Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish’

Purim is recorded in the book of Esther in the Scriptures and was focused on the Jewish people and states clearly concerning the remembrance of Purim, in Esther 9:26-32, “The Jews ordained, and took upon them,” and “as they had decreed for themselves…”.

The book of Esther tell the story of the Jewish people and how they were saved from being destroyed by a subversive plot brought on by the jealousy and anger of Haman, an enemy of the Jews. Esther is the “heroine” of the story having presented herself before the King after a fast of three days – that he would accept her to come into his presence to speak of the plot against her and her people – which he did. Horrified at what Haman had done, the King had him hung with his ten sons on the gallows meant for Esther’s uncle Mordechai who had incited Haman to wrath by not bowing down in obeisance to him – which had led Haman to conceive the plot against the Jews.

When the Jews successfully fought and won against those who were sent to destroy them, as the edict could not be canceled;  the King allowed them to take up arms to fight – a time of rejoicing and celebration ensued. It was then decided to continue with a celebration yearly to commemorate the victory. Queen Esther signed a decree confirming the feast of Purim. The word “Purim” is a Chaldean word [“pagan” language] that means “lots” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.


It originally was viewed as non-religious and in an article “Purim”, written by Kaufmann Kohler and Henry Malter for the Jewish Encyclopeidia.com

“…Aside from the much-mooted question whether Purim is of Jewish or of heathen origin, it is certain that, as it appears in the Book of Esther, the festival is altogether devoid of religious spirit—an anomaly in Jewish religious history. This is due to the worldly spirit of the Book of Esther. The only religious allusions therein are the mention of fasting in iv. 16 and ix. 31, and perhaps the expression of confidence in the deliverance of Israel in iv. 14. This secular character has on the whole been most prominent in this festival at all times. Like Ḥanukkah, it has never been universally considered a religious holy day, in spite of the fact that it is designated by the term “yom-ṭob” (Esth. ix. 19, 22.). Accordingly business transactions and even manual labor are allowed on Purim, although in certain places restrictions have been imposed on work (Shulḥan ‘Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 696).

… It seems, therefore, that the observance of Purim was at first merely of a convivial and social nature. Gradually it assumed religious features….

The first religious ceremony ordained for the celebration of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther in the synagogue, a regulation ascribed in the Talmud (Meg. 2a) to the “Men of the Great Synod,” of which Mordecai is reported to have been a member…” 1

From the article Legend of Hanukkah>

“… In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed in the article, To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud, he noted that:

In the volume, Josephus, the historian, also contrasts the views of the Pharisees and Sadducees regarding the Oral Law:

“…the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses; and it is for this reason that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, and not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. ” 22

In defense and support of the Pharisees, Hyam Maccoby adds this tribute to their preservation and multiplying of religious rituals and traditions:

“The Pharisees added new Festivals (Chanukah and Purim) to the Jewish religious year; they added to the canon of Scripture…they added new doctrine to Judaism…they added new rites to the Temple worship…as well as being continual creators of new prayers and ceremonies in the synagogue.” 23.” 2

From the Wisdom of Kabbalah newsletter and their online site kabbalah.info, Purim is discussed in the article The Inner Purim:

“Purim – the holiday of opposites – joy vs. grief, concealment vs. disclosure, Mordechay vs. Haman, genocide vs. redemption…

A Kabbalist is a person who seeks deep inside the causes for the events in his life . It is evident to him that whatever it is he is about to discover, already lies within him, waiting. All he has to learn is how to come in contact with the force that makes things happen. That force will lead and guide him to control the future events of his life, his personal happiness and the bounty that will flow through him to the whole of mankind.

In the eyes of Kabbalah, Megilat Esther tells of the forces that unfold in the innermost parts of man. Forces that tell of what one discovers with one’s relationship with the Creator, the forces that guides the events of everybody’s life. These forces are called Mordechay, Esther, Haman, etc. … Mordechay, the inner force within a Jew, which wants nothing more than to cling to the Creator and worship Him, lived happily and the kingdom was at peace…

The evil Haman, who represents the egotistical in us, the opposite of the Jew, wants to exploit the situation for self gain. He eventually wants to overthrow the king from his thrown.

He believes that the fact that the Jews are dispersed testifies to their weakness, confusion and lack of faith. Therefore he finds the situation to be a rate opportunity to eliminate the Jews from the face of the earth, as they are the sole force that stands between him and exploiting the Creator. …

What Haman fails to understand, however, is that the Jews are dispersed for a reason. It stems from the fact that the people of Israel has risen to a higher level now.

That higher level means a direct and open contact with the Creator. A bond so open, no one will be able to deny. Indeed we see the truth of it when at the end of the story, all peoples reform. The meaning is that all the desires in man, called Peoples, accept the main force that leads to confidence and happiness, called Israel. ….The Jew in a man is limited. That limitation can only be overcome by the evil Haman. That is why we need to find the Haman within us. ….”3

As we can see, Purim has religious and mystical meaning to those practicing Judaism. Purim was not a feast of the Lord.  It was in honor of victory over the enemy of the Jews, not a shadow of Christ like the Feasts that God had given to Israel to observe. Purim, as it is celebrated Rabbinically, puts the emphasis on the person. The Feasts of the Lord were a shadow, a prophecy of Jesus Christ and focused on Him, the fulfillment of those prophecies.

Although there is not any evidence that Purim was kept in the Old Testament other than in the book of Esther, Judaism has continued to keep this holiday under the instruction of the Talmud. The earliest reference to this celebratory holiday is in the second century CE.

Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which is usually in March. The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives. On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. In cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day. The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim.” 4

The Talmud is explicit in its Rabbinical instructions for keeping Purim, which is mandatory in Judaism.
* Hear the reading of the book of Esther called the Megillah [scroll]. The Megillah must be read in the evening before Purim and the morning of, in accordance with the commandment as found in the Talmud.

* Hiss, boo, stomp and rattle “gragers” (noise makers) whenever the name of Haman is mentioned so that his name is blotted out.

* Eat, drink and be merry – the Talmud instructs that “a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai,” though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is.”

* The Jews are commanded to send out gifs of food and drink, and to give gifts to charity. One popular food item are “hamentaschen” (Haman’s pockets – also known as oznei haman, or Haman’s ears) – a type of triangular (3 cornered hat] shaped cookie filled with fruit preserves or poppy seed filling.

* Out of respect for the holiday people should not work or go about their normal business, but it is not considered a “Sabbath”.

* Fasting
As the story goes in Esther, she fasts for three days and three nights, requesting that all Jews in Shushan and her maids do the same so that the King will receive her in his court. The Rabbinical instructions for this fast for Purim only require one day of fasting, although some do additional fasting after Purim. 5

“Since the Fast of Esther is not one of the four Fast days which are specifically mentioned in the Prophetic Writings, it is observed with greater leniency than the other Fast days. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, as well as others of generally weak health, (who would suffer by fasting) do not fast therein. The additional penitential prayers, and the Torah Reading, which are prescribed for the other Fast days are also required for the Fast of Esther. 6

* Dressing up in costumes with masks for parades is all part of the fun and most definitely one of the favorite parts of celebrating Purim. Today, the children even dress up as Disney characters and super heroes. 7

It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. I have heard that the usual prohibitions against cross-dressing are lifted during this holiday, but I am not certain about that. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as the Jewish Mardi Gras” 8

In Israel, however, Purim is as intensely ruckus as Carnival in Brazil or Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Every city, large and small, has a parade. The one in Tel Aviv is so over-the-top that cross-dressing drag queens can usually be seen mingling amongst the clown-clad kiddies.”

“School children often have multiple costumes. After all, why pick just one superhero or princess when your teacher lets you come in costume the whole week! In the days leading up to Purim, even teachers and administrators come to school in costume.”

“The actual day of Purim is a holiday from school, so that is when kids attend their neighborhood Purim party, sponsored by the local community centers. These affairs are loud and rocking, with blaring DJs, smoke machines and copious amounts of junk food. Teenagers get in on the action at night, when there parties feature perhaps mellower music, but a near hyper-like consumption of alcohol.”

“While there is no trick-or-treating on Purim, the holiday still has that Halloween-like quality that most likely comes from ingesting way too many sugared treats. Religious and secular alike in Israel can be seen on Purim morning delivering baskets of food – usually sweet pastries and candy toffees – to their friends and family members.” 9

The “celebrations” included reading the story of Esther. When the reader came to the name “Mordechai”, everyone was supposed to cheer and clap. When the reader came to the name “Haman”,  all booed and hissed their disapproval.

Other traditions include:

Hamantashen – a triangular-shaped, poppy seed filled pastry. The name was intentionally distorted to “Hamantashan” which means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. Some say that Haman wore a three-cornered hat, and that is why the pocket of dough is triangular.

In Hebrew, the pastry is called “Oznei Haman” which means Haman’s ears. This name may have come from the midrash which says that when Haman entered the King’s treasury, he was bent over with shame and humiliation (literally with clipped ears).

Mishloach Manot (literally “sending of portions”) is another Purim food tradition. These are baskets filled with cakes, cookies, nuts, fruits and other treats given to neighbors, friends, and especially the needy. Hamantashen is often the centerpiece of these food baskets.

Seudat Purim – It is traditional to have a Purim Seudah (feast) on Purim day. At this meal, some serve an especially long, braided challah (in memory of the rope used to hang Haman), soup with kreplach (triangular shaped in memory of Haman’s hat), and turkey (in memory of King Ahasuerus’s reign from India (“Hodu”) to Ethiopia and of his foolishness).
Others have a vegetarian meal since Esther ate as a vegetarian in order to keep kosher in the King’s Palace. Of course, for dessert there is hamantashen. 10

Some Messianic Judaism congregations actually pass out lists of Jewish musicians and movie stars as suggestions for dress up, as well as Biblical characters. The mixing of secular and religious seems hypocritical when considering these same “gentile Jews” ridicule Christians for dressing up at Halloween and going trick or treating. The emphasis of the costumes for Purim is no different than Halloween – it is to hide evil behind a mask.

Purim is the most carnivalesque Jewish holiday. It is a day when norms are subverted and reversed to commemorate the reversal of fortune recorded in the Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated with drinking, dressing up, and satirical performances, all recalling the evil decrees of Haman that were ultimately overturned.11″

The custom to wear disguises on Purim in general is based on G-d’s hiding His identity in the Megillah of Esther. The salvation of the Jewish People seems to be accomplished through the actions of people alone, and G-d’s Name doesn’t appear once.

The custom to wear disguises on Purim and to appear as non-Jews is related to our father Yaakov’s wearing of Esav’s clothes when he received the blessings that were due him. It is as if we announce that just as Yaakov only had the outer appearance of Esav, but was inwardly holy and pure, so are all appearances of evil in Israel only external, and inwardly we remain a holy people.

This custom has also been related to a verse in the Torah: ‘And I shall surely hide My face on that day,’ on which the Rabbis comment: ‘Where does the Torah allude to Esther?’ It is said (Dvarim 31) : V’Anochi haster astir panai…’ (And I will surely hide My face…’ ‘haster’ = ‘to hide’ – and ‘haster’ and ‘Esther’ are phonetically alike). From this we learn that hiding one’s face is proper on the day of Esther.

You thus find of David, King of Israel, that he appears like a sinner, whereas in truth he excelled in piety. The same trait characterized our father Yaakov, whose righteousness was so much concealed from all eyes, that even his father Yitzchak failed to recognize his true self until Rivkah revealed his hidden traits and caused the blessings to be given to Yaakov who alone was worthy of them”. 12

Although there has been much debate on the amount of alcohol that one can consume and still not violate other commandments, there appears to be a rather extreme latitude within Rabbinical opinion as to just how drunk that is.

“When it comes to drinking on Purim, the Talmud clearly understood what the scroll of Esther (the Megillah) was all about. In practically every chapter of the Megillah, someone is imbibing heavily at a drinking party. And the scroll concludes with Mordecai’s instruction to the entire Jewish people to celebrate these days as “yemei mishteh v’simchah, days of drinking and rejoicing” (Esther 9:22).”

“Rava said: It is one’s duty levasumei, to make oneself fragrant [with wine] on Purim until one cannot tell the difference between ‘arur Haman’ (cursed be Haman) and ‘barukh Mordekhai’ (blessed be Mordecai)” (Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 7b).

What degree of drunkenness is meant by this? The word levasumei is sometimes translated as “get mellow;” others simply say “drink.” The word levasumei, however, is from the same root as besamim (fragrant spices, like those that are smelled during Havdalah at the conclusion of the Sabbath). Minimally, one must drink so that others would smell it, although if they are also drunk, who would be able to check? Maximally, one must become, to use a technical term, “stinking drunk”. 13

The duty of “levasumei” [so drunk one cannot tell the difference between “cursed be Haman and blessed be Mordechai] is also defined through gematria, which is kabbalah.

Most people assume that one must become so befuddled that one can no longer distinguish between the most wicked of people and the most righteous. Some, however, have noted that the two phrases, “arur Haman” and “barukh Mordekhai” have the same numerical value according to the traditional counting of the Hebrew letters called gematria (502). This point is somewhat obscure. Are we to assume that people are sober enough to calculate the gematria of these phrases, but drunk enough to get the words confused because they have the same gematria? However puzzling, this seems to be the opinion of the 17th century halakhist R. Abraham Abele ben Hayyim haLevi Gombiner.” 14

The following story shows just how far the myth and legend of Purim is foundational to the understanding and celebrating with drunkeness, according to Rabbinical sources. Please note that this story is seen with humor, not seriously.

Alcohol and Swordplay Don’t Mix.
Perhaps the Talmud tells the following story in order to provide some degree of clarification of Rava’s requirement to get drunk: Rabbah and R. Zeira got together for Purim Seudah (the feast on the afternoon of Purim). They got very drunk, and Rabbah got up and cut R. Zeira’s throat (literally, Rabbah butchered him). The next day, Rabbah prayed on R. Zeira’s behalf and brought him back to life. A year later, Rabbah asked, “Would you like to have Purim Seudah with me again this year?” R. Zeira replied, “One cannot count on a miracle every time.” (Megillah 7b) Cute story, but what does it have to do with how much one is supposed to drink? Traditional interpreters have four basic approaches. The most eminent sources, including the Rosh, the Tur, and Yosef Karo, simply quote Rava’s statement that one “becomes fragrant” without any reference to the story of Rabbah. Presumably, R. Zeira had a hard night, but why should that spoil the party for everyone else?!” 15

Another reference in the Talmud to getting drunk on Purim:

How does one fulfill the obligation of the Purim Seudah? One should eat meat and prepare as nice a meal as one can afford and drink wine until one becomes drunk and falls asleep from drunkenness. (Laws of Megillah 2:15)” 16

If one is a follower of Jesus Christ and seeks to live according to New Testament guidelines, then participating in Purim according the customs of the Talmud would be against the Scriptures of the New Testament. What those in Hebrew Roots or those Messianics involved in this are doing, is no different than their railings against Christians for their participation with Christmas and Easter celebrations–which for true believers is focused on Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection according to the inspired Word of God in the Bible. The keeping of feasts according to Talmudic/kabbalistic traditions and commandments are of man, not God. As Jesus said:

Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
6 … Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.


We are told explicitly in the NT:

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

endnotes:

1 http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=613&letter=P
2. http://www.seekgod.ca/legend.htm
3. http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/holidays_eng/inner_purim.htm

4. http://www.holidays.net/purim/

5. ibid

6. http://www.ou.org/holidays/purim/fast_of_esther

7. http://www.holidays.net/purim/

8. http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htmhttp & http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday9.html

9. http://www.holidays.net/purim/

10. http://judaism.about.com/od/purim/a/purimfood.htm

11. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays_Purim.shtml

12.http://www.ou.org/holidays/purim/why_we_wear_disguises_on_purim

13.http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Purim/At_Home/Meal/Drinking_on_Purim.shtml

14. ibid

15. ibid

16. ibid

Read Full Post »

There is much discussion in differing perspectives on who the Jews today are. Many websites, including both Christian and Messianic, strive to show that the “Jews” are only of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and often include Levite. The OT shows us that the remnant of all tribes which remained faithful to God were taken into Judah. We see that even during the time of Rehoboam’s reign [1000 BCE] those from all tribes joined themselves to Judah.

[some of the following information is taken from:

http://www.seekgod.ca/hr/hrfaqs2.htm

2Chronicles 11:16 And after that, out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.

2Chronicles 15:9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the sojourners with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they came over to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.

During the deportation of the ten tribes, some of them were left behind, intermarried with the Assyrians and became the Samaritans. They have not forgotten who they are after these 2000 plus years.

By the time of Ezra [600 BCE] and Nehemiah [500 BCE], those of the tribes that had been scattered to Assyria and Babylon that wished to return did so.

Ezra 2:70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their towns, and all Israel in their towns.

Ezra 6:16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Israel, who had come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

Nehemiah 5:8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold unto the nations; and will you even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

After the exile of both kingdoms, and following the return from Babylon, there followed a return of the exiles as one not two kingdoms. Note Nehemiah makes reference to those that were sold to the nations, not just Babylon. When Babylon fell to Persia, the whole empire that had previously been under the Assyrians also came under Cyrus. Therefore not just those exiled to Babylon returned but any of those that wished to do so that were had been there from the Assyrian exile. Also, offerings were made for Israel after they returned not just for Judah.

Ezra 8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, who had come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve male goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

By the time of Jesus we see that there were Jews from every tribe in existence and they weren’t lost, they knew who they were. ALL of Israel was scattered abroad, not just the northern tribes. Jesus also referred to Pharisees and scribes as Jews. Were all Pharisees from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levite?

Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I [Paul] also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

In the NT the term “Israel” and “Jew” are synonymous and refer to all twelve tribes, as it noted in these texts. All twelve tribes kept the feasts, not just the tribe of Judah.

John 2:13 And the Jews’ [2453] passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 7:2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.

G2453
Ἰουδαῖος
Ioudaios
Thayer Definition:
1) Jewish, belonging to the Jewish nation
2) Jewish as respects to birth, origin, religion

The Jewish nation is all twelve tribes.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Matthew 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

John 18:31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

From Acts 2, it is evident that all the tribes were found all over. As Acts 2 states, “Jews” from many countries had come to celebrate Pentecost, one of the three required feasts for men to attend. This means Jews from all 12 tribes, not one house or the other.

Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

James wrote to the twelve tribes that were scattered, note scattered, not “lost”. To those that like to twist this to mean that James was somehow writing to the lost tribes, would have meant ten tribes not twelve. And how would James have known they existed if they were lost – how would the letter ever reach them?

The Jews today consider themselves to be one nation comprised of all twelve tribes. Many Jews know which tribe they are affiliated with, especially the Levites due to their priesthood and the future institution of the third Temple according to Judaism.

From a Jewish website:

“The tribulations of exile and dispersion have blurred the delineation of Israel into its twelve tribes. Today, most Jews have no certain knowledge as to which tribe they belong. But the concept of “one nation,” distinguished by various tribal identities, remains.”

“How, indeed, do a people comprised of various tribes, each with its own character, temperament, talents and vocation, achieve union as “one nation”?

One approach is to focus on our “interdependence”: to appreciate that since we share a common goal–namely, to build for G-d “a dwelling in the physical world”–and since we each have a crucial role to play in the achievement of this goal, our various “tribes” and types complement and fulfill one another to create a single people. In other words, our differences themselves are what unite us. Since the entity “Israel” and what it stands for would be incomplete were any one “tribe” missing from the equation, no Jew is fully Jewish without his relationship with every other type of Jew.”

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cd…Tribes.htm

Taken from another website giving the history of Israel:

Quote:“In Biblical Israel, the tribes were organized into a northern and a southern kingdom, and the southern kingdom developped a distinct identity as the “Jews” as 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and sent its populace into exile. Many Israelites from the northern kingdom fled to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. At this point in time Judah’s population melded into a conglomerate of people from all the Israelite tribes. In 586 BC the nation of Judah was conquered by Babylon. About 50 years later, in 537 BC the Persians (who conquered Babylon 2 years before) allowed Jews to move back to Jerusalem. By the end of this era, members of the tribes seem to have abandoned their individual identities.

Today’s Jews are mostly descended from the Israelites of the Kingdom of Judah, and thus are often identified as Israelites. Note that over time people joined the Jews, and married with the descendants of the Israelites. The number of converts is not trivial, but not so large as to swamp out the origin. It is thus fair to say that Jews today are descendants of those Israelites who lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, along with many converts who joined them.

Jews today are not descendants from only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone, but in fact are descendants of Israelites from all the other tribes of Israel (see below), as well as the converts to Judaism who joined them.

Most people believe that the southern Kingdom was only populated by the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, but this is not exactly so. Prior to King Saul, Israel was divided by its tribes with certain leaders from various tribes becoming judges of the tribe or surrounding tribes to fight the enemies of Israel. This is reflected in the book of Judges. Saul was selected as king, but after he acted rashly, the Bible says that God rejected his kingship and sought one who would replace him. David was then selected to be king, and his descendants were to rule over the House of Israel. For two generations, Israel had been united first under David for 33 years and remained so under Solomon for 40 more years.

Eventually, Israel suffered a civil war in 922 BC which split it into two parts. Jeroboam, Solomon’s assistant, rejected the leadership of Solomon’s son Rehoboam who wanted to tax the people heavily and this led to the revolt of the northern tribes and to the establishment of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel. It consisted of nine landed tribes: Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad, and some of Levi (which had no land allocation). This makes ten tribes, which later became known as “the lost ten tribes”. However, Manasseh and Ephraim technically count as just one full tribe, so there were really eight full landed tribes, and part of one tribe without land. Samaria was its capital.
Judah, the southern Kingdom, had Jerusalem as its capital and was led by King Rehoboam. It was populated by the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon (and also some of Levi). Simeon and Judah later merged together, and Simeon lost its separate identity.

In 722 BC the Assyrians, under Shalmaneser, and then under Sargon II, conquered Israel (the northern Kingdom), destroyed its capital Samaria, and sent the Israelites into exile and captivity. Much of the nine landed tribes of the northern kingdom become “lost.” However, what is less commonly known is that many people from the conquered northern kingdom fled south to safety in Judea, the Southern Kingdom, which maintained its independence.

Thus, Judah then was populated with Israelites from Judah, Benjamin, Shimeon, some of Levi, and many from all of the other tribes as well. Today’s Jews are descended from the inhabitants of this kingdom.”

http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclop…of_Israel/

The Jews today agree that they are descended from all twelve tribes and do not differentiate tribal affiliation in order to be called a Jew.

Read Full Post »

An excerpt from My Testimony [ https://fortheloveoftruth.wordpress.com/ancient-paths/]:


*************************

Quote:
Although the Messianic movement replaces Christian baptism with the mikveh, they are different procedures. Baptism requires a pastor or leader to submerge one backwards under the water [usually up to waist deep] and raise them up out of the water.

Mikveh requires a deep [a little over chest deep] fresh water source in which one is completely naked and alone. A sauna, whirlpool and swimming pool are not considered “kosher”, but only a Rabbinically defined and built mikveh pool. One must be physically clean before one does a mikveh and must shower with soap and water beforehand. All jewelry must be taken off and the hair combed to prevent knots that would keep one from total immersion – every part of the body must be completely wet. One enters the water in a forward motion, submerging into the water and then floating without touching any part of the mikveh pool for a few moments. This is repeated two or three times depending on tradition. A prayer is offered before immersion, in most cases. It is a mystic experience and not a “baptism” as an outward expression from sin and into Messiah. It is a ritual process to purify one’s self from uncleanness [tamei]. This does not refer to a sinful condition, but Talmudically defined impurity – like a woman’s monthly cycle [niddah] for instance. A donation or paid membership is usually required in order to use the mikveh (4).

The purification system of the OT Temple is not rendered as a “mikveh” – although Judaism teaches this. Mikveh, in the OT text, is used only as a body of water. It appears to be a Rabbinic addition [middle ages].

Picture a Messianic “mikveh” done in the shallow end of a swimming pool, baptized Christian style, while clothed in some way (smile). [end quote]

**********************************

The following is from a Jewish website describing and explaining Judaism’s mikveh. In no way does this resemble what Messianics are promoting as a mikveh, which is a Rabbinic concept filled with mystical associations.

Quote:

Conversion

Mikveh: Immersing in the Ritual Pool

Immersion in the mikveh actualizes the transition between the convert’s old identity and his or her new one as a Jew.

By Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Excerpted with permission from Becoming a Jew (Jonathan David Publishers, Inc.).

What physical act could a person perform in order to symbolize a radical change of heart, a total commitment? Is there a sign so dramatic, dynamic, and all-encompassing that it could represent the radical change undergone by the convert to Judaism?

Jewish tradition prescribes a profound symbol. It instructs the conversion candidate to place himself or herself in a radically different physical environment–in water rather than air. This leaves the person floating–momentarily suspended without breathing–substituting the usual forward moving nature and purposeful stride that characterize his or her waking movements with an aimlessness, a weightlessness, a detachment from the former environment. Individuality, passion, ego–all are submerged in the metamorphosis from the larval state of the present to a new existence.

Ritual immersion is the total submersion of the body in a pool of water. This pool and its water are precisely prescribed by Jewish law. Immersion, tevillah, is the common core component of every [traditional] Jewish conversion process, for male and female, adult and child, ignoramus and scholar. It is sine qua non, and a conversion ceremony without immersion is unacceptable to the traditional religious community and simply not Jewish in character.

This requirement of immersion admits of no compromise, no matter where in the world one finds oneself. {While Conservative rabbis similarly require mikveh for conversion, Reform rabbis generally do not, although a tendency to more traditional symbols and a sense that a uniform conversion process is desirable are encouraging greater use of the immersion component even among the Reform.)

Religious Functions of the Mikveh

Several religious functions are served by this powerful symbol of submerging in water. In the days of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the mikveh was used by all Jews who wanted to enter the precincts of the Sanctuary. The law required every person inside the Temple grounds to be in a spiritually pure state appropriate to the pristine spirituality of the Sanctuary itself.

Throughout Jewish history, unmarried women have immersed in the mikveh prior to their wedding; married women immerse at the end of seven days of stainless purity from the end of each monthly menstrual cycle, in preparation for the resumption of family relations in their most fertile days.

A major function of immersion in the mikveh is for conversion to Judaism. The sages declare that a gentile who wishes to become a Jew must undergo the identical process by which Jewish ancestors converted. As Jews performed immersion at Mt. Sinai to complete the conversion process they had begun with circumcision as they left Egypt, so converts in every age must immerse in a mikveh.

Water Symbolizes Birth as a Jew

Submerging in a pool of water for the purpose not of using the water’s physical cleansing properties but expressly to symbolize a change-of-soul is a statement at once deeply spiritual and immensely compelling. No other symbolic act can so totally embrace a person as being submerged in water, which must touch and cover every lesion, every strand of hair, every birthmark. No other religious act is so freighted with meaning as this one which touches every aspect of life and proclaims a total commitment to a new idea and a new way of life as it swallows up the old and gives birth to the new.

The water of the mikveh is designed to ritually cleanse a person from deeds of the past. The convert is considered by Jewish law to be like a newborn child. By spiritually cleansing the convert, the mikveh water prepares him or her to confront God, life, and people with a fresh spirit and new eyes–it washes away the past, leaving only the future. Of course, this does not deny that there were good and beautiful aspects of the past. But, in the strictest religious sense, that past was only prologue to a future life as a Jew.

There is a second layer of meaning to mikveh. It marks the beginning of the ascent to an elevated religious state. This function of mikveh goes beyond the basic purpose of purification. Anthropologists refer to this threshold of higher social status as “liminality.” The person at this moment of transition is a “liminal” or “threshold” person. The liminal state is common to virtually all persons and societies, ancient and modern, and it marks a move to an altered status or to a life transition. Entering adulthood from adolescence, for example, requires a tunnel of time, a rite of passage, a liminal state that acknowledges by symbolic acts the stark changes taking place in one’s self-identity, behavior, and attitude.

In a sense, it is nothing short of the spiritual drama of death and rebirth cast onto the canvas of the convert’s soul. Submerging into waters over her head, she enters into an environment in which she cannot breathe and cannot live for more than moments. It is the death of all that has gone before. As she emerges from the gagging waters into the clear air, she begins to breathe anew and live anew–as a baby struggling to be born.

If we take this graphic metaphor a step further, we can sense that the mikveh is a spiritual womb. The human fetus is surrounded by water. It does not yet live. The water breaks in a split second and the child emerges into a new world. “As soon as the convert immerses and emerges, he is a Jew in every respect” (Yevamot 47b).

What is a Mikveh, Halakhically?

The mikveh must comply with a number of precise halakhic [Jewish legal] qualifications. The mikveh must be built into the ground or the structure of the building. It must hold a minimum of 24 cubic feet of water–200 gallons. The depth must be such as to enable an average adult to stand upright and have the water reach at least 11 inches above the waist, so that immersion can be performed without backbreaking contortions.

The water must originally have been transported to the mikveh in a manner resembling the natural flow of waters. The general practice is to build cement channels at the sides of the mikveh roof, which will enable rainwater to flow directly into the mikveh. Done right the first time, with the required initial amount of water, other piped waters may be added later in whatever quantities and at any time, and the mikveh will still retain its religious validity.

The waters must be stationary and not flow (not even the flow caused by a filter) while the mikveh is in use. The water, by all means, should be chlorinated to assure its meeting the highest standards of hygienic cleanliness. (While the chlorinated water may be somewhat discolored, it does have to retain natural water color.)

Water deriving from a natural spring is considered a valid mikveh if it complies with halakhic conditions. Also quite proper is immersing in the ocean, where there is no mikveh available, given the satisfaction of certain halakhic conditions.

Parameters of the Mikveh Experience

The ceremony must take place on a weekday [and not on Shabbat, the Sabbath] and during daylight, as do all other Jewish court procedures. In cases when a full circumcision has to be performed (unlike the touch of blood for previously circumcised males), enough time will have to elapse to be certain that the wound has healed completely.

The only assurance that the immersion will accord with halakhic requirements for a male convert is the presence of the rabbi at the mikveh; a female is to be accompanied by a person familiar with the practice, such as a rabbi’s wife, the mikveh escort, or a very knowledgeable friend who herself uses the mikveh.

The body must be thoroughly cleansed immediately before the immersion. The convert should be careful that there are no adhesions such as bandages, Band-Aids, or ointment; that the hair is thoroughly brushed; the nails of the hands and feet are pared; and that no traces of cosmetics or nail polish remain. The whole body must be immersed at one time, not sequentially, and the submerging must be total, without even a single hair remaining above the water.

The Conversion Blessings and When They Are Recited

The blessing in the mikveh is as follows:

Barukh atah Ado-nai Elo-henu melekh ha’olam asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al ha’tevillah.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the immersion.

Blessings over the performance of mitzvot [commandments] in Jewish life always take place before the action of the mitzvah. The reason for this is that it focuses the soul, raising the consciousness for the action to be undertaken, establishing the purpose of the mitzvah, and demonstrating that its origins are in God’s command. Also, the blessing enhances the mitzvah by providing the reason for undertaking the symbolic action. Ritva [a medieval Talmud commentator] notes that, since the blessing is a statement of the soul, it should precede the statement made by the physical action of the body.

There is one exception to this general practice of placing the blessing before the mitzvah–the immersion of a convert. The convert needs to recite the blessing after the immersion, not before. The reason is simple: One cannot declare “God commanded us” if one is not commanded by God because he or she is not Jewish. The convert becomes a Jew only after the immersion is completed.

After the blessing, the convert immerses twice more and then leaves the mikveh.

A second blessing is required by most, but not all, authorities. It is called she’hecheyanu, and with it a person thanks God that He has enabled him to live to experience the greatness of this moment.

***********************
Rabbi Maurice Lamm holds the Chair in Professional Rabbinics at Yeshiva University, is the former senior Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation–Beverly Hills, and is President of National Institute for Jewish Hospice. He has written five books and sold 450,000.

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycl…eh_Prn.htm

[end quote]

*******************************

The following,  is a very interesting story about mikveh’s from 1934. It is a true story that gets to the heart of the Jewish people and how much they esteem the mikveh. My intent with posting the story is to allow you to reach into the soul of the Jewish people. They have obviously denied Christ, but they are human beings who have misplaced traditions having been ingrained into a system that they believe is of God. This is no different than others who also are in deep deception for their choice of a religious system, like Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots.

For the Jewish people, nothing is as offensive to them as Messianics who play at their religion – it is a very sad commentary that Messianics come in the name of the Lord – or whatever they perceive as the Almighty – to take part in Jewish rituals like the mikveh. These rituals are way out of line from New Covenant beliefs in which we serve a risen Savior, who shed His blood for our sins to reconcile us to God. I fear for their lack of understanding to incept a system that is so far removed from the teachings of the Bible.

***********************

In May 1934, a young doctor completed his studies in Warsaw and returned to Byalestok. With the help of his father, a well-to-do farmer who some years earlier had moved his family to the city, he set up a small office in view of the town clock.

As the months sped by, his reputation grew and with it the size of the crowd in his waiting room. Handsome and amiable, he was at ease in the social circles of Byalestok, quickly becoming the toast of the secular Jewish community. Wealthy industrialists vied for the opportunity to introduce their daughters to him and the intellectual elite were constantly after him to address their groups and attend their social gatherings. More often than not he declined their invitations, unimpressed by the glitter of their parties and by the all-too-familiar topics of their conversations. He devoted his time to his practice; his leisure hours he spent strolling through the streets and parks of the city.

Between patients, he often glanced across the room at the graduation photograph of his elementary school class, dated 1922. Time was passing quickly. He was a doctor, respected, almost famous in Byalestok, but he was not happy with his accomplishments – something was missing. The life around him lacked purpose and consistency. Even his work depressed him at times. The death of a young patient, as he looked helplessly on, touched him deeply. What was the meaning of his life, he asked in his heart. Why did it have to happen?

One day late in October the Assistant Mayor of Byalestok, a tall educated Pole, called on the doctor.

A year earlier, the city administration had hired a new District Attorney, Andrei Maritus, who immediately set in motion a number of projects. The unabashed purpose of one of them was to close down all the mikvehs in Byalestok. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, after hundreds of Jews had immersed themselves in the mikveh of the Main Synagogue, Andrei Maritus, accompanied by the City Health Inspector and three policemen, collected two samples from the water that had become dark and turbid. A day later all the mikvehs in the city were ordered closed, pending a hearing to be held two weeks hence. Late that same afternoon, the Assistant Mayor paid Dr. Schreiber a visit.

“It’s simply a matter of health,” said the Assistant Mayor, a tall, square-shouldered Pole with a rim of reddish hair around his bald scalp, smiling genially. “The community must be protected from an outbreak of typhoid fever. Why, only last month six cases were discovered in Olsztyn, another four in Siedlce.” Dr. Schreiber stared expressionlessly across the table. The Pole met his gaze and grinned affectedly. “This is a sample taken from the mikveh”, he said, placing the vial on the table. “We want you to examine it and report to us in three days.”

“I see,” Dr. Schreiber said. Now the purpose of the visit was clear to him: he, a respected member of the Jewish community, was to provide the conclusive evidence.

Sensing a hint of indecision in the Doctor’s eyes, the Assistant Mayor said: “It is a simple matter of health, Dr. Schreiber – the water is clearly polluted. We want your confirmation. Needless to say, you will be handsomely rewarded for your time.”

Dr. Schreiber sat for a long time at his desk. From the street below came the sounds of children playing. He went to the window and looked down. Squeezed between shadows the roseate sunlight of evening blanched the faces of the children. For the first time since he had taken occupancy in this office, he wondered if they were Jewish. At length, he turned around and picked up the sample. He placed a drop on a slide, then slipped it under the eyepiece of the microscope. One glance showed him that it was full of bacteria – he did not bother to analyze it further.

He apologized to the patients waiting outside his office and hurried down the stairs into the street. He walked through the main square with the pedestrian traffic, then strolled pensively through the gardens to the commercial center of Byalestok. From there he headed toward the Main Synagogue. The enormous, domed structure dominated the surroundings for many blocks. Here and there, Jewish children played in the dusty streets, dressed in rags, their earlocks drifting in the breeze.

The doctor had never made real contact with the observant Jews of Byalestok; in his social circle they were regarded with disdain, as one thinks of a distant relative who is squandering his life, but at whom one can only shrug one’s shoulders in helpless disapproval. He never understood their ways – then again, he never tried. His university days came to mind; there had been more than a trace of anti-Semitism in the air but, somehow, absorbed as he was in his studies, he made little of it, attributing it to the ignorance of a few misguided individuals in the faculty.

Suddenly, a five or six year old boy came out of a lane carrying a pail of water, and stood directly in front of Dr. Schreiber. A brown cap with a narrow visor extending over his brow covered his head, while a torn black coat concealed the little biy’s body from neck to ankles.

“Where is your skull cap?” he demanded with a nuance of contempt, jutting his chin upward.

“I don’t wear one,” said the doctor, smiling.

“Every Jew must wear a skull cap!” asserted the boy, hot with anger.

“Not every Jew.”

“Yes, every Jew!” he insisted stubbornly, pursed his lips, and shook his head reproachfully like an adult. “You wear glasses, don’t you, but glasses are heavier than a skull cap,” he said, with a talmudic thrust of the thumb.

The following week two elderly Jews came to Dr. Schreiber’s office. One was the Chief Rabbi of Byalestok, the other Leib Orenstein, President of the Main Synagogue. They had learned that the doctor was scheduled to testify at the upcoming hearing.

“The mikveh is not a place to wash ourselves,” said the aged Rabbi through the slit in his long, white beard. The axe-like handle of his cane leaned against his breast; he clasped it tremulously and went on, his narrow eyes set deeply between the swollen lids: “The mikveh is life; it is like the waters of the placenta in which the fetus lives and develops – when the infant breaks through the waters, it is alive. And so it is with a Jew when he comes out of the mikveh in the morning; he is rejuvenated, eager to serve the Creator.”

The wan cheeks of the Rabbi merged into his beard and all one saw was the dark, patient eyes and the serrated outline of his beard against the backdrop of his black coat. Dr. Schreiber nodded respectfully.

“Even if you do not understand what a mikveh means”, said Leib Orenstein, a clean-shaven man of sixty, in a voice straining to be calm, “you must respect that it is of the greatest importance to thousands of Jews in Byalestok. When a woman goes to the mikveh, she feels assured of a healthy child. This is not a detail in our lives; it is everything!” Unable to contain his emotion, he went on: “And do not deceive yourself into believing that this is an isolated event and that is will end here. Should they, G-d forbid, force the mikvehs to close it will encourage them to attempt more; soon they will want to destroy our slaughter-houses – cruelty to animals they will charge! Then our schools will be attacked, and then Dr. Schreiber – I ask you – what will be left?”

Dr Schreiber gazed somberly at his visitors.

“The water is full of bacteria,” he said frankly. “it is a health hazard.”

“No Jew has ever become sick from a mikveh,” stated Mr. Orenstein, his lips trembling at the Doctor’s misconception.

“That may be so, but nevertheless the water does pose a danger to the health of the community,” he said, weighing his words carefully.

“Science and logic are not everything, Dr. Schreiber,” said the Rabbi. “The history of the Jews is ample evidence of that.”

The visitors stood up to leave. The doctor accompanied them to the corridor. He expected them to plead with him, to evoke in him a sense of guilt. But they said no more, and he respected them for it. He extended his hand to them; the Rabbi held it lightly between both his hands as if to transmit a final message through it.

Dr. Schreiber took to wandering through the streets alone, a deeply troubled look on his face. In the religious district he imbibed the hum of Torah talk seeping out of the windows and the smell of challah baking for Shabbos. He was touched by the simplicity and devotion of their activity, admiring with envy the consistency of it all. But in the Jewish secular districts he reverted to his concern for truth, his intellectual desire to defend it wherever it might be threatened.

The night before the hearing Dr. Schreiber made his way into the dark deserted mikveh room of the main synagogue. He switched on the small electric lamp. The stark nakedness of the dressing room made him shudder; the piebald walls were cracked in many places; the toilet, uncomfortably close to the benches, leaked a vivid brown fluid, and in the high corners of the room, spiders spun their gossamer webs. He stepped slowly over the wooden floor to the stairs leading down to the pool. The dressing room lamp shed a pale light over the murky water. He crouched for a better look, leaning to a side to allow the light past him. Here and there, little clusters of lint intertwined with hair floated on the dark, still surface of the water that had not been changed for weeks. He scooped up a handful and let it spill through his fingers. He smelled it, then wiped his hand thoroughly on the sleeve of his coat. A frown suffused his face and he could not remove it.

The highly publicized hearing attracted officials and journalists from all over Poland. The hall was crowded. In the front row to the left, sat three rabbis, the Chief Rabbi in the middle, his trembling fingers dovetailed over the handle of his cane. The stage was set. The District Attorney, a tall bespectacled Pole with a grape-sized growth in the middle of his right cheek, veritably bursting with confidence, strutted back and forth between his colleagues, adding the final touches. The judge, a towering man distinguished by his flowing gray hair and an involuntary smile, called the hearing to order.

Andrei Maritus wasted no time. First on the witness stand was a former janitor of the Main Synagogue, a drunkard named Babules. Anyone who was even vaguely acquainted with Babules knew that for a swig of whiskey he would testify that grass was blue. Today, however, he was a different man. Dressed in a new suit and tie, his pitch black hair slicked down, he indeed had the appearance of a decent, law-abiding citizen. Only his eyes betokened the real Babules; bloodshot, they strove in vain to follow the District Attorney as he paced back and forth in front of him a little too quickly. With a coherence that surprised many of the onlookers, Babules described conditions at the mikveh as he claimed to know them. Using adjectives and superlatives utterly alien to him, his description of the squalid conditions brought the hostile audience to shouts of outrage.

“How often I pleaded with the rabbis to permit me to change the water daily!” he testified bitterly.

“And did they let you?” prompted the District Attorney, radiant with anticipation of victory.

“No! Never!”

“Why?”

“Money! What else?”

“You should have offered to do it for free,” suggested Andrei Maritus magnanimously.

“I did! Out of the goodness of my heart, Babules offered! I could not endure the odor, Sir! You see – I should have mentioned this earlier – but the older men were not reluctant to sneeze into the water.”

“That’s all for now, Mr. Babules”, said the District Attorney, smiling unrestrainedly as he fondled the growth on his cheek. He glanced meaningfully at the judge, who lowered his eyes to the notepad on his desk.

Six witnesses followed. The testimony of each was increasingly more devastating. However, it was clear that the prosecutor’s case rested on statements of questionable witnesses. There was no hard evidence, no scientific facts. For that, he called on Dr. Schreiber, who was seated in the back row of the hall.

“Now, Dr. Schreiber,” began the District Attorney, slowly and deliberately, “you were given a sample of water from the mikveh and asked to analyze it. I presume you have had an opportunity to do so.”

“Yes, Sir,” Dr. Schreiber answered politely, his stern gaze wrinkling the corners of his eyes into a tiny staircase of furrows.

“What are you findings, Doctor?” asked Andrei Maritus, pointing to the glass of blackened water which a court officer had placed on the ledge of the witness stand.

“The water is dirty,” said Dr. Schreiber without a trace of hesitation, meeting the Attorney’s eyes with a hard stare.

“How dirty, Doctor?” he continued with confidence, glancing discreetly at the judge.

“Very dirty,” answered the Doctor in the same resolute tone. A wave of silence rippled through the room.

Feeling the firm ground of his case, Andrei Maritus glanced at the crowd with a slight inclination of the head. He could barely collect himself to pose the decisive question. Meanwhile the visitors had become noisy with excitement. The District Attorney beckoned the crowd to be silent. At length, he turned to Dr. Schreiber, straining to control his every muscle.

“Would you say, then, that the water is hazardous to health?” he asked in a tone that permitted only one answer.

“The health of whom, Sir?” the doctor asked with exaggerated politeness.

A sudden hum of voices coursed through the hall.

“Silence!” the Judge ordered.

“Humans, of course!” the District Attorney enunciated haltingly, a shocked look of outrage on his face. Then he grinned nervously at the judges and pinched his cheek.

Dr. Schreiber lifted the glass to his eyes as if to ponder the question.

“For humans?” he asked reflectively, pausing for one final glance at the water. Before the stunned eyes of the crowd he brought the glass to his lips and drank it down in one gulp. Showing no sign of discomfort he placed it back on the ledge in front of him. “Are there any more questions, Sir?” he asked courteously.

Originally published in Di Yiddishe Heim Journal
Reproduced from http://www.chabad.org
© 2001-2004 Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center

~~~~~~~~~~~

Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Editor’s note:

The unsavory condition of the mikveh in the story was clearly a function of the oppressive conditions under which Judaism struggled to survive in communist USSR. The mikvehs of today are clean and sanitary, with the women’s mikvehs at a level that can accurately be described as aristocratic.

https://www.ascentofsafed.com/cgi-bin/as…mode=print

Read Full Post »