Published on Academia, 251 Kearny St., Suite 520, San Francisco, CA, 94108
MOSES TO GOD: WHAT SHALL I SAY IS YOUR NAME?
by Harry A. Shamir; rev November 21, 2015
Upon reviewing with a fresh eye an element of the Torah whose meaning has been a riddle for millennia, I believe I have resolved the meaning of God's answer to Moses in the Burning Bush incident, normally transliterated as "Eheyeh Asher Eheyeh", Exodus III:14; שמות ג, י"ד.
The Problem, and the Solution
I won't trouble and bore the reader in repeating the circumstances of the Burning Bush incident. Sufficient to say that in English the transliteration is "Eheyeh Asher Eheyeh", that the original Hebrew is usually written "אהיה אשר אהיה" (Bible), that the translation into English is "I will be as (or "whom") I will be" (alternatively " I Am That I Am", though the traditional original is in future tense), and that to the best of this author's knowledge, no one has as yet come up with a rational meaning of the phrase.
Recalling that the most ancient scribes did not use word separators, not in the form of spaces nor in the form of dots, I rewrote the phrase as follows: א ה י ה א ש ר א ה י ה " " . Next I put in my own parsing dividers as follows : אש ראה יה " " אהיה . The transliteration is now "Eheyeh Esh, Re'eh Yah", meaning in English "I will be fire, see Yah" . In other words: "Though I shall appear before you in the form of fire, what you actually see is the God YAH".
This author does not know of any previous interpretation of this phrase same or similar to the above, and would appreciate learning if any exist.
Moses indeed sees fire. That is the form in which God appears to him. Therefore he virtually sees God, and hears the voice telling him His name: " Yah ". That is God's reply to Moses' question as to what His name is, to cite to the Hebrews and the other west-Levant Semites in bondage in Egypt - a name they would be bound to recognize.
Indeed God's name is often abbreviated to YAH in the Bible. Yah is held unquestionably to be the abbreviation, the hypocorosticon, of the Tetragrammaton יהוה YHWH. But is that truly the case? Could not the full יהוה YHWH be a lengthening of the real original name יה Y(A)H by adding the הו WH, a suffix meaning "he is", in Hebrew הוא , abbreviated הו, but written in reverse ?
In that case God's statement that Yah was the deity of the Hebrews' ancestors takes on a completely new meaning. It expands the concept from Yah having been the God solely of the Fathers, i.e. the family of Abraham and his direct descendants. It expands it to the worship of the deity known as Yah, known from much earlier than the Exodus in the ancient and pre-historic literature of the MidEast. Indeed it is also a name of far wider renown in Moses' time than YHWH, thus appealing to many Mid-Easteners not necessarily descending from Abraham, but sharing the Egyptian slavery.
Consider the supreme Deity of the Akkadians, transliterated into English as "EA". What do we know of its original pronunciation? It could indeed have been pronounced YA, or YAH.
If we accept this argument, then the "god of the forefathers" becomes the God Ea (Yah) of the far more ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Akkadians, as well as of the Sumerians whose Chief God was known as En.Ki (the "ki" being a suffix).
Perhaps Abram's father Tera'h had not been a worshipper of many gods after all!
My interpretations links the Hebrews in a direct way to their Akkadian-Sumerian progenitors. Indeed scholars such as Dr David Rohl have connected the Akkadians-Sumerians to the earlier denizens of a very real Eden located in the Urartu (Ararat) mountains of the Zagros, the Caucasus between the Black and Caspian seas (Rohl, 1998). But that is another story.
For more on this topic, pls contact Mr Shamir directly: Fencing_SaEF1@verizon.net
September 19, 2016
Israel - Falasteen
The one point I am in agreement with many Falasteenians today is that all the tired paradigms of two-states, one unified state, have precursors. Both have been around in various guises, and the only time one actually took off was when in 1921 the Brits created Transjordania to be the Arab State, and promised everything west of the Jordan to be the Jewish State. All sides to the question agreed to this solution at the time. Then the Arabs began backpedalling. Well, it is high time to pedal forwards again. With the advent of the Medstream project in addition to the Sorek Desalination plant in Israel, sufficient water will become available to create a new development zone in eastern Jordan, now desert, to attract Falasteenian overpopulation in Judah & Samaria (the West Bank). This population is by and large already influenced by Israeli ideas of democratic governance and freedoms of speech, and would integrate well into a Hashemite Jordan dedicated to an innovative idea: a Mideast Limited Democracy (MLD). An MLD would have limitations in accordance to MidEastern traditions going back millennia, in that religious extremism would be forbidden, secular law rule the country, and the Hashemite King declared Head of Jordanian Islam just like the British King/Queen are the heads of the Anglican Church. All elements in the equation would come out ahead, as winners.
September 18, 2016
Countryism, Tribalism, Rule of Law?
Christianity, Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Secularism, all differ, some by more, some by less. It is the fundamental conflict between systems:
rule by Laws created by (wo)men vs
rule by arbitrary (wo)men vs
rule by laws Given by alleged divinities and executed by Absolute Monarchs.
Other systems and variants can exist.
Muslim and Jewish Orthodoxy have in common that a Divinity is the Source of law, whereas the American principle is that religious dictates derived from sacred texts may/can serve as guides, but do not commit the citizen to absolute obedience. Ie we are "under God" (as a nebulous concept) but secular.
In Israel the conflict is between Orthodoxy with its expectation of a Divine Monarchy, vs Secularism with its Rule of Laws established by Parliament (the Knesset). The compromise is that in all matters of Personal activities it is the Religious jurisprudence that is in force, different for each religious community, within a matrix of overarching Law as established by the Knesset. Indeed a constant conflict exists between the two sources of Authority for practical predominance.
In the US and in Europe the introduction of Muslims into the Western world brings about the conflict between Shariya and the preexisting legal system (which are also socio-cultural-moral systems). In the US the conflict is simpler, since the Muslims do not yet have the strength of numbers to force Sharyia on the rest of us. In Europe the number of systems is multiple, as the multiple countries work from different blends and compromises derived from their own particular histories and the EU is struggling with blending and integrating those. Sharya is sufficiently flexible to incorporate local traditions, but if the Muslim populace is sufficiently strong, their socio-culture-moral concepts will be imposed on the rest of the community by force as first choice. That use of force as first choice is embedded in their sacred texts and has roots in their period of establishment 1300 yrs ago.
This is the reason I am shuddering at the thought of inviting so many Muslims into our country, where they can then establish enclaves (physical or virtual). From these enclaves then stem both calls for Sharyia based self governance, and radicalization leading to terrorist activities. Therefore my call to do everything in our power to help the locals in Muslim parts of the world achieve local stability and cease sending people to upset our own fruit carts.
In Europe the current philosophy in fashion seems to be "multiculturalism", which is OK if the blend is between similars, but result in a social KO if a very incompatible stranger is introduced.
Local stability means local ethno-cultural (ie tribal) autonomy in their enclaves. Hence my call for tribal territorial rule in Muslim dominated societies. The inevitable bloody conflicts can then be localized with much smaller impact on the world at large. I call for the tribes to be recognized as "mini-countries", effective political entities governed by an Emir heading a Mideast Limited Democracy.
4) published in Old Colony Memorial, Sept 21, 2016
The MidEast, in Context of Climate Change & US Elections
Honestly, I don't know more about Daesh (ISIL) than our generals. I also don't know more about Islam than the experts. So I listen and read and learn from my betters.
In addition to the standard Histories of Islam, Muhammad, the MidEast, lately I've been reading the 18 page Fatwa (authorized Declaration) issued by the American Ulama (org'n of Muslim clerics) on Daesh (ISIL). Also I heard&saw <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E08RPZFMbGs&feature=em-subs_digest>, wherein Mr Daniel Pipes said things with which I agree. Unless you're "in the know", you might be surprised by the information.
So what's the lesson here? First, that Islam's scholars are in the process of reviewing their interpretations of yore, especially of Salafism (extremist Islamism) and attempting at least at the academic level, to bring its "catechism" in line with the needs and tenets of modernity. In other words they are undergoing their equivalent of Christianity's Reformation of the 1500's. Therefore I believe Mr Pipes is correct in assessing that Daesh's flame is running out of ideological, human, military, and monetary fuel. The money was originally supplied by Arabian Peninsula nabobs then kept flowing in by criminal activities of every kind. With shrinking land, so shrinks the income. The human fuel was supplied by young Muslims radicalized by Imams educated in Sa'udiya (Salafists, Wahhabists), or Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood, el-Azhar U.). As usual there are categories of Imams: firebrands, ultraconservatives, conservatives, moderates, and modernizers. The latter are both few and not that popular among the populace. The ones claiming to be moderates use conservative language but did issue the Fatwa, itself a feat.
It is more complex than that of course. People radicalize from a variety of causes. First there must be a predisposition. All humans have a disposition to violence: we are a killer species. Some of us more so than others, genetically driven. Where the environment and traditions enhance such natures, we get violent people: terrorists if spouting a suitable ideology, and plain criminals if merely antisocial.
At the practical level all this means that the current period of extremist Islam will come to a close within the lifetimes of our young adults. Can we do anything to speed the process? The answer is YES. First and foremost the firebrand Imams must be denied pulpits. Denial techniques are many, overt and legal, others less so. Secondly the power of the Salafist Wahhabis in Sa'udiya must be reduced more rapidly. The process has already begun but must be accelerated. Mob rule in the Arab world must transition to rule of Civil Law regardless of local traditions and mob interpretations of religious tenets. Ten year old children must not have their right arm repeatedly run over by a car in punishment for having stolen a loaf of bread. The Fatwa is clear on this in principle though not mentioning the case. As said, I see the Islamic Reformation as having already commenced, though fruition is far beyond present, at least two generations hence before we shall feel its mark.
In these fifty years Nature will introduce at least one, very possibly two large scale variables that will affect us all, on planetary scale, and irrevocably alter our foci of interest. The assured change has already commenced. It is in the weather patterns, sea levels rise, inundations of low lying lands, heavy storms, desertifications, and other direct results of global warming. Deniers: please buy shore front properties. Lots. However much denied by US conservatives, the process already begun will now accelerate whether or not we suddenly (magically) cease burning all fossil fuels. Horses have escaped the barn, and shutting the gates will not retrieve them.
The second variable will materialize should the forecast decrease or halt in the Gulf Stream current comes about. The Stream is threatened by the melting of the Greenland glaciers which reduce the salinity of the north Atlantic waters, preventing the Stream from descending into its deep-ocean return path to the tropics. Today the Stream deposits its tropical heat onto northeast Canada and north Europe. Should its flow diminish or cease altogether, both northeast Canada and north Europe will enter a mini-ice-age at least, similar to the medieval experience (please google this), or a full fledged new Ice Age. In either case demand for fossil fuels will rise, so keep your oil & gas & coal shares! Of course the increased burning will only make matters worse globally, since the heat no longer absorbed by the northern hemisphere will now increase the temperature of the equatorial and desert belts around the globe. Having fun yet?
In any event the whole social, economic, agricultural, industrial, and political landscape will change radically. Within a dozen years from the Stream flow ceasing, the surge in demand for fossil fuels and nuclear power won't keep up with human demands to stave off Nature's north European refrigerator, and humanity will abandon the icy north and move elsewhere. Where to? South of course, but where south? What's open? Far away we have Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and South America, so the farsighted should buy land there now. Nearer Europe we have North Africa and the Sahara and the Sahel, whose temperatures will soar. Should these areas become the targets for resettlement of displaced Europeans, the process will not occur peacefully nor quietly. Conquest wars of the worst sort will take place, destroying our civilization. Then they'll still have the problems of staying cool and not hungry.
Indeed our civilization can take steps to mitigate the forecast processes. Must take steps! Now! Massive greening of the world's desert belt for instance, to absorb heat and carbon dioxide; ocean ranching on enormous scales as the Chinese are already implementing in their sectors of the Pacific; expansion of the American experiments at multi-depth ocean ranching in Hawaii; worldwide implementation of the limited-water desert agrotech developed by Israel and others; solar powered massive desalination of seawater, all these are today's imperatives*. Today's !! I get nightmares from the worry the results from the current US elections will bring to power groups inimical to America's and the world's real needs, Should that happen, none of the above imperatives will become realities by way of American leadership. Perhaps someone else will be the leader. Or no one, A true catastrophy. Someone must take up the baton, for the sake of business profits if not for the planet.
Some politicians and their backers will shrug and ridicule and ignore and trumpet irresponsible words. Instead of taking positive initiatives, they will arm us to the teeth to fend off the world, whose enmity we could still avoid if acting today. "An ounce of prevention ........." is true, but we must elect preventors and fund preventive initiatives. The cause is planetary. The goal is survival !!!
[* One such project already in motion is in the only quiet area in the MidEast: Israel and Jordan. The Medstream project will have a set of pipelines strung out in the eastern Mediterranean, streaming oil and gas from Israel's finds in its Mediterranean economic one, north to Turkey and beyond, while Turkish water will stream south to Israel and Jordan. This water will enable the greening of Israel's and the Jordanian deserts, cementing the relationship between these erstwhile enemies, and by the way resolving the Israel-Falasteenian conflict (we hope, eventually). ]
The Arabians have in mind huge desalination plants for their own agrodevelopment. One day the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Sudanese will get their acts together and drastically reduce evaporation of the Nile waters possibly by covering the river with a giant cupola, making the river stream in a tunnel. Israel is already beating drums in the quest to get its African neighbors to go constructive instead of staying stagnant or destructive.
Meantime the mood in the US is isolationist, especially in the right wing. That is 19th Century thinking, definitely not modern nor future seeing. We simply cannot afford isolationism. It would be national suicide. Think how we recreated the western world after WW2.
Spreading the burden internationally is one way of reducing our load. One example is that the Israelis know they will have to protect their Medstream investment and the talk in both the Israeli and American Naval circles is of enhancing Israeli seapower, supported by the US since the interests of both countries quite coincide. No wonder this week came the news of the ten-year military support agreement between the US and Israel, cementing the practical alliance and relationship regardless of the administrations to come. In other words, an example of how diplomacy and hard nosed Obama negotiations can result in win-win outcomes even with isolationism in the air.
Stay tuned, this show ain't over yet, not by a long shot.