Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nursing Agency

An interesting design of a Star of David as the logo of a Nursing Agency in Bnei Brit st. in Jerusalem. It is comprised of two Hebrew letters: Mem and Kof, which are the initials of the words Misgav (shekter) Kashish (elderly). These two words appear at the right side of the sign in big letters while the small letters under them talk about support at home and rehabilitation in the community.

Religion And The Sciences

Religion And The Sciences Jewish starThe 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

Turning Towards The Six-Pointed Star: Religion And The Sciences

The designation of the five-pointed star as the Star of Solomon, or Solomon's Seal, should not be understood to imply that Solomon's wisdom is synonymous with the wisdom of the Chaldeans (Babylonians), just as one cannot put the Codex Hammurabi on a par with the Law of Moses.
The wisdom of the Chaldeans dealt with the laws of nature, which were considered the ruler of Mankind, while the wisdom of Solomon looked for the Truth that underlies the phenomena of nature, and thus opened itself to the Creator and His laws. The books attributed to Solomon in the Masoretic text: Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, give ample evidence of this.
The fact that Solomon's spiritual wisdom also encompassed the material realm may well be the reason why these two kinds of wisdom - Solomon's and the Chaldeans' - found graphic expression in the same sign, the pentagram.
Spirit and matter (or religion and science, to characterize these entities in modern terms) need not confront each other like two hostile camps. Confrontation arises when religion tries to present its dogmas and rites as unchanging answers to the ever-changing questions of life; or when science, on the grounds of mere observation and research, pretends to have mastered everything, and claims unlimited freedom for its own sake (similar to the artists' "l'art pour l'art"). It tries to shake off tradition and dogma as petrified fetters, and sees itself as the new light of the world. It becomes a juggernaut which in the end men must serve, and in unenlightened hands threatens to smash everything.
How true Einstein's words are: "Religion without science limps, and science without religion stinks."
After Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Israel's founding (all happening within a five-year period!), religion and science can no longer remain sublimely isolated from each other.
Until the destruction of the Second Temple, the people of Israel were confronted by pagan religions.
After the fall of the Temple, Christianity and Islam penetrated the world, like a "leaven ... hid in three measures of flour", and Israel was reduced in stature. During this period, these three religions focused, for different reasons, on their respective rituals, and thus achieved a certain security for their followers. This was necessary for their early growth, but now they must mature.
Science, and "Enlightenment" in its wake, break these rigid frames of reference, first that of Christianity, then that of Judaism, and now that of Islam, notwithstanding orthodox resistance. But science alone cannot give Mankind the inner guiding light which is indispensable for our spiritual and moral conduct.
Science, including the humanities, is based upon research and study which provide us with knowledge of the phenomenal world. By their very nature, research and study are amoral and disobliging, although they may - besides finding and describing laws of nature - to some degree be instrumental in analyzing and describing the processes and effects of prayer, compassion, love and obedience to a Higher Power. At the utmost, science may recommend such acts, but it cannot generate them. This is the task of religion.
True religion is educative, guiding mankind towards an archetypal destiny which includes a proper relationship to our Maker and to the rest of Creation. It blends information gained by the sciences with the teachings of the Prophets and Sages, and may be symbolized by our star.
Henceforth, religion will be the way of initiating Humankind into a Higher Self, enabling humanity to gain understanding of the Whole and of itself as an integral part of it, and to shoulder a corresponding responsibility. The rituals of the future, besides their intrinsic value, will further this end. Faith will no longer be understood as blind belief in incredible things, but rather as faithfulness to God's Word, given to us by his prophets for our guidance. Belief will be understood in the "be-living".
Of course, initiating someone into his Higher Self does not mean making him religious. What it does is guide him in developing values inherent in everyone since Adam.
Let us liken this to the work of a gardener in an orchard. His work is not to reduce the garden to one variety of tree, or to grow only a few towering trees. It is rather to tend all the plants so that each brings forth its peculiar beauty, fragrance and fruit, and to check the weeds (read "correct our errors").
G.W. Allport, in A Study of Values, describes six major value types which he says are found to varying degrees in all of us. They are theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political and religious. If we put them on our six-pointed Star, each type could be represented by one of the six outer triangles, but this would be unsatisfactory, the more so as Allport equates the religious value type with ascetics, monks and mystics. It was probably the prevailing situation, which tends to exclude religion from the rest of Man's activities, which led him to this conclusion.
Why should religion be confined to ascetics, monks and mystics? Why should it constitute merely one of six value types? Doesn't it encompass more of what makes us truly human than any of the five other value types? Religion suffuses all equally. We may express this symbolically as follows:

Just as Einstein developed his unifying theories to help explain the physical universe, religions will come to a "unified world view" with the One Lord as its core, and Man as His counterpart growing up toward His likeness.
Israel today suffers from the same separation of religion and science that afflicts the rest of the world. However, Israel is not meant to duplicate what is going on in the rest of the world, but rather to heal the world by working out its problems in accordance with the Divine Torah bestowed upon it.
Coming back to our notion of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and the Rebirth of Israel occurring within a span of five years, we will more and more become aware that they mark the most ground breaking and shattering events in human history since the Flood. Symbolically, and to a great deal physically, the old world and its values turned to ashes. Religions, if they want to be taken seriously, can after Auschwitz not continue their old ways as if nothing had happened. Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) marked on the one hand the climax of materialistic science unrestrained by the ethical values of true religion; but on the other hand, the atomic explosion as such may also well mark the shattering of our old fashioned inner barriers and the break through into the higher realms of our souls. Israel's rebirth - like the famous phoenix from the ashes - stands in this turmoiled world out like a token, even testimony, of the truth and validity of the Divine prophecies and teachings which can guide us to our true Self, and thus to true peace and wellbeing of all.

Symbol For Natural Man

Picture of pentagram coin is courtesy of “gierszewski” from Flickr.
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.

More recently, the five-pointed star has been widely used as a symbol for Natural Man, its five branches suggesting two legs, two arms and a head. As such, it was known as the Drudenfuss (Druidical sign), or Celtic Star, in Europe. In its upside-down position, with one point at the bottom, it is seen as a magic sign of evil.
Many nations took to the pentagram, showing it in their flags. These include Egypt, China, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen. It was also represented in the flag of the former Soviet Union, as the so-called Red Star. In the flag of the United States, each member-state is represented by a pentagram. Recently, the European Parliament chose a circle of 12 pentagrams as its symbol.
Intriguingly enough, these countries are also world leaders in astro-sciences and astro-techniques, as was ancient Babylon, empire of the Chaldeans.