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Thursday, November 24, 2005

In my never ending quest to learn as much about God as I can, I came across Con Artistic's blog. While I was reading, I came across the word Teshuvah. The websites that I found that explained what Teshuvah was, all spelled the name of God as G-d. I left a comment asking why this is. Sam, in Israel now, but he is originally from New York City, emailed me explaining why.

Here's the email:

I read your question in your comment on the Con Artistic blog. (I came to it from the NY Times Article about Orthodox Jews and the Internet by Joseph Berger). I figured I could try and answer.

In Orthodox Jewish tradition one may not erase or destroy the name of God. This is based on a verse in Leviticus*. (I'm sorry I don't have it in front of me at work). Generally this is understood to mean the Hebrew words meaning God, Lord, and similar. Items that contain the name of God must be disposed of in a respectful manner. The Jewish tradition is to gather all of these (mostly but not limited to holy books) in a "genizah" (Hebrew for hiding or storage place) and then to bury them with deceased scholars etc.

There is a very practical problem of not creating too much material with the name of God because of the expense and expanse needed to dispose of it. Thus, in mundane writings (e.g. school notes) we were taught to write abbreviations and alternates for the name of God.
The tradition has been extended by some to include not erasing God written in any language though this is by no means a universal custom. Those who extend this to include all languages write G-d as a means of not writing God.

Sam Gamoran

*Deuteronomy 12:1-4

My thoughts...and this is probably a very general way to look at that all of us can't be wrong. I mentioned in my blog yesterday that I was probably one of the most well-informed people I know, but that is just with current events. Where I lack knowledge is in history. I can't tell you what separates us, but I do know that there are certain beliefs that we have that do.

Sometimes I think it could be a lack of understanding, other times I think jealousy or pride. All of us are told by society to be proud of our heritage no matter who we are. Most of us fall in the middle, while more and more of us are falling on one extreme or the other. With one end being positive and the other end being negative.

We've been taught not to say what we feel because people might look at us funny....or we might actually offend someone. How dare we ask for permission to pray to our God in a country where we have the freedom of religion. We've learned that if you speak out for what you believe, you lose your position in society...whether it be the popular girl in school, an executive at the office, a Rabbi, a Minister, a movie producer, a rock star or just a normal respectable person like me. I am ignorant to so much because I didn't care about what I believed in. Yes, I cringe when they talk about taking prayer out of schools and when I heard someone I know say they agreed with it. It was more important to me to blend in than to stand out.

No wonder I feel like I've been wandering around blind for so many years...I have been. Love is blind. When we truly love someone, we don't see anything else going on around us. When we truly love God, we don't care what anyone else thinks about us. He wants us to either be hot or cold. Either be for something or against it, don't be in the middle. If you can't say what you believe, then you might as well say you don't believe. I use to try to bend over backwards to impress people. For a while I was able to, but inevitably something would happen, usually by some fault of my own and everything I'd worked so hard doing to build myself up just crumbled.

I think everything I have tried to build up on my own without God's help is having to be torn down so that He can rebuild it. It's a very trying time for me and sometimes I feel like I can't take anymore. How do you explain to someone that God is tearing you down, but don't worry because He's going to build me back even better? He's still working on my relationships with different people in my family. Fortunately, He knows better than I do what relationships needed to be rebuilt first. I almost said repaired. I did a search for repair in the Bible and the references I found where all related to repairing the house of the Lord, except for this verse

Isa 61:4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

I had to go back and read the verses before and it really makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Isa 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Isa 61:2
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Isa 61:3
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

You need to decide now what you believe and stand up for it. If you hear someone ask a question and you know the answer, tell them. If you oppose what someone says, tell them. Don't sit there and assume that there are several other people that feel the same way you do and they'll say something. Sam knows what he believes. I've heard countless numbers of people, some I know and more I don't know, that tell me I'm not supposed to like Sam. Well, I don't care what people think I should do anymore. I respect him more than most people I know because he spoke out and let me know what he believed in. He believes in it so much that he doesn't care what I think or anyone else thinks as to how he lives his life because he lives his life for God. I could be wrong, but I think he believes in it so much that he moved from New York to Israel. We're just both on different paths, headed the same way.

Eph 2:12
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Eph 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];

The path I mentioned in one of my previous blogs. I now remember that path being wide enough for only one person to travel. The scripture above isn't in Sam's Bible, but it is in mine. My path is different than his, but my Bible tells me that we both serve the same God. God truly loves Israel, but it comforts me to know that He also truly loves me.

I don't know why I feel so passionately about this, but I feel there is going to come a time soon when we're going to have to stop categorizing people, which I believe will be more difficult because that's what society wants us to do...categorize people. Categorizing people has led to a breakdown in our government. A good example of that is George Washington. He wasn't a Republican or a Democrat. In fact, he could have been a king.


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