You're invited to join us as we continue our informal monthly Torah study group. We'll meet on an alternate date this month to "pass over" the Labor Day weekend. Passover Villagers, Steve & Sandy, have graciously offered to host at their home in Agoura.
At the end of this email below my signature are some reflections from those present last time, unattributed but verbatim.
We meet again on:
September 10, 2016
10 am till Noon
Home of Steve & Sandy in Agoura (near 101 and Liberty Canyon)
RSVP for exact address and directions:
Skype has been working pretty well for us. We've had multiple participants from far-flung locales (practically) sitting in the living room with us. Send me a Skype contact request (danbrumer) and you can join us from wherever you are.
As always, visit the blog for lots more: http://passovervillage.blogspot.com/
See you soon!
Thoughts and reflections from last time, August 6th:
The comment I remember was that generations of Rabbis altered Torah to reflect their interpretations. This reminded me of "The DaVinci Code" where the author posited that the original teachings of Christ were much more in line with modern morals (equality of the sexes, etc) than the "rewritten" teachings that became the 16-20th century church. My summation of Amos was the theme of free will: that there is a natural order of consequences whereby if we as individuals and as peoples do the wrong things too many times (all 4 directions) that the higher power (Hashem) will punish us, according to what Amos prophesized, but that if we abstain from bad choices in time, and return to treating each other in accordance with the commandments, that we will flourish. My take home message is that we have to decide which prophets to believe, ie. ultimately look in our own hearts and be our own moral compass.
When I can look Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange -- my youth.
-- Sarah Teasdale
1) There is a recurring theme of "You get to sin 3 times, but the fourth your are screwed."
2) The idea of encirclement is tied to the number four. Israel is surrounded by enemies. Rich people sin against the small farmer by encircling his land. To encircle someone on 4 sides is to surround them, and permit no escape.
3) Threats of Divine punishment are meted out against Israel as well as its neighbors.
4) This is in keeping with Amos' idea that G*d is the G*d of all nations, not just Israel.
5) Economic justice is more important than ceremony. It is easy to imagine Amos raging against the 1%.
6) I do not remember Sarah's exact point, but it was along the lines that the prophets' Hell fire-Damnation talk is good theater.
7) Amos's rant ends on a positive note, with images of juicy mountains and perfectly productive land.
Amos (/ˈeɪməs/; Hebrew: עָמוֹס , Modern Amos, Tiberian ʻāmōs) was one of the Twelve Minor Prophets. An older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, Amos was active c. 750 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II, (786–746 BC). He was from the southern Kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern Kingdom of Israel. Amos wrote at a time of relative peace and prosperity but also of neglect of YHWH's laws. He spoke against an increased disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor. His major themes of social justice, God's omnipotence, and divine judgment became staples of prophecy. The Book of Amos is attributed to him.
1. Was frustrated with reading the “prophecy” in real time but came to appreciate its metaphorical significance. It seemed to foretell nothing but bad actors and bad motivation (by the Israelite’s neighbors and by the Jews themselves). Forced myself to read ahead to the very last section and , lo and behold, the wisdom of the prophecy seemed to show itself in God’s forgiveness and the patience and the righteousness of earthly (human) endurance .
2. I did like the poetic phrasing of the “…not 3 but 4” passages…repeated several times, as a lyrical presentation of some pretty NASTY content.
3. Also appreciated Avrahm’s interpretation of the metaphor presented in Amos, re: the ‘wisdon’ and ‘eldership’ of Amos speaking about good and bad, action and consequences, in such a matter-of-fact kind of way to demonstrate that there is both virtue and evil in all our souls…hence the struggle to find peace and justice in everyday life.
And this passage from Wiki was interesting discussing the implications of Social Justice that we speak of regularly (and did so last Sat)
The ancient exhortation to what in modern times would be considered social justice is expressed by the voice of God in Amos' teachings. Amos is told by God that the Israelites are going to face divine intervention as institutionalized oppression was running rampant in Israel. God expressed this institutionalized oppression by saying that the Israelites were practicing religiosity without righteousness. By oppressing the poor and failing to practice justice the Israelites were behaving unrighteously; social justice was to be enacted as a core of God’s message in Amos' prophetic teachings.
Within a few speeches associated with the Civil Rights Movement and political address, Amos' teachings can be found. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech “I Have a Dream”, King quotes the Book of Amos. The enticing “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” was alluding to Amos' message of social justice and by doing so heightened the morale of the oppressed African American population during the Civil Rights Movement (Amos 5:24 ). Similarly and using the very same quote, Bernie Sanders referenced Amos' in his campaign speech, rhetorically implying he stands for social justice.
I hardly remember this am but it was lovely: I do remember all the imagery of destruction, fire and brimstone but ending with that beautiful passage of honey dripping from the mountains, and "everything right with the world"----that was so beautiful; may it come to be!
The One Who Is says:
Days are coming when your bounty is so great
that the season for plowing will overlap the season
when the pressing of grapes will overla the planting
of new seed;
when the moutains shall drip wine
and all the hills shall wave with grain.
I will restore you....
I will plant upon your land,
and never again shall you be uprooted from it....