A Catholic Jew Pontificates

I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Inspiration of Father Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine

I have written before about the amazing Hebrew Catholic priest Father Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine who transformed his parish in Marseille over a ten year period. He has now moved but he is having a great influence on others. On the website of the Urban Missionaries of the Heart of Christ it states:

"... His example has not gone unnoticed.  In fact, he has even inspired the good Archbishop Leonard of Brussels to found the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles after Fr. Zanotti-Sorkine's example.  The Fraternity has begun with three priests and seven seminarians, and has recently found a home in the once-closed old St Catherines'.  Like Father Zanotti-Sorkine, they walk highly-secularized Brussels in cassocks, and they bring the Gospel and sacraments to those who wouldn't otherwise seek them.

Fr. Zanotti-Sorkine has given us a model for how to re-evangelize the West.  He offers something old and something new to bring his people to the wedding feast of our Lord.  With his traditional dress, devotion to the confessional, and reverent mass he has reached deep into the time-honored treasures of the Church, and has been called another Cure of Ars.  His commitment to walking the neighborhoods is reminiscent of the early Franciscans and Dominicans, and represents the perennial missionary spirit of the Church.  He has also been adept at using modern technology to reach people through various forms of media: books, interviews, online sermons and even music..."

As I mentioned in my last post on Father Michel-Marie his parish in Marseille has been given to some young priests from the Emmanuel Community. On this blog of an Emmanuel seminarian back in 2013 mentions this new community in Brussels. 

"...The seminary here in Namur is the official seminary of all the French speaking seminarians of Belgium. So, we have here seminarians from Namur, Brussels, Liège, etc. all gathered in the same place… There are also seminarians here from Redemptoris Mater, the neo-catechumenal community based here in Belgium, as well as seminarians from a new community – The Fraternity of the Holy Apostles, who are inspired by the ministry of a very famous priest in Marseilles in the South of France named Père Michel-Marie Zanotti. I’ve heard echoes around here of him being almost like a young curé of Ars. His parish is apparently completely on fire  and his reputation is spreading quickly here in Europe. I only know very little about him, as Marseilles is at the other end of the continent and I’ve never had the opportunity of going there. I know he goes everywhere in a cassock… he’s a very good preacher… he’s taken extraordinary care of the liturgy in his parish… Anyway, he’s inspired a whole bunch of young men to establish among themselves this new community that is now studying for the priesthood here with us in Namur..."

The Fraternity of the Holy Apostles (Fraternité des Saints-Apôtres) have taken over a run down parish in Brussels called St Catherine and renovated it and its shrine of the Black Virgin or Madonna.

 Three of the new priests of the Fraternité des Saints-Apôtres

Originally Father Michel-Marie was to move to the Rue de Bac in Paris but in the end he moved to the Shrine of Our Lady of Laus. This shrine was a favourite of St Peter Julian Eymard. Is God moving him to a safe place as the Catholic prophecies speak of Paris being destroyed by fire and Marseille engulfed in a time of upheaval in France?

 Father Michel-Marie at Laus in the French Alps

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Zohar and the Mystery of Seven Voices

The Zohar is a work of deepest meditation and contemplation on the text of the Torah. This dark, hidden and mystical reflection on the Divine truths and mysteries is a feminine act at the deepest level of Marian interpretation of the Torah. This is the mystery of the seven voices of the Torah or the Seven (Sheva) who is the voices (oral dimension) of the Torah (see Exodus 20:15). The people of Israel saw this (zot) Voices as a being of flame and fire. As the lady or woman (Isha) of fire (aish) manifested in the burning bush to Moses so she was manifested to the people of Israel on Sinai. This is the fire of the Torah which engraves the letters of the commandments in our heart. "Who is she (mi zot?) that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? " (Song 6:10).

The Zohar discusses this mystery of Seven (sheva) in Zohar Hukkotai 3:115a-b. There is a triune dimension to Seven. As uncreated Seven she is Holy Spirit, as created and unfallen she is Our Lady Miriam (united to the Holy Spirit) and as created, fallen and redeemed she is the very little Soul of Divine Will (Luisa (Nukvah) united to Our Lady and each soul who lives in divine will united to her). We can contemplate the mystery of seven (sheva) at the level of the three mothers as aleph (Holy Spirit), mem (Miriam) and shin (Luisa).

This mystery of the Seven is the mystery of redemption and sanctification connected to the mystery of the Red Heifer. This is the mystery of purifying fire that appears as punishment, judgement and chastisement when it is actually, cleansing, purifying and restoration. Seven sorrows, seven sins and seven levels of Sheol are transformed into Seven joys, seven gifts and the seven heavens.

 Zohar 3:115 links Seven with the concept of 40 minus 1 strokes which alludes to the Messiah's 39 stripes in the mystery of the Scourging at the Pillar. Our Lady is also El Pilar (God's Pillar). The Messiah receives 39 scourges but in a sense the more intense stripes are received by the maternal gaze of his Mother - these stripes are burnt in fire on her soul and heart. Is there any sorrow like unto her sorrow? Her seven sorrows makes reparation for our sevenfold sins (see Leviticus 26:18).

This passage of Zohar speaks of Sheva as Shemittah (release), Sheva (seven) heself and Bat Sheva (daughter of seven)- the three together are Beer Sheva (Well of Seven). 

" Rather what does Scripture mean by saying sheva. Behold, Sheva is confronting you! Who is She? (Mi zot). Shemittah (Sabbatical) who is seven, called Seven, as it is written: at the end of seven years you shall make shemittah (release)... She is called Sheva (Seven) and also Bat Sheva (Daughter of Seven). What is the difference between one and the other? Well, seven - by herself, to make shemittah (a release), to execute or destroy judgements, to liberate or free completely. Daughter of Seven- joined to another, to illumine, to reign in dominion, to reveal the kingdom on earth. In all ways she is called Sheva as is written...Be'er Sheva (Well of Seven) is the Well of Isaac, and all is one entity."
 In a sense we can say that the Holy Spirit  releases the soul, Our Lady as co-redemptrix destroys the judgements against us and Luisa helps complete the process of sanctification that leads to the kingdom of the Divine Will on earth reigning in souls. This section of the Zohar is layered with deep mystical meanings of the mystical Womb- both the uncreated, eternal Womb or Well (or Depth) that is the very essence and Divine Will of the Divinity and its created icon the Immaculate Womb or Well of the Mystical, Celestial and yet Earth-born Mother, perceived through 70 faces of mystical contemplation and meaning. In a sense the Immaculate Womb of the Mother is the Well within the Well and Deep calling to Deep.

Luisa (who is Nukvah/ Female and lower or earthly mother) is the mouth of the Seven (Sheva) voices of the maternal and mystical Well called Miriam (bitter seas). The 70 becomes multiplied by 7 which is the power of the forgiveness of the Messiah leading to Teshuvah (return) to Eden and beyond. 70x7 or 490 is the gematria of tamim (perfection/ completion) which is when the Divine Will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pope Francis and Unity in the Spirit

Alessandra Nucci wrote in regards to Pope Francis attitude to other Christian groups:"... it must be said here that “sheep-stealing” is not Pope Francis’ purpose. The late Bishop Tony Palmer was careful to point this out: “Pope Francis pulled me up on more than one occasion when I used the expression ‘coming home to the Catholic Church.’ He said, ‘Don’t use this term.’ He told me, ‘No one is coming home. You are journeying towards us and we are journeying towards you and we will meet in the middle. We will meet on the road as we seek each other.’” This is confirmed by Pope Francis’ remarks in Evangelii Gaudium: “We must never forget that we are pilgrims journeying alongside one another. This means that we must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicions or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God’s face” for “it is not just a matter of being informed but of reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us.”...".

When one is a new Catholic one often thinks of their formal entry into the structures of the Catholic Church as a coming home. We have heard the terms "Rome sweet home" and "the Journey home". We often see this entry as a break with our past allegiances. However once I had been a Catholic for some time I realised my whole faith journey should be appreciated and valued and that the journey is not to Rome as our Home but our home is in heaven and in the kingdom of God. Rome may be part of that journey for some of us that join the Latin or Roman rite of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Faith and Church are not limited to its physical or earthly structures- it is the mystical body of the Messiah. Jesus made Peter the first Pope or Rock of the Church long before he went to Rome. At first he was the Jerusalem Pope and then the Antioch Pope and then the Roman Pope. If a future Pope should decide to remove the Papacy elsewhere then that would be within his papal power. 

Just as Pope Francis wants us to see our relations with other Christian groups as a meeting on our journey so we should see our relations with Judaism. Father Arthur Klyber a famous Hebrew Catholic priest of orthodox Jewish background taught that orthodox Jews who believe in the Messiah are already with us on the journey. The Russian Orthodox priest Father Lev Gillet says that we are in communion with Judaism through our shared belief in the coming and mission of the Messiah. 

I believe that the Holy Spirit has been guiding the mystical and spiritual traditions of both Christians and Jews so that one day in the eschatological future we will see the ingrafting as taught by Paul in Romans 11. Each tradition will enrich the other for the glory of God in the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Pope Francis' concept of meeting or encounter is similar to that proposed by the French Jewish philosopher Levinas which has its roots in the Scriptural concept of "face to face" encounter. As I have written elsewhere:

"...Levinas would seem to provide a dance –like post –modernist way of philosophising that leads one back to the biblical and ethical priority of loving kindness and mercy, which is important for all believers- Jews and Christians. His concepts can also be used in a Hebrew Catholic theology as part of a philosophical choreography for encountering the truths of faith that is relevant to the post-Shoah and post-modernist generations. Those who are locked into a systematic, vertical, argumentative and modernist mindset will become lost and dizzy in the twirls and leaps of this mystical and Levinasian approach....".
Maybe this would explain the reaction to Pope Francis of those Catholics of a more structured and rigid mindset. They fear becoming lost and confused in the twirls and leaps of the teachings and actions of Pope Francis. I for one look forward to the adventure of Pope Francis' mystical Tango that will lead us to enriching encounters with others and the Other (God).


The Mystical Dance: A Rendezvous of Levinas, Jewish Mysticism and Genesis 1 from a Hebrew Catholic Perspective

Reflection on Levinas, Stein and the Shoah

Messiah, Levinas and Mitzvot: A Reflection on Three Readings



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Titulus Crucis and the Divine Name

The 'Titulus Crucis' is the inscription placed on the Cross of Jesus in Hebrew, Greek and Latin saying Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. It has caused some controversy in that the paleographic evidence would date it to the 1st-4th century but it was carbon dated to the 10th century. Also it has the Greek and Latin running in reverse from right to left like the Hebrew. Other historical evidence seems to say that the original 'titulus crucis' was divided in two. The Greek and Latin on one piece was taken to Rome and the Hebrew on a second remained in Jerusalem.

Wikipedia states: "... In 1997, the German author and historian Michael Hesemann performed investigation of the relic. Hesemann presented the inscription of the title to seven experts on Hebrew, Greek and Latin palaeography: Dr. Gabriel Barkay of the Israel Antiquity Authority, Prof. Dr. Hanan Eshel, Prof. Dr. Ester Eshel and Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Hebrew University Jerusalem, Prof. Dr. Israel Roll and Prof. Dr. Ben Isaac of the University of Tel Aviv and Prof. Carsten Peter Thiede of Paderborn/Germany and the University of Beer Sheva, Israel. According to Hesemann, none of the consulted experts found any indication of a mediaeval or late antique forgery. They all dated it in the timeframe between the 1st and the 3-4thcentury AD, with a majority of experts preferring and none of them excluding the 1st century. Hesemann concluded that it is very well possible that the Titulus Crucis is indeed the authentic relic...".

I believe the solution is very obvious. The titulus crucis venerated today is not the original titulus crucis but a faithful copy done in Carolingian times. The inscriber had access to faithful tracings of the two divided parts of the original titulus crucis. However when he made a faithful copy he reversed the tracing of the Greek and Latin while the Hebrew one he didn't. The inscriber obviously wasn't literate in any of the three languages but just copied faithfully what he saw on to the piece of almond wood.

Of course I could be wrong as carbon dating is notoriously unreliable and it could be the original and the inscriber was a Jew who knew the Hebrew but was copying the Greek and Latin from a written text and inscribing it in the direction he as a Hebrew writer was used to.

What is very interesting is that the Hebrew phrase was written in a way that it revealed the Divine Name YHVH. Yeshua Hanazareti V'melech Hayehudim is Jesus the Nazarene and King of the Jews. INRI is the abbreviation of the Latin and INBI of the Greek. This would explain why the High Priest wanted the inscription changed as it was a common Jewish practice to hide authorship or a message in a Hebrew phrase by reading the first Hebrew letter. The late Rav Kaduri did this with his famous letter revealing the name of the Messiah as Yehoshua by the Hebrew phrase Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim meaning "He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid".


Monday, November 17, 2014

Christopher Dawson, Pope Benedict and Erotic Life

Eros (son of Aphrodite) and Psyche by Marta Dahlig

 Recently I have discovered the writings of the great Catholic historian Christopher Dawson. He writes about the spiritual and mystical Catholic as a man of eroticism, desire and passion like St Francis of Assisi and St Augustine. True erotic love is generous, warm hearted and giving rather than the self-absorbed parsimonious and economic cold "charity" of the bourgeois. However Dawson's warning is for all of us who have that hidden closed Pharisee or Bourgeois within us. He proclaims: "...The question of the bourgeois involves a real issue which Christians cannot afford to shirk. For it is difficult to deny that there is a fundamental disharmony between bourgeois and Christian civilization and between the mind of the bourgeois and the mind of Christ. But first let us admit that it is no use hunting for the bourgeois. For we are all more or less bourgeois and our civilization is bourgeois from top to bottom. Hence there can be no question of treating the bourgeois in the orthodox communist fashion as a gang of antisocial reptiles who can be exterminated summarily by the revolutionary proletariat; for in order to "liquidate" the bourgeoisie modern society would have to "liquidate" itself...". 

Dawson champions a Christian ethos that is creative, free, passionate and mystically erotic: "...Seen from this point of view, it is obvious that the Christian ethos is essentially antibourgeois, since it is an ethos of love. This is particularly obvious in the case of St. Francis and the mediaeval mystics, who appropriated to their use the phraseology of mediaeval erotic poetry and used the antibourgeois concepts of the chivalrous class-consciousness, such as "adel," "noble," and "gentile," in order to define the spiritual character of the true mystic..." 

Pope Benedict XVI wrote is his encyclical on love about eros and agape love as ascending and descending love. He quotes from his predecessor Pope Gregory the Great in regards to Jacob's ladder, Paul's ascent and descent to the Third Heaven and Moses' entry in and out of the Tabernacle as referring to this ascent and descent. He understands eros as the love that searches for God in mystical ascent and after this mystical love-making one descends to share that love with others. This whole process produces the agape love described in the Bible. The Pope associates the Greek agape with the Hebrew ahavah. He refers us to the Song of Songs. 

Pope Benedict also associates eros with the spousal love and union between Adam and Eve which would link eros with the Hebrew word daat (to know). Pope Benedict refers to God's passionate love for man. God is not the cold machine-like passionless First mover of Greek philosophy. He is the God referred to by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel as the most moved Mover- the God of the Biblical prophets. Pope Benedict writes: "...The one God in whom Israel believes, on the other hand, loves with a personal love. His love, moreover, is an elective love: among all the nations he chooses Israel and loves her—but he does so precisely with a view to healing the whole human race. God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape..."

Benedict XVI would seem to agree with Rabbi Heschel. He writes: "...The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God's relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution. Here we find a specific reference—as we have seen—to the fertility cults and their abuse of eros, but also a description of the relationship of fidelity between Israel and her God. The history of the love-relationship between God and Israel consists, at the deepest level, in the fact that he gives her the Torah, thereby opening Israel's eyes to man's true nature and showing her the path leading to true humanism..." 

Pope Benedict then gives this a eucharistic dimension. He writes: "... Jesus gave this act of oblation an enduring presence through his institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. He anticipated his death and resurrection by giving his disciples, in the bread and wine, his very self, his body and blood as the new manna (cf. Jn 6:31-33). The ancient world had dimly perceived that man's real food—what truly nourishes him as man—is ultimately the Logos, eternal wisdom: this same Logos now truly becomes food for us—as love. The Eucharist draws us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving. The imagery of marriage between God and Israel is now realized in a way previously inconceivable: it had meant standing in God's presence, but now it becomes union with God through sharing in Jesus' self-gift, sharing in his body and blood. The sacramental “mysticism”, grounded in God's condescension towards us, operates at a radically different level and lifts us to far greater heights than anything that any human mystical elevation could ever accomplish...".

Pope Benedict goes on to say: "...The transition which he makes from the Law and the Prophets to the twofold commandment of love of God and of neighbour, and his grounding the whole life of faith on this central precept, is not simply a matter of morality—something that could exist apart from and alongside faith in Christ and its sacramental re-actualization. Faith, worship and ethos are interwoven as a single reality which takes shape in our encounter with God's agape. Here the usual contraposition between worship and ethics simply falls apart. “Worship” itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn...". In another document he writes about this interwoven unity in regards to the Torah: "...For, to be sure, one cannot simply separate out universally valid moral principles and transitory ritual and legal norms without destroying the Torah itself, which is something integral, which owes its existence to God's address to Israel. The idea that, on the one hand, there are pure morals which are reasonable and universal, and on the other that there are rites that are conditioned by time and ultimately dispensable mistakes entirely the inner structure of the five books of Moses. "The Decalogue" as the core of the work of the law shows clearly enough that the worship of God is completely indivisible from morals, cult and ethos...". Pope Francis seems to be making the same point that we can't just focus on a few moral issues without reference and integration of the whole rich tapestry of Catholic Faith and teaching.

Dawson writes about this erotic type as open and the spiritual bourgeois as closed. "...But it is no less clear in the case of the Gospel itself. The spirit of the Gospel is eminently that of the "open" type which gives, asking nothing in return, and spends itself for others. It is essentially hostile to the spirit of calculation, the spirit of worldly prudence and above all to the spirit of religious self-seeking and self-satisfaction. For what is the Pharisee but a spiritual bourgeois, a typically "closed" nature, a man who applies the principle of calculation and gain not to economics but to religion itself, a hoarder of merits, who reckons his accounts with heaven as though God was his banker? It is against this "closed," self-sufficient moralist ethic that the fiercest denunciations of the Gospels are directed. Even the sinner who possesses a seed of generosity, a faculty of self-surrender, and an openess of spirit is nearer to the kingdom of heaven than the "righteous" Pharisee; for the soul that is closed to love is closed to grace...".

Pope Francis is fully in tune and accord with Dawson and Pope Benedict against these middle class and 'respectable' bourgeois who are morally and ethically obsessed in the manner of the 'closed' Pharisees of Jesus own time. These insights of course would be even greatly enhanced when read in light of Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body". These spiritual bourgeois shudder at the very mention of the words eros and erotic and cling to a disembodied spirituality that has more in common with Gnosticism rather than true Catholic erotic mysticism rooted in the human experience. It would seem Greek Philosophy (the preserve of an intellectual elite) separated itself from the passionate humanity of the Greek mythic characters (beloved and meaningful to the ordinary person). The Church took both and saw in them the hidden seeds or sparks of the Gospel which were then adapted and transformed in order to more fully understand and enculturate the Gospel into the Romano-Greek societies. 
Wings of Love by Stephen Pearson

In sense the Logos (the bridegroom) and Sophia (the bride) can be perceived in seed form in the Greek mythic characters of Eros and Aphrodite.  In Jewish thought this is Tiferet as the Blessed Holy One of Israel seeking and uniting (cleaving) with Kneset Yisrael (Shekhinah/ Matronita). The erotic life according to Pope Benedict is this seeking and searching for the lover associated with the ascending eros (the male) and the attaining or receiving of eros (the female) and returning in order to share this love is the fullness of agape.This is the love feast of virginal nuptial unions in the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Pope Francis said just this week : "The Lord never says that the Kingdom of God is a show. It’s a party (festa or feast)! But it is different. And a party is beautiful, of course. A big party. And Heaven will be a party...“The Kingdom of God is not far from us. It’s close! This is one of its features: It’s close to us every day.”" This kingdom is violent or wild (see Matthew 11:12) just as C.S. Lewis states that Aslan is not a tame but a wild Lion and Pope Francis told the Youth at the World Youth Day in Brazil to go home and make a mess (a wild party) in their dioceses even if the Bishops and priests resist. The Jewish mystical tradition links mystically the wild beasts of Genesis 1 with the heavenly " four living creatures or beasts (chayot)". You can imagine my delight when I did an internet quiz on "What Yiddish word describes your personality?" and my result was 'Vilda Chaya' (wild beast). Wild beasts in nature live totally in accord with God's Will for them and thus are also a symbol of those who live in Divine Will.

 The servant of God Luisa Piccarreta stresses the concept of first desiring and having knowledge ( in Hebrew daat) of the Divine Will before one comes to fully live or dwell in Divine Will which is linked to feasting in Divine Will. The linking of daat (an experiential knowing) with eros demonstrates that this desiring and knowing of Divine Will is not some cold intellectual knowledge of religious facts and teaching but a journey into the true and beautiful passionate erotic life of the religious mystic in personal and intimate communion with the Divine Lover with whom we commune in our "Hours of the Passion". This is the agony and ecstasy of the joyful embracing of the Cross of the Messiah on the Via Dolorosa of our times.

Christopher Dawson sums up the call to today's young generation of Catholics. He states: "...There is always a temptation for religion to ally itself with the existing order, and if we today ally ourselves with the bourgeois because the enemies of the bourgeois are often also the enemies of the Church, we shall be repeating the mistake that the Gallican prelates made in the time of Louis XVIII. The Christian Church is the organ of the spirit, the predestined channel through which the salvific energy of divine love flows out and transforms humanity. But it depends on the Christians of a particular generation, both individually and corporately, whether this source of spiritual energy is brought into contact with the life of humanity and the needs of contemporary society. We can hoard our treasure, we can bury our talent in the ground like the man in the parable who thought that his master was an austere man and who feared to take risks. Or, on the other hand, we can choose the difficult and hazardous way of creative spiritual activity, which is the way of the saints..."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nisan 16 and the Wave (Tenufa) and Heave (Terumah) Offerings

 Lifted Offering of the New Covenant

In other posts (see below) I have given my reasons why I believe that the crucifixion of Good Friday occurred on Nisan 16 the second day of Passover which is also the day of the Sheaf or Wave offering and the beginning of the Omer counting by the Pharisee reckoning. Other writers have felt that this Wave offering occurred on Resurrection Sunday linking it with Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15:23 about the Messiah being the first fruits of the dead.

I have given this some thought but I don't think the reference by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:23 is necessarily referring to the Wave (Tenufa) offering but to the Terumah (lifted) offering. They are both first fruits offerings (korbanot). Also the scriptural passage about the Wave offering seems to me to be more fitting for the day of the crucifixion when the perfect Lamb of God is offered just like the perfect lamb offered with the Wave offering.  

"And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 'When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf (omer) of the first (reshit) of your harvest (katzir) to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD.' (Lev. 23:9-12)"

Terumah as a lifted offering links in my mind more to the Messiah being lifted up in the Resurrection though of course it would also allude to Jesus being lifted up on the Cross and to his lifting up of the bread and wine at the last supper. The mystery of this lifted (terumah) offering is also discussed in Bahir 102 and103 in connection to the Tzadik who is the foundation of the world. In a sense the tenufa (wave) offering is a kind of terumah (lifted first fruits) offering. The Wave offering is lifted up and waved from left to right or right to left thus forming a cross. The left and right movement could allude to the arms of the Messiah on the Cross so the Wave offerings symbolism is more appropriate to the crucifixion whereas the Terumah (heave/ lifted) offering is lifted up and down thus more a symbol of resurrection and the elevation of the bread and wine in the Mass. Hidden in the text of Genesis 1 is the terumah offering counting 26 five times beginning with the tav of bereshit (in the beginning). The mystical understanding of this reshit with terumah is written in Nachmanides commentary linking it with the mystery of the Mother. 

The Ramban (Nachmanides) states: "...For the merit aquired by... three things has the world been created: for the merit of challah (Dough), for the merit of Tithes and for the merit of the first fruits (bikkurim)...Reshit surely signifies the Dough-offering, as it is said, 'The first of your dough' [Numbers 15:20]. Reshit surely signifies the Tithes, as it is said, 'the first of thy grain' [Deut.18;4]. Reshit surely signifies the first-fruits, as it is said, 'the first-friuts of thy land' [Exodus 23:19]..." "...Now Israel, which is called reshit as mentioned above, is the "Kneset Yisrael", which is compared in the Song of Songs to a bride and whom Scripture in turn calls daughter, sister and mother. The Rabbis have already expressed this in a homiletic interpretation of the verse, 'Upon the crown wherewith his mother has crowned Him [Song of Songs 3:11]', and in other places." Similarly, the verse concerning Moses, 'And he chose a first part for himself' [Deut. 33;21], which they interpret to mean that Moses our teacher comtemplated through a Isparklarya (lucid speculum/ clear crystal mirror or looking glass), and he saw that which is reshit (the first) for himself, and therefore merited the Torah. Thus all the Midrashim above have one meaning...."

In Genesis 1:3 we also see the name Miriam hidden in the text beginning with the final mem of the first mayim in Genesis counting 26 four times. And further down in Genesis 1 we see the same pattern with the name Yeshua.There are three ‘wells’ in the Hebrew Text of Genesis 1 formed by counting 4 x 26 or 5 x 26 for TeRUMaH. YHVH has four letters and YHVH is 26 in Jewish gematria. The five letters of TeRUMaH alludes to the tradition that a letter is missing from the Divine Name. The first subtext well begins with the last letter ‘tav’ of Bereshit (In the Beginning) the first word of Genesis 1 – it spells out TeRUMaH (tav, resh, vav, mem, heh). The second subtext well begins with the last word of Gen1:2 hamayim (the waters) from the last letter ‘mem’- it spells out MiRYaM (mem, resh, yod, mem). The third subtext well begins in the word Elohim in Gen 1: 17 beginning with the ‘yod’ – it spells out YeShUA (yod, shin, vav, ayin). Of course the Zohar and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov allude to this Mother in the context of the Olah (Burnt) Offering as an ascending (olah) fire (aish) offering connected to the mystery of the Isha (woman) of Genesis 3:15.
Our Lady as the Woman (Isha) of Fire (Aish) and Burning Bush

This mystery of Terumah is also connected to Parashat Terumah in Exodus 25 in which the furnishing of the Tabernacle are discussed.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: [2] Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring firstfruits to me: of every man that offereth of his own accord, you shall take them. [3] And these are the things you must take: gold, and silver, and brass, [4] Violet and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, and fine linen, and goats' hair, [5] And rams' skins dyed red, and violet skins, and setim wood [6] Oil to make lights: spices for ointment, and for sweetsmelling incense: [7] Onyx stones, and precious stones to adorn the ephod and the rational (breastplate). [8] And they shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in the midst of them: [9] According to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee, and of all the vessels for the service thereof: and thus you shall make it: [10] Frame an ark of setim wood, the length whereof shall be of two cubits and a half: the breadth, a cubit and a half: the height, likewise, a cubit and a half.[11] And thou shalt overlay it with the purest gold within and without: and over it thou shalt make a golden crown round about.
This passage is full of hidden mystical significances regarding the Incarnation and Life, death and Resurrection of the Messiah that manifests in the mystery of the Eucharist as the flesh (basar) of the Messiah who is the Divine Word that tabernacles with men. The events of the Passover Week, Last Supper, Passion and Crucifixion and Resurrection are all one Terumah offering that today we access in every celebration of the Eucharist as a first fruits of the World and Kingdom that is Coming both when the Divine Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven (the spiritual Resurrection or Life from the dead mentioned in Romans 11, Ezekiel 37 and Philippians 3:11) and in the final consummation and fulfilment of the Kingdom after the Final Coming, Judgment and Resurrection at the third and final end of time.

The Bahir speaks of those who offer the lifted offering as the tzaddikim (righteous saints) which alludes to the hands of the priests lifting the offering in order to bless and consecrate and the hearts of the lay faithful joining the priests in the offering. This alludes to the Catholic priest lifting up the Eucharistic species in the Mass and in Benediction in union with the heart intentions of the people. This also alludes to the first fruits of celibate male priests mentioned in Revelation 4 who participate in the first fruits resurrection by martyrdom who reign as priests with the Messiah from Heaven through the Eucharistic reign of the Divine Will done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Some writers would hold that Jesus followed the Saducee and Essene reckoning of the counting of the Omer but this would contradict Matthew 23 where Jesus states that the Scribes and Pharisees sit in the Chair or Seat of Moses. Also the dating of these events according to Rebbe Nachman and Breslov would confirm this. Today in a sense the Wave offering and Terumah lifted is combined as one in the lifting up and waving the lulav and etrog on sukkot and in the Catholic Church when the priest lifts the Monstrance (golden vessel for holding the Eucharistic Host) and blesses the people with a cross like movement with the Sacrament. The lulav symbolises the male Messiah and the etrog the heart, womb and breast of the Messiah's mother just as the monstrance symbolises Our Lady and the Sacrament (Eucharisted bread in the Monstrance) is the Messiah's real presence.


Is the 16th of Nisan the Date of the Crucifixion? 


Special Sabbath within Passover

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Pope Francis and Evolution

Recent comments by Pope Francis on the nature of evolution at a scientific meeting have been blown out of all proportion by both Creationists and Evolutionists. In fact he didn't say anything new at all. The Catholic Church leaves the scientific discussion of  how the Universe was formed in a material sense to scientists and thus the individual Catholic believer can follow what most convinces them within certain limits that impinge on Catholic doctrine.

Pope Francis reaffirmed that theories of the physical evolution of man and other living creatures and the Big Bang theory are not opposed to the Catholic teaching on creation. A Catholic may believe in them in good faith. The Pope said: "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve." Pope Francis does condemn scientific ideas that hold that this process is chaotic in its source. The Pope said: "The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to something else, but it derives directly from a supreme principle that creates out of love." Equally a Catholic may be unconvinced with the theory of Darwinian evolution as the path nature has taken. Pope Francis may personally believe in Darwinian evolution (I have no idea what he personally believes) as Popes are products of their times and education but that doesn't mean all Catholics must accept these theories. The Popes of early times believed in the ideas of Aristotelian science of their day.

I personally don't believe in Darwinian evolution but I do believe that everything was formed under God's guidance from original material matter that God created out of nothing. In Hebrew there is a different between bara (created out of nothing) and yetzer (formed from pre-existing matter). The Biblical account speaks of man and living creatures being formed (yetzer) from pre-existing matter (dust of the earth). How this was formed could have been by an evolutionary process over large amounts of time if God willed it. I respect that devout Catholics can hold that view but I don't.

 I do believe in a form of the Big Bang theory but I don't think the present dating of it is necessarily correct. I believe the Creation of the Earth with Life occurred less than 10,000 years ago. God created the Heavens (Universe) first in preparation for earth and man. The Pope said: "The 'Big Bang', that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God, on the contrary it requires it." I also believe the older geological idea that the earth's geological formation was formed by Catastrophes to be correct. I have many reasons why I think as I do that is not appropriate to discuss in this blog entry. I also believe a new generation is rising that questions the ideas of the present atheistic Darwinian evolutionary scientific and academic establishment. Neither do I expect the Church to declare any one scientific theory to be correct as knowledge in the sciences should remain open to further dispute, discussion and research.

Professor Kenyon writes:  

"Macroevolutionary theory is still the reigning doctrine in academia and among intellectuals generally. For a large majority of Catholic and non-Catholic scientists it is the only defensible view of origins.  Yet over the last fifty years signs of the growth of a formidable challenge to macroevolution have been steadily growing.  The number of scientists who dissent from neo-Darwinism in the U.S.A., Europe, Australia and around the world is steadily growing and many hundreds have made their views publicly known. Why is this process occurring?  Part of the reason is that recent scientific advances in molecular biology, genetics, sedimentology, information theory and other fields have cast doubt on some of the major tenets of Darwinism. Another part of the reason is that the sweeping claims of macroevolutionists have run far beyond securely documented evidence.  Their large and unwarranted extrapolations (e.g., in the leap from microevolution to macroevolution) make them unique among natural scientists.  The intellectual rigor that works to diminish unwarranted extrapolation from empirical data remains intact in most other scientific disciplines..."

Professor Maciej Giertych gives on interesting talk on genetics.
see Forbidden Science.