Last time the barbarians in Gaza were banging at the gates in 2012 my older relatives were stuck at home as the rockets came in. The air raid siren didn’t give them enough time to make it to the shelter so they just went about their lives as they usually would, listening to the booms. I called a few days ago to see if they were still stuck unprotected, “No, no, after the last war everyone on the Moshav (farming village) built a Mamad (reinforced room.) It’s niiiice… it has an air conditioner, a big television, and the grandchildren come over to nosh. You should come see it!”
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Watching this weeks’ news of Israeli Arabs pulling Jews from their cars and beating them, throwing firebombs, flying swastikas from major overpasses, etc., all in towns and villages of the Galilee like Natzrat (Nazareth) and Shfaram (containing ancient Shofar Am and Usha, where the Sanhedrin sat) which were once thriving centers of Jewish life, is reminiscent of the events in Melachim B (Kings II) 16:6. King Rezin, of Aram, captured Eilat from the King of Yehuda (Judea), and, “Edomites came to Eilat and dwell there to this day.” It’s a shocking series of events when places that once felt like home, like Eilat and later the entire northern Kingdom of Israel, are suddenly inhabited by hostile people with violent hatred for you.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
I’ve been interested in how classical, “Orthodox,” Judaism differentiates between non-halachic Jewish movements and Messianics/Jews for Jesus, even though both of these groups diverge from Rambam’s (Maimonades’) 13 principles of faith, which is seen in traditional circles as a litmus test. In my opinion, part of the answer can be found in Melachim B (Kings II.) Compare 15:28, “And he [King Pekach of Israel] did what was evil in the eyes of the Hashem, he did not turn from the sins of Yerovam (Jeroboam,)” aka worshiping the Ba’al idol. Simultaneously, in 15:34, “And he [King Uzyah of Yehuda (Judea)] did what was right in the eyes of Hashem… however, the high places were not removed,” referring to impermissible worship at private altars in lieu of the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem. It seems that worshipping a foreign God (Messianics) is seen as an abomination. Worshipping the God of Israel in a way which is not sanctioned is seen as a correctible misunderstanding.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Melachim B (Kings II) 14:22 & 28: It’s interesting how, even though the Jewish people are split into two kingdoms, both of which are plagued by idolatry and internal instability, the realm of Jewish sovereignty has been extended as far south has Eilat and as far north as Damascus / Hamath (modern day Homs.) Toward the end of Melachim there seems to be a loosening of the vice. I.e., God’s use of external enemies to persecute Israel and spur them to repentance has failed, and maybe even become a distraction, so another strategy is taken, one of leniency.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Melachim B (Kings II) 14:19; after failing in his war against the northern Kingdom of Israel, which is followed by the defeat and plundering of Jerusalem, King Amatzyahu (Amaziah) of Yehudah (Judea) suffers a popular revolt and flees south to Lachish. Rather than destroying the family of the deposed Amatzyahu, as happened during revolts in the Kingdom of Israel, the people take his sixteen year old son Azaryah and put him on the throne. While the southern Kingdom of Yehudah has drifted into the cycle of revolt and political chaos like the northern Kingdom of Yisrael, Yehudah still has a fealty to the line of David, whereas in the north, having thrown off the Davidic dynasty, there is a general loss of respect for the office of King.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
In Melachim B (Kings II) 13:23, in between mention of the oppression of Israel by Aramea, interjects suddenly with the ominous “Hashem (God) was merciful to them (Israel)… for the sake of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he did not want to destroy them… until now.” There is some debate as to when Israel reaches the mark when the exile becomes inevitable, possibly with the resignation of the prophet Eliyahu, possibly with the death of Elisha in 13:21, but definitely here, there is an ominous portent that all of the inherited merit of previous generations has been exhausted and judgement won’t be delayed much longer.