The Ambiguous Ishmael


– Ishmael and Hagar –

The important differences of interpretation of Ishmael’s role in the transmission of the Abrahamic inheritance, according to Judaism and Islam, focused in particular on the question of the identity of the son of Abraham who was taken to the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. For the Jews, it is unquestionably Isaac, as Genesis indicates. Muslims claim that it was Ishmael. However, the Koran does not name the son chosen for the sacrifice. In fact, Sura 36 indirectly suggests that this son was Isaac, contrary to later reinterpretations of later Islamic traditions.

It may be that, contrary to the historical importance of this controversy, this is not really an essential question, since Ishmael appears as a sort of inverted double of Isaac, and the linked destinies of these two half-brothers seem to compose (together) an allegorical and even anagogical figure – that of the ‘Sacrificed’, a figure of man ‘sacrificed’ in the service of a divine project that is entirely beyond him.

The conflict between the divine project and human views appears immediately when one compares the relatively banal and natural circumstances of the conception of Abram’s child (resulting from his desire to ensure his descent ii, a desire favored by his wife Sarai), with the particularly improbable and exceptional circumstances of the conception of the child of Abraham and Sarah.

One can then sense the tragic nature of the destiny of Ishmael, the first-born (and beloved) son of Abraham, but whose ‘legitimacy’ cannot be compared to that of his half-brother, born thirteen years later. But in what way is it Ishmael’s ‘fault’ that he was not ‘chosen’ as the son of Abraham to embody the Covenant? Was he ‘chosen’ only to embody the arbitrary dispossession of a mysterious ‘filiation’, of a nature other than genetic, in order to signify to the multitudes of generations to come a certain aspect of the divine mystery?

This leads us to reflect on the respective roles of the two mothers (Hagar and Sarah) in the correlated destiny of Ishmael and Isaac, and invites us to deepen the analysis of the personalities of the two mothers in order to get a better idea of those of the two sons.

The figure of Ishmael is both tragic and ambiguous. I will attempt here to trace its contours by citing a few ‘features’ both for and against, by seeking to raise a part of the mystery, and to penetrate the ambiguity of the paradigm of election, which can mean that « the election of some implies the setting aside of others », or on the contrary, that « election is not a rejection of the other ».iii

Elements Against Ishmael :

a) Ishmael, a young man, « plays » with Isaac, a barely weaned child, provoking the wrath of Sarah. This key scene is reported in Genesis 21:9: « Sarah saw the son of Hagar mocked him (Isaac). » The Hebrew word מְצַחֵק lends itself to several interpretations. It comes from the root צָחַק, in the verbal form Piel. The meanings of the verb seem at first glance relatively insignificant:

Qal :To laugh, rto ejoice. As in : Gen 18,12 « Sara laughs (secretly) ». Gen 21:6 « Whoever hears of it will rejoice with me.

Piël : To play, to joke, to laugh. As in Gen 19:14 « But it seemed that he was joking, that he said it in jest. » Ex 32:6 « They stood up to play, or to dance ». Judge 16:25 « That he might play, or sing, before them ». Gen 26:8 « Isaac played or joked with his wife. Gen 39:14 « To play with us, to insult us ».

However, Rashi’s meanings of the word in the context of Gen 21:9 are much more serious: ‘idolatry’, ‘immorality’, and even ‘murder’. « Ridicule: this is idolatry. Thus, ‘they rose up to have fun’ (Ex 32:6). Another explanation: This is immorality. Thus ‘for my own amusement’ (Gen 39:17). Another explanation: this is murder. So ‘let these young men stand up and enjoy themselves before us’ (2 Sam 2:14). Ishmael was arguing with Isaac about the inheritance. I am the elder, he said, and I will take double share. They went out into the field and Ishmael took his bow and shot arrows at him. Just as in: he who plays the foolish game of brandons and arrows, and says: but I am having fun! (Prov 26:18-19).»

Rashi’s judgment is extremely derogatory and accusatory. The accusation of ‘immorality’ is a veiled euphemism for ‘pedophilia’ (Isaac is a young child). And all this derived from a special interpretation of the single word tsaḥaq, – the very word that gave Isaac his name… Yet this word comes up strangely often in the context that interests us. Four important biblical characters ‘laugh’ (from the verb tsaḥaq), in Genesis: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael – except Hagar, who never laughs, but cries. Abraham laughs (or smiles) at the news that he is going to be a father, Sarah laughs inwardly, mocking her old husband, Isaac laughs while wrestling and caressing his wife Rebecca (vi), but only Ishmael, who also laughs while playing, is seriously accused by Rashi of the nature of this laughter, and of this ‘game’.

b) According to the commentators (Berechit Rabbah), Ishmael boasted to Isaac that he had the courage to voluntarily accept circumcision at the age of thirteen, whereas Isaac underwent it passively at the age of eight days.

c) Genesis states that Ishmael is a ‘primrose’, a misanthropic loner, an ‘archer’ who ‘lives in the wilderness’ and who ‘lays his hand on all’.

d) In Gen 17:20 it says that Ishmael « will beget twelve princes. « But Rashi, on this point, asserts that Ishmael in fact only begat ‘clouds’, relying on the Midrash which interprets the word נְשִׂיאִים (nessi’im) as meaning ‘clouds’ and ‘wind’. The word nessi’im can indeed mean either ‘princes’ or ‘clouds’, according to the dictionary (vii). But Rashi, for his own reason, chooses the pejorative meaning, whereas it is God Himself who pronounces this word after having blessed Ishmael.

Elements in Favor of Ishmael:

a) Ishmael suffers several times the effects of Sarah’s hatred and the consequences of Abraham’s injustice (or cowardice), who does not defend him, passively obeys Sarah and remorselessly favors his younger son. This has not escaped the attention of some commentators. Ramban (the Nahmanides) said about sending Hagar and Ishmael back to the desert: « Our mother Sarai was guilty of doing so and Abram of having tolerated it ». On the other hand, Rashi says nothing about this sensitive subject.

Yet Abraham loves and cares for his son Ishmael, but probably not enough to resist the pressures, preferring the younger, in deeds. You don’t need to be a psychoanalyst to guess the deep psychological problems Ishmael is experiencing about not being the ‘preferred’, the ‘chosen’ (by God) to take on the inheritance and the Covenant, – although he is nevertheless ‘loved’ by his father Abraham, – just as Esau, Isaac’s eldest son and beloved, was later robbed of his inheritance (and blessing) by Jacob, because of his mother Rebekah, and despite Isaac’s clearly expressed will.

(b) Ishmael is the son of « an Egyptian handmaid » (Genesis 16:1), but in reality she, Hagar, according to Rashi, is the daughter of the Pharaoh: « Hagar was the daughter of the Pharaoh. When he saw the miracles of which Sarai was the object, he said: Better for my daughter to be the servant in such a house than the mistress in another house. » (Commentary of Genesis 16:1 by Rashi)

One can undoubtedly understand the frustrations of a young man, first-born of Abraham and grandson of the Pharaoh, in front of the bullying inflicted by Sarah.

c) Moreover, Ishmael is subjected throughout his childhood and adolescence to a form of disdain that is truly undeserved. Indeed, Hagar was legally married, by the will of Sarah, and by the desire of Abraham to leave his fortune to an heir of his flesh, and this after the legal deadline of ten years of observation of Sarah’s sterility had elapsed. Ishmael is therefore legally and legitimately the first-born son of Abraham, and of his second wife. But he does not have the actual status, as Sarah jealously watches over him.

d) Ishmael is thrown out twice in the desert, once when his mother is pregnant with him (in theory), and another time when he is seventeen years old (being 13 years old at the time of Isaac’s birth + 4 years corresponding to Isaac’s weaning). In both cases, his mother Hagar had proven encounters with angels, which testifies to a very high spiritual status, which she did not fail to give to her son. Examples of women in the Hebrew Bible having had a divine vision are extremely rare. To my knowledge, in fact, there are none, except for Hagar, who had divine visions on several occasions. Rashi notes of Gen 16:13: « She [Hagar] expresses surprise. Could I have thought that even here in the desert I would see God’s messengers after seeing them in the house of Abraham where I was accustomed to seeing them? The proof that she was accustomed to seeing angels is that Manoë when he first saw the angel said, « Surely we will die » (Jug 13:27). Hagar saw angels four times and was not the least bit afraid. »

But to this, we can add that Hagar is even more remarkable because she is the only person in all the Scriptures who stands out for having given not only one but two new names to God: אֵל רֳאִי , El Ro’ï, « God of Vision »viii , and חַי רֹאִי , Ḥaï Ro’ï, the « Living One of Vision »(ix). She also gave a name to the nearby well, the well of the « Living One of My Vision »: בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי , B’ér la-Ḥaï Ro’ï. x

It is also near this well that Isaac will come to settle, after Abraham’s death, – and especially after God has finally blessed him, which Abraham had always refused to do (xii). One can imagine that Isaac had then, at last, understood the depth of the events which had taken place in this place, and with which he had, in spite of himself, been associated.

In stark contrast to Hagar, Sarah also had a divine vision, albeit a very brief one, when she participated in a conversation between Abraham and God. But God ignored Sarah, addressing Abraham directly, asking him for an explanation of Sarah’s behavior, rather than addressing her (xiii). She intervened in an attempt to justify her behavior because « she was afraid, » but God rebuked her curtly: « No, you laughed.

Making her case worse, she herself later reproached Ishmael for having laughed too, and drove him out for that reason.

e) Ishmael, after these events, remained in the presence of God. According to Genesis 21:20, « God was with this child, and he grew up (…) and became an archer. « Curiously, Rashi does not comment on the fact that « God was with this child. On the other hand, about « he became an archer », Rashi notes proudly: « He was a robber… ».

f) In the desire to see Ishmael die, Sarah twice casts spells on him (the ‘evil eye’), according to Rashi. The first time, to make the child carried by Hagar die, and to provoke his abortionxv, and the second time to make him sick, even though he was hunted with his mother in the desert, thus forcing him to drink much and to consume quickly the meager water resources.

g) At the time of his circumcision, Ishmael is thirteen years old and he obeys Abraham without difficulty (whereas he could have refused, according to Rashi, the latter counts to his advantage). Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael (Gen 16:16). Rashi comments: « This is written in praise of Ishmael. Ishmael will therefore be thirteen years old when he is circumcised, and he will not object. »

h) Ishmael is blessed by God during Abraham’s lifetime, whereas Isaac is blessed by God only after Abraham’s death (who refused to bless him, knowing that he was to beget Esau, according to Rashi).xvi

i) Ishmael, in spite of all the liabilities of his tormented life, was reconciled with Isaac, before the latter married Rebekah. Indeed, when his fiancée Rebekah arrives, Isaac has just returned from a visitexvii to the Well of the Living of My Vision, near which Hagar and Ishmael lived.

Moreover, his father Abraham ended up « regularizing the situation » with his mother Hagar, since he married her after Sarah’s death. Indeed, according to Rashi, « Qeturah is Hagar. Thus, for the second time, Ishmael is « legitimized », which makes it all the more remarkable that he gives precedence to his younger brother at Abraham’s funeral.

(j) Ishmael lets Isaac take the precellence at the burial of their father Abraham, as we know from Gen 25:9: « [Abraham] was buried by Isaac and Ishmael, his sons. « The preferential order of the names testifies to this.

k) The verse Gen 25:17 gives a final positive indication about Ishmael: « The number of years of Ishmael’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years. He expired and died. « Rashi comments on the expression « he expired » in this highly significant way: « This term is used only in connection with the righteous. »

Let’s now conclude.

On the one hand, Islam, which claims to be a ‘purer’, more ‘native’ religion, and in which the figure of Abraham represents a paradigm, that of the ‘Muslim’ entirely ‘submitted’ to the will of God, – recognizes in Isaac and Ishmael two ‘prophets’.

On the other hand, Ishmael is certainly not recognized as a ‘prophet’ in Israel.

These two characters, intimately linked by their destiny (sons of the same father, and what a father!, but not of the same mother), are also, curiously, figures of the ‘sacrifice’, although in different ways, and which need to be interpreted.

The sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah ended with the intervention of an angel, just as the imminent death of Ishmael in the desert near a hidden spring ended after the intervention of an angel.

It seems to me that a revision of the trial once held against Ishmael, at the instigation of Sarah, and sanctioned by his undeserved rejection outside the camp of Abraham, and the case againt Ishmael should be re-opened.

It seems indispensable, and not unrelated to the present state of the world, to repair the injustice that was once done to Ishmael.

_______________

i Qur’an 36:101-113: « So we gave him the good news of a lonely boy. Then when he was old enough to go with him, [Abraham] said, « O my son, I see myself in a dream, immolating you. See what you think of it. He said, « O my dear father, do as you are commanded: you will find me, if it pleases God, among those who endure. And when they both came together and he threw him on his forehead, behold, We called him « Abraham »! You have confirmed the vision. This is how We reward those who do good. Verily that was the manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a bountiful sacrifice. And We perpetuated his name in posterity: « Peace be upon Abraham. Thus do We reward those who do good, for he was of Our believing servants. And We gave him the good news of Isaac as a prophet of the righteous among the righteous. And We blessed him and Isaac. »

This account seems to indicate indirectly that the (unnamed) son who was taken to the place of the sacrifice is, in fact, Isaac, since Isaac’s name is mentioned twice, in verses 112 and 113, immediately after verses 101-106, which describe the scene of the sacrifice, – whereas the name Ishmael, on the other hand, is not mentioned at all on this occasion. Moreover, God seems to want to reward Isaac for his attitude of faith by announcing on this same occasion his future role as a prophet, which the Qur’an never does about Ishmael.

ii Gen 15, 2-4. Let us note that the divine promise immediately instils a certain ambiguity: « But behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This man shall not inherit you, but he who comes out of your loins shall be your heir. If Eliezer [« this one, » to whom the verse refers] is clearly excluded from the inheritance, the word of God does not decide a priori between the children to come, Ishmael and Isaac.

iiiCourse of Moïse Mouton. 7 December 2019

ivTranslation of the French Rabbinate, adapted to Rachi’s commentary. Fondation S. et O. Lévy. Paris, 1988

« v » Hagar raised her voice, and she cried. (Gen 21:16)

viGn 26.8. Rachi comments: « Isaac says to himself, ‘Now I don’t have to worry anymore because nothing has been done to him so far. And he was no longer on guard. Abimelec looked – he saw them together. »

viiHebrew-French Dictionary by Sander and Trenel, Paris 1859

viiiGn 16.13

ixGn 16, 14: Rachi notes that « the word Ro’ï is punctuated Qamets qaton, because it is a noun. He is the God of vision. He sees the humiliation of the humiliated. »

xGn 16, 14

xi Gn 25.11

xiiiGn 18.13

xivGn 18.15

xvRachi comments on Gen 16:5 as follows: « Sarai looked upon Agar’s pregnancy with a bad eye and she had an abortion. That is why the angel said to Hagar, « You are about to conceive » (Gen 16:11). Now she was already pregnant and the angel tells her that she will be pregnant. This proves that the first pregnancy was not successful. »

xviRachi explains that « Abraham was afraid to bless Isaac because he saw that his son would give birth to Esau. »

xviiGn 24, 62

2 réflexions sur “The Ambiguous Ishmael

  1. מאי חנוכה? What is Hanukkah?

    Chag חנוכה celebrates the restoration of avodat HaShem within the Temple. Specifically where the Written Torah functions, so to speak, as the Menorah while the Oral Torah shines as the lights of חנוכה. The name of this Chag comes from חנוך\education. Talmud means learning. The restoration of avodat HaShem, relying solely upon the “lights” of the Oral Torah logic format to interpret the k’vanna of the Written Torah as the definition of avodat HaShem. Education quite often expressed through the logic format of משל\נמשל. The Talmud designates this Chag as the miracle of tohor Hanukkah oil by which the House of Aaron lights the lights of Hanukkah, within the Temple itself.

    The Torah centers upon the eternal responsibility to rule the oath sworn land with righteous justice, not offering sacrifices in a Grand Building made of wood and stone which the Goyim can burn down and utterly abolish. What causes the anguish and sorrow of the din of g’lut upon the House of Israel? When our Courts fail to serve HaShem and the People of the brit alliance, by protecting and maintaining the Torah obligation to impose fair compensation for damages; where an Israel damages another Israel’s person, property, or goods. Restoration of the original value and worth of cattle, land, or persons – damaged through either intention or neglect, defines the Torah command: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

    Righteous justice defines the k’vanna, purpose, and intent of Israel leaving Egyptian bondage, redeemed from oppressive slavery to rule the lands of Canaan through Lateral Common Law Courts; whose “diplomacy” shines, whenever Israel disputes with Israel over damages inflicted, and the Sages achieve justice through fair Courtroom decisions. The lighting of the lights of חנוכה dedicates the loyalty of Israel to honor the oath brit acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, specifically not to assimilate to the logic formats, foreign cultures and customs of the ancient Greeks – whose Courts gave but mere lip service to achieve righteous justice, and fair compensation for damages. Based upon the interpretation of the Torah negative commandment, not to follow after the ways of Egypt or Canaan. This Torah Commandment applies to all non Cohen societies logic formats, cultures and/or customs practiced by Goyim Courtrooms – whose Justices never accepted the Torah at Sinai.

    The חנוך\education dedicated by this Chag centers upon swearing 3 oath blessings on the 1st day of the Chag, and the 7 remaining days swearing 2 oath blessings. Yaacov swore to Yitzak: at the time when Yitzak blessed Yaacov as his Cohen first-born; Yaacov dedicated unto HaShem that he would command his children to this specific oath blessing avodat HaShem — swearing blessings, a Torah obligation inherited by all – O’lam Ha’bah born generations – born unto the future. Swearing blessings defines avodat HaShem, the k’vanna of dedicating korbanot upon the altar within the Mishkan\Tabernacle, this חנוך teaches the משל\נמשל learning sh’itta\technique.

    Swearing blessing resembles, yet differentiates itself from reading praises from Tehillem\Psalms. The Talmud defines “understanding” as the discipline whereby persons develop the skills by which they can discern and distinguish between like and like. Swearing blessings, shares the burden of direct responsibility which swearing oaths – obligates bnai brit allies to keep and maintain peace among their personal relationship together. A man never cut an oath brit of shalom with an enemy. The consequences of swearing oaths, the Gemara of Sanhedrin learns from the false oaths sworn by the generations of Adam in the days of Noach. Tohor Hanukkah oils function as a סוד\concealed kabbala of the interpretation of doing avodat HaShem while in a tohor condition; similar to the tefillen oath brit sworn at Sh’Cem which limits doing avodat HaShem – restricted to tohor spiritual conditions.

    The First Commandment of Sinai: I am HaShem who took you out of Egypt. This defining commandment defines all other Torah commandments; does Israel – judged in each and every generation – truly Moshiach themselves (translated as dedicate) to keep and do the Torah לשמה? The Torah and Talmud of the Sages defines avodat HaShem לשמה as the practice of social behavior practiced among and between bnai brit allies. How does a Jew behave toward other Jews? Does the heart within each and every Jew express tohor middot (translated as attributes) or tuma middot in their social interactions with one another?

    The Written Torah, at the revelation of the Oral Torah at Horev\Sinai reveals 13 tohor middot. Rabbinic literature, especially in both Talmud Midrashim and Siddur amplifies many other rabbinic tohor middot. Torah observant Jews, they dedicate their life walk before HaShem to express tohor middot in our social interactions within and among our bnai brit allied Cohen nation. The NaCH teaches many stories wherein Israel pursued after their tuma middot that “burned” (think tuma oils) within their hearts. Murder, rape, violence, theft, oppression, slander, betrayal, greed, evil eye etc — all these tuma middot express themselves likewise through social interactions and relationships.

    Tuma avoda zara employs as its signature style guilt trip methodologies. Fallen Man needs the messiah to save humanity from original sin. The long history of crude barbarism practiced by European imperialism testifies to the destructive criminal nature of permitting tuma middot; to burn tuma “oils” within the hearts of man kind.

    By the terms of a tohor, כרת precondition, the Torah threatens the oath alliance brit wherein HaShem swore – that the seed of the chosen Avram\Cohen would compare to the number of the stars of the Heavens. Avram who at the time of the brit sworn between the pieces – had no living children, not from Sara, the mother of Yitzak, nor from Hagar, the mother of Yishmael.

    The mitzva of קידושין\kiddushin (translated as: marriage)/ learns this identical Torah obligation whereby an Israel acquires a wife, based upon the pre-condition that the Baal (translated as husband), obligates himself to educate his future born children to do and heed the נעשה ומשמע Sinai oath responsibility; this most basic of Torah obligations defines the mitzva of קידושין, that a Torah observant Israel has to educate his House. The Torah mitzva of marriage, refers to a woman acquired through קידושין by the elevated term of: בית\house. This term בית, refers to the נמשל of a man who does קידושין with a woman, and thereby actively “acquires” her nefesh O’lam Ha’Bah soul – children born in the future from such a union. Just as women have no Torah obligation to bear children, in like manner the Torah does not obligate women to interpret the Written Torah by learning the Oral Torah, commonly known as the Talmud & Midrashim.

    Man has a Torah obligation to produce children. Women have no such Torah obligation. The interpretation of having children: the burden of responsibility to educate – these future born children – to keep the eternal obligation of righteous justice, the Sinai oath brit נעשה ונשמע, wherein Israel accepted the revelation of the Torah at both Sinai and Horev. נעשה – Israel accepts the opening first 2 Commandments of Sinai together with the 611 Commandments commanded by Moshe, who learned the k’vanna of the opening first two Commandments, based upon the revelation of the Oral Torah. And נשמע – that Israel would learn the halachot\rabbinic commandments based upon the exact same Oral Torah logic system which Moshe the prophet interpreted – the 611 Commandments.

    The חנוך/learning which Moshe the prophet initiated to learn the Torah revelation at Sinai, the rabbinic sages employ this precise/identical logic wisdom whereby the Talmud sages learn all rabbinic halachot – as codified within the Talmud. The full revelation of the Torah at Sinai and Horev, which the House of Israel originally demanded from Aaron, the Nasi of the Great Sanhedrin, during the disgrace of the Golden Calf.

    What marks a Great Sanhedrin from religious codifications of Halacha, like the Rambam’s Yad HaChazakah? The Sages rely upon Oral Torah logic to derive halachot woven together with Prophetic mussar commandments. The framers and final redactors of the Talmud defined the “loom” of Talmud & Midrashim – through its warp/weft halachic\aggadita relationship.

    Just as halacha shares a קידושין relationship with aggadita, the union of this בית produced Talmud and Midrashim; aggadita shares a קידושין relationship with prophetic mussar. Observance of ritual halachot, divorced from aggadita, prophet mussar p’shat – as defined through the kabbala of Rabbi Akiva’s פרדס Divine Chariot kabbalah. Contrasted this tohor against the absurd tumah avoda zara mythical virgin birth story – Jesus/Hercules son of Zeus; or the Apostle Paul’s declaration wherein he invalidated the mitzva of circumcision as a Torah commandment. Avoda zara boasts that it has replaced the brit obligation to keep the commandments of Torat Moshe, the sworn oath which Israel obligated all our future born generations through the mitzva of קידושין, to keep and listen, after Moshe descended Horev, the revelation of the Oral Torah.

    The mitzva of lighting the Hanukkah Oral Torah lights learns from: ראש השנה ג:ח
    והיה, כאשר ירים משה ידו–וגבר ישראל . . . (שמות יז:יא), וכי ידיו של משה עושות מלחמה או ידיו שוברות מלחמה: אלא כל זמן שהיו ישראל מסתכלין כלפי מעלן, ומכוונין את ליבם לאביהם שבשמיים–היו מתגברין; ואם לאו, היו נופלים. כיוצא בדבר אתה אומר “ויאמר ה’ אל משה, עשה לך שרף . . .” (במדבר כא:ח), וכי הנחש ממית ומחיה: אלא כל זמן שישראל מסתכלין כלפי מעלן, ומשעבדין את ליבם לאביהם שבשמיים–היו מתרפאין; ואם לאו, היו נימוקים. חירש שוטה וקטן, אין מוציאין את הרבים ידי חובתן. זה הכלל–כל שאינו חייב בדבר,
    אינו מוציא את הרבים ידי חובתן.

    Upon the recapture of the Temple from the Syrian Greeks and assimilated Tzeddukim Cohonim, the sages found only enough “tohor oil” to light the menorah lights for one day. The Talmud teaches through a משל\נמשל learning technique. The נמשל of tohor Hanukkah oil, the Oral Torah. The “oil” of the Oral Torah caused the menorah of the Written Torah to burn all 8 days of the Chag. Just as the raised hand of Moshe did not fight the war with Amelek, so too the Sages forbade to use the lights of Hanukkah for any purpose other than the menorah light itself.

    תענית ב:י
    Prohibits declaring a public fast day on the new month, on Hanukkah and on Purim. This ruling compares to ראש השנה ג:ח. It serves to separate and sanctify the k’vanna of the Yom Tov. The Mishna compares Hanukkah to the Yom Tov of Sukkot. As a person swears blessings over the 4 species all 7 days of that Chag, so too Hanukkah. Likewise the Gemara of Shabbot, which juxtaposes lighting the lights of Hanukkah to the oils permitted to light the Shabbat lights. Just as Shabbat candles separate and sanctify Shabbot – so too the lights of Hanukkah elevates this rabbinic mitzva unto a positive time oriented commandment from the Torah. Positive time oriented commandments from the Torah require k’vanna.

    Chag Hanukkah stands upon the יסוד kabbalah of מעשה בראשית. The ger tzeddek who emerges from the tohor waters of the mikveh, that person lives as a “new creation”. The morning da’avening opens with פסוקי דזמרה which learns from saying the הלל on the Yom Tov. Both this and that base themselves from the precedent established by the joy remembered and felt by our people, when we left the bondage of Egyptian slavery. The switch from slave to free person, from this great event – the Torah learns gere tzeddik\persons who convert and become Jews. The kabbalah of מעשה בראשית has the k’vanna to arouse the Will to do avodat HaShem with tremendous joy.

    Both on Hanukkah and Purim, Jews sing songs and give gifts to one another. Accomplishment of avodat HaShem, feeling depths of joy, this strong precedent serves to define the purpose and k’vanna of saying the פסוקי דזמרה prior to accepting the yoke of the kingdom as expressed through the דאורייתא mitzva of kre’a shma. All Torah mitzvot serve to define the k’vanna of acceptance of the 1st two Commandment revelations at Sinai, which the kre’a shma concludes with ONE.

    The mitzva to love HaShem, the k’vanna of kre’a shma, as defined through the repeated acceptance of the yoke of blessings\geulah and curses\g’lut of the Torah oath brit – include under this “Tabernacle Tent”, all the commandments, mitzvot, and halachot as ONE commandment. The whole of the Torah and Talmud function as ONE positive time oriented Commandment wherein Israel worships avodat HaShem לשמה. Herein defines how Israel obeys the first Commandment of Sinai, and its דאורייתא relationship to both Chag Hanukkah and Purim and lighting Shabbot candles.

    J’aime

  2. Why the Hebrew Canon excludes the Alexandrian books of Apocrypha?

    The most simple explanation … the T’NaCH Canon exists as the first Common Law Codification of Jewish lateral common law. The Books of Apocrypha do not exist or qualify as Jewish Common Law; the framers of these books, they had no intention to employ their study as a reference unto learning the prophetic mussar commandments within the T’NaCH.

    The absurd alien distinction made by foreign Goyim “scholars” which separates and distinguishes “inspired by God” as opposed to “written by Men”, this false\perverse distinction it has confused and corrupted humanity ever since the Biblical translators perverted and distorted the T’NaCH with their unilateral decision to replace T’NaCH sugiot with chapters and verses. Once the Xtian bible perversions uprooted the Order of sugiot\sub chapters/, it became impossible to learn the T’NaCH literature by way of precedents … the comparison of sugiot with other similar sugiot – the comparison of sugiot sharing the same exact order of middot.

    The destruction of the Order of sugiot within the Books of the T’NaCH caused the immediate cessation of learning this first code of Jewish Common law, the T’NaCH, by way of middot precedents. The 13 tohor middot
    שמות לד:ו … ויעבור ה’ על פניו ויקרא ה’ ה’ אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב חסד ואמת, נוצר חסד לאלפים נושא עון ופשע וחטאה ונקה

    They serve as the basis whereby T’NaCH common law scholars compare different sugiot within the T’NaCH literature, based upon a comparison of middot. Rabbi Akiva’s ‘chariot mysticism’, otherwise known as פרדס — פשט, רמז, דרוש, וסוד, this system – it – serves as the most authoritative explanation of the 13 middot logic format, which Moshe the prophet heard directly from HaShem on Yom Kippur, 40 days after Aaron translated the revealed רוח הקודש Name (the 1st Commandment of Sinai) unto the word אלהים. Words – by definition do not and can not exist as רוח הקודש. Moshe interpreted 611 Commandments through the logic of the 13 middot as his explanation of the k’vanna of the opening first two Commandments which Klall Yishroel accepted @ the revelation of the Torah @ Sinai.

    Once Goyim authorities enforced their Chapters\verses biblical perversions upon g’lut Jewish refugee populations, Jews soon lost the knowledge that the Books of the T’NaCH, this Canon, existed as the first codification of Jewish Common Law. By the time of the Reshonim scholars (approximately 950 – 1400 CE), the knowledge of how to learn Aggaditah and Midrashim had become “extinct”. The Gaonim scholars (600 – 950 CE), they failed to effectively transmit how to learn and study Aggaditah\Midrashim. This ancient kabbalah, secretly passed down word of mouth from a rabbi to a single talmid\student. This kabbalah rabbi Aaron Nemuraskii taught to me, but not to his sons.

    Have previously attempted to give an explanation to this rather “odd” behavior. Simply stated, Jewish communities in g’lut – they had lost, even during the life time of Rabbi Yechudah Ha’Nasi, the wisdom of how to do mitzvot לשמה. The repetition of the Name of HaShem in the 13 middot, comes to teach that these tohor middot they serve as “pronouns” of the רוח הקודש Name of HaShem. When a person stands in tefillah, he blows the Spirit Name with the k’vanna of calling upon a specific tohor middah within his heart. Herein explains tefillah as ‘a duty of the heart’. Alas assimilated g’lut Jewry, their sh’ittot of learning had duplicated, in some ways, the Catholic method known as dogmatism. Rabbi Aaron did not risk teaching his sons the hidden kabbalah lest they become social pariahs within the community of Meah Shearim Jerusalem. As a relatively young bochur looking for a shidduch, because i interlaced my fingers while in a home in Meah Shearim, the Yidden their viewed me with extreme suspicion.

    The Talmud common law codification compares to the beauty of a Persian Rug. The Halachah\Aggaditah relationship resembles the warp\weft of a loom. The scholarship of Halachah – it makes a search study of halachot precedents by which to understand any given Case\Rule Mishnah. The scholarship of Aggaditah\Midrashim – they make a search study of T’NaCH sugiot “precedents” to understand how prophetic mussar understands that same Case\Rule Mishnah. This sh’itta\method of learning defines how the Framers of the Talmud intended all generations thereafter to learn the k’vanna of the T’NaCH and Talmud. And how this and that together define the k’vanna of a specific blessing within the language of the Shemone Esrei tefillah. According to the Yerushalmi, over 247 prophets occupied their energies to write the Shemone Esrei kabbalah of how to da’aven to HaShem within our hearts.

    The Xtian perversion of their biblical translations, combined with the racial prejudice by which Goyim mistreated Jewish refugee populations, the combination of these actions, they produced a profound ירידות הדורות destruction of Torah learning and\or spirituality among my people. G’lut Jewry ceased doing mitzvot לשמה – the opening Commandment of the revelation of the Torah @ Sinai. Herein explains why Reshonim scholarship, its g’lut assimilated scholarship, why it failed to inspire my people to return and do t’shuvah.

    Why g’lut Jewish refugee populations, lead by our rabbinic leaders, we assimilated in mass; when the Muslims rediscovered the ancient Greek philosophical writings following the invasion of Spain. Assimilation, Jews who embrace the cultures and customs of Goyim who never accepted the revelation of the Torah @ Sinai & Horev; Jews who abandon the chosen Cohen oath brit obligation, to dedicate our service to HaShem, by and through the sanctification of tohor middot. Neither Ismael nor Esau … \Muslims nor Xtians/ … ever accepted the revelation of the Torah @ Sinai & Horev. Jewish assimilation to the cultures and customs practiced by the peoples of these societies and civilizations – we worship avodah zarah; a direct violation of the 2nd Commandment of the revelation of the Torah @ Sinai. Herein a quick summation of my long pondered response to the Jewish Holocaust survivor who confronted me when I began to explore my Judaism @ Texas A&M … “I was in Auschwitz, where was G-d?”

    J’aime

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