Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Bible - A Non-Scientific, Ancient Book of Fairy-Tales?

Somebody on one of the social media pages posted the above meme to make a not-so-subtle point that the Bible should be considered completely non-relevant in our modern world of science and technology. Of course, every age considered themselves to be at the pinnacle of science and technology. Yet those like the person who posted the image continue to believe (and make no mistake - it is a belief) that the Bible should be looked at as nothing more than an old book of fairy-tales, possibly nothing more than an older version of Grimm or Aesop Fables. I certainly have no problem with those who hold that point of view, I've certainly ran into a good deal of it in my four decades working in the scientific community. And, I am certainly no literalist when it comes to my understanding and interpretation of Holy Writ.

However, one thing should be made clear. Nowhere in the Bible - the Jewish Bible or the much later Christian Bible - does it say that the Earth and universe is only 6,000 years old. A clear reading of it, especially if the Jewish Bible (aka Old Testament) is read in the original Hebrew, shows an indication by the authors of the various texts that the creation event (called Big Bang today) was understood by them to be a very, very ancient one. The Sumerian progenitor of both Jews and Arabs - Abraham, lived nearly 4,000 years ago and the pyramids and other renowned structures in that region of the world were already considered ancient edifices and were already standing when he arrived in Egypt.

This age of Earth/universe of 6,000 years can be attributed to a Christian Bishop named Ussher who lived in the late 1500's and early 1600's. He miscalculated the ancestral birth/deaths of the Biblical patriarchs listed in the early chapters of Genesis and assumed a dating of creation from that. Like most in his day - and many in ours - he took many literal liberties with his view of the world. Even though he was a clergy in the Anglican Church of Ireland the Roman Catholic Church took his figures as gospel and since they ruled the world at the time, the 6,000 year old figure became a product of the Church and has carried over into today by those who hold an extreme literalist view of the Bible.

I was a nuclear medicine/cardiology physics technologist for nearly 40 years and am also a Jew who takes the writings of our ancestors quite seriously (though not always literally). I have never had a problem with the scientific facts of the nearly 14 billion year old universe age nor with the Big Bang Theory. In fact, in my study of quantum physics I have come to recognize that nothing is likely within the realm of the impossibility and continue to be mesmerized by the awesomeness of the creation and that Being, Force or Process that probably lies behind it all.

However, to call the Bible (which, BTW is much older than 2,000 years - just the Christian Bible is around 2K) a book of fairy-tales is assumptive arrogance at its height and reveals a depth of ignorance bordering on hubris. The Bible, particularly the Jewish Bible has been proven over and over again by archaeologists, geologists, lindquist and anthropology to be relevant to historical accuracy and many of the precepts contained in its writings, when read in light of the day and culture in which they were presented, have shed light on the life and times of ancient peoples and civilizations - many we thought were fables until dug up and rediscovered by scientists. To have such a cavalier attitude toward these ancient writings as to cast them off as fairy-tales reveals a certain level of stupidity of one's past and a lack of understanding of what the knowing and appreciating of that past can afford for us in the present and future. Just because something is old doesn't make it invalid, without merit or value for our current civilization.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Birth of Red Heifer Could Signal Start of Third Temple Dream

One of the most important requirements in the building, purification and consecration of the Jewish Temple is the ashes of a specialized animal known as the Red Heifer.

The Torah instructions for the specifics for the Red Heifer are quite clear and any deviation from those standards set forth in Jewish Law automatically disqualifies any candidate, regardless of how infinitesimal those discrepancies may appear to be. So, it is quite understandable that finding an animal in such pristine condition and one raised and cared for exactly as detailed by the Law of Moses is a rarity.

Many have come to believe, at least since the rebirth of the State of Israel in May 1948, that one of the indicators for the time to begin the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem upon its original spot chosen by King David over 3,000 years ago would be the birth and unveiling of just such a creature. There have been many who believe that another of those indicators is that as that time approached an organization would be in place to be able to reproduce all the implements, decorations, building materials and all things needed to ensure that all the vestments, priestly garments and so on would be ready for service upon completion of the Temple construction. Such an organization was created in 1987. It is called the Temple Institute and is located in Jerusalem, Israel.

"The major focus of the Institute is its efforts towards the beginning of the actual rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Towards this end, the Institute has begun to restore and construct the sacred vessels for the service of the Holy Temple." These vessels, which G-d commanded Israel to create, can be seen today at the Institute's exhibition in Jerusalem's Old City Jewish Quarter. "They are made according to the exact specifications of the Bible, and have been constructed from the original source materials, such as gold, copper, silver and wood. These are authentic, accurate vessels, not merely replicas or models. All of these items are fit and ready for use in the service of the Holy Temple."

Another function of the Temple Institute is to locate a Torah compliant Red Heifer. This hasn't been an easy task since the criteria for such an animal are so precise. There have been many such animals brought to the Institute's attention over the years but all have failed in one area or another, that is possibly until now. Without the ashes of a qualifying Red Heifer there can be no Temple dedication, no final preparation of the sacred vessels used in Temple duties, rites and ceremonies and no purification of the Temple kohanim (priests) who will spend their lives serving in the Temple. The importance of the Red Heifer cannot be understated.

With the recent announcement from the Temple Institute that the right kind of Red Heifer may have been found somewhere in the United States and with all the recent developments on the Temple Mount of late it is understandable why there is an air of excitement in these troubling times that the days of the Muslim Dome of the Rock may be coming to an end and the restoration of the Temple of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is on the horizon.

Watch this interesting and exciting video on the breaking news of the birth and continued care of this Red Heifer:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Netanyahu Statement About IDF-ISA Strike in Northern Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks this evening about the IDF-ISA operation in the northern Gaza Strip:

“Our policy is clear – kill those who rise up to kill us. The IDF and the ISA carried out a precise operation and will continue to take strong action against all those who try to attack the security of Israel’s citizens."

"This is the true face of Hamas; it is continuing to plan terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens even as it's inside the Palestinian government."

"I would like to remind the international community that Abu Mazen [aka Mahmoud Abbas] – on the day he formed a government with the Hamas terrorist organization – promised to honor all previous agreements. This means that he is responsible for disarming Hamas and the other terrorist organizations of the arsenals in Gaza.”