Saturday, April 26, 2008

Something to think about

Hi Friends

I saw this quote and thought it was something worth thinking about.

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. –T. Rubin

Have a great day!!!!

No Problem Man!!


Friday, April 18, 2008

When is Passover?

Aramaic ThoughtsWeek of April 13 - 19, 2008
A Break for Passover

To borrow a joke, one Jewish man asks another, “When is Passover this year?” The second man answers, “14th of Nissan, same as every year.” The joke is intended to emphasize the point that the dates of the Jewish holidays are always the same in the Jewish calendar. However, the Jewish calendar does not match up precisely with our modern Gregorian calendar, so with regard to the modern calendar, the Jewish festivals occur on different dates every year.
The Gregorian calendar that is used by most of the world today is essentially a solar-year calendar. Thus, in general every four years an extra day is added in recognition of the fact that the solar year is actually about 365.25 days long.

The traditional Jewish calendar, on the other hand, takes three astronomical considerations into account. The first is, of course, that the solar year is 365.25 days long. The second consideration is that the lunar month is about 29.5 days long. The third consideration is that the solar year is approximately 12.4 lunar months long. The Jewish monthly calendar is a lunar calendar, so that all months in the Jewish calendar are either 29 or 30 days long, to match the lunar month. However, the Jewish years are sometimes 12 months long, and other times 13 months long. This latter fact is to take care of the “creep” that would otherwise occur in the Jewish year. In other words, if the Jewish lunar calendar were a consistent 12 months long, over time Passover, which is a spring festival, would gradually creep backward through the seasons, so that at some time it would occur in the winter, at some time it would occur in the fall, and at some time it would occur in the summer. In order to forestall this creep an additional month is added to the Jewish calendar about every fourth year. Another way of thinking about it is that for two or three years, Passover moves back (earlier) about eleven days each year. Then, in the year when the extra month is added, it jumps forward 29 or 30 days, and the backward creep then begins all over again. This explains why it is that Passover and Easter so rarely coincide. The two holidays are being located in time on the basis of different calendars.

In the Jewish ritual calendar Nissan (also spelled Nisan) is the first month of the year (think of it as January), and Passover occurs on the 14th of Nissan. The last month of the year, that is, the month preceding Nissan (think of it as December) is Adar. When a thirteenth month is added to the calendar, it is added before Adar, and is referred to as Adar I, Adar Rishon (beginning), or Adar Aleph (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet). The “regular” month of Adar is referred to as Adar II, Adar Sheini (second Adar), or Adar Beit (second letter of the Hebrew alphabet). The Gregorian years 2007-2008 (the Jewish year overlaps the successive Gregorian years) parallel the Jewish year 5768, which is one of the years with a thirteenth month. Thus, Adar I began on February 7, Adar II began on March 8, and Nissan begins on April 6, thus putting Passover on April 19, 2008.

Those interested in more about the Jewish calendar can consult the web site:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Aramaic Literature - The Mishnah - Part 2

The Mishnah (Part 2)

The first of the six orders of the Mishnah is called Zera’im (Seeds). It is divided in eleven treatises. The first of these treatises is called Berakot (Blessings). It is concerned mostly with the rules for daily prayer, and begins with a discussion of when the Shema’ is to be said in the evening. For those who don’t know, the Shema’ is Deut 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” It is named from the first word of the verse in Hebrew. The following discussion is taken from the Wikisource Mishnah (

“From when may one recite the Shema in the evening?From the time when the Kohanim go in to eat their terumah.Until the end of the first watch – so says Rabbi Eliezer.And the Sages say: Until midnight.Rabban Gamliel says: Until the column of dawn rises.It once happened that [Rabban Gamliel’s] sons came from a house of feasting.They said to [their father]: "We have not recited the Shema."He said to them: "If the column of dawn has not risen, you are obligated to recite it."“[This is true] not only in this case; rather, in all cases where the Sages said that [some precept can be performed only] until midnight — the precept is [still in force] until the break of dawn.“[For example:] Burning the fats and organs [of the sacrifices, on the Temple altar] — this precept [can be performed] until the break of dawn.“[Another example:] All [sacrifices] which may be eaten for one day — the precept [of eating them can be performed] until the break of dawn.If that is so, why did the Sages say, "until midnight"?To distance a person from sin.”
This is an excellent example of the style of the Mishnah. The original question is posed, and answers are provided. As answers are given, additional questions arise, and these also are dealt with. Some of the connections between topics seem tenuous, but the connections reflect connections developed over the course of the rise of rabbinic Judaism.

The second treatise of the first order is called Pe’ah (Corner) because it deals with the passages concerning the corners of the field, such as Lev 19:9-10. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge [corner] neither shall you gather the gleanings after the harvest.” (ESV). Since these passages also deal with the cause of the poor (that is, the corners are not to be reaped so that they are left for the poor), the treatise also goes on to deal with the causes and rights of the poor. This treatise begins as follows: These are the things that have no measure:

The Peah of the field, the first-fruits, the appearance [at the Temple in Jerusalem on Pilgrimage Festivals],acts of kindness, and the study of the Torah.These are things the fruits of which a man enjoys in this world,while the principle remains for him in the World to Come:Honoring father and mother,acts of kindness,and bringing peace between a man and his fellow.But the study of Torah is equal to them all.

Note in this how the study of the Torah is exalted relative to the importance of other works.

Author Bio:Dr. Shaw was born and raised in New Mexico. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico in 1977, the M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1980, and the Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1981, with an emphasis in biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, Old Testament and Targumic Aramaic, as well as Ugaritic). He did two year of doctoral-level course work in Semitic languages (Akkadian, Arabic, Ethiopic, Middle Egyptian, and Syriac) at Duke University. He received the Ph.D. in Old Testament Interpretation at Bob Jones University in 2005. Since 1991, he has taught Hebrew and Old Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a school which serves primarily the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, where he holds the rank of Associate Professor.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense,
drawn by perfect Mind, and
reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which
transcend all material sense."

-From Science and Health
by Mary Baker Eddy

Have a great day & weekend.
You are that immortal man or woman!!