Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shield Verses

There's a lengthy discussion about Stars of David on the forum of Ancient Hebrew Research Center administrated by Miriam from Birmingham, England. Miriam wonders what we can learn from the verses about the Lord being Israel's shield

Genesis 15:1  

Deuteronomy 33:29

2 Samuel 22:36

Psalm 5:12

Psalm 18:35

Psalm 59:11

Psalm 84:9

Psalm 91:4

Psalm 119:114

Well, Miriam, IMHO the Star of David symbolizes exactly this idea: that the Lord is Israel's shield and not one's own strength.  King David defeated Goliath BECAUSE the Lord was his Shield. The struggle between the belief in physical and spiritual power is expressed in the clearest way in 1Sa 17:45:


"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied".


In the Star of David one triangle point up while the other point to the opposite direction. The physical and the spiritual are opposites that live together in the same shape which symbolizes the unity of the opposites.


Pay attention to the fact that most of the verses come from Psalms which, according to the Jewish tradition, were written by King David.


Male and Female

My wife was so influenced by the content of this blog that when she needed to write a quick blessing for the wedding of her colleagues the first shape that jumped to her consciousness was the Star of David. After she finished drawing she added four words: "Bride"; "Groom"; "Two" (which sounds like to); "Gather" (which sounds like the other half of together). I understood this as a blessing for the bride and groom to stay together;like two triangles that become one in the shape of the Magen David.

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
As for the Male-female relationship, the Torah uses a different expression for animals than it does for humans. Concerning the animals, after they were brought forth from the earth each after its kind, the Torah simply says that they should be fruitful and multiply, with God's blessing. Consequently, Noah was to take into the ark male and female of each kind for propagation.
As for the human race, we read in Gen, 1:27: "And God created Adam in his image...male and female created he them", which implies that Adam is the spiritual archetype expressed in both male and female form.
Moreover, it is said that
Adam knew Eve his wife
  By this term, the Torah sets a standard for the human race which cannot be found in the animal kingdom. We would never say that animals know one another, nor would we use the word "love" for their relationships. The cock does not love the hen; the stallion does not love the mare; the bull does not love the cow. Even the relationships of animals or birds which stay together as couples, such as doves, cannot really be described as love. Love has a property of will.
Relationships on the animal level could be depicted by a line connecting two dots standing for the two sexual poles

Since the relationship of a human couple consists of much more that carnal instincts, we cannot depict it in this way. Humans have intellect and spirit, besides instinct and feelings.
It is by these properties that we are led on the one hand to a feeling of separation from one another and from the rest of Creation, but paradoxically why we also want to know and unite with one another.
If Spirit, intellect and feeling are balanced, we can depict the energy field they form by an equilateral triangle. In a harmonious love, the two triangles symbolize the two partners joining and interweaving as in our six-pointed star.
The Hebrew language helps to specify this relationship even more precisely. There, the word for man is איש , eesh; and for his wife it is אשה , eeshah. The word אישis characterized by the sign, י yod, which stands for hand, or strength; while the word אשה is characterized by the sign ,ה heh, which stands for the receptive, feminine aspect. Both signs together form the word ,יה yah, God, Lord, indicating that both aspects are united in the Cretaor of all, and should be united in a couple. The word yah is known to most readers from the word halleluyah, praise ye the Lord.

This diagram shows the togetherness and equivalence of man and wife, symbolized here by the two triangles, notwithstanding the different functions of both partners. However, if the Divine element as expressed by the word yah is missing in a couple's relationship, i.e. if י , yod, and ה , heh, are absent, only אש , esh, fire remains. This fire can be the fire of passion, which burns only as long as there is "fuel", or it can be the fire of conflict.

If the Divine aspect should be absent, or dim, in one partner, the Divine aspect of the other may bring about a (re)enlivening of the former, and restore the wholeness as symbolized by the star.
Marriage, like all other aspects of life, is not a fixed state of constant bliss; it is a constant journey towards oneness. Man and woman, who are two in our created world of polarities, are to become one again by their union: true Adam. Our star symbolizes this. Composed of the two triangles, it is yet one.
To sum up, the six-pointed star is the model of a harmonious balance of the poles of any field, as indicated by its two equilateral, symmetrically interwoven triangles. Each triangle plays a role, but has no priority or precedence over the other. This is true for the Creator-Creation polarity as well as for the polarities within the created world, including the husband-wife relationship.