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March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Ancient Leviathan Fossils Found in Arava Valley

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The land that runs along the edge of the southern end of the Dead Sea, near a certain section close to Masada, is soft and white. Although there are steep mounds of chalky white deposits that seem to stand guard along a path that moves inward towards the cliffs that rim the sea, they too are brittle, delicate and soft. They crumble at a touch.

One can climb those mounds, reach the top and then slide down just for fun. Desert tour guides sometimes take their private clients there to do just that – especially if there are children along for the tour.

The entire area, you see, was actually an ancient seabed. So it should come as no surprise that the remains of what may have been the Leviathan were found in southern Israel, researchers announced Tuesday.

Thirty fossilized remnants of the Elasmosaurus, described by Dr. Sarit Ashckenazi-Polivoda in an interview with The Jerusalem Post as the “cousin of dinosaurs” were found in the Arava Valley between 2012 and 2014.

During the period from which the fragments came – some 85 million years ago – the area was covered in ocean water 200 meters deep, the researcher said. “All of Israel was under water until 20-30 million years ago,” she told the Post. “The sea had a lot of algae and plankton that bloomed then, that attracted a lot of fish that fed on the algae, which the reptile ate.”

No one knows how or why the creatures from that period became extinct, but they disappeared about 66 million years ago, she said. Global changes such as volcanic eruptions that warmed and cooled the environment and caused changes in the ocean, as to the fish and algae, certainly could have contributed.

A dinosaur footprint was also found in Jerusalem in the 1980s, she said, and a 75 million-year-old reptile skeleton was found in the Negev in 2005.

The Elasmosaurus remains are currently on display at Hebrew University.

Rabbi Metzger to be Indicted for Bribery

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Former Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger will be indicted for allegedly stuffing into his pockets nearly $2 million from bribes, he was told Tuesday by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Rabbi Metzger denies all charges.

Police investigations concluded with several charges for bribery, fraud, breach of public trust, money laundering and cheating on taxes while he was serving as the leading light for the Jewish people.

In Israel, not everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but the country is chock full of apparently airtight cases against public officials who eventually are not convicted, often because the police are even more guilty for sloppy work.

A public official, especially a rabbi, must be above suspicion. Barring the possibility, not to be dismissed,  that Rabbi Metzger is squeaky clean and the police have been on another witch hunt, the case is a black stain on the Chief Rabbinate.

The rabbi allegedly helped himself to princely sums of money to help convert people  to Judaism. Rabbi Metzger is from the Haredi community that frowns on conversions of national religious rabbis, who so far have a record of being among the cleanest of public officials.

The indictments cite several examples of Rabbi Metzger’s alleged contributions to his bank account under the guise of increasing the ranks of Jews. One case involved a wealthy Russian businessman who allegedly paid Rabbi Metzger $360,000 to convert his son and daughter.

Supposedly, he taught them the basic laws of the Torah, such as the prohibitions against stealing and not to place an obstacle in the path of the blind, the basis for prohibitions against being a con artist.

The Israeli public never was thrilled with the appointment of Rabbi Metzger as Chief Rabbi from the day he was suggested for the post.

His appointment as Chief Rabbi was rare if not unprecedented because he never had served as a religious judge.

His predecessor was Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, arguably the most popular Chief Rabbi in generations, one who managed to draw praise and respect from all sectors of Israel, including secular and Sephardi Jews.

His shoes were impossible to fill, but Rabbi Metzger was not even a midget compared to Rabbi Lau.

Rabbi Metzger was only 50 years old when appointed in 2003. He had a national religious background but clearly was in the Haredi court.

To Rabbi Metzger’s credit, he initiated a prayer for Jonathan Pollard, one which has been adopted by thousands of synagogues.

During his tenure, he was very active in approving relations between Jews and other religions.

He also announced his disapproval of attempts to separate men and women on buses.

If Rabbi Metzger is acquitted, he will have moral grounds to sue the police and the government for incredible recklessness.

If he is pronounced guilty, whatever punishment he will serve will not correct the loss of faith of Jews in rabbis.

Pope Says Catholics should not ‘Breed like Rabbits’

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Catholics should be “responsible” parents and not “breed like rabbits,” Pope Francis commented to reporters while traveling from the Philippines Monday.

He still is against contraception and noted that the church has approved other ways to make sure there are not too many Bugs Bunny Catholics running around

“God gives you methods to be responsible,” he said, adding that natural birth control should be practiced by avoiding relations when a woman is able to conceive.

So much for the first mitzvah in the Bible, unless the Old Testament no longer exists for Catholics.

Jewish law takes a direct opposite approach and prohibits a man from even touching a woman when he is ritually impure and cannot conceive.

The pope is consistent his disregarding ancient texts. Not only did does he dismiss the first mitzvah, he also chose to use rabbits as his analogy instead of citing a Talmudic text in Berachot 22a, where rabbis teach that couples should take it easy on intimate relations and practice a bit of self-restraint and not act like “roosters.”

Maybe the pope prefers rabbits because they are not kosher.

The pope also lambasted “ideological colonization,” meaning countries conditioning aid to the promotion on birth control and permissiveness, if not encouragement, of homosexuality.

“Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized,” Pope Francis said.

So it seems that the pope wants to encourage the holiness of family by restricting sexual relations, especially if it means having more children who can build more families.

But too much birth control has backfired in the past.

Isn’t the virgin Mary the mother of Catholicism?

President Rivlin hosts New Year’s reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian communities

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

President Reuven Rivlin hosted the traditional, annual reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian community leaders on Tuesday to mark the civil New Year.

The President welcomed nine heads of various churches in Israel and senior members of the community and said:

“Over the past months, we have been greatly concerned, by the ongoing religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered.

“This is a war against extremism, a war being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred.

“This is a cause of great worry and pain for all us. We share the Psalms of King David, the words of the Prophets, and a love for Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. As we know, we are all created in the image of God. As the prophet Malachi wrote, ‘Do we not, all have one Father? Did not one God create us?’ We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers.

“May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’ Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year.”

 

PM Netanyahu Competes in International Bible Quiz

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu competed on Tuesday in the fifth International Bible Quiz held in Jerusalem on Tuesday… but despite his year-long study sessions at the prime minister’s office and at home, the winner was an Israeli named Hananel Malka.

Netanyahu accepted the loss with grace, commenting that he loves to learn.

“I study Bible every week with my son, and I draw enormous strength from it,” the prime minister said. “Therefore I decided to re-establish the Bible Quiz for adults, and I renewed the Bible department…

“That’s the spirit that gives us the strength to stand against all of the challenges and pressures,” he added.

Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman told participants at the competition, “The Bible was and is the main unifier of our identity as a nation. The Bible is the source of our lives; it is the source of our rights to fight for our lives here in the Land of Israel.”

Wortzman added that just as the Bible is connected to all, “we must do everything so that it returns to the main street of Israeli society.”

‘House of David’ Rock on Exhibit at NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

A stone on which is inscribed the earliest known reference to the era of King David is on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dimly lit, the stone slab, or stele, doesn’t look particularly noteworthy, especially when compared to the more lavish sphinxes, jewelry and cauldrons one encounters en route to the room where it is installed.

A Twitter post this fall, art journalist Lee Rosenbaum described the 2750-year-old rock, nearly 13-by-16 inches and which resembles an aardvark or elephant, as “homely.”

What’s significant about this stone is its inscription: “the earliest extra-biblical reference to the House of David.”

“There is no doubt that the inscription is one of the most important artifacts ever found in relation to the Bible,” Eran Arie, curator of Israelite and Persian periods at the Israel Museum, wrote in the exhibit catalog.

The stone is on display as part of the “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit running through January 4.

As is to be expected with a rock nearly three millennia old, the slab is missing considerable portions, and Arie’s translation of the remaining 13 lines of text is full of ellipses and bracketed additions. What is clear is that the Aram-Damascene king Hazael brags of having killed 70 kings, including of Israel and of the “House of David.” Scholars agree that the round figure is probably exaggerated, although Hazael did have a reputation for being ruthless and successful.

The breaks in the stone neither obstruct nor obscure the “bytdvd,” or House of David, inscription, which remains “absolutely intact and clear,” said Ira Spar, professor of history and ancient studies at Ramapo College in New Jersey and a research Assyriologist at the Metropolitan Museum.

Epigraphers and biblical historians agree almost unanimously that the letters “bytdvd” refer to the House of King David, according to Spar.

“While it is clear that David was king of Israel, the archaeological evidence for the extent of his kingdom remains unclear,” he said.

Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website.

In the catalog for the “Assyria to Iberia” exhibit, the Israel Museum’s Arie wrote that the inscription’s matter-of-fact invocation of David’s name just some 150 years after his reign amounts to a “clear indication that the ‘House of David’ was known throughout the region and that the king’s reputation was not a literary invention of a much later period.” This, he adds, “clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem.”

Chief of Staff’s Mom: I Wish He Had Been a Rabbi

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Esther Eizenkott, mother of the next IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkott, says she would have preferred that her son be a rabbi, but, “If God wants him to Chief of Staff, so it should be.”

In a conversation with the Kikar Shabbat Haredi website, Esther Eizenkott revealed that the next Chief of Staff often consults a rabbi in Jerusalem.

Uh-oh.

Can you already hear the secularists screaming, “Oy? What happens if he returns to Judaism while he is Chief of Staff? That would violate the sanctity of separating God from the army.

A rabbi?

“Is the IDF dependent on God?”

Try reading Devarim (Deuteronomy), Chapter 8:

11. Beware that you do not forget the Lord, your God, by not keeping His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command you this day,
12. lest you eat and be sated, and build good houses and dwell therein,
13. and your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold increase, and all that you have increases, 
14. and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,
15. Who led you through that great and awesome desert, [in which were] snakes, vipers and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought water for you out of solid rock,
16. Who fed you with manna in the desert, which your forefathers did not know, in order to afflict you and in order to test you, to benefit you in your end,
17. and you will say to yourself, “My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me.”
18. But you must remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you strength to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your forefathers, as it is this day.
19. And it will be, if you forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, and worship them, and prostrate yourself before them, I bear witness against you this day, that you will surely perish.
20. As the nations that the Lord destroys before you, so will you perish; since you will not obey the Lord your God.

Yes, even the IDF is dependent on God.

Eizenkott left observance while growing up with his family, which moved from his native to Tiberias to Eilat while he was a boy.

“Of course, I would have preferred that he be a rabbi, but if God wants him to be Chief of Staff, so it should be,” she told Kikar Shabbat.” We are a family of rabbis.”

She learned of the appointment shortly before she lit candles before Shabbat and could not speak on the phone to anyone during Shabbat, which she observes.

Esther Eizenkott, whose husband died 18years ago, also revealed that when she was in her seventh month of pregnancy before Gadi was born she went to the grave of the famous Rabbi Meir Ba’al Ha Nes. She said she told her father she dreamed of the rabbi and “did not see his face but only his back.” Her father told her, “This is a sign you will have a boy and he will not be religious, but he will be wise.”

Don’t ask how he figured that out from the dream. Leave that for the kabbalists.

More important is that after his appointment was officially announced Saturday night, virtually everyone shared one word that describes Eizenkott – modest.

When he was approached four years to consider the post, he said he thought that Benny Gantz, whom he will replace, “was more suitable.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chief-of-staffs-mom-i-wish-he-would-been-a-rabbi-but-thank-god/2014/11/30/

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