Hebrew Culture Part 2/2

Appearances

When reading the bible, you may notice that when things are being described they don’t use terminology referring to how the object looks e.g. ‘long’, ‘made of wood’, ‘red’, ‘large’ etc, rather, they use words referring to how the object will function. Hebrews thus will use verbs to desrcibe something to you as opposed to using adjectives like us.

For example, the word for counsellor and tree are a similar word i.e. Ya’ats [Yud, Ayin, Tsadi] and Ets [Ayin, Tsadi] respectively. The reason for this is because a counsellor and a tree are both described by the same root word AyTs [Ayin, Tsadi], meaning something firm and upright. A counsellor [or an elder back then]  who were firm and upright were the ones making decisions and giving advice. They would firmly support the community just as the trunk of a tree [Atsah] would firmly support the tree.

See how both are described by function, not how they look.

Static and Dynamic

We will also find that verbs and nouns used in Hebrew all have some kind of movement involved in their meaning whereas we are used to solely nouns that are static.

For example, again, think of the word counsellor. This noun is static. Compare it to the Hebrew meaning of the word i.e. ‘one who is firm and upright making decisions, giving advice and supporting the community’. Don’t forget that the static word ‘counsellor’ in Hebrew doesnt exist. Its just our way of understanding who they were referring to.

Cyclical Versus Linear Time

In the West we are taught that time is linear, we are taught about A to B. In the East there is more talk about Karma, about be careful not to ‘reap what you sow’ and so on. This type of thinking was carried out by the Hebrews, and was probably set in place by Yehovah so we should try to change our mindsets and get on ‘cyclical time’.

Notice also that Hebrews didnt have to worry about ‘who created the Universe?’, or ‘why are we here?’ etc etc. When we think linearly, of course we are bound to ask about the beginning, the end. As we change our mindsets to that of circularity such questions will not matter. Think about it, where does a circle start and end? Pi [circumference of a circle divided by its diameter; or the area of a sphere divided by four multiplied by the radius squared], an infinite number. We find this number hard to comprehend due to our concept of time and lack of understanding of ‘infinity’.

Nature

Entropy increase as time increases, but how can this be? Why is the Earth so ordered?

Consider a lake, in the morning it is still, it is ordered, low entropy. Now consider the advancement of time, wind is blowing, water is becoming more chaotic, things are disordered, entropy is increasing. So basically in the day it i low, by night it is high, yet as the day goes on and the next day comes, the cycle repeats. This is what is meant by cyclical time. It helps us understand why the Earth hasnt been destroyed through chaos, its because although we believe time to be linear in the West and dont understand why it doesnt reach a maximum, rather, entropy remains stable because although it rises by the end of a day, a new day comes forth, and the entropy returns to ‘order’.

Hebrew Time

Ancient Hebrews had the idea that the ‘future’ was what was behind us and the ‘past’ was was in front of us. Basically they felt that the future being unknown by anyone [but the prophets], was hidden, concealed. As we look forward we can all agree that we cannot see what is behind us, so this was their thinking. The past was laid out in front of them, they could recall to memory things, nothing was concealed and so it was in their line of vision.

Prophets were thought to have seen visions which could only be explained as uncovering by revelation through Yehovah. How else cold a mere human predict the future?

The Chicken and the Egg

As Einstein showed, time is dependent on the persons point of reference. To one the chicken came first, to another, it was the egg. No answer is right or wrong in cyclical time.

Cycles in Nature

There are so many that i will only list thoe that come to my mind:

  • Nitrogen Fixation [absolutely essential for life – allows formation of DNA]
  • Photosynthesis and Respiration [cycle of life]

– Oxidation and Reduction [Electron Transport Chain]

– Metabolism [Citric Acid Cycle, Urea Cycle, Glycolysis, Calvin Cycle]

  • Fermentation
  • Equilibrium
  • Meiosis and Mitosis
  • Planetary rotations about its axis [light and darkness]
  • Satellite orbit around Planets [affects tides]
  • Planetary Orbit around the Sun [seasons, eclipses, comets]
  • Sun rotation about its axis
  • Galactic Orbits [226million years for Sun to orbit the galaxy]

We should match our thoughts to that of the Universe and think in terms of cycles, rather than A to B. Remember, we reap what we sow, lets also sow what we reap and continue the cycle of life.

See my post on Existence, and read more about Hebrew culture here.

Ecclesiastes 1: Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

3 What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

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