Thursday, December 21, 2006


Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

This is your Christmas card from me. Since I started blogging, I have received a huge number of emails -- nine out of 10 of which were encouraging. For a long time I kept a file of the email addresses of those who wrote positive things to me and used it to send out a Christmas greeting at this time of the year. This year, however, with 10 blogs to post to daily (and membership of some group blogs as well!) I was too snowed-under to keep my file of addresses up to date. So I hope all those who have been supportive towards me will be reading this.

I have no connection with the lady above but she did look pretty Christmassy to me. Definitely better than Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer.

Christmas cards often include a Christmas letter detailing all the news of the year about the sender. My version of that is here.



This time of the year is an appropriate one to reflect on the Christian message so regard the comments below as the inside message of your Christmas card:

Although I am an atheist, I grew up steeped in the New Testament so reading the Bible is for me like visiting an old friend. I do not however know the Old Testament as well as I should so I recently read right through the Book of Deuteronomy. Its main theme is avoidance of false gods and when I think of the many false Gods around today -- socialism, global warming, anti-"obesity" etc. -- it is clear that people have not changed much and we do still need to be alert against false gods.

Another prominent theme in Deuteronomy however is what some might call "Christian" charity. There are frequent instructions to be kind, forgiving and generous to the poor. The compassion and concern for the outcast shown by Jesus was very Jewish.

But giving the poor your OWN goods is very different from giving the poor OTHER people's goods, which is what the Leftist wants to do and which would once have been called robbery.

And the Torah does make clear that abstract justice is an absolute -- a duty. Where PUBLIC matters are concerned (as distinct from deeds in private life), you are NOT allowed to favour the poor. Exodus 23:3 is clearest about that. The NIV probably gives the most accurate interpretation of the text. It says: "Do not show favouritism to a poor man in his lawsuit". So, just because a man is poor, the law is not allowed to be biased in his favour. Moses was clearly not a Leftist.

I probably should leave it at that but the pedant in me causes me to note further that the Hebrew word rendered as "lawsuit" above has a rather broader application than that in the original. The KJ renders it as "cause" and it could refer to any controversy. So again we see that special favour towards the poor in any public way is OUT. Private charity is the proper response to the poor.

Being a bit of a language freak, I wrote about the interpretation of Exodus 23:3 to David Boxenhorn, an Israeli who often blogs about the interpretion of Hebrew and the Hebrew scriptures. I received his comments after I had written the above and his comments would seem to broaden even my interpretation. He wrote (inter alia):

"That quote refers to favoring the poor in court, one of many possible dangers to justice cited in the Bible - see previous and following passages. Not distorting judgment is a major theme of the Bible....

But the word translated as "poor" - dal - is probably better translated as "weak", the usual Biblical word for poor is evyon, as you see three verses down in 23:6. Also, the word translated as "cause" - riv - is more simply translated as "argument", and the word "favor" - tehdar - I might translate as "make more wonderful or enhance". So I might translate the passage as: "and you will not enhance [the testimony] of the weak, in an argument"

So it is the disadvantaged generally that the passage applies to and it is arguments generally that the passage applies to. So you are not allowed to glorify the disadvantaged beyond what reality shows -- no absurd accounts of the glories of African history, for instance. Truth is paramount -- not the distorted and selective truth that is the stock in trade of the Left (Noam Chomsky take a bow).

You can see the original Hebrew (with accompanying translation) here.



Public statement by Melbourne orthodox Jews: "The Adass Israel Congregation, a community founded by Holocaust-survivors, joins worldwide Jewry in publicly denouncing the nefarious and totally irresponsible handful of Jewish charlatans, who attended the recent "Holocaust-denial" conference of Jew-haters in Teheran. These individuals who have been depicted in local and international media embracing fanatical anti-Semites bring shame and pain to our people. We hereby reiterate and declare that Charedi/Chassidic/Orthodox Jews everywhere are disgusted and repelled by the treacherous and contemptible conduct of this deranged and reviled group of misfits and Mechallelei Hashem [desecraters of G-d's Name], who in their boundless and obsessive craving for publicity habitually raise their ugly heads and besmirch the reputation and honour of all observant Jews. We join communities the world over in denouncing them and fully endorse and applaud the severe sanctions and sharp condemnations that have been issued by every single major Charedi community in Jerusalem, New York, Antwerp, London and Manchester."

Stupid British "security" again: "The circumstances surrounding the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky would be disturbing at the best of times. She was shot by a gang whose members (foreign nationals) had extensive criminal records; they were considered for deportation but were allowed to stay in Britain because their homeland - Somalia - was determined to be too dangerous a place to which to send them back. If no other information about this killing had surfaced, questions would and should have been asked about the balance to be struck between law and order and deportation. Yet, as we report today, matters are worse than they appear. One of those who was wanted for this murder - Mustaf Jama - is believed to have fled Britain in the days after the shooting, disguising himself as a veiled woman. His brother was one of five other men left to be tried and convicted of murder or manslaughter. Jama was able to sneak on to an international flight at Heathrow dressed in a niqab despite extensive publicity about this murder. His photograph had been circulated to every police force, port and airport in the country. Had he been asked to reveal his face he would have been detected in a moment. He is instead now believed to be at liberty in a region of Somalia where his family wields much influence - the very same Somalia that had been too dangerous for these criminals. This shocking affair reveals fundamental lapses in what should surely be considered elementary security measures."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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