Interfaith Vezot Haberachah

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Oct 16, 2005.

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  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    The Jewish calendar gets a little tricky right now, but we'll just move along slow and steady and end up in the same place.

    This is Deut 33:1-34:12


    Let's start with this:

    6. May Reuben live and not die, and may his people be counted in the number. 7. May this [also be] for Judah." And he [Moses] said, "O Lord, hearken to Judah's voice and bring him to his people; may his hands do battle for him, and may You be a help against his adversaries." 8. And of Levi he said: "Your Tummim and Urim belong to Your pious man, whom You tested at Massah and whom You tried at the waters of Meribah, 9. who said of his father and his mother, 'I do not see him'; neither did he recognize his brothers, nor did he know his children, for they observed Your word and kept Your covenant. 10. They shall teach Your ordinances to Jacob, and Your Torah to Israel; they shall place incense before You, and burnt offerings upon Your altar. 11. May the Lord bless his army and favorably accept the work of his hands; strike the loins of those who rise up against him and his enemies, so that they will not recover."

    http://www.chabad.org/parshah/TorahReading.asp?AID=36242

    Some questions: Why say of Reuben that he live and not die? What kind of blessing is that? What are the Tummim and Urim? Who said of his father, "I do not see him?" May the Lord bless whose army and the work of whose hands? What does it mean to strike the loins? Is this literal or a metaphor for something else?

    Dauer
     
  2. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    hey Dauer. i found a jewish calendar converter that i thought others might like.

    not sure if it is accurate, but you can let me know. it gives a short sentence on something in history that i thought was kind of neat.

    Shabbat, October 15, 2005


    The corresponding Jewish date is:

    Tishrei 12, 5766*

    http://www.chabad.org/calendar/1000year.asp?AID=6225
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Oh, I meant the schedule for parshiot gets tricky. This coming shabbos, there's no regular reading. Just the special reading for hol hamoed. Then on Simchat Torah This will be read and bereshit will be begun. That's when it all starts over. I find the best service for Jewish calendar needs on the web to be Hebcal. They have a date converter and an interactive calendar. But the Chabad one should work fine too.
     
  4. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    New section:

    12. And of Benjamin he said, "The Lord's beloved one shall dwell securely beside Him; He protects him all day long, and He dwells between his shoulders."13. And of Joseph he said: "His land shall be blessed by the Lord, with the sweetness of the heavens with dew, and with the deep that lies below, 14. and with the sweetness of the produce of the sun, and with the sweetness of the moon's yield, 15. and with the crops of early mountains, and with the sweetness of perennial hills, 16. and with the sweetness of the land and its fullness, and through the contentment of the One Who dwells in the thornbush. May it come upon Joseph's head and upon the crown of the one separated from his brothers. 17. To his firstborn ox is [given] glory. His horns are the horns of a re'em. With them, he will gore peoples together [throughout all] the ends of the earth these are the myriads of Ephraim, and these are the thousands of Manasseh."
     
  5. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    On the first question I'm going to refer to the commentary in my copy by Alter because I'm not that well versed in the whole history of each tribe .... he suggests that this reference is more or urgent words, more of a prayer than a blessing, and may reflect early Israelite history when the tribe of Reuben, inhabiting territory east of Jordan, was habitually threatened by marauders, perhaps also in the process of being swallowed up by neighboring Gad and appeared to run the risk of extinction.

    I've always had an interest in Tummin and Urim .... they are also very dominate in the Mormon religion (we have family members who are Mormon) and they believe that Joseph Smith Jr. used a purported Urim and Thummin to trnslate the Book of Mormon from gold plates. In the Book of Mormon the prophets Ether and Mosiah both used devices called "Urim and Thummin" to receive revelation for their people and believe them to be a special perogative of a "seer". It is my understanding, correct me if I am wrong, that they were used as a divination medium or process by ancient Hebrews in revealing the will of God on a contested point of view or other problem .... and the words translate as "revelation and truth" .... there is also a connection with the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest .... the sacred container used for divining urim and thummin was a small box in which 6 stones were placed (three white and three black) and how the stones fell would dictate the answer to the question. Somehow I have a difficult time associating the process of divination with Judaism, it was used widely in Hawaii and the South Pacific and I am familiar with the process. Personally I still associate the small box as a symbol of the inner sanctum of the brain and I've always thought of Urim and Thummin as symbols for the right and left hemisphere of the brain .... but you know how I am into the brain ....

    my copy is translated as "smash the loins of his foes that his enemies rise no more" .... Alter speculates that this might allude to the Levites as YHWH's special militia, weilding their swords against all who betrayed him.

    One part that I was really interested in is 33:2 which ends with "from His right hand, fire-bolts for them" fire bolts or thunder bolts are usually symbols of the transformation of consciousness .... aloha nui, poh
     
  6. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Poh, I think that going for the original meaning, your understanding given to Reuven is how the others should also follow. All of them I would read that way originally. I'm wondering also how else to read it, like maybe, that Reuven is like Enoch. And he won't die. Or that he was supposed to be like Enoch, but he spoiled it. Or that we are each supposed to be like Enoch, we each have that potential, but we all usually fall somewhere in the middle.

    Urim and Tummim, I'm not sure exactly what they translate as, but they are tools of divination. I forget the passages but in Nach I believe they get mentioned a few times. The gemara also deals with them.

    I was thinking about the loins, that this might be a reference to children, and not the literal loins. If there are no children, the enemies cannot rise up.

    The translation I'm looking at, mechon-mamre, broke aleph shin dalet tav into eish dat meaning fire of knowledge or law in 33:2 and it translates it as:

    "2 And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came from the myriads holy, at His right hand was a fiery law unto them." It's also interesting that in the next line, it is the people who are in His hand. What do you make of it all?

    Dauer
     
  7. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I just wonder what "through the contentment of the One Who dwells in the thornbush. . May it come upon Joseph's head and upon the crown of the one separated from his brothers. " means. Must say that I immediately thought of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixtion. What is the crown of the one sparated from his brothers? Is that just again referring to Joseph since he was separated from his brothers in Egypt?

    lunamoth
     
  8. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I think the thornbush may be a reference to the burning bush. And the other a reference to Joseph, which also seems to mirror the previous line about God being One. Unless it's a squeezed in blessing for Benjamin. But I think you do have good ground for seeing Christological references beyond a literal level. The themes and language are present.

    Dauer
     
  9. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    That would make sense. Thank you.

    cheers,
    lunamoth
     
  10. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    12. And of Benjamin he said, "The Lord's beloved one shall dwell securely beside Him; He protects him all day long, and He dwells between his shoulders."13. And of Joseph he said: "His land shall be blessed by the Lord, with the sweetness of the heavens with dew, and with the deep that lies below, 14. and with the sweetness of the produce of the sun, and with the sweetness of the moon's yield, 15. and with the crops of early mountains, and with the sweetness of perennial hills, 16. and with the sweetness of the land and its fullness, and through the contentment of the One Who dwells in the thornbush.


    what is all this sweetness about? i dont understand what the moon yields?
    the Lords beloved one is a 'HE' & HE dwells between His shoulders...that sounds like a head or brain/thoughts to me.

    the sweetness of perenial hills is flowers...the produce of the sun must be veggies & fruit.

    i agree with loins being the offspring, but i dont really understand what the rest here means.
     
  11. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    His shoulders could also be a land form, like two mountains or mountain ranges. I'm not familiar enough with a map of ancient Israel and where the tribes were situated.

    That's a good point about sweetness. If it repeats the word that much, it probably is for a reason. I'm thinking the produce of the sun might be light, since it's contrasted with the sweetness of the moon's yield. So both of them are yielding something, and they both yield light.

    So what is sweet?

    heavens with dew
    deep (sweetness not repeated, maybe because it's the underworldand not so sweet)
    produce of the sun
    moon's yield
    perennial (maybe referring to crop?) hills
    land and its fullness
    in that order.
    Is there a progression? The last two seem to be a progression. Perennial hills become the whole land and its fullness. Maybe this can only happen with the dew of the heavens, and the deep, and whatever it is that the sun gives along with what the moon gives, that is the giving during day and night, and then the perenial hills becomes the whole land and its fullness, and it continues to say that all of this is happening only through the contentment of God, that all of this only happens through God's will. Each of these things might have had a separate god at one time, but now it is all according to God's will. And at the same time, it's making a reference to Moses, which means it's making a reference to Revelation and the received code of law, as if to say, "Don't worship foreign gods."

    And this would be pertinent to Joseph who assimilated into Egyptian culture. But I don't know about Ephraim and Menasseh.

    These are very difficult passages.

    Dauer
     
  12. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    Gotta leave for work, but I just received this quote today (I receive a daily message about spirituality and I love most of them) ...... here is today's .... talk later .... poh p.s. in answer to the question "what is sweet?"


    "Sweetness is the taste of all virtues.
    Patience is the fortress of all virtues.
    Cheerfulness is the evidence of all virtues"


     
  13. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I was thinking, maybe the sweetness is the opposites, the duality. Maybe it's saying that Joseph should remember that even duality is sweet, and that this is emphasized along with the revelatory event at the bush, that it's not just the event at the bush, but also all that stuff that makes up the world that is sweet, and that even Joseph, who was able to resist Potiphar's wife, a Joseph, should not become an ascetic.

    Dauer
     
  14. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    yah I would agree there is some sort of sweetness in both the sun/moon. even some perennials only open & bloom at night, like moon flower & night blooming jasmine.

    i am wondering if the head & shoulders thing in vs 12 is refering directly to/of Benjamin because the word 'of'. still a bit confusing for me but just a thought.
    i wonder if there is a comparison here between Joseph & Benjamin that ties the whole passage together with the bush. hmmm
     
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