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Archive for May 15th, 2009

I am still persevering with the book “HaTanakh Hayah BeEmet” by Dr. Liora Ravid (התנ”ך היה באמת) that I wrote about a couple of days ago. But I’m not sure for how long.

Turns out that not only does she misquote Tanakh but she also has some strange ideas about theology. Admittedly as she is not a religious person, this is forgivable but I would have expected her to keep her misunderstandings to herself.

Chapter 7 discusses “The Concept of Fertility in the Ancient World”. She explains that pagan gods were a bunch of freeloaders who liked partying and eating offerings sent them by humans. In return they ocassionally gave gifts to the humans but more often than not just ignored them. Superficial but so far so good.

She then describes the Hebrew God as being similar in many aspects (that he liked eating offerings) but seeing as he was alone he didn’t party much and was attributed with being the God of pure justice. Only justice. Thus if Sarah was barren it was seen as being her fault. HaZaL certainly didn’t understand it that way. She points out herself that the book of Job challenges her view but doesn’t take the hint that therefore she may be wrong. God is seen as being a God of justice, mercy, retribution, testing, rewarding, etc, etc. He has a rather complex character. certainly more complex than what Dr Ravid suggests.

In contrast, an interesting point she develops in chapter 8 is that Sarah’s infertility was probably a direct result of the conditions she endured in her 20 year journey and that it is no coincidence that she got pregnant only after they settled down in Hebron after completing their journey. She complains that Sarah’s infertility is seen as a test of Avraham and not of Sarah – obviously because of the patriarchal view of the “writers of the Tanakh”, whereas it was a incredible trial for her as well. Point taken although I think that the Torah would support viewing her as being tested as well, though she would appear not to have passed with flying colors (Gen 18:12-15).

However an interesting perspective I thought of is that Avraham knew full well that Sarah’s infertility was a result of their living conditions but still continued their twenty year journey and trusted in God that he would make good with his promise. Otherwise what test is there in the infertility? To have a test there must be an action that he could have done differently (and fail). This was the test.

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Here is the completed pool picture as I promised. The official title is “Reflections in a Quiet Pool” or “השתקפויות במים שקטים” in Hebrew. On display as of next week in corridor next to the library in NDS Jerusalem.

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2009_05150003-250wLast week I took the new Meron Path picture for framing and I just got it back now from the framer. Looks really good. I have hung it in my living room so I can show it off.

As always I was a bit worried about how the painting would look framed. After the effort and attention to get the picture exactly right, I am always worried that the frame will spoil or change the balance of the picture and throw it off. This has happened to me before and I have seen other pictures as well where their frame destroys them.

Anyway, I got it right this time. To be more precise the owner of the framing store did. I went to a new framer this time – Artli in the Ezor Ta’asiah of Beit Shemesh. He is an art photographer and sells massive prints of his amazing pictures togther with religious kitsch (kind of Thomas Kinkade meets Lubavitch or the Baba Sali, which sells well in this part of the world). He also does framing.

He immediately picked this frame. I of course had to try every frame in the shop before deciding that his choice was correct. And here it is.

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