The Way of the Wise

Who is wise? The one who is grounded, and knows how to live, and equally knows how not to die.

Think it’s easy? How’s your life going? Are you more into living in a way that promotes life, or are you living in a way that draws you every closer to death?

No, it’s not easy. Life is not easy. Life is a long road, without shortcuts. Our GPS shows the path. The path is Yod Hey Waw Hey.

When in nature, I am natural. When I am out of nature, I am unnatural. God is natural. So, that’s I what chose to be. To be one with nature, is to be one with God.

This is the secret meaning of Halakha (the Way). This is how I live, and how I promote life, the natural way.

Why do you not recognize that this is the essence of Torah,
and the whole of Judaism?

May God continue to bless you, and keep you.

Sincerely,

Ariel B Tzadok

In Response to the Homosexual Agenda

In the last few years, the Homosexual Community has been emboldened to push forward with their agenda. That agenda is to condemn and hopefully outlaw any religious expression that does not see homosexual unions as as wholesome and the normal commonplace heterosexual unions. There have been many lawsuits trying to force companies owned by religious persons who view homosexuality as a grave sin. Recently Houston Texas’ Mayor has been sharply critizised for her gestapo like tactics towards the Christian pastors of the city who are pushing back at her draconian attempts to stifle their condemnation of homosexuality.

In my own life, I am surrounded at work may many people who are gay. Many of them are wonderful people. I would never consider even approaching them on the subject of homosexuality and condemning their choice. To me as long as they are not flagrantly throwing it in my face it’s none of my business. God is Judge, He does not need any help from us. Granted there is severe punishment in the Torah regarding this act. But that injunction is based on a Israeli Torah Community with the right of capital punishment. No such community exists today, even in Israel.

Playing the devils advocate here, is condemnation of homosexuals actually biblical and if so how do we approach the subject in light of the teaching of the Hebrew Bible? Are the fundamentalists correct in their approach or is there a better path? The following article from Rabbi Ariel bar Zadok of Kosher Torah.com brings some light on this hot button topic of our modern culture. Some of you mat appreciate it, some may not…

Sodom and Sodomy, the Real Point

by Ariel Bar Tzadok

Copyright © 2010 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

The Biblical position on homosexuality is well known. It is categorized as a sin, and equated with such sins as the violation of the Shabat, or the eating of leaven (hametz) on Passover.

In non-religious eyes, this does not mean much, if anything at all. However in religious eyes, this equates homosexuality with some of the most grievous sins outlined in the Biblical code.

This being said, one has the choice, as with all things, to embrace religion, and live by it, or not. Yet, regardless of one’s embrace of religion, or the lack thereof, we are left with the issue of how society, as a whole, religious and non religious, should treat, and interact with, those of other philosophies.

From a religious point of view, we are Biblically obligated to “love our neighbor,” even and if when such neighbor violates such serious commandments as those mentioned. It is never taught in any Jewish religious text to treat with disrespect, or to abuse those who violate the Shabat, or those who do not keep the Passover.

I must then learn from this fact that while from the religious point of view homosexuality, as a practice, is not an acceptable lifestyle for a Torah observant individual, nevertheless, those choosing to embrace this lifestyle, be they Jewish or not, should not to be subject to any kind of prejudice, scorn, or mistreatment. Such disrespectful social behaviors violate Biblical religious law, and no one calling oneself religious is justified in acting in this fashion.

If one is to violate the laws of the Torah by acting contrary to its edicts, any of them, then such a one is equally guilty as those whom such a one point fingers at, to condemn.

While religion objects to certain behaviors, and condemns certain practices, nevertheless, in order for one to properly be called religious, one must still extend respect and dignity to all peoples, religious and non-religious. For although we may consider one to be violating a specific Biblical law, in all other areas of their lives such a one may still be considered righteous in accordance to Torah law.

The Book of Genesis relates the story of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah Prior to their destruction, Genesis relates a tale that when the two angels came to the city to extract Lot and his family, they were surrounded and subject to attack and sexual assault by a mob, that the Bible makes clear was intent on homosexual rape.

Now, the angels were sent to the city by God to judge for themselves the evil of the place, which is apparent with the story of the attempted mob rape. Based upon this story, homosexuality has become synonymous with the city of Sodom, with anal intercourse, to this day, being called sodomy, after the name of this Biblical town. With this being said, let us take a closer look at this Biblical story.

True, the Bible says that a mob encircled Lot’s house seeking to homosexually gang rape the visiting “men.” This is indeed a great evil. Now, who would object to this being defined as evil? Even in the modern day homosexual community, who amongst them would condone and promote homosexual gang rape? What different is there between homosexual rape and heterosexual rape? None, in my opinion! Both are crimes of violence and not acts of sex.

I cannot believe that even the most radical homosexual agenda would condone the practice of gang rape in whatever form it took. Therefore, the evil perpetuated in Sodom was an attempted act of violence against innocent men. The fact that the homosexual aspect of it is mentioned, I believe, is only peripheral to the story, and not the story’s main intent. Even if the attacking mob were not homosexual, I believe, they would still have attacked, and expressed themselves violently in whatever other forms they chose.

Sodom, therefore, was not destroyed because of their homosexuality, but rather because of their rampant violence and other social injustices. For what sane and safe society would tolerate rape gangs in their presence, regardless of whether such gangs were heterosexual or homosexual?

Indeed, Torah legends about the evils of the city of Sodom abound. All of them mention the cruelty and injustice of the place, but none of them make mention of the homosexuality therein. Torah legend, therefore, concludes that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their lack of justice and their other evil ways.

The presence of rape gangs in the streets were apparently tolerated by the Sodom’s people, the king’s guard, or the city police. This is indicative of the level of evil practiced and tolerated in the city.

This then was the reason why God showered down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a fitting punishment for such evil people who so flagrantly disregarded public safety, and who so despicably failed to safeguard the needs of others.

Before the Creation of the World

“In the sixth millennium the gates of supernal knowledge will open above along with the wellsprings of secular wisdom below. This will begin the process whereby the world will prepare to enter the seventh, Sabbath, millennium.” (The Zohar on Genesis 7:11)

As a species, humanity is in a state of bewilderment. We are a race who really has no concrete idea of were we come from, why we exist, or even what is our purpose. If we are to believe the priests of evolution, we are the result of a accident. We are the result of the processes of cosmic goo. We are birthed, we live a short while, then we die and are no more. How depressing to think in such hopeless terms.

The wisdom of the ancient peoples tell us a far different story. And though some will not believe it, their wisdom was considerable and far beyond our own today. There is an ancient body of knowledge which unfortuneatly has been hidden, obscurred, or derided by men of small minds who tell us that we are living in an age of enlightenment, that our current level of development is the apex of civilization. The fact is our current existence, while tempered with technological advancement, is mired in darkness and ignorance, both spiritually and temporally.

As you pick up this book and begin to read, allow me to posit a question. If your future happiness and the happiness of your loved ones, even your very survival were dependent upon your understanding of what the Scriptures said, would you rely on the understanding of another or would you discover for yourself what the Bible taught? Would you just follow along with mainstream religions who told you what truth to embrace, or would you search it out yourselves?

If you have no inclination toward discovery and spiritual revelation and have no interest in earth’s true histories, then take the blue pill and go on with your life, oblivious to the ultimate reward such knowlege offers – freedom, hope, purpose and a eternal future. But unlike many mystery religions this knowledge is at your fingertips, free of charge (minus the cost of the book, of course).
Cycles of Time

Though the first verse of the Torah is normally translated as, “In the beginning…” there is good reason to question it. Most students of Hebrew know that the vowel pointing of a consonant can change it’s meaning. Hebrew rules of grammar tell us that a patach under a bet בַּ means in the, whereas a bet with a shva בְּ means in a. Though this may seem inconsequential to the some, this difference is essential to grasp if one is going to understand the possibility of previous cycles of creation and re-creation that not only the ancient sacred texts of the nations speak of but that that the teachers of Israel have also spoken of.

When we think of time, we naturally think of it in terms of a linear progression, from one moment to the next, culminating in an elapsed span going from one point to another, never to be revisited again. Ancient wisdom, however, as well as modern physics see time as cycles which reoccur. The universe, created by God is a vast time clock of unparalled complexity. Approxiamately every 26,000 years the Procession of the Equinoxes complete their cycle.

The bible views time also in cycles: every 7th day is a shabbat, a day of rest, every 7 years is a shmittah, a rest for the land. And every 50 years is a yovel, a Jubilee. Even earth’s moon reveals it’s cycle of time – every 29 days theres a new moon. Even the Hebrew word for new – chadash – means new or renew.
The Tanakh itself demonstrates this concept in various places.

In A Beginning
As we delve into the histories and prophecies of not only the nations, but especially those of the Bible, we feel we should start off at the very beginning of Scripture – B’reisheet or Genesis chapter one. It is here that we shall begin our challenge to the entrenched Establishment Hivemind that has so dominated our society and relegated our capacity for thoughtful investigation to a well constructed strongbox. Any investigation outside of approved parameters is highly discouraged and those who ignore the establishment guidelines are ostracized, maligned and ridiculed by their peers.

Many people have been taught that the six creation days in Genesis are a literal description of the Earth’s geologic history. This is simply misguded teaching. While many fundamentalists believe the Earth is a mere 6000 years old, eminent scholars from Judaism, Christianity, Islam all teach that the six days of creation are not to be taken in a strict literal sense. Other ancient religious traditions, such as the Vedic texts of ancient India, indicate that the heavens and the earth are billions of years old.

Chazal – our Jewish sages, have long maintained that only children, and those of only simple understanding, should take the account of the creation in Genesis as a literal period of six 24-hour days, and that the wise should should come to understand that the narrative expresses the deep structure of a mysterious, divinely ordered process reflected by patterns in physical reality, but not so simply as the literalists take it to be.

The geologic record shows that the Earth existed long before the six days of Genesis and long before the creation of man. Contrary to certain religious traditions, it is not possible to get an accurate dating based on counting the genealogies of the Bible. One prime impediment to such an undertaking is the time-gap between the first two verses of Genesis. While controversial to the established mindset of our society, the so-called Gap Principle goes a long way in settling disturbing problems with the 6000 year thesis of the religious fundalmentalist camp, and demonstrates a very different Earth history for the secular Old Earth camp.

The Genesis narrative speaks of at least two separate creation events, one of perfection and beauty, the other as desolation and horror. Genesis 1:1 is the perfection of God’s creation. At some point in the far distant past, the Creator, a non-physical, sentient universal conscienceness brought forth the physical realm into existence ex nilio – out of nothingness. To the Hebrew mind the verse is perfectly constructed, using 7 Hebrew words. The number seven is a constant motif within the Hebrew bible and Jewish culture, symbolizing perfection:

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָה אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם ןְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

We are told that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; but the Torah never affirms that He did this in the six days following verse one. The work of those days were times of restoration and reformation. This is demonstrated by the use bara ברה . Another Hebrew word asah signifies to make, fashion, or prepare out of pre-existing material; (to build a ship, erect a house, or prepare a meal), whereas bara, used in Genesis 1:1 above means to create ex nilio – out of nothing. Some would argue that the different words used for create and make and form are used interchangeably and quote Isaiah: 43:7 as a proof text:

“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have CREATED him for my glory, I have FORMED him; yea, I have MADE him.”

Here, opponets would reason, 3 separate Hebrew words are used used in the engineeing of man, and would say all 3 words used interchangeably. However these 3 words have different meanings and all are correctly used in the formation of man. Man’s body was indeed MADE (ASAH) out of pre-existing materials (dust), but the LIFE PRINCIPLE itself, as in animal life, can only be ‘CREATED’ (BARA) by God. God Also ‘FORMED’ (YATSA) man, that is, shaped and fashioned man’s body,as a potter does the clay. (John Phillips, Exploring Genesis, pg 38)

Only three creative acts are found in Genesis chapter one. The first instance is of course Genesis 1:1. The second time bara is again used is in Gen. 1:21 in the creation of swarms of living creatures – fowl and fish. Third instance is in Genesis 1:24-25 when referring to creation of animal and man. Bara is not used in the other days where the sun, moon, stars were ‘made to appear’ on the fourth day. They were already in existence, having been originally created in Genesis 1:1 before the destruction in Gen. 1:2.

The reason for the use of different words is simple. The destruction of Genesis 1:2 destroyed all living creatures – fish, fowl and hominoids alike. The reason for this destruction will be examined later on.

Ancient Sources
If the stories told in the Torah are indeed templates upon which history repeatedly plays itself out, then the advance of time is not so much the sharp linear flight of an arrow, but a series of repeating loci on a rising helix. The shell changes but the kernel remains the same. (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, known as RAMBAN)
There is abundant evidence within Jewish and Christian traditions that demonstrate that the belief of a pre-Adamic world is not some modern heresy but is a very ancient understanding going back to the beginning of recorded history.

“For six years you shall plow your fields, but the seventh year shall be holy to HaShem, in that year you shall do no work.”

One of the most profound teachings among the Jewish Kabbalists is the doctrine of the Shemitot, the cosmic epochs of pre-Adamic times. According to our Sages, Adam was not the first human to be created. They teach, based on the verse in Leviticus, that the days of our world will be measured in the same way, as the Sabbatical year. It is taught in the Talmud (San. 98A), “six thousand years shall the world endure, then for one thousand years shall it remain desolate.” After this period, God renews his creation.

Many of the great rabbi’s of old noted the problem of a desolate and empty earth which they determined was caused by the previous pre-Adamite civilization. They like many others noted that God did not create the earth this way.

The Tanakh speaks about the Yovel or Jubilee year. We are commanded as a people to count seven times seven years and then to proclaim a year of complete release. The Kabbalists believe that just as our civilization will last for the Sabbatical period of six thousand years and one thousand years of desolation, so will there be seven cycles like this, corresponding to a cosmic cycle of Sabbaticals and Yovel. Therefore, according to this calculation, human civilization will rise and fall seven times, each for a period of six thousand years, then resting for a thousand years.

The following is a partial list of Jewish text which teach the concept of Shemitot:

1. Sefer HaTemunah,
2. Sefer HaKana,
3. RaMBaN,
4. Rabbeynu Bahya,
5. Rabbi Yitzhak D’Min Acco,
6. Recanati on the Torah,
7. Tziyuni on the Torah,
8. Ma’arekhet Elokut,
9. Shatul Mayim on Sefer HaIkarim,
10. Sefer Livnat HaSapir of Rabbi David ben Yehuda HaHasid (Sefardi),
11. Sefer Shoshan Sodot,
12. Radbaz, Rabbi David Zimra (the Kabbalistic teacher of the Ari’zal),
13. Tekhelet Mordechai,
14. Rabbi Lifshitz’s Tiferet Yisrael
15. Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Eichenstein of Zidatchov in his Ateret Tzvi commentary on the Zohar HaRakia,
16. Rabbi Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna
17. Tikunei Zohar 36

The Talmud (Chagigah 14a) speaks about 974 generations before the world was created. In the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 3:7) a question is posed of what was God occupied with, prior to His creation of our world. The Midrash relates that God was busy building and destroying other worlds.

In the Siphra’ Di-Tseni`uthah (Book of Mystery), an age ruled by seven kings was destroyed in the time before Adam:

And the second earth came not into the computation. (That is, the kingdom of the restored world, Or otherwise, when in Genesis iv. 2 it is said in another way, “And the earth,” that earth is not to be understood of which mention hath been first made; since by the first is to be understood the kingdom of the restored world, and by the second the kingdom of the destroyed world) And it hath proceeded out of that which hath undergone the curse, as it is written in Genesis v., 29, “From the earth which the Lord hath cursed.” (The meaning is: That the kingdom of the restored world was formed from the kingdom of the destroyed world, wherein seven kings had died and their possessions had been broken up. Or, the explanation of the world, of which mention is made elsewhere, proceedeth from the kingdom of the destroyed world.).  ( The Book of Concealed Mystery Chapter I. tr. 1887 Translated by MacGregor M. Mathers,)

The early mystics of Judism found within the text of the Torah itself, through the study of equidistant letter sequences (ELS), that the age of the universe was over 15 billion years old. This was centuries before modern science came to that same conclusion. A book written the 1990’s by Jeffery Satinover called Cracking the Bible Code spoke of a World War II rabbi named Michael Dov Weissmandl who had done a tremendous amount of study and research into ELS.

Rabbi Weissmandl was a Slovakian rabbi who ran a rescue operation near the Slovak-Polish border, which smuggled thousands of Jews, to the relative safety of Slovakia or Hungary. Once Germany invaded Hungary, deportations began in the Spring of 1942. After 60,000 had been sent to Auschwitz, Rabbi Weissmandl succeeded in negotiating with Dieter Wisliceny, Eichmann’s assistant, and was able by a $50,000 bribe to halt further deportations. Unfortunately, the deportations were only delayed. Rabbi Weissmandl was fascinated by the comments of an earlier kabbalist, Rabbi Bachya ben Asher, regarding ELS. He was certain that there was within the Torah, coded in equidistant letter sequences, divinely ordained information. Rabbi Bachya’s information came from an earlier rabbi named Nechunya ben HaKanah.

David Flynn noted that Nechunya ben HaKanah, a rabbi of first-century Judea, believed that the earth was 15.3 billion years old:

Nechunya’s theory was based on a long- standing system of calculation of times purportedly imbedded in the Hebrew writings of Moses. According to the Midrash Sod Haibbur, a scholarly guide to the Torah, God himself gave Moses precise rules for measuring times and seasons, a skill which the priestly caste of Israel had zealously maintained.[477] According to the pre-Adamic view of Bible chronology, after the cataclysm which Jeremiah described, God separated the waters from the land, dispersed the clouds shrouding the earth and created the first post destruction day. Midrash Sod Haibbur; on the mystery of the New Moon. (Flynn, David (2012-07-01). The David Flynn Collection (Kindle Locations 6751-6758). Defense Publishing. Kindle Edition.)
Rabbi Nechunya himself claimed that if you properly understand how to use the 42 lettered name of God that Genesis provides for a period of time between the origin of the universe and the creation of man, namely 42,000 divine years. A divine year is 1000 times our solar year of 365.25 days. So, between the origin of the universe and the creation of man there transpired 42,000 x 365,250 years.In other words, says Nechunya, Genesis tells us that the universe came into existence 15.3 billion years ago.

Even within Christian sources there is evidence of an age old belief that the earth was destroyed before the creation of Adam.

“The first act (of creation Genesis 1) refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages . . . The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. They do not want intimations, which connect it with a previous testing, and fall of angels… Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.” ( The Scofield Study Bible ).
The Nelson Study Bible states this about Genesis 1:2, “Here it means that God renewed what was in a chaotic state. God changed chaos into cosmos, disorder into order, emptiness into fullness … The two words, without form and void, express one concept—chaos. The earth had been reduced to this state—it was not the way God had first created it.”

In the New Testament book of 2 Peter 3:5-7 it states:

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Many Christian bible teachers believe this reference is to the Deluge during the days of Noah. But we must reconcile the fact that Genesis 1:2 also describes the earth as being covered in water – “..darkness was over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water.” ( JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh).

This text indicates that that there was a previous cycle of time prior to the creation of Adam by two phrases: 1) the heavens and earth, which are now and 2) the heavens were of old. Peter also indicates that people in the last days, specifically mockers would be willingly ignorant of these facts.

Two Creation Accounts?
Genesis 2:4 is one text that has caused many scholars problems. The verse is suggestive of more than one creation account. Rabbi Ariel bar Zadok writes:

Most scholars, Jewish and Christian, religious and secular jump through their scholarly hoops to try to show that the two stories are one and are just two different ways of describing the same event. But this is not what all Torah commentaries have taught! We have a solid body of Torah commentaries on Genesis dating back over many centuries that clearly state that the two stories are speaking about two different creations of humanity. These authoritative Torah commentators clearly state that the Adam in Genesis was not the first human being created; but rather that he was the first human to have achieved a higher status of humanity.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:2).

Generations in the Hebrew is the word toledot a plural, which in itself is not unusual. Toledot of Genesis 2:4 is part of a system of ten toledot-divisions throughout the book of Genesis has long had the attention of biblical scholars. These toledot, normally translated generations occur in Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1, 11:10 and 27; 25:12 and 19; 36:1 (and 9); 37:2. Some scholars theorize that the toledot in Genesis are evidence of the fact that at the time when Moses wrote down the Torah, written texts were already available and these catch phrases – these are the generations of…were used as references to these ancient texts. We should note that there are references to obscure books known to the ancient Israelites – the Book of Yasher, the Book of the Wars of the Lord, (Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord, “Waheb in Suphah, and the wadis of the Arnon, and the slope of the wadis that extends to the site of Ar,and leans to the border of Moab.”) and within Genesis, Sepher Toledot Adam – the Book of Generations of Adam in Genesis 5.

Genesis 2:4 may be a reference to one of these texts. Genesis 2:4 to 2:25 is known as the Second Creation Story (it’s actually the 3rd, if you count Genesis 1:1 as a separate cycle). There are some apparent inconsistencies between the first and second creation accounts: Genesis 1:3 and subsequent verses say that God created the world in six days. In Genesis 2:4, some translations say that it took one day.
In the first account, fruit trees appeared before Adam and Eve; in the second, God created Adam, then the fruit trees, then Eve. In the first account, God created animals before Adam and Eve; in the second, God creates Adam, then the animals, then Eve. In the first account fish appear on the 5th day; in the second fish are not even mentioned.

Instead of maligning the text of the Torah, as liberal scholars often do, it’s possible the text is quoting from an unknown source which recounts the creation story differently or is indicating another creation cycle.
God’s Terraforming Project

Any traditional translation of Genesis 1:2 describes the Earth as being flooded, desolate, and in darkness:
“And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (KJV)

An examination of the Hebrew reveals that the traditional translation is a poor rendering of what the actual text is conveying. The Hebrew hayah הָיָה translated as was is occasionally used with a simple accusative in the sense of to be made, or to become. An example this may be found in Genesis 19:26, the history of Lot’s wife, of whom we are told, that “she became a pillar of salt.” A far more correct rendering would be the the earth became without form and void. The following evidence reinforces this.

According to most translations, the earth was without form, and void. This, however, is not a reflection of the Hebrew, but a glaring illustration of the influence of of the establishment hivemind. The words translated as without form and void are translations of two Hebrew words – tohu and bohu meaning ruin or desolation and emptiness respectively. Now these words are found together only in two other passages, in both of which they are clearly used to express the ruin caused by an outpouring of God’s judgement and subsequent wrath.

The second use is in the Book of Isaiah which empathically testifies that God did not create create – bara – the earth ex nilio in a formless and void state.

“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens Who alone is God, who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited. I am the Lord, and there is none else.”  (Isaiah 45:18)

The last occurence appears in the Book of Jeremiah where God through Jeremiah is warning Israel of impending doom. In a vision Jeremiah is taken to to the earth of Genesis 1:2 where he sees another divine judgement that rendered the earth tohu and bohu:

I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were pulled down before the Lord, before His fierce anger. (Jeremiah 4:23-26)

Clearly tohu and bohu is a phrase which references a past cataclysm prior to to the creation of Man. As such, the passage should be corrected to say that the earth became a desolate ruin and empty. In the Siphra’ Di-Tseni`uthah, a rabbinic work, tohu and bohu is suggested to allude to an exile. And in fact I believe that the text is contrasting the perfection of Genesis 1:1 with the horror of Genesis 1:2. This is reflected in the Hebrew of verse two. Genesis 1:2 begins with a vav ו and many translations simply ignore it rather than translate it. The King James Version translation to it’s credit renders the vav as and which helps in showing some kind of transition. However, that would be better served if the vav was translated as BUT rather than AND.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth became a desolate ruin and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”

Both verses together lead in to the reason or need for God’s other creative acts following verse two. The perfect universe that HaShem created suffered a tragic cataclysm which rendered the earth desolate and empty of all life, as Jeremiah saw in his vision. This is the reason that the Torah uses the verb bara – to create out of nothing, is to fill an empty earth with living creatures and living sentient beings known as Man. He also clears the sky of all the debris, smoke, ash and dust caused by the destruction, which is essential for life to propigate.

One of the problems solved by understanding that Genesis 1:1 is a separate creation cycle is the appearance of light. Light was listed as appearing on day one, but its source (the sun and stars) did not appear until day four. This was a source of confusion for some time. Merrill Unger, a Christian commentator, notes that the acts of day four are not the original creation of the heavenly lights but are made to appear or become visible on day four. Let there be light is accomplished when the dust and ash from earths destruction is cleared allowing the pre-existing sources of light through.

The seven days of the current creation cycle again demonstrate the perfection that once existed in Genesis 1:1 – God has set things right. And it was good…..for a while.

B’reisheet – Another New Beginning

With the High Holy Days coming to a close, the Torah reading cycle begins anew beginning with B’reisheet (In the Beginning or more correctly, In a Beginning). We feel that this coming year will be a very important year prophetically and biblically and we want to spend more of our time reflecting upon the holy Torah and it’s important lessons. With that said I have reprinted a commentary on B’reisheet from Rav Ariel bar Zadok from Kosher Torah.com on the Secrets of Creation. I hope you enjoy it!

astral planeBereshit, the beginning – is always the most mysterious of times. We need but read this one parasha of the Torah to realize how little we truly understand its mysteries. So much information is packed into such a small number of words. There are secret codes, mathematical computations, holy Names and so much more that even the seventy chapters of the Tikunei Zohar, which only comment on the first verse of Bereshit, cannot do justice to Parashat Bereshit.

Bereshit begins with the beginning, the beginning of creation and what we know as the beginning of time. We begin to measure time from the creation of Adam some 5775 years ago. As the text teaches us, Adam was created on Day Six of creation. Creation thus began five days prior. Yet, as we know from modern science, our universe is approximately 16 billion years old, our planet Earth (Tevel) is over four billion years old by itself. How can it be that this fantastic amount of years be our true age when the universe is only 5775 years old, plus six days? The answer to this question might not please the fundamentalists who have not the insight to understand the Torah correctly, but there is no contradiction whatsoever between scientific discovery and Torah truth. Indeed the two are the same and always have been.

The Six Days of creation have always been viewed by our holy Rabbanim, especially the Mekubalim as being a metaphor of time instead of being an exact representation. Indeed, as the Torah says, the universe was created in just “six days” each of only twenty-four hours. This is what the Torah says, therefore, it is the absolute truth. Yet, a point made by Albert Einstein is that time is relative. It does not always travel at the same speed. In other words, we judge the speed of time by our present standards of measurement. Einstein has shown that these standards are not universal. Time has been seen to fluctuate. Thus, what might be six days of twenty-four hours from one point of perception could be 16 billion years from another point of perception. Both points of perception would experience the passage of time from their own individual context. 16 billion years could thus be equal to a time period of a mere six days.

There are two great reference materials that discuss this matter in detail. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (obm) wrote on this topic in his “Immortality, Resurrection, and the Age of the Universe” (Ktav, Hoboken NJ, 1993). In this classic work Rabbi Kaplan documents and translates original Hebrew material from impeccably authoritative sources that I am sure will do more than raise an eyebrow in surprise. A second work written by noted Israeli physicist Gerald L. Schroeder entitled, “The Science of G-d – The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom” (Broadway Book, NYC, NY, 1997) discusses the Torah view of creation from a scientific point of view. Dr. Schroeder, who is also well-versed in Torah mysticism, provides a very convincing argument how six days expand into 16 billion years. His book is must reading for anyone truly wishing to understand and integrate Torah wisdom with scientific discovery.

Another one of the great secrets discussed by many of the holy Mekubalim (with the interesting exception of the Ari’zal) is that our creation was not HaShem’s first creation, nor was Adam (the one spoken of in this parasha) the first created man. (Reference Rabbi Kaplan’s translation of Derush Or ha-Hayyim by Rabbi Yisrael Lipschitz, the author of the Tiferet Yisrael, in the text cited above) Very well concealed, but nonetheless present within mystical texts is a teaching about the cosmic cycles of previous and future creations, the universal Shemitot.

This teaching reveals to us that there are epochs of creation, which are separate and different from one another. Each epoch or Shemita manifests the spiritual influence of one of the seven lower sefirot. According to many Mekubalim (Sefer Magen David, Yalkhut Reuveni and others) we are presently in the Shemita of Gevurah (severity), which explains why our present epoch of human history has been so marred by violence and bloodshed. The previous Shemita was that of Hesed (mercy), which explains why the ancients of prehistoric, pre Adamic times were supposed to have had an advanced civilization, built upon peace, a true Paradise on Earth (or Garden of Eden). Once this was lost (or concluded), a new phase of creation began (i.e., our epoch of history). After our epoch is complete, the Shemita of Tiferet begins. This is the time after Mashiah, what we refer to as Olam HaBa.

The teachings of the mystical Shemitot explain the tides of history and the influences predominate in individual centuries and millennia. Some have suggested that its secrets are still closely guarded by the Mekubalim and this is why the Ari’zal and others did not mention them. Some teachings are still closely guarded secrets. It is even permitted to lie and to deny their existence rather than to admit that they exist or that they have any legitimacy.

When we read about the creation and the generations prior to the flood we must remember, we are talking about a world far different from our own. The creation story in and of itself is a metaphor and code that contains within it all the secrets of science and technology. Anything discovered, or to be discovered by science is concealed in code form within the first two chapters of Bereshit. While the holy Mekubalim are aware of a great number of these secret teachings, even they do not know them all.

One of these secrets discussed in the holy Zohar (1, 254a, in the hashmutot) is that our planet Earth is actually hollow and that it has seven layers to it, one inside the other. This view was even postulated by Sir Edmund Haley (discoverer of Haley’s Comet) without him having any knowledge of the Zohar. According to the Zohar, each layer is separated by a 100-mile high sky; each inner layer of the earth is illuminated by the Earth’s core, which serves as an inner sun. All different types of creatures are said to live in inner Earth, some more human than others, including giants, centaurs and (according to Rabbi Avraham Azulai’s Sefer Hesed L’Avraham) over 300 other species. Indeed, the Zohar teaches that when Adam first came to Earth, he did not inhabit the surface realm but the inner realm. Herein is said to lie the true Garden of Eden.

It is said that there are passages from these inner worlds that go to our surface world; their openings being associated with holy places. The most famous of these is the cave of the Patriarchs at Makhpelah in Hevron. Deep within the recesses of the cave there is said to be a passageway that descends down into bowels of the Earth leading to the Garden of Eden. This is where Adam and Eve were buried, just outside their old home. This is why Avraham Avinu chose this place and why the Arabs wish to block a Jewish presence here. For whoever controls the cave in Hevron controls to doorway to paradise. Woe to us that it should fall into the hands of an evil enemy.

Another mystery of Bereshit is that our holy Rabbis teach that Adam prior to the Fall was not a human being by our present standards of understanding. (Reference Sefer Ben Ish Hai, Hakdama to Parashat Bereshit S.R. in the name of the Ari’zal). Adam was originally created with a body of light instead of one of flesh and blood. His intellect was said to surpass that of the highest angels. Our Rabbis have taught us that Adam was able to see from one end of the universe to the other. In other words, Adam’s mind was large enough to comprehend all the knowledge in the universe simultaneously. Unlike mankind today that uses only a minor portion of our brainpower, Adam used his full mind. It would be equivalent to say that Adam, before the Fall, had an I.Q. of over 2,000. With our greatest geniuses today having an I.Q. of only 200, we cannot imagine what ten times that intellect could possibly be. Woe to us for what we have lost due to the Fall.

The metaphoric manner in which the story of the Fall is presented also conceals a great deal about the true nature of man and the universe. One should not concern oneself with the question as to what type of fruit was taken from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, because it was no mere physical piece of fruit. The story of the fall relates to us Adam’s descent into the dimensions of physical reality from his original home in the spiritual planes.

After the Fall, the first generations were not like the people who live today. According to our Rabbis when Adam became a physical being, his stature was not like ours. Adam and his immediate offspring were supposed to have been giants standing over 150 feet tall. Indeed Rabbi Yosef Shani in his Sefer Sha’ar Yosef compiles numerous Midrashim and correlates them to some of the world’s mysteries. He concludes that ancient cities, long ago forgotten in the jungles of South America, were originally built by the children of Cain. Among these ancient cities appear to be seats carved into the sides of mountains big enough to sit someone 150 feet tall. The existence of these ancient carvings is documented fact as are ancient ground drawings hundreds of yards across that only become visible to someone flying overhead.

There are many mysteries about the ancient, pre-flood generations. Our Rabbis have taught that those generations knew the secret wisdom of the angels (Reference Sefer Hanokh, quoted by Rabbi Haim Vital in his commentary to the Zohar). Today this wisdom we call technology. Our Sages are suggesting to us that the pre-flood era was as advanced technologically, if not more so, that we are today. As Shlomo HaMelekh so rightly said, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Kol. 1:9). It is possible that the technological advancement of the pre-flood generation contributed to their destruction. Ancient Gentile legends tell of a great continent empire known as Atlantis that was destroyed by a great flood. Rabbi Shani concludes from Midrashim that Atlantis was the home of the children of Cain. Their warlike ways brought destruction upon all. The Zohar teaches that the surviving technologies of the pre-flood era have become the source of every practice of unclean idolatry and magic ever since.

In pre-flood times, numerous things existed that are long lost today; among them are the animals known as dragons, unicorns and the phoenix. All three of these animals are mentioned directly in the TaNaKh. Dragons are the Tanin mentioned in Job 7:12 and the Phoenix is the Hol mentioned in Job 29:18 (see Rashi). Unicorns are considered by many to be the Biblical animal known as the Tahash, whose skins were used to cover the Ark of the Covenant.

Another mystery of Bereshit revolves around the person of Hanokh Ben Yared. All we read about him in the Torah can be found in Bereshit 5:16-24. Of all the pre-flood era ancients, he lived the shortest, only 365 years. Is it a coincidence that he lived the same number of years as there are days in the solar year, or is the Torah sending us another subtle message? Pasuk 24 tells us that Hanokh, unlike any other biblical figure except Eliyahu, never died. He simply “was not” for G-d had taken him. While the Torah narrative about Hanokh stops here with eight short pasukim (verses), the Midrash expands on the topic of Hanokh and opens us to us a wealth of information about angelology and other mystical secrets.

metatronThe famous “Hozeh” of Lublin writes in his Sefer Kehilat Ya’aqob (vol. 1, 26c, item Hanokh) that Hanokh is the only soul that achieved a higher level (Haya) than Moshe Rabbeynu himself (Neshama). The “Hozeh” writes that when Hanokh ascended into Heaven he was transformed into the angel …(sorry, can’t reveal that name because it is the real name of Matat) and that this angel was the angelic teacher who taught Moshe the Torah. Apparently, the written Torah has left out some very important information. Yet, everything is there concealed within the Torah codes. Where else do you think the Midrashim came from?

There is so much more than needs to be expounded upon. Yet, there is no end to the commentary on parashat Bereshit. I have recorded a six hour lecture series on the first three chapters of this parasha and I have not even scratched the surface of all the material that there is to learn.

Let this small essay thus serve as our introduction into the Torah. Know that whatever it is you will ever learn, no matter how much, you will have only scratched the surface garments of our holy Torah.

Be in awe of Torah. Respect it and honor it. After all, it is the word of our Creator. When we examine it and explore it, we will always find out everything it is that we need and want to know.

Reconciling Religion with it’s Origins

The following article is written by Rabbi Ariel bar Zadok. The article is very compelling and thought-provoking. He has also written an excellent ebook called The Torah on Life in Space and Aliens which cites Jewish sources concerning the Sages understanding of extraterrestrials, UFO’s, Angels, Demons and life on other planets. You can purchase this book at Koshertorah.com

Reconciling Religion with its Extra-terrestrial Origins
by Ariel Bar Zadok

Copyright (C) 2013 by Ariel Bar Tzadok.  All rights reserved.

Warning! This is a very long and thought-provoking essay.  Please take the time to read it carefully.

Let’s be ruthlessly blunt here. If one is to believe what is written in the Bible, then there are certain uncomfortable conclusions that we are required to accept, and equally uncomfortable questions that we are required to ask. Let’s review some of them.

Number One, God, is presented in the Bible as being All-Present (omnipresent) and All-Knowing (omniscient). God is essentially an alien “life-form(?),” an “Entity” that is not of this Earth. God certainly not human by any standard of definition with which we define what it is to be human. We can even question whether we can refer to God as an Entity, or life-form at all. Essentially, what we call God would be a form of life completely outside the context of any presently known application of these terms.

Number Two, Prayer, we know, is a method of communication through which we communicate with God. Yet, prayer cannot simply be a dialogue of verbal communication, similar to that which one would have with one’s friend. When we pray, we are talking to God who certainly is not there physically to be seen in any way. As such prayers, “ascend to Heaven,” whatever that means.

Essentially, prayers travel from “Point A,” (us), to “Point B,” (God). That “Point B” is a destination, again, not of this Earth. What is this place? How do prayers travel there? What is their energy source that make this travel possible? What exactly is making the trip, is it the sound waves of the words of our prayers, or is it the brain waves of the thoughts of our prayers? If God is omnipresent, then does the concept of prayers traveling to Heaven really even exist?

Number Three, Torah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Yet, where did it come from? Torah came to Earth from another domain, not of this Earth. The Bible says that at the giving of the Torah, the Heavens opened up. What does this mean? Is this referring to some kind of wormhole that opened into a parallel dimension, or acted as a bridge through space in this dimension? Moses is said to have gone up to Heaven. Where exactly did he go? How did he get there? The Bible says he was up there for 40 days and nights. Did Moses experience his time in Heaven as 40 days as those at the foot of Mt Sinai did? We have many legitimate questions, and only homiletic tales for answers. If there is anything actual and real to this story (as religious people believe), then we can no longer ignore the questions that we have raised here. What really happened at Sinai. Where did Moses really go, and what is this Torah that he received?

According to the Bible, there is this Entity which we call God. However non-human that it is, it still enables us humans to contact it (prayer), and then it made contact with us (Sinai/prophecy). These seem to be the undeniable Biblical claims, three distinct Biblical facts for believers in “the Word.” There is a God, there is His Word, and we humans can communicate with God, just like He communicated with us. Yet, we know that God’s Word, the Torah, came from off-world. God Him(It)self exists in a state that by definition is off-world. Prayer is communication with that which is off-world.

We have a modern word, which we can use to sum up all these off-world references, and that word is “extraterrestrial.” Now, I know that a lot of traditional religious-type folks do not use, and do not like to use the word “extraterrestrial,” with regards to their spiritual and religious beliefs. Nevertheless, I think it is the right time that we dispel with religious myths and begin to embrace religious realities. If there is any reality, whatsoever, to religious/spiritual experiences, then such experiences must rightly be called extraterrestrial, simply because, if these things are real, then they certainly, are not of this Earth, and are thus by definition “extraterrestrial.”

If one wishes to continue to believe in God, to believe in God’s Word communicated to human beings on planet Earth, and to believe in our human capacity to communicate back with God, then in light of modern discoveries and revelations about the true nature of science and reality, we are required to discard old prejudices, and embrace what might be, for some, unpleasant truths, and these are that God, Torah and prayer are all extraterrestrial by definition.

Essentially, if the Bible is to be believed, then rather than look into the future for our first human contact with alien life, we had better start to more properly understand our past. Let us turn our thoughts for a moment to science, and the laws of nature for some further insights into there matters.

The universe is governed by the laws of nature, right? All things in the universe follow the course of the natural, right? All things follow nature, with rigid, unyielding accuracy. Oh really? Practically speaking, it is true, everything does follow nature, and always will. But, what makes us so arrogantly sure that we understand nature and the natural way? In spite of all our recent discoveries, there is so little about science which we understand, and then there is so much more than we do not. All things may very well be natural, but we are a long way off from discovering the true parameters of nature.

While we observe nature, we expect nature to follow the laws that we see operating in it. Yet, scientific discovery is based upon seeing new things in nature that we did not see before. So, how much that is unseen and unknown today is still nevertheless operational natural law?

Essentially, how many unseen, unknown and undiscovered scientific forces are out there influencing us even right now that our present understandings of science does not yet include or acknowledge? Before one wishes to dismiss the supernatural and the metaphysical, one should recognize that there is more to these domains than meets the present eye. Today, what is supernatural, might tomorrow become everyday science.

One will never understand the realities of that which we call the spiritual and the Divine, until we first begin to understand them scientifically, as actual and natural, telepathic, clairvoyant powers inherent within the human mind. Developing our latent mental/spiritual powers is the key to opening up experiences with those domains which today we mythologically call the spiritual. Yet, the spiritual is scientific, actual and real. We only need to reexamine our relationship with it, to learn how to redefine it and include it into our growing understanding of science and the universe.

Many of these other domains experienced through spiritual practices are not physical in the same sense as matter is understood here on Earth. Modern science now postulates that there are many alternate dimensions and parallel worlds. These claims have also been made by religionists for millennia. Rather than refer to these domains and the dominions that inhabit them as mythological angels or demons, the proper term to refer to them is extraterrestrial. Whether we refer to angels or entities, we are referring to, and seeking to interact with, life-forms that are alien to both our forms of life, and our world in general. With this being said, let us understand that real extraterrestrial alien life-forms do not necessarily have to resemble any form of life that we can possibly imagine.

Other entities may or may not inhabit physical bodies, as do we, or they may be of an entirely different composite, possibly of substances that our modern sciences have not even yet discovered. Remember this, based upon our present measurements of time, our universe is billions of years old. Who knows what forms of life were the First Ones, who have existed and evolved over a period of billions of years (as we measure time today)? Where are these First Ones today, what are they doing? Do they know about us? Are they possibly involved with us, as ancient teachings suggest?

Are these First Ones the legendary angels that ancient tradition states were created on Day Two of creation? Are they the Watchers spoken of in the Bible? Are they the holy Dragons who are in the universe, as a king on this throne?

Think about this, if humanity continues forward without destroying itself, what form will humanity eventually evolve into over the next million years or so? Where will our technology take us a million years into the future? Now, extrapolate on this, and think, if the First Ones have been out there for a billion (or more) years, how much have they evolved? What is their science like? What have they discovered about the Creator? Would we even be able to recognize them as life-forms? Would we consider them to be gods?

Our science fiction novels and movies have, for the most part, brought to us images of aliens as hostile physical entities out to take control of our planet. Granted, there may very well be numerous aliens races out there, who, if given the chance, would conquer foreign worlds, rape them of their natural resources, and either ignore or exterminate the indigenous population, depending on what was convenient and believed to be correct.

We should not be surprised that such hostile alien life exists. After all, we too are just like them. We would be the hostile alien invaders, if given the chance to attack and conquer a desirable world, inhabited by what we would consider to be an inferior race. We have already done this throughout our history to numerous nations of people right here on our own Earth. We should never entertain the fantasy to think that we would not do this again on a foreign world, if given the chance.

Fear of alien invaders is just a modern psychological projection of our own inner fears and hostile intentions. Yet, we should never allow ourselves to believe that actual alien life forms, however different from us they may be in appearance, will be very much different from us spiritually. We human beings embrace certain spiritual/psychological universal constants, such as the struggle between good and evil. Yet, we should never limit the definitions of good and evil to applications and definitions subject to life here on Earth.

In many ways, alien life will be so very very different from us, then again, there will always be a side through which we will have commonality. And it will be through this commonality that we will be able to communicate. Yet, this commonality, will not be through physical verbal speech, but rather through mental/spiritual telepathic communications.

It is amazing, how in the greater scheme of things in the universe, we human beings are so insignificantly small. Yet, we aggrandize ourselves as being of central importance to the universe. Granted, religious teachers have taught about the importance and centrality of humanity to the universe, but these teachings were never meant to be taken literally, in reference to our present finite, physical state, to create within a humanity a sense of a delusional inflated ego. Such teachings only endeavor to forward the agenda of humanity being more than just physical homo sapiens animals.

Indeed, from the relative side of our soul existence, we truly are great beings. However, almost no single human being alive, or who has ever lived, has ever tapped into their soul content, to unleash the extraterrestrial part of our humanity, while trapped here in our terrestrial bodies. So, practically speaking, although we have the potential for greatness, that potential is very far from being realized. Essentially, we are very small life-forms in a very big (and crowded) universe.

In order for us to be unleash our inner soul potential and psychic powers, we must come to an understanding of the way natural law directs the flow of natural energies. For the energies of nature, the energies of the mind, and the energies of life and reproduction all overlap one another in accordance to a very precise natural pattern. One who can access one’s energy field, can manage to gain access to all the others. This is why the scientific principles of the natural world, mind sciences like meditation, and energy practices having to do with reproduction and sex, all complement one another, and fit together like a hand-in-glove.

Being that these energy fields, of which I speak, are essential parts of the natural world, we can rest assured that the ancient First Ones, and those who have come after them, still, many millions of years before our present incarnation, know these things, and have been working with them, and using them for what for us may be billions of years. We may religiously refer to the First Ones as archangels, who were created on the second day of creation. They wield the Divine powers of God, and are often called El or Elohim. But call them what we may, the underlying reality of their existence remains the same.

If we wish to truly communicate with higher life forms not of our planet, then we are obligated to learn the form of communication that they use to transmit and receive. Being that energy is the commodity and language of the universe, energy itself is the language of choice.

Being that our knowledge of science is so pitifully minimal, whatever we would broadcast in this wavelength certainly would not be strong enough, even to be detected. However, we can cultivate usage of these latent energies that lie unused in the mind and use them to tap into realms of higher consciousness. We can even augment the mind/soul content by charging it with creative libido sexual energy. In the language of the later Kabbalah, the combination of these two are referred to as the union of the sefirot Tiferet and Malkhut. Essentially, doing this is nothing new, on the contrary, it is something very old.

While many readers might conclude that I have delved here deeply into science fiction, I assure you that this is not the case. There difference between science fiction and science fact is a blurry line that is constantly subject to change. One should never be so quick to today condemn and dismiss something as science fiction, because it may becomes tomorrow’s science fact. Indeed, who knows what scientific discoveries and secrets presently reside with government laboratories or military bases. Do not be so quick to judge and condemn based on prejudice and ignorance.

We human beings have a very long and ancient history of relations with entities from other worlds, be they in this dimension, or another. Biblical records clearly profess this, and extra-Biblical literature only reinforces this. Some will wish to dismiss all of this out of hand. There is never a shortage of those who wish to proverbially stick their heads in the sand, close their eyes and deny everything. Yet, if we wish to move forward in human history, then the search for discovery, and the desire for uncovering truths, cries out to us to first look backwards into our past.

We have the technology to take us into realms previously inaccessible. What will we find there? Will we find those extraterrestrial races that the Bible and other religions have long referred to as angels and demons? If there is any truth to the Bible and to religion in general, then, in order for humanity as a whole to move forward into our collective future and growth, we must properly understand that which we already know, from our past, in light of that which we are now learning.

Imagine the possibilities of discovering the realities of ancient lost truths, and what such knowledge can do for our future.

The true religion of the future will be our revitalized understanding of the revelations of the past.

What The Torah/Prophets/Sages Say About Worshipers Of Other Religions

I recieve numerous emails from various sources regarding the topics we speak about on this blog. Most of them I would not quote in their entirety simply because they are not pertinent to the primary theme of this blog – Israel in Prophecy.  The following article is an email I recieved from a Sephardic rabbi whom I have tremendous respect for and whom often focus’ his sharp critique of his own faith of Torah Judaism.  While I certainly do not agree with his take on some topics, his wisdom and understanding shine through regardless.

What The Torah/Prophets/Sages Say About Worshipers Of Other Religions

 By Ariel Bar Tzadok.  Copyright (C) 2013 by Ariel Bar Tzadok.  All rights reserved.

Preliminary Word

Let me begin here by saying that after years of being involved in religious polemics, I now have come to the conclusion that such polemics and religious debates are a complete waste of time.  I believe that faith is a matter of heart, and that while faith will forever be debated, it will never be proven to the unbeliever.

Faith can only be embraced, or rejected.  Faith is always justified in the mind of the believer.  In the mind of the believer, one’s faith makes total sense and is clear for all to see.  Nevertheless, there will always be the vast majority who believe differently, and who, just do not, and will not, see what any other particular believer sees.

I do not believe that faith can be proven, so, I do not believe that one should ever try to prove it.  I believe that this includes my faith as well.  In my opinion, among the religious faiths that cannot be proven include modern-day secularism and atheism.  Belief in no God is as much a statement of faith as belief in God.

 Rather than argue, debate and come to blows over which faith is the correct one, I believe that it is the duty of every human being to focus on moral and righteous human behavior, regardless of our different faiths.  Torah teaches that God looks to our behaviors, not at our beliefs.  “Yet, I will look to this, to the man who is humble and contrite in spirit, who fears My Word” (Isaiah 66:2)  Therefore, it is in this light that I address this topic, with the hope to document how Torah views worshipers of other religions.

Everyone wants to fight for his god, and for his religion.  Everyone wants to prove that his religion is the right one and that his god is the true God.  In spite of everyone saying that God is one, no one really believes that the god of others is, in fact, the one true God.

So, are we destined to shoot it out til the end, with the last man standing being the winner, and thus being the only one left, to proclaim his faith as the true faith?   After all, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before in the past.  In the fights over religion, might definitely makes right.  This is the history of Christian and Muslim growth. And yet the fights continue.

What will it take for people to stop fighting over religion?  I confess, I have no idea.  Catholics fight Protestants, Sunni fight Shia, and in Judaism, the so-called Haredim (ultra-orthodox) fight everyone.  Granted the Haredi are not as violent as Christians and Muslims have been historically, but with regards to religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, they are psychologically no different from the most radical sects found in the other religions.

Judaism’s Haredim are today so out-of-control that they have hijacked authentic Torah Judaism, and their influence and revision of classical Torah is growing like a deadly virus.  There is no telling what insanity the Haredim of the not-to-distant future will do, if and when given the chance.  Judging from present circumstances, the future indeed looks bleak.

I know that many of my readers are offended by what I say about the Haredim, but deep down, almost everyone of my readers know that I am right! But, I am not here to write about the Haredim. I do not care about them. They are God’s problem, not mine. My concern, as a rabbi, is to make sure that the classical Torah of our Sages throughout the centuries is not lost under a tidal wave of bizarre extremism under the guise and name of Torah. I mention here the Haredim to juxtapose them in opposition to righteous Gentiles.

Religious extremists of all kinds embrace a very monolithic black-and-white skewered view of reality.  For the extremist, there is only one right way, and that those who do not walk it, are cut off from God, both in this world and in the world to come.  While the scriptures of other faiths may proclaim these views verbatim, we do not find such sentiments within Torah scriptures.

Unlike the religions that have grown out of Torah, the mother faith, the Torah, Prophets and Writings do not express absolutes about the after-life.  Torah contains no threats about eternal damnation for those who do not believe the proper doctrines.  Torah does not speak much, if at all, about anything in the after-life.  The emphasis and concern of Torah is how we live in this world, not how we worry about the world-to-come.

Idolatry is the worship of foreign gods.  It is considered the quintessential denial of faith.  Yet, one man’s believer is the other man’s idolater, blasphemer or infidel.  Yet, Torah did not go on a diatribe against idolatry because of theological or doctrinal reasons.  Idolatry was forbidden because ancient idolatrous practices were cruelly inhuman.  The behaviors of ancient idolaters were barbaric, often including human sacrifice and other equally depraved behaviors.  Torah prohibited these practices for the sake of elevating human behavior, and not for the sake of nebulous doctrinal purities.

In ancient times, there were those idolaters who understood the need for humane behavior in their practices, and each, in their own ways, acknowledged what they understood to be the Creator.  While the purpose of this short essay is not to review ancient idolatrous practices, it is to look into Scripture to see what exactly the prophets have to say on the subject.  In order to understand the teachings of the prophets, I need just refer to one scripture verse.

At the end of the prophetic period, the prophet Malakhi gives to us an interesting and revelatory word from God. In chapter 1, verse 11, the prophet states in God’s Name:

“For, from the rising of the sun until its setting, My Name is great among the nations, and everywhere offerings are burnt and offered up to My Name, yea, a pure oblation, for My Name is great among the nations, says the Lord of Hosts.”

Now, we must ask, in the days of the prophet Malakhi, which is the generation of the original return of the Israelite exiles, in approximately 500 BCE, where and how is the Name of the God of Israel great amongst the Gentile nations?  Which nations is the prophet referring to here?  Granted God’s Name is great in Israel, but Israel is one nation (in the singular), not nations (in the plural).  So, what nations does the prophet refer to?  Apparently the understanding is as follows.

God knows the limitations of human intellect, and understands well how we human beings are often erred in our understandings of spiritual matters.  Knowing human limitations, God does not judge us, any of us, by what we think in our limited human minds, blemished as they are the the metaphorical forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil.  Instead, God looks into the human heart, and judges us, all of us, by our moral and righteous behaviors.

When it comes to Divine worship, God apparently does not judge the form, but rather the intent of the individual worshiper.  While said worshiper might be worshiping within a religious system defined by Torah as idolatrous, nevertheless, God does not hold that against the individual worshiper.  Instead, God looks to the heart, and if that individual is sincere, and that one’s behavior righteous, then God calls such a one “the righteous of the nations” (hasidei umot haolam).  God accepts and blesses such an individual, even if such an individual be practicing idolatry, as defined by Torah.

This understanding is clearly expressed by the classical Torah commentators to this verse in Malakhi.  The classical commentary Rashi quotes one of the Talmud’s interpretations of this verse and says, “Our Sages stated (Men. 110a): For they [the nations] call Him [the Creator] the God of the gods. Even one who has an idol knows that He [the Creator, the Heavenly Father] is the God Who is over all of them – and everywhere they [the nations] donate in My Name.”

Another classical commentator, the Mahari Karo states, “from one end of the world to the other, all the nations call upon my great Name.” And, “in every place even a Gentile offers a sacrifice to my Name, he brings a pure offering… the nations honor Me, but you [Israel] dishonor.”

The Metzudot David commentary writes, “from the place where the suns rises to where it sets, my Name is great amongst the idolaters (Akum), for they all acknowledge that He (blessed be He)  is the First Cause that gives to all.”

Rabbi David Kimkhi (RaDaK) writes, “if I were to command them [the nations] like I have commanded you, they would be offering to My Name a pure offering, not like what you do, for you bring an unclean offering… this is the opposite of the nations for they honor and respect My Name.”

I could go on and show the commentaries of Ibn Ezra and the Malbim.  They expand on the above sentiments, and reinforce them.  Yet, I feel that the point here should already be clear.  God loves sincerity and praises it, and God hates hypocrisy and condemns it.

When the idolatrous nations do good, God acknowledges it, and when Israel does bad, God exposes it.  Let this serve as a lesson to all the racists, and chauvinists out there who think themselves superior and call themselves, “God’s people,” all the while that their deeds are that of Hell, instead of those of Heaven.  This is as much a lesson for those who embrace “replacement theology” as for those who do not!

God does not condemn sincere worship based on the theology of the worshiper.  This is made very clear by Ibn Ezra, Malbim, the Metzudot David and others.  God cares, now and forever more, about what we do, and not so much about what we think!

Later Torah tradition, teaches us, in no less than in the name of the immortal prophet Elijah that Gentiles can receive Divine inspiration and prophecy equal to any child of Israel, depending upon one’s behavior.  “I call Heaven and Earth to bear witness, be it a man or woman, Jew or Gentile, freeman or slave, all can receive Divine inspiration (Ruah HaKodesh, the holy Spirit), all in accordance with their actions.” (Tana Dvei Eliyahu, Rabbah 9a).

In his commentary to Maimonides’ code, the Mishneh Torah, Torah Foundations, in the discussion about prophets and prophecies, Rabbi Aharon Soloveitchik has written that if there ever was a tried and true Gentile prophet to rise from the nations, it would be obligatory for even Israel to heed his words at the direction of God. (Sefer Perah Mateh Aharon, page 57)

In Isaiah it is written (66:21), “And from them too will I take for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.” God will make priests and Levites from the nations to serve Him in the rebuilt Temple (see also Rashi).  In Tana Dvei Eliyahu, Zuta, 20:6 it states that the righteous of the nations are referred to as God’s priests. “Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your devout ones sing praises” (Psalm 132:9). “Your priests,” these are the righteous of the nations of the world.  They are the priests to the Holy One, blessed be He in this world, such as Antoninus and those like him.

What we learn from this is that Torah does not view the theologies of others as being a hindrance to their being righteous human beings who are blessed and acceptable to God.  Unlike other religions, Judaism does not condemn non-believers and delegate them to an after-life of suffering and torture due to their practice of their own sacred beliefs.  While Judaism believes idolatrous beliefs to be mistaken, such a mistake does not in Torah eyes, evoke Divine wrath and eternal punishment.

So, why argue over religion?  Missionaries of all kinds will never cease to exist.  Peoples with all agendas will go on and on.  Everyone is so convinced that “my way” is right, and therefore “your way” has to be wrong. And equally everyone wonders, why can’t others see the things that are so clear and “self evident” to “me.”

You see!  This is the absence of faith!  When one demands that everyone be just like them, this is the opposite of faith and the very definition of the path of impurity, that, as we have seen above, is hated by God.

Now, maybe you have a little more insight into why I am so vocal in condemning the hypocrisy that exists in my own greater community.  I pray that each of us would have the courage to not only recognize, but also to speak out against the modern day extremists and desecration!

If we want to save religion, then we have to act sincerely and truly religious.  This requires of us to expose and condemn the religious extremists and hypocrites, especially when they are in our own camps, calling themselves “ultra-orthodox.”  There is no such thing!  We have Torah and we have Halakha (Law).  Those who walk in their path are called Torah faithful.  Those who do not, (in spite of extremist appearances), simply are not walking the Torah Way, and thus are far from Torah’s God and His Grace.

God expects from us courage.  We have to have the courage to acknowledge, beyond ethnicity and nationality, who are the true children of God and who are not.  This will never be defined by national identity or by doctrinal proclamations.  Rather this will be decided as God Himself has said (and repeated by the classical Sages), those who are sincere and righteous are God’s people, those who are neither are not! It is that simple.

It is better to live among righteous Gentiles than to live among unrighteous Jews.  Painful as this may be to some, it is true.  God looks to behavior.  Look around where you live, without your “rose-colored” glasses, and ask, are these people, my neighbors, the ones who truly give glory to God? Are these my neighbors the kind of people I want to be, and I want my children to be?  Be careful how you answer, remember God is reading your minds and knows your thoughts.  If you are a hypocrite or if you judge by superficials or ethnicities only, God will judge you.

Be mindful.  Be honest.  Be courageous.  Be a true and sincere child of God, and serve Heaven properly.

Shalom,

Ariel Bar Tzadok

KosherTorah.com