Facile Syncretism

On the other hand…
Dealing with strangers…
Strain the ger, swallow the pride?
Tolerance = calling out of darkness/error into light/wisdom/righteousness/holiness/etc.

“The righteous among the pagans have a place in the world to come.” (Tosef. Sanh. 13:1)

“Deut. 9:5 emphasizes that the Israelites will gain possession of the land not because of their righteousness but because of the sinfulness of the nations that had inhabited it; and thus God can fulfill the promise made to the patriarchs.
A further elaboration is presented in Exd. 23:31-33.

“The prophet Amos, in his expressions of God’s anger at a sinful Israel, comes close to placing Israel’s neighbors on the same plane as Israel in its relationship with God. In the first two chapters of his book, the prophet, for rhetorical effect, enumerates the sins of various peoples, culminating with the sins of Judah and Israel. God, we discover, judges all the nations, Israelite and non-Israelite. Although the prophet acknowledges Israel’s special relationship with HaShem, according to him, it serves only to allow God to judge Israel with even greater severity [Amos 3:2]. Then, in 9:7, we read,

‘To Me, O Israelites, you are
Just like the Ethiopians
-declares the L-RD.
True, I brought Israel up
From the land of Egypt,
But also the Philistines from Caphtor
And the Arameans from Kir. ‘

“Although this is undoubtedly a rhetorical flourish, underlying the prophet’s rhetoric is the idea that HaShem maintains relations with all nations, with regard to whom God can act as either as judge or as redeemer.”
Etz Hayim Commentary

Can any man be said to be righteous until he has at least the intention of leaving his pride, nation, family, people and home behind to join the sons of Abraham?
Isn’t that what the American Dream is all about?
Not necessarily to know what it is to “feel like a stranger,” but to know that it ultimately is a positive harm or negative help to take pride in delusion or harbor negative feelings toward foreigners.

When Jews grew proud, they also tended to grow hateful, or at least bitter and antagonistic, just as gentiles may.

All charity and kindness done with such a heart is counted as sin, because it is done to magnify self and display haughtiness.

On the other hand, consider how Boaz received Ruth:

‘I have been told of…how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and came to a people you had not known before. May the L-RD reward your deeds. May you have a full recompense from the L-RD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have sought refuge.’ (Ruth 2:11-12)

“Boaz does not, however, indicate that Ruth has become an Israelite. In taking her to wife, he does so as the redeemer of the estate of Naomi’s husband and sons, of which Ruth was a part. (Ruth 4:9-10) Perhaps the positive reaction of the crowd that witnessed Boaz’s act of redemption points to the community’s enthusiastic acceptance of Ruth. ‘May the L-RD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the House of Israel’ (Ruth 4:11)”
Etz Hayim Commentary

Whether people choose to act, be acted upon or do nothing, all may have a part in Redemption’s Work, which is no more than to boast of HaShem at work in us and in the world.

He decides and wills each individual as He sees fit in each generation. We like to believe we play some grand part in deciding our fates, what path we’ll chose, creating our dramas, etc., but ultimately it is all G-d, even the bad we do or experience.
Awakening to this fact is an opportunity to become like Moses, which was Moses’ wish for Israel.

Num 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would [to] God that all the L-RD’S people were prophets, and that the L-RD would put his spirit upon them!

1Cr 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

When the L-RD threatened to destroy Israel, He must have been mostly checking on or testing Moses for a reaction, to verify His own word about Moses:

Num 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

And Aaron, the peace-seeker:

His love of peace is proverbial; Rabbi Hillel said, “Be disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and drawing them near the Torah.”

Together, with the Levites, who were ‘poor’ by inheritance right, the L-RD would keep the entire world in check, until everyone would come to know Him and desire to be part of preparing the world for His Coming rather than be ignorant of Him who created all.

“Sheva mitzvoth b’nei no-ah, “seven commandments of the children of Noah.” The term by which the Sages defined the gentile (non-Jew) was ben-Noah, literally “the son of Noah,”
a category different from ben Avraham, ‘the son of Abraham’-the Jew [BT Ned. 31a].

“These commandments, for all intents and purposes, were the Sages principles of universal ethical monotheism The gentile who followed the seven commandments was called ‘ger toshav’ a ‘resident alien’ and the tolerant biblical attitude toward the resident alien was transferred along with the terminology (BT Sanh. 56bff., MT Kings 9-10).

“Reality [dictates] a more open-minded perspective, given that the Jews, of necessity, had to maintain relations with the gentiles in whose empires they lived….gentiles whom they knew were not ideologically pagan but were simply following the customs of their ancestors…forced conversion to Judaism is not a necessary component of Jewish law…there is a difference between an ethical monotheist and a pagan.

“’Anyone who accepts the Noahide commandments and is careful to fulfill them is counted among the pious of the nations of the world and has a place in the world to come, as long as that person accepts and fulfills them BECAUSE God commanded them (MT Kings 8:10).”
Etz Hayim Commentary

And I would add, if they believe on the Atonement and Way provided by His servant Y’shua HaMashiach whom Observant Torah keeping Jews must also come to believe in and depend upon.

2Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, and to persuade our children , and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

“Menahem Meiri (ca. 1300) concluded that Christians and Muslims were nations restricted by the ways of religion. (Beit Ha-B’hirah on BT Av. Zar. 20aff.} Meiri thus redefines Christians and Muslims as monotheists to whom the biblical and Talmudic categories of idolaters do not apply~’righteous gentile’.

“Although there was disagreement among Sages as to what was ritually required for conversion, the conclusion ultimately reached was circumcision and immersion for a male and immersion for a female under the supervision of a rabbinical court of three.

“‘There shall be one law for the citizen and the stranger’ [Exod 12:49]. This passage comes to declare the proselyte equal to the born Jew with regard to all the commandments of the Torah. (Mekh. Pisha 15)

“’When a proselyte comes to be converted one receives him with an open hand so as to bring him under the wings of the divine Presence.’ (Lev. R. 2:9)

On the other hand…

“GOD AT WAR

“…polytheistic myths of the ancient Near East take strife and war as inherent parts of nature. Polytheism explains the strife and animosity that exist in the world by assuming that gods are at war, or that the state of war and struggle is part of nature.

However…

“Having unilateral power, God imposes his will upon evildoers, and humans play no active part in this war. Only those who accepted God’s sovereignty and are willing to submit to His power by sacrificing the paschal lamb [or believe upon Y’shua] are protected by God and removed from the war zone….[or as others believe because of the same] humans and God can be allies in war.

“[In the first real instance] God’s fighting for Israel is both a sign of God’s might and the culmination of the portent of Pharaoh’s own word…[portraying]…God’s power as a kind that bends evil-doers to the divine will by waging war against them.

“{The second view is portrayed as] relational, an expression of partnership. In this view, Israel must take some action to be part of the war against Pharaoh. The Israelites are to perform a ritual sacrifice, the paschal lamb, whose purpose is to protect them from the slaying of the firstborn (Exod. 12: 3-13). It is clear that in doing this they act in partnership with God in the war against Egypt. Furthermore, this action of Israel also displays properties of an act of faith, because it is a kind of self-selection, or volunteering to be part of God’s ally force.

“[Exod 14:14-15] indicate that Israel needs to use its ability to fight in wars to further God’s plans for its salvation.”
Etz Hayim Commentary

As the Apostle Paul would much later say, ‘Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God‘(Act 14:22).

“Indeed, the whole goal of the Exodus, namely establishing a sovereign kingdom under God’s leadership in the land of Israel, can be achieved only by Israel creating an army.

HUMANS AT WAR

“Abraham… does not take any spoils from the war or any captives. He does not want anyone to think that his wealth came from war (14:23), yet he does allow his partners, who helped him, to take their spoils.

“[Israel’s never-ending war against Amalek] is an example of a holy mission against those who wish to rule by force; “…although war is a divine instrument that can help punish evil forces, it can be applied universally even to the Israelites themselves. That is, war can be justified when waged against evil, even in the camp of Israel itself and not just against foreign nations.

“In all of these cases, God is part of the equation, and there is justification…because…[they] did evil to Israel or behaved immorally toward Israel (e.g. Numbers 21:1-3, 33-35)…Proscription or ban (heirem) is part of Israel’s ongoing effort to achieve a kind of ideal purity.

“…[there is a possibility that] a whole Israelite town may be placed under the ban (heirem) if all of its inhabitants subvert the nation to idolatry (13:13ff.).

“The heirem is a sweeping kind of justification for war and killing. It is put into the context of punishment for evil and in the context of Israel , or more properly, Israel’s legitimate rulers, being partners of God in punishing evil, i.e., making war on them or executing them. The principle is to be applied to evildoers equally, whether foreign or Israelite.

“The implication seems to be that war is not an end in itself, but at best the means to the attainment of some other end.

“…the ban passages represent an attempt to think of war solely in terms of God’s unilateral power and overall control…the heirem is only following God’s will.

“Meanwhile, the other passages make it clear that killing defiles-and that no partaking in war can be viewed as praiseworthy, rather it demands purification and atonement…moral questions are part and parcel of war…both God and humans have mutual responsibility to justify any war. The partnership view cannot adopt an oversimple justification of war.

“In the partnership role, the human cannot appeal to powerlessness or the virtue of obedience as an argument for avoiding moral responsibility.”
“’milhemet r’shut’ (a war of discretion), ‘milhemet mitzvah’ (a war of obligation) ‘milhemet hovah’ (required war).

“This confusion in terminology resounds throughout Rabbinic literature. However, it is also made clear that some wars are obligatory; because, like the war against the Canaanites or against Amalek, they are commanded, whereas others are discretionary, like David’s wars to expand Israel’s borders (MT Kings 5:1ff.).

“…the encampment of Israel at war must display general ethical behavior at all times (Lev. R. 24:7, Num. R. 2:4).

Finally…

INSTANCES OF PEACE

“Making peace – a formal cessation of war – occurs many times in the Torah. Abram, after the war between the kings, proposes peaceful relations with the king of Sodom. Even more central to the Torah narrative is the peace treaty between Abraham (and his descendants) and the Philistine king Abimelech (and his descendants) at Beer-sheba. Armed combat over rights to water is the background to many of the patriarchal stories. The fact that Abraham and Abimelech swear to each other to share water and refrain from warring against each other, for all generations, is a striking contrast to the idea that Israel must conquer the land by exterminating all of the inhabitants. Indeed, the name of the place, Beer-sheba means the ‘well of oath’ and the oath referred to is the one of peaceful coexistence in the land that God had promised to Abraham (Gen. 21:22-34, esp. v. 31, see also 12:7.ff.).”
Etz Hayim Commentary

Isaac and Jacob do (or at least try to) similarly with Abimelech, and Shechem and Esau.

“Israel is to refrain from war with any polity that treats them honorably and civilly. “

Better that nations learn to be civil and noble because of Israel’s example than to be determined ‘evil’ when they are ignorant of their own opportunity/capability.

“Both Isaiah and Micah…envision a day when nations will abandon the making of war and turn the implements of war into productive vessels. This is considered by them to be the essence of God’s Torah, the Torah that all nations come to Zion to learn.

‘Though all the nations walk
Each in the name of its gods;
We will walk
In the Name of the L-RD our God.
Micah 4:5

“War rather than promoting God’s plan, ends up opposing it.
Thus, later Judaism condemned war as a goal rather than peace. War of self-defense is justified in Jewish religion, but war as a means of diplomacy or for any reason other than self-defense is to be resisted and very much limited…(M Sof. 8ff., MT Kings 5ff.).

“It seems clear that the tendency was to interpret war as part of the relational view of God’s power and to praise peace as part of God’s plan of salvation.

“Thus carrying out such a war is morally sound, and no questions can possibly be raised about it.
On the other hand…

“…each side may raise moral questions about a given war at any time…[but] peace is preferable to war as the final expression of God’s redemption. “

~Etz Hayim Commentary

Psalm 72

More to come…

About barzdovg666

I'm a revelationist/prophestylist, and lover and servant of HaShem of Hosts.
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