Today’s holidays: Friday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast of Marvel “Jack” Parsons (Thelema), Feast Day of St. Zontar of Venus (Church of the SubGenius).
To get completely caught up, I should put in a few words on Jewish/Israeli holidays which occur between Pesaḥ (Passover) and Shavu‘oth (Pentecost). I am sorry I did not get around to writing about them earlier; my memory of them seems to have faded further than I should have allowed it.
Yom hashSho’ah (Israeli Holocaust Day) and Yom hazZikkaron (Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day): These are naturally solemn days. The first does not seem to be taken off from work, while the second everyone left early from. Both I remember being marked by the lighting of memorial candles, such as this one:
I also remember a national minute of silence on both days.
Yom ha‘Aṣma’uth (Israeli Independence Day): This holiday celebrates the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. My activities on that day on the Temple Mount have already received the attention of an entire blog post. Yom ha‘Aṣma’uth is celebrated as a national holiday, with everyone getting off of work, and here in Giv‘ath Shemu’el we celebrated it as a religious holiday, too. Our synagogue had an evening assembly with prayer services, speakers, and music to celebrate, and in the morning the synagogue I prayed out said Hallel (celebratory psalms) with blessings—something done in recognition of the arguably miraculous nature of Israel’s surviving the attack of the surrounding Arab countries intent on preventing there being a non-Muslim state in the region. This was not only a day off from work, but the country really meant it. As I walked from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to the Old City, I saw barely any store of any kind open. People also tend to have barbecues, and there were a lot of blue and white decorations around. (Actually, a lot of them are still up, come to think of it.)
Day 33 of the ‘Omer/Lagh ba‘Omer: I have already posted a link to commentary on the questionable origins of this holiday. This holiday is infamous for people making bonfires. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to avoid seeing any.
Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day): This holiday celebrates the reunion of Jerusalem in 1967 when the Arabs attacked again, intent on wiping Israel off the map again, and not only lost the war, but territory as well. This was not a day off, but we had another assembly, and Hallel with blessings was said in the morning. I assumed that there was no way that the Waqf was going to let an observant Jew visit the Temple Mount this day, so I did not arrange my schedule for such a visit. To my surprise, I afterward learned that Rav ’Ari’el of the Temple Institute did ascend on Yom Yerushalayim, lectured up there, and even laid a stone towards the rebuilding of the Temple.
OK, that is it for the moment. I have other writing projects in the works. I have learned of another passage in the Talmudh on Jesus (found in two places) and translated both versions; I now need to get around to writing commentary on it. There is also a Jesus movie on Hulu which I ought to comment on. Furthermore, Barry has alerted me to Ayn Rand becoming popular among the Republican Party lately. Ayn Rand’s quasi-religion, Objectivism (a misnomer if there ever was one), is openly pro-selfishness—something rare in moral systems—leading to an obvious contradiction with Christianity. I have started reading Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and it definitely merits moral commentary. This may also lead me to reread material on LaVeyan Satanism, another pro-selfishness quasi-religion. (Now somebody remind me to get back to reading The Golden Bough, which I am stuck in the middle of and need to get around to finishing. Come to think of it, I am still in the middle of the Mahabharata, too. So much material, so little time to review it…)
I would like to end with a bit of religious humor before it eats my brain. I have finished unpacking all the books I had shipped to me here in Israel. The last box contained the entire Scientology public canon. The cover of one of the books struck me as shocking:
I realize that the Church of Scientology loves to recruit celebrities and have them promote Scientology, but HOW COULD THING (OF THE ADDAMS FAMILY) EVER BECOME A SCIENTOLOGIST? SAY IT ISN'T SO! SAY IT ISN'T SO!
Peace and Shabbath shalom.