Interfaith Parsha Chain (Going out with a bang)

Discussion in 'Interfaith Parsha Project' started by dauer, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    It's almost time to say goodbye to the interfaith parsha project and hello to the interfaith text study. I thought I'd create a thread where we can all give it one final farewell. Here's how it works:

    Starting with the first parsha, we take turns posting the parshiot and one thing we've learned, found interesting, wish to share, from it following the format I'll give. For the parshiot you can go to:

    http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/

    Name of the Parsha

    quote from the parsha (optional)

    one thing you'd like to share

    I'll start us off...

    Beresheet


    If leaving the garden is not understood as a grave sin, if it is an error instead, then Eve can be seen as the paradigm for a hero who goes against the established norms in order to birth something more fruitful, in this case moving humankind from a cushioned cradle to a world where it must stand on its own two feet.

    Dauer
     
  2. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi dauer--

    I don't want to break the chain, but I have a question to ask before I can proceed. Forgive me if I sound silly, please (I missed a great deal of this study as it was taking place, and I am not too good at the language).

    My question is: Do we go in descending order, or do we pick any of the parshiot (am I saying this right?) and then follow your format?

    Feel free to laugh at and with me if this is a silly question.:)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Hey InLove. :)

    There's nothing silly about that question. The Torah is divided into portions that are read weekly, so that it's read through each year from the start of genesis to the end of deuteronomy. Bereisheet is the first of those sections (also the name of Genesis in Hebrew, as the Hebrew names for both parshiot and books use either the first word or the first important word instead of something that seems generally topically important.) After that is Noach. Then Lech Lecha. Etc.

    If you're familiar with the Torah, then you should be able to glance at the passages in many cases and know what you want to say. As always with the Interfaith Parsha Project, any approach to Torah is okay, be it secular or any type of religious, as long as it is contributing something and not simply saying something negative. The parsha format is and has been just a format to allow us to cover the breadth of the Torah in the span of a year.

    Dauer
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I like it, where would we be if it weren't for that snake? Would we even exist, or would it still just be Adam and Eve n the garden?

    I like to look at the days of creation in context with how we create

    You get and idea (light) doubt slips in (darkness) you have to seperate the two.

    You get flood of ideas (water) some are grounded and some are flighty gotta seperate those too (seas and sky)

    There are times when I need to focus on the project (day and sun) and times to relax and let it percolate (night and wisom/light/stars still tend to peak thru and twinkle)

    Then we start with all sorts of tests and various models and add more too it...plants, animals...

    As it develops we add more and make modificatiions...creating new projects and manifestations...

    And somewhere along the way it takes on a life of its own...
     
  5. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    And all within a Plan...

    What I have found interesting is the way in which the text can parallel the literature and mythology of different ages and various peoples. (Guess that might be one of the objectives of an interfaith study, huh?)

    I am personally still working on how this might go along with the Rabbit Boy and the Blood Clot and other stories of Cherokee tradition. I am definitely not qualified to make any substantial observations at this point, though! :rolleyes:

    Wish I could offer more right now, but I'll probably get the hang of things as we progress. (I'm still reading through the threads and checking out all the links.) Very interesting study! Thanks! :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  6. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    May I post again? (I guess that is a rhetorical question, lol, but I had another thought, elementary as it might be, dear Watson...:))

    I was thinking about the ideas already posted here by dauer and wil, and I have been trying to understand Buddhism (another "language" I don't speak so well), and I found something I thought might be postworthy here.

    These were definitions I found on dictionary.com:

    prajna: (enlightenment) pure and unqualified knowledge.

    Unqualified: not modified, limited, or restricted in any way; without reservations

    If I put these definitions together with the previous comments about leaving the garden, then perhaps one could view the idea of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as humankind's movement away from pure knowledge of God and into a state of qualification (learning--or relearning?) of God--all within the development of The Plan. Sort of like how a newborn baby perhaps sees a parent as the whole world until he or she begins to grow?

    My child-like thoughts, I guess. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove

    Edit: I do realize the Buddhism does not recognize "God" in the traditional "western" connotation, but my interfaith desire still picks up on little inklings of similarity.
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Hi all.

    If I wasn't clear before, this thread isn't going by the weeks or anything. Just go ahead and post something about the next parsha as you're so inclined.

    Dauer
     
  8. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Parashat Noach

    Re: Noah's building of the ark in contrast to the building of the Tower of Babel.

    Perhaps Noah's brand of "science" embraced G!D's will, while the building of the Tower was an example of science vs. G!D. Just a thought.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  9. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

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    Hi
    I have read the OT,Catholic and Protestant, I uderstand that it is almost same for the Jewish people,though I am not familiar with the Jewish terminology.I would be participating here;what is the next para of the OT for discusion here, so that I can read and discuss.
    Thanks
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Inlove,

    I like that read, but it leads me to wonder, what is the difference between science that embraces God's will and science that goes against it? If we go with your analogy, it seems like Noah was building to go along with the world. There was going to be a flood, so he built an ark. And he kept all of the animals in mind too. He was integrating himself into his environment and also caring for it. The tower of babel, on the other hand, is just built really really high, which seems to be swimming against the current. It's like the choice between building efficient cars that're better for the environment and get the job done (and funneling a percentage of the money that comes in for them to help save the rainforest,) or designing prettier, faster gas guzzlers. Least that's my extended drash off of your read.


    inhumility,

    The Torah is divided in Judaism into sections read weekly called parshiot (that's plural of parsha.) Over the past year, we've borrowed that format of weekly sections to allow us to cover the Torah in the span of a year. Different people have approached the text from very different perspectives, from secular to Jewish to Christian to comparative mysticism, and our varying backgrounds helped to add to the project. It was unfortunately not as successful a project as I had hoped. In the beginning there were maybe four or five people posting, and then it dropped to three including myself. I too eventually neglected it. And 3/4ths through the year or so we had a couple people who posted sporadically.

    This thread isn't meant to go by week though, just in order. The parshiot can be found here:

    http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/

    You can see we're at the beginning, starting with genesis. I've done beresheet and InLove has done Noach. The next parsha is Lech Lecha which is found here:

    http://www.hebcal.com/sedrot/lechlecha.html

    You can ignore everything on that page except for one line. There's a heading in the middle that says "Parashat Lech-Lecha" and then says the same thing underneath in hebrew. Immediately below this to the left is another bolded phrase that says "Torah Portion" with a link to the verses next to it. If you click it will take you there.

    If you'd prefer to read a Christian translation, I'd suggest glancing at the link just the same to see what's covered. Sometimes the chapter and verse numbering between Christian and Jewish versions of the Tanach/GT are different.


    For anyone who's joined us for this thread who missed out on the year of the parsha project, a few threads you might want to check out:

    Basic Parsha Project Rules and what it is-was all about:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/parsha-project-rules-and-basic-3776.html

    Christian, Jewish and secular resources for the study of the Torah:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/online-torah-study-resources-3786.html

    A thread requested by two IPP participants on the meaning of the Tabernacle, as uncovered through the parsha project:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/the-tabernacle-4545.html

    Hope that helps. :)

    Dauer
     
  11. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

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    Re: Lekh Lekha

    12:3: And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth
    Shall bless themselves by you
    ."


    At that time Abram was not known worldwide. so why should others e.g., someone in India should curse Abram for nothing, or one in China not at that time even introduced with Abram ;why his welfare should depend on his giving blessing to Abram or vice versa Abram giving blessing to him ?Maybe even now some families of the world not know Abram. Any rational reason for that; it smells of racial preferential treatment. Isn’t it?

    12:6-7: The Canaanites were then in the land.
    7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "I will assign this land to your heirs."

    The Canaanites were lawfully living there in Canaan and that was their land legitimately, even by standards of the present International Law. All human beings are equal before the eyes of God why should the land of Canaanites be assigned to Abram and his heirs for nothing and displacing others for no fault of them. To start with the concept of God is presented in Torah of a narrow tribal thinking; why prefer one nation to other nation or one individual to another individual? Any rationality? Human conscience cannot accept it. It presents a regional God not a God of universe or God of the whole world.

    My submission is that absolute truth should be rational and universal , it should be acceptable to the consience of everybody.It is not fault of God , may be of the writers/tanslators ;as it contradicts the attributes of God , The Kind ,The Merciful.
    Thanks
     
  12. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Yes, I see what you are saying. While I understand that Noah's time is before the "official Hebrew fathers", it leaves me thinking about how God does seem to be quite pragmatic with the Hebrew people. I mean, He does spell out all kinds of laws for them to follow, and in a very scientific way, even though the people may not always have understood the reasons behind the instructions. So maybe Noah was being faithful and scientific and pragmatic, even though he may or may not have understood the exact "why" of the situation. And I really like your comparison between the tower and gas guzzlers. Very interesting take.:)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  13. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Parashat Vayera

    22 The men went on from there to Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham came forward and said, "Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty? 24 What if there should be fifty innocent within the city; will You then wipe out the place and not forgive it for the sake of the innocent fifty who are in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?..."

    So Abraham stands up to God. But as someone who does not accept supernaturalism, what is my paradigmatic parallel to standing up to God? For me, sometimes there are natural disasters that strike unjustly (this is when we must stand up to God's injustice) and standing up to God is to balance out the justice, to treat all of the victims with the same level of care, regardless of their social status, race, or religion. Along with natural disasters I would place the horrors of man, not as individuals, but when we act in groups, as animals (this is also God's injustice.)

    But Lot is still saved while everyone else perishes. Lot is clearly not the most moral person. But Abraham is, and perhaps that Lot's saving merit is his relationship to Abraham. So I think I might understand from this that we should judge people by their good qualities, and not their bad.

    Dauer
     
  14. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    You know Dauer I have seen this project for awhile and only today took the trouble to review some of this..so i wanted to apologize for not doing this earlier...

    I was reading some of the material and the following note came up about Mount Paran:

    "Mount Paran
    Near Seir (see Genesis 14:6). This was Ishmael's territory (Genesis 21:21). Paran was the Israelites first stop after Sinai (Numbers 10:12). Some say that this represents the revelation of Deuteronomy; see Deuteronomy 1:1 (Adereth Eliahu; Ophan Sheni; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Midrashically, this indicates that the Torah was offered to Ishmael (see above)."

    My curiosity was arousd by the comment "Midrashically, this indicates that the Torah was offered to Ishmael" Could you elaborate on that? I'm open to your comments..

    - Art
     
  15. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    arthra,

    I could probably give you a better answer with more context, but midrashically would refer to a more allegorical, figurative reading of the text. In Judaism there is a way of categorizing the interpretation of the text according to four levels: pshat which is the plain meaning, remez which is the alluded meaning, drash which is the allegorical, figurative, sometimes homiletical meaning, and sod which is the hidden, mystical meaning.

    Actually, I just remembered something. It may be making a reference to midrashic literature. According to a midrash, the Torah was offered to all of the nations before Israel, and they all turned it down. Israel only accepted with a mountain held above them. So it could potentially be a reference to that.

    Dauer
     
  16. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Thanks Dauer for the response... I appreciated your effort and I learned a few things!

    - Art
     
  17. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    I thought I would jump in and go right to the end because it reconnects with the start of the cycle and completes the circle of knowledge .... VE-ZOS HABRACHAH: "And this is the blessing with which Moses, man of G-, blessed the Children of Israel before his death" (Deut 33:1). According to Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum (AZAMRA) "The last of the Torah's fifty-three parshahs thus completes the circle to make the perfect garden: 53 is the gematria of the Hebrew word GAN = "garden". Having recounted man's sins and the resulting tribulations - imperfection and disunity - and having set forth the code of law through which man repairs himself and the world, the Torah ends with rectification and unity. "And this is the blessing. And there was a King in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered and the tribes of Israel together" (Deut 33 vs 1 & v. 5) ....

    with the cycles of study we grow stronger in our knowledge of the messages of the Torah ....

    as we move on to the next stage and close the interfaith parsha may we all grown wiser and stronger in our knowledge of ways to build bridges and cross over to the promised land together .... we start with the "garden" and we continue to seek it after our ancestors left it .... thank you Dauer for starting this project .... aloha nui, poh
     
  18. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

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    There was a mistake.Please see my next post





     
  19. inhumility

    inhumility New Member

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    Lekh Lekha


    Genesis
    12:7-17
    And he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name. 9 Then Abram journeyed by stages toward the Negeb.
    10 There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are." 12 If the Egyptians see you, and think, 'She is his wife,' they will kill me and let you live. 13 Please say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you."
    15 Pharaoh's courtiers saw her and praised her to Pharaoh, and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace. 16 And because of her, it went well with Abram; he acquired sheep, oxen, asses, male and female slaves, she-asses, and camels.
    17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his household with mighty plagues on account of Sarai, the wife of Abram. Unquote

    This is unbecoming of a Favored-By-God i.e. Abram. God created man on his image i.e. on his attributes; and his Messengers/Prophets/Guided-Ones by God are a role model for the mankind hence they have to be in the highest form of His image, unique in love of God and truthful conduct. Abram would have died in the famine rather to use these dirty tricks ; why Abram should be as a low as a common man, to save his skin he introduces the Holy Sarai as his sister to Egyptians, to the extent that Pharaoh unknowingly takes Sarai as his wife. If that is correct (my conscience does not admit it to be right) then God should have (I take refuge from God) punished Abram rather than Pharaoh. If these days somebody travels and asks his wife to pose as his sister; is it considered morally good to conceal the true identity?
    I don’t blame Abram and Holy Sarai doing that, as to me they never did it. It is the scribe character assassinating the Chosen Ones of God, and narrating made-up vulgar stories that make it interesting for the commoners and to attract the people around them. They don’t spare even the mother of all Israelis (and before that of Jacob and Isaac/Ishaq).
    Thanks
     
  20. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I'm not sure this would be just a "dirty trick"...

    We don't know all the parameters of ancient morality and survival that might have been involved in this...so this maybe a form of what some Muslims call "al-Taqiyya" or dissimulation which is only used in circumstances where one's life is in danger and it sounds like that was the case with regard to Abram in this case...

    Also and this may be another important point since the text uses the name "Abram" we know from this that this was before He became Abraham after the Covenant with God and "Sarai" became Sarah.

    By the way, in my view the use of "al-taquiyya" was abrogated by Baha'u'llah.

    - Art
     

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