Hello everyone! I have very good news. Some of you must have read the work the great talmudic and biblical scholar, Professor Henry J., who is the author of several books that combine impeccable scholarship and a remarkably innovative approach. So much so, that some conservative rabbis say the professor’s views border on iconoclastic blasphemy! However, this is far from the truth. Professor Henry J. also has a doctorate in psychology, and his hobby is to analyze ancient personalities and their behavior, based on his deep knowledge of human nature and of the ancient sources. Incidentally, his name is a pseudonym -- the professor is too modest to reveal his real name.
I had the honor of receiving an e-mail from the professor, who had read some of this blog. He feels that there is much I should be enlightened about regarding the character of Hillel the Elder. He likes Hillel (who wouldn’t?) but he feels that the views about him are more hagiography and blind admiration than need be, and the truth is that he was a very different person from what he appears to be in the legends about him. Here is the professor’s remark about the famous snowy roof legend; I sincerely hope to have more remarks in the future. I quote Professor Henry J.:
One day Hillel wanted to enter the Academy and study. Since he had no money, the guard did not allow him to go inside. Hillel climbed on the roof and leaned over the opening of the chimney. The official, and utterly wrong version, claims that Hillel was willing to lie on the roof in the snow so that he could listen to the sages. The truth is completely different. Hillel went on the roof to block the sunlight so the people inside the Academy could not study. "If I am not studying," he later said to his friend, the student Chavtaliahu Gazit, "no one else is studying."
Even though I truly respect Professor Henry J., I personally find this version very difficult to believe. The wording, indeed, sound exactly like a quote from Hillel, but still... it is complex. So I sincerely hope to hear from readers! Any comment about this subject is welcome, and please feel free to accept or object. The professor and I will both welcome your views. Incidentally, does anyone know anything about the other student, Chavtaliahu Gazit? I could not find a source about him.
Hi everyone. This week there is a new posting on Personal Histories instead of the usual posting for The Golden Rule. It's a wonderful story -- but I must warn you it is strong and perhaps even frightening... Here is the direct link, or just click on the Personal Histories tab. http://ililarbel.weebly.com/4/post/2013/03/the-mother-of-the-dreams.html
The relative peace, fragile as it was, did not last. The trouble began in Rome, and spread to Syria, and from there, to Judea. Julius Caesar was murdered. The event is so well known, there is hardly a need to describe it here, but one of the men involved, Cassius, became extremely important to the affairs in Judea, since unfortunately he did not share Caesar’s good opinion of the country.
The disturbance in Syria was also threatening to Judea. A man named Bassus Caecilius formed a plot against Sextus Caesar, Herod’s great friend, and unfortunately, succeeded in murdering him. He took over some of the Sextus’ army and made himself the ruler of the country. Sextus generals of both infantry and cavalry marched against him, and a terrible war broke over a large part of Syria.
As we are now entering an exciting time in Judea, with such players as Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, and Herod on the scene, it is important to stop and pay attention to an interesting phenomenon. Most of us, when we read history, tend to divide the characters into good guys and bad guys. Who is good and who is bad depends on your own background, but no matter how you feel about the actors on the stage of history, good versus evil is a simplistic way of looking at it. For example, being raised in Israel, my take as a young student was “Rome bad, Judea good.”You might extend it to “Rebels against Rome good, Rome squashing rebellion bad.” Now, after many years of reading history, I can smile at the silliness of this approach and acknowledge that the level of sophistication it shows resembles a video game where you must shoot all the bad aliens. Rebellions in Judea were often extremely stupid and conducted by deranged religious fanatics or power-hungry egomaniacs. The Romans were often extremely harsh and unreasonable, as conquerors often are, but on the other hand, they did not spend their entire time figuring new ways to torment the Jews. Life is complex, and sometimes the Romans were quite reasonable and even friendly.
This has nothing to do with the current Book in Progress, The Golden Rule, but I simply have to post it and this is a good spot for it since it's in a blog form. Someone took one of my books VERY seriously and he is calling me The Devil!!!!! I can't stop laughing. Here it is in its entirety.
Anunnaki Ultimatum: End Of Time: Autobiography And Explosive
Revelations Of A Human Anunnaki Hybrid
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Fair Warning to Christians, October 16, 2012
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Anunnaki Ultimatum: End Of Time: Autobiography And Explosive
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She equates Ba'al to the supreme lord of the universe and blatantly denies the resurrection of Christ. If the devil were ever to write a disinformation book, this would be it. Don't be fooled. Since the time before the flood the fallen have tried in vain to create the "perfect man" in which to
incarnate, and have not had success. Almost as a "rub your nose" in it event, the True Lord creates the Perfect Man in a barn, while Nibiru hung in the sky as the Star of Bethlehem; a nightlight for his crib. You have to love the irony. :)
Unfortunately, there is no proof for what I am about to tell you about the man who fearlessly spoke to Herod and the Sanhedrin. (See previous segment). From all accounts it seems that the man could have been one of Hillel’s great teachers, Shemaya or Avtalion. However, the time frame is not entirely in order, because judging from the sources, at this date both of them very likely had already passed away. The other option is that it was one of their disciples. The description From Josephus is: “…there was silence and doubt about what was to be done. While they were in this state, someone named Samaias, an upright man and for that reason superior to fear, arose and said...” Variants on the name are Sameas, Samaeus, and Samaios. The name is speculated to be a variant on Shemaya, and indeed it is very similar. To further complicate the issue, he is mentioned elsewhere in Josephus as a disciple of the Pharisee Pollion, and that name is almost certainly a variant of Avtalion. Later, Josephus describes additional encounters between Samaias, Pollion, and Herod, who seemed to have a great respect for them – perhaps, Josephus thought, because of Samaias fearlessness during the trial. If the man was one of Shemaya’s and Avtalion’s deciples, could it have been Hillel himself? Hillel was known as totally fearless in all his doings, and from later events, it is clear that Herod respected and perhaps was even in awe of Hillel. I personally think it was Hillel, but I am not sure; much research is needed on this ancient mystery. If I ever find more evidence, I will certainly reveal it in this book.
Even two thousand years ago, you had to belong to the old boys' club if you wanted to rise to a really high position. The leading Jews in Jerusalem were part of a tight, closed society, and they could not abide Antipater. “That Idumean,” as they called him, considered himself a Jew with every justification, because as mentioned before, the entire population of his country had undergone forced conversion to Judaism around 130 BCE. Considering the fact that the conversion was forced upon the Idumeans by John Hyrcanus, a Hasmonean, it seems most unfair that the pro-Hasmonean Jews would look upon the Idumeans as outsiders, particularly one
like Antipater who seemed to embrace Judaism. But they did. They justified it by stressing that “pious” Jews did not recognize forced conversions as binding. The "old boys" found it expedient to be pious regarding such matters, at least when it served their purpose. But let’s face it, even if Antipater could produce ancestors who came to Judea (then Canaan) with Moses the Law Giver during the Exodus, he would still not be a Hasmonean, and the leading Jews of that period would despise him. For reasons that only they could figure out, only a Hasmonean would be accepted as a ruler, which makes very little sense since tradition dictated that true rulers had to be descendants of the House of David. In truth, they simply were insufferable snobs, using religion as a tool to justify their prejudices. The entire population of Judea, though, liked Antipater and his sons. The fact that they amassed huge revenues for themselves did not bother the common people, probably because unlike the Hasmoneans, Antipater, Phasael, and during his youth, even Herod, did not abuse their power against the population and did not steal their possessions or overtaxed them. And they seemed sane, practical, and down-to-earth, a huge improvement over the Hasmoneans with their streak of madness that would come up every so often to wreak havoc on the population.
Herod as a young man.
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Antipater found himself at a point where he could change history – and he set about to do it. As long as Hyrcanus could be persuaded to believe that he was in charge, that everyone respected him as the noble Hasmonean who deserved the highest position in the land, all was well. Hyrcanus would never dream of actively interfering with anything Antipater, his dear friend and protector, wanted to do. Hyrcanus believed in Antipater’s friendship and even love, and could now relax and tend to his own peaceful business in Jerusalem and the Temple as Ethnarch[i]and High Priest.
Antipater, as mentioned in the previous segment, persuaded most of the population to behave reasonably and avoid further revolts. In this relatively peaceful moment, he could attempt to establish the dynasty that would once and for all terminate the rule of the Hasmoneans – his own family. For himself, Antipater might have been happy to work as the eminence grise, but his sons, he determined, would be the real rulers.
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At this point, Pompey was assassinated, and Caesar was fighting in Egypt. This proved a good time for Antipater to ingratiate himself with Caesar. With Hyrcanus (who was really Antipater’s puppet) supposedly giving the orders, Antipater took three thousand men and went to help Mithridates of Pergamum, who was on his way to join Caesar and was delayed in Ascalon. Antipater not only delivered these three thousand heavy-armed Jewish soldiers, but also persuaded several influential Arab chiefs to help Caesar. Antipater and Mithridates proceeded to the city of Pelusium, and as the inhabitants would not admit them, they put the city under siege. Antipater showed his bravery by pulling down a part of the wall, and Mithridates got in and conquered Pelusium. They continued toward Egypt.
As they marched through the district of Onias, the Jews who were the inhabitants there tried to prevent them from advancing. Antipater persuaded Mithridates to avoid fighting them. Instead, he used subtle diplomacy. He appealed to the Jews to side with him because of their shared nationality, and he showed them a letter from Hyrcanus, who was most influential with any Jew because of his position as High Priest. Hyrcanus’ letter asked them to help Caesar and show him hospitality. Naturally, the Jews complied. The same happened in Memphis. Even better, many men joined Mithridates’ army.
Hi everyone! I will not be placing a new segment of The Golden Rule this week. Instead, I recieved a wonderful story for the Personal History segment in this site, and I hope you will enjoy it as a change of pace. Please leave comments, both the author of the piece and I would love to know what you think about it! Here is the direct link: