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About Meir-Simchah

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  1. Here in Israel, we just observed our Memorial Day and celebrated our Independence Day, which occur every year back-to-back. Talking with my chevruta (close friend and study partner -- like Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin in Yentl), we started to unpack the relationship between the two days and what it means for them to be conjoined. Memorializing our fallen soldiers and civilians, in short, gives context to our independence. It's not just that they died so that we could live here, but that they, and we, are willing to take that risk to be here, that we share the knowledge that some things are more important than personal safety or one's own little life. That led us into comparing two heavy questions: What Would You Die For? & What Would You Live For? My chevruta believes that they are very different questions with, likely, very different answers. I suspect he's right on a practical level, but on the level of principles, it seems to me that they both press us to define What Does This World Mean To You? As God asks Adam: "Where are you?" I'm curious what you all think. (We recorded our conversation knowing that it might become an episode of our podcast, and it did. If you're interested, here's a link: http://www.holymadness.org/ - it's episode 16.)
  2. The book doesn't mention God's name but it clearly shows he is at work. But she was planning to approach the king and ask for the salvation of her people, so it is the same thing. Okay, but... What is the language of the holy book telling us?
  3. So, very interestingly, today it's called the Fast of Esther. And when Esther asks Mordechai to ask all the Jews to fast, she asks that they fast specifically for her, i.e., not for the salvation of the people. I have my own theory of what's going on, but I'd be very curious to hear y'all's thoughts first.
  4. And it's up! Episode 12a of the Holy Madness "Purim and the Book of Esther" -- a very accessible and rapid overview of Purim and the Book of Esther -- holymadness.podbean.com :-) We're also on iTunes. If you like it, you might consider joining the Facebook page "Holy Madness - The Show" and/or the discussion group "Holy Madness - The Discussion Group". Happy Purim!
  5. So I thought it was really interesting how @theophilus wrote: "It [the Book of Esther] demonstrates God's sovereignty and shows how he often places individuals in positions where they can take some action to carry out his work" and how @Innerfire89 wrote: "a reminder to Christians of how God is in control of all" because the Book of Esther doesn't have a single mention of any of God's names! Interesting, right?! So, while I agree that God is the ultimate sovereign, I feel that the Book of Esther puts to us some question about, or suggests some different way of relating to, God's sovereignty. What do you think?
  6. Thanks @theophilus and @Eric T. ! I just did an overview of Esther and Purim on my podcast, Holy Madness - The Show (holymadness.podbean.com) :-) But we won't post it till Thursday evening! I'll update here! In short, we celebrate Purim with four mitzvot: singing the Book of Esther at night and then again in the morning, making a big festive meal, giving a gift of at least two different kinds of food to at least one friend (for their meal), giving monetary gifts to at least two people who are impoverished (for their meals) :-)
  7. Shalom! This is Meir-Simchah, the Israeli Jew again. I'm wondering, how do you and your community relate to the Book of Esther? And do you or your church mark Purim (these days of the month of Adar) in any way? Thanks!
  8. Wow! That's a fascinating position. Is this your unique idea, or is this official dogma or a whole group? What does it mean to not be accountable to the 10 commandments? Is it permissible then to murder, adulter, worship idols, deny the unity of God? Or is all that stuff still bad but for some other reason? (Btw, why focus on the so-called "10 Commandments" when there are hundreds of other commandments in the Hebrew Bible?)
  9. I raised this question because I recently did a podcast episode on happiness (holymadness.podbean.com, episode 8, "The Pursuit of Happiness"). Our interviewee (a Jewish American Israeli in his thirties, like me) tried to put forth an idea of happiness that was divorced from his theology, even though in his personal life the two are intertwined. He had a very specific reason for doing this. He wanted to show that the self-interested pursuit of happiness -- a kind of epicurean happiness -- ultimately leads a person to God. Actually, he was even more specific. He spoke specifically about coming to bitachon in God, which I'd tentatively translate 'trust' in God. What do you think about that? (If you check out the podcast, you might find episode 9 especially interesting. I kick off the episode by asking my co-host, why don't you accept Jesus as your lord and savior? (Neither of us does.) He recovered quickly from his surprise and came back with a very interesting answer.)
  10. Hello Meir-Simchah, I like to think of happiness as something we pick up as we walk through life. You know the saying: "Happiness is a warm puppy." The same could be said of playing or talking with a toddler. We could be in dire straits, in our lives, and still grab a little happiness on our journey. I guess what I'm trying to say is: Happiness is not a state we dwell in. If we always exuded happiness, they would probably put us in the funny farm. Yours, Deade It sounds like you and @just_me are answering along similar line, in terms of the concrete and experiential.
  11. This is really an amazing idea! So, what gives God pleasure?
  12. Is there a problem with the happiness being a function of what you get out of Christ?
  13. Yes! That's exactly the sort of answer I was looking for.
  14. @Hidden Manna @William thank you! Your responses are very helpful! I need to think further about this. But quickly, to answer Hidden Manna's question, no, I do not believe that Jesus is and was the messiah. (If you're interested, I've talked about why over here: https://www.christforums.org/forum/christian-ministries-christian-only/missions-evangelism/28677-a-muslim-on-the-gospel.) Now... Which to me begs the question, why? And you immediately gave an answer: Your reading of Gal 3:21 is interesting because, in light of Hidden Manna's OP, I would have read love and law as contrasting with one another. That's not how Jews read it at all, but that's how I (very ignorantly, I suppose) thought Christians would read it. So your reading, in which love is part of the law, puts together the categories more like we do, and I didn't expect that. Hidden Manna, is this something you disagree with? Gal 2:21 falls back into (what sounds to me like) circular reasoning (this came up in the thread with Sue). It isn't if you take the NT as granted. But if you're me looking at the NT wondering, well, where did Jesus, Paul, et al get that from? then it looks a bit like one of Escher's beautiful drawings where everything is rests on everything else. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e8/Escher_Waterfall.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/ba/DrawingHands.jpg/300px-DrawingHands.jpg Re wondering where the NT got various ideas from... Yes, you're correct, it's a quote from Shema. I mentioned Hillel because he is the paradigmatic case of finding one principle for the whole law, and his principle has to do with not being hateful. Rebbi Akiva may be a better example; he he cites Leviticus 19:18. And very interestingly, "the righteous man lives on his faith" is another candidate for a fundamental principle grounding the law. (These are all discussions in the Talmud.)
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