THE GOOD SHABBOS COMMUNITY

ENJOYING YOUR JEWISH HERITAGE THROUGH FOOD, FACTS AND FUN - SHABBAT SHALOM

 

 CHALLAH, WINE,  CANDLES , READ A LITTLE, TALK A LITTLE AND SING

TO ACT OR NOT TO ACT BLOG HOME WHY ABOUT US WHO FOR CONTACT WHERE LINKS FOOD FOR SHABBOS SHARING WHAT WE DO EACH SHABBOS SHABBOS LIGHT WEEKLY CONTENT SONGS - THE MUSIC
 

 

God’s Diet for Humanity 

 

a.k.a. Parashat Shemini 

 

On the eighth day, once the seven-day ordination of Aaron and his sons was complete, Moses called the priests, elders and people together. Moses told Aaron to bring animal and cereal offerings and sacrifice them to God. The glory of God was soon to  be revealed to Aaron.

Aaron dutifully carried out the required ritual functions, then he lifted his hands towards the people and blessed them. Moses and Aaron went inside the tent of meeting. When they came out they blessed the people and the glory of God was revealed to all the people. Fire flamed forth from before God, and consumed the burnt offering and its fatty parts. When the people saw this they shouted in wonder and prostrated themselves.

 

Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, each took his fire pan, put fire and incense in it, and offered unholy fire to God. Fire burst forth from before God and burnt them alive. Moses said to Aaron, “God has said, ‘I will show myself holy through those who are nearest to me and I will thus be glorified before all the people’.” Aaron was silent.

 

Moses called two of the dead men’s relatives and told them to carry their bodies from the sanctuary out of the camp. And Moses said to Aaron and his two other sons, “Don’t show your grief lest you die and God’s wrath be visited upon us all. But know that the whole house of Israel will mourn this act of God.” He added: “Don’t leave the door of the tent of meeting lest you die, for God’s anointing oil is upon you.” The men obeyed Moses.

 

Then God spoke to Aaron, saying, “On pain of death, neither you nor your sons must drink wine or any alcohol before entering the tent of meeting. This is to be an everlasting rule. You are to exemplify the sacred, not the profane, and you must teach the people all the things that I have told Moses.”

 

Then Moses told Aaron and his two remaining sons to make an offering to God.

 

God told Moses and Aaron to say this to the people: “Here is a list of the living things that you are allowed to eat.

 

“Animals with cloven hooves that chew the cud may be eaten. However, there are animals that either chew the cud or have cloven hooves that you may not eat, and they are: camels, rabbits, hares and pigs. Don’t eat them or touch their carcasses – they are unclean.

 

“You can eat every creature from the waters of the earth that have fins and scales. The excluded creatures are an abomination to you.

 

“Certain birds are also an abomination: eagles, vultures, ospreys, kites, falcons, ravens, ostriches, seagulls, hawks, owls, cormorants, ibises, water hens, pelicans, storks, herons, hoopoes and bats.

 

“Winged insects that go on all fours are also forbidden as food. Of winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have legs above their feet to leap on the earth – locusts, crickets and grasshoppers. All other winged, crawling things are an abomination.

 

“Animals that walk on paws are unclean. Also unclean are living things that creep on the ground, such as moles, mice, lizards, crocodiles and chameleons. Whoever touches anything unclean remains unclean until the evening after which they become clean again.

 

“Every swarming creature is an abomination – creatures that move on their bellies, go on all fours or have many feet.

 

“You must not make yourselves unclean by eating these things. I am the Lord your God and you must consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God, so you shall therefore be holy.”

 

These, then, are the dietary laws applying to the eating of every beast, bird and living creature.

 

Commentary on the 25th parsha (portion of the Torah). The Torah consists of the five books of Moses, the first part of the Old Testament. 

 

To get to grips with this parsha, our Supermaven, Sigmund Albert Spinoza, interviews Methuselah Solomon (an Ancient Elder). Supermaven is a modern philosopher who is trying to understand Judaism and how we got where we are.

 

He will do this every week by investigating the Old Testament.

SAS: In this portion, the people are given an extensive list of what they may not eat. Is this primitive set of prohibitions really necessary as a central tenet of Jewish belief and practices?

MS: Actually they’re of great importance. Following these dietary rules is a fundamental part of Judaism. It’s not dispensable. 

SAS: My friend, seafood such as lobster, crayfish and prawns are an absolute delicacy and quite a lot of Jews eat them, mostly non-observant, and also observant Jews who cheat a little. Also, many Jews follow their own personal modified set of prohibitions.

MS: I assume you are one of the non-observant Jews.

SAS: I will not upset you by describing the amazing owl pie I had for supper last night. Oh, Methuselah, don’t look so upset – I’m only joking. But tell me, what are these dietary laws really about?  Was it just an elaborate custom? Or is there some sensible point behind these prohibitions?

MS: The point behind these prohibitions is that they come from God, who has commanded us to be holy as He is holy. God knows that our spiritual wellbeing is connected to our physical wellbeing. He has identified foodstuffs that do not benefit us physically and, indeed, degrade us by eating them.

SAS: Since there is no God, we can discount that explanation. I don’t think our Jewish forebears were any great experts in hygiene either and I doubt it was foremost in their considerations. The main point was to promote obedience and conformity. The next consideration was to exclude creatures that were naturally repugnant – like snakes, lizards, moles and mice. If hygiene came into things, it was a lesser consideration.

MS: You are completely wrong in your views. Of course God exists, and since His laws are rational you will find that the foods He prohibited are not good for humankind. You also underestimate our forefathers. They may have lacked explanations for why certain foods were unwholesome, but they would have known – through experience and common sense – which foods weren’t nutritious and made people sick.

SAS: Well, they were certainly right about shellfish, for instance, which can carry unhealthy parasites and toxins, and also birds of prey which can carry disease from the carrion they ingest. And pork not properly cooked may contain trichinosis. Whether their proscriptions were made through knowledge of such things is a matter of debate. I think their instinctive mistrust of certain foods happened to be right. But I see no need to believe that there was any divine command behind our laws of kashrut. We made the rules up as we went along, and after a while it became necessary to enforce them strictly to unify the people and promote obedience and uniformity in the community.

MS: Leave God out of the explanation and you will come up with wrong answers and explanations that are woefully incomplete. 

SAS: Well, we’ll never agree on the role of this character you call God, since for me he’s another word for society writ large. But I know why you started this discussion on food. You wanted to divert my attention from the beginning of the parsha. That’s because God behaves cruelly, punitively and unreasonably here and you didn’t want me to point that out.

MS: I resent your implication. There is nothing in our bible that I am not willing or able to defend.

SAS: Defend this – God’s horrifying murder of Nadab and Abihu! This episode is a seriously strange one and this character, God comes out of it very badly indeed. These two priests begin their career with a mistake at the altar and your God punishes them with a painful death! I thought people were allowed to make mistakes. Whether they meant to create unholy fire or not, this was a shockingly severe punishment.

MS: No, it wasn’t. Nadab and Abihu had been called to the highest level of service in the community. They failed in their sacred duty, and mocked God with an unholy offering. They deserved their punishment.

SAS: Apart from anything else, this was a shocking waste of priestly resources. God puts Aaron and his four sons through a week of purification and then kills two of the sons on the eighth day. Far better if he had foreseen the error they were to make, and helped them to avoid it! How do you know they intended to mock God? They made a mistake.

MS: Men cannot avoid the consequences of their actions, especially not priests called to dedicate their lives to God.

SAS: You might see justice in this dreadful act of vengeance for a perceived insult. I don’t, and I don’t see any nobility in Moses’ actions either. He manages to restrain Aaron from expressing very understandable grief in case God takes offence and kills him too. Moses probably doesn’t want to lose his brother, and he doesn’t want to make this vengeful capricious God to take it out on anyone else. He pacifies Aaron by assuring him that the whole community is going to mourn this act of God. Well, the implication is clear – God is a tyrant whose actions cannot be questioned in case he kills even more people! Everyone lives in mortal fear of him. So vicious is he that he would even begrudge a father mourning his own sons while on duty at the temple. On top of this, God makes a cryptic comment that reads like a veiled threat – “I will show myself holy through those who are nearest to me and I will thus be glorified before all the people”. This implies that the priests (those “nearest to Him”) are there to boost his reputation and sing his praises, and woe betide them if they don’t! They’ll be consumed by fire if they don’t shape up! I thought that the rules forbade human sacrifice. These priests turned into burnt offerings all right.

MS: You love reading between the lines, but here you have failed to spot the real reason for the deaths – so much for your ability to read sub-text. After the death of Nadab and Abihu, Moses delivers a message about the evils of drinking alcohol before entering the tent of meeting. Do you not get the implication?

SAS: The two priests were drunk at the altar? OK, I can see that the text could be read like that. But that only makes the punishment of God more unjust! If Nadab and Abihu were tipsy, they had diminished responsibility owing to their inebriation.

MS: They had an absolute responsibility to serve God in a state of purity and holiness. They did not show the proper respect and reaped the consequences of their own action.

SAS: By being burnt alive by a loving God?

MS: By burning in a fire issuing from a holy place. Did I say God killed them? I did not. I reported that they were killed by a fire coming from “before God”.

SAS: It’s the same thing!

MS: No, the actual cause of their deaths is a mystery. They may have incinerated themselves in a drunken accident as they misapplied the procedures at the altar.

SAS: But Moses himself refers to the deaths as an “act of God”!

MS: Do you always interpret that expression literally?

SAS: No we don’t – point taken. But I’m sure you do. Your story clearly implies that divine punishment took place. That’s bad enough, but Moses’ response is icing on this evil cake. He effectively says to Aaron, “Be quiet, do your duty and carry on as if nothing abnormal has happened. Don’t show weakness or sorrow. Stay at your post and set the perfect example of single-minded devotion to God.” The cruelty of this injunction is extraordinary and reveals the inhumanity of the cult Moses was fronting. Obedience to God and the cult had to override mourning for two beloved sons. It beggars belief that you champion a text that upholds stoical acceptance of divine murder.

MS: The truth is that people reap what they sow.

SAS: If I lived in those times, I would have chosen others places to sow than around the altar of your bloodthirsty God.

 

History 

 

The Parsha we have just read comes from the five books of Moses, the Torah. The dialogues between Sigmund Albert Spinoza and Methuselah Solomon are about the meaning of the Parsha.

 

What we know about Jewish History, however, is based in fact, and on historical records. 

 

If you’d like to know more about the real history of our extended Jewish family, read on.

 

Publishing Scandal: The Infamous Protocols 

 

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was a literary forgery written some time between 1895 and 1899 and first published in 1905 by Sergei Nilus in Russia. Nilus claimed that “The Protocols” was stolen from a Zionist base in France. Other “editors” said the text was read at secret sessions of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 where Jews and Freemasons schemed to take over the world.

The document purports to be an instruction manual to be used by a newly inducted member of the “elders”, shadowy figures bent on world domination through controlling the media and the world’s financial institutions.

 

The author of this work was possibly Matvei Golovinski, a French-Russian journalist and an agent provocateur for the tsarist secret police. The theory goes that he wanted to persuade Czar Nicholas II that the modernization of Russia was a Jewish plot. Russian spy Pytor Ivanovich Rachovsky is also named by some as the author. Again, the primary motive was to counter modernization in Russia that allegedly played into the hands of the Zionists.

 

The document, in point of fact, is a forgery partly based on a chapter from a 19th century novel, “Biarritz”, by German bureaucrat Hermann Goedsche, who lifted the plot from Frenchman Maurice Joly’s “The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu”, a work which makes no reference to Jews and was written as a satirical attack on Napoleon III. The elders of the title aim to trick the “Goyim” into doing their bidding as they strive to control the world by implementing their 24 Protocols.

 

There is a commitment in the document to promoting all sorts of theories – Marxism, Socialism and Darwinism amongst them – to undermine the established order. There is also a commitment to promoting atheism so that Judaism can eventually supersede the other religions once they have all been undermined.

 

The text reached the West in 1920 and its themes were highlighted by anti-Semitic groups, most notably by the Nazis. “The Protocols” sold well when published in Europe. In England five editions sold out in 1920, and the book did well in the Arab world. In America, Henry Ford paid for the publishing of 500,000 copies. He said the Protocols fitted in well with world events.

 

In a series of articles in 1921, The Times newspaper demonstrated that the protocols were a forgery. Hitler and The Nazis, however, presented the work as authentic, and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is based to a significant degree on ideas found in the Protocols. Goebbels ordered that the text of the Protocols be translated into many languages.

 

In 1935 a Swiss judge ruled, in a court case, that the work was a forgery. In spite of its bogus nature, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” has continued to sell well in the Arab world, notably in Syria, where it is often assumed to be an authentic document. Saudi Arabian text books for schools have contained extracts from the work, which has been presented as a genuine document.

 

The charter of Hamas refers to the Protocols. It is believed to be authentic in large parts of South America and Asia, especially Japan. In America, the text is distributed by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. A few years ago it was sold online by Wal-Mart.

The Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups still disseminate it.

 

Here follows a discussion on this historical segment by Dad, Chaya and Ben. 

 

CHAYA: Is it true that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is the second most widely published book in history? I read that on the Internet and find it hard to believe.

BEN: Why? There are enough anti-Semites out there who leap at the chance to read it.

DAD: It depends what you mean exactly by the second most widely published book. Are we talking about editions, countries it’s been published in or numbers of copies published? I doubt that a shady book like this can be easily tracked through its various editions, not to mention its online dissemination. So I’d be wary of using a description like “second most widely published book”.

BEN: The point, though, is that it’s done the rounds – many people have read it and believed its lies.

DAD: Yes, because it confirmed their prejudices. The fact that reputable commentators have debunked the myths surrounding the document and exposed it as a forgery has had little effect on those who’ve prejudged the issue.

CHAYA: All they need do is go online and see synoptic comparisons between the protocols and sizeable chunks of Joly’s text. It’s right there to see – the protocols are a crib job and any fool can see it.

DAD: But not those who can find a conspiracy anywhere. They’ll say the Zionists filched the lines from Joly because it suited their purpose. Once conspiracy theorists believe a story, they will twist all the data to fit it – even when their beliefs provide the least plausible explanations of the known facts.

BEN: It’s one thing being gullible about the book as a serious Zionist document, but when so-called analysts start saying that the protocols start making sense of history … well, that’s just pathetic. I’d always admired Henry Ford, but his paying to publishing that garbage shocks me and disgusts me.

CHAYA: I can’t say I’m shocked. Some of the most famous people have been guilty of anti-Semitism … Richard Wagner, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Edison, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw …

BEN: Don’t forget Mel Gibson. Yes, it’s always a blow to find that people you otherwise admire can have such prejudice and hatred in their hearts.

DAD: Worst of all, they display ignorance. And amongst the educated and the influential, there is simply no excuse for that.

 

Sayings 

 

Every Shabbat we read five short sayings that express, with typically Jewish wit and humour, insightful reflections on this life of ours.

 

Here are tonight’s sayings:

 

·        When a wallet grows, so do necessities.

·        What does a poor man have that a rich man doesn’t? Nothing.

·        The man who thinks that anything can be accomplished by money is likely to do anything for money.

·        What a fat belly costs, I wish I had; what a fat belly does, I wish on my enemies.

·        The greatest of worries won’t pay the smallest of debts.

 

Celebration of Great Lives 

 

Every Friday night we celebrate the achievements of our Jewish family in contributing to changing the world for the better and having an extraordinary impact on those around them.

 

Rashi (1040-1105) 

 

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi, more commonly known as Rashi, was a French rabbi who produced the first comprehensive commentaries on the Tanakh, the Torah and the Talmud. Both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews accepted his commentaries as authoritative. He is famed for elucidating texts in an economical and direct way, yet his work was also viewed as profound and his analysis penetrating. His literary and scholarly gifts were extraordinary. Rashi’s commentaries on the Bible and Talmud remain standard works to this day and provide an indispensable key to their understanding. His comments influenced the classic European translation of Bible.  He based his commentary on the Babylonian Talmud which became the basis for decision-making about religious matters.  He was one of the true masters of Jewish thought.

 

Max Wertheimer (1880-1943) 

He was born in Prague and died in New York. He was one of the founders of Gestalt psychology. He studied law for more than two years, but decided then to change to philosophy. He got his doctoral degree from the University of Würzburg in 1904. In 1910 he worked at the Psychological Institute of Frankfurt University. There he became interested in perception. Together with two younger assistants, Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka he studied the effect of moving pictures a tachistoscope generates. In 1912 he published his seminal paper on “Experimental Studies of the Perception of Movement.” Gestalt psychology was very much a revolution against the established order in psychology. In its early years the exposing of the inadequacies of the entrenched position in psychology was almost as important to the Gestaltists as their positive contributions. They aspired to nothing less than a complete revision of psychology, but from the figure down rather than from the ground up. In contemporary psychology books around the world, Wertheimer’s major accomplishments are now treated as landmarks in history due to his research contributions to the psychology of perception and thinking. In 1933 he escaped Germany to the United States, where he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City. There he wrote his book Productive Thinking. Wertheimer is seen as one of the founding fathers of modern psychology. 

Song 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO SING THE SONGS
ADON OLAM WORDS
Adon Olam David Solid Gould & The Temple Rockers
ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS
ALLE BRUDER SONG
ALLE BRIDER SONG
AL KOL ELEH WORDS
AL KOL ELEH
BASHANA words
BASHANA SONG
BEI MIR BIST DU SHEYN
BEI MIR BIST DU SCHEYN SONG
BMBDS song
CHIRIBIM WORDS
CHIRIBIM Song
DAYENU WORDS
DAYENU SONG ENGLISH
DAYENU SONG
DONNA DONNA
DONNA DONNA SONG
HALLELUYA
HALELUJA KARAOKE
HATIKVA
HATIKVA SONG
HATIKVA SONG
DAYENU
HATIKVA WORDS
HATIKVA SONG 1
HAVA NAGILA WORDS
HAVA NAGILA SONG
HAVA NAGILA KARAOKE
HAVEINU SHALOM ALEICHEM
HEVENU SHALOM ALEICHEM WORDS
HEVENU SHALOM ALECHEM SONG
HINEH MA TOV WORDS
JERUSALEM THE GOLD WORDS
JERUSALEM THE GOLD KARAOKE IVRIT
JERUSALEM THE GOLD SONG
JERUSALEM THE GOLD JARAOKE
MAYIM MAYIM WORDS
MAYIM MAYIM DANCE
OIF'N PRIPITSCHOK song
OSE SHALOM
OSE SHALOM SONG
PAPI ROS'N
PAPIROS'N SONG
PARTISAN SONG 1
PARTISAN SONG
PARTISAN SONG MUSIC
RABBI ELIMELEKH
RABBI ELIMELEKH SONG
AS DER REBE SINGT
AS DER REBBE SINGT LEONARD COHEN
AS DER REBBE SINGT SONG
RAISINS WITH ALMONDS WORDS
SIMANTOV U MAZELTOV WORDS
SIMAN TOV MUSIC
MAZELTOV CLARINET
TUMBALALAIKA WORDS
TUMBALALAIKA MUSIC
TUMBALALAIKA MUSIC
TZENA TZENA
TZENA TZENA
TZENA TZENA 4
TZENA TZENA The Weavers
TZENA TZENA WORDS
ALLE BRIDER KLEZMATICS
ALLE BRIDER KLEZMATICS
HATIKVA STREISAND
HATIKVA STREISAND
BIM BAM SHABBAT SHALOM FOR KIDS
BIM BAM SHABBAT SHALOM FOR KIDS
YO EN ESTANDO - SEPHARDIC
ELIYAHU SEPHARDIC
SEPHARDIC SONG
SEPHARDIC SONG 3
Sholem Aleichem Susan Allen
Shalom Aleichem Susan Allen
OTHER VERSIONS OF SONGS
DUVID CROCKET WORDS
DUVID CROCKET MICKEY KATZ
MODERN PASSOVER SONGS
This will help you find yourself]