Monday, October 20, 2014

The Prophet Joel and Pastor Hagee's Comment About Obama's Wanting Jerusalem Divided

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                        
Pastor John Hagee, head of  Protestant Evangelicals from San Antonio, Texas, is really giving it to Obama for trying to divide Jerusalem.  It happens that it is all one city today under Israel's domain as it's capital.  The USA still has not accepted it as such.   Hagee is  the leader of one Christian group that really is pro Israel and has done much to help Israel.   He's blaming the contagious Ebola virus  on Obama's  actions of having Kerry push for a divided Jerusalem.   Hagee quoted Joel 3:2, so I had to stop and look it up in my Tanakh (Bible)  and find in mine it is listed under 3:4, but has a little different wording-different translators.  The Evangelicals believe in the Old Testament writings, which makes them different from quite a few other Protestants and Catholics.
What thrills me is that this chapter tells about what happened to the Jews, and in genealogy, one of my interests and ancient history, this is important.  Here, Joel was also a historian.  He's saying that the boys were given for harlot's fee ( the price of a prostitute)  and they sold girls for wine and drank it.  The invaders sold girls in order to earn enough for a bottle of wine which they drank.  Evidently both girls and boys must have had very little value to these people.    In 6 he says that they sold the children of Judah and the children of Jerusalem to the children of the Greeks in order to distance them from their border.  However, in 4, he reports G-d saying,  "That in those days and at that time, when I will bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, " I will gather all of the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat and I will contend with them there concerning My people and My possession, Israel, that they dispersed among the nations, and they divided up My land."  He tells them that "Israel has done you no harm, and you cannot claim that you are repaying them or Me for past wrongs."
Joel  gets even with them by saying  that G-d will sell their sons and daughters into the hands of the children of Judah and they will sell them to Sabaeans, to a distant people.  They were from Sabea, a country in southern Arabia, home of a rich culture and a powerful kingdom from the 1st half of the last millennium BCE to 500 CE.  They spoke a semitic language.  The Sabeans carried gold and goods imported from India by caravan to Judah.  It's also mentioned in the Bible as Sheba.   As it was, there were several Jewish tribes found in Arabia living in Medina at the time of Mohammad (570-632 CE). Many were killed who would not convert to Islam.  Perhaps some Saudis have the DNA history of having arrived there as slaves in the past as Joel had prophesied.  .
                                                      Rashi, famous Biblical commentator

Joel was the 2nd in order of the 12 Minor Prophets.  He lived possibly as early as the 9th century BCE, and more probably as late as the 4th century BCE.   Rashi tells us he was the son of Samuel and was a contemporary of Elisha and Joel, Nahum and Habakkuk who all prophesied during the rein of Manasseh.(720-692 BCE)   The chapter Hagee is referring to, 3-4,  talks of  the "Day of the Lord" when G-d will restore his people from captivity and punish their enemies in the plain of Jehoshaphat.  The problem in dating his work is that the text doesn't clearly indicate his date.  We've had the Assyrians come and take away our people when they attacked in 721 BCE so he could be referring to this time.  Or, he could be talking about the Babylonian attack in 597 BCE and again in 586 BCE, which is the most likely one if you discount Rashi's opinion.  Rashi (1040-1105 CE) was born in Troyes France and studied in the Rhineland of Germany and is the most well known commentator of the Bible.  .Our Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in the last Babylonian attack of 586 BCE.  I tend to agree with Rashi and that Joel  wrote much earlier.  .
                                                 Hezbollah terrorists

It almost reads like a novel.  G-d says to announce this among the nations; " prepare for war;  arouse the mighty men;  let all the men of war approach and ascend.  Beat your plows into swords and your pruning forks into spears, even the weak one will say, "I am mighty."  Let all the surrounding nations hurry and come, and let them gather together;  there G-d will demolish your warriors.  Let the nations rouse themselves and go up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit and judge all the nations from all around."

 One of the fears some people have today is that Jews can be wiped out being in one place, Israel, by Iran so easily with an A bomb. There would go half of all the Jews in the world again, which is what happened in the Holocaust.   Yet Joel saw this happening in reverse to the armies against Israel.  G-d will be able to wipe THEM out.

That does seem to be what's happening today.  Mostly men, but some women are coming from far and wide to join up with IS today, who will then want to attack Jordan and  Israel after taking Iraq and Syria.  I note that the usual beating swords into plows is reversed as they recycle their implements into war machines.

G-d will have the last word.  G-d has been addressing his agents of destruction who are now ready to "harvest the crops" of Divine vengeance.  In 4:21 he says-"Though I will cleanse the nations by forgiving many of their sins (and this is G-d speaking, not any other savior) I will not forgive them for the bloodshed they perpetrated against Israel.  When G-d dwells in Zion (Jerusalem), at the End of Days, they will be punished."

Joel's big prophecy was about warning the people of a 7 year famine caused by locusts which was first foretold by Elisha.  He was sent to elaborate on it.  He was hoping that the people would take the impending disaster to heart and avert it by repenting.  He pictured the locusts as invading armies.  He used the 4 species of locusts as an allegory for the 4 conquerors of the land;  Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome.

Isn't this interesting?  Babylonia is still with us as Iraq and it's largest city is Baghdad.  Persia is today's Iraq.  Greece and Rome haven't changed much at all but may be representing the rest of the West today.  The West has quit holding Israel as something to be defended against the countries coming under the umbrella of Babylonia and Iran  who are against her.

In his prophecy about the locusts, their total destruction is compared to the ravages of a raging fire and an invading army.  He sees the locusts causing total destruction as if they had been preceded and followed by a raging fire.  Isn't this what happened in 70 CE when Jerusalem fell?  It was burned down and then the Romans, who had been occupiers, turned it into a Roman city.
Where is Jehoshaphat that is referred to at the End of Days?  "The Kidron Valley is the valley on the eastern side of The Old City of Jerusalem, separating the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. It continues east through the Judean Desert, towards the Dead Sea, descending 4000 feet along its 20 mile course. The settlement Kedar, located on a ridge above the valley, is named after it. The neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz bears the valley's Arabic name.  The Bible calls the Valley "Valley of Jehoshaphat - Emek Yehoshafat.” It appears in Jewish eschatologic prophecies, which include the return of Elijah, followed by the arrival of the Messiah, and the War of Gog and Magog and Judgment Day.

Tanach, the Stone Edition (Old Testament) ArtScroll Series.

Friday, October 17, 2014

England's Constant Anti-Semitic History

Nadene Goldfoot
When Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE, Jews were not allowed to live in Jerusalem again.  They became either slaves to the Romans, taken away and sold, or were able flee just before or after the fall and get to places past Rome, like France and Germany.  Some were able to get to nearby countries.

Jews did not arrive in England until the Norman conquest of 1066, some 900 years later.  Then a handful of financiers followed William the Conqueror from the Continent.  During the next generation, Jewish communities were established in London, York, Bristol, Canterbury and other cities.  The Jews traded, lent money to the baronage, and advanced money for current needs on the security of the revenue to the Crown.  This protected them.
Then the Crusades started in 1096 that lasted for 3 years in the first attack. On the way to Palestine they killed Jews in northern France and especially in the Rhineland where massacres occurred in cities such as Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Cologne; anyplace where Jews lived.  I had relatives living there at the time.  They also attacked Jews in Prague and later in Salonica where the reports of the Crusade caused a messianic ferment.  When Jerusalem was captured in 1099, Jews and Karaites were massacred.  They were there to win Palestine from the Moslems, but didn't mind killing Jews as well.  The crusaders were riding around in religious passion and constant stimulation.  Being in such a religious environment as Jerusalem seemed to bring out the worst in them.  They were in a messianic ferment.  After their Crusading Kingdom was established, they extended some toleration to the remaining Jews who managed to stay alive.

Along came the 2nd Crusade in 1147 to 49 which was organized to succor the Crusading Kingdom.  Similar outbreaks happened in France and the Rhineland again with a monk called Rudolf.  Bernard of Clairvaux helped to restrict the deaths, however through his humanitarian efforts.   Now the Pope urged that the debts of crusaders to the Jews should be paid up, and this became a regular demand on such occasions.  (imagine-they borrowed money from Jews to come and attack Jews).

The reason Jews were money-lenders is because they were barred from all other jobs; this was one left open for them because Christians thought it was beneath their dignity to do this.

 In 1144, the first recorded Ritual Murder accusation was brought against Jews in Norwich, England.

At the time of the 3rd Crusade of 1189 to 1192, there were riots all over the country resulting in much bloodshed, especially in London and York where their
business bonds were burned.
                                             3rd Crusaders
The 3rd Crusade had far more support than the other 2.  This led to preliminary attacks by the assembled crusaders on the Jews in many places, especially in York in 1190.  Later, Crusaders involved the Jews only
incidentally, though the so called Shepherds' Crusade in 1320 resulted in widespread attacks on the Jews in southern France and in northern Spain.  The Crusades may be said to have begun the age of unmitigated suffering for medieval Jewry.  The Crusaders also gave an impetus to the Italian maritime republics and to international intercourse and helped to displace the Jewish merchants from their former  favored position and so started the economic decline of the Jews.

To keep bonds from being burned  and the loss to the Exchequer, a system of registration of Jewish debts was set up in 1194 with Archae or chirograph chests in all the principal cities under the control of a central Exchequer of the Jews. This was not merely a financial institution, but it also had important judicial and administrative functions.

  This made it possible to have a systematic exploitation of Jewish resources by merciless taxation during the reigns of John in 1199 to 1216 and Henry III from 1216 to 1277.  The enforced sternness of Jewish creditors in exacting their dues now resulted in growing unpopularity evidenced in the Ritual Murder case of Hugh of Lincoln  in 1255 .  Hugh was the  8 year old illegitimate son of Beatrice, born in 1247 who  disappeared on  July 31, 1255.  His body was found in a well belonging to Jopin, a Jew on August 29th.  Through torture, a confession was that  the child had been crucified by a number of the most prominent Jews of England, who had gone to Lincoln on the pretext of a wedding.  Then Henry III came a month later and caused Jopin the Jew to be dragged around the city tied to the tail of a wild horse, and then hanged.  There were also  attacks made on Jews during the Barons' Wars in 1263 to 1265. 

The Ritual Murder case was a blood libel.  The typical allegation was that Jews murder Christians in order to get blood for the Passover or other rituals.  In England the first charge was in 1144 in Norwich, and concerned a Christian child named William.  The best known charge was of Hugh of Lincoln.  What the heads of the city did was torture Jews until they got a confession.  They would never have any proof.  Then they would usually  have "miracles" in connection with the dead body and this would be taken as proof that death was due to Ritual Murder.  

 The Jews had competition from the Italian bankers that  was making their services superfluous.  So, what happened was that the Jews' rights were progressively restricted from 1269 on, and in 1290 the Jews were expelled from the country.   They were not allowed back in the country until 1655, 365 years for England to be without Jews.  

In 1655, Manasseh Ben Israel was the negotiator with Cromwell for the readmission of the Jews.  A group of Jews today called Anusim, then called Marranos, Jews hiding the fact of who they really were, were the first to go to live in England and received official recognition in 1664.  The original Sephardi community (Spanish-Ladino speaking Jews) were joined by Ashkenazi immigrants from Germany and Central Europe and spread throughout England.  By this time there were no important restrictions on Jews and no ghetto system was used.  There was no violence to speak of, but there was a controversial JEW bill in 1753 which didn't cause any Jews to be molested. " While the Sephardim chiefly congregated in London as the centre of international commerce, Jews immigrating from Germany and Poland settled for the most part in the seaports of the south and west, such as FalmouthPlymouth,LiverpoolBristol, etc., as pawnbrokers and small dealers. From these centres it became their custom to send out hawkers every Monday with packs to the neighbouring villages; and in this way connections were made with some of the inland towns, in which they began to settle, as CanterburyChatham, and Cambridge, not to mention Manchester andBirmingham. Traders of this type, while not of such prominence as the larger merchants of the capital, came in closer touch with English life; and may have helped to allay some of the prejudice which had been manifested so strongly during 1753. " Some Jews moved to Ireland after being in England, and from Ireland moved to South Africa.  

In the 19th century with the activity of Sir Moses Montiefiore, English Jewry took a leading part in Jewish philanthropy.  In 1829 and onward, disabilities held against Jews were removed slowly.  Lionel de Rothschild was admitted to parliament in 1858.  

From 1881, the older Jewish community was reinforced by immigration of refugees from Russian persecutions and pogroms.  They soon adapted themselves to the English Jewish way of life under the Chief Rabbi, Board of Deputies of British Jews, and in London, the United Synagogue.  There were new communities in Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, etc.  More arrived from Germany in 1933 to 1939 who helped to stimulate a weak and short-lived organized anti-Semitic movement.  Under Nazi influence, it grew. 

At the same time, the League of Nations had appointed Great Britain to hold the mandate of Palestine and to establish the Jewish Homeland.  What they did shortly after being given this responsibility was to turn 80% of the land over to Abdullah of Saudi Arabia so that he could be a king, and he named the eastern part he took as Trans-Jordan, later called Jordan by his descendants.  England then kept Jews out of the land that was left and allowed Arabs to enter.  Their White Paper put a limit of 75,000 Jews for entering Palestine from 1940 to 1945, the most important time when they needed a haven, their own state.  They were showing two things:  their anti-Semitic attitude and their greed for controlling land that could hold oil.   They were being influenced by the Nazi regime.  
Even after the war on July 11,  1947, just before the mandate ended, the English  turned away Jews from entering Palestine.  "Exodus 1947 was a ship that carried Jewish emigrants from France to British Mandatory Palestine on July 11, 1947. Most of the emigrants were Holocaust survivors who had no legal immigration certificates for Palestine. Following wide media coverage, the British Royal Navy seized the ship and deported all its passengers back to Europe. Then in 10 months, Israel was re-born on May 14, 1948.  That was when the British mandate was finished.  

England was the only important European country to escape the Nazi persecutions, but the air bombardment of the main cities caused Jewish populations to scatter in England, and weakened the traditional Jewish life.  

The Jewish population of Great Britain including northern Ireland was estimated in 1990 to be 330,000.   The 2011 census showed 263,346 or 0.5% of the population.  "The UK is home to the second largest Jewish population in Europe, and has the fifth largest Jewish community worldwide." 

They just recently recognized Palestine.  Palestine is ruled by Hamas, a terror organization jointly with Abbas, a former Fatah terrorist member  in Judea and Samaria and alone in Gaza.  Hamas was elected by the Palestinians living in Gaza.  There has been no peace agreement with Israel before or since Operation Defensive Edge.  Palestinians remain the enemy of Israel.  

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Update:  on Jew Bill; naturalization 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Asset That Israel Stands For in This World

Nadene Goldfoot                                                              

The Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack splintered and rushed Israel's army defenses.  Their deception of having practices had worked.  By the Suez Canal, 450 IDF with 50 artillery pieces tried to stop 100,000 Egyptian troops crossing the water under the covering fire of 2,000 artillery pieces.  The enemy also had an umbrella of one of the most insidious SAMs missiles in the world which quickly knocked 50 Israeli planes down.  In just a few days 2 whole Egyptian armies occupied the whole Israeli-held east band of the Suez Canal.

In the north, 1,400 Syrian tanks were going against 160 Israeli tanks.  The Israelis fought bravely against tanks, armored personnel carriers and howitzers and other lethal war machines.

The bloodiest battle was fought on the Golan Heights in the Kuneitra Valley called the Vale of Tears.  Golda Meir herself went to this front to see with her own eyes what was happening to her soldiers.  

                               Moshe Dayan, Sadat, Begin in Jerusalem 

This was the Yom Kippur War that occurred in 1973, only 6 years after the halting 1967 Six Day War with all the Arabs.  Golda and her staff didn't give up.  She had help from President Nixon, G-d Bless Him, a man I was not in favor of as an American, but who saved the day for Israel.  His help brought about Sadat to Jerusalem and Begin was able to say to the world, "No more war, no more bloodshed."    Then some malcontent Arab had to assassinate this man who had seen the other side of life, and ended something beautiful happening in the Arab world.  Luckily, Egypt has been holding their peace which honors such a great man as Sadat.  From this war, the Arabs realized that they would never beat Israel conventionally.

                                               Hamas Terrorists from Gaza

Along came Operation Defense Edge, a very unconventional war against Israel.  Israel didn't try to destroy Hamas once and for all, but only wanted to cripple them so they would accept the terms of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.  After 6 ceasefires, there is still no resolution for peace.  Israeli settlements are still being hit with mortar fire.  Hamas still has the ability to hit urban centers with their missiles.  The terrorists from Gaza and Qatar where they hang out in safety are making impossible demands.  From past experiences, Israel knows they dare not go back to the 67 lines or they will be wiped out.  Nixon is gone, and so was his personal goals for Israel  from the USA.  To him, Israel was a deterrent to the aims of the Soviet Union.  Now we have  a President in the USA who will not fill orders of ammunition already promised to the little state of Israel, even though they helped to create a machine that stops missiles a good % of the time that they are sharing with the USA.

In this latest operation, it has been found but has not made the headlines that damned Israel, that the casualties of the Palestinians were greatly magnified.  More than half of the dead were combatants from Hamas and the other terrorist factions.  Some of the civilian deaths were caused by misfired Hamas missiles, cases of which have been confirmed.    

Just like in 1967 and 1973, Israelis are saddened by civilian deaths.  They realize something others don't, however.  They are on the eve of an escalating war of survival against the terror group of radical Islam, called Hamas, their charter member.  Hamas chooses to fight in urban areas of the population who voted them in and chased Abbas out in 2005.  This is part of Israeli's price to save themselves and the world from the evil threatening to conquer them.  Like Golda had told Sadat, "We can forgive you for killing our sons, but we will never forgive you for making us to kill yours. "  Jews had to kill, something they find repulsive.  

When Golda went to the front to see for herself what was happening, she spoke with her boys.  She asked the men about themselves.  Then she asked them if they had questions for her.  One responded and said, "My father was killed in the war of 48, and we won.  My uncle was killed in the war of 56, and we won.  My brother lost an arm in the 67 war, and we won.  Last week I lost my best friend over there," and he pointed to the Vale of Tears.  and despite the odds at that moment, he bravely said that "we're going to win.  But is all our sacrifice worthwhile, Golda?  what's the use of our sacrifice if we can't win the peace?"

                                           Hamas from Gaza on the March

This is something still being thought about, and I fear that the West, who at first supported Israel, has already thrown the towel in and is no longer backing our little state of Israel as one might have backed youthful David against the giant, Goliath.    But, like Golda answered him, the facts remain the same.  Yes, it's worth all the pain.  If Israel goes, so does all of Judaism this time.  We have faced horrible bottlenecks of survival in the past.  

                 Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini in 1938 with Hitler
                   Palestinian Arab leader plotting to rid Palestine of Jews

At one time we were down to 4 women of who most all Jews trace their lineage from.  We lost 6 million in the Holocaust and have just now reached 6 million Jews living in Israel.  There is a reason why we have been singled out to remain a people and a religion for the past 4,000 years since Abraham, who was born in the 2nd millennium BCE.  Our Torah spells out a set of conditions we are to follow to be a just and honorable people.  If we go, there goes the template for the rest of the world.  So for the past 67 years, Israel has never fought to kill people just because we thought they were unworthy of living, like the Nazis and IS is doing now.  We've had to fight to defend ourselves only against attacks.  

This Yom Kippur War that happened on October 6, 1973, the day of our holiest day of fasting and attending synagogue asking for forgiveness for our sins, had support for the Egyptians and Syrians from Iraq and Jordan and others.  The Soviets airlifted and replaced Arab arms, but Nixon sent Israel help by October 14th.  Then 2 days later, the IDF  crossed the Suez Canal and in a few days more cut off the Egyptian 3rd Army.  The USSR and Kissinger, Sec. of State, got together and worked out terms for cease fire, which were operative by October 25th.  Israel had  lost 2,600 men.  This is something they haven't forgotten and the reason why they will not let it happen again.  Israel needs defensive lines, so Golda wouldn't go back and neither will Netanyahu.  Arab oil seemed to be the asset the Russians wanted.  This asset spoke louder than what Israel stands for.  Even without such an asset, Israel remains the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat of humanity, for who is willing to stand beside her today?  

Resource: The Prime Ministers by Yehuda Avner, 703 pages of 731
Jewish Life magazine, September 2014,  page 48, Operation Defensive Edge by Mylan Tanzer

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Holidays of Succot Going Out and Simchah Torah Coming In; Time to Rejoice

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  


We see the end of our holiday of Succot.  This was the time when our ancestors of the Exodus lived in little booths during their 40 year wandering of following Moses to the Promised Land.  It's traditional for the men to procure the Lulav, the palm-branch to be taken on the feast of Tabernacles together with the Etrog, myrtle and willow, called together the 4 Species, and other vegetation which they hold in their right hand and the etrog in their left hand.  They carry them during the time of saying in unison the Hallel ( palms 113-118, used at the time of rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean wars and said at all 3 pilgrim festivals.  It's like a commandment and used in opening and closing blessings.  The people shake these items  in all directions.
In the picture above, this is what all the men are holding in their hands.  They are wearing Israel-styled prayer shawls which are so much bigger than the American conservative style which are more like scarves.  When men pray under their prayer shawls in Israel, it's like they are under a tent and can shut out any visual distractions from what they are doing.  They can really meditate.  On top of their heads they are wearing a kippa (Hebrew) or yalmulke (Yiddish) , which is a skull cap worn for prayer.  Religious Jews wear it all the time.  A religious Jew is one who decides to follow all the rules and you show this by wearing your kippa all the time.  Whether it is knitted or made of satin or some other material also tells what group you belong to; something like the red or blue scarves the Crips and the Bloods wear to tell themselves apart.  Some are white and some are black and some are patterned.

It happened to my conservative husband when we moved to Israel.  The land, the people and the air itself overtakes one and you really start to get into the groove.  It's hard to explain.  After studying for 10 months in Haifa we moved to Safed where it happened.  You see all the cemeteries and visit all the sites and it's quite emotional.   What's thrilling is that this was expected of the people to do 3,000 years ago and we are still doing it.  It connects us to our history and to the land.
Whoever heard of an Etrog other than people living and practicing Judaism in Israel?  It's a citron you don't find in supermarketss outside this tiny state but seems to be found only in Israel.  It was a popular Jewish symbol used on coins, graves, synagogues and other places of Jewish origin.  People had silver boxes to keep the etrog and the boxes themselves became items of artwork.  To me it looks like a large lemon.  Another fruit used in this way is the pomegranate which is used in much art work in designs.  

Thursday and Friday, October 16th and 17th, are holidays for Jews again.  On Thursday we have  a holidy to remember and be happy about having the law of Moses called Shemini Atzores and the next day being called Simchas Torah.                                              

It marks the yearly completion of the synagogue reading of the Torah (Pentateuch) which are the 5 books of Moses.  What they do in the synagogue is take out all the Scrolls of the Law and carry them 7 times or more around the synagogue for everyone to see.  Sometimes some of the synagogues will do with with a dance movement as they go around.  It can go on for hours as they are happy.

All male worshipers are called up for aliyah at the time of reading from the Torah.  It's an honor given to them to be called up to read aloud.  The Torah is written all in Hebrew.  A boy age 13 shows the congregation that he is capable of doing this at his bar mitzvah.  It's like a graduation from a boy to a man.  

The last section of the 5th book, Deuteronomy is read by the Bridegroom of the Law, the Hatan Torah.  He is followed by the Bridegroom of Genesis, the first book of the Law.  Candies are usually given to the children and the "bridegrooms" act as hosts to the people in the synagogue.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia                                            

Brigitte Gabriel Calls Rashid Khalidi on Translation of Sura From Quran On Beheading

Nadene Goldfoot                                                            

                                                          Professor  Rashid Khalidi

In 1982 I was in Safed, Israel during the Lebanon War.  In fact, I was in the Army Hospital in Haifa to find out about when pins would be removed from my elbow when I noticed that the hospital was almost empty.  They were getting ready for battle-injuries.  I wound up baking cakes to feed our IDF who would be reporting to their posts by walking or hitch-hiking.  My husband and I had made aliyah in 1980 and were in Israel as  immigrants  from Oregon.  My Jewish paternal grandfather was born in Telsiai, Lithuania and my grandmother from Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania.  I come from a Jewish family.

At the very same time, Rashid Khalidi, Muslim was in Lebanon. He has just agreed with his friend,  Obama,  in that IS is not Islam by reading a translation of the Quran over PBS.     Khalidi became politically active in Beirut, where he resided through the 1982 Lebanon War.  He was teaching at a Lebanese University, possibly AUB (American University of Beirut) .  New York City born in  1948, he is the son of a Saudi citizen who says he has Palestinian origins and was born in Jerusalem and was a worker for the UN.

Rashid's father was  Ismail Ragib Khalidi, who was born on 13 November 1916 –died  2 September 1968)  was a senior political affairs officer for the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.    He was the brother of Husayin al-Khalidi .  Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi  1895–26 December 1966) was born in Jerusalem like his brother. He worked as medical doctor for the Department of Public Health in Aleppo, Syria.   Husayin al-Khalidi was mayor of Jerusalem from 1934 to 1937.   The  Khalidi father and uncle were born in Jerusalem, then still part of the Ottoman Empire.

 Though a Saudi citizen, the question arises as to why Ismail and Husayin  were born in Jerusalem.  Many Arabs had come into Palestine looking for work from the Jews.  His father could have been one of them.  It's rare that any Palestinian is accepted as a citizen of another Arab country, so I doubt if this happened and Ismail moved to Saudi Arabia and became a citizen.  More likely their parents came from Saudi Arabia to Palestine  looking for work and education.  

Ismail  Khalidi attended St. George's School, Jerusalem and the Arab College (Jerusalem) (1927-1936). In 1939, he received his political science from the American University of Beirut. "   Israel became a state on May 14, 1948.  Khalidi also served as the Assistant Editor, Middle East Desk, United States Office of War Information from 1942–44 and the Secretary of the Institute of the Arab American Affairs, from 1945-48. He was a member of the UN for 19 years, joining originally as a radio announcer He died on 2 September 1968 at the age of 51 in Beirut, Lebanon

 Rashid's  mother was born in the USA of  Lebanese parents..  Khalidi attended the UN International school.   He serves as the  Edward Said   Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.   Khalidi  is a strong Palestinian activist and blames America and Israel for all the Middle East problems which isn't surprising.   He's also a big time supporter and associate of  America's president, Barack Obama.  To be criticizing the USA and a friend of its president is certainly contrary.  I cannot say he is a Palestinian, though.  Being his father was in Jerusalem while working for the UN does not make his father a Palestinian. His father, Ismail Khalidi and his brother, Husayin al-Khalidi were Saudis.

Obama was heard on TV to say in a speech that IS is not Islamic.  Khalidi has been backing him up on this.  On a PBS segment Khalidi gave an explanation of Sura 47, verse 4 of the Quran where Khalidi says does not justify beheadings.  Khalidi and Obama are saying that IS is not following the Islamic law.
He has been called on this by Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of Act for America.  She's one of the leading national security experts in the world on the rise of Islamic terrorism. 

"Brigitte Gabriel, Christian,  is an American journalist, author, social commentator and activist.  Gabriel says that Islam keeps countries backward, and that it teaches terrorism.  She should know, because she was born in Lebanon to Maronite Christian parents as Nour Saman on October 21, 1964.  .  .
She was in Lebanon  at the same time that I was in Israel and Rashid was in Lebanon.  She was there before, during the Lebanese Civil War where Islamic militants launched an attack on the Lebanese military base near her family's house and destroyed it when Gabriel was 10 years old in 1974.  She suffered from being hit by shrapnel during this attack.  The family was forced to live underground in all that remained which turned out to be like an 8 by 10 foot  bomb shelter for 7 years.  All they had was a small kerosene heater, no sanitary supplies, no electricity or running water and little food.  She had to crawl in a ditch along the road to get spring water as she had to evade Muslim snipers.  So, in 1978, 2 years before I moved to Israel, her family was warned of an impending attack by the Islamic militias on all Christians.  

Her life was saved when the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in Operation Litani in 1982.  Her mother was seriously injured later and taken to an Israeli hospital.  She was amazed that Israelis showed such care and humanity for them which was the opposite of the propaganda she had heard about Jews when she was a little girl.  Israel's border with Lebanon had been protected by Major Hadad and his men, of the Christian Maronites.  Israel had a deal with him to take in his family if, G-d forbid, anything happened to him.  

Brigitte speaks Arabic, French, English and Hebrew.  She  reads Arabic being it was the language used in Lebanon and has studied the Quran.  She finds that this paragraph of Sura 47 verse 4 was not read entirely for the PBS audience and is not what most Qurans says.  She gives us the translation from the Quran published in Saudi Arabia:

"So, when you meet (in fight-Jihad in Allah's cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have KILLED (emphasis added) and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e.take them captives.).  Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden.  Thus (you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam and are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire or at least come under your protection.),  but if it had been Allah's will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you).  But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others.  But those who are killed in the Way of Allah,  He will never let their deeds be lost."  

She notes that the word, KILLED is pretty important and is in this Quran in 47/4.  Khalidi evidently did not use this word in the reading which caught Brigitte's attention.  He's trying to downplay the proper translation as a defense for Islam's terroristic directions.   I note that the paragraph does not say you have to behead ALL of them or kill all of them in battle, but taking prisoners is allowed.  I don't believe IS has been doing this from the TV pictures of long lineups of Iraqi soldiers  killed.  But it certainly does allow for beheading and why not?  When the Quran was written, beheadings were the usual thing done by Islam.  

Khalidi has stated that there is a legal right under international law for Palestinians to resist Israeli "Occupation" of which is an untruth in itself.  Israel is not "occupying Gaza."  Israelis, according to international law, have a right to live in Judea and Samaria, and that is not "occupying."  

Khalidi gave a speech to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and said that killing civilians is a war crime.  It's a violation of international law.  (This is exactly what Palestinian Hamas has been doing to Israel which is what caused Israel to finally go into Gaza a month ago).  However, Khalidi was not talking about Israel's woes.  He was using this reference to defend Palestinians.  The New York Sun editorial caught this and criticized him for it as he did not distinguish between Palestinian combatants and noncombatants and was implying that all Palestinians have this right to resist This turns out to be incorrect under international law.

.  Khalidi was an opposer of the Iraq War March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003 was the beginning.   The U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011, during the ninth year of the war.] However, the insurgency is ongoing and continues to cause thousands of fatalities. Khalidi  has been telling Obama that we owe reparations to the Iraqi people.  Here we are fighting IS now from the sky over Iraq and Syria.  

What Brigitte may not have known is the tie Rashid Khalidi has to Jerusalem, causing him as an Arab to be highly motivated to defend the Palestinians and their behaviors since Netanyahu has said there's little difference between Hamas terrorists and IS.  I wonder if Obama knows of his family's  connections.  

 "In Brigitte's view, Palestinian nationalism has largely been replaced by "holy obligation" motivating adherents to commit "terrorist murder.   She states that the legitimization of Palestinian suicide attacks within Israel has now evolved to where, "Islamists believe that they may commit mass murder anywhere in the world to advance their holy cause." As a result, she believes the world now suffers "from a plague of Islamic terrorism... authored and perfected by the Palestinians."
With regard to the two-state solution, Gabriel states: "Forcing Israel to accept a two-state solution is not going to work unless the Palestinians first are forced to clean up their act and eliminate hatred from their schoolbooks, teach tolerance to their people, and preach acceptance of Israel and the Jews as a neighbor."  This has been my thoughts, exactly.  Thank you Brigitte.  


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who Were the Jewish Scholars and the Sanhedrin During Roman Occupation ?

Nadene Goldfoot     

Antigonus of Sokho,  who lived in about 200 BCE,  was a Jewish sage.  He said,
"Be not like servants who serve their master in the hope of receiving a reward, but be like those servants who serve their master with no expectation of receiving a reward;  and let the fear of Heaven be upon you."  
He was the teacher of the first men to be the heads of the Sanhedrin.  


Hillel was born in the 1st century BCE and was a scholar who founded a school known as the "House of Hillel." or Bet Hillel.  He was also the ancestor of a dynasty of patriarchs who held office in the Sanhedrin until the 5th century.  He was one of the Jews born in Babylon (today's Iraq) but had come and settled in Judah and earned a living by manual labor while studying with Shemaiah and Avtalyon who made up the 4th of the Zugot. The Zugot (pairs) were 5 generations of scholars.  The first named is the president or Nasi of the Sanhedrin and the second is the senior judge of the court or bet din.  Shemaiah  lived in the 2nd half of the 1st century BCE and  was the head of the Sanhedrin at the end of the Hasmonean Period. and Avtalyon was the chief judge

 Shemaiah and Avtalyon  were proselytes, converts to Judaism, descended from Sennacherib, who was the king of Assyria (today's Iraq and SE Turkey)  in 705-681 BCE. and was the son of Sargon II..  Shemaiah was the leader of the Pharisees.  Avtalyon  was a leader of the Pharisees in the middle of the 1st century BC and by tradition vice-president of the great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem.   He was of heathen descent  Avtalyon is also written about in Josephus.  "Avtalyon  was one of the most influential and beloved men of his time. Once, when the high priest was being escorted home from the Temple by the people, at the close of a Day of Atonement, the Talmud (Yoma, 71b) relates that the crowd deserted him upon the approach of Avtalion and his colleague and followed them.   Avtalion used his influence with the people in persuading the men of Jerusalem, in the year 37 BC, to open the gates of their city to Herod the Great. The king was not ungrateful and rewarded Abtalion, or, as Josephus calls him, Pollion, with great honors."   ( B and V are the same Hebrew letter, so here wikipedia used the B.)  

 Sennacherib had invaded Judah in 701 BCE and had captured 46 cities, but not Jerusalem and had taken many prisoners.  A plague broke out in his camp and had forced him to retreat.  So, 400 years later, two Assyrians  had become the heads of the Sanhedrin.

Hillel was appointed president of the Sanhedrin and together with Shammai, were the last of the pairs or Zugot of scholars.  He was noted for his humility and leniency.  It was like these two were debating partners and would take opposite sides.  Hillel won all the debates.  He had 7 rules of Bible interpretation.  It was Hillel who wrote the negative form of the Golden Rule, "Do not do unto others that which you would not have them do unto you."  No doubt it was Hillel whose interpretations were studied in the time of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Shammai foresaw the dangers of Roman hegemony (influence over the Jewish morality)  and wrote many rules intended to keep the Jews from mixing with the heathen.  He took a rigorous point of view in moral and religious matters.  

The 5 Zugot were:
1. Yose ben Joezer and Yose ben Johanan (2nd century BCE) pupil of Antigonus of Sokho (200 BCE) an early mishnaic sage.  
2. Joshua ben Perahiah and Nittai the Arbelite (2nd century BCE)  
3. Judah ben Tabbai and Simeon ben Shetah (1st century BCE) Judah headed Pharisee party
4 Shemaiah and Avtalyon (1st century BCE)
5. Hillel and Shammai (1st century BCE)-lived during Herod's reign

Joshua  born: in c4 BCE and died in 29 CE in Judah at age c33  in the middle of the Roman occupation.  In Greek, his name translates into Jesus who.  was also executed on the Roman cross along with thousands of other Jews.  He was to become the messiah for millions of people who follow Christianity.  The New Testament is written about him.  These Gospels represent the entire Jewish people as eager for the death of Jesus and who rejected Pilate's proposal to release him.  According to these writings, Jews took the responsibility of  Jesus's blood on themselves and their descendants.  This reflects the anti-Jewish sentiment of the early Christians and the bigger desire to absolve the Romans from guilt in the death of their savior as Rome became the center for Christianity.   There are no sources for the life of Jesus of Nazareth in Jewish literature except what it found in the Gospels and by Josephus, who reflected a Christian philosophy.  He knew he was writing for possible Christian Romans.   Though Jesus was a threat to the Romans, he was not a threat to the Jews of the time.   The Jews were hoping for a messiah to come along, but when one did that filled the bill, it turned out to be Bar Kokhba a little later after Jesus had died.  .
 These were terrible times for the Jews of being occupied by the Romans.  In the year 50 CE, Ben Joseph Akiva was born.  He was to become the greatest scholar of his time and to be known as Rabbi Akiva.  He was born to poor Jews and with the hatred going on for Jews by the Romans, remained uneducated until he was 40 years old.

 He had married Rachel, daughter of a rich man, Kalba Sabbua, so that tells me that he had something to offer this rich girl, probably good looks and intelligence and sincerity.  Rachel was educated as rich girls of that day could be, so she helped her husband, Akiva, to study.

 Akiva devoted himself to learning.  He studied with many leading scholars and developed his own method of biblical interpretation by using every word and sign in the Torah as a particular significance and saw it could be used to establish a source for accepted halakhic decision.  He then collected and arranged the whole Oral Law according to subjects, .  This method was used  on with the Mishnah later recorded by Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi (135-220) and his colleagues.

Akiva became famous and had thousands of students study at his school in Bene Brak in Judah.  This rabbi traveled a lot for the Jews on political missions.  He traveled with Rabbi Gamaliel, grandson of Hillel  and president of the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem, to Rome to get the reversal of Domitian's legislation against the Jews.  This was Domitian, the last Roman emperor, who worshipped  Jupiter and expected everyone else to do so.   "Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96.  Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty."  Traveling outside of Judah and visiting other Jewish communities was another duty Akiva took upon himself.

The Roman government who had taken over Judah prohibited the study of the Law-Torah.  Akiva ignored this decree, of course, even publicly.  Therefore, he was arrested as a rebel and kept for a long time in prison, and was finally killed at Caesarea, probably on a cross, the main way of execution for the Romans.  His disciples were the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people during the following generations.  No rabbi of the talmudic period made a more profound impression on Jewish history and on the imagination of the Jewish people than Rabbi Akiva.  .

Meir was born in the 2nd century and was a pupil of Akiva.  He was a member of the Sanhedrin at Usha (near Haifa) after the Hadrianic persecution.  The Sanhedrin was a group of 71 ordained scholars who were both functioning as the Supreme Court and as creating legislature.  Their job was to proclaim the New Moon, declare leap years,  make decisions on state offenses and doubtful questions of Jewish law.  In Jewish literature, there is no evidence of a political body except during the troubled decades which preceded the destruction of the Temple way in the past. in 597 BCE. After the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt, a synod was held at Usha where far-reaching legislation was enacted .  It was also the seat of the Sanhedrin for a time.  Its academy was led by distinguished scholars including Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yose ha-Gelili, the Galilean of the 2nd century CE, the leading figure in the Jabneh academy where he often debated with Rabbi Akiva.  He was known for his high moral standards.  

The head of the Sanhedrin was called the Nasi, who in its later history was usually a descendant of Hillel, and an Av Bet Din.  Before 70 CE, the Sanhedrin met in the Temple chamber called the Hall of Hewn Stone.   A very bright pupil, it was his Mishnah that he created that became the basis of the accepted Mishsnah of Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi.  His brilliance was recognized and it was said that  when a decision of the rabbis differed from Meir's opinion it was "because his colleagues could not plumb the depth of his reasoning."  In other words, they just didn't understand the depth of his words.

He was also a great orator and was noted for his parables and fables, evidently something used quite often by rabbis of those days.  He was also a Torah scribe, one who knew how to write and was a writer of Torah.  Besides all that, he led a clean life, so his personal conduct exemplified his teachings as well.  The Sanhedrin disappeared from the Jewish scene before the end of the 4th century CE.
At this period, Ben Kosiba Simeon or son of the star- Bar Kokhba was born, nephew of Rabbi Eleazar of Modiin and a descendant of King David,  the man who became Judah's general and fought against the Romans from 132 to 135 when he was killed.  To many of the Jews of Judah, this man was the Messiah because he was what was expected to come and save the Jews; a descendant of David, a real man and a fighter against the Romans.  Rabbi Akiva was one of his main enthusiastic supporters.  Akiva told his people, "This is the king-messiah!"  (Y Taanit IV, 8)  It was Bar Kokhba who had led the revolt against Hadrian in 132 .  It was Rabbi Akiva who had proclaimed him as the Messiah, but not all rabbis accepted his view.

We know this general had great personal strength, and was autocratic and irascible from letter written by him discovered near the Dead Sea.  The revolt came about from the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a Roman colony and prohibiting circumcision on baby boys.  This revolt was brewing for some time.  Bar Kokhba's soldiers captured Jerusalem in 132 and held it for the 3 years.  It was in 133 that the Romans had their counterattack with an army of 35,000 under Hadrian and Julius Severus.  They first entered Galilee, then fought for the Valley of Jezreel, Ephraim, and the Judean Hills, retaking Jerusalem.  Betar was the Jews' last stronghold. The Romans destroyed 50 fortresses and  985 villages .  580,000 Jews died as casualties.  Others died from hunger and disease.  Judea tell into desolation.  Jerusalem was turned into a heathen city, barred to Jews.

Our heroes were rabbis who were debaters.  You had to defend your ideas against others of equal intelligence and knowledge.  Family and ancestors mattered.  We haven't changed.  Intelligence and common sense  is necessary to live in today's world.  No wonder we have produced outstanding lawyers.  The people in our Knesset in Jerusalem come from good stock.

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encyhclopedia
Update for Amoraim: