The holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, falls this year on Wednesday in Israel and on Wednesday and Thursday in the Diaspora. It falls every year exactly seven weeks after Passover. The latter holiday celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt; Shavuot (which means “weeks”) celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, which followed some arduous trekking through the desert.
Shavuot, though, has a whole other, agricultural dimension. Also known as the Festival of the First Fruits, in ancient Israel Shavuot marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the bringing of the first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem. Theorists of these matters believe the agricultural layer of the holiday is the older, original one, and the commemoration of Sinai was added later.
In any case, the Sinai dimension of the holiday is more portable and can be practiced in synagogues anywhere; the agricultural dimension is more tied to the land of Israel. In fact, growing up in a secular Jewish family in upstate New York, I didn’t know about Shavuot at all. We had a Passover meal every year, and I thought it pretty much ended with that.
It makes sense, then, that during the period of Zionist resettlement of the land of Israel, the agricultural aspect was intensely revived. In fact, it was revived particularly by the kibbutz movements — which, at the time, were doctrinally socialist and mostly atheist, but seeking roots in the soil of the land.
After reading about a newly published scientific book titled The Mystery of the Shroud, which attempts to prove that the Shroud of Turin actually dates back to the time of Jesus, I planned on writing what you are about to read.
Then, an hour before my scheduled writing time, I “just happened” to notice a Facebook post that read:
Christmas was the promise — Easter is the proof.
That phrase truly resonated with me because of the word “proof.”
But do believers really have proof that Jesus was resurrected from the dead?
After twenty years of reading about and studying the Shroud of Turin (and even viewing it in 2010), I have all the “proof” I need. Although let me state emphatically that my faith — and the faith of most people who are celebrating “Resurrection Sunday” today — does not depend on any physical proof whatsoever.
For we know that Jesus is alive and His Spirit lives in us; that is all the proof we need.
Still, physical proof of Christ’s resurrection would be useful, especially when one tries to convince loved ones to believe in what more than a billion people around the world believe today.
So what if this new Shroud of Turin scientific study really does prove conclusively that the Shroud cloth dates back to the time of Jesus? Does that mean mankind finally has the proof it needs to believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after dying on the cross?
We are certainly getting close to “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” and here are some reasons why this is happening now.
Some things just deserve to be shared far and wide. I stumbled upon these adorably clever Valentine’s Day cards designed by Ben Kling. It’s not too late to share one with your sweetie, assuming he or she is intellectually deeper than your average Honey Boo Boo, Kim Kardashian-watching zombie straight out of Fahrenheit 451. If you know the last reference but not the first two you are to be congratulated. To buy yours go HERE.
More satire from Sunny at PJ Lifestyle:
“It must be him, it must be him, oh dear God, it must be him or I shall die.”
Before the advent of answering machines, and decades before mobile communications and social media, waiting by the phone for your man to call was an ancient mating tradition that single women of all ages thankfully will never again have to endure.
I was reminded of this dating ritual since we are on the cusp of celebrating what is traditionally known as the greatest date night of all, New Year’s Eve.
While wracking my brain thinking of a suitable baby boomer topic applicable to this holiday, it hit me… New Year’s Eve, 1971, when I was a high school sophomore and my boyfriend was a senior.
All that stands out about that evening was my having to wait by the phone for my boyfriend to call to tell me the time he was coming by to take me to a house party (where someone’s parents were out of town).
As 5 pm turned into 6 pm, turned into 7 pm, turned into 8 pm, I became extremely anxious, especially when my mother said, “Would it be so bad if you stayed home?” (Yea mom, how about the end of the world as I know it.)
When Mr. Considerate finally called at 8 pm the trauma ceased. But thinking back upon that 1971 New Year’s Eve, it was how waiting by the phone helped form five positive personality traits that women like me did not even realize we were developing. Eventually these five traits served baby boomer women extremely well as we made our way through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s taking advantage of all the new career opportunities that the women’s movement afforded.
Here are the five personality traits aging baby boomer women learned while waiting by the phone.
When you were forced to accept someone else’s timetable you learned it was not just all about you. Waiting by the phone developed patience and was superb training for almost any career and life in general.
This feeling was experienced when you finally realized that he was not going to call after he said (or you assumed) he would. Learning to cope with rejection without feeling like a complete loser was an important life lesson. The key was to think about all your positive attributes that this man was obviously missing. Then move ahead and don’t look back. This concept was easily applied to the professional world, especially if you were a business owner or involved in sales of any kind. Women of a certain age who experienced sitting by the phone waiting for him to call learned how to be resilient in the face of rejection.
3. Self worth/Self esteem
You waited by the phone and he did call. High five! You were on top of your game. All your flirting skills worked and you were the master of the feminine universe. (But sometimes you discovered that he was not worth waiting for!)
Later in life this same initial exhilaration was experienced when you landed a new job or a new client/contract/project was won. But you never let it go to your head. One learned early on that you must never be cocky because rejection in love or life could be lurking right around the corner.
He called, (maybe even weeks after he said he would) and you refrained from telling him that he was an insensitive jerk. But since you were really glad to hear from him you said no such thing. Later in the business world this skill came in handy when “the customer was always right” even if he/she was not.
5. Playing the Game
Once while chatting with some guy friends in my high school classes they admitted to me that often they did not call a girl after they said they would because they did not want to appear “pussy whipped.” (Yes, that was the operative term at the time.) So from this conversation I learned that there was a lot of game playing going on when it came to the timing of “the call.”
As a result, my friends and I would discuss when it was time to stop waiting and time to start living. (However, flirting with his friends was always an appropriate response.) The lesson “stop waiting and start living” developed into positive personality traits that were applicable to many future life situations.
But alas, girls/women today don’t have to deal with any of this waiting by the phone. In fact, waiting is a thing of the past since now there is no stigma attached to calling a boy before he calls you. Girls today will call, text, tweet, Facebook, or email and if that does not get his attention they will have their friends call, text, email, Facebook or tweet. From what I have heard about today’s dating habits, “whatever it takes” to catch the attention of the man of the moment seems to be acceptable behavior.
This behavior is a result of both the instant communications revolution and the women’s movement which generally has made the girls/women of today much more aggressive than my friends or I ever were in high school and college.
Perhaps this more aggressive behavior is cultural “payback” for all the countless hours their baby boomer mothers and grandmothers spent waiting by the phone especially in the weeks leading up to important date nights like New Year’s Eve. For around that time whenever the phone rang, teenage girls and young women were conditioned into thinking, “It must be him, it must be him, please be him or I will die.”
Happy New Year’s everyone!
More on generations at PJ Lifestyle:
I lost the argument with my wife. Should we encourage our children’s faith in Santa Claus? I was concerned that doing so might later undermine both our credibility as parents and our children’s belief in God.
It may not be a conversation that most couples have. Then again, must couples don’t include a former Jehovah’s Witness who was raised without holidays. As a child, I absorbed the cold hard truth dispensed from my parents. There was no Santa Claus. Other children’s parents cruelly lied to them. The privilege of knowing the truth served as consolation for receiving no presents.
Though I’ve long since rejected Jehovah’s Witness beliefs, my parents’ reasoning regarding the Santa fantasy lingered. Is there value in believing in something which is not true?
That question deserves careful consideration, and serves as a check against adult beliefs. In our postmodern, politically correct society, we commonly hear ecumenical equivocations like, “There are many paths to God.” While sharing my Christian faith, friends have more than once told me, “That’s your truth.” That rebuke stops short of saying my faith is false, claiming only that it is no more or less true than any other. But if that proves somehow valid, if one person’s faith in a flying spaghetti monster is no more or less true than my faith in Jesus Christ, what value is there in holding to either?
“Exactly!” an atheist might say. “Faith in Jesus is no better than faith in either Santa Claus or the flights of a pasta god.”
In Leonard Peikoff’s The Ominous Parallels, the ardent atheist and intellectual heir to objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand defines faith as the opposite of reason:
“Faith” designates blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.
Were this our working definition, I could agree that faith in anything is useless. However, this narrow view of faith does not encompass how the word is used in our culture. When a husband expresses faith in his wife, is he necessarily doing so in the absence of evidence? Or is his faith a bet made on the basis of past experience and intimate knowledge of her characteristics? Either scenario is possible, and surely men and women have been known to invest faith blindly. However, as a friend to a married person, we would not encourage blind faith in the same manner we would that informed by evidence.
On Christmas Eve, gather up your loved ones and to listen to Amy Grant sing Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song).
This is my favorite modern Christmas song and one I cannot listen to without tearing up.
The song takes you inside the mind and heart of the person who would become the world’s most revered Jewish teenage mother as she is about to give birth, in the most difficult of circumstances, to a baby she was chosen to bear — the One who will impact the world like no other.
Merry Christmas to all and especially those who truly love this mother and Baby.
One of the best parts of the holiday season has to be Christmas movies. There are hundreds of them and a few dozen classics among them. As a father of two, I’m always interested to see how popular films portray dads, so it makes sense to find the best papas in favorite Christmas flicks who can teach us all how to be better parents.
Let’s focus on five who would make Father Christmas proud.
5. Clark Griswold, The Do-Whatever-It-Takes Father
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the third film in a series following the hilarious Griswolds. The family patriarch is the lovable goof Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), whose greatest desire is for his family to have the perfect Christmas. How many dads can relate to a guy with Christmas cheer who can’t catch a break in trying to make the season bright? Clark’s frustrations abound as he just tries to give his family a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.” Clark forgets the saw when finding the perfect Christmas tree, he can’t figure out how to get his million lights to light up (been there), he can’t make annoying in-laws happy (won’t say I’ve been there), and he buys a huge gift for his family and then doesn’t receive his Christmas bonus to pay for it. He struggles and fails, but he keeps on fighting for that wonderful family Christmas.
Time rightfully put Clark in their top ten list of perfect movie dads. They praised him as the ultimate example of “determination.” He was always willing to go the extra mile to provide experiences his family would never forget.
Clark makes our list for doing whatever it takes to bring joy and special memories to his family for Christmas. Yes, he fails and sometimes fails miserably, but his heart is in the right place. While many men may ignore Christmas or leave it to others in the family, Clark takes the lead to bring his family the joys of the holiday. I can relate to that and so can countless other fathers. We are kids at heart and want our families to experience the wonders of the holiday season.
With over 40 million views, this video captures the essence of the article you are about to read.
A funny thing happened “on the way” as I was contemplating writing this piece. While listening to a Christian radio station the announcer said, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
At that moment this very familiar phrase hit me like a thunderbolt. For not only is “Jesus the reason for the season,” but Jesus is the reason our world, nation, history, culture and society are the way they are.
So regardless of whether you believe in Jesus, practice another faith, or are devoid of faith, Jesus has impacted you by virtue of the fact that you are alive.
For no person has affected mankind – past, present and future –more than this Jewish teacher who lived over 2000 years ago, whose birth we will celebrate with great fanfare.
Although Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were the impetus behind His followers’ establishing Christianity, the world’s largest religion itself is only the starting point for the influence Jesus spawned in countless non-religious venues as people over the centuries were moved and motivated by Him to express themselves in a multitude of ways that we continue to see played out everyday across the planet.
With so many examples of Jesus Christ’s effect on mankind it is impossible to even mention them all in this short piece — the purpose of which is to not only enhance your celebration of “the reason for the season” but to also increase your awareness of just how much Jesus impacts the world around you every day of the year.
If after reading this piece you are moved to delve deeper into this topic, I recommend a book published in 1994 that has since become a “modern classic,” What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, co-authored by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy and the still very much alive Jerry Newcombe.
This book had a profound influence on me as it oriented my thinking about Jesus in ways that I had never contemplated.
So here in alphabetical order is only a short, incomplete list of the most obvious “non-religious” aspects of how Jesus Christ has impacted the world.
It’s late in the holiday shopping season, and you are short on ideas for that child, nephew, niece or grandchild who loves to read. As someone who has perused quite a number of books for kids, I can tell you that there are good ones and bad ones – and I don’t mean quality. While some of the bad ones are obviously bad, sometimes it is not so clear. So here are eight PJ-approved gifts for kids, while there is still time to get them:
1. The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.
This is probably the most beautiful children’s book I have ever read. It is the story of Jewish immigrants to the United States and tells the tale of an article of clothing owned by those immigrants turned into a quilt passed down one generation to the next. It is a story of traditions, family, goodness, celebration and America.
2. The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
These books are indispensable children’s literature and should be in every home. They are the story of the Ingalls family through young Laura’s eyes as they traveled west and made America. It is a story of self-reliance, hard work, faith, values and goodness. The hardships suffered by this American family are a reminder of how this country was built.
3. The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown.
Skip the silly Goodnight Moon by the same author and get this lyrical story of a small island, faith, nature, and the march of time.
As every Jew will tell you, in the traditional Jewish calendar Hanukkah is not big deal. It reached its present status because it happens to fall at the same time as Christmas. Jewish parents, therefore, turned it into a gift-giving holiday so that their children didn’t feel completely left out from the happy, generous, celebratory Christmas season.
The fact that it’s not a big religious holiday, though, doesn’t mean that Hanukkah doesn’t commemorate an extremely important event, one that has enduring meaning to all freedom seeking individuals. For those who don’t know it, the story of Hanukkah is as follows:
Since time immemorial, nations have fought over that small patch of land we now call Israel. Considering that nature was less than generous in endowing Israel with fresh water or arable land, there must indeed be something special about the Holy Land, some transcendent aura, that has made it such a tantalizing prize to so many nations and people.
In 168 B.C.E., Greek soldiers located in modern-day Syria seized the great Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and defiled it by dedicating it to Zeus. Jews were appalled and offended, but still passively accepted this insult, for fear of incurring even greater wrath from the Greeks. Human nature, though, is human nature, and you cannot appease a tyrant. Heartened by Jewish passivity, the very next year, Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek emperor, mandated that any Jews who observed Jewish rituals would be put to death. Just to make sure he was completely clear, he also ordered that all Jews must affirmatively worship the Greek gods.
image courtesy shutterstock / Wally Stemberger
More from Bookworm at PJ Lifestyle:
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Just in time for Christmas, Pope Benedict XVI is out with a new book entitled Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives that is generating headlines and debunking some traditional elements of the Christmas story.
Some of the tradition debunking includes:
Jesus’ birth year, just a few (or several) years earlier than previously thought – now calculated between 7 B.C. and 2 B.C. rather than 1 A.D.
Obviously this throws a small wrench in the wheel of time for all earth and human history since B.C. means Before Christ and A.D. means Anno Domini representing the birth of Christ. (Oh well, just a small “blunder” by some sixth century monk!)
Christmas (Christ’s mass) has no basis in historical fact as celebrated on December 25 since A.D. 353, when Pope Julius I selected and authorized that day.
And the worst news of all is reserved for Christmas stores everywhere because the Pope says no cute animals were present at the manger nativity scene – no donkeys, no fuzzy little lambs or adorable friendly oxen.
Wow, this marketing savvy Pope obviously knows what it takes to sell books in the 21st century, while providing some great new material for late night comics.
But seriously, do any of these revelations really matter to the true followers of Jesus? After all HE is the real “reason for the season” regardless of when the real season really began.
“Christ’s mass” could be celebrated on any day, in whatever B.C. or A.D. year is deemed appropriate and it would still be just as sacred because the exact date is immaterial as to why Christians believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior, God, Messiah, King of Kings, etc.
In fact there is only one day in particular that really matters to Christians. That day is the reason we are still even talking about a poor Jewish preacher who lived and died a couple of thousand years ago after suffering a horrible death. That day of course is Easter Sunday.
Without Easter Sunday, that is without the resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no Christianity. But because He rose from the dead, thus fulfilling numerous Old Testament Jewish Bible prophesies about his birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection, His Spirit lives. Christ is alive for those who believe in Him, not just because we read about Him in the Bible or heard about Him in church but because we have experienced Him first hand. Christ intervenes in our lives!
So because of who HE is, Jesus, born with or without the presence of cute lambs on (pick a date or year) will still be the central figure around which the world’s largest religion thrives.
It is my belief the Pope’s officially “debunking” the Christmas date and some associated traditions, exposes all Christians to potential ridicule by non-Christians as the “War on Christmas” continues in our increasingly secular society where the word “Christmas” is being replaced by “holiday” ever more each passing year and Christianity itself is on the wane in our nation.
But meanwhile, across the globe, Christianity with 2.2 billion followers, one–third of the planet’s population, is currently experiencing exponential growth, particularly in Africa and even in forbidden places like the Middle East where millions of Christians risk their lives and limbs to worship Him in secret churches.
However, the most spectacular Christian growth of all, with the greatest potential to change the world, is happening right now in China, where Christianity is spreading like “wild fire.”
Some sources on the ground are stating that a full 10% of the estimated 1.4 billion Chinese are now practicing Christians. If true, this means there are 150 million Christians in China, with more on the way, since the Communist Party is now encouraging its growth!
And many Catholics I imagine would love to receive the Pope’s new book during this “not historically factual” gift giving season, but the gift I wish for is that the real meaning of Christmas be restored as “Christ’s mass” throughout our culture rather than the current trends downplaying it.
Then perhaps here in the USA we could truly celebrate the birth of our Savior everyday along with his life, death, resurrection and Holy Spirit that lives within us, not just in passing for a few weeks during extended “holiday” shopping hours.
If that happened, I am confident overall we would be a much happier, hopeful and productive nation. For increased faith in Christ would positively affect all Americans regardless of whether they were followers of the Jewish preacher whose birthday and year is totally irrelevant.
Jesus Lives and that is all that matters to me and billions of others around the globe this Christmas season.
Forget about the Thanksgiving feast. Potbellied and big-butted Americans stuff themselves silly all year round, a survey has found.
American men are weighing in at an average of 196 pounds — 16 pounds more than in 1990, a Gallup Poll has found. The average weight for women jumped 14 pounds to 156 pounds over the same period.
The truth is, fat is in and thin is, well, mostly fantasy.
When it comes to naming their ideal weight, men and women have lowered their standards considerably.
Men now put their ideal weight at an average of 185 pounds, the highest ever and up 14 pounds since 1990.
Women say their ideal weight is 140 pounds — up from 129 pounds in 1990.
I do think that Americans’ perception of weight has changed. What used to be considered normal weight is now thought of as thin. What used to be heavy is now normal.
Do you have an ideal weight and if so, what is it?
Be thankful you used to live in the greatest country on earth. Until, you know, it was fundamentally transformed. Which reminds me of an old joke:
A man walks into a bar. He has an orange for a head. The bartender pours him a drink and says: “So—you want to tell me about it?”
“Well, I was walking on the beach,” says the man with an orange for a head. “I found an old lamp in the sand and took it home. When I polished the lamp, a genie came out and offered me three wishes in return for setting him free. Thinking it was some sort of trick, I offhandedly wished for a million dollars. Instantly, the doorbell rang. A man had arrived to tell me I’d won a mail-order sweepstakes for exactly a million dollars. So I returned to the genie and wished I could have sex with every Playmate of the Month for last year. The doorbell rang again—and all 12 pinup girls came prancing in, at my service. I went back to the genie a third time,” says the man with an orange for a head, “and I think this may have been where I made my mistake.”
“What did you do?” says the bartender.
“I wished to have an orange for a head.”
For the connection between that and the election, read the rest here. And more seriously, have a great day.
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns of Europe fell silent. We in the US know of November 11th as Veterans’ Day, a holiday to honor those who have served in our military forces.
Sadly, the day isn’t thought of much outside the military. The President lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. As it is not usually a day off of work, most department stores don’t even bother with announcing a sale. A news story about Obama’s plans for Veterans’ Day 2011 sums up the lack of gravitas our culture gives to the day. After quoting the news release that Obama would attend the ceremonies at Arlington and then fly to San Diego to watch a football game with the crew of the USS Carl Vinson, the report concluded:
Will you be tuning in to watch the historic event? If nothing else it will be cool to watch a game on a war machine that can literally wipe out an entire city.
I didn’t know much about Veterans’ Day until we moved to London. From the beginning of November to the 11th or the second Sunday, Remberance Sunday, people wear commemorative poppies on their lapels. The British Legion sells the pins as a fund raiser for wounded veterans. (The American Legion does as well, but on a small scale.) On both days, people observe a moment of silence at 11 am. Why two days? During WWII, the moment of silence was moved to the closest Sunday so as not to interfere with wartime production. After WWII ended, the double observance remained, perhaps as a reminder as to why the ceremony had to move.
Besides sex, politics and religion no topic stimulates aging baby boomer cocktail party conversation more than classic rock music. For this is our music; we grew up with it and it is the soundtrack of our lives.
Previously, I have written that asking baby boomers to name their first rock concert is always an engaging conversation starter.
And here is another musical topic, just as engaging – ask boomers to name their five favorite classic rock songs.
Fueled by some adult beverages, this discussion could last until it is time to go home, which for aging baby boomers always seems to be around 11:00pm.
(Ahh, I remember the good old days when 2:00am was my departure time!)
Do you need a few minutes to name your top five favorites?
(Think of this as a Sudoku exercise for brains over the age of 50.)
While the wheels inside your head go round and round, here are my top five:
Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Question by Moody Blues
While My Guitar Gently Weeps a Beatles song by George Harrison
Imagine just how much you can learn about a person by knowing their top five classic rock songs! (Obviously my selections prove that I am a complex, confused individual with a colorful past and zest for life!)
Now with the election finally coming to a close next week (at least we hope it will be over next week) this means 50% of your friends and family will be ticked off by the results.
So with family holiday gatherings just around the corner here is some useful advice.
Rather than stab your liberal uncle/aunt/sister/cousin/brother-in-law with the turkey carving knife when the dinner conversation turns to the election results, why not change the topic by asking folks to name their five favorite classic rock songs?
Try this friendly topic changer when the heat begins to rise, because if your family is anything like mine, I wish I had thought of this idea a long time ago.
Are you still contemplating your five favorites? If so, what shall we drink to stimulate the thinking process? Correction, what is in my refrigerator?
The answer is sake! Gekkeikan Haiku Sake with its 15% alcohol content.
Lately, I have enjoyed sipping cold sake on the rocks. The bottle, I just noticed has been partially consumed, a sure sign my husband has endorsed my new fad. (After all, he is married to a “complex, confused individual with a colorful past and a zest for life,” so the poor guy needs some relief.)
Gekkeikan Haiku Sake is according to the label: “light, with just a hint of dryness Gekkeikan Haiku brings hundreds of years of sake making experience to the modern palate.”
So when your gathering is boring and needs some lively conversation or it is too lively and relatives are at each other throats, then pour some Gekkeikan Haiku Sake over ice and ask folks to name their five favorite classic rock songs.
This is guaranteed to have the desired effect.
That is until someone yells Freebird and all hell breaks loose!
While chatting with a close friend who is currently on location filming a mega-budget Hollywood movie, he mentioned, as a “good Jew,” he was planning on attending a Yom Kippur service today in a beautiful historic temple.
Yom Kippur, for those who are unfamiliar, is the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
Playfully, I asked him if the rabbi would let loose a scapegoat in the temple but my friend did not understand why I had even asked such a question.
That is when I told him about the Yom Kippur scapegoat, an integral part of the Old Testament account of The Day of Atonement.
Since my friend was unfamiliar with the Yom Kippur scapegoat I thought perhaps others might be as well. So if you are attending temple today and familiar this Jewish Bible story, you are dismissed.
If not, keep reading because this ancient tale is not only interesting, but the word “scapegoat” is derived from it.
Now class, please open your Bibles to Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament, after Genesis and Exodus. Those first three books, along with the next two, Numbers and Deuteronomy comprise what is known as The Torah.
Leviticus chapter 16 is aptly named The Day of Atonement. It is a short chapter comprised of only 34 verses which I recommend reading if this piece piques your interest.
Here is the basic story.
While the Children of Israel were wandering in the desert during their 40 year odyssey between leaving Egypt and entering the Holy Land of Israel, God commanded Moses to make an annual atonement for their “uncleanness and rebellion” and “whatever their sins had been.” God then directed Moses to have his brother Aaron, the High Priest, obtain two goats for an atonement ceremony.
The first goat was designated as a “sin offering” and slaughtered for his blood. Then, the goat’s blood was to be sprinkled around the “Most Holy Place” which was inside the “Tent of Meeting” that housed the Ark of the Covenant.
Now, the second goat fared slightly better for it was to be the “goat of removal.” In Hebrew, it was known as the Azazel goat, and later translated to mean scapegoat in the English Bible’s King James Version.
Rather than me paraphrase the fate of the second goat, I will defer to GOD as HE gives Moses specific instructions for brother Aaron to carry out in Leviticus 16: 21- 22. The Bible translation is from the popular New International Version.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites –all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
There you have it, the scapegoat as the central figure of Yom Kippur.
The scapegoat’s original meaning was escape goat because unlike the first goat, the second was allowed to escape with its life, though heavily laden with the collective sin of the Israelites.
As you know, the modern meaning of scapegoat is some entity or person who is unfairly blamed or punished for the actions of others, but I would wager that most people are unaware this term is from the Old Testament.
So for those of the Jewish faith attending temple today, you might pause to remember that little goat, released into the desert bearing the sin burden of all your ancient relatives.
Furthermore, click here if you are interested in knowing the Biblical origin of other common phrases like Good Samaritan, a drop in the bucket, a broken heart, a peace offering, or a sign of the times, to only name a few.
The Bible is still the best selling book of all time and continues to be an amazing resource for faith, history, morality and language.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
On a practical level, we take an apple which is sweet not a green, tart tasting apple and dip it into sweet honey, as a tangible reflection of our trust and prayers that G-d will grant us all a sweet year.Why specifically an apple? There is also symbolism implicit in the apple. Solomon writes, referring to the romance between G-d and the Jewish people, Song of Songs 8:5, “Beneath the apple tree I aroused you[r love].” On Rosh Hashanah we try to, once again, remind G-d of our mutual love.
Yesterday via Days of Reflection and Rededication « Commentary Magazine.
Sundown tonight marks the start of the Jewish New Year that begins with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. The ten days from the start of this holiday until the end of Yom Kippur next week are known in Judaism as the Days of Awe. During this time, Jews are asked to reflect on their deeds in the past year and seek to account for them to their Creator as well as their fellow human beings. This period of introspection should cause all of us to think about what we have done or not done and to contemplate what can be done to do better. Indeed, as Americans contemplate the final weeks of the presidential campaign it is an apt moment for all of us to look at the issues facing the nation in a sober and honest manner.
And a video via Adam Levick at CIF Watch:
Aussie Dave at Israelly Cool also collects a variety of Rosh Hashanah greetings and videos, here are three of them, make a point to visit him for more:
Why is one of the most enduring mysteries of mankind still unresolved?
With all the 21st century technology available to scientists, why does the faded image of a tortured man on a blood-stained cloth allegedly dating back 2000 years still baffle the scientific community?
Of course the mystery I am alluding to is the Shroud of Turin – an artifact that millions of Christians believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus.
For about 20 years I have been interested in the Shroud of Turin. Then in 2010, when it went on public display for only 44 days in Turin, Italy, I was fortunate to be among the two million people who saw it in person.
My two decades of reading about the Shroud culminated in a first-hand look and led me to believe that this is the physical evidence proving that Jesus Christ was in fact resurrected from the dead.
So why should you care about the Shroud of Turin, especially if you practice a faith that does not include Jesus or have no faith at all?
There are two answers: First, just plain intellectual curiosity about the world’s most studied and mysterious relic. Second, sometime in the not-so-distant future, technology will enable scientists to prove that this was the burial cloth of the resurrected Christ. So get ready.
In the meantime, what science has or has not been able to confirm about the Shroud is also instructive.
Here is a Talking Point Guide for use during your Fourth of July gathering that will help stimulate a “higher level” of group conversation.
However, this Guide is only to be used after your group has finished gossiping about any absent family members or friends.
The person in your gathering who happened to stumble upon this piece is obviously the wisest among you and, therefore, should be designated group leader.
The group leader should start off by asking the following question:
What are we celebrating today?
Do not be surprised if the answer is summer vacation, fireworks or barbeques.
The group leader must be patient if any family or friends honestly do not know the real meaning of the day.
If you decide to mention Independence Day you must follow it up with the obvious question of independence from what for whom. Again, do not be surprised if those listening do not know the answer, especially if they are recent products of public secondary schools or universities.
Forging ahead, here is the next question for the group.
Are you proud to be an American?
If the answers are “yes” then follow up with:
Why are you proud to be an American?
This should elicit some interesting conversation.
However, if the answer to “are you proud to be an American” was “no” and the name of George W. Bush is evoked, I recommend you stop right here and drink heavily the rest of the day.
If you dare to continue, this extremely politically incorrect discussion point should be next.
First, mention an almost forgotten document that is the reason for the day and then slowly read its most famous passage, deliberately omitting the three most important words just like President Obama did.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
After your dramatic reading look up and see if anyone noticed that something was missing. If someone did, promise that person an extra hot dog and then task him/her to correctly read the passage. Then you both should explain to your group why the words by their Creator (instead of by their king) were so powerful that a bunch of gentlemen farmers were willing to start a violent revolution against the greatest military on earth.
On the other hand, if no one noticed the omission then inform anyone left listening that three important words were missing and correctly read the passage.
After this, explain to your group that our Founding Fathers were the first leaders on the planet to believe that humans were entitled to certain unalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that these rights were endowed by God and not a king. That is what made the formation of their new nation so special and, many would say, exceptional to this day.
This concept could lead to a number of different discussions, but if this were my family someone would storm off reminding me that we were never to discuss politics or religion at any family gathering.
So Happy Fourth of July and I am sorry if I have offended anyone.
Today is Memorial Day, the day we honor those Americans who have given their lives in war. You might not know this from the newspaper or TV, though. The holiday seems to have become another excuse to sleep in and for retailers to sell everything from dryers to bed sheets. In fact, Memorial Day should be May 31, but since that’s a Thursday this year, the government moved it up so we could all enjoy a long weekend.
If you’re ever near Washington, D.C., be sure to stop by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Maya Lin’s elegiac wall is perfect, despite the controversy that erupted when her design was announced in the early 1980s. In fact, the two sculptures added to it to “balance” it out—overly literal figures of male and female soldiers — actually detract from the deep symbolism of Lin’s elegant design. Visitors leave mementos at the base of the wall that are deeply meaningful only to the person whose name is on the wall and the person who left it. In addition to the usual flowers, teddy bears, and uniform items, one time I saw a 45-rpm record of “Devil in a Blue Dress” by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. What did that song mean to whomever left it? Which name on the wall was it intended for? It was a haunting sight, that simple black disc propped forlornly against the base of the wall.
First the good news — the colorization process looks better — and tighter — than the horrible blotchy early efforts of Ted Turner in the mid-1980s:
A reader sent this, a clip from the new HD colorization. He writes, “Every single frame looks like a Rockwell painting.”
It might, but that’s not the way the film was meant to be seen. Technicolor was invented in 1916 and came of age in the late twenties and thirties. If filmmakers wanted to make their films in color, they could have. Sure, sometimes the cost was prohibitive, but then a film was produced for black and white the lighting, shadows, clothes and make-up were crafted and created deliberately around that reality. Nothing about any black and white film is appropriate for color. Nothing.
Jimmy Stewart himself was so incensed by colorization (his look at what was done to “It’s a Wonderful Life” was likely the last straw) he personally testified before Congress against it in 1988.
For a time, when Ted Turner was really going to town, you couldn’t even buy black and white VHS copies of some of these classics. You had to turn the color off on your television.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine why such a thing would enhance anyone’s enjoyment of a film.
It’s a Wonderful Life is in quasi-public domain, so all sorts of versions of it are available. That’s the film’s blessing and curse, making it both easy for it to be colorization fodder, and easy — at least for now — to find the original version.
Of course, for better or worse — likely worse — it’s only a matter of time before Jimmy Stewart’s career begins again, reborn as a digital thespian; starring in a sorts of new productions.
So how was your Christmas? And what did you watch this weekend?