Monday, November 20, 2006

The United Nations

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. This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version
The United Nations is an attempt by world leaders to devise ways to bring about lasting peace. A monument in front of the UN headquarters in New York City expresses this hope. It bears an inscription which reads: "We shall beat our swords into plough shares".
So far, this promise has not borne fruit. In most parts of the world, people still prepare for war rather than for peace. The Communist bloc tried to create a worker's paradise by means of a militarily backed world revolution, and failed. Western powers tried to control the world by developing "clean atomic bombs" and the like. Arabs wage a "holy war" to destroy Israel and spread their present concept of Islam.
On the other hand, most of the "peace movements", motivated by a widespread fatigue and fear of war, say "no" to militarism but fail to provide a workable alternative. And no end of disarmament conferences nor grand economic schemes can change this gloomy picture, because they all forego the most essential condition for achieving the goal of peace and prosperity.
The Prophet Isaiah emphasizes the need to learn the Divine Law which will come forth from re-established Zion, and only then speaks the well-known words about beating swords into plough shares.
Let us see what he tells us in this context:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above all the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths'; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord".
Thus, peace is the fruit of that justice which is valid in the eyes of the Lord. Peace cannot be established by imposing a self-styled justice on others. In other words, we may say that a sign on the road to true peace would be the acceptance of the Tanakh as an integral part of the United Nation's constitution.
Isaiah's concluding words: "O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord", will then apply not only to the sons of Jacob, but to all the nations which, in partnership with Israel, will endeavor to walk in the light of the Lord. "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come to mind."Israel will also be renewed, as requested in one of our ancient prayers: "O cause a new light to shine upon Zion, and may we all soon be worthy to enjoy its brightness."

the Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah

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
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version
The acceptance of the Tanakh and learning of the ways of Jacob's God do not necessarily mean that nations will have to convert to Judaism.
Today, according to our sages1, nations are expected to abide by the "Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah", often spoken of as the Seven Noahide Laws. These are: no idolatry, blasphemy, murder, incest, stealing, eating from a living animal (or eating of blood). Laws should be made according to these strictures.
At first glance, we might think that these rules are already observed. But if they were, would not the world be in a more orderly state?
Consider the fact that idolatry is not committed merely by prostrating oneself before statues or by excessive devotion to personality cults. In Hebrew, the term "idolatry" describes any attitude by which things, ideas, persons or one's own ego become more important than the Most High. It thus embraces the worship of material objects and of the state. 'My country, right or wrong' reflects the attitudes of many nations, often to such a degree that the Divine is seen as to serve the nation instead of the nations seen in the service of the Divine. The worship of power and personality (symbolized in ancient times by Mars) still predominates.
There are numerous Christians and Muslims who want to impose on the Jews their respective creeds and practices, and this in spite of the fact that the latter are not always congruent even with their own respective Scriptures, not to speak of the Tanakh. Are the representatives of such an attitude not aware that they deify their own imagination and willful interpretations, i.e. something which the Prophet Samuel condemned as idolatry: "...behold, to obey is better than sacrifice...". (1 Sam.15:22; cf. Deuter.13:2-5, 18:18-22).
Similarly, religious fundamentalists pick certain passages of their holy scriptures that appeal to their swollen egos, and make them the fundament of their creeds and deeds. Still others promote existentialism as Man's top priority. As Jews cannot condone such idolatries, they have been accused of being stiff-necked, out-dated, legalistic, etc., etc., and have been persecuted for their faithfulness to the Covenant which the Lord God of Heavens and Earth had made with them.
Blasphemy is committed by reviling any other human being (for we are all created in God's image), or by talking impiously about God Himself. Referring to the Most High as "the God of the Old Testament" or "the God of vengeance" [in contrast to the New Testament's "God of Love"] is blasphemous; so is belittling Him as the God of the Jews, who evolved from a tribal god into an urban deity and eventually became the national God.
Although nations issue laws forbidding such crimes as murder, incest and theft, these laws do not extend beyond crimes committed by citizens against their societies. Whenever a war, a bloody coup d'etat or revolution succeed, their supporters not only go unpunished, but are raised to the stature of heroes, no matter how many people they robbed and killed. Jewish blood is spilled and counted for nothing, and those who spill it and call for the destruction of the Jewish nation are received in international gatherings as honorable gentlemen. Moreover, instigating, consenting and acquiescing to murder are as evil as the act itself. Doing it “in the name of Allah”, in the disguise of Jihad (“Holy War”), is also outright blasphemous. Anti-Semitism, with its libeling of Jews, lays the groundwork for actually killing them. The same is true in the defamation of any ethnic group. These aberrations are the results of idolatry, which causes nations to pass laws or resolutions according to their temporal convenience, or simply not to apply the laws they have passed.
In spite of strict prohibitions in Gen.9:4 and Acts 15:292, nations do not observe the "no eating of blood" rule. Blood is the soul3. By eating blood or meat with its blood, Man mixes his Divine soul with that of a creature brought forth from the earth. By doing so, he derogates his Divine heritage4, and opens himself to the animal instincts.
So far, nations have not been willing to come up to the Mountain of the Lord "to learn the ways of the God of Jacob". How could they, after they destroyed the Holy Temple and devastated the Temple Mount, using it as a refuse dump5, and after they blasphemed the Most High?
The Name of the Lord is still veiled before the eyes of the world. The "Seven Noahide Laws" are not observed, for nations lack true insight and understanding of these laws. This lack expresses itself by attitudes towards the Star of David ranging from uncertainty and suspicion to outright rejection. How can nations cherish this symbol if they do not know the Name of the Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and accept Him as their shield?
According to the Prophets, His Name will be revealed in the wake of Israel's resurrection6. Nations will then recognize the truth7 of the Word handed down through Moses and the Prophets. They will become aware of the Lord's existence: a new and deeper understanding will prevail. They will develop a desire "to learn the ways of the God of Jacob" and enjoy the attendant blessings. The "Seven Noahide Laws" will be heeded and enlivened by the Name: "I am the Lord".
Nations will come to respect the other commandments of the Torah, although these will not be binding on them. Once instilled with fear and love of God, nations will want to mend their ways and comply with these commandments. For instance, keeping Shabbath is both a commandment and a sign of the Covenant for the people of Israel. There is no commandment for nations to honor this day. Yet, they will come to observe it as a day of rest, out of respect for Israel, and because they will understand that it is the seventh day which has the blessing of the Lord8.
Nations will also acknowledge Israel's priestly function since the days of Abraham. Instead of pride, there will be awe; instead of hatred, love; instead of discord, consent. They will come to recognize what it means when Israel is called by the Name (שם, shem) of the Lord9.
The two disarrayed triangles, if seen as standing for Israel and the nations, will join into a harmonious six-pointed star.

Vermand, Spear Mount

Vermand, Spear Mount HexagramPicture of  Vermand, Spear Mount Hexagram is courtesy of Yair Davidiy
Interlaced star on a 4th century spear mount excavated in 1885 in Vermand cemetery, Northwest France. Exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Musuem.
Researchers think it belonged to barbarian mercenary soldiers employed by Romans.
You can read more on: The Vermand Treasure: A Testimony to the Presence of the Sarmatians in the Western Roman Empire by Deborah Schorsch
Metropolitan Museum Journal, Vol. 21, 1986 (1986), pp. 17-40