Monday, June 26, 2006

An Ode to Giovanni da Verrazano

עֵת מִלְחָמָה וְעֵת שָׁלוֹם


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

- King Solomon [Koheles 3:1-8]
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Let us not forget that although we hope and pray for peace, sometimes it can only be achieved through war. May HaShem strengthen us in the proper pursuit of redeeming our captives [pidyon shvuyim].

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Madonna & Swee' Pea


Not long ago I had been flipping channels on the tube and came across a classic cartoon that I had not seen in some time... It was Fleischer’s ‘Popeye’. As a child I found it amusing and entertaining, but had not really explored the depths of some of the messages and symbolism inherent in the work. This time around I began to notice things that I had not grasped previously and came to some possible conclusions about this fascinating cartoon. As a child it hadn’t really struck me that Olive Oyl was a single mother caring for her child Swee’ Pea. Perhaps part of the reason being, is that I grew up in the home of a single mother, and therefore didn’t recognize it as anything other than ordinary... but for the time period in which this cartoon initially debuted [1930's] such a notion to be presented in a mass media form, to children nonetheless, seems a bit ahead of its time.

So that was one cultural issue being addressed in a rather bold manner... but then I dug further and realized some other interesting parallels between some of the premises of 'Popeye' and Christian theology. Now if we look at the term “Christos” we realize that it is the Greek word [Χριστός] for Moshiach [מָשִׁיחַ]. Moshiach literally means annointed (obviously for a particular role, which the Jesus figure does not qualify for)... Annointed specifically with the Shemen Mishchat [שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת-קֹדֶשׁ] (Shemos 30:22-25). One of the main components of the Shemen Mishchat is olive oil. Now lets look at the character Olive Oyl, who has a child that appears to have been immaculately conceived [speculative - because who Swee’ Pea’s father in fact is, is never stated] much like the alleged Jesus figure idolized by much of Christendom. Realizing that Olive Oyl is Mary - a conduit through which Swee’ Pea as Jesus is immaculately anointed/conceived blew my mind. When I realized this possible connection I attempted to explore the idea further - and so in such a theoretical circumstance, the other characters would have their parallels as well. Popeye would have to be Joseph. In the New Testament Joseph is often presented as the adoptive father of Jesus, in the cartoon Popeye sometimes plays this role for Swee’ Pea [lacking a carpenter - sailor connection... suggestions anyone?].

Now... why the name Swee’ Pea ? Well after looking into it apparently the Sweet Pea [Lathyrus odoratus] plant has beautifully colored flowers and a pleasant sweet fragrance however its seeds unlike most peas should not be consumed as they are poisonous. We know that in Midrash Tanhuma, Vayikra and Rashi on Toldos 26:34 that Edom [Rome/Christianity/Western Civilization] is compared to a pig. The pig is one the most repulsive non-kosher animals because outwardly it presents itself with split hooves but internally it does not chew its cud. Outwardly displaying and proclaiming “look I’m kosher!” but in reality fully treif veiled in the aesthetic trappings of something wholesome, a very deep hypocrisy. The Midrash is an attempt at a criticism of a culture in which primacy is placed upon seductive presentation rather than virtue and deed.

Were the animators and creators of ‘Popeye’ trying to subversively convince the youth via Swee’ Pea that indeed the trappings of Western Civilization often lead to the adoption of a theology in which an entity that outwardly appears pleasing is in fact harmful to the soul ? In other words - were they condemning Christian doctrines much in the same manner that our ChaZaL were ? Well... this all does sound a bit like a conspiracy theory - whilst still maintaining a degree of plausibility to me. It is always fun to speculate, maybe this will lead to the next ‘Davinci Code’, heheh... If anyone can think of any further connections, rationales and motivations for some of the other characters, I would truly enjoy hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Achdus


Seeing this display of unity with Am Yisrael at the parade made me a little bit confused, but otherwise happy...

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PS: Here are some unusual links
Arabs for Israel
Pro-Israel Sheikh
Former PLO member Walid Shoebat
Arab American Woman Nonie Darwish
Zachariah Anani - former Muslim Lebanese Terrorist