Monday, December 11, 2006

Known to the ancient Egyptians

The WWW is full of nasty articles about the Star of David. The authors of these articles are trying to prove that the six pointed star is mean and that using it is idolatry. They quote all kinds of unreliable sources and add a lot of wishful thinking of their own. Usually I don’t give them a stage on my blog but today I got the Brit-Am Now-820 and because I liked Yair Davidiy’s Answer to Michelle, I’ll make an exception.

Yair Davidiy Answer to Michelle:
You sent me extracts from an article claiming that the Star of David is the sign of Saturn etc
The article had a lot of quotation e.g

"The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia declares that the SIX-POINTED
STAR... according to the Rosicrucian... was known to the ancient
Egyptians." (Graham, p. 13)

There is no proof of this
Even if it was true (and I think it is not) it would not prove anything
I am afraid to say that The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia may not always be
such a good source and "the Rosicrucians" are even worse

DR. Moshe Gaster Article About the Magen David

I read in the Israel Museum library an article titled "Magen David" by Dr. Moshe Gaster, (1856- 1939),  preeminent scholar, Rabbi of the Spanish community in London, Zionist, and friend of Theodore Hertzl. The article had been published in Rimon- Milgroim, Jewish periodical, in 1926, if I’m not mistaken. Dr. Moshe Gaster claims there that he solved the riddle of the source of the Star of David emblem:
undoubtedly at first the six pointed like the five pointed served mainly for secret numerical speculations… In this image of six points it's possible to see as well a star emblem. Connecting this emblem to the name of David originates doubtless from the source of the messianic idea… As known the verse “there shall step forth a star out of Jacob”, in Numbers 24:17, was interpreted already on days of Hashmonean about the anticipated Messiah, and from here also the myth of the star in the new testament, that unquestionably originates from this ancient tradition. And more than that this interpretation takes place on the days of Bar Coziva who, on the basis of that verse, nicknames himself Bar Cochva (the son of the star), and to this nickname rabbi Akiva and his ardent students also agree. And it was quite natural to tie the same image of the star to the name of David, the father of the fathers of the Messiah. The star became the symbol of the Messiah, and in this way became also renowned as the emblem in the shield of King David. In other words the star in the shield of King David is the national emblem of the Hebrew people.

Dr. Gaster attached to the enclosed article a photograph of an amulet from the tenth century(See above) that was found in the Cairo Genizah. The amulet is covered with dense Hebrew writing; on top of it appear five Stars of David. Rabbi Gaster surmises that the source of each such amulet is hundreds of years before it was found because:
Every amulet and magical combination that we find now unquestionably had been copied from more ancient amulet because it is forbidden to change even one letter if you don’t want it to lose its power.
Which means that Jews recognized the Magen David and used it in their amulets hundreds of years before it was found in the Genizah.

Dr. Gaster also notes that:
To our wonder it was also found in the British Museum on the margins of pages of Greek magic charms from the second or third century.

It’s a pity Dr. Gaster didn’t give us some more accurate details about these Greek magic charms, because I’d like to see them.

Dr. Gaster’s interpretation to the verse “there shall step forth a star out of Jacob” fits Uri Ofir’s findings in his research about the Jewish Origin of the Star of David where he says that Rashi and Ibn Ezra interpreted that Balaam prophesized in this verse about King David. These interpretations were certainly known to Dr. Gaster.

Relativity of time

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.

Relativity of time 
In the previous chapter we reiterated the consensus about our notions of hours, days, and seasons. However, when looking closer, through a magnifying glass so-to-speak, we will notice that our time concept is somewhat rounded off, and subjective as well.

When someone in England or Scandinavia enjoys a nice summer day on the beach, he is hardly aware that it is winter on the southern hemisphere - at the same time. He would have to remind himself of that if he were to fly to Melbourne the other day, and to pack his winter clothes.
Everyone going, driving, or flying from say Moscow to Paris has to adjust his clock according to the local time. Usually this is done at the time of arrival. But how would he have to adjust his clock if for some reason he needs to know every minute, or after every kilometer of travel, the exact time?
Even this simple example can give us an idea about the intricate inter-relatedness between the calculation of the exact position in the three-dimensional space and its angle to the "two big lights which shall be [unto us] for signs and seasons and days" (and the hours, minutes, and seconds as fractions thereof). In addition to these four dimensions - the three conventional dimensions of space and the interrelated time - we have to take into account also the speed of the travelling body in relation to the movements of the other bodies (earth, sun, other airplanes, etc). This needs to be done e.g. for calculating the trajectories of missiles and of satellites. Based upon considerations like these, modern science developed the concept of space-time (in contrast to the conventional space and time) to indicate the inter-relatedness between these components.
Contemplating such thoughts, Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity (in 1905), and the mathematician Herman Minkowski introduced (in 1908) the concept of the "union of space and time", or in brief, space-time.
Besides revolutionizing science, these new concepts settle the age-old philosophical dispute over objectivity or subjectivity: By nature, we are subject to the latter. For instance, we perceive the sun as a small ball although its diameter is more than a hundred times bigger than that of our globe. We also perceive the diameters of sun and moon as equal although the latter is even smaller than the earth. What is more, we derive all our measurements --meters, miles, furlongs; days, years; light-years, etc-- from subjective observations pertaining to our globe, standardize them conveniently, and take the results thereof for objectivity. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we are aware that they have no bearings on other planets (Mars, Jupiter, etc), not to speak of other solar systems, as said already.
Our hexagram with its straight lines depicts aptly these conditions we live in.
In the wake of the above mentioned modern considerations, the term absolute time became fashionable. However, this term is but one of the many examples for modern inflation and confusion of language. Time is by definition relative, relative to the position(s) of the body(ies) in view at a given moment. However, since no two bodies can at the very same instant be at the very same place, each of them has its own position and therefore its own time. The differences between them are usually so minute that they are of no tangible consequences for our daily lives, and so we can forget about them. But to speak of absolute time is more than exaggerated. Even viewing on TV a life broadcast lacks behind the actual event the time the electric waves need to cover the distance from there to the receiver (e.g. from one side of the globe to the other approximately 1/7 of a second).
There is no absolute time in the universe either as everything is moving relatively to everything else. Moreover, the velocities as well as the distances measured in light years are so huge that they don't allow to conceive of simultaneity.