Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

Almost a Biblical Harry Potter, Boaz

Available from Amazon
I must admit that I haven't read the Harry Potter series, but from what I've seen of it this amazing Warrior Prophets, Book 1: Conqueror, Book One of the Boaz Trilogy, part of a series of Biblically inspired fiction is just the book for for those who want a Jewish adventure series full of magic. It's written by Ben-Tzion Spitz, who is the Chief Rabbi of Uruguay and has a wonderful internet sit which includes a blog, at

Rabbi Spitz has envisioned the Biblical Book of Joshua as an adventure story in which he weaves the text, midrashim (commentary) and his very fertile imagination. This is only the first of three books about Boaz.

As most people who study the Bible, I only know of Boaz as the rich, kind and generous, old man who accepts responsibility for his dead relative, Elimelech's widow, Naomi, and widowed childless daughter-in-law Ruth by marrying her. According to the Book of Ruth, she was immediately impregnated and their great-grandson was the great king and warrior, David. Spitz fleshes out that story by making the young Boaz into a mythical fighter with super-human powers. We are first introduced to the ten year old Boaz and then follow his adventures and maturation as a leader. As someone who has studied that part of the Bible, about the period of the Judges and King David, I must say that I can easily imagine King David being descended from such a man and leader, the Boaz in the book.

I look forward to reading more in Rabbi Spitz's series and highly recommend Warrior Prophets, Book 1: Conqueror, Book One of the Boaz Trilogy for Bible and adventure lovers of all ages.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Starting Something New, Never Too Old

My hobby these past few years has been studying Tanach, the Jewish Bible.  I devote one day a week to traveling by bus and tremp to Jerusalem to take courses in Matan.

One of the courses I've been studying is Al HaPerek, in which we're learning most of the Bible in about six years.  Each week we get questions about a couple of chapters.  Some people study on their own, others as couples, and I'm part of a small group of women.  One thing we all have in common besides a love for, or at least an interest in the Bible is that we never had the chance to study it seriously before.  We absolutely love the idea that this course is taking us through all of the books from Joshua until the very end.  And to be honest, without looking it up, I really don't know what the last book is called.

I must admit that there have been chapters and lots of them that sort of went past me.  Too many names, places, events for me to fully digest and remember.  But I'm soldiering along.  Some chapters are more interesting and memorable than others.  There have been times I've felt stupid and frustrated, but I never thought of quitting.  It's just not on the menu.

My fellow students all agree that the opportunity to study the Bible so thoroughly is something we shouldn't miss.

I look at this as a great opportunity, even though I'd doze in frustration when confounded by all the names in Melachim, Kings, and get totally lost with the lack of "plot" in Isaiah and most of Jeremiah. Now we're starting the Twelve Prophets.  I even found a Soncino edition of the book in our home library.

Very surprising was what I found inside the front cover.  Apparently it had been my book when I was a student at Stern College about forty-five years ago.  I have absolutely so recollection of ever studying from it. Maybe I just bought it for no reason? That doesn't really make any sense.

Whatever...  I'm glad to have it as a reference book.

There's something I'm really looking forward to.  When we finish this series of courses, I'd like to do it again.  I have no doubt that the second time will be much better than the first.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reflecting on Over Thirty Years in Shiloh

A "self-portrait" shot at Tel Shiloh
Shiloh isn't just any old town in the world.  It's not just any location, piece of land with amazing views, clean air and relatively mild weather.

Today's Shiloh is the actual location of the Biblical Shiloh.  Shiloh is where Joshua took the Jewish People when it was time to establish a capitol city and more permanent location for the Mishkan, Tabernacle, the forerunner of the Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple. 

Shiloh was "waiting" for Joshua.  It is one of the ancient cities that did not need to be conquered.  Most of the book of Joshua is a report of the progress the Jewish People made in conquering the Land.  Quite a number of the battles didn't go all that well and easily until the Jewish People and their leaders understood that victory only came with G-d's help, by following G-d's instructions.

Shiloh is in the center of the Land of Israel, on a high mountain.  It's convenient and is surrounded by excellent agricultural land.  Today biblical fruits, such as grapes, figs and olives grow easily here.  If my husband and I can enjoy the grape and olive harvest, then it means that the Land must be especially suitable for those crops.

Chazal, our sages, tell us that the Shechina, Holy Spirit never completely deserts a location where it had been for hundreds of years.  The Mishkan and Shechina  were here for almost four hundred years.

I'm not the same person I was before I moved with my family to Shiloh.  Living in Shiloh has connected me to the Tanach,  Bible in a way I could never have been before.  I feel the presence of Chana, Hannah and I sense the pilgrims who once came to pray here.  Their prayers and subsequent miracles haven't left here at all.

That's why I've been organizing Women's Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the Jewish Month) Prayers at Tel Shiloh the past few years.  I also try to publicize other events.  This Passover, during the Intermediate Days, Wednesday and Thursday, March 27 & 28, 2013, 9am- 5pm, there will be activities for the entire family, tours, crafts, shows and more.  For more information check the Shiloh Hakeduma site or contact us.

Next Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, will be soon after Passover is over.  So please mark it in your calendar already.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Iyyar
Thursday, April 11, 2013
1 Iyyar 5773 8:30am
Tour of Tel & Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson

Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אייר בתל שילה

יום ה' 11-4 א' אייר תשע"ג 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

And don't forget that the Tel Shiloh, aka Shiloh HaKedumah is open for visitors six days a week. For information call 02-994-4019.  Please join our facebook group/page.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Only in Israel, The Prime Minister Teaches Us The Bible

If there hadn't been so much interesting political news, I may have posted this on Shiloh Musings.

In the United States, if I got it right, there's said to be needed six people to connect to anyone.  In Israel, we're much closer, probably two or a maximum of three.  That's because we're a Jewish country, and between work and neighbors and the army, university, sports etc it doesn't take long to be connected to everyone, including the Prime Minister.

As readers of Shiloh Musings know, I do have my complaints against Bibi Netanyahu, but I also have admitted that I do admire some aspects of his personality, and certainly his knowledge.

Even though today's secular Zionist try to ignore the fact, Zionism is based on the Bible.  You can't be a Zionist without some sort of connection to the Bible.  Where else does Judaism come from and why else would we be here instead of trying to be sovereign in Brooklyn, Alaska or wherever?

Quite a few of our greatest leaders, politicians etc have been Bible lovers.  When Menachem Begin had been Prime Minister he held Bible study sessions, so when Netanyahu decided to memorialize his late father-in-law, Bible scholar Shmuel Ben-Artzi, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center was entrusted with the task of organizing them.

Photo-Jerusalem Post
You'd think that Bibi had nothing else to do the other day, with Iran's nuclear development, Arab terrorists terrorizing the Negev, elections in the very near future etc... but after inspecting the damage in the south, he was quickly flown in to study this week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week, Bereishit, In the Beginning.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spent two-and-a-half hours Thursday afternoon studying the Cain and Abel story, telling some 17 rabbis and academics gathered at his residence that the jealousy in the tale is a “powerful engine” that he has come across once or twice in his own profession.

No doubt Netanyahu was being a bit sarcastic saying that he only came across jealousy "once or twice in his own profession," since we know that political intrigue is fueled by jealousy, or competitiveness, which is a close cousin.

They brought up an interesting point:
One of the questions Netanyahu posed was why the punishment God meted out to Cain for the murder of his brother was lenient, and why he was not punished with death himself.

One of the participants responded that lesson to be learned was that repairing the world – Cain went on to build a city and beget offspring that enriched the world in various ways – was more important than vengeance.

There are times when a certain pragmatism must rule over law. The "big picture" is the most important one.  Here we see, in the very beginning of the world, G-d had to compromise.  If He had executed Cain, giving him the punishment a murderer deserves, the progress of humans on the earth would have had been delayed.  G-d would have had to have started all over again.

Many of us have children who aren't living their lives exactly as we had expected. L'havdil, they aren't murderers, like Cain, but they have chosen different lives and we shouldn't break off contact.  G-d allowed Cain to live, and we are all his descendants.  May G-d give us the strength to deal wisely with all of our challenges.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bible Verses Tel Aviv

There was an irony in this year's International Youth Bible Contest, one of the highlights of Israeli Independence Day. The theme was Tel Aviv, in honor of the city's 100th anniversary. Tel Aviv can be considered Zionism's most successful "political settlement," since it has no real ancient history.

Of course, the very knowledgeable committee which composes the questions found ways around that minor detail.

The final stage of the contest is broadcast on TV, and like every year, I watched it at my cousin's house. We're always curious to see which schools, Israeli and diaspora, are most represented.

This year, two young men battled for first prize. One from south of Jerusalem and the other from north of Jerusalem. One from the Hebron Hills and the other from my regional council of Mateh Binyamin, Efrayim the southern Shomron.

The winner was Sapir Malka of Kochav Ya'akov. Kochav Ya'akov is near Ramallah, north of Jerusalem. He's a student in Yashlatz (Yeshivat Yerushalayim L'Tzeirim) the same yeshiva high school which suffered a murderous terror attack just over a year ago. Eight people were murdered in the attack. No doubt that his victory is l'ilui nishmatam, to "elevate their souls."

Yihi Zichrom Baruch
May Their Memories Be Blessed

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Today, An Earlier Start and More Walking

Today I got up very early, after about four hours of sleep with the help of two Acomols, the Israeli OTC mild "pain killer." My shoulder was still hurting.

Actually, I got up early to go on a tour. I'm taking the Tanach, Bible Touring Course at Matan. They said that we had better be there by 8:30, "or we leave without you." So I took the 6am bus. That's the pre-rush hour bus. Last night I packed some fruit, sandwiches and water.

This morning I didn't drink my good coffee, since I couldn't allocate enough time to finish "emptying." I got down a bit before the bus, but that was fine, since the view was grand.


I got off the bus at Ramat Eshkol, caught another and was at the Jerusalem Municipality before 7, lucky enough to be the first to use the WC. It opens at 7. Then I put on my backpack and began marching.Link


King David Street was gorgeous.




And then I was up Emek Refaim and on the old train tracks.


Then I found Matan and ate my sandwiches there. yes, I was the first to arrive after the longest trip of all. And most amazing, my shoulder pain seems to have gotten lost on the tour.

I'll post about the tour on Shiloh Musings.