THE BIBLICAL HERITAGE SERIES

While the universal messages of the Bible echoes around the world, the text, in all its hundreds of translations, always speaks in a particular idiom – that of Israel’s nature and agriculture.
– Nogah Hareuveni

THE BIBLICAL HERITAGE SERIES
1. Nature in Our Biblical Heritage
2. Tree and Shrub in Our Biblical Heritage
3. Desert and Shepherd in Our Biblical Heritage
by Nogah Hareuveni

~ review by Cindy

What a small country this land of Israel is – a tiny dot on the world map. Yet how many worlds are encompassed within it’s borders!
– Nogah Hareuveni

Nogah Hareuveni, z”l, was born in Jerusalem in 1924 to Ephraim and Hannah Hareuveni, founders of the Museum of Biblical and Talmudic Botany. He worked beside his parents from childhood. He is the founder of Neot Kedumim* – a Biblical garden and nature reserve located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

From the website of Neot Kedumim:

Literally with the Bible in one hand and a spade in the other, Neot Kedumim has established a network of natural and agricultural landscapes bearing names that indicate their textual source – the Forest of Milk and Honey, Dale of the Song of Songs, Isaiah’s Vineyard, the Fields of the Seven Species are only some of the areas which we have created which embody the panorama and power of the landscapes reflected in the Bible.

Neot Kedumim draws on a variety of disciplines — Bible scholarship, botany, zoology, geography, history, and archaeology — to bring the Bible and its commentaries to life.

…By reuniting text and context, Neot Kedumim opens up before the visitor Israel’s nature as the idiom of the Bible. The symbols, prayers, and holidays of the Jewish and Christian heritage, observed and preserved for thousands of years, blossom in a new and colorful dimension at Neot Kedumim, the world’s only biblical landscape reserve.

Nogah Hareuveni tells us that the foundations for these books were laid in his childhood.

My parents, the late Dr. Ephraim and Hannah Hareuveni, periodically took their children out of school to join them in the valleys and mountains, fields and deserts of Israel. In all kinds of weather, slogging through mosquito-infested swamps, visiting Bedouin tents and remote villages, my young eyes saw how these early research pioneers worked. I participate in their field trips and witnessed how they slowly pieced together the collected recorded bits of folklore and traditions linked to the plants of the land of Israel.

…The underlying concept of these books germinated during the years of work with my late parents. It reached fruition in the ensuring years…

Originally written in Hebrew, how thankful I am for the work of Helen Frankly who translated these three works into English, making them available for those of us who are still learning Hebrew.

1. Nature in Our Biblical Heritage shows the organic connection of the Bible and the physical land of Israel. It explores “the land of Milk and Honey,” water problems in the land, the “seven species, the Hebrew calendar and the three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

2. Tree and Shrub in Our Biblical Heritage explores thirty different trees and shrubs. Many of these will be familiar to those who are students of the Word but Nogah Hareuveni does something wonderful. He takes them out of their “G-d forbid” commonplace – given that at times we only give them a glance as we read the text – and raises them up in our understanding and imagination as a metaphor, parable, or symbol.

3. Desert and Shepherd in Our Biblical Heritage continues the theme of Nogah Hareuveni’s first two books – the absolute necessity to understand Israel’s nature and landscape to fully understand the wellspring of the Bible. This fascinating book places an emphasis on Psalm 23 and parts of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah.

This set of books help us to see the vista of the land of Israel in the Bible and Talmud as understood by Rabbinic tradition. They help us more fully understand how the Land of Israel and the Biblical heritage are indivisible. The author shares from Biblical text, discussions and argument of the Sages, and tales of midrashim.

As one who has always had a deep curiosity and love for nature, these books are by far one of my favorite and most used resources – never more than an arm’s length away from my desk. As one to whom The Land beckons, these books give me an intimacy with The Land and Scripture from my home in Texas.

In addition, the beautiful photographs make these treasures worth purchasing!

The three books are available used via amazon.com and directly from Neot Kedumim, whose website is listed in the notes below.

* See: Neot Kedumim
If in America see: American Friends of Neot Kedumim 

October’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations IVAN
and our warm thanks for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be December 1, 2017.

The Liminal Space of CREATIVITY ~ Cindy Elliott

The power stored up within man is exceedingly great, is all-encompassing, but all too often it slumbers within and does not bestir itself from its deep sleep. The command of creation, beating deep within the consciousness…proclaims: Awake ye slumberers from your sleep. Realize, actualize yourselves, your own potentialities and possibilities, and go forth to meet your G-d. The unfolding of man’s spirit that soars to the very heavens, that is the meaning of creation…Action and creation are the true distinguishing marks of authentic existence.

– Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man, 132

Bereishit barah Elokim
In the beginning, G-d created…

 If the Torah then chose to relate to man the tale of Creation, we may clearly derive one law from this manner of procedure -viz, that man is obliged to engage in creation and the renewal of the cosmos. [1]

Made in the image of a creative G-d, an expression of His ahavat olam, unending love, each of us is a creative being with an immense potential to make an impact on our world. We may not see in our clumsy expressions the creative genius and beauty of G-d, but just as our Creator, we were made to create. But unlike our Creator – we weren’t made to create alone. We were made to create in collaboration with our Abba Father.

Abraham Joshua Heschel notes [2]:

Authentic faith is more than an echo of a tradition. It is a creative situation, an event. For G-d is not always silent, and man is not always blind. In every man’s life there are moments when there is a lifting of the veil at the horizon of the known, opening a sight of the eternal.

For those of faith, intentional creativity springs from the heart of G-d, not measured by the values of the world but by the values of Heaven. Inspired not by the fame of the world, but from Heaven’s touch. It is the special work – unique to each of us – to bring into existence that which our Abba intended from the day of our conception.

Watching the dark my spirit rose in flood
On that most dearest Prelude of my delight.
The low-lying mist lifted it hood,
The October stars showed nobly in clear night,

When I return, and to real music making,
And play that Prelude, how will it happen then?
Shall I fear as I felt, a sentry hardly walking.
With a dull sense of No Man’s Land again? [3]

But, too often we ignore that touch, that stir to our hearts. We are stunted by our fears. Fears of comparison, fears of falling short of the reality of our muse, fears that our creation will be devoid of life, ridiculed, or irrelevant…a sentry hardly walking. The liminal space of creativity can be the most exhilarating and yet at times the most intimidating of all liminal spaces. Part of the problem may lie in how we understand what it means to be a creative being.

When most of us hear someone speak of a creative being – one who has left a dent on the universe, we tend to think of creative giants such as Einstein, Edison, Steve Jobs, Wernher von Braun, DaVinci, Picasso, Michelangelo, Mozart, Bach… and think that real creativity must be only on the grandest of scales. “There is no way,” we tell ourselves, “that we could come anywhere close to such artistic and intellectual brilliance.” But our Creator, creating us in His image, has given us beyond measure the potential and the talent necessary to create, to make a difference, to change everything. And we are not only creative beings but artists as well and our very lives are the medium of our art. Meister Eckhard wrote, “An artist isn’t a special kind of person; each person is a special kind of artist.”

When I was learning how to swim,
I’d look down at the water and back at him
He’d say, “Take my hand, we’ll both jump in
I’ll go, too.
That’s what he’d say and what he’d do.
“Don’t go alone I’ll walk with you
I’ll go too.” [4]

Most of our creativity reveals itself in our every day encounters – visits with friends and families, meetings with strangers, serving our families, working in our garden, study, prayer, wonder, daydreaming, reaching out to those in need, encouraging words spoken over another, a hug, a smile, a laugh, just being willing to go through a tough time with a friend, the moment of finding a solution, or even the moment of recognizing a problem. These very acts make a difference. They may be the catalyst to transforming another’s life, and they absolutely have the ability to transform our own. Abraham Heschel reminds us, ““Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power…Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.”

Creativity doesn’t mean being taken out of everyday consciousness and concern but being intimately involved and deeply immersed in the encounters of this world. At times it is the messiest of liminal spaces but it has a huge reward. The liminal space of creativity that springs from Heaven’s heart does not take us out of this world, but it does give us Heaven’s eyes. Rav Kook believed:

Every fleeting moment we create, consciously and unconsciously, multitudes of creations beyond measure. If we would only condition ourselves to feel them, to bring them within the zone of clear comprehension, to introduce them within the framework of appropriate articulation, there would be revealed their glory and their splendor. Their effect would than become visible on all of life. [5]

To create means to step out of your comfort zone. It means to enjoy beginnings and sometimes being willing to struggle to get to the end. At times it means to do the same thing again, and again, and again. At times it means failure. It means exploring the unknown and finding great pleasure in the possibilities of a blank canvas. It means thinking at times out of the box, in the cracks, or at rock bottom. At times it means taking a risk and looking foolish to the world. Creativity means being sensitive, observant, loving, and it requires times of menucha [6].

Many have said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity – a line often walked by the creative being. Without a doubt, those of us who live a life of faith have at times been thought by the world to be touched by madness. But our faith is “the spring of our creative actions.”[7]

Created in the image of our Creator, we are invited to live our days in this immense space of possibility.

For we are G-d’s masterpiece, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which G-d prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

May you more fully understand your unique gifts and importance for the whole of creation. May you know without a doubt that you are valuable beyond measure and that the unique creative expression our Abba has placed in you heart – will not be expressed by anyone other than yourself. May you be strong and courageous to embrace our Creators desire for you as purposed from the beginning of time and may G-d’s glory be made real through you. May you live every moment intentionally for the Eternal.

Made in the image of our Creator, your capacity to create is beyond measure! Surely today, each of us could reach toward the heavens and touch the face of G-d.

~ Cindy

* photo credit: shutterstock.com

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of G-d.

– John Gillespie Magee, Jr, High Flight

 

[1]Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man,100-101
[2]Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man is Not Alone, 165
[3] Ivor Gurney, Bach and the Sentry
[4] Carrie Newcomer, I’ll Go Too
[5] Orot HaKodesh – Holy Lights
[6] After the six days of creation – what did the universe still lack? Menucha. Came the Sabbath, came menucha, and the universe was complete. Menucha which we render with “rest” means here much more…Tranquilty, serenity, peace, and repose. To the biblical mind menucha is the same as happiness and stillness, as peace and harmony. ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Shabbat
[7] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Holy Dimension, 337

 

 

Biblical Month 8 CHESHVAN – Hidden Holiness

May it be Your will, Avinu, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that You inaugurate this month of Cheshvan upon us for goodness and for blessing.

Abba, Father, may You give us long life, a life of peace – Shalom
a life of goodness – Tovah
a life of blessing – Bracha
a life of sustenance – Parnassa
a life of physical health – Hilutz Atzamot
a life in which there is a fear of heaven and fear of sin – Yirat Shamayim ve’ Yirat Chet
a life in which there is no humiliation – Ein Busha u’Chlimah
a life of wealth and honor – Osher ve’Kavod
a life in which we will have love of Torah and awe and reverence of G-d – Ahavat Torah ve’Yirat HaShem
a life walked more fully for Your glory in Adoneinu Yeshua, our Messiah and Lord.

Amen. Selah.

CHESHVAN Notes

Meditations for CHESHVAN

CHASHA / HUSH
To Be Silent

The strength of faith is in silence, in words that hibernate and wait. Uttered faith must come out as surplus of silence, as the fruit of lived faith, of enduring intimacy.*

Meditations for Cheshvan

* Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays

Special Fall Feast Gift of “A Taste of Torah”

 

As a surprise Fall Feasts gift, we did a special draw from our
His-Israel friends list for Keren’s “A Taste of Torah”.

Congratulations to JEN COOP!

LeShanah Tovah Tikatevu!
May each and every one of you and your loved ones enjoy a truly good, sweet, and healthy year,
Keren and Cindy

August Winner of “A Taste of Torah”

Congratulations JAZZ KING
and thank you for being a friend to His-Israel.

Remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s
selection for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be November 1, 2017.

Biblical Month 6– ELUL Live – Video and Notes

The 6th Hebrew month of ELUL has extra significance this year!
The Hebrew word for month – chodesh – shares the same root as the word chadash, meaning new.
No two Eluls are ever the same, and this one may prove to be extraordinary.

May it be Your will, O Lord, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that You inaugurate this month of Av upon us for goodness and for blessing.

Abba, Father, may You give us long life, a life of peace – Shalom
a life of goodness – Tovah
a life of blessing – Bracha
a life of sustenance – Parnassa
a life of physical health – Hilutz Atzamot
a life in which there is a fear of heaven and fear of sin – Yirat Shamayim ve’ Yirat Chet
a life in which there is no humiliation – Ein Busha u’Chlimah
a life of wealth and honor – Osher ve’Kavod
a life in which we will have love of Torah and awe and reverence of G-d – Ahavat Torah ve’Yirat HaShem
a life walked more fully for Your glory in Adoneinu Yeshua, our Messiah and Lord.

Amen. Selah.

ELUL – FB LIVE Notes

Meditations for ELUL

RAV HESED V’EMET
ABUNDANT IN LOVINGKINDNESS AND TRUTH

Adonai is compassionate and gracious, endlessly patient, loving, and true, showing mercy to thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and granting pardon.*

Meditations for ELUL

* Taken from Yom Kippur liturgy based on Exodus 34:6.

Festival Cycle Dates 5778 – 2017 / 2018

He leads me in cycles of righteousness,
for His Name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3

In our lives, we are all ceaseless time-travelers as we move from moment to moment, event to event. But the maps of time are hard to attain and even harder to read. Many of us find ourselves seeming to stand still in our lives and yet time whizzes by until suddenly we approach our end of days…

The special days of the Festival Cycle are not random moments scattered over the year, but purposeful occurrences… One can say that the festivals act as lodgings for travelers making their way through the year. These ‘festival inns’ are special accommodations not solely for rest or retreat from the world, but also places to halt and take our bearings to make sure we are moving forward and not just going around in circles. These are inns not for sleeping but rather for awakening…*

Download: Festival Cycle Dates 5778

* Michael Strassfeld, The Jewish Holidays, 1

July’s Winner of “A Taste of Torah”

Congratulations A.R. ROWE
we are thankful to have you here with us at HIS-ISRAEL.

Remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s
selection for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be September 1, 2017.

DEUTERONOMY Live – Video and Notes

Deutronomy / DEVARIM (Words) covers the last discourses of Moses to the children of Israel before they enter the Promised Land – until the day of Moses’ death.

It is the book of Torah most quoted by Yeshua…and it deserves our attention.

  • This is a replay of Keren’s DEUTERONOMY LIVE – 30 July, 2017
  • For your convenience, you can download Keren’s notes here: DEVARIM LIVE