The wonder and beauty of Jerusalem make a deep impression. The bustle, the noise and the inevitable grime of any modern city, makes things look quite natural. Then suddenly, as if a veil is gently pulled aside for a lingering moment, one sees something of deep and breathtaking splendor. It’s a beauty that is different than is found in any other beautiful city. A quality one not only sees, but experiences with all one’s being. It is the revelation of a miracle concealed in the seemingly mundane.
When I go to Israel every stone and every tree is a reminder of hard labor and glory, of prophets and psalmists, of loyalty and holiness, [We] go to Israel for renewal, for the experience of resurrection.
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel – Israel, An Echo of Eternity
Artwork: Alex Levine, Israel
JERUSALEM of Gold, Stones, and Light (12.30 minutes)
There are many references to trees in the Bible, from the first chapter to the last!
In the beginning, at Creation, we find the “trees bearing fruit” that provided food for Adam and Eve and in the last book of Revelation we find the the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, having leaves that provide healing for the nations. Fascinating!
Let us learn more about the significant trees recorded in the Scriptures. Particularly those referenced in the Seven Species:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).
Nature to a saint [a tzaddik] is sacramental. In every wind that blows; in every night and day of the year …in every blossoming and withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us, if we will simply use our starved imaginations to realize it.
The prophet Isaiah, in chapter 40, verse 26, exhorts Israel: “Lift your eyes to the heavens: Who created all these?” Oswald Chambers notes: “The people of God had starved their imaginations by looking at the face of idols.” How is this applicable to us today?
The opening sentence of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ outstanding new book, entitled, ‘NOT IN G-D’S NAME – Confronting Religious Violence,‘ reads:
When religion turns men into murderers, God weeps!
At some point in history both Christians, and Jews, to one degree or another, have blood on their hands in the name of religion. Today, however, in the form of Islam, we are experiencing an unprecedented global uprising of a strategic, militant religion that deserves our close attention.
Please be informed. Jonatahn Sacks helps us gain a clearer understanding of the violence both Israel and the world are facing today and how best we can address it.
The Bible you are reading is the Hebrew Bible, but are you reading it with Hebrew eyes?
If the meaning of Scripture is contained and hidden in the text, then the language and the tools of the language, are vital for clear understanding.
Israel is restored…and Hebrew, the ancient and original tongue of the Bible, has been restored. And we, each one of us, both Jew and Christian, have the privilege of participating in God’s ongoing, creative work of Redemption.
The opposite of ‘holy’ is not ‘wicked.’ The six regular days of the week, as opposed to Shabbat are not ‘bad’ but are regarded as ‘ordinary’ in contrast to the one that was chosen and set apart by God for His purposes.
When the sacred things of God are scorned this, not surprisingly, carries over and results in the belittling and mocking of other people.