Sunday, December 31, 2006

Askenazi Synagogue, Istanbul

Red Jewish Star appears on a stained glass window of the Askenazi Synagogue in Istanbul, which was constructed by Jews of Austrian origin.
Picture is courtesy of Michael Summers  ("canonsnapper") who published it on Flickr. 
To me it looks like a Photoshop design of the full moon after the visit of an Israeli astronaut.

Krijtberg church, Amsterdam

Hexagrams surrounded by circles carved on the facade of the Roman Catholic Krijtberg (Chalk Hill) church on Singel street in Amsterdam. Also called : St. Franciscus Xavierius; built by Architect Alfred Tepe, 1881-1883 on a Jesuit hidden church which was founded in 1654
CC picture by David Silverline from Flickr 

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Alcazar

Alcazar solomon's sealHexagrams as part of Moorish tiles pattern in an Alcazar in Salamanca or in Sevilla, Spain.
Photo is courtesy of Katie Hill who published it on Webshots.

Styles and Tiles

Picture is courtesy of "TheAdnostic" from Flickr and it shows Stars as part of a complicated pattern of Solomon’s seals on the walls of the alhambra in Granada, Spain.I already wrote about the late influence of the Moorish style, but this seems to be the original.

Rare Haircut

Jewish Star  haircut on Michael Shostack's head. Michael ("Halting Point") published this photo on Flickr 

Friday, December 29, 2006

Enlistment of Israeli Women to the British Army

Colorful Hebrew banner with an appeal to Israeli women to enlist to the British army in World War 2, showing a female soldier and behind her a Jewish Star 
Translation of the caption:

enlistment of women to the military service had been proclaimed. Enlist!

Picture is courtesy of "switch_1010" who shot it in the Hagannah archive in Tel Aviv, Israel and publishet it on Flickr

Jewish Barbie


Golden Jewish Star on the necklace of Barbie. From filmmaker Tiffany Shlain short film titled The Tribe .
I like the cute design of the logo of the film where the dot above the letter I is in the shape of a Star of David. Imagine that in Hebrew all the dots that stand for vowels ( Chirik, Sheva, Tzere) will be in this shape...
Picture is courtesy of Steve Rhodes who published it on Flickr

The Tribe Film


Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain's short film titled The Tribe weaves together the Barbie doll and the Jewish people (Jewish Star). 
Picture is courtesy of Steve Rhodes who published it on Flickr

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jewish Brigade Memorial

Yellow Jewish Star under a Menorah on the Jewish Brigade Memorial in Mount Herzl Cemetery.
The Hebrew on the wall is a verse from II Sam 1:23

They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions

Picture is courtesy of "templar1307" who published it on Flickr.

Star of David on a Church -1

Hexagram on the Santa Croce Church in Florence picture is courtesy of "OhmMeter" who published it on Flickr.

Christian Heart

We see  a tattoo in the shape of a heart above the place of the heart - showing how much its bearer loves it. Looks to me like a unique concept and that's why I blog it here. Following this concept one can tattoo an eye on his eyelids, a hand on his palms...
Picture is courtesy of qxzlool who published it on Flickr. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

To the Flag

To the Flag poster jewish star Picture was copied from Wikipedia

Jewish Star on the sleeve of a Jewish fighter.
recruitment drive poster from the 1940s to the Jewish Brigade reads: "Soliders of 1915-1918: to the flag!" From: Haganah Archive [http://www.archives.mod.gov.il/pages/search/ItemDescPhoto.asp?ID=33511&PageNo=1&ARC=2&AR=2])

Jewish Brigade insignia

Jewish Brigade insignia star
Yellow Jewish appears on the Jewish Brigade insignia.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Cathedral at Mazatlan, Mexico

Cathedral Mexico Hexagram Hexagram in a stained glass in the cathedral at Mazatlan.
Photo is courtesy of Amy Turner who published it on Webshots and wrote to me:
I wish I remembered more of the story the tour guide told us, but I believe he said that the cathedral was funded in part by local Jewish people. In their honor, the Star of David was incorporated into the stained glass.

Judeo-Christian House of Prayer

Each religion has its separate house of prayer so that Isaiah’s vision in chapter 56:6-7 about A House Of Prayer For All Peoples seems quite distant, but here is an example for a small step in the right direction...
Picture is courtesy of Robert Pollack who wrote to me

It's on the chapel (non-denominational) on the campus of Ole Miss (The University of Mississippi) in Oxford, Mississippi. I have heard that the chapel was built by a Jewish alumnus who married a Christian -- or maybe a Christian alumnus who married a Jew -- and who wanted to incorporate both images on the chapel.

Madonna Lily

I already wrote about the Lilium Candidum but Moti Salti has someting different to say about it on his very aesthetic blog he wrote that he believes the origins of the Hexagram and its meaning came from the lily, which King Solomon adored and chose as his symbol.  The lily has white petals and a phalic rod making it hermaphroditic - and that's why it is considered a symbol of unity of male and female.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Nazi Poster

Nazi Poster Jewish starThis poster with a red Jewish star was copied from Wikipedia entry
"The eternal Jew" Nazi Film Poster.
It appeared on the film's program which was written by Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda


Kagome lattice

Kagome lattice Hexagram
The name Kagome means the pattern of holes ("me" for eyes kago for a basket .
Did ancient Israelites take the Star of David with them to different countries after their first and second Temples were destroyed? A positive answer to this question might help shed some light on the origin of this symbol. There are many groups who are candidates for this investigation: Yemenite Jews, Cochin Jews, lost tribes etc.

Few researchers claim that ancient Israelites arrived to Japan and left there some Jewish artifacts. The founder of the Makuya Japanese cult Ikuro Teshima believed these Israelites were called the Hata tribe and that They left Kagome crest at some of Shinto's oldest and most important shrines; the crest, a relatively simple shape, is a six-pointed star identical to the Star of David.
Picture of kagome lattice Hexagram was copied from Wikipedia

Prof. Shiloni wrote in his book that Isa stone lanterns, bearing Stars of David, were established in the 20th century by a manufacturer of soy sauce that had this trademark 
Source: Hebrew article:
http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/704/681.html

Floor Tiling in Budapest

Floor Tiling in Budapest Hexagram patternBudapest, Hungary, Parliament .

It is brought in Wikipedia as an example of wallpaper group and is Computer-enhanced, so that it is hard to understand how the original tiling looks like.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Anti-Semitic Add in Malaga, Spain


Picture od USD inside a Jewish Star is courtesy of "bug138" who published it on Flickr. 
You don't have to know Spanish in order to understand that somebody there in Malaga hates the Star of David and what it stands for, and that he's not the first nor the last to hate our guts...

Blue Box in the Boulevard

A prominent Jewish star on a Huge Blue Box in twenty one sculptors exhibition in Tel Aviv as part of a fundraising campaign for re-forestation efforts in northen Israel.
The Blue Box used for over a century to collect money from Jews abroad for foresting the land of Israel.
Picture is courtesy of savtadotty who published it on Flickr

Sukyo Mahikari

Hexagram on Sukyo Mahikari Main World Shrine in Takayama, Gifu, Japan (Their recently constructed King Solomon's Temple).  Sukyo Mahikari is a Japanese New Religion based on the writings of Mr Yoshikazu Okada (1901-1974) who founded the Mahikari organization in 1959 . Mahikari is the Japanese word for True Light. Size of Group is about 2,000,000.
Picture is courtesy of "orclimber" who published it on Flickr.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Peace Art Drawing

Photo is courtesy of dakinewavamon who wrote to me:
I doodle! This one was drawn on July 14, 2006 during the conflict. Another Star of David was drawn for our Charis Corp. "Working with Israel" Class offered this year.
Note: unfortunately, in the current situation, if a Palestinian in Gaza sees a dove with a huge Star of David on its wing and the Hebrew letters for IDF above it - he pulls out his gun and shoots the dove...

The Blue Box

Picture of Blue Box Jewish star is courtesy of "savtadotty" who published it on Flickr with the caption
Height: 4.5 inches
The first Blue Box  was suggested on December 29, 1901 at the 5th Zionist Congress in Basle by Haim Kleinman, a bank clerk from Nadvorna, Galicia.

Fire Pit inside Yantra for Anahata Chakra

Indian HexagramPicture of Indian yantra hexagram is courtesy of Nadarupa who wrote to me:
The photo on our Flickr site is actually a yantra (symbol) for Anahata Chakra (Energy Centre of the Heart), which is composed of interlocking blue and red triangles, representing the union of male / female energies in the heartspace (centre of compassion / unconditional love). This is a very ancient yogic / Hindu symbol and, like the swastika, has been used by others since. A "kund" is a firepit, used for ceremonial purposes. The photo on our site is of the anahata yantra drawn around a kund for a celebration at the end of a 5-day yoga festival held in France in July 2006.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jewish Encyclopedia

The designer of the cover of the Jewish Encyclopedia used the Jewish Star here to create the formula: Star of David = Jewish. 
I took this photo at the Rockefeler Museum in Jerusalem , a very impressive background for such scholarly items.

Second Zionist Congress Delegate Card

Picture of  a lion inside the Jewish Star was copied from the Jewish Encyclopedia.
The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version

The famous Stadt-Kasino of Basel where the Congress took place had the six-pointed star above its entrance, and some meters away from it a white flag with two stripes, probably in dark blue.
The Delegirten-Karte (delegate's card) for the Second Zionist Congress in 1898, also in Basel, was decorated with a Magen David showing a lion in its middle field and seven five-pointed stars resembling the manner shown above (fig.19), embellished by two decorative stripes.
Meanwhile, the symbol had made its way to the United States. There, the American Jewish Publication Society adopted it as its emblem in 1873, while it was flown as a flag for the first time in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair, in the design we know today.
The inventor of this flag may have been motivated, if not inspired, by the design of the Delegirten-Karte for the Second Zionist Congress.
Dr. D. Wolfsohn, a close friend and successor to Dr. Theodore Herzl, then suggested that the flag of Zion consist of the Star of David with the two parallel lines of the talith (the Jewish prayer shawl) above and below it. This suggestion might have been modeled on the aforementioned delegation card, and perhaps on the flag used in St. Louis (Missouri), although we have no proof of this.
Next, the Star of David graced the flag of the first Jewish army unit in modern history, the Mule Corps of World War I.
However, some decades passed until the 18th Zionist Congress approved this design as the flag of the Zionist Organisation and the Jewish people. The Congress, which took place in Prague in August 1933, put this sign out as a banner, thereby defying the slander which had become the official policy of Nazi Germany.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Star of David on Every Page

Magen David appears on each and every page of Theodore Herzl's newpaper, Die-Welt. All in all we talk about thousands of pages...What a great promotion for this symbol in its infancy.

The Promised Land Inside a Star of David

Magen David on the logo of Theodore Herzl's newpaper, Die-Welt, with a map of the promised land inside.

Die-Welt Cover

Prominent Jewish Star appears on the cover of Theodor Herzl's newpaper, Die-Welt, which was published weekly at Vienna since June 4, 1897.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Shulamit Gad

Many Magen Davids appear on the cover of Shulamit Gad's Hebrew book: King David and the Intensity of Psalms, which includes a whole chapter about the meaning of this national Jewish symbol.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Star Shall Step Forth Out Of Jacob

Most researchers who are trying to solve the mystery of the origin of Magen David relate to the enigmatic verse in Numbers 24:17 "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel"` That’s why I thought it will be useful to collect a few sources which can shed light on this matter:

Shall step forth means rule, govern
Dr. Zvi Betzer says:
In Ugaritic the verb darakh appears in the sense of 'to rule, govern'.

Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni says :
the star is a shield in the shape of a star and the soldier stepped upon the part of the shield that was between two triangles and thus the shield had been stuck into the ground

Balaam is Laban the Aramean
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin says:
…the classic Targum (Aramaic interpretation) of Yonatan ben Uziel, identifies Balaam with none other than Laban the Aramean, uncle of Jacob-Israel

The star in the verse refer to King David
Maimonides:
I see him but not now ((Num. 24:17), this refers to David; I behold him but not nigh (ibid.) this refers to King Messiah; A star shall step forth out of Jacob (ibid.) this refers to King David; A star shall step forth out of Jacob (ibid.), this refers to David; and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (ibid.) this refers to King Messiah…

Uri Ofir:
The first time in the Bible that reveals any connection between the word "star", the word "David" and the words "nation of Israel" is in Bilam's speech. When Bilam sees the nation of Israel he says:
"There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17). Rashi and Iben Ezra comment that Bilam's prediction is about King David. This is only a speculative connection that does not point on the shape of the Magen David (Star of David). The star in the verse refer to Bar Kochba
James Trimm says:
Bar Kosiba was renamed Bar Kochba (son of the star) and was declared the Messiah based on Num. 24:17.

The star in the verse refer to Jesus
Early Christians did believe Jesus was born under the Star because the prophecy of Balaam (Num. 24:17) said that the Messiah would be revealed by a regal Star.

An Emblem For All Peoples

Picture of Magen David among other religion's symbols  is courtesy of Eyal who has a cute Jewish Layout website

For each religion there is an emblem and when one wants to exhibit several such emblems on one picture what unites them is the picture, but actually, when you think about it deeply, the Star of David includes all these different emblems since it serves in the present Jews, Buddhists in India and in Nepal, and many cults and in the past it was also in the extensive use of Moslems and Christians. There is no other emblem that fits so much Isaiah’s vision in chapter 56:6-7

And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, Loving the name of the LORD, and becoming his servants-- All who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant,

Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; Their holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, For my house shall be called A House Of Prayer For All Peoples.

Monday, December 18, 2006

David Ganz

David Ganz Magen David
I thank Oren Mass for giving me Andre Neher’s Hebrew book, David Ganz (1541-1613) and his times, Jewish thought and the science revolution of the sixteenth century, Rubin Mass Ltd, Jerusalem, 1982.


Andre Neher mentions on p. 115 that the tombstone of the Jewish scientist David Ganz was the first Jewish tombstone, which carried on it the Star of David symbol (my translation, zeevveez):

Tombstone of David Ganz 
Source: 
Jewish Encyclopedia - 1906 Entry: GANS, EDUARD
Only after one Hundred year, in 1726, we find again this sign on a tombstone, this time in Bordeaux, and again in 1736 in Prague…on the grave of rabbi David Openheimer…at the end of the eighteenth century the emblem became more common. In the 20'th century, after two world wars reaped blood harvest of millions of people, the Magen David becomes prevalent in military graveyards as a mark of the grave of a Jewish combatant who fell for the sake of his homeland, alongside a cross that waves on his Christian colleague, on a crescent that waves on the grave of his Moslem colleague.
Note (zeevveez): There was a Magen David on the grave of David Milo in Tarent, Italy already in the 3 century C.E. so that Gans’ tombstone is the second that has a Magen David engraved on it.

The main reason that a Magen David waves on the grave of David Gans according to Neher is the title for Gans’ astronomy book, Magen David
In is a known fact that the hexagram which was called by the Arabs Solomon’s Seal, was called by the Jews in the Middle Ages the Star of David. From the 12th century to the 18th century this emblem appears in hundreds of documents, Jewish and non-Jewish, all of them in the field of practical Kabala and fortune telling (See: Abraham Yaari, Hebrew, Jewish Printers, Jerusalem, 1943) and there is no exception but David Gans’ Magen David book. One of the reasons he gave this title to his book was his first name, but at the same time he removed the mystery from the essence of this emblem. According to our knowledge he was the first in doing so, and we find here again the typical trait of his general attitude toward science. The Star of David for him is not some magical formula but a geometric formula. The Star of David is not a witchcraft tool, but the excellent emblem of astronomy.
Andre Neher quotes from Gans’ Magen David book:
When two triangles are drawn one on top of the other, people of our generation use to call it Star of David, saying that a drawing like this was engraved on King David’s shield, and because the main element of measurement is the measurement of the triangles.
Andre Neher comments:
In David gans’ period this emblem still didn’t had a symbolic national wide significance, and the opinion that the origin of this significance was in Prague seems right. The Jewish community of Prague was the only community that received in 1354 from King Karl the 4th the right to hoist a flag, which carried the Star of David. [See photo above] Then, of course, it had only the quality of a local emblem, without any significance to the Jewish people as a whole. The people generally accepted this emblem only after the eighteenth century, and only the Zionist national aspiration at the end of the 19th century made the Magen David a general symbol of Israel.
The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version
Another synagogue of the Byzantine period, at Eshtamoa in the territory of Judea, also shows this star. Drawn in curved lines somewhat similar to [the one found in Capernaum] it decorates the lintel of the entrance gate.

Marut Synagogue mosaic
Marut Synagogue was built from the fourth century CE until the seventh century. The excavations revealed a mosaic floor, dated to the sixth century.
Photo by archaeologist Zvi Ilan © who wrote in the description of the excavations that Professor Yigal Yadin suggested that the  image of a young man near sword, helmet and Scuta shield (Hebrew: Magen) is the image of David Ben-Yishai with Goliath's weapons
Image from Hebrew Wikipedia entry
Marut Synagogue
Professor Yadin's proposal implies that in the sixth century CE there was a visual "connection" between the shield (Magen) and King David, even though the shape of the Jewish star is missing in this mosaic

The ruins of the synagogue of Marut in Upper Galilee, dated as late as the eighth century, shows the biggest example found so far of this star. These data being correct, it would mean that synagogues could still be built in the Arab period, and that their designs can be determined from the remains.
The fact that this star appears several times in these ruins [of Caprnaum] might suggest that it played a special role in the thinking of the Jewish community of that time. But the existence of many other symbols next to it prevents us from seeing it as a specifically Jewish symbol. We can only conclude that it was acceptable to Jewish thought.
Also, the use of this symbol by communities outside the Land of Israel does not change this picture. Even a seventh-century tombstone in Taronto, South Italy, above the grave of the wife of Leon, son of David, which has a hexagram chiseled in front on the name David, is no proof to the contrary; nor do other tombstones of the early and later Middle Ages, which link the hexagram to the name David. A very picturesque example of such a linkage is a tombstone of a German Rabbi of the 17th Century. His name was David Gans, the word Gans meaning goose. A carving on his tombstone shows the bird on top of a hexagram, the latter may stand for David, or it may refer to his last work, Magen David.


David's star (Magen David) on the tombstones of the old Jewish cemetery in Prague Judaica Bohemiae, vol. 27(1991), nr. 1-2, p. 79-82:
The author has found in the cenetery altogether 17 tombstones with the David's star...in three cases, including the oldest tombstone from 1529 the name of Menahem or Mendl...It was assumed that the oldest David's star was on David Ganz tombstone from 1613 ...the name menahem is another name for the Messiah. It can be concluded that the undercurrent of this use was messianist meaning of this symbol' its connection with the expected arrival of the Messiah Ben David.

How to Say Peace Without Words

How to say peace between Israel and Palestine without words?
The lines inside six peace symbols form a Magen David which represents the Israelies, and the palestinian flag represents the palestinians. Wall Art found on Bethlehem separation wall by "experimentalbiografie" who published it on Flickr and let me publish it here.

Egyptian Six Pointed Star more than 5000 years old

A slate palette from a pre-dynastic cemetery at El Gerzeh (Girza), Egypt, from about 3500 -3000 BCE shows cow's head with a six-pointed star above its fore­head between the horns and five-pointed stars on the tips of its horns and ears

This palette is now in the Cairo Museum, exhibit number 34173, and is called Hathor (Egyptian goddess of the sky. Her principal animal form was a cow)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Social Game

Social Game Magen DavidThis picture is courtesy of Eyal who's" jewishlayout" site is full of Magen Davids.

Protest

This MagenDavid is made of stickers protesting against huge building corporations that try to evacuate tenants without paying them enough. The translation of the name of the organization behind this sticker is Organization of Neighbourhood Victims and its office is in Tel Aviv. 
Picture is courtesy of "experimentalbiografie" who published it on Flickr. 

Philosophical Implications

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.

Philosophical implications 
"What is straight?" As soon as we become aware that each line in our universe, even this short one: ––––––––––– of one inch length, is in fact an arc (notwithstanding the infinite smallness of its bend), the following questions arise:
"Is there anything straight in geometry and elsewhere?";
"What is straight(ness) altogether?";
"Since there are no absolute straight lines in the material universe, could there be absolute
straightness on the level of morals and ethics?"
The initial question "what is straight" may seem irrelevant in view of the short line of one inch, but what about the connecting lines between Rome and Moscow, or Washington and Beijing, or Tokyo and Sydney, etc? Every pilot knows that on these long distant flights he does not fly a straight line but an arc in accordance with the shape of the globe.
Likewise in ethics and morals. In our daily affairs it seems to us rather clear what is straight, and what is not. On a bigger scale, however, we should not simply start out "just straight ahead". If doing so, we would most likely miss the mark. Like the pilot for his long distant flight, we need very accurate and detailed instructions guiding us to our destination. We find such instructions in the Torah, that is, the Divine Instruction of our Creator and Maker. In this context it is important to realize that the Torah is based upon the dynamic principle, and not upon the mechanistic or static one. Evidence thereof we find in its whole concept as well as in many passages, yet foremost in the Divine Name itself: "I'll be that I'll be" (the common translation "I am that I am" is incorrect, perhaps due to a static, mechanistic world view).
Throughout history, from Nimrod the founder of Babel, down to Hitler and Stalin, many people tried to follow what deemed straight in their own eyes. They failed, and wrought havoc. That shows that the term straight in its moral and ethical sense should be understood from the perspective of our Divine destination and the shortest and safest way towards it, and not from our own projections. This holds true for the matters of our daily lives as well, from the kind and quantity of food we take via the work and business we do up to decisions in leading positions. With this point in view, the Torah enjoins:
"There is a way which seemeth right (lit. straight) unto a man but the end thereof is the way to death" (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).
Therefore, "You shall not do every man whatsoever is right (liter. straight) in his own eyes ... you shall do which is right (liter. straight) in the eyes of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 12:8; 13:19).
Singing probably in this train of thought, King David said: "... He leads me in the circuits of righteousness [ מעגלי צדק ] for his name's sake" (Ps. 23:3). The word circuits here indicates the circumference set by the Torah, but also hints at the beneficial flow of energy welling in the Torah's circuits. The Creator in his infinity both encompasses these circles and is the center thereof - as shown in our graph. We humans, created in his image, may try to imagine him and his laws of creation, but cannot fully comprehend either.
As scientists are learning more and more to ask their questions not against nature (as taught by Francis Bacon, and others) but in accordance with the nature of the things in order to get a valid answer, likewise should we learn in view of our relations with our surroundings to look at things not from the angle of our own ideas and ideals (as straight as they may look) but from the point of the Divine, the Eternal, the Creative Life Force. As there are no contradictions between the Divine revelation and true science, the return to the original Hebrew Bible, i.e. the Tanakh, and its kabbalistic foundation would be very conducive to this end. It would be truly enlightening, and beneficial as well.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Magen Dawid

Picture is copied fron the Jewish Encyclopedia and it shows the logo of the first Jewish organisation who adopted the Star of David as its logo in 1873.
I tried to find out what the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) has to say about the Star of David but searching for these words or for Magen David yielded nothing, because the article was under the title MAGEN DAWID. Later I found out that I could have found the article by searching for Shield of David.
Anyhow, the article was written by Joseph Jacobs and Ludwig Blau long before the Star of David found its central place in the Israeli flag. It was fascinating to reveal how fresh and informative is the article even today.

It starts by describing the form of the emblem:
The hexagram formed by the combination of two equilateral triangles;
Then goes on to describe its usages:
used as the symbol of Judaism. It is placed upon synagogues, sacred vessels, and the like… In the synagogues, perhaps, it took the place of the mezuzah
Close to the end of the article it refers to the source of the name:
and the name "shield of David" may have been given it in virtue of its protective powers.
It refers to the adoption of the shield of David as a Jewish national emblem:
1. Adopted as a device by the American Jewish Publication Society in 1873
2. the Zionist Congress of Basel
3. "Die Welt" (Vienna), the official organ of Zionism.
4. By other bodies.
5. The Chebra Kaddisha of the Jewish community of Johannesburg, South Africa, calls itself "Cebra Kaddisha zum Rothen Magen David," following the designation of the "red cross" societies.

The main part of the article is dedicated to the history of the Magen Dawid:
1. Introduction
2. Archeological artifact 
3. Literary sources
4. Cabala
5. Charles IV.
6. Usage by other cultures:
a. Hindus
b. Christians
7. The hexagram’s relation to the pentagram
8. Bibliography

Enigmatic sign in India

Picture is courtesy of Shira Golding who published it on Flickr under the title "Magen David available here".

The Dimensions

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.
In daily life we see space as composed of the three dimensions length, width, and height. If we wish to see time as the fourth dimension as customary in modern science, the relation between time and movement would become the fifth dimension (depicted by line b-c of the figure), and movement itself the sixth dimension (line a-b). However, it would then be more appropriate to speak of movement as the first dimension, time the second, and the relation between them as the third dimension, while length, width, and height would be the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimension respectively.

35-10. 9- Change or halt of movement.
In case the forces underlying the movements should change in their magnitude or in their relations to each other, time would change accordingly (e.g. the days and/or the years would become longer or shorter). Consequently, also life would be different, provided the changes would not be too drastic, as mentioned already in par. 4.
In case all movement in the universe would come to a halt, the dimensions of space (length, width, height), and along with them time, would collapse, for the existence of these depends on the movements and their underlying forces. This would be paramount to absolute death. It is for this reason that sphere shaped clusters of stars (which do not spiral like galaxies) are considered by science as lifeless.
All this shows that time and space are two different, yet related functions of the movements and their underlying forces which keep up the universe, and give it life.

35-1. 11- Our world
The world we live in, or, to be more correct, what our senses perceive as world, is depicted by the hexagon g-h-i-k-l-m, i.e. the middle field with its six edges (1+6). This world is indeed characterized by the number 7 -- as e.g. the 7 colors, 7 notes in music, 7 days, 7 chaqras, and in accordance therewith the seven- branched Menorah as a symbol of harmony and peace for man on earth. Within this frame, the Holy Scriptures do not teach history as linear sequence of events; they rather show us man's story - "his story" in light of the Divine.
The small triangles 1-6 around the middle field could depict the beyond, while the sign "oo" may indicate infinity, eternity.
The small triangle a-k-i could depict the first moments after the supposed "Big Bang". Probably it will forever remain beyond our capacity of research and comprehension. Before creation, or the "Big Bang" in modern terminology, there was anyway no time, nor were there movements or physical laws of the sort we know.
35-12. The curved lines.
We are accustomed to see the lines g-h, k-l, etc, as straight lines while in fact they are bent like their corresponding lines g'-h', k'-l', etc. In case we prolong the line: endlessly, it would go around the globe and return to its starting point, i.e. it is in fact a bow as part of a huge circle, the degree of its bend being equal to that of our globe.
In case we would allow the line to leave the globe and go on endlessly in the universe, i.e. if it would travel uninterruptedly through the space bent in itself, it would likewise return to its starting point. (There are indeed astronomers who are of the opinion that the farthest galaxies we see through our telescopes might be our own one and those nearest to ours - as if we would so-to-speak look into our back).
35-13. 12- The center
In the hexagram, the centers of the two equilateral triangles merge, and their harmonious joining forms the hexagon, the symmetric middle field. In our figure its center is marked by the number 7.We may see it as the hub, and resting place, in time and space, these being depicted by the lines a-b and a-c, while our "world view" of them may be represented by the line b-c.
This mathematical resting place, the center of the hexagram, and the center of our innermost being are essentially congruent and one. The more we bring the rest of our being closer to this center, the more we will be in harmony and peace with ourselves and with our surrounding, and the less we will feel a self-imposed time pressure.
Observing Shabbat every seventh day is in fact a sanctification of a certain time unit (equal approximately to one revolution of the globe) during which we abstain from the labor of the six days of the week - i.e we cease to operate forces of labor - and enter for a full day into the calm, or rest, enhanced by prayer and the like (the Hebrew word for prayer, תפילה, tefilah, could well be rendered as tuning into the Divine). Indeed, our sages summarized the essential difference between a slave and a free person in one word: time. A slave's time is not his own. True, a spiritually strong person may feel free in his thoughts even if he is enslaved by a Pharaoh, or be imprisoned by (former) Gestapo or KGB, but he is not free in time and movement. He cannot use his energies freely.
In our graph, we may freedom see symbolized by the number 7 (the hub of the wheel, so-to-speak. See also fig. 52). Geographically, this place of "Divine rest" is located in the "Even Shetiah", the center of Mount Moriah, or Temple Mount. As time and space are linked, so should Shabbath and the Sanctuary be linked. If separated, both of them suffer - a picture of our present world.

35-14. C. Shortcomings of the design
1.) Since the hexagram is merely a geometrical figure, it cannot fully depict the universe which is a multi-dimensional entity.
2.) The universe seems to expand (and perhaps may eventually contract). A geometric figure cannot depict such movements. It cannot show the actions and interactions of the different forces either. Besides, we should well keep in mind that there might be forces operating in the universe which are not yet known to us; nor do we fully know those which we think we know as e.g. electricity, gravity on the so-called material level; and love, hatred, will power etc on the so-called spiritual level. I use the word so-called because there is no clear-cut separating line between these two levels.
3.) The figure does not show the deflection of light rays in the universe caused by other heavenly bodies, and what that means for calculating the distances between them.
4.) Dot "a" of the figure depicts the creative force although the latter cannot be limited or described by a point. It could better be described as the primary starting point. Due to the hexagram's symmetry, it could be marked at anyone of its six points. In turn, this gives us a hint that actually we cannot "fix" the Creator and the beginning of Creation to a point of our choice.
5.) The "age of the universe" (as mentioned above in par. B,3) is calculated on the base of measurements taken from the situation our globe is in at present: a second is the 86400th part of a day, i.e. of the period needed by the globe for one revolution; and a kilometer is the 40000th part of the length of the equator. The speed of light is given by approximately 300000 km/sec (i.e. a flash of light would go seven and a half times around our globe within one second). Does our globe, and consequently also its equator, expand in the same rate as the universe? If so, would that change also "c", the constancy of the speed of light, and consequently also the "measure" of the distances in the universe? The hexagram cannot say anything about these questions. It pertains to the situation on our globe.
6) All this shows us that the hexagram is foremost a symbol for our situation on earth.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Hanukkah to all my Readers

Star of David on a Hanukkah Menorah reminds me of the beginning of this blog. One of my main objectives was, and still is, to circulate Uri Ofir's research, which claims that the origin of the Jewish Star of David is from the Tabernacle Menorah which was made by God right after the Exodus.
Picture is courtesy of brixton who published it on Flickr.

Coexist

Picture is courtesy of "marcusg" who published it on Flickr with the collowing caption:

[U2 lead singer] Bono said this was grafitti he saw... calls to peace between the religions, Islam is represented by the cresent moon, star of david for the Jews and Christian cross.
To me it looks like a modern version of the three rhombs idea that is discussed at length in Asher Eder's book THE STAR OF DAVID. 

Bono referred to this symbol as he sang, “Jesus, Jew, Muhammad, it’s true…All sons of Abraham. Father Abraham, speak to your sons. Tell them, No more!”
Bono first saw the “Coexist” symbol painted as grafitti on a wall in Chicago.

Coexist is actually the work of Piotr Mlodozeniec, a Polish graphic designer living in Warsaw. He created the CoeXisT image in 2001 for a contest hosted by The Museum on the Seam for Dialogue, Understanding and Coexistence in Jerusalem. 

Perspective of Time



The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.
We got accustomed to see time as a continuous flow from its beginning through the present into some future. In western culture, history is conceived as a chain of events to be taught in their chronological order. In that concept, an event can happen only once.
The term linear time gives expression to this concept. In that current of linear time we seem to ride on one of its waves downstream.
Yet, nearly every language knows also terms beyond this concept. For instance, we can use the word "once" both for events of the past and of the future: "Once there was...", "once there will be...". Another term going beyond the above concept is "ocean of time". An ocean may have different currents, but we, somewhere in the ocean, are surrounded by it. We may feel directions towards the left or towards the right; or north-south; etc.
In the Hebrew language, this notion found its expression in the words ים, yam, ocean; and יום, yom, day. The latter, by inserting the sign ו, wav, designates a position in the ocean. The plural form of both these words is ימים, yamim, which can be read days, or oceans. בלב הימים, in the middle (liter. heart) of the days, we are also in the middle (liter. heart) of the oceans, engulfed by them. The above linearity of time dissolves in the presence. We may see this awareness as the first requirement for prophecy, as well as for forgiveness. In pursuing the latter, we can retrieve past events, go through them again, but now with a different and more elevated attitude which enables us to loosen their impacts.
Our graph depicts all this impressively. Any confinement to the concept of linear time is expressed by the line b-c. There, we observe the movements, or events, in their chronological sequence, and order them accordingly in that kind of world view. But once we move toward the center, marked by the number 7 in our graph, we are not only like in the middle of the ocean of events and times, rather more portent we are in, or at least near, the center of our true innermost being, so-to-speak beyond and above the events of past and presence (these are marked by the lines a-b, and a-c). We have reached a stage of a broader and more comprehensive understanding.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Four Different Times

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by RubinMass Ltd.

Theological terms like אחרית הימים (aherit ha'yamim, latter days), or קץ הימים (qez ha'yamim, end of time) are to be understood on their level, i.e. subjectively: they mean to say that we human beings, individuals and eventually mankind as a whole, can raise to a spiritual level where time and infinity merge.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens”, is a well known saying (Eccles. 3:1). That is, the “circumstances” – namely the relevant forces – have to be ripe for the event in view. On the people’s complaint that “the time is not come”, the Prophet answered “The time is yours” (Hag. 1:2,4); that is, make yourselves ready, put yourselves together. We may also note the term “under the heavens”. It tells us that time concepts and feelings belong to the realm of our concepts and feelings; but above the heavens, “beyond”, there is Omnipresence.
In this context we should look briefly at the terms eternity and infinity. The former means endlessness of duration beyond or outside of time (time has by definition a beginning and an end!); while the term infinity relates to quantity, and thus it is used to describe endlessness of space. Yet these two concepts merge; for, logically speaking, there cannot be an infinity besides an eternity: Infinity of space and eternity of time are One.
This concept of oneness finds its verification also in the Hebrew language: There, one of the epithets of God is המקום (ha’maqom), literally the place, or the space. The gamatria of מקום (maqom) is 40+100+6+40=186; and that of the Four-Letter-Name (י+ה+ו+ה) is 10+5+6+5=26. When we square each of these components, we get:
102 + 52 + 62 + 52 = 100+25+36+25=186, which equals exactly the gamatrical value of מקום, maqom. We may conclude that creation of space (quantity) is but an amplification of the Lord’s potency, with time as one of its innate components. While we may draw conclusions from our observations of the created world about its Creator, He reveals Himself to us in the time aspect: Through Moses He made His Name known as “אהיה אשר אהיה (=I shall be that I shall be; not: I am that I am, as often rendered incorrectly); and the two signs of the Covenant with Israel have time components as essential ingredients: the circumcision at the eighth day; and the keeping of Shabbat every seventh day. Then, there are the Feasts (מועדים, “fixed dates”) of Pessah, Shavuoth (50 days after Pessah). and Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles); also Rosh haShannah, the Jewish New Year with the Day of Atonement 10 days thereafter.
Other basic commandments, too, as e.g. the respecting of the women’s periods, relate to times; and so do even those which involve places. Most noteworthy in this respect is the Temple Mount: Notwithstanding the fact that all creation is the Creator’s PLACE – His Omnipresence - (מקום, maqom), He has ordained a special place (maqom) as the place of worship for all nations (Deuter. 12:5 et al; Is. 56:7 et al): Mount Zion, the Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Although there can, logically speaking, be only one eternity, we use yet terms like in all eternities; from eternity to eternity; eternity and beyond. They are mathematically and logically incorrect and should be understood as an attempt to convey the idea of immense time spans we cannot comprehend anyway.
Very revealing is in this context the Hebrew term for eternity, נצח (nezah): it means also victory. Endless duration of the (Divine) prevailing force and victory are seen as identical.
Summing up we can say that there are four different times:
a) the universal time about which we know hardly anything notwithstanding different theories about a "Big Bang" and the supposed time which passed since then. More relevant to us are the astrological times of the zodiac.
b) The time governing our globe due to the constellations and movements of sun, moon, and earth. With regard to the age of the latter, we would first have to decide from which stage of its development we can speak of it as a planet, or globe.
c) Religious times as e.g. Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement); Shmittah; Yovel; or Advent in Christianity and Ramadan in Islam; etc. In fact each religion/culture knows specific time circles within bigger time circles, apparently in an attempt to raise man's consciousness above the limitations of the physical world.
d) Each one's personal time ("60 years old" counted from the date and hour of birth), given to us to grow therein physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our so-called biological clock is part of this personal time of ours.
In this context, we should take a brief look at a term which became very fashionable in recent years: going backwards in time. Based upon sub-atomic experiments in which particles appeared to move backwards in time, unrestraint fiction stories on the subject were sold widely for good money. There is no going backwards in time although from an abstract mathematical calculation it may sometimes appear to be so. We may compare this to a common experience. When traveling from west to east or from east to west we have to adjust our clocks, and when crossing the dateline, we even may have to deduct the date of a day, or add the date of a day. This does not make us one day or one minute younger, or older, although from a certain point of observation it may appear so. This would be true even in case we would travel in an airplane with a speed surpassing the rotation of the globe. The same holds in principle true also in view of the above mentioned sub-atomic experiments.
In view of the macrocosm, scientists have raised the question whether the universe which is at present conceived as expanding, would contract after reaching its culmination, and whether such a contraction would entail a reversal, or winding back, of time and of the processes which occurred during the time of expansion. It would not, of course. Reversal of a process (movement) may undo the effect of the preceding process but it cannot undo the process itself. Rather, the time (duration) needed for the reversal will have to be added to the time (duration) of the preceding process, notwithstanding the possibility that the times sensed during a process of contraction of the universe could be different from our present one.
The Zen saying quoted above: "What did your face look like before your father and mother were born?" does actually not relate to time. It is rather a question appertaining to quality, and could be answered by a kabbalistic term; "It was the face of Adam Kadmon" (the archetypal man, Gen. 1:26,27).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Star of Jacob

Uri Ofir wrote an aricle about the Jewish Origin of the Star of David that I translated and published here on my blog. Recently he sent me an article by Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni that had been published in the Hebrew newspaper "Hayom" on 1.7.66. Uri attached to this article the next explanation:
Attached is an article from 66 I got from Shlomo Titlebaum, general manager of Neot Kedumim, a few years after I published my research. It looks as if my findings match the findings of Mrs. Hareuveni as far as we talk about Lilium Candidum as the origin of the Star of David. Of course Mrs. Hareuveni didn’t touch the point that the Lilium Candidum design was a part of the Menorah in the Tabernacle. This point is important in any discussion about the Jewish Origin of the Star of David.
Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni opens her article by discussing the verse from Numbers 24: 17 where Balaam says that “A star will come out of Jacob”. In Hebrew the literal wording is: a star was stepped upon from Jacob. Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni claims that the star in this verse is the Star of David which was a metallic shield composed of six triangles. The soldier stepped upon the part that was between two triangles and thus the shield had been stuck into the ground
by the two pointed edges that stood on the ground. After stepping upon the shield the soldier immediately lay behind it, and it served him as a mini- post that protected him from the enemy arrows, while, at the same time, he could look through the shield and aim his bow. Moreover he could roll the shield on the ground to the left or to the right and change his position not only forwards but also to the sides… only this explanation makes it possible for us to understand the rest of the verse because using this wonderful weapon enabled the Israelites to crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni goes on to claim that the Shield of David was built like the Lilium Candidum
Which is the valley’s daffodil, or the rose of the valley mentioned in the Song of Songs, the diameter of which can be as long as eight centimeters. This lily was the model and the architectural source to the ancient building of the Star of David.
In the middle of the article appears a drawing of this Star of David and a caption that reads:
The Star of Jacob - the Star of David
The side that turns to the enemy.

Our Feelings Of Time

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.
These feelings are geared to sun and moon, as we saw already.
Sayings like "the time stands still", "time is running out", etc., describe subjectively feelings of ours concerning a certain passage of time. We calculate then with our brains the time we feel with our whole being. There is nothing wrong with these feelings. They exist like all the other feelings and are part of our human nature. They are caused by internal and external forces which influence our consciousness. The more we are immersed in an action, or taken in by it, the more we get the feeling that time is moving fast, or that it stands still, or that we are beyond time (as e.g. in deep meditation). However, time as a result of the movement of the planets and of the operation of other forces as well, goes on as normal. There is the view that acts like meditation, prayer, love, etc bring us closer to the Divine while in fact they open us more up to higher and subtler forces (like the so-called alpha-waves in the language of modern science). On the other hand, time seems not to pass in a sleepless night, in a long queue, in a prison cell...
On the other hand, sayings like "time heals", "time will do it", are erroneous since time is not a force, nor can any force be attributed to it; rather relevant forces need a certain duration (span of time) for their work of healing, etc, as said above. In cases of so-called miraculous instant healings, the healing forces put to work operate immediately, that is to say their operational time is extremely shortened.
Sayings like "time is money", "time is precious", etc, allude to energies we have subconsciously in mind when using such phrases (money represents energies; we have to work for it!). - "Racing against time" describes the attempt to outdo forces we have to cope with. As a general rule we can say, the more the time at our disposal gets limited the more precious it becomes. - "Timeless" we say about things we deem unaffected by tear and wear. - "Observing times", "organizing time", mean to tune in to certain energy patterns indicated by hours or other points of time, as e.g. in sunrise or sunset meditations, prayers, etc. (Indian classical music knows pieces of music to be played at certain hours only). - "To arrive in time" is to organize our energy pattern in a way that it coincides with that of the partner (be he a business colleague, a departing airplane, or whatever). - "Waste of time", "loss of time", mean in fact wasting forces, letting them continue to work without taking advantage of them. That means, in relation to us we let them idle. - Our car travel from home to office may take half an hour in a traffic jam instead of 10 minutes on a free road. In that case we are forced to let energies idle. In the "language" of our graph, the length of the line a-b is subjected to the length of line a-c. - When we grow older, "things go slower" due to decreased energy. Walking a mile in half an hour when we are young, we may in higher age need 40 minutes or more for the same distance.
The process of aging can have different aspects: that of wear and tear, i.e. forces are working upon us or upon an object; and/or that of maturing, "growing up" to something in which case we use forces for a certain end within a span of time given to us.

Swastica Inside a Hexagram

Swastica (Swastika) inside a hexagram on a gate at the foot of the stairs up to the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. Picture is courtesy of yboxochoc from Flickr.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Known to the ancient Egyptians

The WWW is full of nasty articles about the Star of David. The authors of these articles are trying to prove that the six pointed star is mean and that using it is idolatry. They quote all kinds of unreliable sources and add a lot of wishful thinking of their own. Usually I don’t give them a stage on my blog but today I got the Brit-Am Now-820 and because I liked Yair Davidiy’s Answer to Michelle, I’ll make an exception.

Yair Davidiy Answer to Michelle:
You sent me extracts from an article claiming that the Star of David is the sign of Saturn etc
The article had a lot of quotation e.g

"The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia declares that the SIX-POINTED
STAR... according to the Rosicrucian... was known to the ancient
Egyptians." (Graham, p. 13)

There is no proof of this
Even if it was true (and I think it is not) it would not prove anything
I am afraid to say that The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia may not always be
such a good source and "the Rosicrucians" are even worse

DR. Moshe Gaster Article About the Magen David

I read in the Israel Museum library an article titled "Magen David" by Dr. Moshe Gaster, (1856- 1939),  preeminent scholar, Rabbi of the Spanish community in London, Zionist, and friend of Theodore Hertzl. The article had been published in Rimon- Milgroim, Jewish periodical, in 1926, if I’m not mistaken. Dr. Moshe Gaster claims there that he solved the riddle of the source of the Star of David emblem:
undoubtedly at first the six pointed like the five pointed served mainly for secret numerical speculations… In this image of six points it's possible to see as well a star emblem. Connecting this emblem to the name of David originates doubtless from the source of the messianic idea… As known the verse “there shall step forth a star out of Jacob”, in Numbers 24:17, was interpreted already on days of Hashmonean about the anticipated Messiah, and from here also the myth of the star in the new testament, that unquestionably originates from this ancient tradition. And more than that this interpretation takes place on the days of Bar Coziva who, on the basis of that verse, nicknames himself Bar Cochva (the son of the star), and to this nickname rabbi Akiva and his ardent students also agree. And it was quite natural to tie the same image of the star to the name of David, the father of the fathers of the Messiah. The star became the symbol of the Messiah, and in this way became also renowned as the emblem in the shield of King David. In other words the star in the shield of King David is the national emblem of the Hebrew people.

Dr. Gaster attached to the enclosed article a photograph of an amulet from the tenth century(See above) that was found in the Cairo Genizah. The amulet is covered with dense Hebrew writing; on top of it appear five Stars of David. Rabbi Gaster surmises that the source of each such amulet is hundreds of years before it was found because:
Every amulet and magical combination that we find now unquestionably had been copied from more ancient amulet because it is forbidden to change even one letter if you don’t want it to lose its power.
Which means that Jews recognized the Magen David and used it in their amulets hundreds of years before it was found in the Genizah.

Dr. Gaster also notes that:
To our wonder it was also found in the British Museum on the margins of pages of Greek magic charms from the second or third century.

It’s a pity Dr. Gaster didn’t give us some more accurate details about these Greek magic charms, because I’d like to see them.

Dr. Gaster’s interpretation to the verse “there shall step forth a star out of Jacob” fits Uri Ofir’s findings in his research about the Jewish Origin of the Star of David where he says that Rashi and Ibn Ezra interpreted that Balaam prophesized in this verse about King David. These interpretations were certainly known to Dr. Gaster.

Relativity of time

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.

Relativity of time 
In the previous chapter we reiterated the consensus about our notions of hours, days, and seasons. However, when looking closer, through a magnifying glass so-to-speak, we will notice that our time concept is somewhat rounded off, and subjective as well.

When someone in England or Scandinavia enjoys a nice summer day on the beach, he is hardly aware that it is winter on the southern hemisphere - at the same time. He would have to remind himself of that if he were to fly to Melbourne the other day, and to pack his winter clothes.
Everyone going, driving, or flying from say Moscow to Paris has to adjust his clock according to the local time. Usually this is done at the time of arrival. But how would he have to adjust his clock if for some reason he needs to know every minute, or after every kilometer of travel, the exact time?
Even this simple example can give us an idea about the intricate inter-relatedness between the calculation of the exact position in the three-dimensional space and its angle to the "two big lights which shall be [unto us] for signs and seasons and days" (and the hours, minutes, and seconds as fractions thereof). In addition to these four dimensions - the three conventional dimensions of space and the interrelated time - we have to take into account also the speed of the travelling body in relation to the movements of the other bodies (earth, sun, other airplanes, etc). This needs to be done e.g. for calculating the trajectories of missiles and of satellites. Based upon considerations like these, modern science developed the concept of space-time (in contrast to the conventional space and time) to indicate the inter-relatedness between these components.
Contemplating such thoughts, Albert Einstein developed his theories of relativity (in 1905), and the mathematician Herman Minkowski introduced (in 1908) the concept of the "union of space and time", or in brief, space-time.
Besides revolutionizing science, these new concepts settle the age-old philosophical dispute over objectivity or subjectivity: By nature, we are subject to the latter. For instance, we perceive the sun as a small ball although its diameter is more than a hundred times bigger than that of our globe. We also perceive the diameters of sun and moon as equal although the latter is even smaller than the earth. What is more, we derive all our measurements --meters, miles, furlongs; days, years; light-years, etc-- from subjective observations pertaining to our globe, standardize them conveniently, and take the results thereof for objectivity. There is nothing wrong with that as long as we are aware that they have no bearings on other planets (Mars, Jupiter, etc), not to speak of other solar systems, as said already.
Our hexagram with its straight lines depicts aptly these conditions we live in.
In the wake of the above mentioned modern considerations, the term absolute time became fashionable. However, this term is but one of the many examples for modern inflation and confusion of language. Time is by definition relative, relative to the position(s) of the body(ies) in view at a given moment. However, since no two bodies can at the very same instant be at the very same place, each of them has its own position and therefore its own time. The differences between them are usually so minute that they are of no tangible consequences for our daily lives, and so we can forget about them. But to speak of absolute time is more than exaggerated. Even viewing on TV a life broadcast lacks behind the actual event the time the electric waves need to cover the distance from there to the receiver (e.g. from one side of the globe to the other approximately 1/7 of a second).
There is no absolute time in the universe either as everything is moving relatively to everything else. Moreover, the velocities as well as the distances measured in light years are so huge that they don't allow to conceive of simultaneity.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Meaning of the Hexagram For the Native American People

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version

Excerpt from a letter received from the Sunray Meditation Society, Box 87, Huntington, Vermont 05462 (USA), dated May 20, 1983:
Thank you for your kind letter of 29 December.... The triangle is a basic concept and design element for the Native American people. The single triangle represents the building fires of Creation, and the double triangle represents a physical manifestation of those creative building energies which begin as an idea in the light or in the fire.... In our work, we understand the double triangle as expressing the wisdom: 'As it is above, so it is below'... the union of spirit and matter, Heaven and Earth. We experience this basic form as relating to a right relationship with Earth, devotion to the manifestation of an ideal form - knowing the abundance and harmony of the universe and choosing consciously to draw these qualities into the right manifestation in our lives on Earth. The double triangle also symbolizes the clan, the social form through which we know ourselves as a group working together for the good of all...

Jewish Leaders who were Against Using the Star of David

When the Star of David began to be used widely in the ninteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was strongly opposed by some Jewish prominent figures:

The poet Judah Leib Gordon, 1830 -1892, one of the most distinguished pioneers of Haskalah in Russia, claimed, it originally was used by pagan Druids.

Hungarian rabbi Leopold Löw, 1811- 1875, said it was derived from German myths.

  • B. Vajda, in Zur Gesch. des Davidsschildes, in Magyar Zsidó Szemle, 1900, xvii. 310-322; thought that it is probable that it was the Cabala that derived the symbol from the Templars (see Vajda in "Magyar Zsidó Szemle," xvii. 314).

Joseph Gutmann ,The Jewish sanctuary,  Brill,1983 Isbn 9004068937, 9789004068933 p. 21 

As late as the 19th century, Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Spector [1817-1896], of Kovno, Lithuania, warned the local Reform congregation to remove the Magen David which graced the roof of their house of Worship

Moritz Güdemann, (1835-1918) wrote in 1916:
Men of Jewish learning cannot accept the fact that the Jewish people would dig out of their attic of superstition a symbol or emblem that it shares with stables
Hillel Roiter in Kountrass, April 2000, p. 54, quotes Gershon Sholem who wrote that Jacob Reifman, one of the leaders of the Haskalah movement, objected to the use of the Star of David, using the PSALM verse 106:35:
But were amingled among the heathen, and learned their works

Measure of Time

The following paragraph is from a new chapter, The Time Space Correlation, which doesn’t appear on Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd.

35-5. Measure of time
The time measure we use in our daily lives (hours, years, etc) is depicted by the line h-i, i.e. that part of the line a-c which relates to us on our globe (cf. Gen.1:14,15). For an astronaut in his spaceship, or for a dweller on Mars or Venus - if there should be one - it would be different, not only since the days and years of the other planets are different timewise, but because the underlying forces and their combinations there, and consequently their effects, are different from those on our globe.
For the daily needs on our globe, our calculation (measurement) of time is based upon the following movements:
a) the earth's rotation. One revolution of the globe gives us the concept of one day (day and night together, that is, irrespective of longer and shorter periods of daylight in accordance with the seasons). The subdivision of a day into 24 hours (with 24 x 60 = 1440 minutes, or 1440 x 60 = 86400 seconds) is arbitrary, agreed upon for our conveniences. It derives from the sexagenary system developed by the Babylonians. As it is somewhat abstract, peoples in ancient times applied also other systems. For instance, the night was not subdivided into 12 hours but into 4 night watches. Before the invention of clocks, the watchman had to announce the times. Another example would be the duration of one inhale/exhale cycle of a man in rest which served as a measurement for smaller time units - it came up to approximately three and a half seconds.
b) the earth's orbit. A year is the time span our globe needs for one orbit. Our calendars render this time span as 365 days since the globe revolves approximately 365 times during one orbit. The western calendar balances the difference between orbit and rotation by introducing every 4 years a leap year with an additional day, the 29th of February.
When we say about someone that he is 60 years old, for example, we might say as well that he took part in 60 of the earth's orbits. However, such a saying would concentrate on the orbits and neglect many other forces which effect us during that period, too (as e.g. chemical, biological, spiritual forces). In fact, even for two people born at the very same minute, the 60 orbits or years have different meanings for each of them.
c) the earth's tilting. It makes up for the four seasons, with the equinoxes every 21.3. and 21.9. Perhaps Gen. 8:22 contains a hint that this tilting came about only after the Flood (it reads there: "summer and winter ... shall not cease...").
d) The waxing and the waning of the moon. The time span between one new moon and the next gave men the concept of one month. The earth rotates approximately 354 times during 12 moon months.
Most of the ancient cultures conceived the moon cycle as more important than the sun cycle, and consequently based their calendars upon the former. Islam whose followers comprise approximately 1/4 of the globe's population, follows the moon calendar. Because the moon year is shorter than the sun year, non-Muslim observers see the famous month of Ramadan (the month of fast) "wandering backwards" through the sun calendar, while the Muslim may look at the western calendar as "moving ahead" in comparison to the moon calendar he is accustomed to. Islam which originated in the hot desert of Saudi Arabia, inherited from ancient Babylon the moon calendar, obviously because the moon which governs the relatively cool nights is felt by the desert peoples as more beneficial than the burning sun. Besides, due to the climatic and geographical conditions there, they engage foremost in shepherding and trade, and not so much in agriculture which cannot be geared to the moon cycles only.
Focusing on the moon allows also for the concept that man should be like this heavenly body which reflects the light of the sun in purity. If man has waned for one reason or the other, he should, like the moon, always be ready to wax again in the light of the Divine.
The different calendars are not random choices. What we call western calendar, is in fact a northern calendar, i.e. it was developed and adopted by northern peoples who felt strongly the benefit of the light and the warmth of the sun. Moreover, the sun calendar allows for easier calculations of interest rates, salaries, etc: it is trimmed to the needs of industry and trade. Adhering to these needs, Christianity since the days of Emperor Constantine adapted to the sun calendar and conveniently depicts its founder as the sun of the universe. By doing so, it justified the continuation of observing the ancient pagan Sunday as day of worship.
In contrast, for ancient agricultural societies the moon cycles were of paramount importance as they give the times for seasonal sowings and plantings. It is for this reason that the festivals, most of them with an agricultural aspect, are tied to the moon (new moon or full moon).
Israel, located between north and south, and between desert and civilization, developed already in ancient times a combined sun-moon calendar (based upon Gen. 1:14-16 where we are told that both the big and the small light, i.e. sun and moon, shall be unto us for signs and seasons and days). In order to synchronize the moon and the sun cycles, the Hebrew calendar introduces seven leap years with a 13th moon month into each cycle of 19 sun years.
Everyone of these three calendars starts counting with a certain event: The Muslim's calendar commences with the Hejira, the day of Muhammed's escape from Mecca to Medinah; Christians count their calendar from the birth of Jesus; while the Jewish calendar begins with Adam, the father of all mankind (Gen. 5:1).
Other calendars base upon different observations and calculations. For instance, the ancient Persians tied their calendar to Sirius. Mathematically it was more accurate than the sun calendar, but it was also more abstract, and this may be a main reason why the cultures based on it did not prevail. - The Essenes of 2000 years ago tried to invent a more schematic calendar which, however, is not yet fully understood. - Modern physics invented for its needs a very precise atom clock, completely independent of the heavenly bodies and their movements. - Hypothetically, we could conjecture many other devices for measurement of time. For instance, the inhale-exhale cycle of a sleeping man served in ancient times as a time gauge, as mentioned already. Or, we could use the duration of a certain chemical process (as e.g. dissolving an iron ball of 1 c.c. in a given acid) as base for a time unit, and could build timepieces (watches) accordingly. While measurements taken from our bodies and its functions (as e.g. inhale-exhale cycle; cubit; foot; etc) differ from people to people and are not accurate enough for our modern needs, atomic or chemical processes, as accurate as they may be, have no tangible bearings in our daily lives, and do not match our sense of time. They have their own times, independent of the time we relate to.
e) This brief excursion into different calendars and other devices for measurement of time may demonstrate:
aa) time is not something independent, on its own. It is related to movements which are but changes of positions (not necessarily mechanical positions), and which have their bearings on us;
bb) our time concept, although based upon nature events, is very subjective, suiting best the daily needs of the respective individuals or groups. This holds true in view of the different calendars, but within them also in view of specific affairs.
An example may demonstrate this point: A venerable car factory, on occasion of clearing its yards, finds in 1991 in a corner a car built in 1928. After supplying it with a new battery and new tires, it works properly. In 1992 they manage to sell it as a unique piece, and the new owner applies for the license which he gets finally in 1994. He decides to exhibit it as a curiosity, and brings it only in 1995 on the road, brand new. How old is the car? Of course, its technical standard is that of 1928, i.e. in 1995 it is 67 years old, but according to the time of usage it is one year old. It is for this reason that we look in such cases at the wear and tear (mileage) not less than at the year of manufacture. That means to say we take different time bound impacts on the car into consideration.
f) In our context of measuring time, it might be of interest to ponder also on the question whether, and/or how, we would feel a change in the velocity of the globe's movements (rotation, orbit), if we had no clocks nor any other time piece which would show us the deviation from the present velocity? Suppose, the globe would slow down its rotation rate from 24 hours to, say, 30 hours of our present time concept. How would we notice it? Probably not immediately. Only within some length of time would we notice climatic changes, and would feel some unease, or disturbance, in our metabolisms which are attuned to the (present) 24 hours day. Provided the changes were not too severe, we would need some while to adjust to the new situation.
We may muse also about the question what kind of time concept we would have developed if our globe would have several moons (like Jupiter) instead of the one we know; or if our globe would orbit around a double sun (like Sirius)?
These hypothetical examples may show how much we made ourselves dependant on our clocks, even to such a degree that more often than not we delude ourselves by "thinking" the universe is geared to them.
g) We saw that time concepts are subjective, pertaining to our needs. Measurements which give these concepts their scientific touch, are worked out in the left brain which then translates it back to our consciousness. In our modern western world this leads to an over-emphasize of left brain attitudes. Children whose left brain is not functioning fully yet, have hardly any concept of measured time. Growing up into the world of the adults, they have to be trained to go by the clock. As our two brains, the right and the left, are anatomically balanced, our usage of their capacities --the analytical and the intuitional one-- should be balanced as well. Our graph which expresses many symbolic meanings, can serve as a symbol for such a balance, too.