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.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daily Bread and the Milk of the Divine Word: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

Recently on the blogosphere there has been some discussion of the phrase in the Lord's Prayer (Our Father)'daily bread'. The Greek uses 'epiousion' or 'epiousios' for the English 'daily'. There is discussion about what this phrase would be in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Greek word epiousion means super-substantial and thus would seem to allude to the Eucharisted bread rather than mere ordinary bread. This also alludes to the miraculous bread of the Exodus called Manna. The word Manna is connected to the Hebrew word menat which means 'a part of' or 'portion of'. One Israeli-born Hebrew Catholic believes the Hebrew phrase could be 'menat lakhmenu leyom'. In Aramaic the phrase 'daily bread' is lekhem-hukh. Hukh meaning 'an assigned portion'.

Some Hebrew versions dating from the medieval period use the word 'temidit' for 'epiousion'. Temidit means daily, constant, ceaseless, or perpetual. Judaism speaks of the mitzvot temidiot ( constant commandments)such as the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. The perpetual daily offering in the Temple is also called the Korban Tamid (the perpetual offering). Yeshua ha Mashiach is the New Covenant Korban and the liturgy of the Eucharist is the perpetual offering (korban tamid). We receive and feed on this daily offering or bread through Adoration and communion. Judaism considers the spiritual bread or food to be the Torah which is the Word of God. The Zohar calls it the heavenly Manna. Thus the original Lord's prayer in Hebrew may have been 'ana hayom ten lanu menatnu temidit' rather than 'lakhmeynu temidit'.
Milk- Kefir
This heavenly sustenance is also called the pure Milk of God's Word. This alludes to the concept of the 9th Red Heifer or Cow who feeds us with the Divine Milk of the Word. The Manna is a sweet and white substance like milk-kefir. The Ancient Egyptians had a confused and paganised understanding of this. They refer to the Goddess Hathor as Menat the Heavenly Wet Nurse and Milk Cow. They allude to an object called a menat that links the devotee to the Mother's Son Ihy (also associated with Horus). One Egyptian website states that the Menat "...represents a heavy beaded necklace with a crescent shaped front and a counter piece at the rear. It was a symbol associated with the goddess Hathor and her son, Ihy. In fact , Hathor was known as the "Great Menat". We often see Hathor using the Menat as a conduit through which she passes her power. It was representative of the ideas of joy, life, potency, fertility, birth, and rebirth. It was not uncommon in the New Kingdom, to see the king offering the Menat to Hathor. This probably meant to represent the king symbolically with the goddess' son, Ihy. This idea of divine assimilation was common, although the best examples are of the king representing the falcon god, Horus. " The necklace links us to the mystical necklace of the Song of Songs 4 and the milk mentioned throughout the Song of Songs. The concept of a mystical necklace reminds Catholics of the Rosary necklace. The future 10th Red Heifer will lead us to feed on the bread/manna of the Divine Will which is the deepest penetration of the Eucharistic Mystery. Each day we pray for the receiving of our literal food, our Eucharistic food and the Food of his Divine Will through the intercession of His Mother.

The use of a specially created Greek word 'epiousion' or supersubstantial by those who translated the Hebrew expression of Jesus shows at this early stage the Church's understanding of the Eucharist. Thus I believe the original phrase that Jesus used was more likely to have used menatnu (our portion or our manna) than lakhmeynu (our bread) and doubled with temidit (perpetual/daily). The Jewish reader would instantly see the links with the mysterious, incorruptable and mystical manna perserved in the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple known as the Bread of Angels, the korban sacrifice or offering and the passover Lamb. When many of the Torah-observant Jewish Catholics reassimilated back into the Jewish community after the 5th century they brought into the Passover Seder ritual the understanding of the Afikomen hidden matza linked with the Passover Lamb and the Mystical Manna preserved miraculously in the Ark, among other customs.

Jewish spirituality also refers to 'devekut temidit' which is ceaseless or constant communion with God by focusing one's mind and heart on Him and His Divine Will. One achieves this by practicing what are called the 'shesh mitzvot temidit' the six constant commandments. These are: 1. Know There is a God (Exodus 20:2); 2.Don't Believe in Any Other "gods" (Exodus 20:3); 3. Know That God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4); 4. Love God (Deuteronomy 6:5); 5. Fear God (Deuteronomy 10:20); and 6. Do Not Follow After Your Desires (Numbers 15:39). This is how one achieves constant talmud Torah or practicing the Presence of God in every moment.

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