Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Get Your Boots On

by Camie Davis

Warning: you might want to put on a pair of boots and a mask before reading this because, quite frankly, you’re about to wade through a load of crap.

Following a Vatican sponsored two-week long meeting to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East, Lebanon-born archbishop of Boston, Massachusetts, Cyril Salim Bustros, ended the meeting with this statement, “The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands . . . We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”

If that weren’t enough, get out your shovel, because its about to get deeper. The following is taken from the Mideast Synod’s Report, called the "relatio post disceptationem" (report after the discussion). Note the sparse comments regarding Jews and Judaism verses the flowering prose regarding Muslims and Islam. In the document a mere 2 paragraphs sum up the relationship the Vatican has with Judaism, while 10 long paragraphs are written regarding Islam. Below are quotes from the Vatican's document:

“While condemning the violence whatever its origin and calling for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we express our solidarity with the Palestinian people . . .”

Yet, then they quickly make the hypocritical point for Churches in the West not to take sides:
“The Churches in the West are asked not take the side of one party, forgetting the point of view and the conditions of the other.”

“The Declaration Nostra aetate of the Second Vatican Council specifically treats the relations between the Church and the non-Christian religions. Judaism has a special place in this document.” Kind of like Judaism had a special place during the inquisition?

“Initiatives for dialogue take place at the level of the Holy See and the local Churches. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects relations between Christians and Jews. Repeatedly, the Holy See has clearly expressed its position, appealing for both peoples to be able to live in peace, each in its own homeland, with secure and internationally recognised borders." Each in its own homeland? Okay, Vatican, surely you know history. The Palestinians have a homeland with borders. It's called Jordan.

“Judaism has a special place in this document.” Let your hearts be warmed, Jews, by that special place.

“Our Churches reject anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism.” Pause to laugh and regain composure.

“The reading of the Old Testament and a greater appreciation for Jewish traditions assist in better understanding the Jewish religion.” Thank you Archbishop Bustros for being the shining example of how reading the Old Testament leads to a better understanding of Judaism. Guess you’ve been reading an edited version of the Bible, huh? Perhaps someone could loan you a copy with Jeremiah 31:34,35 in it.

Now for the Church's totally unbiased, warm, fuzzy feelings towards the Muslims.
“The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men.”

“There are many reasons for fostering relations between Christians and Muslims: all are fellow citizens, all share the same language and the same culture, not to mention the same joys and sufferings.”

“Our closeness to Muslims is strengthened by 14 centuries of living together, in enduring difficult moments as well as many positive ones.”

“Hence the essential importance of our educational institutions, which are open to all, effectively providing an education in friendship, justice and peace. The ecclesial movements also make a very valid contribution in this area. The Loving God loves Muslims.”

“We have the duty to educate our faithful for interreligious dialogue and in the acceptance of religious diversity, in respect and in mutual esteem. The prejudices inherited from the history of conflicts and controversies, on both sides, must be carefully faced, clarified and corrected.” Thanks, again, Archbishop Bustros for your shining example of facing, clarifying, and correcting prejudices.

“Dialogue is beneficial in the service of peace, in favor of life and against violence. Dialogue is the path of nonviolence. Love is more necessary and effective than discussion. We must not argue with Muslims but love them, hoping to elicit reciprocity from their hearts. It is necessary to avoid any provocative, offensive, humiliating action and any anti-Islamic attitude.” That’s because they save all the provocative, offensive, humiliating action for the Jews.

“To be authentic, dialogue must take place in truth. Dialogue is a testimony in truth and love. It is necessary to speak frankly about the truth, the problems and the difficulties, in a respectful and charitable way.” Archbishop Bustros, you’re battin’ a thousand!

“We all have to work together for the promotion of justice, peace, freedom, human rights, the environment and the values of life and the family. Socio-political problems are to be addressed, not as rights to be demanded for Christians, but as universal rights that Christians and Muslims defend together for the good of all.” Translation, “We all have to work together for the rights of the Palestinians.”

“It is necessary to eliminate prejudicial statements against others from school textbooks, and all that is offensive or misrepresents others. We shall try rather to understand the point of view of the other, while respecting different beliefs and practices. We shall emphasize what we have in common, in particular on the spiritual and moral level.” Who needs prejudicial statements in school textbooks when you’ve got Archbishop Bustros as a spokesman?

“Whether we are Muslims or Christians, we must pursue a common path together. Although we differ in our understanding of man, of his rights and freedoms, we can together find a clear, definite foundation for joint action, for the good of our societies and our countries.” Ahem, again this pertains to Palestinians only, as the Church clearly stated, like children on a playground, that they are on the Palestinians’ side.

Well, there you have it, my friends, loadis excrementum straight from the Catholic Church’s mouth . . . or arse. Take your pick as both ends are spewing the same thing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Change That Radio Dial

(Adapted from the teachings of Rabbi Richman)

Want to know why the world is in such disarray? Look at the Temple Mount.

Last week’s parsha included the Akeidah, the binding of Isaac. Most of you probably know that the Akeidah happened on what's now known as the Temple Mount. Avraham had a different name for it, though. After Hashem intervened and provided Avraham a ram for slaughter, the narrative says, “And Avraham called the name of that site ‘Hashem Yireh,’ as it is said this day, on the mountain Hashem will be seen,” Bereishis/Genesis 22:14.

Yerushalayim, or Jerusalem is a combination of two words. Shem first named the place Shalem, meaning “complete or perfect.” And then Abraham named the place Yireh, meaning “fear of Heaven/G-d.” G-d acquiesced, as it were, to both men and the place became known as Yerushalayim, which means “perfect or complete fear of Heaven/G-d.”

Note that Bereishis 22:14 says, “as it is said this day” leading the reader to understand that even to this day, the place that the perfect fear of Hashem will be seen is the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount is literally the broadcasting station of where the energy and concept of the perfect fear of Hashem is emitted to the world. One look at the Temple Mount today reveals why the broadcast of that concept is being severally distorted.

“The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!” That was General Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s, ecstatic reaction to the liberation of the Temple Mount in 1967. Sadly though, we know of Moshe Dayon’s reaction too. Dayan immediately ceded administrative control of the Temple Mount to the Arabs.

The dial to the "radio broadcast” emitting from the Temple Mount was so close to being changed in 1967. Yet, the violent laden religion of Islam continues to distort the energy coming from the gateway of Heaven. May Hashem, in His great mercy, afford the Jews the courage, boldness, and wisdom to take back their rightful role as spiritual administrators of the Temple Mount.

The last few parshas plainly state who Hashem gave the land of Israel to. Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are the very heart of the land and belong to the Jews. Will this be the year that Israel’s leaders and citizens care more about what Hashem has to say about the Temple Mount rather than what world leaders have to say about it? Will this be the year that Israel’s leaders and citizens stop prostrating themselves before the U.N., the U.S. and the Muslims and instead prostrate themselves before Hashem?

The world is in desperate need of being shown the perfect fear of Hashem. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, Israel. You have an amazing heritage. It’s time you started acting like it. It's time to take back the site "Hashem Yireh." G-d gave it to you. Don't you want it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lightening Rod to Heaven

Torah-based knowledge teaches, “G-d is not placed within the world but rather the world is within Him.” Yet at the same time we are taught, “The purpose of creation is to provide a dwelling place for G-d.” So which is it?

These two statements mirror Solomon who went to great lengths to build a dwelling place for Hashem, yet asked, “Would G-d truly dwell on earth? Behold, the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, and surely not this Temple that I have built!” I Kings 8:27.

It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around the reality that the entire universe exists within G-d. Perhaps that is the point of having a Temple. G-d truly is outside any realm that man can fathom. So how kind, how practical, how utterly wonderful that He gave man instructions to build place on earth where He graciously comes down to our level and draws us up to Him.

During Elul, we are reminded that the King dwells in the field. It is a time to remember that the holy, magnificent, unfathomable, literally larger-than-life King wants to have a one-on-one intimate relationship with us. Yet, the real key, the secret to the “King is in the field teaching,” is that we are supposed to think of our relationship with Hashem like that all of the time. But hey, we are only human, and here we are in Chesvan and maybe we've forgotten. We've forgetten to cultivate intimacy with Hashem. What’s even sadder is the fact that so many people in the world, don’t just forget, they don’t even know that 1.) the G-d of Israel is the One true G-d, and 2.) they can have a vibrant, real, life-changing relationship with Him.

This is why G-d knew we would need a Temple. Did you get that? WE NEED a Temple. It’s not just that G-d wants one, He knows that we need one. Remember Jacob’s dream about the ladder that reached heaven? He had that dream while sleeping upon the Temple Mount. When he awoke he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of G-d, and this is the gate of heaven.” Jacob was given a visual of the place where heaven meets earth; where spiritual meets physical.

The Temple was and will be the #1 spot on earth where man can connect to G-d. Don’t misunderstand. Man can connect to G-d anywhere. Study of Torah, prayer, meditation, worship, kind deeds; all of these are ways to connect to Him. Each individual has the potential to create a dwelling place for G-d. But as Jacob said, the House of G-d is a gateway like no other where man can reach up and draw heaven down to earth. It is the lightening rod to heaven.

The impact of G-d's Presence being drawn into the Temple will, of course, change everything, “My dwelling place will be among them; I will be a G-d to them and they will be a people to Me. Then the nations will know that I am Hashem Who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuarly will be among them forever,” Ezekiel 37:27. The world is desperate to know Hashem. The world is desperate for the Temple.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Time is It?

It’s time. Time to ascend in consciousnesses towards first, thinking about rebuilding the Temple, and then, actually doing it. And how apropos that we begin this ascension in Chesvan. To sum up the energy of the month of Chesvan in southern vernacular, “There’s thinkers and there’s doers.” Chesvan is about doing. But most deeds begin with a thought. When is the last time you thought about rebuilding the Temple?

How often do you think about and long for the Temple to be rebuilt: a) never b) occasionally c) fairly often d) often e) constantly? I'd venture to say, that most of us are in the a, b, c, or d category. And if that's the case, then we all need to increase our Temple consciousness, i.e. learning about, thinking about, and longing for the Temple. It's time for an invasion in our hearts and minds. We need to be invaded to our very core by the fact that G-d wants a Temple built on earth to house His Presence.

However, I must issue a warning. If we dare open our hearts and minds to the idea that G-d really expects a Temple to be built for Him, a nagging feeling is going to pursue us and find us. A nagging feeling that something is missing. And that “something is missing” feeling is going to create a void in our hearts and minds. Our daily lives and routines will be interrupted when we finally understand how much the world is missing because the Temple is missing. And that’s when we will pursue, I mean really pursue, the remedy for our hearts and minds; the remedy for this world. That is when we will do whatever it takes to rebuild the Temple. Immediately.