Alternative Perspective?

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Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:20 am

Image

Beautiful, isn't it? I got the picture from The Temple Institute.

I'd like to discuss an alternate perspective regarding Torah without upsetting anyone or getting booted off the forum. I'll describe the big picture, and if it's over the line I hope you'll simply tell me.

When I read Torah, it's the heroes of the story that call to me. People like Enoch, who walked with G-d until ... such a mystery. Noah, who has a whole heart (tamim), hears G-d's voice and likes wine. Abraham, who believes the promise he hears from G-d for a son, but then arises early in the morning when G-d tells him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Moses, who speaks to G-d face to face like a man speaks to his friend. That's not an all inclusive list, but you get the idea.

So before I go any further, I noticed that one of the forum rules forbids attacks on Halacha. Doesn't that mean "one's walk" in Hebrew? I don't want to be perceived as attacking anything. It's just that, to me, Torah is more of a walk - the kind of walk that Enoch had.

Does that make any sense?
Soul-challenged.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby DrRussellJayHendel » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:47 pm

Windborne
Welcome to TorahForum

Your comments are most erudite.

First: I personally heard Rabbi Richmond director of the Temple institute - it is a beautiful place to visit when in Israel. My favorite is the 6 foot menorah which cost a million dollars to make. The url is http://www.TempleInstitute.Org I would invite everyone to visit it

Second: Torah Forum opposes attacks on orthodoxy. However a person (like yourself) who is more inspired by people than ideas is not attacking halahca By the way the ROOT of halacha is "TO WALK" but halacha itself means "The Law and Traditions"

In passing there is a rich literature in education these days....many people learn more from role models than from abstract ideas. This contradicts the ideas of Pavlov...who thought that conditioning is the most important thing (You say A-B several hundred times and then when A is said you respond B).

This is the so called conditioning school. A newer school (the social educators) believe that learning takes place best in an environment where you have role models - people you can identify with.

Again: Welcome ...we look forward to your postings and pictures! I am sure other Forum Gurus will welcome you also

Russell Jay Hendel; phd as http://www.Rashiyomi.com/
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:01 pm

From last Shabbat's Torah portion:
וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ, שָׁם, וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים, אֲשֶׁר עַל-אֲרוֹן הָעֵדֻת--אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אוֹתְךָ, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

The Tablets of Testimony contain the finest scripture ever written. The rest was spoken or shown to men who wrote down what they heard or saw. But the words on the Tablets were not only spoken by G-d, but written by His hand.

Yet in the imagery of the Aron ha'Eidot, G-d does not speak from the Tablets within the Ark. His voice is heard above the kaporet, between the keruvim. There he will meet with Moses and declare His commandments for the children of Israel.

And there, I think, He meets with us. The imagery of the Ark tells me that G-d's voice does not emanate from scripture itself. Instead, He speaks over it, into our hearts when we come to meet with Him above the kaporet (heavens?), between wings of the keruvim who guard His presence.

I hope that's not too far out there. It's just what I perceive in the Torah portion.

BTW - I hope the Aron has been preserved somewhere, waiting for the temple to be built. Wouldn't it be a awesome thing to see, the Aron returned to it's place in the heart of Jerusalem?
Soul-challenged.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Hart60 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:34 pm

Hi Winbourne,
Just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful pictures and as a Gentile I found the descriptions etc. most helpful.

Dan.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby just-me » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:44 pm

Hi Windborne,
nice to see a "new face"
May I ask what your signature means? (Curiosity :D)
just-me
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

(Christian Morgenstern - The Impossible Fact)
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:55 am

just-me wrote:Hi Windborne,
nice to see a "new face"
May I ask what your signature means? (Curiosity )
just-me

It's nice to be here. Thanks!

The signature is from Exodus 19. Are you asking for a translation or something more?
Soul-challenged.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby just-me » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:39 am

a translation ... I have no clue at all :-)
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

(Christian Morgenstern - The Impossible Fact)
just-me
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:42 pm

Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:31 pm

My signature line is from Exodus 19:13. It was the key that unlocked my understanding of Torah. Most translations take a few liberties since the straightforward meaning challenges predominant paradigms.

For example, the 1917 JPS translates it as, "... when the ram's horn soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount."

With that translation, Exodus 19 never made sense to me. Then one day I came across the following translation from The Stone Edition TANACH: "... upon an extended blast of the shofar, they may ascend the mountain." Since I was learning Hebrew anyway, I was able to tell that the Stone Edition, despite the paraphrase (the word "shofar" ain't in there), nailed it.

It was like the first tiny stone that starts an avalanche.
Last edited by Windborne on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby just-me » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:16 pm

now I'm curious ... what did that tell you? How did it help your undestanding of Torah?

"... upon an extended blast of the shofar, they may ascend the mountain."
for, he reasons pointedly,
that which must not, can not be.

(Christian Morgenstern - The Impossible Fact)
just-me
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:42 pm

Re: Alternative Perspective?

Postby Windborne » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:46 pm

just-me wrote:now I'm curious ... what did that tell you? How did it help your undestanding of Torah?

Because it means G-d wanted the people to ascend the mountain into his presence when the horn sounded long - not just come trembling to the boundaries at the base of the mount. It changes everything.

At the beginning of Chapter 19, verse 5 actually, G-d tells Moses that he will make the children of Israel a kingdom of priests and a holy nation on one condition:
אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי

Do you see the two "shemas"? The JPS translates this as "... if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed..." I might say, "If hearing you will hear my voice." After the people agree to the condition, G-d tells Moses to sanctify the people for two days and to set boundaries around the mountain. The boundaries set the mountain apart for God. In common terms, the mountain was sanctified (set apart for G-d) just as the people.

Moses also tells the men not to approach a woman during this sanctification period. The hearts of the people were being prepared for an intimate encounter with G-d, so Moses had them set aside human intimacy as part of that preparation.

When the big day comes, it's terrifying: thunders, lightening, earthquake, and above all the "voice of a shofar" that sounds louder and louder. The people were being called up into G-d's presence, but no one ascended the mountain. Instead, the people gathered at the base.

Finally G-d called Moses up by name, and when Moses arrives, G-d says, "Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish." You have to feel compassion for Moses' knees, here. But the horn had sounded, and now G-d decided to withdraw his invitation. No one had come, and if they had ascended the mountain en masse, many (but not all) would have perished. Clearly, only a few had truly heard G-d's voice, his intent. Only a few had made themselves holy, ready for an intimate encounter with G-d.

אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי

So, did the children of Israel become a kingdom of priests, a holy nation? Tragically, no. The history in the TANACH just doesn't support that notion. And let's be honest, would a holy nation, a kingdom of priests really need formal rules to forbid idolatry, murder, adultery, thievery, bestiality etc. ad nauseam? I wouldn't think so.

Which brings us back to the Ark of Covenant. Inside the box are the tablets of testimony (G-d's commandments), Aaron's rod that budded (G-d's priesthood) and a jar of manna (G-d's test of obedience). But G-d does not speak from inside the box. If you want to hear G-d's voice, you must prepare your heart, set it aside fully for intimacy with G-d, and then risk it all in the Holiest Place between the wings of the keruvim.

While this is not the common view, I see Torah as a walk, a journey. The journey reveals what's in our hearts. And for a few, those who are prepared to put everything on the line, the chance to hear G-d's voice and know him heart to heart, face to face.
Soul-challenged.
Windborne
 
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Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:03 am
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