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Author Topic: Jews don't hate Orthodox Christians  (Read 9369 times) Average Rating: 0
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MBZ
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« on: February 16, 2005, 06:19:24 AM »

Good morning (it's late morning in my part of the world)!

I was surfing this AM, looking to see if I could find any Orthodox comments on The DaVinci Code, which I just read (saw a beat-up copy in a used book store here) & I came across this board. I hope I'm not breaking any rules by referring to a locked thread but I couldn't pass this one up.

We do not hate Christians, whether Orthodox or not. There is always a difference between what a faith teaches (i.e. what its normative doctrines are) and what individual given believers may actually do/believe/say. I imagine that Orthodox Christianity & Orthodox Judaism are very similar in this regard. Our Sages say, "Receive all men with a cheerful countenance," and teach that, "The righteous of all nations have a share in the world-to-come." While I certainly cannot speak for the magazine that was cited (a rather right-wing publication), any Jew who espouses hatred of (say) Orthodox Christianity and of Orthodox Christians simply because they are such is letting his/her personal hatreds/prejudices get the better of his/her Judaism.

Following is a press release from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office from Friday, 7.1.05:

Quote
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke this morning (Friday), 7.1.05, with senior Orthodox Christian leaders in Israel on the occasion of Eastern Orthodox Christmas. Prime Minister Sharon spoke with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem His Beatitude Irenaios I; the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Israel, Archbishop His Eminence Mar Swerios Malki Murad; and Coptic Church leader His Grace Dr, Anba Abraham. The Prime Minister wished them and their communities a Merry Christmas and said that he hoped that the new year would be one of peace and prosperity for all. The church leaders thanked Prime Minister Sharon and wished him success in efforts to achieve peace.

Link: http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/Spokesman/2005/01/spokemes070105.htm

Following is an article about the various Christian communities here in Israel: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/People/Focus+on+Israel+-+The+Christian+Communities+of+Isr.htm.

Orthodox Christianity & orthodox Judaism (despite our rather obvious differences) have much in common, I think. Our views on many ethical & moral issues are similar. But beyond that, ours are faiths with rules, with authority & structure & with discipline. Ours are not make-it-up-as-you-go-along faiths & never have been (I suppose Protestantism & Reform Judaism are like that). Rather than mold the faith to fit the individual, I think that we believe that it is the individual who must mold him/herself to fit the faith. The late former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, Lord Immanuel Jakobovitz (of blessed memory) once said that a faith which demands nothing is worth nothing. To be an orthodox Jew demands a great deal & the little I know about Orthodox Christianity (I minored in religion way back as an undergrad) tells me that to be an Orthodox Christian is similarly very demanding.

I have one teensy-weensy request. One of my very few cyberrules is that I will not discuss the Israeli-Arab conflict on line, in any form. Such discussions all too often turn into undignified, emotional flame wars that have very little to do with honest, mutually didactic and friendly (I hope) interfaith dialogue.

The attached photo is from a Jan. 24 meeting between Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger & His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the (96th) Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem (see
http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2005/05054.htm).  See also
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=75792.

Be well!

Mordechai Ben Zvi (MBZ)
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aurelia
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2005, 09:57:06 AM »

Thank you for posting, i for one was going to avoid that thread since i was raised Jewish (albieit Reform) and was on the recieving end of so much anti-semitism as a child (you should try it some time, I didnt understand at all, why these people hated me) that i get very upset at things like that.  I pointed out in a different thread that not only are my parents totally supportive of me, but they were looking forward to coming to my crismation/the kids baptism!

I'm sure some Jews hate Christians as a group..as some Christians hate Jews as a group.  But as you so nicely pointed out, it isnt TAUGHT...
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2005, 01:22:19 PM »


Welcome to the boards MBZ.  I enjoyed your post very much! Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2005, 03:15:34 PM »

Quote
I'm sure some Jews hate Christians as a group..as some Christians hate Jews as a group.  But as you so nicely pointed out, it isnt TAUGHT...

Amen.

Leviticus 19:17-18 "'Do not hate your brother in your heart..."'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

Zechariah 8:17 “And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour”


Romans 12:19-21: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay" says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Matthew 5:21-23: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder’, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Exodus 23:4-5 “If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help him with it.”

Luke 6:27-28 27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Lamentations 3:26-29 “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth: he sitteth alone, and keepeth silence, because he hath born it upon him. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him; he is filled full with reproach.”

Matthew 5:39: “GǪDo not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2005, 03:49:18 PM »

Hi all!

Thank you all for your kind words.

My theory is that if A hates B, B is merely the external focus of some deep, pre-existing spiritual unease in A's heart; B is merely the external focus, the object which A has latched onto as an outlet.

Look at Korah's attempted coup d'etat against his cousins Moses & Aaron.

Look at the several versions of Numbers 16:1.

The KJV says:
Quote
Now Korah...took [men]..."

The NKJV is the same but without the square brackets.

The NASB says:
Quote
Now Korah...took action...

What exactly did Korah take? The original Hebrew doesn't say. In the original Hebrew text, no object is provided for the verb vayikakh ("took"). A better translation of the whole verse would be:

Quote
Now Korah, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliav, and On, the son of Pelet, sons of Reuben, took and they rose up in face of Moses...

There was a very, very good commentary on Korah in last the 18.6.04 edition of Ha'aretz, one of Israel's English dailies. Here http://tinyurl.com/32la3 is the whole article. I'll quote the last two paragraphs:

Quote
It is interesting to look at first words of the parasha: "Vayikakh Korah" ("Now Korah took") (16:1). The verse is left hanging in the air, with no mention of what he took. The commentators have completed it in various ways. Some said that Korah "took himself aside" to set himself apart from the rest of the community. Others said that Korah tried to take other leaders and convince them to join his revolt.

Perhaps most importantly, the verb "vayikakh," in the way it stands alone, alludes to Korah's psychological state as he heads out to stir up controversy and obstruct law and order. There are times when an aggressive mood settles on us but the emotions are not translated into action until a later stage. Only after we decide on the course of action is the verb joined by an object. First our souls burn with hatred, and only afterwards do we decide what to burn.

Be well!

MBZ :brew:
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2005, 04:12:53 PM »

Thank you for posting, i for one was going to avoid that thread since i was raised Jewish (albieit Reform)

Me too! Good to see another Jewish Orthodox Christian.

And thanks, MBZ, for the post.

Marjorie
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2005, 05:18:15 PM »


Hi again Mordechai! If you don't mind, I have some questions about your faith.

1.) Is worship liturgical in Orthodox Judaism, as it is in Orthodox Christianity?

2.) If so, and you are at all familiar with any of the Orthodox liturgies, are there any structural similarities or differences which strike you?

3.) Is there still a priesthood in Orthodox Judaism?  Even an "inactive" one?  The rabbis are technically "laymen" correct?

I have more, but I don't want to bombard you with them all at once. Smiley


Thanks,

Nick
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2005, 05:37:01 PM »



Me too! Good to see another Jewish Orthodox Christian.

And thanks, MBZ, for the post.

Marjorie

I think sister, our new compatriot is an Orthodox Jew, which is just as cool Smiley.


BTW, Mordechai, I do like the Babylon Five avatar.  Good choice.  I'm sure we have many inquiries of you.  And I hope you will welcome here. Peace!


Ian Lazarus :grommit:
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2005, 06:18:18 PM »

BTW, Mordechai, I do like the Babylon Five avatar. Good choice. I'm sure we have many inquiries of you. And I hope you will welcome here. Peace!

Disagree.  I think it is a little freaky.  But I'll tolerate it since he seems to be a nice poster.
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2005, 06:28:20 PM »

Ian,
Majorie was responding to aurelia, not MBZ.
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2005, 06:48:50 PM »

Ian,
Majorie was responding to aurelia, not MBZ.


My Bad!  Sorry.

Ian Lazarus :grommit:

Raised by a cup of coffee! :coffee:
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2005, 07:28:34 PM »

Babylon 5?  I thought it was "Alien Nation".  Never watched either one myself.  I'm a Star Wars guy.
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2005, 08:20:14 PM »


Hi again Mordechai! If you don't mind, I have some questions about your faith.

1.) Is worship liturgical in Orthodox Judaism, as it is in Orthodox Christianity?

Almost all Judaism is liturgical-- especially traditional, Orthodox Judaism; this is one of the reasons Protestantism never occurred to me.

http://liturgica.com has a lot of information about the Orthodox liturgy and its roots in Jewish liturgy.

Rabbis are not equivalent to Orthodox priests-- the equivalent is the priesthood of the Temple, which does not now exist because the Temple (besides for the Western Wall) is not currently existent.

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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2005, 01:19:50 AM »

Quote
the equivalent is the priesthood of the Temple, which does not now exist because the Temple (besides for the Western Wall) is not currently existent.

Nitpick: the priesthood (kohanim) and the Levites are still around; they just don't perform sacrifices anymore due to there not being a Temple. Their lineage is still tracked and they still give priestly blessings and are given certain honors at Jewish services.
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2005, 01:24:58 AM »



Nitpick: the priesthood (kohanim) and the Levites are still around; they just don't perform sacrifices anymore due to there not being a Temple. Their lineage is still tracked and they still give priestly blessings and are given certain honors at Jewish services.

You're right; I should have been more specific.

Marjorie
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2005, 09:13:43 AM »

Hi all!

Marjorie, you posted:

Quote
And thanks, MBZ, for the post.

I can drop the Narn (yes, from Babylon 5) avatar if it's a problem. My previous avatar was a Steelers logo but...but...BAWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!. (MBZ, get a hold o' yerself, it was only a football game!)

You're welcome!

Nick, you posted:

Quote
1.) Is worship liturgical in Orthodox Judaism, as it is in Orthodox Christianity?

Marjorie's answer
Quote
Almost all Judaism is liturgical-- especially traditional, Orthodox Judaism
is correct. We (orthodox Jews) have a very rich liturgy (see http://www.jewfaq.org/liturgy.htm & http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer.htm), with lots of special prayers & hymns for particular holydays, for the Sabbath, etc. The core liturgy is basically the same among all orthodox communities but there are local/regional variations (much like those, I suppose, between the various Orthodox Christian groups & traditions). At the particular synagogue (we meet in a kindergarten on the Sabbath & holydays only; we don't have a building of our own yet) we go to, we like to sing every part of the service that can be sung.

This http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/LkhahDodi.html is one of our most important hymns, which is sung/chanted every Friday evening as the Sabbath begins. The 2nd & 5th of the musical linkas are the best (I think).

Quote
2.) If so, and you are at all familiar with any of the Orthodox liturgies, are there any structural similarities or differences which strike you?

I am not familiar with the Orthodox Christian liturgies at all. Could you please refer me to site where I could read up?

Quote
3.) Is there still a priesthood in Orthodox Judaism? Even an "inactive" one? The rabbis are technically "laymen" correct?

Beayf, you are correct
Quote
Nitpick: the priesthood (kohanim) and the Levites are still around; they just don't perform sacrifices anymore due to there not being a Temple. Their lineage is still tracked and they still give priestly blessings and are given certain honors at Jewish services
!

"Sacrifice" is a rather poor translation for the Hebrew word korban, which actually is a cognate of a root meaning "to approach" or "to draw near/close to") Because there is no Temple (and for other reasons as well), the order of offerings (as well as other Torah precepts which are dependent on the Temple & a fully functioning Aaronic priesthood, such as accepting tithes, administering the bitter waters to a suspected adultress, 7th and Jubilee years, etc. etc.) are also temporarily suspended :'(.

To the best of my knowledge, I am a Levite. Nowadays, that doesn't mean so much. I get to get called up second (after the cohain; see below) when the Torah is read in synagogue & I help the cohain wash his hands before he gives the priestly blessing during morning prayers, but that's about it.

The Hebrew word for priest is cohain. Thus, Jews with the names Cohen, Cohn, Cahn, Kahn, Kahan, Kahane or Katz (an acronym for cohain tzedek) are of priestly stock. The priesthood is passed from father to son, going all the way back to Aaron and his sons Elazar and Ithamar. A priest may noy marry a divorcee or a convert (these restrictions apply even today); if he does, his male descendants by her are not priests. (Hebrew has a different word for a non-Jewish, i.e. Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, priest: komer, pronounced with a long o). Similarly, Jews surnamed Levy, Levi, Levitt, etc. are of Levitical stock. Anyone who is of priestly stock (those Cohens, Katzes, etc.) or Levitical are priests-in-waiting/Levites-in-waiting. In Temple times, the priests & Levites were organized into rotations, arranged by family groups, so that everyone had equal time officiating in the Temples & an equal share of the various tithes. Up until the destruction of the 2nd Temple (and for a while afterwards), strict geneological lists were kept of priests & Levites. All those have long since been lost.

Nowadays, many people with one of the priestly/Levitical surnames may not be actual priests (i.e. direct descendants of Aaron & his sons Elazar & Ithamar, in an unbroken male line) or Levites & many people without the priestly/Levitical surnames are probably priests/Levites. When the Messiah comes & active prophecy is reestablished, there will presumably be some way of figuring out who's who for certain (it has to be certain; even "pretty close" is not good enough).

See "Rabbis, Priests, and Other Religious Functionaries" at http://www.jewfaq.org/rabbi.htm.

I've just realized something else that Orthodox Christians & Orthodox Jews have in common: Very bitter memories of the Crusades. We remember the massacres of Jews in the Rhine Valley & in Jerusalem and you remember the treachery of 1204. I've got a history of the Byzantine Empire at home & the author also points out how none of the Catholic powers of Europe were interested in assisting the Byzantines in exploiting the golden opportunity to really hammer the Ottomans after Tamerlane crushed them at Ankara in 1402.

We used to live very close to the little Greek Orthodox Monastery & Church of San Simon (http://tinyurl.com/5k34t) in Jerusalem. Our oldest boy (just turned 8 ) asked me once what the building "with the big shiny dome" was & I told him that it was a church & that churches were where, "the Christian people pray to God." There's a very large excavated Byzantine monastery http://tinyurl.com/4dt96 just down the street from his current school in the Jerusalem suburb where we live now.

Be well!

MBZ

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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2005, 11:35:58 AM »


Wow, thanks Mordechai.  I will certainly read through all of the material you suggested.  Based on what I have read so far, the continuity between the temple worship, and the liturgies of the various Orthodox Churches is amazing.  The website Marjorie linked to would be an excellent resource for comparitive purposes.

http://liturgica.com/

Here is another site which contains some information on the Liturgy of my Church (Coptic Orthodox).  Just as an aside, we call the holy bread Korban, and we also seat the men and women separately.

http://www.geocities.com/remenkimi/tilett.htm

You mentioned that many of the functions of the priesthood are "temporarily suspended".  Obviously, this suspension has been in place for centuries and many generations.  How do the priests keep "in practice" as it were.  Should the Temple be restored tommorow, would the priests be "ready" to perform their sacred duties?  I mean no disrespect, just trying to learn.

Also, I have heard stories about the administering of the bitter waters to suspected adulteresses.  Could you please elaborate on this?  What happens to her after she drinks it?

P.S. - thanks to Marjorie and Beayf as well.  I knew that rabbis weren't priests.  What I wanted to know was whether or not the Jewish priesthood is still around.  Good to know it is.  BTW Marjorie, thanks for the link!  Can't wait to explore it! Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2005, 03:42:29 PM »

MBZ,

Quote
"Sacrifice" is a rather poor translation for the Hebrew word korban, which actually is a cognate of a root meaning "to approach" or "to draw near/close to")

Mmm...perhaps not poor, but not the most literal, but literalism in translation has it's limits before it becomes hard on the ears.

The sense of qorban, depending on the context, is to bring near or to cause to be brought near - as in to come presenting something, or the act of presenting it.  Thus, to offer or offering would probably be a better English translation of those instances where qorban appears, at least if one's intent is to give a literal translation of the extant Hebrew texts (whether Masoretic, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. etc.)

OTOH, sacrifice is not a bad translation; it only can become such, I think, if one has some warped notions associated with the term (such as images from films like the Temple of Doom or something like this).  "Sacrifice" is a hold over from the Latin sacrificium, which is from two words - sacra (sacred) and facere (to do/to perform).  IOW, a "sacrifice" is the performance of a sacred act, with the contextual understanding of an offering of some kind.  While it's not an overly literal translation, it's hardly innaccurate.

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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2005, 03:54:49 PM »

Hi all!

Augustine, you posted:

Quote
OTOH, sacrifice is not a bad translation; it only can become such, I think, if one has some warped notions associated with the term (such as images from films like the Temple of Doom or something like this).

Good point; point taken! Smiley

I seem to be having a problem opening http://liturgica.com/ but I'll keep trying. What I've read so far from http://www.geocities.com/remenkimi/tilett.htm (only the "Preliminary Note") is very interesting; thanks!

Nick, you posted:

Quote
You mentioned that many of the functions of the priesthood are "temporarily suspended". Obviously, this suspension has been in place for centuries and many generations. How do the priests keep "in practice" as it were. Should the Temple be restored tommorow, would the priests be "ready" to perform their sacred duties? I mean no disrespect, just trying to learn.

Priests & us Levites keep in practice by studying the relevant texts & traditions. Hopefully that keeps us sufficiently in practice!

Quote
Also, I have heard stories about the administering of the bitter waters to suspected adulteresses. Could you please elaborate on this? What happens to her after she drinks it?

Numbers 5:11-31 details what is to be done with the sota, a married woman whom her husband suspects of being unfaithful. Below is an article on the issue from an orthodox Jewish perspective:

Quote
(by Rabbi Phil Chernofsky)

If a wife is unfaithful to her husband, and there is no proof of her adultery, or if a man suspects his wife of unfaithfulness and it be unwarranted, he may formally warn her in front of witnesses not to be seen in the company of a particular man. This warning is a precondition to the whole topic of Sota.

Suspicion alone, or even adultery per se, do not produce the conditions for Sota without a formal warning by the husband. Once the warning is issued, it is a mitzva (requirement) to proceed with the Sota-process. The husband must bring his wife to the kohen [priest] at the Beit HaMikdash [Temple]. A barley-meal offering is brought. No oil or spice is used with it since the issue at hand is so serious and unpleasant before God. Note from MBZ: I've heard why the offering here must be plain barley meal, which is unique, I think, among the various meal-offerings in the Torah. Barley meal is very coarse and is usually an animal feed. Adultery is bestial & those guilty of it have acted like animals, who copulate by instinct and are driven by their brute impulses.

The kohen prepares a potion consisting of water from the Kiyor (the washing basin in the courtyard of the Temple), earth from the floor, and the dissolved writing of this portion of the Torah. The kohen administers an oath to the woman asking her to swear to her innocence, if that be the case, or to admit her guilt. The woman is warned of serious adverse effects of the potion which she will be given to drink, if in fact she has committed adultery, and of the favorable consequences of the potion if she is innocent.

Our Sages teach that a woman accused of being an adulteress can elect not to drink the potion (because if she is guilty it will kill her & her paramour). She then forfeits the sum of money her husband promised (in their marriage contract) to pay her in the event of divorce & is considered divorced. If she's not guilty & drinks the potion, then she will become pregnant by her husband. Numbers 5:23 says that the priest must write this portion of the Torah on a scroll & dissolve it in the water. This necessarily means that he will be erasing God's Name (because the Name appears in the Torah portion being dissolved). Normally, that's a whopper of a no-no with us. But our Sages say that in order to restore trust between husband & wife, God will even permit His Name to be erased.

Howzat?

This reminds me. Does Orthodox Christianity permit divorce?  I ask because I know that Roman Catholicism does not. Your priests are allowed to marry, right? I've heard that while Orthodox priests may marry, Orthodox bishops may not; thus, all Orthodox bishops are monks. How right/wrong am I?

It's Thursday night here here in the Jerusalem 'burbs. On Shabbat (from sundown Friday to nightfall Saturday), orthodox Jews don't use most electric/electronic devices, including TVs, radios, phones & computers. (See http://www.jewfaq.org/shabbat.htm for a good introductory read.) And DW & I are usually way too busy on Friday dealing with Da Boyz and cooking & cleaning (both the flat & ourselves) for her to let me anywhere even remotely near the computer. This is my roundabout way of saying, "See you all either Saturday night or Sunday!"

Be well!

MBZ



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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2005, 06:32:42 PM »


This reminds me.  Does Orthodox Christianity permit divorce?   I ask because I know that Roman Catholicism does not.  Your priests are allowed to marry, right?  I've heard that while Orthodox priests may marry, Orthodox bishops may not; thus, all Orthodox bishops are monks.  How right/wrong am I?


Dear Mordechai:

Though divorce does exhist in the church, it is very much frowned upon, and is to be used only as a a last resort, when all other interventions, including that of the church, have failed.  Still, a marriage suffers because of sinfullnes, and we try our best not to get into that situation or give into it.
Now the Roman Catholic doctrine of anullment basically claims that by papal decree, the marriage can be considered non exhistant (basically, that no marriage actaually took place).  In the Orthodox Eyes, this is foreign.

Yes indeed, our priests may marry, and do!  Bishops usually come from the monastic life because they dedicate their entire life to the church, and becaue Christ was celebate, its a better emmulation of Him.  Now there have been married bishops in the past (if memeory serves) but they are ususally exceptions to the rule. 

Have a good Shabbat!

Ian Lazarus  :grommit: 
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2005, 12:30:36 AM »

Hypothetical time!

Quote
Our Sages teach that a woman accused of being an adulteress can elect not to drink the potion (because if she is guilty it will kill her & her paramour).

Will it always kill her paramour? What if a man's wife runs off to a far country, and while there (still married to the first man) marries another man (who doesn't know she's already married), and consummates the marriage. Later, she decides to go back to her first husband, but doesn't confess to the second marriage. He accuses her of adultery while she was away, she denies it, and drinks the water. What happens to "husband" #2?
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2005, 03:30:56 PM »

Hi all!

Beayf, you asked:

Quote
Will it always kill her paramour?

Yes; this is what our Sages tell us.

Ian Lazarus, you posted:

Quote
Though divorce does exhist in the church, it is very much frowned upon, and is to be used only as a a last resort, when all other interventions, including that of the church, have failed. Still, a marriage suffers because of sinfullnes, and we try our best not to get into that situation or give into it.

Hmm, this very much sounds like our (orthodox Jewish) approach. It is a recourse of last resort not to be used lightly.

Quote
Now the Roman Catholic doctrine of anullment basically claims that by papal decree, the marriage can be considered non exhistant (basically, that no marriage actaually took place). In the Orthodox Eyes, this is foreign.

The RC doctrine of anullment has always seemed kinda strange to me too.

Thank you for answering my questions regarding your priesthood & marriage, etc.

I feel bad about using Roman Catholic practice (which I know from what I've seen on TV & in movies & from my RC cyberfriends) as my point-of-reference for questions about the Orthodox Christian faith. Does Orthodox Christianity also have confession a la Roman Catholicism? How are your rites similar/different to theirs?

I am suddenly reminded of why I came looking for an Orthodox Christian site in the first place (see my first post above): What do you think about The DaVinci Code (and/or for that matter Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ)?

Quote
Have a good Shabbat!

We did (the usual praying, eating & sleeping) thanks!

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2005, 11:32:38 PM »

Quote
We did (the usual praying, eating & sleeping) thanks!


Glad to hear it! Smiley

Quote
I feel bad about using Roman Catholic practice (which I know from what I've seen on TV & in movies & from my RC cyberfriends) as my point-of-reference for questions about the Orthodox Christian faith.


Don't feel bad. Many people's POV about Orthodoxy comes from a western perspective, and the closest thing in the west to us is Roman Cathoicism. Now having said that, there are many differences which separate us, and unless one took the time to get the know them, one might walk into a church and say "Its like Catholicism with a big alter screen, and inscence, and candles, and Icon, and the priests wear cooler vestments, and there's no organ, and people have names like Stephanopolous, or Vasileiv, or........"you get the picture. Grin


Quote
Does Orthodox Christianity also have confession a la Roman Catholicism? How are your rites similar/different to theirs?

Well to start off with, yep there is confession. But there are differences in how it's adminstered and seen.

There is not confessional box where you slide open the door and the priest begins. You stand ususally infront of an Icon of Christ by the Iconostas (alter screen with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary and all the saints), with the priest bowing or kneeling with you with his stole over your head, listeining to your confession, and giving advice and encouragement before absolution is given.

Now the different views of confession are more coplex, but I'll be brief. The Roman Catholics believe in venial sin (not so bad sins, but still sins) and mortal sins ( BIG SINERELLOS). The Orthodox believe sin is sin, and they taint the soul just as blacky.

Quote
What do you think about The DaVinci Code

We try not to and hope that the world will wake up to the fact that it is fiction and asprin and Metamucil is our friend! Cheesy

Quote
(and/or for that matter Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ)?

Not a bad movie. Could have used more resurrection and less crucifixtion IMHO. Smiley

Thanks for asking! Peace, now!

Ian Lazarus :grommit:





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« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2005, 12:12:55 AM »

Actions and words speak for themselves.

If is in the Jewish religion to not favor non Jewish religions. Even in the Jewish Cabbala (which the “moral” singers Madana and Britney spears follow) says to spit on the graves of non Christians. It is taught by the Jewish religion and not by the people to not like the Christian religion.

Many Jewish people are good but the religion is not so good which inspired the Muslim religion. The Jewish religion says an eye for an eye and the Muslim religion says an eye for an eye. Even Christ condemned the Jewish religion. The Jewish religion has more in common with the Muslim religion than Christian orthodoxy. The Jewish religion says to lie and the Muslim religion says to lie. There is a Rabi that converts Jews to Christians and he shows how the Jewish religion is edited to show that the messiah did not come and how it is encouraged to lie to the non Jews.
ALso the Jewish Talmus says anti-Christian things.

Christ’s teachings are not heavily based on the Old Testament which historians and knowledgeable priests say.
Like the saying goes ignorance is bliss and people like to hear appeasing things.

But some things that were said here are good, even though the main point is a farce.

Jewish Hatred of Christians: A Religious Obligation in Judaism
http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/crimes_against_christianity/41.htm
“profaning of sacred Christian symbols is a religious obligation in Judaiam.”
“Pious Jews object to the international plus sign for it is a cross,”
“anti-Christian feelings are literally exploding in Israel”
“in Israel, the government finances the spitting on a cross”
“such threatening knowledge will continue to be suppressed in the Jewish-dominated West”

here is a list http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/crimes_against_christianity/index.htm
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« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2005, 12:55:11 AM »

Jace,

You are way out of line, and you obviously dont understand Christianity, because you have just critisized words which we acknowledge as The Word of God.

Quote
Even in the Jewish Cabbala (which the “moral” singers Madana and Britney spears follow)

Do you understand how badly this sort of reasoning can backfire on us? Seriously, that was a very foolish, foolsih comment to make.

Quote
Many Jewish people are good but the religion is not so good which inspired the Muslim religion.


This is the most ridiculous comment ive ever heard. The Islamic religion plagiarised and stole many Judeo-Christian concepts and scriptures, perverting them to suit Muhammed's own agenda and claim to be the final messenger of God.

As a Christian, you should know, that according to our faith, our scriptures continue and fulfill the Old Testament, not only in accomplishing the prophecies, but spiritual exegeting and interpreting the Law, as God intends us to follow in the period of grace and truth, which came through The incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Quote
The Jewish religion says an eye for an eye and the Muslim religion says an eye for an eye. Even Christ condemned the Jewish religion.


Im afraid you are very ignorant of the scriptures. Christ never condemned the Law - that would be a blasphemy, He explicitly said in His own words that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill (plerosai).

Before the Mosaic Law was established, if a person was killed or injured by another, his family or tribe would attack and kill the offender's entire family or tribe, in a spirit of vengeance. The eye for an eye rule had established the basis of civil law in three ways: (a) the offender alone could be punished (not his tribe or family), (b) this punishment would be no more severe than the crime committed (i.e. a man couldnt be killed if he merely injured someone), and (c) the Hebrew/Jeiwsh clerics were to serve as judges with divine authority. to adjudicate and administer this system of justice.

Jesus never nullified or condemned the Mosaic injunction of "an eye for an eye", since that Law was given specifically to the civili authorities - Israelite judges who acted as God's agents/representatives on earth to execute judgment upon the guilty. Israel was a theocratic government which enacted God's rule, insuring that the inhabitants of the land did not violate His Law. Hence, the purpose of Moses' decree was for the civili authorities - Israelite rulers to enforce, making sure that justice was maintained. The common person however, could not enact punishment upon a criminal.

Jesus was giving his sermon in the context of discipleship - he was thus not addressing civil authorities, but his followers. People at that time had perverted the Mosaic law of justice, into a law of  personal revenge. Hence, what Jesus was basically saying is that we should not take the law "into our own hands," but rather be willing to forgive and love our enemies.

My first post in this thread in fact PROVED for you, that Christ's teaching of love and forgiveness, was not something he innovated, but rather a principle already existent in the Law, which He was reinforcing as a strict commandment, and stressing us to follow and obey out of love for Him.

The Islamic religion OTOH, a) DOES NOT TEACH LOVE OR FORGIVENESS TO ENEMIES and b) Perverts the Mosaic law of "eye for an eye" into a LAW OF PERSONAL REVENGE - the very thing Christ Himself was condemning.

Islam is a regression and digression of Judeo-Christian morality.

Quote
Christ’s teachings are not heavily based on the Old Testament which historians and knowledgeable priests say.
Like the saying goes ignorance is bliss and people like to hear appeasing things.

This is absolutely false. Christ's credibility and authenticity is confirmed through an objective, open hearted, open minded, and Spirit guided reading of the Old Testament. I can give you the names of many reputable scholars and theologians that confirm this.
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2005, 01:34:17 AM »

MBZ,

I personally have never read The DaVinci code, though I have heard alot about it. It is currently on my "To read" list, which means I may get to it in the next 5-6 years if im lucky. I do have a general idea about it however, and i understand that its basically a mix of conspiracy, misinformation mixed with some romance intertwined with neo-gnostic beliefs. I know that many of its presuppositions are derived from the gnostic works. The gnostics were the rivals of the Apostles and followers of The Christ, who claimed to have "secret knowledge" that Our Lord Jesus passed down only to them and not to His elect holy Apostles. Meanwhile if we read the book of Acts we see the Apostles preaching publicly the Good News that the Lord had taught them directly. The gnostics wrote the false "gospels" like the "Gospel of Thomas" and the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" and hundreds of others, giving their works Apostolic names to give them credence and authority.

Their views and doctrines were largely warped by platonic philosophy, they taught things such as the evil of matter and goodness of the spirit alone. So basically, their works are not historical, but rather mythological and fanciful, shaped by philosophical presuppositions. The Gospels on the other hand, are valid and genuine historical documents, written by eye-witnesses of the Lord Christ's ministry and life.

Fortunately, there have been many Christian books written debunking this novel:

 The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenging Response to the Bestselling Novel -by Richard Abanes, Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine - by Bart D. Ehrman, The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction - by Hank Hanegraaff, Paul L. Maier, The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code - by Carl E. Olson, Sandra Miesel, De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code - by Amy Welborn, and plenty more.)

I plan to buy a couple of the above afterwards, and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to objectively consider this issues presented by Dan Brown's novel - especially that of Bart Erham's since i know he is considered the world authority on the matters of church history.

That's really all i can say for now until I get to reading the actual book and the refutations.
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« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2005, 07:04:09 AM »

Hi all!

EkhristosAnesti, thank you for your posts & your kind remarks.

I'll simply add that the Tanakh (what we call what Christians call the "Old Testament") adage about an "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" etc. has never been interpreted/understood literally by traditional, normative Judaism. We have always interpreted/understood it metaphorically; our Sages teach that if A gouges out B's eye, then A must monetarily/economically compensate B for the lost eye (the value of which would be assessed by a rabbinical court); this is basic torts. The lex talionis has never been part of traditional, normative Jewish jurisprudence. Those who assert otherwise are either making an innocent mistake ( :brew: ) or are repeating a malicious canard (whether innocently or knowingly; :violent: ).

Don't get me started about that bastardized version of Kabbalah being imbibed by the likes of Madonna! :flame: When I see what is being done by the clowns who are responsible for prostituting one of my faith's most treasured (and misunderstood!) concepts, I get an inkling of how Christians must have felt what that "artist" in New York a few years back had the unmitigated gall to put a crucifix in a glass of urine and call it "Piss-Christ" (remember that?); ugh! Suffice to say that what Madonna is dabbling in has about as much to do with real Kabbalah as a Twinkie does with real pastry.

Ian Lazarus, as usual, thank you for your comments. Thank you
Quote
Don't feel bad. Many people's POV about Orthodoxy comes from a western perspective, and the closest thing in the west to us is Roman Cathoicism.
for being so charitable. I think about all the TV shows I've seen & the tough Brooklyn cop, the slick Boston lawyer & all of the other stock types are always interacting with a/their Roman Catholic priest, never Orthodox priests. I can think of one old Law and Order episode in which a Greek Orthodox priest appeared very briefly, in passing.

My comments on The DaVinci Code are as follows:

As an orthodox Jew, I’ll say the following (& DW agrees). I can see very much how Roman Catholics in particular & Christians in general might be (very) offended by the book. If this book had been written with a Jewish angle instead of a Roman Catholic one, Jewish groups (such as the ADL) the world over would be screaming bloody murder that it was libelous, anti-Semitic, etc.

Brown cleverly mixed in just enough facts with his fiction to give the latter a veneer of plausibility. An undereducated/underinformed person could easily be led to believe some of the more outrageous stuff (i.e. Opus Dei buying its bishopric by bailing the Vatican out of bankruptcy, that the Church has murderously sought to suppress certain information, etc).

Also, I must fault very many of his references to Judaism & Jewish practices:

1) There were NO “sacred prostitutes” in the First Temple in Jerusalem, as Brown wrote. Temple prostitution was a Canaanite practice. The Torah denounces such gross immorality. Such a charge (that there were “sacred prostitutes” in the Temple) has no basis whatsoever in any Jewish source.

2) The Hebrew word shekhinah means "God’s presence" (and is a cognate of a root meaning "to dwell" & is related to the Hebrew words for "neighbor", the Biblical "tent of meeting" and, oddly enough, "mortgage") & is feminine (the Semitic languages, like the Romance languages, but unlike English, assigns gender to all nouns). Shekhinah was/is not God’s female consort, as Brown wrote. We believe that God is Wholly Other and, that as such, completely transcends the physical concept/construct of gender. Insofar as we, with our necessarily limited human understanding, perceive God and how He (I use the masculine pronoun simply because it is the customary usage, not because I attribute any particular gender to God) makes His presence felt in the world, we discern features/aspects that appear to be feminine or masculine, as the case may be. Accordingly, we see the shekhinah as representing the more feminine side of God’s presence in the world.

2a) Now that I think about it, why do Christians believe that the pre-existent Word of God incarnated as a man? I suspect that the belief that it did (given that women, i.e. Mary, are presumably impregnated by male beings) may have given rise to the misconception (right?) that Christianity believes that God is necessarily masculine. Can my Orthodox Christian friends help me here?

3) Judaism does not, in any way, denigrate or disparage the role of women (as Brown insinuated more than once). A common (and very condescending) liberal fallacy Angry is that because a traditional faith like orthodox Judaism believes that men & women are different and have different roles, that we necessarily believe that women are inferior; people confuse uniformity with equality & mistake the absence of the former for a lack of the latter. This is nonsense. Neither does orthodox Judaism deny/disparage a married woman’s sexuality; indeed, it is our view that satisfactory sexual relations are the wife’s right & the husband’s duty to meet that right & not the other way ‘round.

4) The idea that Jews living in Roman Gaul would have kept the genealogical lists of Mary Magdelene’s presumed descendants is also pure hokum. Brown said (based on what?) that she was from the tribe of Benjamin & hinted at her descent from the House of Saul. Big deal; who cares? In Judaism, tribal affiliation is passed in the male line only & the House of Saul was perpetually excluded by God from the kingship. Also, David’s royal line continued among the Jews of Babylonia until well into Islamic times (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exilarch). Brown should know very well that Jews have never accepted Jesus’s presumed Davidic descent (no offense) & to assert that Jews in Gaul would have is ludicrous.

5) Still, my wife & I found it to be a good whodunit conspiracy thriller and a fun read that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. That just generates more publicity & makes more even money for Brown. Learn from some Jewish groups' way overblown, overreaction (which I didn’t agree with at all, by the way) to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2005, 08:14:33 AM »

MBZ,

Thanks for your reply, and I agree that the 'eye for an eye' law should not be taken literally, its simple metaphorical language employed to promote the notion of justice, which as you affirm, was to be instituted by the civil authorities.

Quote
Now that I think about it, why do Christians believe that the pre-existent Word of God incarnated as a man?


I personally see no significant reason for this other than the fact that The Christ was, according to the New Testament - “the second Adam” who was to restore mankind’s nature to the perfect image and likeness of God. Like Judaism, we believe God transcends gender, and He certainly has no female consort - a common misconception that non-Christians have in understanding what it is meant when Christians declare Christ to be "The Son of God".

Quote
I suspect that the belief that it did (given that women, i.e. Mary, are presumably impregnated by male beings) may have given rise to the misconception (right?) that Christianity believes that God is necessarily masculine.

This is indeed a misconception, and I wish to bring up a very important point in relation to this issue . The identity of Christ as “The Word”, is often over-stressed by Christians, due to the very famous prologue of St John’s Gospel. What is often over-looked, is that the New Testament also ascribes (either implicitly or explicitly) other “aspects” of God’s being, to the person of Christ, and some of these aspects, as you have noted are indeed depicted through feminine language, in both the Hebrew scriptures, and pre-Christian Jewish literature.

Christ is not only The Word; the scriptures also explicitly and implicitly identify Him with the Shekinah (divine presence), explicitly and implicitly identify Him with the Hokmah (The Wisdom of God) and implicitly identify Him with the Torah (the Law). So basically, according to Christian theology, even those “femininely” depicted aspects of God’s being became incarnate in the person of Christ, who in human form was a male.

Another interesting thing to note with regards to this issue, is the Old Testament Theophany in Genesis, in which the Lord appeared to Abraham as a man, accompanied with 2 other men who may have been angels - im not quite sure how Orthodox Jews would interpret this particular passage.

Peace
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2005, 08:30:27 AM »

Hi EkhristosAnesti!

Quote
The identity of Christ as “The Word”, is often over-stressed by Christians, due to the very famous prologue of St John’s Gospel. What is often over-looked, is that the New Testament also ascribes (either implicitly or explicitly) other “aspects” of God’s being, to the person of Christ, and some of these aspects, as you have noted are indeed depicted through feminine language, in both the Hebrew scriptures, and pre-Christian Jewish literature.

Christ is not only The Word; the scriptures also explicitly and implicitly identify Him with the Shekinah (divine presence), explicitly and implicitly identify Him with the Hokmah (The Wisdom of God) and implicitly identify Him with the Torah (the Law). So basically, according to Christian theology, even those “femininely” depicted aspects of God’s being became incarnate in the person of Christ, who in human form was a male.

I didn't know this. Thank you for explaining it to me.

You asked about God appearing to Abraham. We distinguish between Genesis 18:1 and 18:2. Our Sages comment on the use of the pronoun him in 18:1 instead of the name Abraham & link this verse back to the end of Genesis 17. They teach that God was visiting Abraham following the latter's circumcision (from this we learn that it is very important to visit & comfort those who are ill or injured). How Abraham perceived God is beyond our ken but he certainly couldn't have "seen" Him (since this would violate Exodus 33:20). We believe that the 3 visitors who appear in Genesis 18:2 were three angels.

One of my rabbis writes:

Quote
The mitzvah [religious precept] of hospitality is greater than receiving the Divine Presence. We learn this from the beginning of this week's Torah portion. G-d had come to visit Avraham on the third day after his brit mila [circumcision] — the most painful day. G-d made the day extremely hot so that Avraham should not be bothered by guests. When G-d saw that Avraham was experiencing more pain from his inability to do the mitzvah of hospitality than the pain of the brit mila he sent three angels who appeared as men so that Avraham could do the mitzvah of hospitality. When these "men" appeared Avraham got up from in front of the Divine Presence [and ran!] to greet his guests.

Hospitality is greater than receiving the Divine Presence.

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2005, 09:26:50 AM »

Quote
Hospitality is greater than receiving the Divine Presence.

MBZ,
Did you see my signiature under my posts?

It's a quote of our "Golden Rule" taught by Jesus.

We're closer in thought that you imagined.

Kolya
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2005, 09:46:09 AM »

Hi Kolya!

You posted:

You mean this
Quote
Treat others as you would like to be treated!
?

We phrase it backwards. There is a famous story that a smart-alecky Roman came to our great 1st century BCE sage Shammai and asked him to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai threw him out. The smart-alecky Roman thereupon went to Shammai's colleague, Hillel the Elder (see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/hillel.html for a short biographical sketch on the two), and repeated his question. Hillel said, "Whatever is hateful to yourself, do not do to your neighbor. The rest is commentary. Now go and study!" The Roman heeded Hillel's advice and went and studied; he abandoned paganism, became a Jew and eventually a learned Sage in his own right.

Be well!

MBZ

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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2005, 11:12:40 AM »


Yes indeed, our priests may marry, and do! Bishops usually come from the monastic life because they dedicate their entire life to the church, and becaue Christ was celebate, its a better emmulation of Him. Now there have been married bishops in the past (if memeory serves) but they are ususally exceptions to the rule.


Small correction here: Our priests may not marry, but married men may become priests if married prior to becoming deacons. Yes, there have been very rare exceptions, and recent ones too, where a bishop has allowed a widowed priest to re-marry, but I know of no outright first marriages so allowed.

Demetri
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2005, 12:40:26 PM »

MBZ,

Quote
I didn't know this. Thank you for explaining it to me.

Yes these issues are not very well known even amongst the general Christian population; I personally only recently started approaching and looking at the New Testament from a purely Jewish perspective. The Jewish roots of the New Testament are often under-rated, which really doesn't make sense, considering the fact it was written by Jewish authors, in a Jewish context, fundamentally relying on the Jewish scriptures.

I'd like to expand on how the New Testament identifies one of these “periphrasis” of God, with the Christ; namely the Shekinah, since you mentioned it before.

Concerning the incarnation of The Word, the most blatant and to-the-point statement concerning this event is in John 1:14 where it is declared: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”

The interesting thing about the expression “and dwelt among us” is that if it were to be translated literally from its Greek, it would actually read something like “lived in a tent”. The imagery being conveyed here by St John the apostle, is that God pitched His tent among us and temporarily settled in our midst through Jesus the Christ.

At this point I would like to recall the point you brought up regarding the Shekinah:
Quote
The Hebrew word shekhinah means "God’s presence" (and is a cognate of a root meaning "to dwell" & is related to the Hebrew words for "neighbor", the Biblical "tent of meeting"


Examining this in more depth, we discover that when Solomon dedicated the Temple of the Lord, he said “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” (2 Chronicles 6:1-2). Understanding the limitations of such a building, Solomon then says: “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple (In Hebrew, the temple is often referred to as a “house”) I have built!” (2 Chron. 6:18). Nonetheless, despite his inability to comprehend the ways of the Lord, He knew that this was the promise God had given to Israel through Moses: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exod. 25:Cool

The God whom the heavens and the earth could not contain would dwell in the midst of His people in the Tabernacle (literally an elaborate tent) and Temple. Furthermore, He would do this by “pitching His tent” among them. This is exactly how the Septuagint expressed 2 Chronicles 6:1-2, translated the word dwell with the Greek verb “to pitch a tent”, exactly as it is said in John 1:14. In this sense, Christ becomes the replacement of the ancient Tabernacle, The divine, being present in a very real sense, without diminishing God's omnipresence, the Glory of God filling and being manifested through both the ancient tabernacle and temple, as well as Christ Jesus in the last days. And so it is that St Paul declares concerning the Christ "For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9)

Quote
Hospitality is greater than receiving the Divine Presence.

Very interesting.

According to Christian theology, we would put a little twist on that above statement by declaring that is is through Hospitality that we indeed receive the divine presence. Here is what one of our contemporary monks had to say concerning this passage.

“Abraham, entertaining the Lord and His two angels, drew the attention of the saintly men of God; St. Paul the apostle says: “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 12;1-2) The fathers have abundantly spoken of the act of ‘entertaining strangers’, as a way of entertaining the Lord in His creation. St. Ambrosius says: “The Lord Christ comes in the person of the stranger or the poor, for as it is written: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’ St. Jerome says: “The true temple for Christ is the believer’s soul; So let us adorn it; :Let us offer Him clothes, and gifts; Let us welcome Christ in him! What would be the use of walls adorned with jewels, if Christ in the poor, is in danger of death because of hunger?”

As such, when Abraham received the three visitors, he received the divine presence which was manifest in one of them. We have many reasons for holding this particular belief. First of all, we see no contextual factor which necessitates or calls for a replacement of the Lord who first appears in verse 1, with the three men who are mentioned in verse 2. Of the three men, one is addressed as both Lord - adonai, and YHWH. Abraham also bowed to the ground, an act reserved for obeisance of kings or worship of the Lord. The wider context also clearly indicates, that two of these men went on to Sodom, where they are clearly identified as angels, and that Abraham stayed before YHWH, with whom he had an extended dialogue, implying that YHWH was indeed one of the original three.

Quote
How Abraham perceived God is beyond our ken but he certainly couldn't have "seen" Him (since this would violate Exodus 33:20).

Exodus 33:20 is reformulated in John 1:18 to read: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him”

Though we as Christians acknowledge that God cannot be seen nor beheld according to His essence and the fullness of His glory, we believe that He was nonetheless fully manifest/revealed/declared through the incarnation of His Word in the form of a man. He is, as St Paul states “The image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), such that Christ may declare: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:Cool. We believe that before the incarnation, the pre-existent Word declared the Lord through certain theophanies such as that of Genesis 18, and many other interesting passages involving “The Angel of the Lord” who seems to be implicitly equated with YHWH. A curious note is also struck when we find that 9 chapters prior to Exodus 33, it is written “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” (Exodus 24:9-10)

We find in the Hebrew scriptures, that The Word of the Lord is involved in many of God's divine activities, including creation (Psalm 33:6), revelation (Je. 1:4; Is. 9:8; Ezk. 33:7; Am. 3:1,8) deliverance (Ps. 107:20; Is. 55:1) and judgement (Ps. 29:3). As such we see The Word as both the divine agent manifesting God to men, and The divine - intrinsic aspect of God's being.

Sorry if I tend to ramble on :- And please forgive me if im starting to sound a bit polemical, I just love discussing theology with respectful and wise persons of other religious belief systems! :thumbsup:

Shalom!

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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2005, 07:15:54 PM »



Small correction here: Our priests may not marry, but married men may become priests if married prior to becoming deacons. Yes, there have been very rare exceptions, and recent ones too, where a bishop has allowed a widowed priest to re-marry, but I know of no outright first marriages so allowed.

Demetri

Oh, thats right!  Sorry, misworded.

Though I have heard that in certain cases, a man may serve as a deacon and still search for a wife at the Bishop's approval.  How true is that?

Ian Lazarus :grommit:
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« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2005, 08:18:14 AM »

Hi MBZ
You Quoted:

We phrase it backwards.... Hillel said, "Whatever is hateful to yourself, do not do to your neighbor. The rest is commentary. Now go and study!" The Roman heeded Hillel's advice and went and studied; he abandoned paganism, became a Jew and eventually a learned Sage in his own right.


Thanks for the link about Hillel. That was very interesting. He certainly was a wise sage for telling the would-be convert to first study the beliefs. But that goes without saying. Nobody can really become anything (Surgeon, Pilot, Plumber) without first studing (Unless they buy their Diploma Wink )

BTW, yes, we are in the same time-zone. So we're buzy working while our fellow 'netizens' are sleeping in North America. Another site poster, Prodromos, also is in our time-zone in Greece.

Now, I suppose we should start a new thread on this next question. The Mods can move it if they wish. It is something I've always wanted to ask.
This is not an issue with Orthodox Christians, but many of us here are converts, and it was an issue with some Protestant Christians.
What I want to know is this; Do you know if it was true or not that anyone living in old Israel at the turn of the eras, (50BCE-100CE) could keep wine from fermenting? IOW, do you use fermented wine at your Pasha Festival? Or can you only use Grape Juice? This may sound like a stupid question to you, but it has caused great controversy in modern christian churches.

Go well

Kolya
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« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2005, 10:20:03 AM »

Hi all!

EkhristosAnesti, you cited God's dictum to Moses: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."

Our Sages comment on this commandment to build the Tabernacle (and the temple; we learn it from here) and note that while God commands us to build Him a sanctuary, He does not say that He will dwell within it. Rather, He says that He will dwell within them, i.e. within us. We built the Tabernacle & the first 2 Temples/We will build the 3rd Temple not so that God could/may dwell within them/it, but so that He could/may dwell within our hearts, our brains & our souls.

You cited Exodus 24:9-10. We put various metaphorical spins on that one.

Rabbi Menachem Leibtag writes:

Quote
Recall that at the conclusion of the ceremony at Har [Mt.] Sinai (24:1-11), Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, and the seventy elders are permitted to 'see' God: "And they saw Elokei Yisrael and - 'tachat raglav' - under His feet was like a shining sapphire..." (24:10)

Obviously, God does not have 'feet'! However, this description reflects a certain spiritual level. Moshe [Moses], for example, achieved the highest level - "panim be-panim" - face to face. In contrast, the seventy elders perceived 'tachat raglav' -(God's feet), reflecting a lower spiritual level. [This may relate to the people's request for a more distanced relationship, where Moshe served as their intermediary (see [Exodus] 20:15-18 and Devarim [Deuteronomy] 5:20-26).]

For a different metaphorical spin, see http://www.aish.com/torahportion/shalomweekly/Mishpatim_5764.asp (scroll down to the section entitled "Dvar Torah")

See also The Body of God at http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_body.html.

We see angels as created beings, separate from God, but capable of bearing His messages & speaking in His Name (kind of like prophets do). In our view, the angels who wrestled with Jacob, appeared to Abraham, Joshua & Samson's parents, etc. were neither God, nor manifestations of God, nor "persons within the Godhead", etc. When Abraham spoke with them, he spoke to/with the One who sent them (as an honor/respect thing I suppose).

We see the scriptural references to the "word of God" (you'll please forgive me for using a lower case w!) and suchlike as poetic metaphors/images & not references to the "Word of God" as a personified/actual being.

Quote
Sorry if I tend to ramble on :- !

1) Not at all!

2) Ah, so you're a Led Zeppelin fan too?

Quote
And please forgive me if im starting to sound a bit polemical, I just love discussing theology with respectful and wise persons of other religious belief systems!

Thank you & ditto!

Kolya, in response to your post:

I suppose that anyone could make (unfermented) grape juice back then simply by squeezing/stomping grapes.  I don't know about preserving the 9unfermented) grape juice for any length of time simply because the only ways to preserve foodstuffs way back then was by pickling, salting or drying (which would make the grape juice rather yucky!).

First, wine libations were an integral part of the Temple service, in the order of offerings (see Numbers 28 and 29). The Hebrew word for "its drink offering" is nisko  & refers to wine, not grape juice. The specific reference to wine per se in Numbers 28:14 is held to be illustrative example that holds for all of the various holyday offerings enumerated in Numbers 28-29.

The blessing "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created the fruit of the vine" is said before drinking wine and grape juice (but not over grapes or raisins; apples and apple juice/oranges and orange juice, etc. also take different blessings).

At the ceremonial Passover meal known as the Seder (http://www.jewfaq.org/holidaya.htm), we drink 4 cups of wine. Normally, during the year, when the blessing over wine is recited on Friday night & the evenings of major holydays, and again on Saturday morning & the mornings of major holydays, and on Saturday night when the Sabbath is over & the evenings after major holydays, grape juice may certainly be used (DW & I always have grape juice around for Da Boyz). But on Passover, it is strongly recommended by nearly all (orthodox!) rabbinical authorities that if one insists on drinking grape juice, that at least some wine be mixed in with the grape juice. (Recovering alcoholics & people who are banned from drinking wine for medical reasons, may use all grape juice.) No one is supposed to get drunk at the Passover Seder (we get drunk on our holyday of Purim, http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm). The Seder includes a very large meal & the minimal amount defined as a "cup" is not that large.

On the Nazirite's having to abstain from wine (see Numbers 6:1-21), several of our Sages comment on the fact that at the conclusion of his vow, he had to bring (inter alia) a sin-offering. I believe that it is our very great medieval Sage, Nahmanides (http://www.ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/ramban.htm), who says that the Nazirite had to bring a sin-offering because he had taken upon himself a vow (which Judaism frowns upon unless absolutely necessary) that entailed having to deny himself good things which God has permitted us.

Wine, when properly used, can be a vehicle for holiness. When improperly used, it can be a vehicle for vile unholiness. Wine is, in effect, a kind of tool. It is neither evil nor good; only the use to which it is put and the ends to which it is used can be good or evil. (Even Milton refers to "misused wine.") The Tanakh endorses neither teetotalism nor habitual drunkeness.

Howzat?

Be well!

MBZ

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« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2005, 12:06:02 PM »

*very interesting things I've been reading, but i had to comment...Purim...i miss that, havent had good hamentaschen in years!* laugh


and at out seder we always had full uncut manichewitz(the cheapy kosher wine, for those who dont know)...though my portions were always very tiny.

Zepplin 4, side 2 Grin
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« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2005, 12:11:39 PM »


Oh, thats right! Sorry, misworded.

Though I have heard that in certain cases, a man may serve as a deacon and still search for a wife at the Bishop's approval. How true is that?

Ian Lazarus :grommit:

Ian,
I have not heard of this before. Perhaps a thread here awhile back mentioned something like this in one of the OO churches, but we must wait their input here on that.

Demetri
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« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2005, 02:01:55 PM »

Hi all!

I'd just like to add that I've heard some Christians (usually fundamentalist Protestants) claim that Jesus never touched a drop of wine. If we allow that Jesus was born a Jew & lived as one (for at least part of his life, I suppose), this is impossible. The consumption of wine was part of Jewish practice then, just like it is now.

Be well!

MBZ

(PS, Aurelia, send me a private message & I'll send you my Mom's hamantaschen recipe, which I make every year.)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2005, 03:45:01 PM by MBZ » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2005, 03:07:19 PM »

Welcome MZB! I'm not EO myself, but Episcopalian/Anglican but they let me post here anyway. laugh

Your question about grape juice reminded me of this passage from "The Supper of the Lamb" a theological cookbook by Fr. Robert Capon in Chapter 8 Water in Excelsis in which he writes about wine:

"Witness the teetotalling comminion service. Most PRotestants, I suppose, imagine that it is part of the true Reformed religion But have they considered that, for nineteen centuries after the institution of the Eucharist, wine was the only element available for the sacrament? Do they seriously envision St. Paul or Calvin or Luther opening bottles of Welch's Grape Juice in the sacristy before the service? Luther, at least, weould turn over in his grave. The WCTU ( poster note: Women's Christian Temperance Union) version of the Lord's Supper is a bare 100 years old (poster note the book was originally written in 1967). Grape juice was not commercially viable until the discovery of pasteurization; and, unless I am mistaken, it was Mr. Welch himself (an ardent total abstainer) who persuaded American Protestantism to abandon what the Lord obviously thought rather highly of.

Tha much damage done, however, the itch for consistancy took over witha vengeance. Even the Lord's own delight was explained away. One of the most fanciful pieces of exegesis I ever read began by maintaining that the Greek word for wine, as used in the Gospels, meant many other things than wine. The commentator cited, as I recall, grape juice for one meaning, and raisin paste for another. He inclined, ultimately, toward the latter.

I suppose such people are blessed with reverent minds which prevent them from drawing irreverent conclusions. I myself, however, could never resist the temptation to read raisin paste for wine in the story of the Miracle of Cana.
 
    "When the ruler of the reast had tasted the water that was made raisin paste....he said unto the bridegroom, 'Every man at hte begfinning doth    set forth good raisin paste, and when men have well drunk [eaten -- the text is no doubt corrupt], then that wich is worse: but thou hsat kept the good raisin paste until now.'"

Does it not whet your appetite for the critical opera omnia of such an author, where he will freely have at the length and breadth of Scripture? Can you not see his promised land flowing with peanut butter and jelly; his apocalypse, in which the great whore Babylon is given the cup of the ginger ale of the fierceness of the wrath of God?"

The Supper of the Lamb second edition c. 1989 auth: Fr. Robert Farrar Capon pp 89-90

Long ago, a person I knew made a parody of the song "Baby Face" as "Raisin Paste" following along this idea.


btw, I'm a great B5 fan, too. Keep the G'Kar avatar. He was an excellent character, who over the course of 5 years thought deeply yet did not lose a sense of proportion. And the actor under all that make up is of Greek extraction so there you are. Grin

Ebor

edited for typing errors. any that are found are mine, not the book's
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« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2005, 04:02:27 PM »

Hi Ebor!

1) Cheesy

2) Raisin paste??!! Blechhh!

3) I read where Billy Sunday, upon hearing that Prohibition had become law, said that, "The rein of tears is over...The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and comcribs" The only people happier than him at that moment were all the gangsters & criminals. Organized crime in the USA made it to the big leagues thanks to Prohibition.

Be well!

MBZ
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« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2005, 04:34:31 PM »

I have found much of the above posts interesting and educational, but there remains a residual odor lingering in the background of this discussion.

The controversial thread “Jewish Hate For Greek Orthodoxy” that inspired this defensive thread needs some serious consideration here.

This supposedly “unmoderated”, “Free for all” forum - as some wish to call it - seeks simply to discredit and ban members who are radical (“politically-incorrect”) and not supported by the majority. Just because someone’s view or attitude is not “nice” and possibly “wrong” does not justify their being censored. In “Jewish Hate For Greek Orthodoxy”, Pontus Avenger went straight to the point (abruptly), presented his evidence - the article, the website, the magazine’s staff, etc. - and stated his (generalized) conclusion. That was fine; it germinated the discussion/debate. But then a hypocritical member (whose mention is not necessary) has the nerve to insult Pontus with, “Although, I doubt you, as an anti-semite, can understand that question,” and pleads for Pontus to be banned. Those hypocritical attacks inflamed the thread into childish name-calling. But who cast the first stone? Have they been banned also? NO. Member sdcheung made the point: If you do not like what is said on this forum, then go to a different forum. Amen. The rest of his posts (which I admit to never seeing) were censored because of “personal harassment” apparently. But that just reverts back to his first point (differently said): If you don’t like me then go away and leave me alone; don’t cut off my tongue. Again, how did the stone casting get started? It was the self-righteous hypocrite (preaching about the publican and the pharisee.)

Another example:
I just finished reading an earlier (maybe "politically-incorrect") comment by Jace, who has now been "moderated."

It was followed with a good rebuttal, but was made with a hasty approach...
Jace,

You are way out of line, and you obviously dont understand Christianity...

... Seriously, that was a very foolish, foolsih comment to make.

... This is the most ridiculous comment ive ever heard.

... Im afraid you are very ignorant of the scriptures. ...

Did the reply to Jace really have to personal insults, such as “Im afraid you are very ignorant of the scripturesGǪ”? Why not write simply, “Christ never condemned the LawGǪ”?

Something to think about in the future (everyone of us):
If your argument has to get personal, then you need a better argument. Otherwise, step aside and let others take the lead.
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« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2005, 04:50:11 PM »

What an "interesting" first post, "VaticanHolocaust." 

Also something to think about in the future:
Getting banned from a board and then inventing other screen-names to go back and argue your case is pretty pathetic. 

Just call me "Golda."   Wink

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« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2005, 05:03:38 PM »

I absolutely hate being presumptuous and daring to speak/post in these types of situations, but there is no need to speculate on why people were moderated/banned or anything.  It was said sdcheung was banned (for 30 days) for private message harrassment, that's all, give it up, it's no one else's business further than that.  Other people have been banned and moderated because of what they have said (notice Pontus personally insulting two Administrators, it doesn't make you any friends...), and some things that were "too much" have been deleted and action taken.  Prelim warnings are given all the time when people just get out of line.

That being said, I agree with this statement:
Quote
Something to think about in the future (everyone of us):
If your argument has to get personal, then you need a better argument.
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« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2005, 05:06:17 PM »

Vaticansholocaust,

      I don't want to get into verbal mudslinging with you but your claims against another member (Ekhristos  Anesti) are without merit. 

     If you read the rest of his post, it is well reasoned and explains, through scripture his feelings.   

     Listen, I am far from an ecumenist, however the dialogue on this board had been far from ecumemical and I think it has been quite useful.

     I don't think ad hominem attacks against anyone are useful.  If you are Orthodox, I hope that you would be able to see/realize this.  Almost all the "regular" posters here are very courteous and respectful of others.

     Furthermore, if you are Orthodox (heck even if you are not) there are many on this board who have a lot to teach in the way of scripture.  Something which is useful to everybody.
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