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Hebrews, Israelites, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus...no matter your faith its about asking the right God question.

Welcome to an open forum about God presented in a question of the week format.

Instead of beginning with the usual questions of

"How do you know God exists?" or

"Why do you believe in God?"

We will begin our Blog by asking you to describe...

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The Omer

Posted on April 3, 2018 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (1)

The omer refers to the 49-day period between the second night of Passover "Pesach" and the holiday of Shavuot.

“You shall count from the eve of the second day of Pesach, when an omer of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. The day after the seventh week of your counting will make fifty days, and you shall present a new meal offering to God (Leviticus 23:15-16).” 

"You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHWH your God, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHWH your God. (Deuteronomy 16:9-10)"

The omer period symbolizes the thematic link between Passover and Shavuot "the Feast of Weeks."

The omer is counted each evening after sundown.

One stands when counting the omer, and begins by reciting the following blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.

After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count. For example:  Hayom yom echad la’omer "Today is the first day of the omer."

After the first six days, one also includes the number of weeks that one has counted. For example:  Hayom sh’losha asar yom, she’hem shavuah echad v’shisha yamim la’omer "Today is 13 days, which is one week and six days of the omer."









The 400 Years of Bereshit 15:13 Abrams Vision

Posted on January 30, 2018 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (1)

In the Torah (Hebrew Bible) portion Parashat Lech Lecha, Hebrew for “go for you”, God’s word comes to Abram in a vision in Genesis "Bereshit" 15:13: “ADONAI said to Avram, “Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years.” See Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)


In verse 13, God makes a prophecy that Israel will be in bondage for 400 years.  Egypt remains unnamed as the land where this bondage would occur.  An important point in Abram's vision says “Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs,"  Egypt was not a strange or foreign land to the Israelites. 


The Torah further tells us how the Israelites are enslaved in Egypt and eventually escape under the leadership of Moses. At least one pharaoh is involved, the "pharaoh of the oppression" who enslaves the Israelites, and the "pharaoh of the exodus" during whose rule the Israelites escape.  In contrast, most contemporary historians use the year 1619 as a starting point to calculate the 400 years of Bereshit 15:13 in Abram's vision to relate to the: 20 Africans referred to as “servants” who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, on a Dutch ship.  The 20 Africans fit the description of  foreigners in a land that is not theirs; 1619-2019 = 400 years that parallel and closely fit Abram's vision found in Bereshit 15:13.  


The Israelite bondage in Egypt was around 1880 B.C. but was the 400 years expressed in Bereshit 15:13 fulfilled when the children of Israel were slaves in ancient Egypt?  Does Bereshit 15:13 confirm and point to the Biblical identity of the chiildren of Israel who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619?  Does the Israelite slavery add up to the 400 years of oppression of the African-American slavery in the United States? What do you think?  


 

 

What is biblical prophecy?

Posted on December 22, 2017 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

According to Wikipedia: “Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages are allegedly communicated by a god. Such messages typically involve inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of divine will concerning the prophet's social world and events to come (compare divine knowledge). Prophecy is not limited to any one culture. It is a common property to all known ancient societies around the world, some more than others. Many systems and rules about prophecy have been proposed over several millennia.”


In Encyclopedia Britannica we read:  “Prophecy, in religion, is a divinely inspired revelation or interpretation. Although prophecy is perhaps most commonly associated with Judaism and Christianity, it is found throughout the religions of the world, both ancient and modern. In its narrower sense, the term prophet (Greek prophētēs, “forthteller” refers to an inspired person who believes that he has been sent by his god with a message to tell. He is, in that sense, the mouthpiece of his god. In a broader sense, the word can refer to anybody who utters the will of a deity, often ascertained through visions, dreams, or the casting of lots…”


In Parashat Mikeitz (Hebrew for “at the end”) - (Genesis “Bereshit” 41:1-44:17) - Joseph Interprets the Dream of Pharaoh


What is the difference between Prophecy vs. Dreams?


When a prophet is granted a vision or a message about the future, he knows that it is the future he is being shown. He knows that he is now in the present, viewing events which will occur on a future date.


A dream, by contrast, is an entirely different experience. The dreamer is not merely viewing the future; he is experiencing it right then. He feels that the events of his dream are occurring to him at that very moment. We often wake up from dreams with the thought “Thank goodness – it was only a dream!” Thus, unlike a prophecy in which a prophet today is being shown a vision of the future, the dreamer is actually transported to the future, to experience it right here and now.


Why is this distinction between prophecy and dreams significant?  It is significant because of the critical role that time and free will play in Jewish philosophy. As Maimonides (Laws of Repentance, Ch. 5) explains, FREE WILL is one of the most fundamental principles of Judaism. Our actions are in our own hands. We can determine our future. There is no predestination in the eyes of the Torah. Our future is indeterminate. Every day of our lives we can wake up and decide if we want to be good or wicked. And as a result, God will reward or punish us for our every action and decision.


Prophecy on the other hand, can be viewed as an override of this principle. When a prophet comes and informs mankind what is in store for the future, it is no longer indeterminate. If a prophet would come along today and proclaim that the Chaldeans will attack tomorrow, presumably the Chaldeans have no choice but to attack. It has to happen; God already told us it would. Thus, free will would seem to be compromised. The future is no longer in the hands of man.


At the same time, it should be mentioned that prophecies – especially ones which discuss distant events such as the End of Days, are often purposely vague. There are many ways in which they may come true. Such prophecies are vague specifically because they discuss events which are not yet entirely determined and may come true in many ways – generally depending upon how worthy we will be at the time. Likewise, Maimonides (Laws of Fundamentals of Torah 10:4) writes that negative prophecies may not actually occur. Such prophecies come as (warnings to mankind; if we repent, we can avert them.)


Based on this, the distinction we made between prophecy and dreams becomes very significant. Prophecy means that a prophet is standing here today being told what will occur tomorrow. “Tomorrow” is thus no longer indeterminate. It has been established already today; free will has been compromised. Dreams, by contrast, are an experience in which the dreamer actually experiences the future. Dreams are a beyond-time experience. The future has not been announced and brought down to the present. It is still the inchoate future, and so by definition – since free will exists – it can happen in more than one way.


Joseph recognized that he was a dreamer. He had the ability to relate to the universe beyond time, to future events not yet conceived. When he received his prophetic dreams, he realized he could not just sit back and wait for them to occur. These were not prophecies of the future brought down to the world of time – which would transpire whether we cooperate with them or not. They were dreams. Joseph was being informed of his potential future – what might be if he would only exercise his free will to make it happen. Thus, Joseph realized he had to act on his dreams, to concretize his potential future and make it his reality.



Let's take another look at Bereshit 15:13-14; found in our weekly Torah portion; Parashat Lech Lecha which says:



"13 And He said unto Abram: 'Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.' - Is Bereshit 15:13-14 prophecy?  Could Bereshit 15:13-14 be the Slavery in America that began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619?  Could Bereshit 15:13-14 be a word of judgment?  If so, for...Israel?



Prophets of the ancient Middle East generally interjected their opinions and advice into the political arena of their countries, but in that regard the classical Hebrew prophets were perhaps more advanced than other prophetic movements. They interpreted the will of God within the context of their particular interpretation of Israel’s history, and on the basis of that interpretation often arrived at a word of judgment...



What do you think?



The 400 Year Biblical Prophecy Concerning Israelites

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (6)

What is the 400 year Torah "biblical" prophecy concerning Black (Israelite) slavery in America?

The 72 Names of God

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (5)

Is the 72 names of God, a formula of 72 mixtures of Hebrew letters that Moses used to part the Red Sea?  What do you think?

Nothing

Posted on August 18, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (5)

God created everything out of nothing.  What is nothing?  Is there any place in the Universe where there’s truly nothing?

Asking the right God question...

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (6)

What would your life and the world around you be like if you did not have faith?  What would the world be like if there were no God? 


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