Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They are no more

Maria Angels Anglada 2011

It happened to me maybe some six months ago but I have not yet forgotten it.

I doubt will I ever forget it.

My friend invited us to his office to watch a video as we all like music. It was the simplest possible thing lasting maybe some five minutes or less. A man was standing alone outside some nondescript building playing the violin. Not some virtuosi polyphonic Bach or complicated Mozart. No, he was just playing the music he felt at the moment in his heart. It was very beautiful, skilful, sun was shining where he was standing and we all had problems holding back our tears.

That was all there was in the video, a lonely violinist playing some melody.

Except for the fact that he was standing in front of some building in Auschwitz.

The video was emotionally so strong because there were no words, just plain music that penetrated deep in through all our defences.

And I was thinking "they are no more".

Who are no more?

Those are no more who wanted physically to destroy the Jewish people for ever and ever.

There is no more Third Reich and the lingering memory of the mighty Fuhrer is that of a bitterly smoking human body in a bomb shell hole. The Arian heroes of the Thousand Years Kingdom are among the most despised beings in the history of the human race - except for those who still adore them - and the few survivors are hunted in the jungles of Amazon or where ever they may be hiding.

As for the Jews?

Well, they are doing quite well, thank you.

They are making some noise in world politics today building their Kingdom and taking root in the Promised Land to the great dismay of the men of the East.

Those are no more.

These are here to stay.

For it is written in the Book of Prophet Daniel Chapter 12 Verse 7

"And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he lifted up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished "

(The prophecy can be translated also "when the dispersing of the holy people ends everything will be finished")

Psalm 74

1 Maschil of Asaph. {N}
Why, O God, hast Thou cast us off for ever? Why doth Thine anger smoke against the flock of Thy pasture?
2 Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast gotten of old, which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; {N}
and mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.
3 Lift up Thy steps because of the perpetual ruins, even all the evil that the enemy hath done in the sanctuary.
4 Thine adversaries have roared in the midst of Thy meeting-place; they have set up their own signs for signs.
5 It seemed as when men wield upwards axes in a thicket of trees.
6 And now all the carved work thereof together they strike down with hatchet and hammers.
7 They have set Thy sanctuary on fire; they have profaned the dwelling-place of Thy name even to the ground.
8 They said in their heart: 'Let us make havoc of them altogether'; they have burned up all the meeting-places of God in the land.
9 We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.
10 How long, O God, shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name for ever?
11 Why withdrawest Thou Thy hand, even Thy right hand? Draw it out of Thy bosom and consume them.
12 Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13 Thou didst break the sea in pieces by Thy strength; Thou didst shatter the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters.
14 Thou didst crush the heads of leviathan, Thou gavest him to be food to the folk inhabiting the wilderness.
15 Thou didst cleave fountain and brook; Thou driedst up ever-flowing rivers.
16 Thine is the day, Thine also the night; Thou hast established luminary and sun.
17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; Thou hast made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, how the enemy hath reproached the LORD, and how a base people have blasphemed Thy name.
19 O deliver not the soul of Thy turtle-dove unto the wild beast; forget not the life of Thy poor for ever.
20 Look upon the covenant; for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21 O let not the oppressed turn back in confusion; let the poor and needy praise Thy name.
22 Arise, O God, plead Thine own cause; remember Thy reproach all the day at the hand of the base man.
23 Forget not the voice of Thine adversaries, the tumult of those that rise up against Thee which ascendeth continually. {P}

The Hebrew Bible in English
according to the JPS 1917 Edition
© 2002 all rights reserved to Mechon Mamre for this HTML version

Friday, February 3, 2012

The name of God of Israel - El

[The following discussion is based on the detailed Wikipedia article "Names of God in Judaism". There are, however, some additions and changes by me so check your sources!]

This is a personal name of the Canaanite king of the gods, El and frequently appears in Ugaritic texts. El is a rather passive high god on the seat of the king while the young weather god Baal is active in the Canaanite pantheon. The female counterpart of king El is Elath.

The word appears in Hebrew especially in patriarchal narratives

El elohe yisrael El the God of Israel Gen 33:20
ha'El elohe abika El the God of your fathers Gen 46:3

The personal name El appears in the Bible often with attributes in the generic meaning of God
  • El Elyon The Highest God Genesis 40:17
  • El Shaddai God Shaddai Exodus 6:3 Probably comes from the Amorite god Shaddai  (City of Tel eth-Thadyen on Euphrates in northern Syria)
  • El Olam Everlasting God
  • El Hai Living God
  • El Roi God the Shepherd Genesis 16:13 Hagar
  • El Gibbor God the Hero

El is used as part of personal name
  • Ariel God's Lion
  • Daniel God's Judgement
  • Gabriel Strength of God
  • Immanuel God with us
  • Ishmael God hears
  • Israel God is my strength
  • Michael Who is like God?
  • Raphael Medicine of God

The word also appears in other Semitic languages.  For example in Arabic
  • Allah God 
  • Allath pre-islamic Arabic word for the spouse of God (compare Elath)

Elah, plural elim, is Aramaic and may have the meaning of fear, reverence. 

In the Bible name Elah only appears in the single Aramaic verse of the Book of Jeremiah and in the Aramaic sections in Daniel and Ezra

"Thus shall ye say unto them: `The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.'" Jeremiah 10:11
  • Elah-avahati God of my fathers, (Daniel 2:23)
  • Elah Elahin God of gods (Daniel 2:47)
  • Elah Yerushelem God of Jerusalem (Ezra 7:19)
  • Elah Yisrael God of Israel (Ezra 5:1)
  • Elah Shemaya God of Heaven (Ezra 7:23)

Is common in the Five Books of Moses. Masculine plural "honorary" as in the word shamaim for heaven(s).

The word is used as a singular word for God.

There are some cases were the word has plural meaning as for example Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me".

The use of Elohim as the word "God" in major portions of the Five Books of Moses has been taken as an indicator of a major literary source for the Pentateuch called the Elohist.

Possibly a singular feminine form of the word Elohim.

The word appears in poetry and is found 41 times in the Book of Job. The Hebrew of this book has also other special characteristics in grammar and vocabulary and may represent some ancient dialect perhaps spoken in some area famed for wisdom (Bosra?).

The name of God of Israel

General notes on names of divinities
In many religions gods have their personal names and that's it.

Canaanite El is El and Baal Baal, Assyrian Asshur is Asshur, Babylonian Marduk is Marduk and Ishtar Ishtar, Persian Ahura Mazda is Ahura Mazda.

Changes are possible, of course.
A god or goddess with specific attributes may be identified with another divinity with similar character. 
There may actual merging of different gods shown in aliases
There have been combinations of traditional divinity names with new attributes.
Names of divinities may be inherited from other languages in peaceful contacts of cultures.
Sharp changes in the names of gods and goddesses probably reflects the arrival of a new religion that identifies existing old divinities as false gods or as evil enemies.

The Bible is remarkably rich in the discussion on the name of God. The Torah from Sinai contains a very powerful and explicit command against the misuse of the divine name. The people of God are therefore religiously careful about the use of the Name, its spelling and appearance in written documents, also in the Web.

But which one of the many names of God appearing in the Bible is tabu?

The Seven names of God in the Torah
  1. Eloah
  2. Elohim
  3. Adonai
  4. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh
  5. YHWH
  6. El Shaddai
  7. YHWH Tzevaot
There is one more name of God in the New Testament.