Sunday, 31 July 2016

Do our titles define us?


Pinchas Commentary by David Lipschitz

Pinchas: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1

I believe in studying all the sacred texts as I believe that there is value in all of them. At the moment, I am studying: Jewish (Torah), Christian (Bible), Buddhist (Dharma), Muslim (Qur'an) and Tao Te Ching (Dao) (The Way of Life by Lao Tzu) texts. I believe that everything else is commentary ...

The Parasha (portion of the week) that the Progressive Jewish congregation is reading in the Torah (The Five Books of Moses) this week is Pinchas. The Progressive Community are currently a week ahead of the Orthodox Community, in the annual reading cycle of the Torah, and we can discuss why this is, if anyone wants to know.

And it says that "God is a jealous God." But this goes against all my learning. How can God be Jealous? Isn't God above jealousy, above hatred, above coveting, above anger?

My Jewish and Christian translations on this portion translate the Hebrew word Kina (קנא) as Jealousy. This word קנא is also used in the Ten Commandments. My Christian translation keeps קנא meaning Jealousy, but my Jewish translation of קנא in the Ten Commandments is Passion. God is a Passionate God.

And if one delves into the Etymology of Passion, one finds a reference to Jesus's Passion and then one finds that Jesus's Passion was the Suffering of all people, and then one gets to Samsara, if one is in a Buddhist frame of Mind.

And then one gets to the core of being a Bodhisattva and Bodhicitta: Achieving enlightenment and then returning time and again to help other sentient beings achieve enlightenment. Jesus is potentially an emanation of Chenrezig! Chenrezig is the embodiment of Compassion.

And then I searched for "Kinah Gematria" and I found this:

http://rebbetzinchanabracha.blogspot.co.za/2012/07/cracking-nut-of-jealousy-and-anger.html

Gematria is about looking at the numerical value of a word. Each letter in Hebrew has a numerical equivalent. Once one knows the numerical equivalent of a word, one can do mathematics and find other words on the Torah with the same value and do some mental arithmetic.

And the link contains a very good meditation which I would like to do with the class.

In the linked article, one of God's names is spelt as (א-ק-י-ה). In religious "dogma" one doesn't write God's name unless one is praying, so one writes a ק instead of a ה. ie a K instead of a H. If one writes a H, one gets the Hebrew word Ehiye, which is used in the phrase "I am that I am". Moses asks God "who are you?" and God replies "I am that I am". See Exodus 3:14.

Note that many people write God as G-d. This is done in case the paper that the word God is on is destroyed. But God is not God's name and none of us really knows what God's name actually is. "I am that I am" is possibly the closest we will get.