Saturday, November 30, 2013
Prayer for the night to the Resurrection; praying for the quick, the living, all persons who are victimized in wars, conflicts, families, society, violence, the sick, the disabled, for the businessmen/women that they may keep the good work and be good, decent, fair and perform great projects. For the poor and the needy, for all and everyone. [from Av prot. Aleksandr, Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Hebrew, Greek, Slavonic, English, Arabic, Aramaic, Norwegian/Riksmål, German] Song of the Resurrection. Intentions. You can email names for the living and the dead to "abbaleksandr@gmail", eventually make a donation as usual in the Oriental Churches at your convenience (via site "https://sites.google.com/site/hebrewinchurch/").
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Feasts are mostly recurrent and cherished rendezvous celebrated throughout the year.
Hanukkah\חנוכה or the "Feast of the Lights/ truly of the Dedication and somehow of the "teaching, education"" is a special moment. The festivities might have mentally begun for some people with Halloween. The Russians did introduce Santa Claus' clone festival in some Ded Moroz\Дед Мороз (Granpa "Freeze") mainly consisting of sweets, cakes, letters to get some gifts by the end of the civilian year. Well pumkins, carrots, Thanksgiving turkeys, chocolates...
It is time to get the sufganyot\סופגניות or jelly doughnuts that are more and more sophisticated. The Ashkenazi's prefer to add the "latkes\לאטקעס - fried potatoes pancakes". Of course a lot of balloons. In Israel, we love balloons at all times in this country and a lot of mishloach\משלוח - gifts or chanikke-gelt\חנכה-געלט, special Hanukkah money for the children.
We pass from what the Jews have always considered as the above "Gentile" Feasts to the miracle that happened in the Temple. Things are not so simple. It seems that, in mixed families, "Chrismukkah", combining Hanukkah with Christmas are slowly replaced by separate and more coherent feasts.
In the end, there is a kind of secular "chres'mas" feast that is more secular in some parts of the country, showing unclear X-mas trees and Santa Claus intertwined with candles...
With regards to Hanukkah, during eight days, we shall kindle everywhere the eight candles by using the first one, the shamash\שמש = server. Huge candelabra lightning usually organized by the Lubavitch ChaBaD. As years pass, the move is expanding throughout Israel and the world as also in Jrusalem, on the verge of entering the whole of the Old City of Jerusalem.They also distribute small candelabra/hanukkiyot-חנוכיות, more homely. Joyous days for times of uncertainty.
One thing is sure: light overcame and overcome darkness and " Nes Gadol Haya Po\נס גדול היה פה - a big miracle happened here (in Israel) or Sham\שם - there (as viewed from the diasporas)". It is more luminous to interrogate your “dreyd’l\דריידל or savivon\סביבון” (little top) about your future than any soothsayer in town.
Hanukkah is the only Jewish feast that leaps over two months: it starts on Kislev 24 (12/27) and ends on Tevet 2 (12/28/2013). The shamash\שמש (server) used to light the candles is the source of flushing sun brightness (shemesh\שמש). Indeed, Hanukkah is more lunar reminding about how the Moon births each month, then disappears still constantly showing again as a sign of Divine Providence and care.
Miracles are God's flickering winks. But even if God shows much confidence in us - quite unbelievable by the way! - what is more important to learn or experience this year through this feast? A victory? God's constancy? our survival and humankind's existence? Or God's shining pardon when we hardly can stand or appreciate each other?
The weekly reading portion reports how Joseph, Jacob's preferred son, had received a splendid tunic. His competences and good look inflamed his brother’s jealousy. They sold him to an Ishmaelite. There is a point: it made more sense to them to sell him rather than killing him. In the original text, there is no moral or spiritual discussion. Joseph could be killed. The brothers were more afraid of their father Yaakov than of God. By selling him, they could at least think they could "capture" the price of the tunic. Human societies as such that we also can prove the existence of tunics and "clothes" and still murder those who should or could wear them.
Joseph kept the moral attitude. He steadfastly refused to step down and be seduced by Potifar's wife. She put him to jail. There, he started interpreting dreams with insights and finally was called to explain Pharaoh's nightmares about some cows' forms.
He thus predicted seven super-productive years followed by seven years of hunger. So get ready to spare and develop your economic system was Joseph final touch to Pharaoh who assigned him as his chief governor. Last but not least, in Genesis 38, the role game between Tamar and Judah, who cheated and abused her... or each other.
With regards to cows and economic collapse, all theses kinds of problematics are very up-to-date. Everywhere in the world soothsayers will show to explain how the upcoming years will be full of hardships, under- and unemployment growing in the rich countries, more indebtness and poverty. We rarely feel responsible in such situations. Egoistic and self-centered reactions are the common rules.
We do not see or hear some prophets who could teach us the value of time, the wisdom of time and how we can "spend both time and values". This is why the Book of Kohelet is wise: there are indeed times and instants, delays, periods. It makes man human and humane to be able to "manage" in terms of righteousness and growth the time and measures that are entrusted to us.
This is totally on line with Hanukkah. It is evident that we can connect Hanukkah to the historical events that happened when the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus Epiphanes. He decided to annihilate the Jews in 167 B.C. We always focus on the Maccabean revolt and fight. True.
But, to begin with, it is important to underscore the frightful passivity of the Jews in times when pleasures, leisures and la-la land ways of living were more agreeable with some Greek tact than to make one's existence a sacrifice for the traditional realm of the Mitzvot-מצות/ Commandments.
This is a constant test for the Jews. We easily can trap ourselves in some pleasuring places and habits. The same as for Exodus from Egypt: once free in the desert, the ancestors regretted “the onions of Egypt”! – not some latkes or sufganyot for which one can get nuts and lose full dough.
In that particular case, they were ready to lose their souls and brains. They wanted to go back to the place where they could get but their usual food + slavery = wonderland.We are quite the same right now! The problem is that we are the world and Faith has spread all over the planet. "Exodus" would imply to get out from where we already went out but it is far more difficult to figure out. When peoples have been saved and released several times and convinced themselves and the others that the yare more free than anywhere else, it is not time to flee to March or the Moon or any other star to find some "Little Prince" and a new society to convince. We sit "put" in our prejudices and still want to be redeemed.
Some areas are so spoiled at the moment that they just cannot see that they are in the same situation as when decadence and sliding down morals were collapsing. On the one hand everything is cheap and still it costs huge amounts of money.
With regards to the Greek culture that had spread throughout ancient world, the prestige of the language, culture, refined lifestyles, ancient Greek salads or so as we do love them, the music that spaces us out, all these habits developed into slowdowns toward the observance of the Jewish traditions and Temples services.
At least, Greek culture focuses on beauty, absence of scars, hedonistic and philosophical positions. The Jews got re-operated – rejecting Judaism and the sign of circumcision – in order to participate, for example, in the Olympic games.
Is it so remote from our way of living? We live in a Jewish State. A blessing - good enough! If we can really and freely accept the yoke of the mitzvot/Divine Commandments. It may happen that we behave as part-time new pagan peoples that arrived in Israel from all the parts of the world.
We would not wear one kippah or woman head cover at home (abroad) and suddenly would get three on the top. At some bus stations very pious young boys and girls are disguised like Halloween pumpkins avatars till they get into the bus, put on the yarmulke (skull caps), change their look into more modest dress.
A real jew has to comply with constraints that are not easy to observe and require in-depth education and training. Thus, the Maccabees acted as true fighters, but in a way that is rather similar to the despotism imposed by the then hated Greeks.
The problem was that the Syrian-Greek emperor decided to destroy the Jewish way of living by imposing a ban on three major "Mitzvot" / Commandments of the Torah: a) To cancel the sanctifying of the New Month (Rosh chodesh\ראש חודש); b) To abolish the Brit-Milah\ברית מילה (circumcision) the sign of the Covenant with Abraham; and c) To suppress the celebration of the Shabbat\שבת, the day on which the Jewish Community recognizes that God is the Creator of the Universe and that He gave His Law (Torah\תורה) in order to comply with His Will.
The High Priest Matityahu ben Yohanan, from the town of Modi'in decided to fight Antiochus in order to preserve the values. Was it a “national - nationalistic” movement? Is it possible to speak of "ethnic/ethnicity the way it is rather trendy, in particular in the New World Eastern Orthodoxy Churches?
The actions conducted by the High Priest and his family mainly preserved a conscience of God's Presence and reality, His morals and Words. They evicted the oppressors after three years of harsh struggle but the victory was mainly a spiritual miracle. They took over the Temple of Jerusalem. Thus they had to purify and to re-dedicate it. They found a single cruse of olive oil and could light the lamps of the menorah (candelabra, a "lamp" in Hebrew), which burnt for eight days in a row.
The miracle of the light showed at that time the importance of spiritual struggle and resistance, which are still very much an up-to-date challenge. We might often give up our religious forces and abandon the commandments of God.
Acommunity of faithful can be destroyed by using two different methods. This does not only concern the Jewish Community but also the Christians:
a) Physical annihilation as the Jews were exterminated during World War II at the time of the Shoah-שואה/ Churban\חורבן (reduction to nothing) (catastrophe) and previously mentioned in the Bible in the small scroll of Esther. This is the Feast of Purim.
b) Cultural annihilation, which is often very subtle and not very clearly determined. The purifying of the Temple by the Hasmoneans shows this particular kind of spiritual behavior giving to God the right and first place. In the Christian world this is very similar to the spiritual resistance of the saints and martyrs throughout history, especially over the 20th century.
The first step of the struggle conducted by the Maccabees ended on 25 Kislev and this is one of the explanations given for the name of the Feast: Hanukkah, i.e. "HaNUKH\הנוח" = "they rested [on the KH = 25\כ''ה]".
In fact the word is mentioned in the Second Book of the Maccabees since Hanukkah is "dedication, inauguration" (Talmud Tractate Shabbat 21b). This tiny lamp of oil was found unexpectedly. Would it be possible to compared this to the song we sing during Pessach: “Dayeinu\דינו” :”If God had only done such and such a miracle… that would have sufficed”?
Indeed, we are not strong in confessing (our) faith. At times, we might understand that what is imperiled, in ourselves as in our society, is precisely God’s Presence and steadfastness. It did suffice for God’s witnesses that one single oil lamp was ready to burn. They rededicated the Temple.
In this respect, Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount are interesting: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses it taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is not longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:13-17).
Av aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
This Shabbat Vayeshev - וישב - (Jacob) lived (in the land of his father's sojourning, Eretz Canaan\ארץ כנען), the weekly Torah reading is from Bereishit 37:1-40:23. It is said: "Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons because he was his son born in the old age and he made him a striped tunic (k’tonet pasim\כתונת פסים).
Joseph was talented and did not really pay attention to the evil gossip his brothers had to their father. The weekly portion is dedicated to Joseph special biography: a seventeen years old shepherd pasturing the sheep; a dreamer : "vayyachalam chalom - ויחלם יעקב חלום - Joseph had a (leading ahead) dream". Joseph had dreams that were to mature along an long-term extended period of time and somehow still unaccomplished at the present.
He was sold by his brothers who were so jealous that they could not get to killing him. Division may at times save the lives of some people endangered by enemies that would not agree on such a simple issue as a murder and thus choose a distorted solution.
This is why it became a mitzva and real duty to pay the ransoms in order to free and save the prisoners; it has been a major mitzvah in all Jewish communities until now. In Israel, this obliges making every possible efforts to redeem and obtain the liberation of Israeli soldiers captured by other armies.
It is the kind of mitzvah that is a basic one, and remains an indisputable sign of "love towards our fellow people". Indeed, Jews that observe the Mitzvot and develope a loving and caring spirit of love toward God and any human being cannot betray any single Jew the way Joseph was sold by his embezzled brothers. Ransoming is a must as it has always been in force throughout the history of Christianity. It steadfastly supports and immensely helped the Jews in the process of ascending to Israel.
The prophetic portion is the reading from the Book of the Prophet Amos (2:6-3:8). The main problem consists on considering how we accept or not the realm of the Mitzvot as a true way to freedom. "For four (transgressions of Israel), I will not pardon them (ashivenu - אשיבנו : we shall not give any positive response or change of penance) for their selling of a righteous man for money (michram bekesef tzadik - מכרם בכסף צדיק) and a destitute/poor man for shoes (veevyon baavur na'alayim - ועבעון בעבור נעליים) ... And a man and his father go to a betrothed young girl (naarah - נערה) to profane My Holy Name (cf. Tamar) (Amos 2:7).
These are real and pending issues that we have to face this week with regards to history. They allow us to fathom how to apprehend Joseph's fate and destiny, Judah's affair with Tamar, Potifar's wife harassing Joseph. This shows the development of what is wrong and can be corrected and lead to freedom after false possession or desires and treason.
Once upon a time, we had a woman who was the only man of the Israeli government, Golda Meir aka Golda Mabovitz/Meyerson (1898-1978). Born in Kiev/ Kyiv (Ukraine), she joined her father who had left for Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and worked as a carpenter. She went up to Rome to visit Pope John XXIII who welcomed her: "I am your brother Joseph (you hardly can recognize)". At least her father had a Vatican-valued profession: thus, Jesus' father, Joseph, as hers was carpenter.Things can be clear or question: if Pope John XXIII was comparing himself to Joseph who is the symbol of the typical Jewish attitude, it can be considered as a superseding and "condescending": some would opine that he was comparing himself to the sweet and handsome son of Jacob/Israel, jealously betrayed and sold (twice because the tunic "had envelopped him") by his brotehrs that could be likened to the Tribes of Israel. it is always problematic when the Christians "kindly" intend to compare their links to the Jewish Community. Silence would always be "better or more adequately suitable".
When she went on mission in Russia (somehow her home country), she had asked an apparent friend to free from jail some of the most valuable Jewish fighters who could help creating the State of Israel. She was promised they would be released. They were all murdered overnight or so.
On the one hand, this shows how this persistently but honestly confessed substitution declared with much bonhomie - good-nature expressed by the good old Pope who actively did save thousands of Jews during the war.
The mistake that empoisons the relationships between Judaism and the Christian Churches is precisely present in this statement. The wonderful and rare pope was a Gentile and not the son of the first Twelve (sons of Jacob). The second so-called "Twelve" were Jesus’ disciples according to the Christian tradition. Indeed, Pope John XVIII asked a meaningful question to Golda Meir, the daughter of the Jewish carpenter. Just as Joseph’s brothers could not recognize their brother they had sold, Golda Meir – in the name of the Jewish people portraying the State of Israel – could hardly imagine or even accept that the Pope could be her brother sold by Jewish brothers who would save her and her new-old State rescued from history and permanent substitution.
This anecdote shows that goodness can be too evident and though remain a disfigured usurpation. This is the first spiritual aspect that we must consider from the prophetic haftarah read in Amos: it is clear that the dialogue between Golda Meir and the Pope was very heartfelt and nice. The anecdote shows a substitution/superseding process.
The real problem, that could turn to some vitz-וויץ (joke, a kidding and kind one), is that the Pope might did not confirm that he had recognized Golda Meir as being the real daughter of Benjamin and Jacob. This continues at the present, in most cases, about who is the Verus Israel (true Israel of God) whose substance and nature cannot be changed by vestments or attitudes foreign to the world of the Mitzvot.
Similarly, Judah and Tamar came wrongly together by some dramatic mistake and trick. The concern is that blindness does not mean falsification. Blindness means that we do not accept to see what is extant because reality is too much for what we can stand and what the others can accept.
The Talmud has it about the roots machar-מכר – to sell, mecher – sale, makkar-מכר – be acquainted, friends, mecherut-מכרות – sales/neighboring friends. Thus, “the seller is presumed to sell liberally, i.e. all except what is excluded (and ought to be defined)” (Bava Bathra 64b). Or, “a man can be sold for his theft, not a woman” (Sota 1c). On the other hand, Joseph had not usurped, captured or, worse, bought his father’s love. Jealousy remains a spiritual disease or discomfort that was ravaging Joseph’s brothers. Then, Joseph and his brothers could not anticipate the far-reaching spiritual significance of their mutual attitudes and decisions. When Prophet Amos accounted the events, he envisioned something of what history had brought from the limping of Israel and its survival that still stuns or even stupefies the Nations and the Jews alike.
The State of Israel turned to 65 years old in two major steps. The first one is amazingly occurring just before this Shabbat Vayeshev on November 29 (kaftet - כ"ט), 1947) and corresponds to six decades after the UN historic vote accepting the partition of Palestine, on Kislev 16 (tetzayn - ט"ז), 5708).
Nobody really cares about the Hebrew date of the UN vote that fell on Monday. Good enough. The partition vote is still a decision taken by the Nations and this has always been meaningful for the coherence of Israel spiritual history.
The question is whether one can seriously consider that the State of Israel is only a consequence of the World War II with a Western UN vote of false good conscience: the Jews will sink in the hour following their independence. It was both a Gentile and Jewish reflection and our sinking is still en vogue. Is it the consequence of the Holocaust?
Joseph’s sale to the merchants is definitely the prelude to a will of extermination. The Shoah ("Churban Yid. Chirb'n/חורבן = destruction of the Temples" is more appropriate) is, at the present, a major European concern and a Western Church interrogation whilst the Eastern Churches and Orthodoxy keep silent on the matter for the moment. Jews cannot abstract themselves from community responsibilities in such a devastation/abomination that tracks back their experience to the Churban (destructions of the Temple).
The State of Israel emerged and develops as the impossible challenge allowing a rescued nation born to bless to be overflowing with unexpected pardon. Things are simple and crude: who is/are my brother/s? Disguised or rescued from flames of passions, ignorance and hatred? We are thus the descendants of Cain who had dared say to God: “…hashomer achi anochi השומר אחי אנכי – am I my brother’s keeper?” God said: “What have you done! The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” (Gen. 4:9-10). The same blood continues to cry out. Then, the miracle means something else.
This 66th anniversary of the UN partition vote falls on the 215th anniversary of the “Alter Rebbe” Zalman Schneur of Lyadi’s release from prison where he had spent 52 days in Saint Petersburg upon the denunciation of some Lithuanian Jews (mitnagdim, opponents to Hassidism). He was freed on Kislev 19, 5559.
It became the Rosh Hashanah-New Year of the Hassidic movement'ראש השנה החסידות as a spiritual envisioning movement, in particular the Chabad-Lyubavitch. The point is that two modern hassidic rabbis have been sent to jail because they were denunciated by “brothers”.
They were men of charity and pity. How can we build anything if we are not responsible for others, even those who would eventually attack or harm us? On this November 29th/Kislev 19th, many elements track us back to Joseph being sold and still pardoning, as Cain had killed his brother; God put a sign of protection on his forehead. The Hassidut celebrates the day on which specific men have been released in order to get to soul freedom. In 1947, the partition vote somehow opened a tiny way to Israel’s freedom and existence. .
The real question we face on this day is that God made something, a dealing – ‘alila - עלילה (“He is terrible in his dealings with man, Tehillim 66:5”). Whatever faith, philosophical, doubtful attitude, humans seem to miss the chance of really getting to know if God accepts goodwill or exerts a strict determination. Suddenly, Nov.29th/19th events show; they are beyond any human control. We forgot about this. We think that we are strong when we are simply looking for some way-out. Freedom is not a way-out. It is life to the fullest.
This is why let’s cool down about Annapolis, Iran nuking projects… God’s dealings include the hurricanes in the US, the tsunamis in Asia (the Philippines, Viet Nam, Japan and other regions) , hunger, AIDS and war in Africa, Gaza human hell.
This date is like a Passover Seder Dayenu verse: it would have sufficed - דינו. We only got a tiny irrational partition, just as the betrayed Master of Hassidut was released from jail. All the disciples of Jesus, to begin with the first one, had abandoned or betrayed him. Israel and Palestine are not juicy scoops. It shows how faith can be twisted and thus leads to redemption.
Av Aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Let us pray for the sick, for those who suffer from all kinds of diseases, are despised in different ways, the disabled, handicapped, lonely - let's pray for those who come to the world and those who pass away, for those in anguish and those who hate in so many possible ways, that they all may feel overshadowed by the Divine Presence, comforted and that they may rely upon true trust,
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Allilous Prayer 1ALLILOUS
I intend to put on each week some short prayers in Hebrew and other languages, after the Byzantine and Semitic Traditions with some common references to the Jewish Traditions.
This prayer aims to alllowing a regular and recurrent connection with the needs and requirements of the faithful I am taking care of in the Israeli society. It appears that a lot of people want to pray in Hebrew throughout the world. This is my office and vocation in the Church, especially in the local Church of Jerusalem.
On the other hand, over the years I never accepted to limit the scope of languages to hebrew or any other tongue: whereas Slavonic, Greek, Aramaic, the native languages such as Hebrew, Arabic and other speeches. I always welcome all the speakers thus faithful from all over the world, whatsoever race, language, origins, backgrounds, cultures.
In Jerusalem, the service of the Indivisible Church is still pregnant and assembles all possible layers of human communities, whatsoever dialogue is possible, tight, narrow or even apparently impossible. We are both diachronic and synchronic and this also projects us into the ages to come.
On Saturdays, I shall try to develop a special prayer for the departed in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox Churches and all the Congregations: our faith confesses that , in a way that we do not clearly see for the moment, God unites as His Body in Christ all the living and the dead in the communicayion and communion of the Holy Spirit.
In this event of Satuday mention of the living and the dead, the readers of my blogs, sites may kindly make a donation [via my site "https://sites.google.com/site/hebrewinchurch/home"], showing their real support for my ministry.
Protopresbyter Aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)
Friday, November 8, 2013
Holodomor/Голодомор – 80 years ago – Famine mass murder in Ukraine
The national emblematic animal we have in Israel is undoubtedly the cow, the nourishing milky Israeli cow. One of the most conflicting issues we face today is "food" and how to eat properly, decently, with measure in order to avoid growing fat or “phat” and distort the image of human forms.
The "few extra pounds" can dramatically change into full overweight that endangers life and flexibility, even at the mental level. This is known, for example, that the Samoan people in the Pacific Ocean islands were put on a strict diet. North Americans have also their reputation connecting hours of television with junk food. Hebrew slang "jank/ז'אנק" corresponds to fat, unhealthy food basically due to laziness and absence of body motion.
Look at the children at 2 pm. in the Old City; small Arabs boys and girls, teens swallow over-sugar junk, always the same candies. The kids grow fat very quickly. Same hour, another day in a city bus, Jewish pupils and elder people "nosh" huge munchies, full of oil, French fries or choco-something with strudels and various cakes. Oily King and Queen Size pizzas...
In restaurants, the tables are still full of half-crunched plates. They will be thrown to the trash because the Law is very strict - at least it is health-centered! But what a waste of food and quite often of very expensive dishes. At the same time, all kinds of wonderful volunteering associations distribute more and more food to impoverished families that are more and more in dire indigence. I know families whose kids go every night to bed with only two yoghurts or so. This is in Jerusalem and other cities of the country.
In Europe, privation and poverty lead the association and benefactors to create Winter "food providing centers and points" and hunger is a major concern everywhere, also affecting so-called "wealthy" states as the United States...
It is a must and a real mitzvah to share meals, ot only to invite to banquets. Isaiah said that people could come and eat freely = gratis; it is not that clear in English. Matthew 10:8 repeats the basic rule "You received freely, give freely".
Food and distribution of food to everybody has always been a major concern in the Jewish tradition. Middle-Easterners have suffered from hunger and famine throughout history. This is why the "Birkat HaMazon/ברכת המזון - Blessing (after) of Meal(s)" is a positive commandment that cannot be swallowed up speedily. "Eretz chemdah\ארץ חמדה - a nice (because nurturing) earth" whose fruit and plants are excellent.
As mentioned in the prayer's psalm: "yachlu anavim | veyisba'u\יאכלו ענוים- וישבעו - let the lowly eat | and be satisfied" (Psalm 22:27), food does not only aim to nurture or feed, but also to satisfy and rejoice the belly, i.e. individuals and collectivities. Food is a challenging question for survival. In the TaNaCH, "hunger/r"av = רעב-ה" is a significant plague that attacks a region on regular basis.
The Middle-East region has always been endangered by the conquest of desert and wilderness over nature and fields. The soil can become emptied or dried out and crops disappear. Hebrew makes no distinction between "hunger" and "famine" which is a rather high-level wide-spread epidemic catastrophe. "Ra'av\רעב" means people are hungry or affected by a famine. Talmud Bava Bathra 8b states that "famine is a severer affliction than war". Chapter 5:8 of the "Pirkey Avot\פרקי אבות - Sayings of the Fathers" insists on the fact that the "sacrificial meat never became putrid” and that God always provided with space and abundance.
There is an insightful but so obvious statement in Sukka 52b: "a small organ is in man (stomach), when you starve it is is satisfied; when you satisfy it, it is hungry". “Re’avon\רעבון” also means “hunger, famine” as in Kohelet Rabba V:10: “Did the Lord give the manna as food of famine in scantiness?” whereas “ra’avtan\רעבתון” is a voracious eater, a glutton and a greedy person that eats on his own, i.e. that he does not restrict his appetite for drink (Talmud Bava Betsia 25b).
In the Bible, famine and hunger alternate with periods of abundance appeared from Genesis and the warning to Joseph who interpreted Pharaoh’s bovine dreams. Somehow, he finally anticipated the miracle of manna in the wilderness; famines are indeed worse than wars and gave a push to conquerors when Jerusalem was besieged during the time of the two destructions of the Temples. The Book of Lamentation/Eycha-איכה cries out a profound distress as mothers were eating theirs kids (Lamentation 3:20). A horrible question that makes “swallow” or frentically eat up, a sort of disease made of anxiety and lust for short-term satisfaction that sways up between overweight or anorexia for young girls and women.
Eating is also the banquet like the “se’udah hashlishit\סעודה השלישית – third Shabbat meal” when the tzadik shares the meat and delivers his teaching: word becomes a banquet or a festive “farbrengen\פארברענגען” (ingathering). The same as when Jesus asked his disciples to feed the crowd on the mount and they were reluctant considering the people could go and buy the food (Matthew 14:13, Luke 9:13). In the Eastern Orthodox Church, one similarly uses to blessing five loaves, grains, oil and wine as sharing “lechem\לחם – bread” that remains “lachma\לחמא-ה – meat, flesh” in Arabic and consists in distributing food to the full (cf. the plentiful measure of barley gathered by Ruth 3:15).
Harvesting is a feast everywhere and whatever religious beliefs. Thus, in fall 1621, the Mayflower pilgrims shared the bread with the native Indians who were having their Keepunumuk = harvest feast. Nice partaking of fowl, fish, wheat and corn as in so many parts of the world. President Abraham Lincoln’s intuition of a national day for all the Americans to thank God for the homeland’s wealth was a bit prophetic but not realistic at that time. It became possible in 1863.
Interestingly, Thanksgiving Day – which as in Canada is a harvest feast – was determined as the fourth Thursday of November by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939, by the time of the Great Depression. The law came into force in 1943, during World War II. The day is a secular, national and international turkey festive harvest meal (earlier in October Canada because of the time for harvesting).
Curiously, the final date was defined during the hardships of the Great Depression in which lots of Americans lost their money, suddenly fell in need and meals were distributed all over an impoverished country. At this point, the Goldene Medine\גאלדענע מדינה (“Golden State” in Yiddish) still reckons a huge number of needy and people who do not have enough to eat.
In Israel, huge portions of fat oily pizzas or greasy big hamburgers (that originally were the usual meals for the poor Jews on board to America! Cf. P. Kriwaczek: Yiddish Civilisation, p.311). They settled among nations that always need to chew or absorb food. But he waste is unbelievable.
Turning back to the East and looking to the Ukraine, November 25th is the official Ukrainian national Day of remembrance for all the victims who died of “Holodomor/Голодомор – famine killings, using famine for mass murders”.
The famine was projected as a political way to hunger and thus kill the Ukrainian inhabitants of the Soviet Ukrainian Republic. The word, in Ukrainian comes from “moryty holodom\морити голодом – to let impose death through famine, hunger” as it happened in 1932-1933. Before the first World War, my family was exporting grains from the Ukraine to Europe and the Ukraine was known for “feeding Europe”.
After 1920, the Soviets favored the Ukrainians for a short while, then obliged by law to implement a process collectivization. In these wide regions of rich fields and harvesting where small family farms were normal and often rather big compared to Europe or in our region, collectivization suddenly introduced a system that stopped private properties. This allowed the emergence of less and less productivity.
The government of Moscow decided that a certain amount of grain supply should be delivered in 1932, but by the end of the year, it was clear that the target would not be reached. On January 15, 1933, more than 100.000 people were sentenced either to death or deportation. The government required to be given all the “harvest” and available grains, which drastically provoked the famine. It appears that, contrary to the other famines that afflicted the former Soviet Union from 1921 recurrently till 1947 etc., there has been a political decision to hunger the Ukrainian nation, in particular the peasants who had backed the independence movements in 1917 by the time of the Revolution.
The Soviet government never accepted to recognize this form of extermination of the Ukrainian people, mainly in the agricultural regions. It seems that some grains were provided, still in low quantity. On the other hand, the famine caused the death of ca. 3,2 million people, mostly Ukrainians, but also Russians, Jews, Poles, Volga German and Tatars.
The statistics are not clearly upgraded at the present. They show that these peoples were intentionally submitted to hunger in order to kill them. Nowadays, the Ukraine has defined this period as a “genocide”; other specialists speak of a “mass murder”. It is not possible here to explain all the elements that were interwoven in the backgrounds of the Ukrainian society at that time. Since the early days of this “holodomor/голодомор – famine mass murder” we have had here eyewitnesses who were multi-survivors as so many Jews lived in the Ukraine.
How peculiar that a lot of Jews first fled from the Ukraine to North America where the time of harvesting and getting the crops became a feast of “Thanksgiving”;or others arrived just recently to Israel. Faith often obliges to refrain from eating at certain periods of the year; but never to die of hunger.
Just the opposite: between feeling hungry and “malle\מלא – full, satisfied”, there is the need for wellness. Bread and soup do save.
Av Aleksandr (Winogradsky Frenkel)
Monday, November 4, 2013
4 ноября вся Россия отметила государственный праздник - День народного единства. Русская Православная Церковь с 1649 года совершает в этот день особо торжественное празднование Казанской иконе Божией Матери в память избавления Москвы и России от польско-литовских интервентов в 1612 году.
В канун дня празднования Казанскому образу Божий Матери в Благовещенском кафедральном соборе г. Биробиджана архиепископ Биробиджанский и Кульдурский Иосиф совершил всенощное бдение с литией и акафистом. В самый день праздника архиепископ Иосиф совершил в соборе праздничную Божественную Литургию и молебное пение перед Казанским образом Богоматери. В своем слове владыка напомнил о событиях Смутного времени, о том, что Казанская икона Божией Матери сплотила, объединила народ на борьбу с интервентами, присутствие чудотворного образа в стане ополченцев нравственно возвысило людей, пробудило в них чувство патриотизма, вселило уверенность и мужество. Не случайно этот праздник стал государственным праздником, очень точно названным Днём народного единства.
Год назад в этот день, когда праздновалось 400-летие прославления Казанского образа при избавлении Москвы и России от польско-литовских интервентов, было решено в микрорайоне Биробиджан-II построить храм во имя Казанской иконы Божией Матери. Тогда на месте предстоящего строительства храма было совершено освящение креста.
20 июня 2013 г. архиепископ Биробиджанский и Кульдурский Иосиф в сослужении городского духовенства совершил чин освящения основания храма. В основание фундамента в специальной металлической капсуле была заложена закладная Грамота и положены мощи святых мучеников Иустина, Симфориана и Короната. Присутствовавшие сами положили в основание храма первые кубометры бетона. Строительство ведет ООО «Строительная компания Перспектива» во главе с директором Л. Н. Саламатиным. Храм строится на народные деньги. Средства собираются буквально по крохам, но, не смотря на все трудности, сейчас уже возвышаются стены нового храма.
В день празднования Казанского образа архиепископ Иосиф совершил молебное пение Богоматери у алтарной стены строящегося храма. Владыка выразил надежду, что общими усилиями храм будет завершен и под его сводами под осенением Казанской иконы люди будут получать тепло, успокоение, надежду и благодатную помощь Пречистой Богоматери.
Реквизиты для пожертвования:
Местная религиозная организация приход Казанской иконы Божией Матери г. Биробиджана Еврейской автономной области Биробиджанской Епархии Русской Православной Церкви (Московский Патриархат).
ИНН 7901995308 / КПП 790101001
расчетный счет 40703810370120000886 в Дальневосточном банке ОАО Сбербанка России г. Хабаровск
корр. счет 30101810600000000608.
Наименование платежа: Пожертвование на строительство храма в Биробиджане-2
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Fr. Archdeacon Seraphim (Mac Fadyen) Memory Eternal/Вечная Память-זצ »ל-Memoria Eterna!
Fr. Archdeacon Seraphim (Mac Fadyen) passed away in Jerusalem at the elderly home of the French Sisters where he had been spent many years. Born into an American family in Cuba (Las Habanas), he worked for the United State Administration before becoming a monk at Jordanville.
He served there and became a deacon in the Russian Church abroad. sent in 1980 to Jerusalem to serve as a deacon at the Mount of Olives Russian Church Abroad Monastery, he quit the Monastery for specific reasons and was accepted in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
In the late 80'es he worked at the Monastery of the Cross then was hosted at the St. Onuphrios Monastery (Haqeldam Monastery). In both places he got attacked and had to be taken to the hospital. He had been my parishioner since 1998. For years I could help him and could install him at the French Sisters' Home in Abu Dis where he passed away. He never could serve as an archdeacon for other reasons due to the connection between the Churches.
A man of great education, very pious, left aside in many ways as we all are in the Holy Land, he had decided to serve at his elderly home as a man of prayer for those whith whom he lived. In the last years, the new heads of the Russian Church Abroad head of the Maria Magdalena's Convent have visited him as well as the nuns (esp. Mother Nona). May the Lord take him into His peace and show His loving-kindness, compassionate love and trust. Memory eternal! Вечная память! זיכרונו לברכה!
A man of great intelligence and culture, he had been accepted in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of jerusalem at a time when the Institution was more or less stable under late Patriarch Diodoros. He could rely upon the active friendship of Archbishop Aristarchos, Secretary Général of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem who always interceded for him, Archbishop Theophanis and Archbishop Nikephoros.
it should be noted that he was the "living memory" of the Jerusalem Church as for the time before the changes in the Orthodox world and society and I accounted his testimony that will be of use for the future generations in Jerusalem and, in general for the history, development of the Churches in the Holy Land, among the Russian Churches, the Greek and all Orthodox Bodies. He also perfectly knew the situation of the other Churches, such as the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Church(es) locally.
It should also be noted that he had been hosted and welcomed, assisted all through the years of sickness by the Arab faithful, true Christian Arabs, monastics and nuns of Arab identity; the people at Jaffa Gate, the managers of the guest-houses did support him in times of terrible need, also with a constant sense of profound kindness, both humane and really Christian.
Fr. Seraphim was mainly an american but quite internationally minded: born in Cuba, he perfectly spoke Spanish and had the insights of a man who had been trained in a latin language and culture along with American English. He was quite fluent in French due to some family backgrounds. He could understand Yiddish but was poor in Hebrew and arabic. He often detailed as time passed his Jewish backgrounds and deeply sobbed when he visited Yad-VaShem. He always wore Yad VaShem's pin on his heart and would not speak any further of the members of his family who were killed during the Shoah/Holocaust.
Archdeacon Seraphim had also strong connections with the hierarchs of the Church Abroad, esp. metropolitan Hilarion who is heading the Church Body at the present. He was also related to the Phylis Monastery in Greece.
On the picture, Fr. Seraphim was at Jaffa Gate with a very close friend and "spiritual son" Kevin. Please be kind enough to let the news be known. A lot of people where no more in contact with Fr. Achdeacon Seraphim. He had friends and connections all over the world. Memory eternal! Вечная память! זיכרונו לברכה! Memoria eterna!