Friday, May 26, 2006

My Blook

What I'm writing here is more like a blook than a blog.


A blook is an online book. A blog is an online- something-else. But what is the difference, actually? If you take more than 50 written pages (of poetry, for example) and bind them - it's a book, right? If you have more than 50 postings on your blog and you print and bind them - it's a book, right? You may say that blooks and blogs have links while books are link less but it doesn't seem to be an essential or crucial difference.


I Once thought about publishing blogs in paper-back and I still believe that in the future some of the 30 million blogs or so will become books, but the main difference between a blook and a blog is the intention: a blog posting is meant to express itself, with no commitment to the other postings, with no overall architecture or message or order. It is more like flirt than marriage.


Usually a blog is like a diary. You write about something that you felt like writing, without putting too much planning into it. Then you write another posting that pushes all the previous postings backwards, and conquers the head of the blog page… until the next posting. When you look back at your, say, 10 postings you might see that there's a link between them, that they all talk about your girlfriend, for example, but you know that it's not a book.


Blogs cling on the moment, on the present – they have no special interest in the future or the permanent. When you read a blog that was written three years ago most chances are that it lost its edge (unless you have interest in history). Blooks aim at writing evergreen postings. In a blook that declares its bloogness there is some development, and the more postings you read the overall picture and concept become clearer. Nevertheless any blog that is composed of evergreen postings has the potential to become a blook or a book.


In my case I think I'll only have to choose the best postings, to arrange them in chapters, to convert the links to notes, to add introduction and bibliography, to print and bind and voila – the book is ready. I also have a name for it: The Star of David Blook.

Tobias Foa

Foa Jewish printer mark-1 

 Foa Jewish printer mark-2

Foa Jewish printer mark-3

Gershom Scholem mentions in his article about the origin of the Star of David (published in the Encyclopedia Judaica) that the Foa family was one of the book printers who used the Star of David as printers' sign and says that they incorporated it in their coat of arms.
Gershom Scholem was a professional researcher and had access to rare sources, so rare that it is hard to find them. That's why I was so thrilled to see a photo of a page printed by the head of the Foa family, Tobias Foa, in 1556. But unfortunately there was no photo of the other side of that page where there was (as the Kestenbaum Company auctioneers wrote):
"woodcut printer’s mark containing two rampant lions flanking a palm tree in whose center there is a Star of David, all within a cartouche; surrounding are the words, “A just man will flourish as a palm tree” (Psalms 92:13) and the name “Tobias Foa.”

Encampment of the Tribes

Encampment of the Tribes magen david

Dr. Gabriel H. Cohen from the Bible Department of  Bar-Ilan  University in Ramat Gan, Israel, wrote an article about Parashat Bemidbar which "is devoted to the array of the Israelites' encampment" . There were many ways in Jewish history to order the encampment of the tribes; Dr. Cohen mentions three of them and the third is:


"Jewish folklore describes the encampment of the tribes in the desert as forming a Star of David, twelve focal points being connected one to another, and all of these arranged around a central, thirteenth, focus--the Tabernacle and the tribe of Levi ministering the sacred service. A Yiddish anthology for the holidays describes the unique arrangement of the Israelite camp and its symbolism as follows:


According to this picture, the Star of David is the symbol of tribal unity in Israel, a single formation protecting the Sanctuary shared by all".


Photo is courtesy of the "project of Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Jewish Studies, Paul and Helene Shulman Basic Jewish Studies Center, and the Office of the Campus Rabbi. Sponsored by Dr. Ruth Borchard of the Shoresh Charitable Fund (SCF). Published with assistance of the President's Fund for Torah and Science. Permission granted to reprint with appropriate credit".

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Runin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
Other examples are:
- the division of the people of Israel into
Cohanim (priests), Levites and the common people. In our context it is noteworthy that this tripartite people of Israel is meant to function in and through its land. The latter is an entity which is symbolized by the number four. This may indicate that the people is in constant development within the frame of the established physical world;
- the division of the Temple into three sections,
the Holy of Holies, the Hall of the Altars and the Public Court. Also here, these three sections are placed in the rectangular temple yard, indicating the idea expressed above (during the forty years of desert roaming, before the Temple was built in Jerusalem, the same idea was expressed by subdividing the 12 tribes into four times three tribes the latter being placed into the east, south, west, and north sides respectively of the camp);
- the division of functions in the Kingdom of Judea into that of
King, Priest, and Prophet (which pre-figures Montesquieu's demand that a modern state should divide its powers between the legislative, administrative and executive branches);
truth, freedom and love as the three pillars of a sound humanity.

All these form power fields on the social, political or spiritual level, and these fields could each be depicted by a triangle.
In this context, mention should be made of Hegel's triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, which gives the above discussion a philosophical dimension.
Referring back to the hydrogen atom and its different probability clouds, we can derive an interesting lesson from it for our human society. As all kind of possibilities are inherent in hydrogen atoms, including the six-lobed pattern which may eventually manifest as six-pointed snowflake crystals, likewise in human society. Descending from Adam, its common ancestor, its different ethnical, cultural etc groups can develop specific cultural and spiritual patterns, including the one characterized by the hexagram, or
Star of David
In the following we will trace the width and depth of this symbol’s message as well as the influence it could and should exert on society for its well-functioning.