Archive for September, 2011


Rosh haShana

September 27, 2011


New Years Day, the 1st of Tishrei, is this year on the 29th of September. The reading that is read in the synagogues are:

Torah reading: Leviticus 23:24-25, Genesis 21:1-22:24

Haftarah: 1Sam 1:1-2:10, Jeremiah 31: 1-40

Psalm: 81, 93, 96-99, 130

And I add to this: Matthew 24:29-31, 1Cor 15:51-52, 1Thes 4:16-17, Rev 10:7, 11:15

Rosh haShana is the New Year. This year we go from the year 5771 to year 5772 since the creation of the world. The command to keep this holiday is in the above reading from Leviticus 23: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”

How is it the seventh month but also the new year? Because agriculturally, there’s a new year in spring and also in the fall. The fact that this was also known as a new year is clear from Deutronomy 31:10, where the Feast of tabernacles, that is on the 15th of this month, is described as a feast celebrated “in the solemnity of the year of release”. There are more similar examples.

The only command we see about the holiday is that it is to be a “blowing of trumpets”. This is the feast related to in Psalm 81: “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.” Rosh haShana is indeed the only holiday celebrated on the New moon. What does this trumpet represent?

-Warning for war, and also a cry of victory – Joshua and Gideon for example

-Crowning of the king, as we can see in 2Sam6:15, 2Sam15:10, Psalm 150:3, Matthew 24:30-31, 1Thess4:16 and Rev 11:15.

-Making of a covenant – as on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) and also with the second coming

-Judgement – Isaiah 58:1, Psalm 98, Nehemia 8:1-12, Numbers 29:1-6

The Torah reading this holiday is about the offering of Isaac. This is a clear symbol of the Messiah, the way the ram was offered instead of Isaac, just as the Messiah was offered for us. The ram’s horn is what is used to make the shofar horn – the trumpet used in Rosh haShana! Another amazing reading is Jeremiah 31 – the New covenant!

So on this day we celebrate the Messiah! We will hear the Shofar when he comes from heaven, as the scriptures tells us. It is connected to Yeshuas victory, it is his crowning to King of the world, it’s the making of the new covenant with the entire world, and it brings his judgement on the world. It is not a coincidence that Yom Kippur – the day of atonement – is only 10 days after Rosh haShana.

Why is it called “a memorial of blowing of trumpets”? Because the trumpet will also remind us of our sins, and our need of a redeemer. It will remind us of our salvation and our need to look forward to the day we will hear the trumpet from above, at the second coming. Many believe that Rosh haShana is the day on which the second coming will occur. Whether this is true or not we will only know then, but it’s definitelly a good time of the year to remind ourselves of that future day, and to always be ready for it.

A common custom on Rosh haShana is to eat apples dipped in honey, to have a “Sweet and Happy New Year”. We can tie this to the last verse in Psalm 81 “with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee”.

Happy and Sweet new year!


General knowledge bias

September 17, 2011

This joke, albeit funny, requires some basic general knowledge on European countries, their culture and history, and the biases flourishing about them.

The general knowledge required is considered very minimal. Minimal enough, so that anyone can laugh at the joke.

But would we laugh as much if the countries were Zambia, Tchad, Laos, Mongolia, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica?

And no, it’s not because “this is our culture, and we know it better”. Because we would expect anyone in the world with a fair share of basic education to get the joke.

Something to think about…



Dark Age…

September 17, 2011

I recently read this on a homeschooling blog:

“I was home schooled as a child. That was back when people asked if homeschooling was legal, when mom didn’t allow us to go outside until after the schools let out, and when our neighbors called CPS because they noticed that we weren’t getting on the school bus. That was also back when many curriculum publishers did not sell books to homeschoolers and there certainly was not any curricula written or designed for homeschoolers. I was home schooled back in the dark ages of homeschooling.”

And I say… wow! Apparently I’m living in the dark ages of homeschooling in Israel. Hopefully that will change to the better. And at least it’s not as bad as it is in Sweden and Germany where homeschooling is brutally outlawed.


Arthur Nikisch 1855-1922

September 13, 2011

The first recording of Beethoven’s 5th ever was made by Arthur Nikisch in 1913. Johannes Brahms, who died in 1897 praised Nikisch’s performance of his Fourth Symphony as "quite exemplary, it’s impossible to hear it any better." (wikipedia).

I always pictured Brahms as an “a long long time ago”-person. But apparently he praised the performance of a conductor who was later able to make a recording, which is now available on youtube. Listening to this I feel a chill down my spine. I think it’s the wings of history.

What makes it even more exciting to me is that Nikisch was a close friend of my grandfather’s aunt and her husband, and he was a regular visitor at their home in Leipzig.


It’s not antisemitism. It’s islamophobia.

September 13, 2011

What would happen if it was the opposite? If a mob of thousands of angry Jews marched over to Basel Street 54, the Egyptian Embassy, and stormed inside, beating one Egyptian, lighting fires and destroying property and documents. And amazingly, the Israeli police did nothing to stop them until after the damage was done?

How would the world react? Would there not be international outrage? Within minutes the UN would be involved, the Arab league would issue a condemnation and even the US would feel the need to express deep concern—and rightly so. Embassies are sacred. Once diplomats feel unsafe in their own embassy, the end of diplomacy is right around the corner.

While I would like to believe that this is just another example of the anti-Israel bias in the media and UN, the truth is I think it is anti-Arab bias. Because it is not just Israel—if Americans, Brits or the French decided in mob-fashion to storm an embassy of an ally, or even an enemy, in their respective countries, the world would be in shock.

By not expressing outrage at the behavior of the Egyptian masses and the slow acting police, the UN and NATO are simply saying, “What do you expect from uncivilized people”. The lack of rebuke and criticism for what these people did is actually the worst form of racism and criticism – it’s directly related to racism against Arabs. It’s islamophobia.


Most parts stolen from another blog, but I changed some parts. Full post here


Cartoon from 2006

September 5, 2011



Cute misunderstanding or very clever baby?

September 3, 2011


In Sweden you point to the lamp and say “lamp”. And then you ask the baby “Where’s the lamp?” and he points at it. And when he points at a turned off lamp and says “lamp” he is so clever to get it right even when it’s turned off. But when he points at the sun and says “lamp” it’s a cute little silly baby-misunderstanding.


In Israel you point to the lamp and say “light”. And then you ask the baby “Where’s the light?” and he points at it. And when he points at the sun and says “light” he is so clever to get it right even when it’s outside. But when he points at a turned off lamp and says “light” it’s a cute little silly baby-misunderstanding.


So… cute or silly? Depends on you – not your baby.

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