Friday, June 29, 2007

Facing One's Fears, Becoming Who We Are

I once attended a class with a rabbi in New York who once spoke about how every person, and every ethnic group on the planet has a destiny. For a Jew this means that we are not the only people on the planet who have a divine mission. Needless to say we do have a mission, to know and walk according to the will of God. Never to bow down in our faith, and to be an example i.e. a light to the nations.

Once when I was speaking at a High School about Judaism to a class who was reading a book called the Color of Water, a student asked me, "How do Jews spread Judaism to the world?" This was an interesting question for me to answer since the class was made up mostly of Christians, and a few Muslims. My response to her was:

"In Judaism we don't have a commandment to spread Judaism to the world. There is no requirement for Jews to make more Jews, and there is no concept that the entire must become Jewish. It is not our job to make the world believe that the One we worship is The One and only God, blessed is He, whose name is יהוה. It is only our job to be an example, and to live our lives based on the Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible)."

Note: Of course I didn't pronounce God's Name, just visually trying to make a point in differences between Judaism and other religions.

Often major world religions are pictured with the concept of vying for new converts under the belief that the world will become a better place once the world accepts their theology. If one wants to receive some form of afterlife then one must subscribe to their theology to be safe. In Judaism we don't exactly see it that way. In our faith there are two tracts that lead to God in the exact same way.

Path #1 is as a Benei Yisrael (Descendant of Jacob) or a Jew. A Jew is anyone who comes from an accepted ancestry from either descendants of Jacob of Geirim (non-Jews who live amongst Jews and accept the commandments of God like Jews). A person who "converts" is the same as a Jew, just without the ancestry, yet they have the same rights as anyone born Jewish.

Path #2 is that of a Ben-Nochri/Benei Noach. These are non-Israelite or non-Jewish people who have accepted The God mentioned in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and who live a life based on 7 things.

  1. Do not murder.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not worship false gods.
  4. Do not be sexually immoral.
  5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
  6. Do not curse God.
  7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

Rabbi Moshe Maimon aka Rambam (1135 to 1204) explains that any human being who faithfully observes these laws earns a proper place in heaven. So you see, the Torah is for all humanity, no conversion necessary. As well, when King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he specifically asked God to heed the prayer of non-Jews who come to the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43).

As a Jew, it is not my job to go out and conquer the world, or force Judaism or the Noachide Laws on non-Jews. Yet, it is my responsibility as a Jew to be an example and to be able to explain the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) to any non-Jew who wants to know about it.

It is this part of destiny that at times has been hard for some religious Jews to grapple with. Mainly due to the treatment that Jews have faced from the 2nd Century CE till recent history. How can on one hand a person look back and see the persecution of his ancestors, just for them trying to follow the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) within their own community. Now, they have to turn around and teach it to people who in many cases could care less, and in other cases descend from the people who persecuted those Jews from Europe to the Middle East to Africa to America.

It may sound strange, but it is a part of the Jewish destiny. The Torah was given for our benefit, but the Torah also had instruction for the non-Jewish nations. The reason is because every nation has a purpose and every nation has a mission. Is is clear, but we live in a time where it is more beneficial for a Jew to not live a life based on Torah. It is easier to simply throw off this responsibility because it is perceived to have failed us. Why did we have to suffer, why did we have to loose so much, why does it seem like God has abandoned us?

Maybe, the answer is both a mystery and a given. On some level we don't know why suffering exists in every nation, and not just our own as Jews. Maybe, we have something to share with the world, without using the methods that others have used to get their points across. Maybe it is time for us to stand up against evil and fight it with our defense being our spiritual, mental, and physical awareness peaked. Maybe, the world is trying to tell us that we can't throw away our ancestry and our faith and expect sympathy from the world. What would be the point of the Land of Israel without the faith of Israel?

The only reason we have a right to the Land of Israel is because of the Bible that not only we accepted, but also millions of non-Jews accept. Could it be that the more we run away from our destiny we fall further and further into the hate of nations who are crying out for sane dialog when it comes to faith matters? Maybe the world is crying out for the Torah we posses, so that the may know the ways of God. Though it is not our job to beat the world upside their heads with our faith, maybe in this time where we more freedom than our ancestors from about 600 BCE until 1948 the world is waiting for us to stand for something.

This isn't just a call to all of us who are Jewish, but is also a call to all non-Jews who believe in the God described in the Bible. He is not the token for only the Jewish people, and we know this because Adam was not a Jew, Noah was not a Jew, Abraham was not a Jew, Job was not a Jew, etc. Those who came before Jacob were not Israelites and they weren't Jews. Abraham was the father of Jews, certain Arabs, and a number of other Semitic people, but his faith in God preceded the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Noah and Job are seen in Judaism as examples to both Jews and non-Jews of how to walk with God.

This is a call for us all, face your fears, become who God created you to be, and stand for something!




"Only the strong ones travel this deep!"

19 comments:

Michelle Says So said...

Thank you for adding my blog to your blog. My blog is very different from the other ones you have and I appreciate you believe in justice for ALL.

Keep up the good job!

http://michellesaysso.blogspot.com

Ehav Ever said...

Hello Michelle,

Really I should be thanking you. Your Blog for justice is an inspiration, and I am glad that I came across.

Ehav Ever

Anonymous said...

I hope Ehav be-emes that you rethink your decision to cast your lot in with the State of Amalek, the Zionist kefira against Hashem and his Torah. Truth is more important than anything.

Anonymous said...

Also, if you have a Yahoo or other email address, please let us know how to write to you privately.

Ehav Ever said...

B"H

Greetings Anonymous,

I agree with you that truth is more important than anything. I am not going to Israel because of Zionism, in the Ashkenazi sense. I am going because there have been a large number of Mizrahhi, Teimani, and Sephardi Gedolim who have stated that Jews who live by Torah are needed in Eretz Yisrael. That and there were a large number of Sephardi, Mizrahhi, and Teimani Jews there before and after the Ottoman Empire conquered the region.

The Sephardi Gedolim speak of the balance that is needed not just for the Land itself, but also for the sake of Am Yisrael. Besides every time Am Yisrael came to Eretz Yisrael many of the same circumstances existed as now. There are some striving for Torah and some not striving for Torah. In Eretz Yisrael there is a need for those striving for Torah to be there for those not striving for Torah.

If you can tell me more about yourself we can communicate. I normally don't give my email out to people I know nothing about, have had bad experiences with that.

Anonymous said...

Please read my comments on the other page. I need to restate the fact that the presence of the Jewish People under the authority of the forbidden Amalek regime is opposed by the greatest scholars and others who have not been bribed by the Zionists (after all, who does the Torah mean when it mentions that bribery shall blind the eyes of the wise and distort the words of the righteous). Torah and "religion" built on the bodies and suffering of millions of others is not Judaism. It's time for our People to wake up. Let's keep communicating. PS, I find the research on Jewish contacts in Nigeria to be fascinating. But that is a whole other topic to go into.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to comment that regarding your gallery of photos,with all due respect, some of the photos are beyond the framework of tsnius, modesty, and should be removed. BTW, have you actually moved to the Medinah yet?

Ehav Ever said...

B"H

Greetings Anonymous. On your first comment. I disagree with you in terms of there not being a difference in Sephardi and Ashkenazi. There are a number of Sephardim who have more than enough legal right to be in Eretz Yisrael as well as the entire Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe because our families came from areas that were under the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire took over the Middle East through war, as well as the Mamluks before it, the Byzantines before that, etc. That being said Sephardic and Mizrahhi Jews have historically always had a right to be in Eretz Yisrael, except for the time of the Byzantines and certain periods of Ottoman rule.. This is especially true in areas where the Ottomans gave land rights to Jews have always had land rights and legal deeds, such as in Haifa, Shechem, Hevron, Ramleh, Yaffa, Gaza, Jerusalem. So the claim that the Palestinians are being oppressed by me being in Israel I definitely don't agree with. Also, the Palestinians should be blaming the Arab nations around them for their plight. Many Jews would have never left their countries if they weren't forced out. Also, I have met with Palestinians who agree that the Arab nations that told them to leave before the War of Independence were to blame for their current situation. The Jews of Haifa tried to convince the Arabs to stay and not leave, but the Arabs sided with the other Arab nations and left.

Also, if the current state of Israel Amelek than so is most of the countries in the world included the Palestinian state. The ways of Amelek are in all of the Western Countries as well as the Middle Eastern ones so I don't buy into that argument. Especially with all the Gedolim who had no problem going to Eretz Yisrael before 1948.

This is especially true based on Sura 17:101-114 which is clear that Eretz Yisrael was to be the place where Jews from all over the world would return to. Arabs can't go against the Quran, and acting like Sephardic and Mizrahhi Jews don't have a right to be there goes against Islamic law, and all the early agreements that Muslims were breaking with Jews before European Zionism started. Islamic law also does not give the right for Muslims to decide that Jews can't be in Eretz Yisrael, if anything they have to respect the deeds that they signed to the Sephardim who were always there and those who fell under the Ottoman rule. Since none of the Palestinians claim to have continued the Ottoman rule I don't see how their wants and desires overrides their own religious laws. Especially after what they did to the Jews of Yemen 300 years ago, the Jews of Tamantit in the 1400's, the Jews of Egypt 100 years ago, and lets not forget when the Iranians forced the Jews of Isfahan and Shiraz to convert to Islam for almost 200 years for many. Some people families couldn't return to Judaism until the 19th cent.

Now in terms of Rabbis being paid off by the government. The Rabbis I mentioned were never paid off by the government. None of the Dor Daim were ever paid off by the government and they were strict to Mishnah Torah and Rambam and even Mori Yihhyeh Qafahh z"l and Mori Yossph Qafahh z"l were anti-moving to Israel. I'll have more later.

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Anonymous,

In terms of the pictures listed and tsniut. I am not Cheriedi so I don't have any issues with the photos and my Rabbis have seen said photos and have no issues.

Anonymous said...

Ehav, there are so many issues mixed up here, I don't even know where to begin. First of all, the issue of tsnius has nothing to do with political identification of "haredi". It has to do with tznius, which is a pillar of Yahadut. The level of tsnius among Sephardi communities was very high, and had nothing to do with terms like "haredi." It had to do with Beit Yosef, Rambam, Rashab etc. zechuseyhem yagenu aleynu.

Plain and simple. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, there are basic historical facts that have nothing to do with Ashkenazim or Sephardim, especially since most Sephardim did not live in the Land prior to 1950, but were deceived into living their countries by the Zionists, and their bombing of synagogues in Cairo and Baghdad, etc. Indeed, the Sephardim were never kicked out of any Arab country. The Zionists bribed the Iraqi officials in 1948 to encourage Jews to leave. But most Moroccan and Egyptian Jews remained until 1967. No one pushed them out by force. Of course there were a few events that took place thanks to the provocations of the accursed Zionists (both Sephardi and Ashkenazi). For more information, consult Mr. Giladi's book about what they did in Iraq.

In any case, along came the Zionists with their mass colonization, and said to the Palestinians, "Either you stay here as our slaves or second-class citizens in our ethnocratic apartheid regime, or you get out!"

Of course the historical Sephardic communities of Eretz Yisroel were fine communities, and indeed they (like Jews in every Arab country) were living just fine. The Palestinian national movement developed alongside national movements everywhere, and they had nothing against the Jews, either Sephardi or Ashkenazi. What they did oppose was limitless invasion to drive them out and overwhelm them.

Anonymous said...

And of course we want to ask: After everything the Zionists have been doing to the Palestinians for 60 years, why do people expect them to stand on a higher level of patient behavior than the Zionists themselves?! What are Palestinians supposed to do? Stay home and say tehillim all day, and chant, "Yes Massa, Yes, Massa."???

Anonymous said...

If someone had a choice of where to live, say in 1900 or even 1850, and was given a choice of living in Casa Blanca or Warsaw, Kiev or Sa'ana, Alexandria or Vilna, which would he choose?!!

Miriam said...

Hi Ehav,

As always, very interesting post!

Who's this Anonymous? Oh well that's non of my business.

Take care. And please stop by my blog once in a while!

Ehav Ever said...

In terms of Tzeniyut, just as you mentioned there are differences between how Sephardim and Ashkenazi handle the matter Halachicly, but there are differences in how they are handled interpersonally. I don't consider the pictures to violate them. That is another topic altogether of why, but in short Sephardim have always been liberal in their approach to each other and how they deal with change and disagreements. Yet, that is another topic, and as I mentioned I don't ascribe to the Heriedi methods of dealing with such things. That has nothing to do with politics. Yet, that is another topic.

Ehav Ever said...

Hello Miriam,

I am not sure who Anonymous is he/she hasn't identified themselves. I will check out your blog when I finish with moving some things around. Thanks for checking out the site again.

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Anonymous,

You also mentioned something earlier as if Sephardic rabbis who either live in Israel or who support Sephardic and Mizrahhi Jews living in Israel are somehow on a Zionist payroll. That is Lashon Hara, especially since you have no proof that this is the case. You even mentioned Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on another topic, but are now going to claim that he is on a Zionist payroll? Besides the Rabbis I menitoned earlier were never on any Zionist payroll (Rabbi Yihhyeh Qafahh, Rabbi Yoseph Qafahh, Rabbi Yehudah Gamiliel, Rabbi Mosheh ben Nachman z"l, Rabbi Yitzhaq Alfassi z"l, Rabbi Mordechai Aby Serour, and Rabbi Yehudah Alkalay z"l. All of them either lived or advocated that Jews should and could move to Eretz Yisrael. It seems like you are suggesting that every Sephardi and Teimani Rabbi who doesn't agree your position is currupt by suggesting they are being bribed to feel the way they do.

Also, the control of land of Sephardic communities in Eretz Yisrael predates the European Zionist movements, and said deeds provided the ability for any Jew who was under the Ottoman Empire to be able to move to Eretz Yisrael. This is especially true in areas where the Ottomans gave land rights to Jews have always had land rights and legal deeds, such as in Haifa, Shechem, Hevron, Ramleh, Yaffa, Gaza, Jerusalem. These deeds to Sephardic and Mizrahhi communities predate the Zionist movement, and were provided to the Sephardim and Mizrahhim by the Ottoman Empire for the most part and not individual Arabs. This is why I make a distinction between Ashkenazim and everyone else. The debate over whether Ashkenazim deserve to be applied under the old Ottoman Laws, is another debate.

Besides the Quran is very clear that Eretz Yisrael was given to Am Yisrael in Sura 5, and in Sura 17 it even says that Allah would bring back Am Yisrael from all over the world back to Eretz Yisrael before the days of Judgment as a sign. It even goes further in Sharia that Allah creates nations and borders, not humanity and what nations will rise and fall are determined by him not by humans. The biggest issue is that the Mamluks and Ottoman Empire no longer exist and I have never heard any Palestinian claiming that they are the recipients of such a transfer of power. If they have the right to decide that they are no a country, and not sure how they can just determine that without following their own Sharia and go against previous agreements with the Ottoman Empire.

The other issue is that the Palestinians have stolen land from the Samaritans and their own capital is on land that was exclusively Samaritan. At one point the Arabs tried were planning on forcing out the Samaritans since some Imams were claiming that the Samaritans were not אהל אלדומה. Of course the Rishon Le-Tziyon spoke up for the Samaritans and claimed them to also be Am Yisrael. The question stands of when will the Palestinians give the Samaritans their land back and given them control over it?

Ehav Ever said...

Anonymous Wrote:
If someone had a choice of where to live, say in 1900 or even 1850, and was given a choice of living in Casa Blanca or Warsaw, Kiev or Sa'ana, Alexandria or Vilna, which would he choose?!!

I would say that would depend on the person and whether they were Jewish or not. It also depends on whether in the Islamic areas they could live as an אהל אלדומה. In the Christian areas it would depend on if they had a community.

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Anonymous,

In terms of what you provided, long before there was a ever a European form of Zionism, the Islmaic Caliphates, many of which were formed through conquest, treated Jews good at times and bad at times. It depended on who was in power and whichever way they decided to interpret their own Sharia and Fatwas. I don't agree with your assessment that everything was okay in Eretz Yisrael and everywhere else prior to European Zionism being created and that everyone was in peace. That situation fluctuated depending on who was in power Byzantines, Mamluks, Ottoman Caliphs, etc.

I don't agree with you that all the Arab nations, that were formed by European powers, took a pay-off to persecute Jews in Muslim lands and they were so blinded by the money of a small group of people. If that were even the case they have broken both the Noachide Laws and even their own Sharia to do such a thing. That would also suggest that they (Iran, Iraq, Egypt, etc.) were corrupt from the start, since they would have had no basis to go against their own agreements. They would also have to assume the responsibility for their actions and how it affected the Palestinians if that were even the case. They can't persecute Jews for money, destroy synagogues, and kick Jews out and then later get mad when Jews go to Eretz Yisrael.

In Yemen Jews had been perseucted from the moment the Shi'ia's took over. Numerous times they kicked Jews out into the desert to die. During the time of Rabbi Shalom Shabazi z"l the Shi'ia's executed the Rabbis z"l of Sanaa in front of the Jewish community, ransacked the Jewish quarter, and kicked the Jews out into the desert to die. Besides, regardless of why Arab nations chose to persecute Jews they went against their own Quran. If they were so helpless to be bribed that is a joke, and they need to own up to their lack of legal justice. The Torah and their Quran is witness against them if that were the case. Yet, the situations I previously mentioned were prior to European Zionism and were not connected to what you are even talking about. Besides, as I mentioned earlier the Palestinians need to blame the Arab countries that were involved and seek resitution from them.

Ehav Ever said...

Greetings Anonymous,

My last comment on this topic is that you mentioned Amelek. Well as we all know there are three Mitzvahs associated with Amelek for Am Yisrael.

1) Not to forget what they did.
2) To Erase their name.
3) To destroy Amalek

That being said, if one wants to claim that the current Israeli government or the state of Israel is Amelek, then that also means that Am Yisrael have to confront Amelek emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically where ever Amalek exists. If one is going to claim that the Israeli government is Amalek because they don't follow Torah, my response to that is that this isn't the first Israeli governent to not follow Torah. The Divrei Ha-Yamim (Book of Chronicles) talks about a number of them that did not. It also talks about the people who stood up to and called Am Yisrael to teshuvah (repentance). The people who stood up didn't do it from another land they did it in Eretz Yisrael. If one wants to claim that the current Israeli government is Amelek because of their treatment of fellow Jews, well all one has to do is look the Sefer Shoftim (Book of Judges), and the Sifrei Melakhim (Books of Kings) to see Jews turning on fellow Jews from the lowest aspects of society to the highest aspects. If one wants to say that the current Israeli government is Amelek because of their treatment of Palestinians, then all one has to do is look all over the Tanakh of what happened to Phillistines, Canaanites, Emorim, Midyonites, etc. who were to be exterminated and find that this has not happened to the Palestinians.

Now to some here and now. I am a firm believer that the Galut i.e. the exile of Am Yisrael is coming to an end. I believe in the predictions in the Torah that Hashem would cause Am-Yisrael and that He would even cause other nations to bring Am Yisrael to Israel. Similar to how the Ethiopian government eventually let the Jews of the north be taken to Israel. The same way that Imam Ahmad bin Yahhyah saw that Israel being established was a sign from Allah, Sura 17, and allowed Jews to go. The situation between Israel and the Palestinians is one that I believe can be worked using Torah for Am Yisrael and Sharia for Muslims. Yet, I believe that it is going to take enough Jews in Eretz Yisrael standing up for Torah and being אור לגוים. If that were to happen it changes the whole field and the whole debate, and would cause the right attitude on how to deal with Palestinians. That is one of the reasons I am in Israel, because I see that this is started to be realized by some on both sides.

Amelek can only be fought when one is in his/her place facing off against Amelek. The command is not to sit back or hide in another place. Amelek is to be confronted on the way to obtaining Eretz Yisrael and as we see with Melekh Shaul that Amelek was even confronted in Eretz Yisrael. I believe that when Jews in Eretz Yisrael stand up for Torah it will change the whole attitude of the Middle East because people will see that Hashem is One and that the Torah does come from Tziyon.