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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The Loss of an Identity – Revision

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 3, 2014


This blog entry was originally written on August 5, 2006.
But with the appearance of ISIS/IS, I feel that a revision and expansion is in order.

In response to a friend, I wrote:
“I assume you are speaking about Haim Harari’s Undeclared WWIII.

Yes, it might sound like that, but in fact, he is claiming that there is a war going on, and then he explains how this is. I agree that he is drawing it to its extremes, when he claims that it is the Islamic world against the rest of the World. However, I do think he has a point about the method, structure and underlying reasons for terror actions as such. Instruments of terror used to be assassinations, revolutions, and up-risings – they were traditionally aimed at governments. Even the IRA did not target the public, although they used modern methods of Terrorism (bombings, hostage taking etc.) – the Islamic militants have changed the targeting and execution of Terrorism. I agree that not all Islamists are Terrorists – I suspect, but it is only a suspicion, that it has to do with culture. The Muslims of Indonesia are Peaceful, but it seems to me that Muslims in the Middle East are not, and even that is a generalization, because not all Muslims in the Middle East are non-Peaceful…so it is a specific group, not necessarily tied to their Islamic Faith. Then what is it? I think Haim Harari gives a pretty good picture.[a side note:]I am now going to say something that might sound like I am saying that Islam is a Barbaric Religion – it’s hard for me to explain this, mostly because English is not my native tongue, so please keep this in mind.

Put Islam into a historical/cultural perspective and it becomes pretty clear that the Middle East is a Tribal Society, based in Tribal Religion – Yes, Judaism is a Tribal Religion too – the only real difference between Judaism and Islam in this context is TIME. Judaism has been around for some 2000 years longer than Islam, which means that if you give Islam in the Middle East and its adherents another 1500 years (at most) it will have “evolved” beyond explicit Tribal culture. This is not intended as an expression value or judgment. Let us not forget that Saladin the Great founded one of the most advanced and enlightened civilizations the world has ever seen. I do not intend to insult Islam or Muslims, and if I have done so, I apologize.

I think that what Haim Harari is aiming at is not Islam or even Muslims, but this Tribal Culture that is using Islam as a pretext for its craziness. It could just as well have been Xianism or Shintoism or for that matter Judaism, the Religion is just a coat in which these militants are covering themselves. Trying to force Nations to adopt Political Systems that they have not yet acquired the readiness for, through political evolution, such as is now being done in Iraq, is only going to make matters worse. Each nation has to arrive at their own brand of democracy – unfortunately, we in the West are trying to force OUR brand of democracy on the Nations of the Middle/Near East, and like it or not but that is not going to work, because, fast or slow, they have to work out what democracy is within their context.

Some often point to the fact that Israel is a functioning democratic State, yet it is situated in the Middle and Near east. They forget that Israel was founded by Jews raised within the European Sphere, for at least the last 1000 years, and Jews from out-side the Middle/Near East are constantly immigrating to Israel – this gives Israel a different angle of approach.

And again, if I have said anything that is offending or insulting to Muslims or Islam – please tell me, because that was never my intention, and I did so unwittingly.”

Another Friend then commented:

“How does the tribal religion context mix in with violence? I do not see the absolute connection.”

Not Tribal RELIGION – Tribal CULTURE. I pointed out that Islam and Judaism are both Tribal Religions, because it was in Religion that TRIBE originated once upon a time. Most Societies have managed to transition from Tribal to National Culture often through significant adaptations of Religious Belief – the appearance of Islam is one such adaptation – not of the Quran, Torah or the Bible, but of Tribal Religion(s) indigenous to the Near and Middle East. If we “clean out” the religious aspect from the Prophet Muhammad, what we have is a political leader with a vision. A vision of all Arab tribes UNITED into ONE PEOPLE. The best way to unite and solidify a Society is through Religion – The Jews did it, The Egyptians did it…That is why I say that if we give Islam another 1500 years (at most) we will most likely see another Ottoman Empire as it was when it was at its high. Political evolution.

Tribal Culture and violence mix if you think of yourself as part of a Tribe that has to defend the tribal territory from competing tribes. If you look at any terror organization, you will see that they are all individually operating “cells.”
What holds the tribe together is either a common cause or a strong emotional common bond, if there are no such direct causes or emotional bonds, religion is a very strong replacement/connector.

The best analogy I can give is the gang-culture in most larger cities or the example of religious/political cults – William Golding actually describes this very well in Lord of the Flies – what is it that drive the boys in Lord of the Flies? Fear. Fear that is being used/manipulated by the one with either the most resources or the most genial ways of inflicting pain. Haim Harari suggests that the terror organizations’ low-rank members are being manipulated and used by leaders with genial ways of inflicting pain – what greater pain can there be than being ostracized from the only community you are being told you belong in? Or from G-d Himself?

We all know that Islam doesn’t prescribe FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] Yet it is basically only known to Islamic Countries in North and North Central Africa – and it is being enforced/taught to people using distortions of Islam, – why do you think that is? Because of Islam? No, because of a strong tribal culture. Women/girls who manage to escape undergoing FGM are without exception expelled/shunned in some way or other – because they, through no conforming to the customs of the “tribe,” have, in the eyes of the “tribe,” denounced the “tribe.” Humans are social beings, we will do pretty much anything to avoid being alone and on the out-side.

In most tribal societies, the one with the most resources, thankfully, is the one that acts as the Leader, so violence does not come into play unless there’s a competing tribe moving in on the territory.

Two small tribes may even work together for a short period to vanquish a larger tribe. When the goal is achieved the two small tribes will go their separate ways, only to next day be fighting each other again for the disputed hill-top or fishing water – or simply to achieve honor, either for the Tribe or for Head of the Tribe.

If the head of the tribe is G-d or something that replaces G-d, like strong emotions, such as anger, joy or grief, then you have a good incentive. This is true, especially if leaders of the tribe tell you that G-d expects you to die for the Tribe, preferably taking a couple of people from the other tribe with you as you exit from this world. Add to this, fiery rallies, giant meetings, demonstrations – those are nothing but replacements for spiritual experiences.
Just look at Germany during the Third Reich – ordinary, good, moral and ethical Germans were gathering en masse for the privilege to chant “Heil H-tler” and “Sieg Heil” and sing “Horst Wessel” – even those who did not believe in Nazism, who went to one or two of those rallies would find themselves chanting along, salute and all. What was Nazi Germany’s basic chant?

“Us, we the tribe, against them, the other Tribe”.

What was it Hitler used to drive that home? The Versailles Peace Treaty, a moment in history that most Germans thought of with feelings of being humiliated.

Guess what – the Arabs of the Near/Middle East have their own Versailles Peace treaty, only it was signed at Sevres 1920. Most came from that Peace Treaty feeling screwed, royally screwed. The anger many Arab Nations have towards the West is actually well based in history. When the Ottoman Empire fell, many Arabs felt that they had really, really lost something. They had lost what made them ARABS. Oh, they were still Arabs, and they were still Muslims, but their sense of self had been shattered.

Now, most went on, picking up the pieces, without much ado – but within the fabric of the Arab Nations in the Near and Middle East, there were those for whom there were no pieces to pick up, no alternative other than trying to either get it back or at least get even. Those were easy prey for the power hungry and the unscrupulous. What is it most of these Groups/Nations are saying they want? An Islamic/Muslim IDENTITY. They want to become ARABS again, as they were under Muhammad, and under Saladin the Great – and we are telling them, from their perspective that they can’t ever be allowed to be ARABS. No wonder they hate us.

Therefore, when someone comes along and tell these lost Arabs that he can give them this back, and more even, they grab it. Not all – as I said above, not all Arabs feel this way, but the ones with just a little too much hopelessness do. Along the way, I believe they have lost sense of what is really, really driving them. Now it has just become hatred aimed at the “Other Tribe.”

I wrote this in 2006. Now, eight years later, a radical Islamic group, ISIS/IS has emerged out of the Syrian civil war and the Arab spring, declaring an independent Islamic Caliphate.

“The jihadist insurgent group ISIS, or as it now prefers to be called, the Islamic State, appears well on the road to achieving its stated goal: the restoration of the caliphate. The concept, which refers to an Islamic state, presided over by a leader with both political and religious authority, dates from the various Muslim empires that followed the time of the Prophet Muhammad. From the seventh century onward, the caliph was, literally, his “successor.” (NY Times July 2 2014).

This group is a, as far as I can determine a direct descendant of Al-Qaida. Their purpose is not to wreck general havoc in the West. They are very open about wanting a re-establishment and restoration of what the Arabs lost in the Sevres. They do not want the Ottoman Empire. They want the sense of Arab identity they had under Saladin.

The Ayyubid empire under Saladin in 1188.

The Ayyubid empire under Saladin in 1188.

You and I can argue that they are crazy; that they have no idea what they have taken on, and so on. We might be right. We might be wrong. In the end, we will find that forcing democracy on others, or dictating to others what they should do, is a bad move. By consistently and relentlessly pushing our Western points of view and ways of doing things on the Arab world, we are not only painting ourselves into a corner that can only lead to more military ‘solutions’, we are forcing the Arab world to defend itself through military offense. We are literally causing the bloodshed we push our ways on others to avoid.

ISIS controlled or claimed territories July 2014

ISIS controlled or claimed territories July 2014

 

 

Posted in Islam, Muslims, Q'uran | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Dead Muslim is a Good Muslim – according to Southern Baptists

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 24, 2008


“The Feds back Christian holy war in Iraq?Or, Southern Baptist Convention et al back the federal Christian holy war in Iraq? Or is it the same? Are these some of the “American contractors” the 3 candidates are so concerned about protecting in Iraq?

About This Video

American Missionaries and Generals in the American Military are working together in order to convert Helpless Muslims in Iraq to Christianity. Many of these Missionaries which are Supported by the Bush Administration are from Evangelical Christian Groups Such as Southern Baptist Convention, World Help and other Evangelical Christian Organizations. They go into Iraq as aid workers in Disguise or as American Private Contractors working in Iraq. Many of these people have been given support and Protection from American Generals in Iraq by providing them Housings in Americans Bases in Iraq to work from. When ever the American Military goes into a Village or a Town in search and destroy Mission these missionaries follow them and hand out Pamphlets promoting Christianity and also Also Anti-Islamic material to the helpless Muslims in Iraq. Many of them follow the American Military as well in their routine Night raids where the American Soldiers Kills or detains Muslim males from the families, Iraq is a traditional Society and most of the Support a family receives is from the Male, and once there is no Male guardian for the Family the family does not have a chance for survival. Many Muslim Women and families are being taken advantage of by these American Christians, since they provide them with food and Shelter or Money in Exchange for the Bible and Christianity the most Vulnerable of these families are Muslim women with children whose husbands and Sons have been killed or been detained by the Americans. These Muslim families have no other place to provide for themselves it’s either the missionaries and there is always a Danger for Prostitution for survival. Unfortunately Islamic aid Organizations are not allowed to work from Iraq since they would be labeled as Terrorists and Killed, or detained by the American Military. Many of these Islamic Aid Organization have completely abandoned their work in Iraq. Those few Islamic Aid Organizations who do risk the work to provide aid for their Brothers and Sisters in Iraq are being highly Monitored by the American Military and the Puppet Iraqi Government.”

Of course, any way you can kill a Muslim is a good way…

They did it with the Pagans of Europe, they did it and are still doing it with the Jews, now they are doing it with Muslims. And they claim that Xianism is not an Imperialistic Religion that strive for World Domination? Guess why I don’t believe them?

Sneaky, immoral, arrogant, murdering bastards. Nothing new under the sun.

Posted in Bigotry, Religious Fundamentalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hate Crime Against Pagans/Wiccans

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 17, 2007


Witch-hanging1

Witch-hanging2

Witch-Hanging3

petition over offensive halloween decor 1:06 AM

Petition: halloween-decorations-or-hate-crime

Here’s the story:

Halloween Decoration Offends Witch

A Halloween decoration in Chicopee, Mass., featuring a witch hanging from the gallows is under fire from one neighbor who calls it a hate crime
Video:

My personal Comment to this was: “This is outrageous. What if the “hanging figure” was a Black person, or Jewish?”

And that is exactly what this is about – it’s not about religion, it’s about the factual depiction of something that actually took place – the killing of hundreds of thousands of real and alleged Pagans/Wiccans throughout history.

This is just as offensive as a burning cross on a black person’s lawn, or the nooses hanging from a tree not so long ago: The Jena Six – now, both actions were racially motivated – this is just what we are talking about – a hate crime. Period.
Please sign the Petition

Posted in Hate Crime, Pagan, Wiccan | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Note-worthy from a Christian

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 16, 2007


Pietà

This might be somewhat controversial, and I really don’t want to stir up any unpleasant feelings.

To me Jesus is in every human being – or could be. By my understanding, He likes to visit us – like in Tolstoy’s ‘Shoemaker Martin’ – and often He is “disguised” in the most despicable – at His time it was the poor, the prostitutes, children – at our time it’s different people we look down on…

Pietà is a Catholic form of church art depicting Christ dead or dying in arms of His Mother or others who love Him… In “Ask the Pastor” Pastor Walter Snyder says “we may use it in our devotional thought to remind us of our own grief at the Savior’s death, especially since it was for our sins that He was crucified.”
I think we could use it in our devotional thought also to remind us of that God might visit us in very unexpected shapes…

Now, this is where the controversy comes in…


This is Pietà by William Bouguereau, 1876


This is Pietà by Elizabeth Ohlson Wallin; from the exhibition Ecce Homo, 1998. The woman is holding in her arms a homosexual man dying of AIDS.


This is Pietà by Said Khatib; a Palestinian fisherman shot by Israeli war ship in December 2006

As far as I know, all three of these are among the despised according to the Right-wing Conservative Evangelical Christians of USA… Catholics, homosexuals and Palestinians. I would like to hear how one can justify not loving some people like brothers and sisters simply because of what they believe, whom they love, where they were born.
Or would you tell your sister her understanding of God is wrong because it’s not how YOU understand God, would you tell her to shut up, change her ways, hide her practice?
Would you denounce your brother, father or son because he loves another man?
Would you support denying your brother food, water, medical aid and housing if he was a terrorist? What if he was not a terrorist, but SUSPECTED of being a terrorist, or if one of his friends was a terrorist, or if his neighbor was a terrorist?

I’m asking because such way of thinking is totally strange to me, not to offend anyone.

Blessings,
Susanna

I am not easily impressed, and if you are a Xian, it’s even harder to impress me – but this woman impressed me. First of all for her choice in pictures, and second for her respectful, caring and loving treatment of her subject.

Posted in Religion, Xianism | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

G-d, Lashon Hara and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 20, 2007


three-wise-monkeys-c11765657.jpeg

“Don’t tell the truth, don’t share your opinion about people – or should we call them Main Characters in Torah….because then you are lying, using evil speak and embarrassing them in public…”

This echoes the things we were taught as children, “Don’t speak, don’t feel, don’t rock the boat”, doesn’t it? Isn’t this what keeps so many of us in bondage, sexually, emotionally, physically, spiritually, tied to our abusive pasts, because we are not allowed, not only by our families, but by oversensitive and legalistic interpretations of Torah?

I agree that we should avoid embarrassing living people in public, especially if there is no need, if the issue can be solved some other way – but that one is not allowed to expound on Torah in a manner that shows that indeed the Forefathers and Foremothers were human being just like you and me, with flaws, faults, character defects and dysfunctions, that is simply ridiculous.

People in Torah were some times up shit creek with themselves. That needs to be said, or what use is it to anyone to try and emulate their good sides, if we cannot identify with them on a deeper level, that of shame, fear, suffering and anger?

None whatsoever. It only serves the disease and the abusers.

The prohibition against Lashon Hara doesn’t cover the

“times when a person is obligated to speak out, even though the information is disparaging. Specifically, if a person’s intent in sharing the negative information is for a to’elet, a positive, constructive, and beneficial purpose, the prohibition against lashon hara does not apply. Motzi shem ra, spouting lies and spreading disinformation, is always prohibited. And if the lashon hara serves as a warning against the possibility of future harm, such communication is not only permissible, but, under certain conditions, compulsory.”

So as we clamber through The Days of Awe, and take time to examine our conduct and reason with G-d about it, we shouldn’t be shy about speaking the truth about where we came from, both in regards to our families and in regards to ourselves and remember that

“For the mistakes we committed before You through things we blurted out with our lips” and “For the mistakes we committed before You through harsh speech”(from the Al Chet Prayer)

doesn’t speak about disclosing our parents’ disease, abuse and dysfunction.

Amen

Posted in Al Chet Prayer, Criticism, G-d, Gossip, Lashon hara, Matriarchs, Patriarchs, The Days of Awe, Torah | Leave a Comment »

G-d, Forgiveness and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 19, 2007


burning-candles_0preview.jpg

Forgiveness
By Jay Litvin
————-

“These were the days before Yom Kippur. I was lonely and couldn’t figure out why. The loneliness had been there for months.

Things were good with my wife and kids. I’d been on the phone with my sisters and in close contact with my friends.

So, what was the source of this loneliness?

I was missing G-d.

I was and had been feeling distant from Him. A strange feeling for me. Even in my late teens I had been able to connect with Him when I needed to. He always answers my calls. Sometimes I don’t even need to call. I just feel his companionship as I journey through life.

But these last months had been lonely. I had been separate from Him, unable even to call out. And I didn’t know why.

Just before Yom Kippur, I received an e-mail from a friend. He’s not a religious Jew, though we discourse often about G-d and Torah. He’s a writer and has a way with words. We also share the same disease, and talk much about our symptoms, history, fears, treatments and aches. There’s a special something that happens with people who share the same disease. We never have to worry about boring each other. All our concerns and obsessions about the daily changes in our health or symptoms, our latest internet discoveries about new cures and clinical trials may bore others, but are continuously fascinating to us.

At the end of this email my friend wrote: “Jay, this Yom Kippur, I don’t think you should go to shul and ask G-d for forgiveness. This Yom Kippur you should stay home and G-d should come crawling on His knees and beg you to forgive Him for what He’s done to you.”

When I read these lines I laughed. My friend is a sacrilegious provocateur. He believed what he said, but he mainly wrote those words to shock me. I filed his words, but paid them little attention.

As Yom Kippur drew close, I continued to wonder what was taking place between G-d and me. I worried that this day of prayer and fasting would be void of the usual connection that Yom

And then in a flash I realized that I was angry at G-d. And had been for some time. I was angry about my disease and I was angry that I was not yet healed. I was angry about my pain. And I was angry at the disruption to my life, the fear, the worry and anxiety that my disease was causing my family and those who loved and cared about me. I was angry about the whole thing, and He, being the boss of everything that happens in the world, was responsible and to blame.

And so, I entered Yom Kippur angry at G-d.

I put on my kittel and my tallit and I went to shul.”(excerpt from very long article)

I can’t help but feel that this is very apt for me, and I am sure for many in Recovery – one reason we have trouble working the Steps that includes G-d. We are angry with G-d, we feel that G-d has deserted us, cheated us, let us face all kinds of horrible things alone, and you know what?

He has. We have every right to be angry at Him.

But that is not the end of the story. Eventually we realize that what we have been through, as horrible as it was (and still is for many) it has also made us the persons we are today. We have picked some very useful skills, that perhaps originally were meant to protect us as children. Most of what we learned as children is not useful to us as adults.

Hyper vigilance f.i is not useful – but if we look at hyper vigilance we see that trimmed down to functional levels through the Program, it is nothing but a very keen sense of observation, an eye for detail and context – that is useful.

My wife said that being bullied in school has taught her compassion.

My need for control has resulted in a very neat skill – I can read virtually any document up-side down. Being dyscalculic has given me a very good memory for numbers. The fact that my caregivers never bothered to teach me things means that I have a knack for learning by watching others do, this helps me when I need to learn complicated sequences, something I have trouble with because of my dyscalculia.

So while G-d let us go through all the crap, and it wasn’t fair, and we have every right to be angry with Him, at one point or other we have to let G-d off the hook for His shortcomings, because it has made us who we are – and who we are is good, perfectly imperfect and as it should be. As much as we need G-d to reason with us, as much do we need to reason with G-d, so that scarlet and crimson can become snow white and as wool (Yeshayahu 1:18)

The Days of Awe and Yom Kippur is as good a time as any to start.
Amen

copyright Henric C. Jensen

Posted in angry at G-d, Forgiveness, G-d, missing G-d, The Days of Awe, Yom Kippur | 1 Comment »

G-d, Distance and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 17, 2007


G-d is Compassion. He looks at our efforts to rectify our ways during The Days of Awe. Even if it seems that while we are taking a hard look at ourselves and attempting to make changes, that He might be distant, He is really never closer than when we seek to correct what we have messed up, because that is when we need Him the most.

If He really was distant from us, then how can He say:

Isa 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the L-RD; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

“let us reason together” – that is not the words of Someone who has distanced Himself from someone – it’s the words of Someone who desires to bring us through the work of self-reflection and honest assessments of our wrongs, our life stories and our doubts, walking side by side with us. At the end of that walk what used to be sullied, soiled and broken will be clean, pure and healed.

There’s midrash about a king who had a son.

The son had left home a long time ago after a fall-out with his father, and had moved a long way away from where he came from. The king, his father, sent out messages telling his son to come home. One of those messages  reached the son, and he responded “I can’t, it’s been to long and it’s too far to walk”. The King then sent another message saying “It doesn’t matter, you start walking now and I will meet you on the road where ever you are and we will walk the remaining stretch together”.

That’s G-d for us – meeting us on the way, walking with us and reasoning with us about what we have been doing with out lives the past year, so we can come to peaceful, healing and constructive conclusion on Yom Kippur.

Posted in Compassion, Distance, G-d, Isa 1:18, midrash about a king who had a son, The Days of Awe | 2 Comments »

G-d, a Holy Presence and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 16, 2007


. SEPTEMBER 15 .

When people are loving, brave, truthful, charitable, God is present.
– Harold Kushner

For many of us, our spiritual awakening began when we first heard our Higher Power might be our group. We learned that God may exist in the connections between people in our group just as well as within each individual. As we members exchange care and help with each other, as each struggles to achieve complete honesty and wrestles bravely with old temptations, God is truly in our midst. Closeness flourishes because we felt so alone but then found friends who suffered in similar ways. It is an expression of a spirit beyond our rational control.

When we ask another member to listen to us, we contribute to the strength of this spirit. When we give someone a ride to a meeting or spread the word about this program to other suffering men and women, we make a contribution and receive its benefits. Even now, if we need a renewal of confidence in God’s presence in our lives, we can telephone another member and just talk. We will quickly sense the spirit.

Today, I am grateful to feel God’s presence in my life and within the people around me.

This entry from Touchstones actually fit very well with part of the Shabbat Shuva Haftarah Text: Yoel 2:15-16

“Blow a horn in Zion,
Solemnize a fast,
Proclaim an assembly!
Gather the people,
Bid the congregation purify themselves.
Bring together the old,
Gather the babes
And the sucklings at the breast;
Let the bridegroom come out of his chamber,
The bride from her canopied couch.”

During The Days of Awe, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves – in company of others – scrutinizing our lives, looking for renewal of our trust and faith in ourselves, G-d and others, as well as a chance to start all over.

For us as Jews in Recovery the High Holy Days and the Time In Between them is a perfect time to reach out and ask for help, not just from G-d, but from each other. Yoel tells us that we are to proclaim an assembly, gather our people, the young, the old and those in between. And then he tells us in 2:27, the last verse of the Haftarah:

“And you shall know
That I am in the midst of Israel:
That I the Lord am your God
And there is no other.
And My people shall be shamed no more.”

When we go to meetings, attend shul, reach out and gather during the Days of Awe, G-d, the Rock of our ancestors, the Salvation of Israel is right there in or midst. We will shamed no more. Not just as a nation, but as individuals. Shame dies in the light of closeness with others and with G-d.

Adon Olam

The Lord of the Universe who reigned
before anything was created.
When all was made by his will
He was acknowledged as King.

And when all shall end
He still all alone shall reign.
He was, He is,
and He shall be in glory.

 

And He is one, and there’s no other,
to compare or join Him.
Without beginning, without end
and to Him belongs diminion and power.

 

And He is my G-d, my living G-d.
to Him I flee in time of grief,
and He is my miracle and my refuge,
who answers the day I shall call.

 

To Him I commit my spirit,
in the time of sleep and awakening,
even if my spirit leaves,
G-d is with me, I shall not fear.

Amen

Posted in A Holy Presence, G-d, The Days of Awe, Yoel 2:15-16 | Leave a Comment »

G-d, Words and the Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 15, 2007


Forgive!

The Haftarot for Shabbat Shuva (the Shabbat between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur are Hoshea 14:2-10, Michah 7:18-20 and Yoel 2:15-27. The texts of Michah and Yoel follows on the same page.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
For you have fallen because of your sin.
Take words with you
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him:
“Forgive all guilt
And accept what is good;
Instead of bulls we will pay
[The offering of] our lips.”
(Hoshea 14:2-3)

I read this and am in awe at how simple it is.

  1. Return To G-d.
  2. Take with you Words.
  3. Say to G-d: Forgive!

Yup, that simple, that beautiful. Just walk up to G-d with your words and say: “Forgive me”.

There’s more – G-d tells to us to tell Him to look at us and see what in us is GOOD, and that we are giving the best we have – Words of remorse.

  1. Accept that which is good
  2. We give the offerings of our lips.

Then let’s move on to the next part:

“I will heal their affliction,
Generously will I take them back in love;
For My anger has turned away from them.”
(Hoshea 14:5)

At which G-d response is unconditional love, because our words of teshuvah turns away or melts His anger.

That simple.

“Who is a God like You,
Forgiving iniquity
And remitting transgression;
Who has not maintained His wrath forever
Against the remnant of His own people,
Because He loves graciousness!
He will take us back in love;
He will cover up our iniquities,
You will hurl all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.”

Amen

Posted in Forgiveness, G-d, Hoshea 14:2-10, Michah 7:18-20, The Days of Awe, Words, Yoel 2:15-27 | Leave a Comment »

G-d, Intentions and The Days of Awe

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on September 14, 2007


sanctification.jpg

What really struck a cord with me at that time was the analogy of Homer Simpson. Homer, like us, despite his failings and evident flaws as a human being tried his best to do what was good. He may have failed miserably but he tried his best. And THAT, in my opinion, makes Homer a good person. Why, I asked myself, would a just God punish Homer?

This ties in with what I sent out as a New Years Greeting the other day:

“The world was created on the 25th of Elul… Thus we find that Primal Adam was created on the first of Tishrei…at the 10th hour he disobeyed God’s command, at the 11th he was judged…. The Holy One said to him: Adam, you are a precedent for your progeny. Just as you came before me for judgment and I absolved you, so shall your progeny come before Me for judgment and I will absolve them. When? On Rosh Hashanah, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month.'”

Somehow we have to approach the Days of Awe with hope, with confidence that G-d will forgive us and write us a New Year. He will, Tradition says, but we have to want it. Teshuvah is more about willingness to change and taking the possible steps towards such change, that it is about actually succeeding in making those changes. G-d forgives. G-d meets us on the road, however far away we are. All we have to do is take one step at a time towards Him in willingness.

G-d really is that simple-minded. Life isn’t about being good or bad, saint or sinner life is about walking with G-d in what ever manner we are capable of, and trust that when the last Neila Prayer is said and the last Shofar has been blown for us, we will be exactly where we are supposed to be, because until then we try our best to get closer to G-d on a personal level, and that is all Life is about.

He will absolve us if we let Him.

Amen

Posted in G-d, Hope, Intentions, Neila Prayer, Rosh Hashanah, Teshuvah, The Days of Awe | Leave a Comment »

 
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