Posts Tagged With: genesis

Making Man a God

I’m tired! I’m tired of the status quo. I’m tired of widgits. I’m tired of the first question people ask being, “what do you do.” What piece of work is man; so noble in stature, so majestic in character; that he should turn aside dreams for ambition, love for money, life for desires. How like a god is a man, that he should recreate the world to take the shape that he desires, instead of living in harmony with all the creatures therein. But oh if a god, surely he would have the wisdom to trump intelligence, to say when its time comes, “You shall proceed this far, and no further, for this is all that is necessary!”

How is it that we have ascended so high into the heavens, that we forget that there is a divide?  Nietzsche said, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”  I would add to that “God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.” — Rousseau.  All of the obsessions of modern man, can be an expression of this.  We have built towers to the sky, just as in Babel, but we are no nearer to knowing how to make them stand in perpetuity.  We hinge our future not on connection with the source of being, but on futures and annuities.  And worse yet, these “securities” are built upon the labors of great men who dared to dream; who dared to develop technologies that could benefit the world but instead fatten the pockets and portfolios of a chosen few while the lion’s share of people are without most of the technologies designed to benefit them.

In “modern” nations, we flush our effluent with drinking water, while in undeveloped areas there is not enough clean water to sift from the waste.  How does this idiocy continue?  Meanwhile, socialistic thoughts–while true enough in concept–disrupt the “natural” order of the world which dictates that some will have much while many will have not enough.

I don’t think the answer is through forced distribution.  I do think the answer can be arrived at by many pulling their heads out of their tucheses long enough to see that it is not all about them.  In fact, most of us could probably benefit from that.

Now, benefits have been cut for veterans, while the president flies off to vacation in Hawaii on taxpayer dollars.   Meanwhile, politicians still get full benefits for life after retirement.  Why?  What in the hell makes them so special?  They are the ones with the educations, after all, to pursue business lives after office.

And while we are on the subject, why is the National defense budget 52% of the total national budget?  Who are we defending ourselves against?  Our great enemy Canada?!  As was said by an Israeli in an episode of The Simpsons, “Try living next to Syria for a month!”  Can’t we funnel manpower and funds into the rest of the economy that is not dependent upon the war machine?  I’m for a strong military, and I thank soldiers for their service quite often, but when is enough enough?

But then I suppose we wouldn’t have all the control over oil, and the rest of the nations in the world would dislike us because we’d seem weak and scattered.  Wait a minute…they already do!

Sorry for the scattered rant there, I was just rolling with it.

Getting back to the first topic: don’t tell me what you do, tell me what you “is.”  I’m a whole lot more interested in what makes a person tick than I am with what a person ticks for.  I’m interested in the essence, the nitty gritty.  Don’t define yourself by your occupation, occupy your definition of yourself.  Shave expenses, read a book, take a walk, dream a little dream.  Take a ride in the car.  Take a stay-cation.  Enjoy life, because as far as we know, you only get one.  Use occupation as the tool that it is, instead of turning yourself into a tool.  When what is most important is the superficial, a god is created, an idol is worshipped.  Don’t turn man, money, religion, hardship, success, work, politicians or dissenters into idols.  Don’t classify people by education, occupation, transportation, habitation, or sanitation.  I promise you, none of these things last…unless you’re a politician, that is.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Duck Dynasty Narrowness

There is a lot of hubbub surrounding the lead from A&E’s hit show Duck Dynasty today.  From people offended by his remarks in a GQ article, to proponents of free speech (note: I think it has less to do with “free speech” and more to do with stereotypical republican values), everyone seems to have an opinion.  Rather than let everyone else have all the fun, I figured I’d join in.  This post heavily excerpts the article from whence it came.  If you’d like to read the original first, here is the link:

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson

I would like to start off by saying that I do believe that people should have the right to free speech and that it shouldn’t be censored by the government.  That is, by the way, what free speech is all about.  It has nothing to do with whether a television network decides whether or not to air a program because of something that it feels is insulting, nor is that constitutional right referring to the printing of interview comments that it considers offensive.  Because of this fact, organizations that are editorial based–like it or not–are giving an endorsement to what they print or air.  Even if something is being published because they consider the person to be an idiot, they are endorsing it in the same way that we all vote with our purchases.  If you don’t want to watch the show, and don’t like what the man says or thinks, then don’t bloody watch the show!  I don’t have tv stations, or any interest in watching this show.  I never even knew it existed until a couple of months ago, and I thought it was a hunting show!

I would also like to say that some of my comments may be offensive to a christian audience.  If you don’t think the way that these comments address, or if this is not the type of christian you are or the christianity you practice, then the comments are not directed at you.  If these comments do address you, I invite you to take the time to open up your minds, and learn how to actually live your religion.  Learn about it, and not just from christians.  Jesus was a jew, after all, and your bible exists of more than just the letters of Paul and Revelation.  I suggest that you learn hebrew, and study a hebrew text of the hebrew bible (what you call the “old testament”), starting at page one.  Do not look to christian theologians for interpretations, as this is not their book, it is the book of the jews; and jesus was a jew, you know.  He thought jewishly.  He lived jewishly.  This is completely different theology and ideology.  If it is possible, try to learn this section of the bible without christian colored glasses.  If you are stuck, and you surely will be at times–consult the internet.  I suggest http://www.aish.com, http://www.simpletoremember.com, http://www.judaism.about.com, or http://www.jewfaq.org.  You can also feel free to ask me questions, and I will answer them to the best of my ability and/or find out what the answer is.  I’m not saying “don’t be christian.”  If it works for you, that is awesome, and I am truly very happy for you.  All I’m saying is to learn more about jesus and his people.

Begin article breakdown.  There is so much ground to cover here, and there are so many possibilities for critique.  What I have done is take just some of the more ridiculous things, excerpt them, and respond. Here we go.

 

“After the flood, he said, ‘I’m giving you everything now. Animals are wild.’”–um…is that verbatim?  G-d does say, “Every moving thing that lives shall be yours as food”Gen 9:3, but does not say it in a way that implies “humans can do whatever they damn well please” as western man has interpreted to mean.  It does not say “animals are wild.”  It DOES say not to eat the limb of a living animal, which means that no humans are meant–according to the torah of G-d–to remove the limb of a living animal and eat it.  This includes even chickens which are boiled (to remove the feathers) alive because they moved and weren’t killed by the slaughtering machine in commercial plants, and lobster or frogs that are boiled alive.

Referring to blacks in the south before the civil rights movement–“They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”–except of course for those who were, literally, singing the blues. Maybe you missed that day in Musical Theory 101…or never listened to a radio.

“They plunder beehives. They blow up beaver dams”.–so they can live up to this excerpted ideal from earlier in the article, I guess, “what he calls a “pristine earth”: a world where nothing gets in the way of nature or the hunters who lovingly maintain it.”  Good old uncle Esav was a hunter too.  There does seem to be resemblance here.

“Just inside the front door, a giant flat-screen TV shows Fox News on mute at all times,”–you don’t say. I expected Power Puff Girls.  Seriously though, if you are going to have the TV on at all times, and muted, Korean soap operas are much more fun to make up dialogue to.

“Phil On Why He Voted Romney in 2012
‘If I’m lost at three o’clock in a major metropolitan area…I ask myself: Where would I rather be trying to walk with my wife and children? One of the guys who’s running for president is out of Chicago, Illinois, and the other one is from Salt Lake City, Utah. [Editor’s note: Romney is from Boston, not Salt Lake City.] Where would I rather be turned around at three o’clock in the morning? I opted for Salt Lake City. I think it would be safer.”’–what a coincidence. I ask myself: if I’m out at 3am, should I breath paint fumes like this guy; or air like this guy?

“America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.),”–tell that to the natives, the blacks, the homosexuals, hell, just about anyone!  This is a place where knowing the hebrew actually helps a lot, by the way.  The actual phrase in the ten commandments is, “do not murder.”ex 20:13

“He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.”–that’s because he’s getting rich off this stupid crap.

Asked what is immoral behavior–“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.“–but not eating foods that G-d says not to eat. Oh, and “love your neighbor as yourself” is really prevalent in his preaching too, as he rails against anything that he deems to be immoral–including, it would seem, being japanese or muslim.

“During Phil’s darkest days, in the early 1970s, he had to flee the state of Arkansas after he badly beat up a bar owner and the guy’s wife. 
I ask Phil if he ever repented for that, as he wants America to repent—if he ever tracked down the bar owner and his wife to apologize for the assault. He shakes his head.
“I didn’t dredge anything back up. I just put it behind me.” Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him”— this is the really convenient part of much Christian theology: you don’t need to make up for being an asshole, just put it behind you. That guy you killed? That car you stole? That marriage you ruined? That child you violated?  Just “put it behind you.”

“That’s the unspoken red-state appeal of Duck Dynasty. They’re godly folk. “Real” folk.” –umm…I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.

“It’s why Willie Robertson can walk out of work on a regular Thursday afternoon and be greeted by a cheering crowd that seemingly stretches back to the horizon.”–and here I thought it was because they had their own tv show, and many americans are whores for celebrity. I was WAY off!

“Willie has just come back from Washington, D.C., where he accepted an award at the Angels in Adoption Gala. (He and his wife, Korie, adopted a biracial child named Will and are dedicated advocates of the practice.)”–3 to 5 odds the kid is gay as the day is long. Actually, I hope not–for his own sake.

“Let’s face it,” he says. “Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.”–really!!!??  Do we really have to wait that long?  I guess it will be to no gain; they’ll just take the next group of idiots they find and put them on tv.

“I ask Jep Robertson later on if the second generation of Robertson men shares Phil’s views on sin and morality. “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line,” he says. “If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.”’–you don’t KNOW what the bible says, you know what you want it to say!  Or need we revisit the quote from genesis?

“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” Phil tells me. “All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”–right, because there were no communists, shintoists, or “Islamists” before eighty years ago. It all started with WWII. And let’s conveniently forget about Jews, Buddhists, Bahai, Sikhs, Hari Krishnas, etc, etc.  Would they be without morals to you?  What about catholics?  Methodists?  Apparently though, Mormons are fine–after all, he’d rather be in Salt Lake City at 3 AM.

“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then. See what I’m saying?”–just as long as you aren’t gay, or do anything that is “wrong” according to you?  Or maybe, you can do anything you want–like not even apologize for a savage beating you gave a couple– but because you were “saved” that makes up for everything. The lack of accountability in this type of theology is what has always deterred Jews like me, and many others from committing to the religion, yet with others has made Christianity such a popular religion–from simony, to vicarious atonement (something G-d says is not even possible in Ezekiel), to not having to make atonement to the people you’ve harmed (which contradicts the teachings of jesus, btw)–“just believe” and “every little ting gonna be awright”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Don’t Look Jewish….

There is a joke, that I’ll paraphrase.

A rabbi from New York is invited to visit a synagogue in China.  He isn’t sure what to expect, but he is delighted to witness a service exactly like those that he is used to, but it is still a bit strange because everybody there is Chinese.  After the service, he meets with the rabbi of the shul, and thanks him for the wonderful experience.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he says, “but it was just beautiful!”

The rabbi smiles and says to him, “Thank you!  Its strange though…you don’t look Jewish….”

What does it mean to, “look Jewish?”  If you can tell me, definitively, what this means, I will give you a gold star.  There are Eastern European Jews, Spanish Jews, Mediterranean Jews, Italian Jews, Asian Jews, Indian Jews, Middle Eastern Jews, Arab Jews, North African Jews, Black Jews…you get the idea.  There are Jews whose ancestors have always been from the children of Israel, and there are Jews who are the descendants of converts–or are converts themselves.

Yes, that’s correct, a person CAN convert to Judaism.  In fact, conversion to Judaism has such a long and rich history, that several times the practice of circumcision for the sake of conversion has been outlawed on pain of death by whoever was the governing people of the time.  Still not sure you believe me?  King David’s grandmother, Ruth was a convert.  You can read all about it in the book of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) which bears her name.

I have heard the remark many times that, “Jews don’t have red hair,” but King David himself is described as being red haired.  If you look in any Yeshiva (school for learning torah) you will probably see–very orthodox–Jews with red hair.  Some Jews have curly hair.  Some jews have straight hair.  Some Jews have no hair!

I think you get the point:  There is no such thing as “looking Jewish,” or more in particular, there is no such thing as a person who, “doesn’t look Jewish.”  I actually enjoy when people ask me the question of, “is Jewish a race, a culture, or a religion?”  I look at them and grin a little bit as I respond, “yes.”

It is a little bit like being human.  Sure, all humans aren’t Jewish, but just as there is not enough clear and simple description of what it means to “look Jewish,” all people are people!  I saw a video earlier today, from the show, “What Would You Do?”  They had three actors in a barber shop in Harlem: a black, female stylist; a black male customer; and the girlfriend of the black customer…who was a white girl.  They had the stylist playing the role of the racist woman who can’t stand to see a nice young black man with a white girl.  The object of the show was to capture the reactions of the other customers in the shop, who weren’t privy to the plot.  There were a few customers who really lashed out against this racism.  The basic part of the arguments was, “People are people!”

I don’t care if you’re black, purple, polka-dotted, whatever…you are a person, and you deserve to be treated as such.  That is the cliche part of what I’ll say here.  The non-cliche, and possibly controversial part is this: we are not all the same!  Some of us are tall, some short, some fat, thin, athletic, academic, math geeks, language geeks, uneducated, PhD’s, speak english as a second language, speak english as one of five languages.  And yes, not only are some of us white, and some of us black.  Some of us are Jews, some (well most, really) of us goyim*.  And–brace yourselves–some of us are men, and some of us are women!  And thank G-d for that!  For all of it!

We are not the same!  This culture of false equality that we are inculcated with is one of the things that is harming our society on a daily basis.  There is no reason that a woman should be expected to be–in all ways–equal with a man, and vise versa.  And that goes for every single one of the classifications listed previously.  This isn’t to say that a woman can’t do the same things that a man can do, or vise versa, but it is to say that there are things that each one of us are better at doing, and that’s just the way it is.  There is no excuse for subjugation resulting from differences, and I think that is why there is such a hard  push for total equality.  Unfortunately, because there are people who do subjugate others under the premise of these differences (I think these differences are just scapegoats, by the way, for those who are hateful or power hungry), we miss out so much on the beauty embodied in these differences.

Each one of us being different is what makes this world a beautiful place.  If each person were simply treated as a person, and appreciated for both our strengths and weaknesses, this world would be so amazing.  If everybody ceased, tomorrow, from subjugating others, we would have peace on earth.  That is the climate that we will witness when Moshiach (the messiah) comes.  That will be as close as possible to Heaven on Earth.  In fact, this would be a return in thinking.  A revolution in terms of coming full circle.

Whatever you think about the veracity of the story of the garden of Eden from the book of Bereishit (Genesis), there are quite a few things that we can all take away from it.  The story of the garden can be seen as allegory for the human race, and for each human individually.  Adam and Eve live a carefree existence.  Every need is provided for them.  They do not feel cold, or heat.  They do not know hunger or thirst.  The only stipulation, is that there is a tree (not an apple, by the way) that they are not to eat from.  When, after being tempted by the serpent, they eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they pass from this state of innocence to the world beyond, where they have to work for everything.  Now, they must worry about competition, jealousy, embarrassment, blame, sin, and atonement.  Before, they were children.  Now, they are adults.

There is a remaining philosophical question in this, regarding whether a person can actually be wholly human and be innocent like this.  One of the things, after all, that makes us human is that we not only have the capacity but also the necessity to reason logically, and to think about all of these things.  Nakedness doesn’t only refer to articles of clothing, but also to psychological openness.  In fact, it is much harder to be emotionally naked in front of another person than it is to be physically naked. If we can build a world where man and woman can look at each other naked–in the most difficult sense of the word–“and feel no shame” as it is written, then we can realize a world in which Moshiach has come.  Then it will be as a return to the Garden of Eden, a return to the purity of youth when it didn’t matter if you were black, white, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Asian, arab, Jew, or goy*…or, man or woman.

*Note:  I cannot stress this enough, I do not use the word “goy” or its plural “goyim” as a derogatory term.  It is the opposite of saying “jew” and carries with it no inferiority from its antonym.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Can’t be With The One You Love…

…Love the one you’re with!  Love the one you’re with!  Love the one you’re–do do do do do do doodoo!

A friend of mine just went through–or better put, is going through a heartbreak right now.  He told me that he believes that there is such a thing as true love, as two people being meant to be together.  He asked me if I thought so too.  Now let me explain a little something here about myself.  I am an idealistic romantic.  I met my wife when we were both teenagers.  We had four children by the time I was 26.  We have been married for 13 and a half years, and have almost been divorced three times!  What did I say to my friend whose shoes I have a pair of as well (I wear them from time to time)?  “I used to think that way.  Now I think the answer is both yes and no.”  I realize that this could very easily be an extremely confusing concept, so let me further explain.

On one side we have a concept of “the perfect match.”  While this is an absolutely beautiful ideal, on its surface at least, it is really nothing but a romantic self-delusion.  In order for there to be just one “perfect” match, we would have to believe that we do not live in a world of seven billion people.  Even if we are to still believe in “the one,” there still leaves the problem of irreconcilable differences that would logically rule out a good deal of the population as suitable companions.  We have differences such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, etc, etc, etc.  For some people, just rooting for the wrong football team is enough to rule out perfection of match!  With all of these possible variables, not to mention myriad others, the field within which each person will search for “the one” becomes smaller and smaller.  But what if the “cosmic” right choice is not our choice?  What if the “perfect” match exists among those whom we have already ruled as being outside the realm of possibility?  You may be feeling that the very possibility of “the perfect match” is starting to dwindle as you consider the statistical difficulties involved with reconciling such thought.  One question comes quickly to mind, however; what about all of the couples who are truly happy, loving, and perfect for each other?

What if I told you that happiness, love, and perfection, are all choices that we make?  In fact, with a few small caveats (which I’ll get to shortly), choice is just as important a factor in these cases, as is is in what you will eat for lunch, whether you drive or walk, or whether you drink water or soda.  Whether we will, and who we will love, is choice based, not fate based.  If it were fate based, then it would be nearly impossible–given the sheer number of statistical possibilities for matches–that any two people would ever love each other or be happy.  And yet, we see many examples of arranged or quick marriages that can blossom into beautifully loving couples, and people who are madly in love from the get-go who don’t make it past a few years.  What is the secret to a lasting, loving relationship?

I spoke of caveats.  There are people who, whether by nurture or nature (a completely different debate) who have a natural proclivity toward loving a broader spectrum of people, and far easier than others can ever dream of doing.  Lets call these, “innate lovers.” These people often desire to make peace, speak diplomatically, and act according to a high sense of morals (whether religious or not) that are often centered on “the golden rule.”  Apart from these people with a natural tendency toward loving others, there are also, oftentimes, many people who have “been to hell and back,” and have decided that while it may be difficult, loving others is something that is ultimately beneficial.  We can call these people, “pragmatic lovers.” Pragmatic lovers often come off as benevolent, or even philanthropic in society and relationships, and while they are such things, they often do so because the data reflects that as the most positive action. Closely related to pragmatic lovers, are “acquired lovers.”  Acquired lovers, are the type of people for whom love is neither simply natural, nor simply pragmatic.  Like learning how to enjoy wine, or brussels sprouts, acquired lovers learn to enjoy loving and being loved.

I believe that any combination of these type of lovers can work together.  I also believe, however, that in most cases it takes a lot of time and hard work.  If both parties aren’t innate lovers, then all too often such unions end because one party doesn’t understand the other.  It isn’t their fault.  The acquired lover can’t understand why his innate lover is so needy all the time.  The innate lover can’t understand what requires so much consideration that the pragmatic lover can’t just love her without having to see the benefit in doing so.  The pragmatic lover can’t understand why the acquired lover has to be backed into a no-win scenario before learning how to love him.  Even if both parties are innate lovers, the relationship can sometimes fail because there is no balance for the neediness that they both exude.

Jewish tradition speaks of all souls being united at their creation, but how on their way into this world they are torn into two halves.  The ultimate journey of the soul, is to find its counterpart and become whole again.  Sefer Bereishit/the book of Genesis says, that Adam and Eve were a model for cleaving and becoming one flesh.  The word translated as “cleave” is דבק-davak, which has a connotation not just as a fleshly coupling, but also as a spiritual coupling, a completeness.  The same word is used to describe the ideal of man’s relationship with G-d.  Later in Bereishit, however, we are told of polygamist unions, as well as the finding of a spouse after the death of her predecessor.  In such cases, I do not think it impossible for the person to make the conscious decision to “love the one” he’s with.  In other words…

The answer that you will get from me, as to whether or not it is possible that a person has a perfect match is, yes.  There is more to it, however, in that the perfect match is the one in whom you choose to find perfection.  That is why it is so, damned, difficult, to handle it when the object of your affection chooses to break up with you.  You may be thinking that everything is perfect, and he just can’t see it.  Maybe you can bring her around to your way of thinking.  With enough time-

Stop, stop, stop.  The only way the other person is going to love you back, is if he/she chooses to do so.  This may sound like an incredibly bleak reality.  “If this is true,” you might say, “then what is the freakin point?  Why even bother?”  For a person with love to give, being able to give the love is a gift in itself.  So, for whatever time a woman allows you to give her love, enjoy it.  If that special man is reciprocal, even better!  But life is too short to hedge your bets.  Even if you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering how long it will last, LOVE ANYWAY.  Believe me, loving someone–even if you have to decide to, or acquire the taste for it–is the best gift that you can give yourself.  And when it does work that the person loves you back, even if just for a week, a month, a year, or a decade, there is nothing powerful enough to stop the two of you, nothing in this world.

I leave you in the immortal words of Don Cornelius, “I bid you peace, love, and soul!”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: