this new Palestinian state are to go. Hamas’s official line is genocide of the Jews, while Fatah takes the more “moderate” position of achieving the “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.” One Fatah official stated that the “first phase” in attaining this goal will be a two-state solution, adding darkly that “Hitler was not morally corrupt; he was daring.” It is therefore questionable what Jews are hoping to gain by assisting the Palestinians to achieve their war aims — and it is worth noting that Jeremy Corbyn has stated that “The Right of Return must be a reality,” so although the Labour Party Manifesto states that Labour supports a two-state solution, in practice, Corbyn advocates the destruction of a Jewish majority in Israel.

So what is to be done? Education is a good way forward, but do not tell yourself that you can educate radicalized bigots out of hating you. You can’t. Is it possible to “change the Labour Party from within”? You’re joking, right? If the Labour Party are elected, British Jews are in for a rocky ride. The pledge of a complete boycott of Israel — including musicians, artists and academics — has already been endorsed by the British Green Party, and there are those within Labour who are pushing for the party to officially join the boycott. We are not going to be rounded up and shoved into cattle trucks any time soon, but do not underestimate the malice that is out there.

About the Author
Rivka Bond is a retired Archaeology Professor living in the UK. She has lived in England, Wales, Scotland, Germany, America and The Netherlands, and has worked on excavations in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Greece, Ireland and the UK.

A Strange Drawing Found in Sinai Could Undermine Our Entire Idea of Judaism

Is that a 3,000-year-old picture of god, his penis and his wife depicted by early Jews at Kuntillet Ajrud?

More than four decades after its excavation wound down, a small hill in the Sinai Desert continues to bedevil archaeologists. The extraordinary discoveries made at Kuntillet Ajrud, an otherwise nondescript slope in the northern Sinai, seem to undermine one of the foundations of Judaism as we know it.

Then, it seems, “the Lord our God” wasn’t “one God.” He may have even had a wife, going by the completely unique “portrait” of the Jewish deity that archaeologists found at the site, which may well be the only existing depiction of YHWH.

Kuntillet Ajrud got its name, meaning “the isolated hill of the water sources,” from wells at the foot of the hill. It is a remote spot in the heart of the desert, far from any town or or trade route. But for a short time around 3,000 years ago, it served as a small way station.

Dozens of drawings and inscriptions, resembling nothing whatever found anywhere else in our region, survived from that period, which seems to have lasted no longer than two or three decades. Egypt gained the artifacts with the peace treaty with Israel 25 years ago, but the release of the report on the excavation six years ago and a book about the site two years ago have kept the argument over the exceptional findings from the hill in Sinai alive.

Kuntillet Ajrud

The hill lies 50 kilometers south of Kadesh Barnea and 15 kilometers west of the ancient Darb el-Ghazza route, which led from Gaza to the Read Sea’s Gulf of Eilat. Its unique qualities were first noticed in 1870 by the British explorer Edward Palmer who discovered a fragment of a clay jar, a pithos, marked with the Hebrew letter aleph.

Later, in 1902, a Czech orientalist and explorer, Alois Musil, was attacked by local Bedouins who claimed that he was defiling a holy site. Exploration would only resume in 1975, by the Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze’ev Meshel, as part of a collaboration between the university and the Israel Exploration Society.

The excavation showed that Kuntillat Ajrud was what’s called a “single-layer site,” meaning, it had been occupied for just one period, which the excavators dated to the late ninth century or early eighth century B.C.E.

Meshel estimated that it had been occupied very briefy, 25 years at most. Structure-wise, the excavators only found two fairly simple, unimpressive structures. The wonder lay in the drawings and inscriptions.

Ancient Hebrew writing on the rim of a bowl found at Kuntillet Ajrud, dating to about 3,000 years ago

Clay from Jerusalem

At first the archaeologists thought that the place was a military fortress. Other fortresses from the First Temple period had been found in the Negev. But no evidence that there had been a military presence was found, and in the third excavation season, Meshel decided that the structures weren’t that sort.

Nor would Kuntillet Ajrud have been suitable as an inn for travelers: it was too small and was off the beaten track. Nor did it seem to match any of the criteria of a trade station.

The first hint at the true character of Kuntillet Ajrud was the discovery of pottery fragments inscribed with ancient Hebrew letters: quf, quf resh, aleph and yud.

Analysis of the clay from which the pithos (pottery jars) was intriguing. The pots were made of hawar motza, clay only found by Jerusalem. In other words, the jars had been made in area of Jerusalem, which was certainly far away.

Among the inscriptions were a blessing and religious texts. That and the origin of the clay suggested to Meshel that the residents were priests and Levites, who were supported by tithes collected in the Temple in Jerusalem.

In line with the spirit of this interpretation, he also interpreted the letters on the dishes: quf as standing for kodesh (holy), quf-resh as the first two letters in the word korban (sacrifice), and aleph for a korban asham (guilt offering).

The letter yud, Meshel suggests, may represent a vessel that had been used to continued tithes, though he himself casts doubt on that theory: “In First Temple times, they used Egyptian numbers,” he points out.

Another inscription found there argues that the hill had been peopled by a literate elite and even hints at the presence of a school. One vessel contains the Hebrew alphabet twice — one in the crisp, competent handwriting of a well-trained scribe and another in what researchers suspect was the hesitant handwriting of a student.

If all this is true, what was a small group of priests and Levites doing in the middle of the desert?

When King Yoash conquered Judah

Meshel thinks the people dwelling at the site were providing an essential service: writing blessings. But from who, for who? The story gets even more complicated when one examines the site through the lens of geopolitics.

At the time the hill was occupied, the kingdom of Israel existed in the north, ruled from Samaria. The kingdom of Judah existed in the south and had its capital in Jerusalem.

However, the names and inscriptions found at Kuntillat Ajrud seem to be Israelite, not Judahite. It seems to have been an Israelite site — far, far to the south of Israel and even south of the Judah border.

Reconstruction of what may be the image of King Yoash, possibly the only known contemporary portrait of a Judahite king. Found at Kuntillet Ajrud

Why would one kingdom maintain a religious site at the far end of another kingdom?

Meshel thinks the Israelite presence in or beyond the Judean kingdom, and the fact that Jerusalem (the capital of Judah) provisioned this way station of the rival kingdom, indicates that at the time the kingdom of Israel was, or was turning into, a regional power.

Judah was a vassal state subject to the more powerful northern kingdom, he thinks.

As for why Judahite Jerusalem would provision this Israelite-manned hilltop in the middle of nowhere, Meshel suspects it all comes down to Kuntillat Ajrud having been founded by none other than King Yoash of Israel.

“The bible says that war broke out between Amatzia, king of Judah, and Yoash, king of Israel,” he says. Thus the Israelite king Yoash gained control of Judah.

It would have been convenient for Yoash to provision Kuntillat Ajrud from the Temple in Judah. Why would he have sent up north to bring supplies for it from Israel, Meshel asks rhetorically.

If indeed Meshel is right and King Yoash founded the site, he may be the figure drawn on plaster at the entrance of the building.

The drawing, possibly of the king, was restored by Prof. Pirhiya Bar based on similar drawings from the ancient east, in which the royal figure holds a lotus flower. It is a reasonable possibility that the figure depicted at Kuntillet Ajrud was a ruler or king, and if so, then it is the only contemporary visual description we have of a king from biblical times.

“I told myself look at the luck I had, finding the only drawing of a king from the First Temple period,” says Meshel.

A picture of God, and is that his tail

Kuntillet Ajrud also brought images of animals, humans and what seems to be gods.

The one causing the controversy shows a man and a women, drawn naively, with crowned heads and holding hands. The man has either a tail or a large penis, and above him the blessing “Yahweh and his Asherah” is written.

Could the couple on the pithos be a rendering of God and his wife Asherah, the only one ever found?

Dr. Yigal Bin Nun, a researcher and author of “A Brief History of YHWH.” has no doubt. “If you want to step away from reality then you can say this or that, but if you look at it as it is you can’t ignore the truth,” he says.

Among the detractors are Prof. Tallay Ornan, who has studied the images at the site, and Prof. Shmuel Ahituv, an acclaimed ancient inscriptions researcher. Both contributed to a book on the topic together with Meshel and Esther Eshel, published last year.

They think these figures show the minor Egyptian deity Bes, not YHWH, the Jewish god.

“Bes is a dwarf who was the deity of witches,” Ahituv says, adding that in his view, the picture shown wouldn’t befit a major divinity.

Defending the picture as that of YHWH, Ben Nun an Israelite religious site on the border of Judah, under the political auspices of Assyria, would be unlikely to hail Bes, or any Egyptian god or symbol. Egypt was considered hostile. “The Bes explanation is completely illogical,” Ben Nun says.

Furthermore, it’s hard to make sense of the writing “YHWH and his Asherah” without suspecting that this god, at least according to the people on this hill, was married.

God of the south and god of the north

Other phrases found at the site also challenge the known pantheon of Israelite faith. “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah,” for example, were also found inscribed at the site.

These are doubly outrageous. If God is one, then how can there be god for the north (Shomron) and for the south (Yemen, still called Teman in Hebrew)?

To make matters worse, does the word “Asherah,” formulated as “his Asherah”, hint that the gods of Israel had a wife? If so, where has she gone?

For Meshel, the site’s main researcher, the issue remains unresolved.

He and Ben Nun suspect the site brings insight to the beliefs of the people living here 3,000 years ago. They did not worship a single al-powerful deity: they were devoted to a pantheon of gods.

It has also long been known that households with Jewish hallmarks, certainly in the First Temple era and later too, also had images of other gods, a.k.a, figurines.

If anything the discoveries at Kuntillet Ajrud indicate that in the late ninth century B.C.E. or the early eighth, the idea of a single deity had not yet consolidated, suggests Meshel. “In this religious reality YHWH is local, for the city, the village, for Shomron and for Teman (Yemen).”

Ashera the tree?

The sheer fact that Kuntillet Ajrud was so far-flung is what enabled it to survive, Meshel further claims – albeit not for long.

Come the seventh century B.C.E., Josiah King of Judah spearheaded a profound religious reformation, that included centralizing ritual sacrifice in Jerusalem and destroying competing sites.

By that time, Kuntillet Ajrud was long since abandoned. Meshel suspects the kingdom simply forgot about it.

Ahituv rejects this whole analysis and thinks that Ashera referred to a tree. Or maybe a thing or place. But not an independent female divinity.

“If you look at the Bible you can see that there is no sacrifice for Ashera – but rather the ashera is chopped down ahead of war,” he says. “It may be a tree but it was not an independent being.”

Regarding the varying names of Jehovah, Ahituv says these are different manifestations of the same god, “its like there are different manifestations of the Holy Mary in different places and everyone knows it’s the same Mary.”

Meshel does not agree: “If you read the phrase as is, clearly the meaning is that she is his partner.”

“The Bible reads: Ashera pesel (Ashera statue) — the statue had to represent someone. We can’t just say it was a log,” Ben Nun bolsters the point. Some also believe the early Jews worshipped trees.

This argument is bound to continue even though access to the actual findings is impossible. As part of the deal with Egypt, all archaeological findings were returned to Cairo in 1993. They have not been shown to the public since then. Meshel fears Kuntillet Ajrud will be forgotten again.

As taken from, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-a-strange-drawing-could-undermine-our-entire-idea-of-judaism-1.5973328

The New Leader of the Generation

By Rabbi Ginsburgh

At the end of the previous Torah portion, after Balaam’s impromptu blessing to the Jewish People, Balaam proposes that Balak attempt another method to subdue God’s Chosen People. In response to Balaam’s advice, Balak sends non-Jewish women to seduce the Jewish men.  As punishment for their licentious behavior, a plague wiped out many of the Jewish People. The plague ended abruptly when Pinchas publicly decried their behavior by killing Zimri and Kosbi. Then, God told Moses to take a census of the entire Jewish people.

Prior to entering the Holy Land, God commanded Moses to divide the Land of Israel into tribal territories. Knowing that he would not be privileged to enter the Land of Israel himself, Moses asked God to appoint a suitable leader to lead the Jewish People into the land after his death. What qualities would the new leader need?

Pinchas or Joshua?

This Torah portion begins with the great blessing that God bestowed upon Pinchas for his zealous act. We would be justified in believing that Pinchas would be chosen as the next leader of the Jewish People. Moses began his career as leader while still a prince in Pharaoh’s palace. He saw an Egyptian officer attack a Jew with the intention of killing him.[1] The officer had previously raped the same Jew’s wife,[2] and Moses’ instinctive reaction to save his fellow Jew was to smite the Egyptian.  Like Moses, Pinchas was a Levite and his zealotry is clearly reminiscent of Moses’ own self-sacrificial act. Both Pinchas and Moses acted out of a fierce sense of responsibility for God’s people. Taking responsibility during a crisis situation at the expense of one’s own welfare is a sure sign of a true leader. Pinchas therefore strikes us as an appropriate candidate to lead the Jewish people after Moses.

But, God told Moses to appoint Joshua, who served as Moses’ personal assistant for 40 years. Since Joshua’s appointment appears in the Torah portion that bears Pinchas’ name, let’s contemplate the difference between the two.

Patience or Alacrity?

Pinchas’ swift act brought an end to the plague that eradicated 24,000 Jews. For his dauntless life-saving deed, God blessed him with a covenant of eternal peace and priesthood. All priests have the talent to work quickly,[3] but Pinchas was particularly outstanding in his alacrity.

In contrast, Moses prayed that the new leader should be one who can adjust himself to the needs of anyone who asks for his guidance. This facet of leadership requires a great deal of patience, which was Joshua’s innate talent.

Each quality has its drawbacks too. On the one hand, acting impulsively is liable to lead to chaotic results. On the other hand, despite Joshua’s success as a warrior who triumphed over the nation of Amalek, the sages teach us that Joshua was negligent in conquering the Land of Israel. This negligence resulted from Joshua’s patient nature, which caused him to be somewhat slow in carrying out God’s command.

We learn from God’s selection of Joshua as leader that if faced with a choice between a leader who is zealous and a leader who is patient, it is better to select the person who has patience, like Joshua.

Nonetheless, Joshua’s appointment appears in Parashat Pinchas, which begins with praise for Pinchas’ swift act. This provides inspiration for Joshua’s patient temperament, suggesting that in order to refine his own tendency to bide his time, he should integrate something of the eagerness and agility of Pinchas.

Patience with Alacrity

We might say that the ideal leader would be a combination of Joshua together with Pinchas. At first glance, patience and alacrity seem incompatible. A person can either be swift and agile or slow and determined, but not both at the same time. Nonetheless, the Ba’al Shem Tov taught that serving God properly requires us to combine these two qualities and act with “patient alacrity” by directing the force of our eagerness through patient judgment.

In Kabbalistic terminology, Pinchas’ quality of alacrity corresponds to the chaotic lights of the World of Chaos. Joshua’s patience and perseverance are the vessels that can contain them. When the vessels are immature and unrefined, they are unable to contain the volatile energies. In the case of such immature vessels, the influx of excess energy is liable to shatter them. But, those lights are essential to bringing the redemption. The Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) taught that Mashiach will come when we succeed in containing the lights of the World of Chaos within the stable, refined vessels of the World of Rectification.

Daily and Additional Sacrifices

The Torah portion of Pinchas concludes with a summary of the various sacrifices offered in the Temple services on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and the festivals. These are the musafim, the extra sacrifices that are offered in addition to the two regular daily sacrifices (temidim). Here too, we can identify two extremes. Like Joshua, who habituated Moses’ study hall, the daily sacrifice represents routineness and patience. The additional sacrifice is occasional and more festive, representing Pinchas’ alacrity and enthusiasm.

The passage referring to the sacrifices is named “The Passage of the Musafim,” referring to the additional sacrifices. Nonetheless, it begins by outlining the daily sacrifices, the temidim. This is because the musafim are “in addition” to the daily sacrifices. In this case, like the entire portion, which is named after the agile Pinchas, patience and perseverance are included in alacrity.

The entire idea of sacrifices is suited to Pinchas. Apart from his being a kohen, his act was commendable mainly because, like a sacrifice, it atoned for the sin of the Jewish People. Similarly, just as Pinchas’ act is a shining example of self-sacrifice, so too, the intention in offering sacrifices is that the animal is sacrificed in place of the soul of the one who offers it. The animal’s body is no more than a vessel to achieve this end.

So, after appointing Joshua as leader, this Torah portion reinstates equilibrium by emphasizing the uniqueness of the musafim, reminiscent of Pinchas’ enthusiasm.

As mentioned, by definition the musaf sacrifice cannot exist without the daily sacrifice, otherwise it wouldn’t be “additional.” Each type of sacrifice thus complements the other. Joshua’s steadfast patience is the basis—the vessel—that can contain the added value of Pinchas’ alacrity. Without the occasional musaf sacrifice, the daily sacrifices would be dry and monotonous. So too, within the framework of Joshua’s leadership, some alacrity is necessary to spice it up.

Chaos Contained

When it comes to the final redemption, first we must aspire to access the lights of Chaos. Reaching up to this lofty goal is itself the power to rectify the vessels to contain them. This is the meaning of the Chassidic phrase, “When the [chaotic] lights condense, they form the vessels [that can contain them].” Pinchas reached up and touched the volatile energies at their source. It remained for Joshua to contain them in his rectified vessels.

When Mashiach comes, we will experience patience and alacrity at each and every moment. This will fulfill the Rebbe’s demand for “lights of Chaos, but within rectified vessels.”

[1] Exodus 2:12.

[2] Shemot Rabah 1.

[3] Baba Batra 90a.

As taken from, http://www.inner.org/parshah/numbers-bamidbar/pinchas/the-new-leader-of-the-generation-2

El Talmud y Levinas

Image result for Levinas

Emmanuel Levinas

Por Alicia Korenbrot

Diario Judío México – El estudio del Talmud –aprender, enseñar- de estilo idiosincrático, exige un amplio conocimiento de hebreo y de arameo. Desde su origen en la tradición oral  refleja y constituye la civilización del pueblo judío, según el rabino Weinkeberg;  “nunca buscó estrechez, prefirió cubrir todos los aspectos de la vida, nunca se limitó al ritual religioso, sino abarcó todos los hechos del hombre y sus capacidades; desarrolló e influyó en la creación espiritual y todas las áreas de la naturaleza y el arte, ciencia y política, todo lo que descubre el espíritu humano.”

Para la tradición judía la Biblia  no es autónoma, se acompaña de la contraparte oral que se encuentra en el Talmud, comprende el trabajo acumulativo rabínico desde Ezra hasta el siglo VI de la era común, aproximadamente 1600 años, es el centro y lugar del estudio y práctica rabínicas, incluyendo la filosofía, teología y costumbres. Históricamente está compuesto por la Mishna y la Guemara.

La Mishna – de la raíz שנה – implica aprender y repetir, se refiere al cuerpo de referencias rabínicas desde Ezra hasta el siglo II de la era común;  fue editado por rabi Yehuda Hanassi, quien lo codificó y ordenó en seis grupos principales -sedarim:

Zeraim –semillas- el hombre y la tierra.

Moed – fechas especiales- el hombre y el tiempo.

Nashim– mujeres- Hombre, mujer y sus consortes.

Nezikim– danos- el hombre y la sociedad.

Kodashim– cosas sagradas- el hombre y lo sagrado.

Taharot– purificaciones- el hombre y la muerte.

Fue estudiado en dos centros de Academias rabínicas – Yeshivot- en Babilonia y al norte de Israel durante 400 años.  Sus resultados se convirtieron en la Guemara –de la raíz  גמר-  que significa estudio. Por la ubicación de las yeshivot hay un Talmud de Babilonia y un Talmud de Jerusalén, editado en el siglo V, dos siglos después del Talmud de Babilonia.

Con el desarrollo de los estudios. La división establecida no resultó tan precisa y requirió que sus partes, Suggiot, fueran estudiadas minuciosamente para profundizar en la filosofía del judaísmo.

La forma más común de entender el Talmud es a través de sus aspectos legales. Una variante importante es el pilpul, ejercicio analítico intelectual, además del aspecto cognoscitivo busca el significado ritual de mayor importancia. Una tercera vía, surgida en los últimos 200 años es la lectura crítica  -método histórico-filológico- de los textos. Ocupación principal del mundo académico en el estudio del Talmud. Un ejemplo brillante de la crítica talmúdica son las Lecturas de Emmanuel Levinas que ya era un filósofo internacionalmente celebrado cuando empezó a interesarse en el Talmud en 1947.

Emmanuel Levinas, construccionista, fenomenólogo y hermeneuta de la experiencia vivida en el mundo, nació en Kovno, Lituania, estudió filosofía en Estrasburgo y Freiburgo con los filósofos más prominentes. En 1930 publicó su tesis en Francia: “La Teoría de la Intuición en la Fenomenología de Husserl”. El primero de sus muchos libros sobre filosofía. En ’39 se nacionalizó francés, participó en un movimiento clandestino contra los nazis, lo apresaron y lo enviaron a un campo de trabajo para oficiales franceses. Su familia que se encontraba en Lituania fue asesinada. Su esposa y su hija fueron ocultadas por religiosas en Orleans y sobrevivieron la guerra, igual que Emannuel Levinas, quien no dejo de pensar y elaborar su filosofía en el campo de trabajo, allí empezó a escribir su obra “Existencia y Existente”.

Aunque su primer idioma fue el hebreo no fue expuesto a una educación religiosa, en ’47 se inició en el  estudio del Talmud , por insistencia de un amigo, con Chouchani, gran especialista del Talmud, cinco años más tarde, cuando el maestro se fue a Israel, Levinas siguió estudiando con el grupo de sus seguidores.

En ’57, el historiador Edmond Fleg creo un fórum que había de dar a los jóvenes intelectuales la oportunidad de conocer un judaísmo diferente al ofrecido en las sinagogas, con el apoyo de Levinas y otros intelectuales, se creó el “Coloquio de Intelectuales Judíos en Lengua Francesa”. Cada año se organiza un Coloquio sobre un tema central en el judaísmo, como perdón, Shabat, etc. O sobre temas relevantes a la comunidad intelectual general, en ’68 el Coloquio fue a propósito de La Juventud o Judaísmo y Revolución, seguido de discusiones y debates.

En ’60 Levinas empezó a usar el Talmud como texto básico. Su primera presentación –Lectura- fue “Tiempos Mesiánicos y Tiempos Históricos en el Capítulo XI del Tratado de Sanhedrin”. Empezó diciendo que era una empresa muy atrevida para quien no era “Talmud-jajam” y siguió adelante. Cada año presentaba una lectura talmúdica que conectaba con el tema general del coloquio. La primera lectura se publicó en 1963, dos años después de “Totalidad e Infinito”, considerado como uno de los libros de filosofía más importantes del siglo XX. Las Lecturas se publicaron en cinco libros hasta su muerte en 1995, con el título” Lecturas del Talmud” – la traducción literal del título es “Leyendo el Talmud.” La última Lectura se publicó un año después.

Una de las características de la relación de Levinas con el Talmud es: “El Talmud como medio para expresar en griego (cualquier otro idioma occidental) lo que Grecia no pudo expresar.”

Para la filosofía tradicional, la metafísica se basa en la ontología y la ontología defiende la primacía del ser en general sobre el otro en particular.

Desde el inicio de su filosofar, Levinas se opuso a ese principio y empezó a desarrollar una fenomenología del otro dirigida a sus implicaciones éticas, el fundamento de su filosofía.

El Talmud le ofreció la posibilidad de demostrar que “el interés en el otro no es un ejercicio meramente teorético o retórico. En sus Lecturas, Levinas analiza situaciones humanas y las expresa en términos filosóficos que la tradición metafísica no comprehendía. El Talmud, como cualquier gran texto, es transferible más allá del tiempo y lugar de su redacción y provee un medio alternativo para expresar lo que los griegos no pudieron exponer.

El Talmud dice que la persona debe restringirse en el momento de un enfrentamiento. Según la enseñanza de Rabi Ila’a, “El mundo subsiste solo al través del mérito de quien se restringe en una riña” – bolem atzmo beshaat meriva. Se trata de interesarse en el bienestar del otro al punto en que voluntariamente deja que el interés del otro  preceda al propio, hasta restringirse a nada, para Levinas esto es lo que el Talmud enseña sobre el mundo y el papel del hombre en el.

Según tomado de, http://diariojudio.com/opinion/el-talmud-y-levinas/274214/