Dr. Prof. Eli Lasch z"l

Prof. Dr. Eli Lasch: Did We Misunderstand God? Installment II


But this was not the last message I received.  This is the only explanation I have for the fact that it contains so many brand-new insights. Over the last 2000 years, scholars have studied the Bible very intensively, but what this book contains is to a large extent totally new. Is this really so uncommon? Then, why did Albert Einstein claim again and again that he had no idea, from where his knowledge did really come from?The truth is that I am part of the mainstream of the kabbalah. To quote the Zohar: The wise, the servants of the Highest King, those who were present at Mount Sinai, look through (the body of the Torah and its injunctions) to the soul of the Torah and see its real essence. In the future, they will immerse themselves into the soul of the Torah, into its essence. I have a feeling that the future the Zohar speaks about is really the present. The Zohar was written, after all, at the beginning of the diaspora. Today, 2000 years later, the Jewish nation is independent again. According to the Jewish belief, the coming of the Messiah and the end of the diaspora are closely connected. That is the reason this book is not the usual type of exegesis. It doesn’t concern itself with the commandments and prohibitions, but with the underlying principles which are relevant still today: the soul of the Torah. Throughout the book, I show again and again that it is exactly these principles which are most frequently misunderstood both in Christianity and Judaism. We have to realize that the social and hygienic demands of the Torah have been mostly fulfilled. But, as I just said, this is not true for the principles. Could it be that my soul was one of those that were present at Mount Sinai? Did my prayer at that time and my subsequent meeting with the Divine   bring forth the memories of what I heard there? I have frequently used the words discovered, shown, transmitted, revealed. It may seem unusual for the modern reader, but these are the only words that fit, because most of the information included in this book is not my own, it was dictated to me. When I started to write this book, my hand suddenly became independent and I could only look on and wonder at the words and sentences which appeared on the paper in front of me. What was it that my hand wrote: This is a message of love dealing with the all-encompassing love of God to all that exists whether manifested or not, whether it has existed in the past, is existing in our time or will exist in the future; for there is neither time nor space in the eyes of God the Creator. All these are but the illusions man has created to live by. This is a message which shows that all is one and one is all, and that one and all are but different aspects of God the Creator. Different aspects and yet the same, for all is unity, all is but one. It is a message which speaks of total love and understanding, of man to man, of man to all that has been created, and of man to God.   It was in that part of the Bible called by the Christian community the Old Testament that the message of God, the message of love, was first enunciated. But this same book has also been misused more than any other book; misused for the oppression of man by man and for falling out from harmony with all there is, which is the real state of grace. Though done in the name of God it was nothing but ‘taking the name of the Lord in vain’, as it caused mankind to move away from the ways of love which are the ways of God. But how could the message of God be one of cruelty and of oppression-of oppression of man by man and of nature by man? For is that not an oppression of God, of the God inside all and everything? For are we not all but parts of God? No book has been interpreted as much as the Bible in a way to suit man in his quest for power. Nor has any book been translated so often. But people do not realize that translation is interpretation, which means creating a new version and leaving the original behind. Thus each translation becomes a message from man to man, a message in which God is forgotten or His name is misused by the translator-interpreter. Misused in order to foster ones own aims, which are not always consistent with those of God.What were the real aims of the scriptures?  They were to help man grow in body, in mind and in spirit. It was to liberate man from the darkness of paganism, from the fear of the unknown, and to show him the way to light and to love. For is not fear the greatest enemy of love and of liberty? The message of the Bible, the message of God, was never a demand for blind obedience based on fear of punishment by a vengeful God. It was exactly the opposite. The Bible is but a guidebook which contains a series of signposts showing mankind the way to freedom, at the same time warning us of the pitfalls along this road. It also makes us aware of the road back to slavery, so that we can avoid it. It is a book about love and freedom, emphasizing for the first time that man is born to light, born to be free, and showing very clearly that man’s birthright is freedom of choice, free will. His is the power to choose the way he wants to go. The Bible indicates the alternatives, but leaves the choice to man, while emphasizing that freedom also entails the maturity of taking responsibility for the outcome of that choice. This is a book that can ultimately lead man out of infancy and show him the means to grow up. This is, however, only the first step, as the Bible also shows us the way to reclaim our divinity, reminding us that man is not just an intelligent animal. We are not of earth but of God. We are not created beings but the co-creators of our universe and of all it contains. This is the secret the religions have kept from you. Or did they also misunderstand my words? It’s as simple as that, but explains well, why the world is as it is.This was my personal revelation, and my personal eye-opener. It enforced my personal transformation and showed me the way I should go. This time, I knew who it was who dictated this revelation or rather used my hands to write it down. As I have said before, up to the moment of my meeting with the Divine, I have been an atheist, or even worse. After my experience, I had no doubts as to the existence of God, but now I was full of reproaches. How could the all knowing Father have tolerated the horrors of the holocaust? How could he have tolerated the expulsion of the Jews from Spain 500 years before[1]. How could one love a God like that? The same applied to the Torah. Though now I realized the role it was supposed to play, I could not understand how this fits in with what really happened to the Jewish people. What was the crime of the European Jews that they merited this destiny? Didn’t they try as good as they could to observe Gods commandments? Doesn’t the Torah emphasize again and again that those who observed God’s commandments will receive their rewards in this world and not in a future paradise? [2] But didn’t the opposite happen? Wasn’t their destiny identical with the threats annunciated by the Torah for those who break the covenant with God and provoke him to anger by violating his commandments? And YHVH shall scatter you among the nations and you shall be left few in numbers among the heathen, wither YHVH shall lead you And there you shall serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.[3] Where had they erred? What has gone wrong? Did the Torah betray them? Or did they misinterpret God’s word?After the second revelation, I realized that it was not God who was at fault, but we humans.  We are those who did not understand what God wanted to show us. The same is true for the Torah. Again we are those who misinterpreted God’s word, his message. Could it be that God’s morality is different from ours? Or- to go one step further do we possibly try to limit the unlimited God with our moral concepts. What was it that God could consider a break of this covenant?The ultra-orthodox rabbis consider the Zionist movement as a break with the Jewish history and therefore with God. But is this true? Didn’t God tell all the patriarchs: To thy seed will I give this land.[4] But they still had to fight for it. Isn’t that exactly what the Israelis are doing now? The assignment God gave to Moses at the burning bush was not: I shall give the children of Israel a new religion. What God really said, was: Lead them out of Egypt and bring them to the country I have promised their forefathers.[5] Lead them out of their bondage to freedom. Up till that moment, the children of Israel were not an independent nation. First, they were the family of Jacob, and then they became Egyptian slaves. Only the exodus from Egypt changed them into a nation, and a new nation needs new laws. This is one of the levels which made the giving of the Torah necessary. The prophets too didn’t speak about kosher food, prayer and the observance of the commandments of the Torah, but about justice and empathy. Isaiah even condemns the bringing of sacrifices which play such a major role in the Torah.[6] But this was only possible for a free people. The return to Israel has delivered the Jewish nation from the enslavement by a petrified tradition and from the dependency on the good will of its hosts. It was also delivered from the misconception illustrated in the prayer book by the sentence: We suffer because of our sins. After the holocaust, this is not acceptable any more what was the sin of the children who were burnt in the ovens of the Nazis? Could it be that it was the passivity of the Jewish people which was their sin? [7] Even the Rambam[8] wrote the following letter to the scholars of Marsilla in which he attacked the study of astrology. And that is the cause of the loss of our kingdom, the destruction of the Temple and the prolongation of the exile and brought us to the point where we are now our forefathers sinned and disappeared. They found many books which dealt with inanities, studied them and believed that reading these books would help them; they should have studied the arts of war and the conquest of countries instead. That’s why the prophets call them dummies and idiots. Rabbi Yissachar Teichtal commented:[9]Why didn’t he blame them for not studying the Torah and not praying enough. That is, what we would have expected of him. We feel impelled to answer that this alone is not enough. This agrees with the words of the Ramban[10] who said again and again that one should not rely on wonders, but do everything humanly possible. Then help comes from above.[11]Could it be that the exegetes all along the Diaspora were wrong with their glorification of Itzchak’s passivity and of his readiness to be sacrificed, because his father told him that this was God’s command. Could that interpretation be the cause which changed the Jewish people into an eternal ram, the sacrificial animal of the Western world.[12] Wasn’t this interpretation introduced by the influence of Christianity Jesus, the sacrificial lamb? The Holocaust resulted in a final break with this approach which dominated Jewish thinking throughout the Diaspora. The rebirth of Israel can be seen only as a renewal of the covenant, a renewal of the assignment God gave to Moshe. What has really changed is the attitude of mind of the Israelis as compared to that of the forefathers in the Diaspora. Now, like in biblical time, they again defend themselves with a weapon in their hands. This too is not new. When the Jews returned from the exile in Babylon, their neighbors tried to prevent the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and, to quote the Bible: Every one of the builders with one of his hands wrought in the work and with the other hand held a weapon.[13] So, history does seem to repeat itself. If we take the words of the Torah seriously, then the Jewish people made God so angry that the Diaspora was the only fitting punishment. This is also the point of view of rabbinical Judaism. But what could have angered God in a way to explain the Holocaust. Is it only that they did not fulfill all the commandments? The Jews did, after all, everything they were able to. Let’s go and step further. Did the European Jews really follow the commandments of the Torah, or rather the interpretations of the rabbis who continuously added new commandments and prohibitions? The Torah itself contains 613 commandments and prohibitions. According to the Sefer Ha’chinuch[14], the Jews in the Diaspora could only fulfill 270 of them. The other 343 concerned life in Eretz Israel, commandments which are dependent on life in Israel and the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem. The gemmatria[15] of the number 270 means ra which is the Hebrew word for bad. In other words, the attempt to fulfill the commandments of the Torah outside Israel is doomed to failure. Looking very carefully at the Torah, we see that this has not been the idea in the first place. And I quote: Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as YHVH, my God, commanded me, that Ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.[16] Inside the land and not in the Diaspora. It is also very clear that the Israelites have to come to that land, and to do this they must conquer it. And this is something they haven’t done in the 2000 years of the Diaspora. As seen above, that was also the opinion of the Rambam. But the rabbis had a different approach, they had taken the command, they were the authority. That explains that the Jews in the Diaspora did not fulfill the laws of the Torah but the ones of the Schulchan Aruch[17]. and its commentaries. Ten thousand new injunctions were thus created which regulate the Jewish life the whole day through – from birth to death. It sounds therefore funny to call the Jewish religion a religion of freedom. And again, I can only refer to that paragraph in my revelation that deals with translations and commentaries. It’s interesting to note that already the Talmud says that if the Jews would choose a different path they would be redeemed straight away. That was also the view of the Ari[18]: On a Friday afternoon  he told his students: Come, let us go to Jerusalem! When the students said: But Rabbi, Shabbat is approaching and one is not allowed to travel on Shabbat. he answered: What a pity! If you would have agreed, we would have brought the Messiah and our redemption would have followed straightaway. In order to be redeemed, one must be ready to strike a new path. One must leave the mainstream of the accepted norm. Such a path is the one shown us by the Torah. The first revelation of the Torah showed a real path to freedom. At that time, it was a real revolution. If we want to be redeemed, we must understand the message in a different way, a way relevant for our time. Rethinking is what is necessary. Exactly as the Ari said: We must learn to change the patterns of our thoughts and choose a new path. We shouldn’t allow the existing walls to detain us. And again I can only refer to my meeting with the Divine. The European Jewry has disappeared and shortly afterwards the State of Israel came into being. Could it be that the Torah wants to teach us not to wait for redemption from the outside, but to act? What did God say to Moses, when the children of Israel stood wailing and whining before the Sea of Reeds, the last barrier to freedom? Tell them to go ahead! They went, and the sea was divided in front of them. And so they passed over the last barrier. That was also the device of the first Zionists. They left the Diaspora behind and the State of Israel came into being.   

When God met with Moses at the burning bush and gave him his task, he didn’t introduce himself by name, but He described Himself as a process: I am who I am and I shall always be that which I am. And He repeated: Tell the children of Israel: I who contain the future will guide you. God Himself and not some rabbi. The founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Hertzl, coined the saying: If you want, it won’t be a fairy-tale. And the psalms said: When God will bring you back to Zion, you shall be like dreamers … God has done great things for you.[19] It’s not the past that counts, only the future. For 2000 years, the Jewish people has been governed by the rabbis, by them and their interpretation of the religion, –  burdened with feelings of guilt and rooted in the past. Could it be that the rabbis have changed the Jewish religion into a kind of idolatry? Created by man and petrified. Though this view is very controversial, it is based on their pretension that prophecy had disappeared after the destruction of the First Temple. This is clearly untrue, since the prophets Ezekiel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi have all appeared after the destruction, some of them even under Persian hegemony. The Talmud even claims that the prophets have no right to change any laws of the Torah. That was their prerogative and they used it thoroughly. They also claimed that all the new laws they introduced had already been given to Moshe on Sinai. That way, they have insured their domination. That may have been necessary after the destruction of the Second Temple in order to keep the identity of the Jewish people and guarantee its survival.  But at the same time, the very nature of these new laws could very well have prevented the termination of the Diaspora and the return to Israel. Maybe modern Israel could only come into existence after the Jewish nation had thrown off the yoke of the rabbis and had become really free.And Christianity? In every church the attention is focused on an object which can only be defined as an idol. Isn’t the cross a gallows with a corpse on it? Didn’t death become the center of the cult symbolizing the return to Egypt? This is clearly a faulty interpretation of the Bible. Christianity speaks about a new covenant and a new testament, but isn’t that totally unilateral? They consider themselves as the real Israelites, but no proof exists anywhere that this idea had been accepted by God. Even in the gospels, it’s only written that God has recognized Jesus as His son. But it’s not written anywhere that God had agreed to be replaced by him, neither has He agreed that the Christians would replace the Jewish people. Recently I had another revelation. One day, I asked God, why the Jews, his chosen people, are so hated. The answer I received was flabbergasting: It is not you who is hated, but me. And you have become my symbol.Now I was satisfied. It also encouraged me again to show the Christian world what God really wanted to tell mankind – the reason behind the Holy Scriptures.  

So let me now take you on a journey, back to the original Hebrew meaning of the Bible, and let us explore together what the Bible really said. But first a word of caution, the voyage is fraught with dangers. Beware, those who set out on it. You may end up a totally different person from the one you started. I warn you because that is what happened to me, your – guide. But you who are courageous enough, fasten your seatbelts and … off we go.

[1]     If one believes in the value of numbers: The exodus from Spain took place in 1492 and the Wannsee conference, in which the final solution of the European was decided on, took place in 1942. But for their order the figures are identical. For a kabbalist this is of no importance.

[2]     Deuteronomi 8, 7-10

[3]     idem. 4, 27-28

[4]     Genesis 12, 7.

[5]     Exodus 3

[6]     Isaiah 1, 12

[7]     This point of view is also shared by Eli Wiesel in his books  „Appointment with Hate, New York Avon Books, 1969 und „A Jew Today, New York, Random House 1978

[8]     Rabbi Mosche ben Maimon, the greatest rabbinical authority of the last 2000 years, 1135-1204

[9]     Teichtal, Y, Eim Habanim Smecha, p.175 (Hebr.)

[10]   Nachmanides, Rabbi Mosche ben Nachman (RAMBAN), 1194-1270, * in Gerona, Katalonien; philosopher, scholar, commentator of the Bible, poet and physician, from the commentary on the Bible,  Rav Kook Institute, Jerusalem 1958 (Hebr.)

[11]   The most famous event was the one described in the Book of Joshua, chapter 10: „As they fled before Israel, YhvH cast down big stones upon them.

[12]   This view was adopted by Christianity, where they speak about the „lamb of God.

[13]   Nehemia, 5, 17

[14]   The Book of Education by Rabbi Aharon ha-Levi from Barcelona, quoted by Lasch, G.(great-great-grandfather of the author; Die göttlichen Gesetze, Leipzig 1857  S. XI (German)

[15]   Jewish numerology

[16]   Deuteronomi 4, 5

[17]   The Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שולחן ערוך, literally: “Set Table”) (also Shulchan Arukh) is a codification, or written catalogue, of halacha (Jewish law), composed by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century. It, together with its commentaries, is considered by the vast majority of Orthodox Jews to be the most authoritative compilation of halakha since the Talmud

[18]   Rabbi Jizchak Luria, called the Ari, 1534-1572, Zfat/Galilee; he was the most famous cabbalist of his time, who revolutionized the Cabbala within three years.

[19]   Psalm 126

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