Genealogical Saga of Judaism (2001)
Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One, it is written in Deuteronomy 6:4. Judaism is essentially the story of the relation between one human race and their deity. The tragic consequences of racial hatred in the past century do not retract from the fact that the religion of the children of Israel is strongly ethnocentric. The Hebrew deity is a universal king, exercising dominion over all creation, but he uses his power to further the well-being or punishment of his chosen race. As Voltaire put it: "Why should the world revolve round the pimple of Jewry?". The Tanakh (Torah, Nevi'im, Kethuvim, the book which Christian call the Old Testament) covers the genealogical saga of the Jewish from the very beginning to the return of the exiles from Babylon to Zion.
Rabbi Yehuda Yishaqi, abbreviated Rashi, begins his commentary on the Torah with the question of a Talmudic Sage why the book opens with the creation story at all:
Said Rabbi Yishaq: it was not fit to begin the Torah but with "This month is unto you", which is the first commandment which Israel were commanded (the Passover Blood commandment at Exodus 12:2); for what reason did it open with "In the beginning"? Because ... if the nations of the world should say to Israel, "You are robbers, that you have conquered the lands of seven nations", then they will say to them, "All the land belongs to the Holy One, Blessed is He, He created it and gave it to whom He saw suitable in His eyes, by His will He gave it to them and by His will He took it from them and gave it to us".
The Torah, as indeed Orthodox rabbis emphasize so often today, is therefore the title deed of the Jewish nation to a plot of land. In the critical eyes of the infidel, such a title deed must be a post factum justification, after the land had been taken from the inhabitants. Among the Hilonim, the secular Jews of Israel, there is a joke that Moses wanted Canada as the chosen land, but being slow of speech he uttered Canaan instead. Of course this is nonsense, but the choice of land strikes many secular Jews as strange, there being places much more flowing with milk and honey than Palestine. However, the Zionists refused to consider any such alternatives as Uganda (suggested by Theodor Herzl as temporary shelter) and insisted on returning to the historical Canaan.
The Tanakh tells us of the world known to the ancient Hebrews. I left Orthodox Judaism, which like Christian Fundamentalism holds complete Bible inerrancy, after contemplating the Tanakh's calling the Mediterranean the "Great Sea" and its failing to account for the ancestry of the Chinese people. There are much greater seas than the Mediterranean, but for some reason the Creator of the Universe did not know that. As for the genealogy of modern humanity, it can be traced to three ancestors: Shem, Ham and Yefeth (Japheth), the sons of Noah. The Semites of the Middle East are clearly descended from Shem; the North African Hamites from Ham; and the Indo-Europeans (Greeks and Persians, though not Romans, as we shall see later) from Yefeth. This leaves out the Chinese and the American Indians, among others. Obviously the Tanakh does not relate the ancestry of the Chinese because its human writers did not know the Chinese, but this is sheer Hiloni heresy.
The saga of Israel takes root with Abraham, allegedly the father of Monotheism. The Jewish Agada (Legend) tells us that at the age of 40 (like Rabbi Aqiva later, it is worthy to note) he came to realize that the idols of his father Terah were mere fictions, powerless figures made by man, impotent, unfeeling and unresponsive. He destroyed the statues and did the bidding of the sky-god, the king sitting on his throne above the solid firmament. Of course, we now know the "true" deity is as much a fiction as the idols Abraham smashed, and just as much as helping and responsive as they. But in the evolution of worldviews Abraham (if he was a historical figure) marked a great departure from the past. He is revered as the father of faith by Christians, and as the first Monotheist Muslim (which in Arabic means submitter, that is, he who submits to the sovereignty of God) in Islam.
The next two generations are marked by a saint-sinner dichotomy: a saint is a patriarch of Israel, and his brother the sinner is a patriarch of a bitter enemy nation of Israel.
Isaac and Ishmael
The Torah relates Abraham's love of Ishmael. He saw it as a grave misdeed to drive away Ishmael and his mother Hagar. Yet God told Abraham to comply with Sarah's behest. Rashi says that according to Genesis 21:9 Ishmael was worshipping idols. That was reason enough to drive him away from Isaac's vicinity; the Monotheistic faith of Isaac could have been ruined if Ishmael were to stay any longer. Hagar and Ishmael emigrated to the desert, where they found the wellspring. The wellspring is according to Islam the well of Zamzam at Mecca, and the emigration (Hebrew hagira, Arabic hijra) of Hagar (from the same root H-G-R) and Ishmael became the model for Muhammad's emigration from Mecca to Al-Madina.
The Agada has this to say about Ishmael, continuing, like the Islamic Qur'an, from the point where the Torah leaves: Ishmael repented of his idolatry and became a faithful Monotheist, even more punctilious than Isaac in some respects (thus the Muslims have five daily prayers as against only three in Judaism). He married a nomad girl named Aisha and raised the Arab nation. Clearly, when such an Arabic name appears in the source, we can conclude it was written after the rise of Islam and Arab conquest. It is therefore another post factum explanation.
The mystic sources of the Qabbala (Hebrew reception, that is, divine secrets received from high) elaborate further: for being circumcized at the age of 13 Ishmael was promised dominion over the Holy Land for 13 centuries. One wonders whether this is not actually a very recent interpolation into the sources, for indeed the absolute rule of the Arabs over Palestine was uncontested for 13 centuries (638-1948). The mystic root sources of Jewish Messianism say that the Son of David (the Anointed) will not come until Ishmael is felled. This doctrine should not be underestimated, for Orthodox Jewish fanatics contemplate a destruction of the mosques in the Temple Mount, an event which will initiate a global atomic war claiming all except God's Elect, Torah-observant Jews in the case of Judaism. So if such a scenario should take place, the survivors at least ought to know in what it was rooted.
Jacob and Esau
At least Ishmael repented of idolatry. Esau however, according to the Jewish sources, never did so; he stayed an idolater all his life long and passed his sin to his descendants. Esau is the ancestor of Amaleq, the nation symbolizing absolute evil in Judaism. Amaleq is no longer regarded as a unified nation, but some satanic descendants have wrought their influence in history and are deemed by Judaism as Amaleqites without doubt. Moreover, Amaleq is a symbol of the greatest enemy of the truth of the Torah: doubt. All doubts regarding the existence of God, Divine Providence and the Revelation at Sinai are seen as issuing from the satanic force of Amaleq. Therefore I, an ex-fundamentalist, am judged as one who has been totally conquered by Amaleq, as are most of the Hiloni Jews, particularly the left-wing anti-religious kofrim (infidels).
Esau was red-haired; red in Hebrew is adom, from which root comes the nation of Esau, Edom. Later Jewish sources brighten his hair and skin colour and make him a blond, blue-eyed fellow. Esau the Semite, who, if he was a historical character, must have been dark of skin and eyes and hair, becomes the father of Indo-European nations. Genesis 36:43 notes a descendant of Esau named Magdiel, and Rashi comments: "This is Rome". The Romans, therefore, are Indo-Europeans descended from a Semite. Esau made a show of peace before Jacob, but he did not give up his evil idolatry. So from him, by the sanction of Rome, was an idolatrous faith with Monotheistic appearance born: Christianity. While Islam is never regarded by Jews as idolatry, despite the practice of kissing a black stone, Christianity is almost unanimously seen by the Jewish rabbis as idol worship. Jesus is always depicted as a person of bright complexion, as it were a whoreson of the Jewish people, sent by Satan to corrupt the world with Esau's legacy. Jews, like many Muslims, view Christianity as worship of three gods. Modern Jewish sites combating Christianity are only too glad to relate the historical fact of the fusion of the Greek-Persian Mithra cult with the Hebrew Bible, deriding Christianity as myth, not noticing that their own religion too is founded on myth.
Let us return to Amaleq. The Amaleqites had a king named Agag, on which Saul carelessly took pity. Samuel did the holy work of finishing him off, but Agag lived long enough to beget children. This brings us to the book of Esther. In Esther 3:1 we read of Haman ben Hamdatha the Agagite. Here we have a Persian, Indo-European minister who is descended from Agag, further from Amaleq, ultimately from Esau the Semite. Haman's plot to exterminate the Jewish people entirely was thwarted, but Jewish Qabbalic sources say that in the days before the coming of the Messiah a descendant of Haman will nearly succeed in what Haman failed. Of the sons of Haman who were hung on the tree (Esther 9:7-9) we find one named Aridatha, which modern linguistic scholarship identifies as Persian Arya-Data, meaning "Born of the Aryans". Is any more proof than this needed for Orthodox rabbis for deducing the genealogy of Adolf Hitler? Who would use Aryan supremacy to exterminate the Jews but a descendant of the Aryan Haman? It is this eschatological reasoning that enables Orthodox Jews to keep their faith in merciful Divine Providence in the face of the greatest proof of the blind indifference of fate: the Holocaust. That, they say, is one of the last tests before the arrival of the Son of David, and whoever endures it and keeps the faith shall see miracles greater than the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Who can argue with such reasoning?
I asked many Orthodox rabbis what the Gentiles (goyim) were created for at all. I got a similar answer from them all: the Gentiles are here for populating the world. They will be sent to Paradise if they keep the seven commandments of Noah, and to Hell if they fail to do so (therefore Christians, who breach the commandment against idolatry, are all going to Hell; which is fair game, since all Jews are going to Hell for refusing to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, according to Christianity). The Paradise which Gentiles can attain is nothing compared to what the Chosen of God, the Jews, will receive. Conversely, a Jewish infidel will endure the most painful eternal Hell (a Jewish believer who sins out of weakness atones for his sins in Hell for a single year; but an unbeliever is not released from Hell).
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, Maimonides, described the Messianic period only as a period of peace between nations, with no change in natural order. He was trying hard to restrain the false Messianism rampant in his day. The Qabbalic sources, however, are much more liberal in their description of the Messianic period. Before it there will be a period of disasters and tribulations rivaling those of the New Testament, a catastrophic war between between all the descendants of Abraham. The Son of David will appear and overcome the enemies, establishing the eternal kingdom of God on this world ("preparing for God an apartment in the lower parts", as Sefer Ha-Tanya, the definitive book of Habad, calls it). The worst enemies of Israel, whether Jews or Gentiles, will be vanquished forever, and the Gentiles will be left to live as servants of the Jews. All the dead will be resurrected, including the victims of the Holocaust, therefore righting what seems a grievous wrong. The goal of the Jews as the Chosen of God, to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to this lowly world, will be accomplished, the Amaleq of doubt and infidelity will be eradicated, and mankind will be in direct relationship with God, as was before Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit. The Jewish saga will thus be a closed circle. What the Gentiles have meddled, ruining Monotheistic purity, will be corrected by the nation of God.
What about the Chinese, Japanese, American Indians and their religions, which are unaccounted for? They may not be considered sworn enemies like the progeny of Ishmael and Esau, but they are Gentiles nonetheless, indulging in sincere error. They too must observe the seven commandments of Noah or perish. They too will live peacefully in the Messianic Utopia, recognizing the Jews as Elect of God. The Jewish faith, more generous than Christianity or Islam, does not doom outsiders to perdition automatically, it just assigns them a lower status.
One will notice that I do not take much pride in the religious heritage of my nation. Much that is good, such as the morality of the prophets, who decried arbitrary injustice of monarchs, is eclipsed by the divisive attitude of the Jewish saga. Orthodox Jews keep distinctions between everything: God and idols, light and darkness, Israel and the Gentiles, clean and unclean, Sabbath and the six days of work, Torah (which includes all the sacred texts, such as the Talmud) and extraneous books (anything which has no relation to the worship of God), milk and meat. The idea that the Jewish people could become a nation like all other nations (the ultimate goal of Zionism) is strenuously opposed by the Orthodox establishment. The secular influence of the United States, towards which the Hilonim incline, is regarded as Hellenism, and America is often called by the rabbis Am Req, meaning Empty Nation, a nation empty of any worthy value. According to Orthodox Judaism, nothing has value unless it is for the sake of God (L'shem shamayyim, in the name of Heaven).
Difficult as it is for religious people to accept, we must recognize the basic equality of mankind, all being descended from the hominid ancestors of apes and humans, the blind indifference of the universe, the absence of a heavenly parent helping us and answering our prayers, and the childish foolishness of the belief in a Messiah, a supposed instant solution to all the problems besetting mankind. I read the Jewish scriptures as a modern Greek reads Greek mythology: as the modern Hellene does not believe in the reality of Zeus, so do I disbelieve in the fictional sky-god of Judaism, Jehovah. All evidence, especially events like the Holocaust, points to the non-existence of God, and indeed nature itself is endowed with creative force capable of making life. Let the genealogical saga of Judaism and its fictional deity, together with so many myths, rest recorded in silent tomes.