Archive for June, 2011

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Books I want to read

June 14, 2011

I am also reading “50 books that changed the world” by Andrew Taylor. Once I’m done with that I’ll actually also want to read those books! But first I have a book on China’s History to read, and another one on the history of the financial market.

For every book I read I learn about 100 more I want to read. And after Sukkot I will resume my studies, and I don’t have much hope to get time for reading then. So I’m going to make this list of books that I want to read as a long-time goal for the future. These books I will make sure to have read before I die:

-The Bible – again and again and again

-The Illiade

-The Odysse

-History, by Herodotus

-Confucius

-The State, by Platon

-Odes by Horatius

-Geography by Ptolemaios

-The Koran

-Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

-Machiavelli

-Atlas, by Mercator

-Don Quijote

-The Complete Works of Shakespeare

-Copernicus’ and Galileo Galilei’s banned books

-Goethe’s book of the sufferings of Werther

-The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith

-Common Sense, by Thomas Paine

-Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

-Karl Marx – the Communistic Manifest and The Captial

-Moby Dick

-On Liberty, by John Stuart Mill

-Protocol of the Elders of Zion

-The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, J.M. Keynes

-The Second Sex, Beuvoir

-Catcher in the Rye, Salinger

-Mao’s red book

-Thedor Herzl – “The Jewish State” and “Altneuland”

-Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler

-Some books that can deepen my knowledge of Talmud, of Hinduism and of Buddhism

-The Count of Monte Christo

-The Man with the Iron Mask

-Some more might be added as I continue to read the book about the books that changed the world.

-I also must learn to speak Akkadian – but I don’t have any ambition to learn cuneiform script.

 

Anything you think I might have missed? Iv’e already read 1984, Uncle Tom, The Three Musketeers and the Edda (Old Viking stories of mythical gods and heroes)

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The Source

June 14, 2011

I am currently reading “The Source” by Michener. Highly recommended. It describes the history of a fictional tell in northern Israel, from stone age all the way to Modern Israel. Through the Canaanites to Israel to Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamluks, Turks, etc etc… A commentary on Amazon.com says:

“I remember being completely engrossed as the centuries flew past, as conquering armies marched, as cities rose and fell, as blood flowed through the streets of Jerusalem, and as the Jews wandered through the Middle East and Europe. I also remember thinking that the Middle East had an incredible history that I needed to learn a lot more about.”

This books leaves its mark on you. I definitely got taste to learn more about the History of my homeland. How come I am not familiar with the crusader kings, or the mamluk sultans? Why haven’t I learned the names of the great rabbis of Safed, and why have I never studied the Muslim caliphs or the Spanish inquisition more closely?

Of course there is also a lot I don’t agree with in it, especially when it comes to the philosophical discussions of the differences between the religions, and the relations between Jews and Christians. Still, an amazing book!

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Shavuot Holiday

June 7, 2011

Torah reading: Exodus 19:1 – 20:23, Deutronomy 15:19 – 16:17, Numbers 28:26-31, Leviticus 23:15-22

Haftarah: Ezekiel 1:1 – 28, 3:12, Habakkuk 3:1-19

Megilah: The book of Ruth

Psalm: 68, 29, 19

NT: John 14:15-26, Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:30-32

This Wednesday we celebrate Shavuot – "the week holiday". It is called that because we count 7 weeks from Passover till Shavuot, as you can read in the relevant Torah readings. In greek the holiday is called pentecost, after the seven weeks. The Torah portions in Numbers and Leviticus speak of the holiday as a purely agricultural holiday, the day of harvest. However, in the Jewish tradition this is also the day that we received the Torah at mount

Sinai, and that’s why we read the relevant passages in Exodus.

This tradition is very likely true, since we can see in the book of Acts that the first church received the Holy Spirit on the same day, when they were gathered to celebrate Shavuot. There is a clear equivalence here:

On Passover the children of Israel were released from the physical slavery in Egypt, but they were orphans and didn’t know where to go or what to do, except follow the cloud pillar to Mount Sinai. Similarly, after Yeshua gave us the final atonement and released us from the slavery to sin, the first apostles didn’t know what to do, except following Yeshua’s instructions to wait for the Holy Spirit.

On the day of Shavuot, the children of Israel received God’s holy Torah. The precise instructions from God on how to live a pure life and which sacrifices to make when sin needs to be atoned. In the same way, the apostles received the Holy Spirit – the supernatural manifestation of God’s power that makes the Christian a new creature that desires a pure life and fellowship with God rather than living in sin.

To be set free from slavery in Egypt is not enough – we also needed a Torah to guide us so we have knowledge of what sin is. Similarly, salvation from sin cannot be complete if we continue to live in our old sinful nature. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a spirit and not matter. He is a person and not a personification. He is God, he dwells in us and if you are filled with him, you will be more and more like Yeshua (2Cor 3:18). He is not a momentarily enthusiasm because his dwelling in us is permanent. If we ignore him he can be

grieved or quenched (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thes 5:19). Let’s not do that.

Many of the readings, especially the haftarot and the psalms, emphasize God’s awesome power, as manifested on Mount Sinai. The same incredible power was manifested on the day the apostles received the Holy Spirit. He is the creator of the universe, the One and only, the Lord of lords and the

King of kings. When we read these passages we should be filled with awe and with holy fear of the Lord. And then comprehend that he has chosen to give us of his spirit.

That is an incredible privilege that is almost impossible to understand. Don’t let anyone rob you of that amazing privilege. And don’t let life’s difficult circumstances rob you of that faith. Don’t forget that the house on the rock go through the same storms as the house on the sand, "but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Mark 13:13). If you struggle with difficult circumstances in your daily life, let God be your comfort,

and make Habakkuk 3:17-19 your prayer.

The holiday starts at sunset on this Tuesday evening and continues till Wednesday evening. It is tradition to eat food with a lot of milk products (especially cheese cake – milk is a symbol of life), and to play games that involve a lot of water. Water is a symbol of life, and a symbol of both the Torah and of the Holy Spirit.

Chag Sameach – Happy Holiday! Let us rejoice in our Lord!

 

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My cross

June 1, 2011

 

This is a beautiful song in Swedish. I wish more songs could be this deep. A translation of the text:

 

There is a cross that is my personal cross
There I stand alone before You
You want me to leave everything that I have lived for
And I must deny myself

You know that I have wept many times
Some times I have almost given up
But then You have carried me on the Road
And I have clinged on to You

 

Jesus, I want to give You all that I have
I want to let go of everything that is mine
So that my heart can get peace through Your promises

Jesus, I want to give You all that I am
I want to let go of everything that I carry
So that my burden will be my cross

 

The cross is hard for me to understand
It carries a wonderful secret
If I only dare to meet death
I will get life and everything You give

Carry me on the strong arms of grace
Through the pain that is still left
And give me the power of the resurrection
And safeguard my faith until The Day

 

Jesus, I want to give You all that I have…

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