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Abraham, Part 4: Does Holiness Get Lost in the Fog of War?

It’s one thing to theorize at a distance from the action; quite another to run your own fractious polity while also contending with real marauders and mortal threats.

by
P. David Hornik

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May 12, 2013 - 7:00 am
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Abraham, in becoming a patriarch in Canaan, also becomes a sort of political entity. He has “flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.” Like the restored political entity known as modern Israel — a distant descendant of that of Abraham — he has to conduct a sort of “international relations” with the surrounding peoples.

Israel’s conduct of its affairs, of course, seems to arouse more controversy than that of any country except the United States. The political Left — within Israel, in the larger Jewish world, and in the non-Jewish world — accuses Israel of immorality; the Right — mostly within Israel and the Jewish world — accuses it of weakness and cowardice. In fact, upholding a democracy while dealing with rough surroundings is not at all simple and requires a constant balancing act between moral standards and self-preservation.

It wasn’t so different for Abraham. On the one hand, God expresses confidence in him to “do justice and judgment”; on the other, he has to interact with tribal leaders and others who are sometimes decent and sometimes ruthless. Living in Zion, asserting independence, means being connected to the spiritual realm while at the same time having one’s feet firmly on the ground of the “real world.”

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All Comments   (11)
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A lot of things get lost in war. If holiness gets "lost", it was never there to begin with. Holiness is not what one does, it is who one is. We are only "made holy" by virtue of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. Without that, we are simply a people ruled by the flesh or human conscience.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"God seems to accept that moral rules — like telling the truth — sometimes have to be bent on behalf of a larger purpose, like survival."

This is NEVER true! The reason God didn't chide Abraham for saying that Sarah was his sister is because it was true. Abraham's father, Terah, was also the father of Sarah by a different mother.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
But Abraham deceived Abimelech, by not saying "she is my wife," and by not saying "she is my half-sister," since half-sisters could be married.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something is in the air here. I never know quite what it is. I think that it is really neurosis. Of course, there are no answers - we are who we are, emerging out of a bizarre and painful history. Yes, it is a privilege in a way to live in a reborn State of Jews, for certainly it is not a 'Jewish state' in any clear way. Yesterday, I took the long bus ride from Tel Aviv to Kiryat Shmonah (I live up on a border moshav high above the tip of the Jordan Valley). Along the way, a pleasant young Arab guy got on near a large Arab town just in from the coast. The bus driver, perhaps the most extroverted person I have ever met (he often does the local routes in and around K Shmona) engaged the young Arab in conversation. At one point, he asked the guy about the Arabs from the villages in Wadi Ara, a known troublesome area within the 67 border, a hotbed of Israeli Arab 'Islamist' activity. I think his questions, which were very indirect, were an attempt to get a read on Israeli Arabs and in particular the hotbed around Wadi Ara. The Arab was very cautious; if he sensed he was being drawn into a political conversation, he would not bite.

I appreciate the complex and resigned Zionism you express in your articles. As a member of the right wing you consider simplistic and unrealistic, I wish to he#@ people who think as you do would understand that our fate is in our own hands if we want it to be. That said, I respect that you have spent so many years here, and care as you do.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Resigned? I didn't think my Zionism was resigned. I belong to the right wing myself, though--it being a large camp--not always agreeing with everything said by various people within this camp. Being simplistic and disliking complexity is a widespread human tendency, found in all large categories of people.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does Holiness get lost in the fog of war?
No. Lives get lost.
Hopefully, lots-n-lots of THEIRS, so they maybe think twice before trying to f*ck with you again.

It really not that complicated.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
it is impossible for a modern to endure tribal conditions. It is impossible for a city dweller to be thrown on land with a mule and survive. it is impossible for an atheist then to hear a voice from above saying:take your son to a mount and sacrifice him. It is impossible for a missionary to endure missionary conditions. Saint Paul speaks about such conditions while being followed by those with all the answers to the questions of how you can be right and not wrong
from ancient 2000 year old text
"9-13 It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.

14-16 I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
footnote
I do not think God do that to the poor atheist. It would be one step at a time God coming down from stairwy in heaven , give him the most beauty bride in the world, then riches for his temple, the voice from the stairway a voice he could trust then both The Father and Jesus would sweat blood together figure of speech in the garden the night before the sacrifice they were so close and then the end the father on earth and the son in heaven looking after his Father on earth
what a great story this is
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Abraham had the luxury of living without the descendents of Essua, and Ishmael.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your point about a total Jew is a good one. Once America had succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, including the Civil Rights act, it proceeded to dismantle itself by substituting identity in place of principle to decide right and wrong. Reality no longer has anything to do with it. Therefore many Americans are simply incapable of making simple comparisons and looking at Israel with any kind of balance.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
If someone tells you that lying is always wrong, you have discovered someone that doesn't live in society with other persons but entirely and completely within their own heads....'>>.......
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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