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Lessons from the Holy Land

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  • Lessons from the Holy Land

    A few months ago, Mrs CP and I spent some time in Israel.

    Our guide was a Jew, who quickly let us know she was a "secular Jew". (somebody else can get into all the intricacies, but one can be a Jew by nationality with no religious attachment)

    Mayoral elections were taking place throughout Israel while we were there, and I engaged her in a discussion about Israeli politics. She pointed out that Israel was, in her words, "at a turning point", where more and more secular Jews are getting "fed up" with the "religious Jews" who "run everything".

    She used the "Shabbat Elevator" as her case in point. The hotels we stayed at all had "Shabbat Elevators" -- at least one elevator which, on Fridays, is switched to "Shabbat mode", which means it stops at EVERY FLOOR on the way up and down, so that observant Jews don't have to "push buttons". Her complaint was that all of Israel and those who visit have to "suffer" because of this "religious burden".

    She was very personable, polite, friendly... but quite obviously frustrated because "many religious Jews do not have to join the Military (all others do, male and female) and many religious Jews are paid from the public treasury to 'study' and do not have to pay taxes". There is, according to her, growing resentment from the secular Jews that the religious Jews get a "free ride", and the secular Jews are bound by the "burdens" and limitations placed on them by the religious Jews.

    We spent 14 days with her (Mika - MEE kuh) and she really seemed to enjoy our talks. She seemed pretty surprised that a Baptist Preacher (me) would be so tolerant of, and interested in, the opinions of "a girl like me". We had some very interesting discussions, and I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more than one might learn from "a standard tour guide".
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    so what did you learn?
    do you agree with her about ultra-orthodox who dont want do enlist into the army and study all day and do not work? (sounds like levite type of life)

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Cowpoke,
      We spent 14 days with her (Mika - MEE kuh) and she really seemed to enjoy our talks. She seemed pretty surprised that a Baptist Preacher (me) would be so tolerant of, and interested in, the opinions of "a girl like me". We had some very interesting discussions, and I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more than one might learn from "a standard tour guide".

      Sounds like a great time . . . and you were a great ambassador for Christ in the Holy Land.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by alexeyhurricane View Post
        so what did you learn?
        do you agree with her about ultra-orthodox who dont want do enlist into the army and study all day and do not work? (sounds like levite type of life)
        I could certainly see the reason for the frustration. And I remind myself that I'm only hearing the "secular" side of the argument. I read a book on the way home, though, can't remember the title, but something like "Fighting for the Soul of Israel" by an Israeli Colonel who was in charge of training and HR. It seems to jibe with some things he said.

        It would seem to me that, in Israel, there would be some scholars who are conscientious objectors, but it sounds like a large number of young people are simply claiming that to avoid serving.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Xtian Rabinovich View Post
          Hi Cowpoke,
          We spent 14 days with her (Mika - MEE kuh) and she really seemed to enjoy our talks. She seemed pretty surprised that a Baptist Preacher (me) would be so tolerant of, and interested in, the opinions of "a girl like me". We had some very interesting discussions, and I was glad to have the opportunity to learn more than one might learn from "a standard tour guide".

          Sounds like a great time . . . and you were a great ambassador for Christ in the Holy Land.
          Thanks. I often approached her apologetically, not wanting to be a pest, but she seemed quite willing to talk. Very enjoyable time!
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            It would seem to me that, in Israel, there would be some scholars who are conscientious objectors, but it sounds like a large number of young people are simply claiming that to avoid serving.
            Some of it may have to do with preparing a Priesthood for a coming Temple.

            In order to have a functioning Temple, an educated and trained priesthood is necessary. For some, this is the motivation in identifying those who are truly kohanim. There are many programs designed to educate them on their responsibilities and their role in the traditional Jewish religious aristocracy. -Chabad

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JohnnyP View Post
              Some of it may have to do with preparing a Priesthood for a coming Temple.
              Well, sure, but that doesn't do anything to relieve the tension of the secular Jews who believe an inordinate number of Jews are opting out of military service, claiming religious exemption.

              Another facet is the number of observant Jews who choose to enlist, but insist on wearing their Kippah. It appears there is resentment against them from within the ranks due to the fact that they keep Kosher, and are exempt from Friday/Saturday drills and exercises.

              I just thought, in so many ways, it parallels the resentment of conservatives in the US against the huge numbers of people on "the government dole". It's not just that there are a large number of Israel's exempt from military service, but that they also get free housing, food stamps (equivalent) and other benefits.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                There's the rub I guess, where there's also an underlying religious justification for the State of Israel to exist at all in the idea that the land is God-given to Jews who have a right to it, and so they can observe their religion faithfully without disruption, and significant global support for that reason. Aside from more secular reasons of establishing a foothold of democracy in the Middle East, preventing another Holocaust, etc.

                Other factions like Neturei Karta object to military conscription because they don't believe Jews should have a state at all until Messiah comes, and should remain in a "state of exile" until then (akin to Jeremiah 27:8).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JohnnyP View Post
                  There's the rub I guess, where there's also an underlying religious justification for the State of Israel to exist at all in the idea that the land is God-given to Jews who have a right to it, and so they can observe their religion faithfully without disruption, and significant global support for that reason.
                  Wait... ya lost me on this... "significant global support" FOR Israel? Is that what you're saying? Seriously?

                  Other factions like Neturei Karta object to military conscription because they don't believe Jews should have a state at all until Messiah comes, and should remain in a "state of exile" until then (akin to Jeremiah 27:8).
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I spent 30 days biking around Israel in 2000. No tour guide, I spent 3 days visiting Mount Carmel and the other Baha'i Holy sites. I stayed in hostiles and biked around the Sea of Galilee (with Israeli fighter jets breaking the sound barrier over the Golan Heights) and the Dead Sea. I did not realize that Israel was so small that I could bike the whole country except where the military prohibited travel. I met a lot of very friendly secular Jews. The observant Jews were not sociable, and I had the experience of some lying to me when I asked for directions. Some secular Jews were openly agnostic, and yes very critical of observant Jews. I played chess frequently as a way to meet some.
                    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                    go with the flow the river knows . . .

                    Frank

                    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      Wait... ya lost me on this... "significant global support" FOR Israel? Is that what you're saying? Seriously?
                      Significant global support for that religious reason, where there is support, especially among Christian Zionists. Not that most of the world supports Israel in general...

                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      They are some of the religious Jews who want exemption from military, for religious reasons.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnnyP View Post
                        Significant global support for that religious reason, where there is support, especially among Christian Zionists. Not that most of the world supports Israel in general...
                        Ah, OK, cause Israel doesn't have a whole lot of friends.

                        They are some of the religious Jews who want exemption from military, for religious reasons.
                        OK, thanks.

                        What struck me, as Mika was explaining the problem, was how much it sounded like what's going on in the US.

                        There is growing resentment by "the working" in America to an increasing number of people "getting stuff".
                        Same thing in Israel, only based on religion.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think it goes deeper into an identity crisis, with Israel and the USA having had similar problems: are they Judeo-Christian nations respectively, or are they secular nations?

                          In its Declaration Israel claims "the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country." But ultimately if it is a right, where did it come from? The only sure right is a God-given one of the Promised Land, and that rests on a religious not secular foundation.

                          And if the State of Israel was established on a God-given right, then Jews would seem to have an obligation to uphold that religious foundation and thus support rebirth of the homeland, which would naturally include a Temple and Levite Priests who are financially supported by the people.

                          Of course I have differing views as a Christian, but I recognize such inconsistencies existing from the start of its inception that may contribute to current issues faced in Israel today, being a simple matter of, declaring a religious right to have your cake and at the same time, a secular one of eating it too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JohnnyP View Post
                            I think it goes deeper into an identity crisis, with Israel and the USA having had similar problems: are they Judeo-Christian nations respectively, or are they secular nations?

                            In its Declaration Israel claims "the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country." But ultimately if it is a right, where did it come from? The only sure right is a God-given one of the Promised Land, and that rests on a religious not secular foundation.

                            And if the State of Israel was established on a God-given right, then Jews would seem to have an obligation to uphold that religious foundation and thus support rebirth of the homeland, which would naturally include a Temple and Levite Priests who are financially supported by the people.

                            Of course I have differing views as a Christian, but I recognize such inconsistencies existing from the start of its inception that may contribute to current issues faced in Israel today, being a simple matter of, declaring a religious right to have your cake and at the same time, a secular one of eating it too.
                            The problem is hundreds of thousands of observant Jews claiming the right of Levite priesthood, and not developing the basis of a Levite priesthood to restore the Temple. I see no reason the Jews do not simply build the Temple.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                              The problem is hundreds of thousands of observant Jews claiming the right of Levite priesthood, and not developing the basis of a Levite priesthood to restore the Temple. I see no reason the Jews do not simply build the Temple.
                              Islam and the Dome of the Rock.

                              Comment

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