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Most of these articles are pulled from other websites.  Over time, this will become an education area.  Each month you will notice this section growing greater than before.    There will be a hidden section coming soon, where you will have to prove yourself to be a Mason before entering (and Duncan can not help you in passing this test).  Thank you for visiting, and I hope you come back again to gain more knowledge, wisdom, and LIGHT.

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Tuesday, 24 Tammuz 5774 / July 22, 2014

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on July 22, 2014 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Chapter 113

This psalm recounts some of the wonders of the exodus from Egypt.

1. Praise the Lord! Offer praise, you servants of the Lord; praise the Name of the Lord.

2. May the Name of the Lord be blessed from now and to all eternity.

3. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the Lord is praised.

4. The Lord is high above all nations; His glory transcends the heavens.

5. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high

6. [yet] looks down so low upon heaven and earth!

7. He raises the poor from the dust, lifts the destitute from the dunghill,

8. to seat them with nobles, with the nobles of His people.

9. He transforms the barren woman into a household, into a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!

Chapter 114

This psalm explains why the tribe of Judah merited kingship.

1. When Israel went out of Egypt, the House of Jacob from a people of a foreign tongue,

2. Judah became His holy [nation], Israel, His domain.

3. The sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned backward.

4. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like young sheep.

5. What is the matter with you, O sea, that you flee; Jordan, that you turn backward;

6. mountains, that you skip like rams; hills, like young sheep?

7. [We do so] before the Master, the Creator of the earth, before the God of Jacob,

8. Who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flintstone into a water fountain.

Chapter 115

A prayer that God bring this long exile to an end, for the sake of His Name-that it not be desecrated.

1. Not for our sake, Lord, not for our sake, but for the sake of Your Name bestow glory, because of Your kindness and Your truth.

2. Why should the nations say, "Where, now, is their God?”

3. Indeed, our God is in heaven; whatever He desires, He does.

4. Their idols are of silver and gold, the product of human hands.

5. They have a mouth, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but cannot see;

6. they have ears, but cannot hear; they have a nose, but cannot smell;

7. their hands cannot touch; their feet cannot walk; they can make no sound in their throat.

8. Those who make them will become like them-all who put their trust in them.

9. Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

10. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

11. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

12. The Lord who is ever mindful of us, may He bless: May He bless the House of Israel; may He bless the House of Aaron;

13. may He bless those who fear the Lord, the small with the great.

14. May the Lord increase [blessing] upon you, upon you and upon your children.

15. You are blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

16. The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth He gave to the children of man.

17. The dead cannot praise the Lord, nor any who descend into the silence [of the grave].

18. But we will bless the Lord from now to eternity. Praise the Lord!

Chapter 116

This psalm contains magnificent praises to God. It also describes David's love for God, in light of all the miracles He performed for him. David does not know how to repay God, declaring it impossible to pay back for all God has done for him.

1. I would love if the Lord would listen to my voice, to my supplications;

2. if He would turn His ear to me on the days when I call.

3. The pangs of death encompassed me and the misery of the grave came upon me; I encounter trouble and sorrow.

4. I invoke the Name of the Lord, "Lord, I implore you, deliver my soul!”

5. The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate.

6. The Lord watches over the simpletons; I was brought low, and He saved me.

7. Return, my soul, to your tranquility, for the Lord has bestowed goodness upon you.

8. For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

9. I shall walk before the Lord in the lands of the living.

10. I had faith even when I declared, "I am greatly afflicted";

11. [even when] I said in my haste, "All men are deceitful.”

12. How can I repay the Lord for all His beneficences to me?

13. I will raise the cup of deliverance and proclaim the Name of the Lord.

14. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

15. Grievous in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His pious ones.

16. I thank you, Lord, that since I am Your servant, I am Your servant the son of Your maidservant, You have loosened my bonds.

17. To You I will bring an offering of thanksgiving, and proclaim the Name of the Lord.

18. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people,

19. in the courtyards of the House of the Lord, in the midst of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Chapter 117

This psalm of two verses alludes to the Messianic era, when the Children of Israel will enjoy their former glory. All will praise God, in fulfillment of the verse, "All will then call in the Name of God."

1. Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples.

2. For His kindness was mighty over us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!

Chapter 118

This psalm describes David's immense trust in God. It also contains many praises to God, Who has fulfilled that which He has promised us.

1. Offer praise to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting.

2. Let Israel declare that His kindness is everlasting.

3. Let the House of Aaron declare that His kindness is everlasting.

4. Let those who fear the Lord declare that His kindness is everlasting.

5. From out of distress I called to God; with abounding relief, God answered me.

6. The Lord is with me, I do not fear-what can man do to me?

7. The Lord is with me among my helpers, and I will see [the downfall of] my enemies.

8. It is better to rely on the Lord than to trust in man.

9. It is better to rely on the Lord than to trust in nobles.

10. All the nations surrounded me, but in the Name of the Lord I will cut them down.

11. They surrounded me, they encompassed me, but in the Name of the Lord I will cut them down.

12. They surrounded me like bees, yet they shall be extinguished like fiery thorns; in the Name of the Lord I will cut them down.

13. You [my foes] repeatedly pushed me to fall, but the Lord helped me.

14. God is my strength and song, and He has been a help to me.

15. The sound of rejoicing and deliverance reverberates in the tents of the righteous, "The right hand of the Lord performs deeds of valor.

16. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord performs deeds of valor!”

17. I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of God.

18. God has indeed chastised me, but He did not give me up to death.

19. Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and praise God.

20. This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous will enter it.

21. I offer thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have been my deliverance.

22. The stone which the builders scorned has become the chief cornerstone.

23. From the Lord has this come about; it is wondrous in our eyes.

24. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice on it.

25. We implore You, Lord, deliver us. We implore You, Lord, grant us success.

26. Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord; we bless you from the House of the Lord.

27. The Lord is a benevolent God and He has given us light; bind the festival offering with cords until [you bring it to] the horns of the altar.

28. You are my God and I will praise You, my God-and I will exalt You.

29. Praise the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting.

What is the reason for the custom of mourners tearing their clothing on the death of a loved one?

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on July 22, 2014 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

BY ARON MOSS

 

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.

 

 


Question:

 

What is the reason for the custom of mourners tearing their clothing on the death of a loved one?

 

Answer:

 

On the most basic level, the tearing is expression of pain and sorrow over the passing. Torah law encourages—in fact mandates—such expressions as part of the mourning process.

 

But there is also a deeper significance. Judaism views death as a two-sided coin. On the one hand, when someone passes on, it is a tragedy. They have been lost to their family and friends, and there is a feeling of separation and distance that seems beyond repair. For this reason we observe a seven-day intense mourning period, during which the family sits at home and feels that pain and loss, followed by a year of mourning.

 

But often, within that very pain, the mourners have an underlying belief that “it isn’t true”—that their loved one hasn’t really gone. This is not just denial; in a way they are right. Death is not an absolute reality. Our souls existed before we were born, and they continue to exist after we die. The souls that have passed on are still with us. We can’t see them, but we sense they are there. We can’t hear them, but we know that they hear us. On the surface, we are apart. Beyond the surface, nothing can separate us.

 

So we tear our garments. This has a dual symbolism. We are recognizing the loss, that our hearts are torn. But ultimately, the body is also only a garment that the soul wears. Death is when we strip off one uniform and take on another. The garment may be torn, but the essence of the person within it is still intact.

 

From our worldly perspective death is indeed a tragedy, and the sorrow experienced by the mourners is real. But as they tear their garments, we hope that within their pain they can sense a glimmer of a deeper truth: that souls never die.

 


THE MASONIC LADDER AND THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on July 20, 2014 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

THE MASONIC LADDER AND THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING

 

by Bro. William Steve Burkle KT, 32°, KCRBE

 

Alpha Lodge No. 116, Grand Lodge of New Jersey Philo Lodge No. 243, South River, New Jersey SciotoLodge No. 6, Chillicothe, Ohio.

 

This paper examines the esoteric symbolism of the Masonic Ladder and will develop the thesis that the Masonic Ladder's esoteric meaning derives from an ancientconcept dealing with thehierarchal ordering ofthe universe known as the Great Chain of Being . This ordering was so ingrained in the cultural, political, and theological structure of society that it was accepted as a matter of absolutefact at least until thelate1800's or early 1900's. This paper will discuss the concept of the Great Chain of Being, will examine its historical basis, and will explain how the esotericsymbolism of the Masonic ladder is related to this concept.

 

The Masonic ladder is a unique symbol in Freemasonry in that its symbolic allusion

 

may be traced directly to the Bible (Genesis 28: 10-22)[i]. To my knowledge no other

 

Masonic symbol is thus distinguished. This Bible verse ties the symbol to the story of Jacob,

 

and thereby establishes that the symbolism of the Masonic Ladder is identical to that of

 

Jacob’s ladder. The symbol of the Masonic Ladder figures prominently in the both Entered

 

Apprentice Degree and the Degrees of York Rite Masonry, and is one of the few Masonic

 

symbols which vary in its depiction depending upon the degree system in which it appears.

 

It is also interesting that the symbolism of the ladder is linguistically similar to another

 

prominent Masonic symbol, namely the “Winding Staircase”, however the explanations

 

provided in the degree lectures for these two symbols are distinctly different. As with all

 

Masonic symbols, the Masonic ladder has a much deeper esoteric symbolism which

 

underlies the literal (exoteric) meaning provided in the degree lectures.

 

This paper examines the esoteric symbolism of the Masonic Ladder and will

 

develop the thesis that the Masonic Ladder’s esoteric meaning derives from an ancient

 

concept dealing with the hierarchal ordering of the universe known as the Great Chain of

 

Being[ii]. This ordering was so ingrained in the cultural, political, and theological structure of

 

society that it was accepted as a matter of absolute fact at least until the late1800’s or early

 

1900’s. In many instances this powerful notion remains with us today. This paper will

 

discuss the concept of the Great Chain of Being, will examine its historical basis, and will

 

explain how the esoteric symbolism of the Masonic ladder is related to this concept.

 

The Masonic Ladder

 

The Masonic ladder is believed[iii] to

 

have been introduced into Masonic

 

ritual by Dunckerly in 1776, having

 

purportedly been borrowed from

 

ancient Hermetic tradition. Other

 

accounts believe the introduction of

 

the Masonic Ladder to have been as

 

early as 1732 (attributed to Matin

 

Clare) or 1760[iv] based upon an

 

image of the Ladder found on a

 

trestle board inscribed with this date.

 

Other accounts indicate the symbol

 

appeared in a Masonic context as

 

late[v] as 1819 as a figure or symbol

 

on a certificate in which the ladder is

 

depicted as resting upon the VSL,

 

reaching upwards towards the

 

heavens. A version of this symbol is

 

shown in Figure 1 in a Masonic

 

tracing board image attributed to

 

Lady Frieda Harris (1877 - 1962).

 

The number of rungs (rounds) found on the Masonic ladder has varied over time;

 

however, either three or seven rungs are most common. Historically[vi], the ladder is closely

 

associated with Mithraic, kabalistic, and numerous other mystery traditions.

 

The exoteric (literal) meaning attributed to the symbol of the Ladder in the EA

 

degree lecture is that the three rungs in the ladder represent the Cardinal virtues[vii] of Faith,

 

Hope, and Charity often called the “theological virtues”. There is also another explanation

 

which posits that the three rungs allude to Youth, Manhood, and Old Age. Versions of the

 

lecture in which the ladder is shown with seven rungs add the four additional Cardinal

 

virtues (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice). In some cases the rails of the

 

ladder are included in the symbolism[viii]. However, just as with the Biblical story of Jacob’s

 

ladder, there is deeper meaning in the symbolism than is apparent from the explanation

 

given in the lecture.

 

For example, Bro. W.L. Wilmhurst in a discussion of the ladder and the instruction

 

once given during the Degree Lecture in his classic text The Masonic Initiation, notes[ix]

 

that:

 

“They were taught of the different levels and graduations of the Universe-some of them

 

material and some ethereal,-the planes and sub-planes of it, upon which the great scheme

 

is being carried out ; which levels and planes, all progressively linked together, constitute as

 

it were one vast ladder of many rounds, staves, or rungs …”

 

Wilmhurst further elaborates that

 

“Jacob's vision and ladder, therefore, exemplify the attainment of Initiation, the expansion of

 

consciousness that comes when the Light of the centre is found…”

 

Brother Wilmhurst’s comments are absolutely accurate; there is an esoteric meaning

 

associated with the symbol of the Masonic Ladder which relates not to the virtues, but

 

rather to cosmology and spiritual evolution.

 

Esoteric Meaning

 

Ladder symbolism is not unique to Christian doctrine; in fact its use supersedes

 

Christianity. Table 1 provides a summary of common ladder symbolism used by divergent

 

cultures[x]. Note that in each of the cultures listed four levels of being are represented which

 

correspond[xi] to Body, Mind, Soul and Spirit in the microcosm, and to the Infinite, Celestial,

 

Intermediate, and Terrestrial in the macrocosm. This four-fold similarity is consistent with

 

the original concept of the Great Chain of Being as conceived by Plato.

 

1 - A Summary of Divergent Cultures Having Similar Ladder Symbolism (after Wilbur)[xii]

 

Christianity Judaism Islamist

 

Macrocosm Microcosm Macrocosm Microcosm Macrocosm Microcosm

 

Godhead Spirit Emancipation Neshamah Sovereign Power Qalb

 

God Soul Creation Ruah Domination Ruh

 

Angels Mind Formation Nefesh Dominion Nafs

 

Nature Body Action Body Kingdom Jinn

 

Chinese Buddhism Hinduism

 

Macrocosm Microcosm Macrocosm Microcosm Macrocosm Microcosm

 

Unspeakable(Tao) Shen Nirvana Buddha NirgunaBrahman Turiya (Atman)

 

Heaven (T’ien) Ling Bodhisattvas Subtle Mind Saguna Brahman Causal Body

 

Heaven/Earth Hsin Apsaras Gross Mind Devas in Lokas Subtle Body

 

10,000 Things Shen Nirmanakaya Five Senses Prakriti Gross Body

 

Modern anthropologists generally concur that the commonality of symbolism of this

 

sort is the result of “diffusionism” and “acculturation”. Diffusionism may be simply

 

defined[xiii] as the spread of a cultural item from its place of origin to other places usually

 

through migration, trade, war, or other contact. Acculturation[xiv] is considered to be those

 

gradual changes purposefully produced in a given culture because of the influence of

 

another politically dominant culture, in which the two cultures become similar as the end

 

result.

 

There are also numerous examples in which a seven-fold hierarchical symbolism is

 

found widely distributed among variant cultures. Table 2 provides an example of one such

 

complex (three parallel meanings) seven tier symbolism which was used in the cult of

 

Mithraicism[xv].

 

2 – Structure of Seven-fold Mithraic Symbolism

 

Chain of Being in Mithraism

 

7 Gold Sun Truth

 

6 Silver Moon Mansion of the Blessed

 

5 Iron Mars World of Births

 

4 Tin Jupiter Middle World

 

3 Copper Venus Heaven

 

2 Quicksilver Mercury World of Pre-Existence

 

1 Lead Saturn First World

 

Of those traditions displaying ladder symbolism, that which is of particular interest in

 

Freemasonry is the Kabalistic representation of the ladder provided by the Tree of Life glyph.

 

Figure 2 illustrates the Tree of Life rendered as a seven-run ladder. The Kabalistic Tree of

 

Life is comprised of three pillars. Each of these pillars contains spheres or “Sephira” (plural:

 

Sephiroth) which are considered to be “emanations" of God. These spheres are connected

 

by pathways. The Sephiroth of the left pillar (called the Pillar of Severity) represent the

 

"masculine" characteristics of God (such as "judgment" and "understanding"), Sephiroth of

 

the right pillar (the Pillar of Mercy) represent the "feminine" characteristics of God (such as

 

"mercy" and "wisdom"). The Center pillar is the perfect "balance" between Severity and

 

Mercy. Both the Angel Metatron (identified as the transported person of Enoch) and Christ

 

are commonly associated with the Sephira “Tipareth” which are centered upon the middle

 

pillar.

 

In the Zohar the Pillars on the left and right are associated with the Biblical characters

 

of Isaac and Abraham, respectively. The center Pillar is associated with Jacob. Through his

 

dream as detailed in Genesis, Jacob is made to understand by the image of the ladder the

 

unity of the three pillars. There are Theologians who believe that the three pillars of the tree

 

of life were the original basis for the concept of the Christian Trinity. In the account of

 

Jacob’s ladder given in Genesis 28: 10-22 the Angels serve as the entities which carry out

 

the will of God. Their pathway in doing so is Jacobs Ladder - the center pillar, or the pillar of

 

balance. Thus the ladder is associated with God’s perfect and balanced will and God’s

 

grace.

 

There are two different Kabalistic interpretations of the story of Jacob. The Jewish

 

philosopher Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon, 1138–1204 AD[xvi]), in his “Guide to the

 

Perplexed[xvii]” believed the story of Jacob’s ladder was intended as an explanation of the

 

relationship between man’s existence on earth and existence in the “world of heavenly

 

spheres”. He believed that the ascending angels are the prophets whose understanding of

 

the ladder allows them an elevated level of spiritual awareness. The descending angels

 

represent the prophets who having gained spiritual awareness descend to the material

 

world to transmit their knowledge. Therefore, the dream relates that the two worlds, while

 

separate are none-the-less connected and may be comprehended by study of the Tree of

 

Life. Through this understanding man may reach the level of the Prophet.

 

A second interpretation is given by Hassidic leader R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady (1745

 

– 1813 AD[xviii]) and R. Hayyim of Volozhin (1749-1821). In this interpretation, the Ladder

 

symbolizes the stages of spiritual progression. This interpretation views the ascending and

 

descending Angels to represent the mobility of spirit. It is interesting that in the commentary

 

on this interpretation it is noted that the ladder does not rest “on the ground” but rather

 

“near the ground” and that its anchor-point is in heaven.

 

Since it is not my purpose here to explain the complex meaning of the Tree of Life I

 

will simply note that from my point-of-view, the esoteric notion represented by the Masonic

 

Ladder is consistent with the interpretation rendered by Shneur Zalman of Lyady et. al. This

 

is not surprising since this interpretation appears to have been formulated at about the

 

same time period in which the Masonic ladder first appeared in our ritual. The Masonic

 

Ladder alludes to the Spiritual growth and transcendence which is possible through study.

 

We are also reminded that having ascended and received light, we are obligated also to

 

descend the ladder to share our knowledge and faith with our Brothers.

 

The Great Chain of Being

 

The “Great Chain of Being”, also known as the “Scala Naturae” (Latin: Ladder of

 

Nature) or the “Echelle des Etres” (French: Scale of Beings) is a concept[xix] developed from

 

the ideas of Plato (circa 427 – 347 BC), Aristotle (384 – 322 BC), and the Neo Platonist

 

philosophers Plotinus (circa 204–270 A.D.) and Porphyry (circa 234– 305 A.D.). Plato

 

conceived of "Ideal Forms" which were the patterns of perfection of physical being which

 

exist in the mind of God. This may be loosely interpreted as meaning that all of God’s

 

physical and spiritual creations possess some degree of perfection. Aristotle considered

 

that man is the most perfect of animal creations and that it would be possible to rank

 

animals based upon their level of perfection relative to man. The concept evolved to include

 

a hierarchal scale based upon degrees of perfection in which in which God was at the top,

 

followed by Spiritual Beings (i.e. Angels), followed respectively by Man, remaining members

 

of the Animal Kingdom, members of the Plant Kingdom, and lastly the Inert (mineral) world.

 

Within each these major Hierarchical categories, further ranking was developed. For

 

example Kings were placed at the top of the list of perfection in the Human realm, with

 

nobles following. This hierarchical scheme was justified using Biblical text from Romans

 

13:1 which establishes the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, and was the basis of the

 

medieval feudal system. During the Renaissance[xx] (roughly spanning the 14th to the 17th

 

century) and the ensuing Age of Enlightenment, the entire social spectrum was incorporated

 

into the hierarchy of the Great Chain of being. Written works by Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716,

 

Compte de Buffon (1720-1788), Charles Bonner (1720-1793) established the Great Chain of

 

Being as “scientific fact”. In 1774 botanist Karl von Linné (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus)

 

proposed a binomial system of nomenclature for classifying animal and plant organisms. In

 

his system, organisms were given two Latin names: “genus” and “species”. Each genus

 

included related species and was also part of a larger category of living things (this later

 

evolving into the modern system of Taxonomy comprising Class, Order, Genus, and

 

Species). Linné’s system was of course consistent with the Great Chain of Being. Author

 

Oliver Goldsmith in his text A History of the Earth and Animated Nature[xxi] published in

 

1774 created an exhaustive index[xxii] and hierarchical ranking of the organisms

 

constituting the Great Chain of Being, complete with illustrations.

 

The concept of the Great Chain of Being is believed[xxiii] to have been introduced to

 

Christian theology by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1275 AD), and was especially popular with

 

the Christian Church since the concept adopted a stable hierarchy in which God is Supreme,

 

and because Clergy were considered to occupy the space just below Nobility in this

 

hierarchy. Further, the power of the Church ranked second only to the Power of the Empire

 

(or Kingdom).

 

A person living during the 16 th though the 18 th centuries knew without doubt his or

 

her own places in the Great Chain of Being. The doctrine of the Great Chain of Being

 

permitted no opportunity for improvements upon God’s perfection, hence one’s lot in life

 

was considered both divine destiny and unalterable, not only for a given individual but also

 

for one’s descendants. (i.e. a baker’s son would produce only baker’s sons and daughters).

 

As will be discussed later, this part of the doctrine appears to be highly contrived. This is

 

considered as such, since the Biblical description of Angels ascending and descending

 

Jacob’s ladder clearly represents the possibility for upward and downward mobility of spirit

 

within the Chain. This rigid doctrine also did not provide for any degree of overlap within the

 

Chain of Being, i.e. the overlap of beings exhibiting higher levels of perfection in one class

 

with lower level beings of the next higher class. This is puzzling as well since the Great

 

Chain of Being and the revival of Alchemy were contemporary concepts.

 

Arthur O. Lovejoy in his seminal work the Great Chain of Being[xxiv] made the

 

observation that persons living during the “Age of Enlightenment” (roughly 1670 to

 

1815[xxv]) were largely those with minds which habitually assumed that simple solutions

 

are possible for even the most complex matters. Lovejoy used the term “esprits simpliste” to

 

describe this propensity. He wrote:

 

“The representatives of the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, for

 

example, were manifestly characterized to a peculiar degree by the presumption of

 

simplicity. Though there were numerous exceptions, though there were powerful ideas in

 

vogue which worked in the contrary direction, it was never-the-less largely an age of esprits

 

simplistes…”

 

As can be plainly discerned, the Great Chain of Being introduced a socio-political

 

order which upheld the existing power structure. The acceptance by the masses of the Great

 

Chain of Being as unalterable fact began to unravel around the time of the French Revolution

 

and the founding of the United States, both of which championed a form of political rule

 

which was not based upon hereditary kingship. Social mobility of the classes was indeed a

 

shockingly radical concept.

 

Conclusion

 

The Great Chain of Being had an immense influence upon early western culture and

 

the way we viewed ourselves in the context of relationships between men and between man

 

and God. The close ties of Esoteric Freemasonry and Kabalistic concepts are well known

 

and are generally accepted by knowledgeable Masons. It is entirely possible that the Great

 

Chain may have had Kabalistic thought as its inspiration, since the concept of the Kabalistic

 

Tree of Life probably pre-dated Plato. It is interesting to note that the basic concept of the

 

Great Chain of Being which began as a brilliant question aimed at defining Man’s place in

 

the Universe eventually evolved into a complex system which restricted freedoms and was

 

responsible for racial discrimination.

 

I am proud to say that the tie which binds the Masonic Ladder and the Great Chain of

 

Being is consistent with the original brilliant question: How does mankind relate to God and

 

how does Man ascend to the light of God ?

 

[i] Jacobs Ladder. Short talk Bulletin. Masonic Service Association ofNorth America. Vol.XIII April, 1935 No.4.

 

[ii] Tillyard, E.M.W. (1944).The Elizabethan World Picture: A Studyofthe Idea of Order in theAge of Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton. New York: The MacMillan Company.

 

[iii] Jacob’s Ladder. Kennings Masonic Cyclopaedia and Handbookof Masonic Archeology, Historyand Biography. Kenning, George & Woodford A.F.A.(Eds.). London. 1878.

 

[iv] Zeldis, Leon. (2003). Symbolism ofthe Ladder. Masonic Symbolsand Signposts. Anchor Communications.

 

[v] McEvoy, Norman. (2003-2011). Jacobs Ladder. The Educator. Retrieved May 10, 2012 from http://www.theeducator.ca/symbolism/jacobs-ladder/.

 

[vi] George Oliver (1837). Signs And SymbolsIllustrated And Explained in a Course of Twelve Lectures on Freemasonry. London: Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper.

 

[vii] Ramachandran, R. (2002). Jacob's Ladder. Sri Brahadeeswara LodgeMasonicResearch Circle. Retrieved May10, 2012 from http://www.masonicpaedia.org/showarticle.asp?id=4

 

[viii] Sherer, John. (1876). The Masonic Ladder, or, The Nine Stepsto AncientFreemasonry: A Practical Exhibit, In Prose and Verse, ofthe Moral Precepts, Traditions, Scriptural Instructionsand Allegories of the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason, MarkMaster, Past Master, Most ExcellentMaster, Royal Arch Mason, Royal Master and SelectMaster. Cincinatti: R.W. Carroll & Co. Publishers.

 

[ix] Wilmhurst, W.L. (2007). The Masonic Initiation. Plumbstone. ISBN-10: 1603020020; ISBN-13: 978-1603020022

 

[x] Wilbur, Ken. (2001). A BriefHistory of Everything. Shambhala. ISBN-10: 1570627401; ISBN-13: 978-1570627408

 

[xi] Smith, Houston. (2003). Beyond the Postmodern Mind: ThePlace of Meaning in a Global Civilization. Quest Books. ISBN-10: 0835608301; ISBN-13: 978-0835608305

 

[xii] Op Cit. Wilbur, Ken. (2001). A BriefHistory ofEverything

 

[xiii] Winthrop, Robert H. (1991). Dictionary of Concepts in Cultural Anthropology. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN: 0-313-24280-1

 

[xiv] Kroeber, Alfred Louis. (1948). Anthropology: Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, Pre-history. New York: Harcourt, Brace &Company

 

[xv] Mackey, Albert G. (1917). Encyclopedia ofFreemasonryand its Kindred Sciences. Philadelphia: McClure Publishing Company.

 

[xvi] Seeskin, Kenneth, Maimonides, TheStanford Encyclopedia ofPhilosophy (Spring 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Retrieved May13, 2012 from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2010/entries/maimonides/.

 

[xvii] Pines, S. (1963) TheGuide of thePerplexed. Chicago: University ofChicago Press.

 

[xviii] Shimon.(2012) Torah and Kabbalah Commentary with the Teaching of theZohar. Retrieved May 10, 2012 from http://rabbishimon.com/tzadikim/.

 

[xix] Knuuttila, Simo. (1981). Reforging the GreatChain of Being: Studiesof the History ofModal Theories. Dordrecht, Holland: R. Reidel Publishing Company.

 

[xx] Stuber, Peter. (1997). The GreatChain of Being. Retrieved May12, 2012 from thewebsiteof the Department of Philosophy, Earlham College at http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/courses/re/chain.htm

 

[xxi] Goldsmith, Oliver. (1824). A History of theEarth and Animated Nature. Philadelphia: Edward Poole.

 

[xxii] Lynskey, Winifred. Goldsmith and the Chain of Being. Journal of the HistoryofIdeas. Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jun., 1945), pp. 363-374.

 

[xxiii] Fairweather, A.M. . (2011). Natureand Grace: Selections from the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Literary Licensing, LLC. ISBN-10: 1258117428; ISBN-13: 9781258117429.

 

[xxiv] Lovejoy, A. (1942). TheGreat Chain ofBeing: A Studyof the History ofan Idea. The William James lectures, Delivered at Harvard University1933. Cambridge Mass: Harvard UniversityPress.

 

[xxv] Israel, Jonathan. (2006). Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation ofMan 1670-1752. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0199279225; ISBN-13: 978-0199279227

Regaling for Masonic Observance (MWPHGLTX)

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on May 25, 2014 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

To: Prince Hall Masons beholding to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and its Jurisdiction, Adoptive Rites: Grand High Court Heroines of Jericho and Norris Wright Cuney Grand Chapter, Concordant and Appendant Bodies: Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch Masons, Lone Star Grand Commandery and Lone Star Grand Guild, Texas Council of Deliberations and Texas Council Golden Assemblies

 

From: Hon. Wilbert M. Curtis

Most Worshipful Grand Master

 

In agreement with the Masonic Head of Houses beholding to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas and Its Jurisdiction. It is primarily intended for those who are not familiar with and may be misinformed of Masonic Customs as it relates to Masonic Observances.

 

Each Masonic Body has its own annual public observances which require its members to regale for that occasion. The observance is so stated in the constitution or the general regulation of that Masonic Body. Some of the observances include ceremonies. All public observances by Masonic Bodies of the Prince Hall Jurisdiction of Texas fall under the category of Masonic Customs.

 

Every effort is to be made by all to not schedule any Masonic functions on these stated dates that will interfere with these stated observances. This include Grand, Regional, District and/or Local body functions.

 

In accordance with the Constitution of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas and Its Jurisdiction, ARTICLE XII, Section 12d, that states all Adoptive Rites of the Grand Lodge shall be pursuant to the Masonic Customs, under the Grand Lodge’s direction and supervision. This also applies to the Concordant and Appendant Bodies beholding to the Grand Lodge under ARTICLE XII, Section 12; organizations that are extended Fraternal Recognition by the Grand Lodge.

When attending the public observances for a Masonic Body, it is customary that you regale as a member of that Masonic Body ONLY. It is respectful to that Masonic Body, proper protocol and common sense. The only Masonic Public Observance that allows all Masonic Bodies to be represented and regale is Prince Hall Americanism Day.

 

The annual public observances are listed below with proper attire for both male and female members:

 

Masonic Body Observance Dates Masonic Attire Supporters Attire

Joint Observance Prince Hall Americanism Sunday closest to Sept. 12 All All

Master Masons St. Johns Day Sunday Closest To June 24 Master Masons HOJ/OES

Royal Arch Masons Zerrubbabel Day Sunday closest to Apr 24 Royal Arch Masons HOJ

Knights Templar Ascension Day 40 Days after Easter Thursday or Sunday Service Knights Templar Guild

Scottish Rite Maundy Thursday Thursday Prior to Easter Scottish Rite Golden Circle

Scottish Rite Easter Extinguishing Lights Easter Morning Scottish Rite Golden Circle

Heroines of Jericho Palm Sunday Palm Sunday HOJ Master Masons

OES Palm Sunday Palm Sunday OES Master Masons

Norris Wright Cuney Day Sunday closest to May 12 OES Master Masons

Guild None None

Golden Circle None None

NOTE: This does not include public events like parades and other functions. Those events are regulated by special dispensations from the Masonic Body Head.

 

Take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly.

RAMBAM Sunday, 25 Tishrei 5774 / September 29, 2013

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on September 29, 2013 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Mechussarey Kapparah - Perek 5

 

Halacha 1

What is meant by the term "the tinuch of the ear"? The middle lobe.

 

If the priest applied the oil to the sides of the thumb and the large toe, it is acceptable. If he applied it to their lower surface, it is invalid. Whether the priest applies the oil to the blood of the guilt-offering directly above it or he applied it at the side of the blood, even if the blood was cleaned off before he placed the oil on the thumb and the toe, he fulfills his obligation, as implied by Leviticus 14:28 which states that the oil must be applied "on the place of the blood of the guilt-offering."

 

If an afflicted person does not have a right hand, a right foot, or a right ear, he can never regain ritual purity.

 

Halacha 2

When a guilt offering of an afflicted person was slaughtered without the proper intent or its blood was not applied to the person's thumb and toe, it should be brought to the altar and it requires additional offerings like those offered for a guilt-offering of one afflicted with tzara'at. The afflicted person must bring another guilt-offering for his purificiation.

 

Halacha 3

If the afflicted person's sin-offering was offered before his guilt-offering, we do not say that one should stir the blood of the sin-offering until the guilt-offering was offered. Instead, it should be left overnight and then taken to the place where sacrifices are burnt.

 

Halacha 4

A person may bring his guilt-offering one day and his log of oil even after ten days. If he desires to alter the designation of the log and designate it for the guilt-offering of another afflicted person, he may although he has already had it consecrated in a sacred utensil. If the amount of oil decreased before it was poured into the priest's hand and was less than a log, the measure should be refilled. If it decreased after it was poured, another log should be brought instead.

 

Halacha 5

The following laws apply if the oil was poured into the priest's hand, his colleague began to sprinkle it and then the log spilled. If it spilled before he completed the seven sprinklings, he should bring another log of oil and begin the seven sprinklings. If he completed the seven sprinklings and then the log of oil spilled, he should bring another log and begin applying the oil to the thumb and toe. If he already began applying the oil to the thumb and toe and the log spilled before he could complete it, he should bring another log and begin applying the oil to the thumb and toe. If he completed applying the oil to the thumb and toe and the log spilled before he placed the remainder of the oil on the head of the person being purified, he does not have to bring another log, for the application of the oil to his head is not an indispensable requirement, as implied by Leviticus 14:17, 18 which mentions "the remainder of the oil," and "the additional oil."

 

Halacha 6

If the priest applied the oil before he applied the blood, he should fill the log container with additional oil and apply the oil after the blood. If the oil was applied to the thumb and toe before the seven sprinklings were made, the log container should be filled with additional oil which should be applied to the thumb and toe after the seven sprinklings. These laws are derived from Leviticus 14:2 which states: "This is the law applying to one afflicted with tzara'at." Implied is that the entire law should be carried out according to the prescribed sequence.

 

Halacha 7

If the seven sprinklings were made without the proper intent, the offering does not find favor Above, but the afflicted person regains his status of purity.

 

Halacha 8

When a person who had been afflicted with tzara'at becomes afflicted again after bringing his guilt-offering, he must bring another set of sacrifices for the second affliction. Similarly, if he brings his guilt-offering for the second affliction and becomes afflicted again, he must bring a sacrifice for every time he became afflicted. If, however, he became afflicted and was healed and brought the birds and then became afflicted again, when he was healed a second time and brings his birds, it is sufficient to bring one set of sacrifices for all the times he was afflicted.

 

Halacha 9

The following laws apply when an afflicted person brings the sacrifices required of a poor person and then he becomes rich, or he brought the sacrifices required of a rich person and he became poor. Everything depends on his status at the time he brings his guilt-offering. If he was wealthy at the time the guilt-offering was slaughtered, he should complete the offering of a wealthy person. If he was poor at that time, he should complete the offering of a poor person.

 

Halacha 10

There were two afflicted persons whose sacrifices became intermingled and the blood of one of the sin-offerings was sprinkled on the altar and then one of the afflicted persons died. What should the afflicted person who is alive do? He may not bring an animal as a sin-offering, for perhaps the sin-offering whose blood was cast on the altar was his and we follow the principle: an animal is not brought as a sin-offering when there is a doubt whether one is liable. He may not bring a sin-offering of fowl, because a rich man who brings a poor man's offering does not fulfill his obligation.

 

What then should he do? He should sign all his property over to another person. Thus he will be poor. Hence he may bring a sin-offering of fowl, because of the doubt. It is not eaten, as we explained. He may then partake of sacrificial foods.

 

Halacha 11

When a rich man says: "I take responsibility for the sacrifices of this afflicted person," and the afflicted person was poor, he must bring the sacrifices of a wealthy man, for the person who took the vow has the financial capacity. If a poor person said: "I take responsibility for the sacrifices of this afflicted person," and the afflicted person was wealthy, he must bring the sacrifices of a wealthy man, for the person who took the vow obligated himself to bring the sacrifices of a wealthy man.

 

Blessed be the Merciful One Who grants assistance.

 

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.

A Purim Secret

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on September 26, 2013 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)


By Yerachmiel Tilles

 

 


Nissan was a wealthy man who lived in Yargin, a small town near Pressburg, the capital city of Slovakia. When younger, he had been a student at the famous Pressburg yeshivah. He and his wife were already married for many years, but still had not been blessed with children. When, finally, a son was born to him in 5583 (1823), it was no surprise that he honored his former teacher, the world-renowned scholar known as the Chatam Sofer, to perform the circumcision. Unfortunately, the brit had to be postponed because of the weak health of the baby. It wasn’t till several weeks later that it was announced that it would take place on . . . Purim!

 

At the brit, the Chatam Sofer was glowing with “light, happiness, joy and honor.” Whether it was the joy of Purim, happiness for his student, or a combination of both, nobody knew. After completing the circumcision, when he dipped his finger in the wine to place a drop in the baby’s mouth (following custom), he raised his voice and called out very loudly the Talmudic expression, Nichnas yayin, yatza sod—“When wine goes in, secrets come out.”

 

The baby was given an appropriate name for a Purim brit: Baruch Mordechai, which means “blessed be Mordechai,” from the paragraph recited after the megillah readings.

 

The child grew. At an early age, he was already outstanding in character and religious observance. However, much to the distress of his parents, his ability to understand Torah was not at par. As a boy, he didn’t seem any different than his age-mates; but after his bar mitzvah, when he entered the famous Pressburg yeshivah, it was noticeable that he was having major difficulties in his studies.

 

In truth, he was very diligent. He would sit absorbed in the holy books from morning to evening. But whenever he was asked to repeat or explain anything, he was unable to respond, and could only sit silently.

 

His less-sensitive classmates liked to make fun of him because of this. Once, when he left his place for a few minutes, they switched his volume of Talmud for one of another subject entirely, leaving it open to the same number page he had been on. When he resumed his seat, he didn’t seem to notice the difference at all.

 

When Baruch Mordechai turned eighteen, the Chatam Sofer’s son, known as the Ketav Sofer (who had succeeded his recently departed father as the head of the yeshivah) advised Baruch Mordechai’s parents to send him to the Land of Israel. Perhaps there, where “the air of the Holy Land makes wise,” his studies would prosper.

 

His parents decided to do it. They hoped it would also enable him to make a good match.

 

Baruch Mordechai arrived in Jerusalem with a letter of recommendation from Rabbi Shraga Feldheim, mashgiach (study supervisor) at Pressburg, which said that he “is truly pious, prays with great devotion, and that his desire to learn Torah is sincere and enormous.”

 

One of the scholarly leaders of the Jerusalem community then, Rabbi Yeshaya Bardaki, “adopted” Baruch Mordechai, concerning himself with all of his needs. He was impressed with the young man’s sterling character and piousness, but he could not fathom how someone who had done nothing but study Torah diligently all his life could have retained so little.

 

When Baruch Mordechai reached age twenty, Rabbi Bardaki found a bride for him: a simple girl from a good family in Jerusalem who wouldn’t mind that her husband was an ignoramus.

 

Several years after the wedding, Baruch Mordechai began to work as a water-carrier. He was honest to a fault, and as a result quickly became very popular. Every Rosh Chodesh (first of the month), he would deliver water to his regular customers for free; he worried that over the course of the previous month water might have spilled, whereas he had charged for full buckets.

 

For more than forty years Baruch Mordechai toiled at his chosen profession, the whole time in joyous spirit and with gratitude to G‑d for his lot. He took special satisfaction from serving the many Torah scholars within the walls of Jerusalem; he considered this a great merit, and refused to accept payment from them. It anguished him that the great scholar Rabbi Yehudah Leib Diskin refused to take water from him. “I cannot allow myself to be served by the likes of Reb Baruch Mordechai,” he would say—but refused to explain his words.

 

On Purim 5653 (1893), at the time of the festive meal, most of the chassidim and notables of Old City Jerusalem crowded, like every year, into the home of Rabbi Schneur Zalman Fradkin of Lublin, the celebrated author of the scholarly book Torat Chesed. The atmosphere was exceptionally joyous, even for a Purim celebration. Everyone was constantly erupting into lively song and dance, and there was a complementary flow of wine and wise words.

 

All of a sudden, Baruch Mordechai called out to the host in a loud voice from the midst of the swaying chassidim, “Rebbe! Today is seventy years exactly since my brit.”

 

Everyone smiled tolerantly, figuring that such an outburst from the simple water-carrier could only be a result of all the Purim wine he had imbibed.

 

“If so,” responded Rabbi Schneur Zalman, “you deserve an extra-large measure of l’chaim.”

 

Immediately a large tumbler of a special strong wine was poured and passed to Baruch Mordechai, who speedily dispatched it as commanded.

 

It had an immediate effect. The elderly water-carrier began to sing and dance energetically.

 

The sage’s reaction was surprising. He looked up at Baruch Mordechai and shouted over the crowd: “It would be nice if you would stop fooling around already, and honor the holy assemblage with some strong words of halachah and aggadah (Torah law and lore).”

 

Suddenly there was silence. Everyone’s gaze shifted in amused anticipation to the tipsy Baruch Mordechai, as he climbed up to stand on the table and began to speak.

 

But then, all the grins slowly gave way to wide-eyed stares of astonishment as it penetrated their ears that the water-carrier was discoursing enthusiastically on scholarly Purim topics, and peppering his words with learned citations from the Talmudic tractate Megillah and a variety of midrashim and works of Jewish law. And he waxed on and on! Indeed, if the strong wine hadn’t finally taken its toll, it seemed that he could have continued indefinitely.

 

Even before the holiday was over, the news of the extraordinary scholarship of the unassuming water-carrier had spread throughout Jerusalem. The community was in an uproar. How had they allowed such an accomplished scholar to be disdained in their midst, and to labor as a mere water-carrier for so many years? And how had his erudition remained hidden for so long?

 

A few of the elders of the community recalled hearing of the mysterious words of the Chatam Sofer seventy years before. Now, some clever minds were saying, they could finally be understood.

 

Nichnas yayin, yatza sod—“Wine enters, secrets emerge.” Yayin (wine), spelled yud-yud-nun, has a numerical value of seventy, and so does samech-vov-dalet, the Hebrew word for “secret”!

 

 

Biographical note:

The Torah giant Rabbi Moshe Schreiber [1762–1839] was known as the Chatam Sofer, after the title of his volumes of responsa which have been highly significant in the modern development of Jewish law and thought.

 

BY YERACHMIEL TILLES

Translated-adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the Hebrew weekly Sichat HaShavua. Rabbi Tilles is co-founder of Ascent of Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the Ascent and Kabbalah Online websites.

A Prerequisite for a Blessing

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on September 1, 2013 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

By Yerachmiel Tilles

 

 

Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer Alfandri was born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1820. His greatness was evident even as a youth, and while still a young man, he was appointed to the Spiritual Council of Istanbul. Many of Istanbul's Jews pleaded with him to accept the position of Chacham Bashi (chief rabbi of the city), and to join its rabbinical court; Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer, however, refused to accept any rabbinical positions, preferring to devote himself to Torah study. He also refused to wear the customary dress of the Torah scholars of Istanbul, which consisted of a turban and a silk robe. When people referred to him as the city's chief rabbi, he would reply, "I am not a rabbi -- just a simple layman."

 

Appreciating his greatness, Istanbul's Jews founded a yeshiva for him, and many outstanding scholars studied there. One of Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer's most distinguished students was Rav Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, author of the encyclopedic Sdei Chemed, who was to become the chief rabbi of Hebron.

 

Later he served as chief rabbi in Damascus. Then, in 1904, the elderly Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer Alfandri resigned his post and moved to the Land of Israel. He settled in Haifa, where he studied undisturbed for the next several years. When the sages of Safed learned that Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer had made aliyah ("ascent" to the Holy Land), they invited him to serve as their city's chief rabbinical judge.

 

Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer accepted the position, even though he was already nearly 90 years old. And he served in this position for nearly twenty years! He was referred to fondly as Sabba Kadisha, the "holy grandfather," a title he had already acquired before his decades in Safed.

 

In April of 1914, Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer, accompanied by many of Safed's residents, went out to bless the new moon. After completing the prayer, he looked upward, clapped his hands and let out a piercing cry. Then he said: "I see that a large-scale war will soon break out."

 

Four months later, World War I began.

 

During the war, Safed's residents suffered from a lack of food and water. One time, the Turkish pasha (governor) visited the city. He was perched on a white steed, and was accompanied by an entourage of soldiers. He wore a flashy uniform, and a glossy medallion, which indicated his high rank, hung from his neck.

 

When Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer heard of his arrival, he went out to greet him. The pasha was awed by the "holy grandfather"'s majestic appearance, and asked him for a blessing.

 

Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer replied, "Only the humble can receive blessings. I will bless you after you come down from your horse."

 

The pasha got off his horse and lowered his head to receive Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer's blessing. "May Almighty G-d help you in your efforts to see to the needs of the oppressed Jewish nation," Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer said.

 

The pasha was very impressed by Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer and, as a result of that encounter, he made sure that Safed's residents had sufficient food and water.

 

In 1930, Rabbi Shlomo-Eliezer passed away, at the age of 110, in Jerusalem.

 

BY YERACHMIEL TILLES

A master storyteller with hundreds of published stories to his credit, Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder of Ascent of Safed, and managing editor of the Ascent and Kabbalah Online websites.

About the artist: Sarah Kranz has been illustrating magazines, webzines and books (including five children’s books) since graduating from the Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan, in 1996. Her clients have included The New York Times and Money Marketing Magazine of London.

Friday, 24 Elul 5773 / August 30, 2013

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on August 30, 2013 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Chagigah - Perek 1

 

 

Halacha 1

The Jewish people have been commanded to observe three positive commandments on each of the three pilgrimage festivals. They are:

 

a) to appear before the Divine presence, as Exodus 23:17 states: "All of your males shall appear";

 

b) bringing a festive offering, as Deuteronomy 16:15 states: "You shall bring a festive offering to God your Lord"; and

 

c) celebration, as ibid.:14 states: "And you shall rejoice in festivals."

 

The Torah's charge to appear before God mandates that one should appear in the Temple Courtyard on the first day of a festival and bring with him a burnt- offering, whether from fowl or from domesticated animals. One who comes to the Temple Courtyard on the first day of a festival without bringing a burnt-offering has not only failed to perform a positive commandment, but has violated a negative commandment, as Exodus 23:15 states: "You shall not appear in My presence empty-handed." One is not liable for lashes for the violation of this prohibition, because he did not perform a deed.

 

The Torah's charge to bring a festive offering mandates that one offer a peace-offering on the first day of the festival when one comes to appear before the Divine presence. It is a known matter that peace-offerings are brought only from domesticated animals. Women are not obligated in these two mitzvot of appearing before the Divine presence and bringing a festive sacrifice.

 

The Torah's charge to celebrate on festivals mandates that one offer peace-offerings in addition to the festive peace offerings. These are called the festive celebratory peace-offerings, as Deuteronomy 27:7 states: "You shall rejoice before God, your Lord." Women are obligated in this mitzvah.

 

Halacha 2

According to Scriptural Law, there are no fixed measures with regard to the sacrifices broughtwhen appearing before God or the festive offerings, as Deuteronomy 16:17 states: "Each person according to what he gives." According to Rabbinic Law, however, limits were established. One should not bring a burnt-offering to mark one's appearance worth less that a silver me'ah, nor should one bring a festive peace-offering worth less than two silver me'ah. It is a mitzvah to bring these sacrifices proportionate to one's wealth, as implied by the phrase: "according to what one gives...."

 

Halacha 3

Our Sages did not establish a minimum measure for the celebratory peace-offerings. When a person will ascend to Jerusalem for the festival, if he is in possession of the sacrifices required when presenting oneself, he should bring them or he should bring sufficient silver to purchase a sacrificial animal. If he does not possess silver, he should not bring articles of value equivalent to silver. Even if he is in possession of articles worth several gold pieces, it is forbidden for him to ascend to Jerusalem empty-handed without silver or a sacrificial animal.

 

Why was one forbidden to ascend while bringing articles worth money? Perhaps he will not be able to sell them or perhaps he will find impurities in the money he receives.

 

Halacha 4

One who did not offer the burnt offering marking his appearance and his festive peace-offering on the first day of the festival should offer them on the remaining days of the festival, as implied by Deuteronomy 16:15: "For seven days you shall celebrate unto God your Lord." This teaches that all of these days are fit for offering festive sacrifices. They are all compensation for the first day.

 

Halacha 5

It is a mitzvah to be early and to offer these sacrifices on the first day. If, either inadvertently or intentionally, one did not offer them on the first day, they should be offered on the second day. Whoever delays is deserving of reproach. Concerning such a person is applied the words of censure, Tzephania 3:18: "I will gather in and break those who delay the festive prayers and offerings."

 

Halacha 6

If the festival passed without one bringing these festive offerings, he is not obligated to bring them afterwards. Concerning such a situation and the like is applied the verse Ecclesiastes 1:15: "A wrong that cannot be righted."

 

Halacha 7

When one did not bring the festive sacrifices on the first day of the Sukkos holiday, he may bring them throughout the entire festival and on the final holiday, which is the eighth day. For even the eighth day can serve as compensation for the first.

 

Similarly, one who did not bring the festive offerings on the holiday of Shavuot may bring them for seven days, i.e., he may compensate during the six days that following the festival of Shavuot. This concept - that the festival of Shavuot is similar to the festival of Pesach with regard to compensation - was communicated through the Oral Tradition.

 

Halacha 8

The burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God and the festive peace-offerings do not supersede either the Sabbath prohibitions or the restrictions against ritual impurity, because there is no fixed time when they are required to be brought like the communal offerings. For if one does not bring his festive offerings on one day, he may bring them on the next, as we explained.

 

They do, however, supersede the prohibitions of the holidays. Although sacrifices which one has vowed or pledged to bring are not offered on holidays, the burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, the festive peace-offerings, and the celebratory peace-offerings are offered. The rationale is that these are not vows or pledges, but rather obligations.

 

Halacha 9

When one brings the burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, the festive peace-offerings, and the celebratory peace-offerings on a festival, he should lean on them with all his power as he does when bringing offerings on other days. Even though leaning on the animals is not an indispensable element of their sacrifice, as we explained in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot, the Sages did not institute a decree forbidding this as a shvut.

 

Halacha 10

When a person sets aside a burnt-offering brought when appearing before God and dies, his heirs are obligated to offer it.

 

It is permitted to offer sacrifices which one has vowed or pledged during the intermediate days of a holiday, as Numbers 29:39 states: "You will offer these to God on your festivals aside from your vowed and pledged offerings." It can be understood from this that those offerings are brought during the festivals.

 

That verse continues "for your burnt-offerings, your meal-offerings, and your peace-offerings." "For your burnt-offerings" includes a burnt-offering brought by a person afflicted by tzara'at and a woman after childbirth." "Your meal-offerings" include the meal offering brought by a sinner and the meal-offering brought by a woman whose husband accused her of adultery. "Your peace-offerings" includes the peace-offering brought by a nazirite. All of these are offered on the intermediate days of a festival, but are not offered on the sacred days.

 

Halacha 11

When a person who ascended to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage festival had many members of his household to partake of the offerings, but limited means, he should bring many festive peace-offerings, and few burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God. If he has few members of his household to partake of the offerings, but ample means, he should bring many burnt-offerings brought when appearing before God, and few festive peace-offerings. If he has few of both, concerning that our Sages said: "One should not bring less than a meah for a burnt-offering and two silver meah for a peace-offering." If he was blessed amply with both, concerning this, our Sages applied the verse Deuteronomy 16:17: "According to the blessing of God your Lord which He granted you."

 

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.

The King???s Friend

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on August 22, 2013 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Based on an urban legend

By Bentzion Elisha

 

 

Once there lived a gentile king who delighted in having an audience with a particular rabbi who lived in the kingdom’s capital. The two would converse on various subjects, and the rabbi’s acuity and sharp intellect amazed the king again and again. No one could compare in counsel and wisdom to the charming rabbi.

 

The king had a fascination with outings to the country, and he would invite the rabbi so that they could discuss the kingdom’s happenings.

 

The rabbi had a way of always weaving into the conversation the idea of hashgacha pratit, divine providence, constantly seeking to connect the unfolding events with G‑d’s underlying presence and guiding hand.

 

The rabbi fumbled with the rifle, and a shot accidentally escaped from the weapon.

On one of these outings, the king decided to go hunting. Accompanied by the rabbi, his companion of choice, the king insisted that the rabbi also hunt together with him.

 

Unfamiliar with the sport, the rabbi fumbled with the rifle, and a shot accidentally escaped from the weapon. A bitter scream pierced the forest, a scream from none other than the king himself! The rabbi had mistakenly shot the king, damaging his hand forever by shooting off one of his fingers.

 

Enraged, the bleeding king had his guards imprison the rabbi immediately, with swift orders to put him into one of the dungeon’s prison chambers.

 

Months passed, and the king’s injury slowly healed. His hand was getting stronger, and his desire to go on one of his outings finally made him plan a most extravagant trip to many far-off lands.

 

Throughout his trips, he missed the wisdom and companionship of the brilliant rabbi.

 

In one particularly exotic location, the king was warned not to leave the camp grounds, because hostile natives lurked. But the king’s adventurous spirit was sparked by the idea of seeing the area as it was.

 

The king was warned not to leave the camp grounds, because hostile natives lurked.

On one of his forays outside the camp, the king was captured by cannibal tribesmen. As was their custom, they inspected their “merchandise” before cooking. They were alarmed to find that the enticing specimen before them had a missing finger. Immediately they declared it a bad omen, and discarded the king close to his campgrounds.

 

The king was beside himself with joy. The rabbi’s “blunder” had saved his life.

 

He immediately changed course and directed his entourage to return home. He had to speak to the rabbi.

 

When they arrived at the capital, the king immediately set the rabbi free.

 

He asked him:

 

“Dear rabbi, you have always spoken of divine providence, and how everything comes down from heaven for our good, and I see that here. But rabbi, I have one question: what was the divine providence as it relates to you? You were in the dungeon for months; where is the good in that?”

 

If I wasn’t in the dungeon, I would have been with you.

The rabbi smiled as he answered, “Your majesty, if I wasn’t in the dungeon, I would have been with you, and the cannibals would have eaten me, G‑d forbid.”

 

“What lesson can we take from all this?” asked the king.

 

After some thought, the rabbi answered.

 

“Perhaps the lesson is that everyone is essentially a friend of the ultimate King, the Creator of heaven and earth. Since He is a true and good friend who wants the very best for us, we must have faith that all our experiences, even the seemingly negative ones, are really for the best.”

 

BY BENTZION ELISHA

Rabbi Bentzion Elisha is an award-winning chassidic photographer and writer, based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, where he resides with his family.

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TX KOP BEGINING

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on August 16, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The Beginning

In 1999 the late Most Worshipful Grand Master, The Honorable Robert E. Connor, Jr. felt it necessary to began a KOP Youth Program in his jurisdiction. He named the Grand Council after the late Most Worshipful Grand Master, The Honorable Thomas H. Routt. PGM Connors appointed Bro. Jamal Rasheed as the State Director. It was S.D. Rasheed responsibility to get the program up and running for the jurisdiction of Texas. Bro. Rasheed contacted the Supreme Master Knight, Gilbert “Gil” Tyler and he sent the Supreme Knight Treasurer, Richard Sutton of Arkansas to perform the ceremonies. Shortly their after about 5 councils were started in the state:

1. Grayson, Council No. 1, Sherman, Texas, District 8

2. Arthur L. Banks Council No. 2, Houston, Texas,District 15A

3. S.J. Sutton, Council No. 3, San Antonio, Texas, District 19

4. Marching to Manhood, Council No. 4, Riesel, Texas, District 14

5. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Council No. 5, Austin, Texas, District 24

In 2001 State Director Jamal Rasheed was elected as the Deputy Supreme Master Knight of the KOP program (National Level). In November 2001 PGM Connor appointed Michael Simms as the new State Director for Texas KOP. State Director Simms after seeing that only two councils remain active in the state took the program in a new direction. SD Simms began by reorganizing the leadership structure of the program. He then developed a theme that will give youth, parents, and master masons a better understanding of what the KOP program is about: Teaching our Youth,Leadership, Responsibility, and Brotherhood. SD Simms then began educating the Master Masons about the importance of this program at Mid Winter Sessions, Annual Grand Lodge conferences, and district meetings.

As of January 1, 2004 we have 12 councils in the state with other Masonic districts/lodges requesting KOP councils. The KOP program in Texas now has its own website, logo, bylaws, mission statement, and statewide training program for youth across the state

Past Grand Masters as of 2014 MWPHGLTX

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on July 15, 2013 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

1st 1875-– 1876 Norris Wright Cuney       Amity #4 Galveston

2nd  1876-1878 Richard Allen       Magnolia #3 Houston

3rd 1878-1879 Leroy L. James     Magnolia #3 Houston

_ 1879-– 1881 Norris Wright Cuney     Amity #4 Galveston

4th 188-1885 Abram Grant      San Antonio #1 San Antonio

5th 1885-1890 Charles C. Dean     Magnolia #3 Houston

6th 1890-1890 Rodolphus H. Bradley    Paul Drayton #9 Dallas

7th 1890-1892 Josiah Haynes Armstrong      Amity #4 Galveston

8th 1892-1894 John W. Madison      Mt. Bonnell #2 Austin

9th 1894-1896 Wiley Lawson Kimbrough      Paul Drayton #9 Dallas

10th 1896-1916 John Wesley McKinney     Polar Star #33 Sherman

11th 1916-1925 Henderson D. Winn     Saint John #12 Chapel Hill

12th 1925-1930 John Adrian Kirk      Mount Moriah #6 Waco

13th 1930 - 1946 William Coleman     Sunset #76 El Paso

14th 1946 - 1955 Lucian L. Lockhart     Magnolia #3 Houston

15th 1955 - 1965 John T. Maxey     Amity #4 Galveston

16th 1965 - 1981 Isadore H. Clayborn     Paul Drayton #9 Dallas

17th 1981 - 1987 Reuben G. White La     Marque #373 La Marque

18th 1987 - 1991 Thomas H. Routt     Ever Ready #506 Rosenberg

19th 1991 - 1994 Edwin B. Cash     Good Street #182 Dallas

20th 1994 - 2003 Robert E. Connor, Jr.     Prince Hall #18 Columbus

21th 2003 - Present  Wilbert M. Curtis     St. James #71 Temple


TX KOP MISSION

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on July 10, 2013 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

OUR MISSION

The Most Venerable Thomas H. Routt Grand Council, Order of the

Knights of Pythagoras is a Youth Organization sponsored by

Prince Hall Masons of Texas.

Our organization takes young boys between the ages of

nine through twenty and trains them in the areas of

Leadership, Responsibility, and Brotherhood.

Providing a partnership between master masons, our

youth, parents, and the community. Our program

promotes family values, community service, and

continuously provides training for our youth as they

become the future leaders of today as well as

tomorrow...

When and where were the first Lodges in Texas Organized?

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on June 22, 2013 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Under the leadership of Captain W.D.Mathews, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Kansas, the following Lodges were established in Texas between 1871 and 1873 and were the first Negro Free and Accepted Masonic Lodges organized in the state:

 

San Antonio Lodge # 22

 

Magnolia Lodge #24

 

Mt. Bonnell Lodge #2

 

Galveston Lodge #25

 

Mt. Lebanon – Lodge #26

 

 

“The First Negro Grand Lodge in Texas?”

 

In the early part of June, 1875, N.W. Cuney, D.G.M., and Richard Allen, DDGM, acting under the authority of the Kansas Jurisdiction, issued a call requesting the above-named Lodges to send representatives on August 19, 1875, to meet in Brenham, Texas. The purpose was to organize the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Texas.

 

Persuant to this call, the following Lodges sent delegates:

Mount Bonnell Lodge No.2

Magnolia Lodge No.24

Galveston Lodge No.25

 

 

Mount Bonnell Lodge No.2 was represented by Brothers J.J. Hamilton and Edward Wilkerson

Magnolia Lodge No.24 was represented by Brothers Richard Allen, Richard Brock, W.H. Clark, Samuel Leonard, James Kyle, L.L. James and J.S. Sanders

Galveston Lodge No.25 was represented by Brothers N.W. Cuney, Frank Miller, Wilson Nichols, John DeBruhl, J.H. Morris, and John Lands

The convention organized by electing Richard Allen president and Brother J.H. Morris secretary. The president appointed a committee on credentials (Frank Miller, Samuel Leonard, Edward Wilkerson, J.H. Morris, and J.S. Sanders)

 

 

“Committee Report”

 

Brenham, Texas

August 19, A.D. 1875, A.L. 5875

 

We your committee beg leave to report that the following brethren entitled to seats in this convention, viz. Mount Bonnell Lodge No.2, represented by Brothers J.J. Hamilton and Edward Wilkerson; Magnolia Lodge No.24, represented by Brothers Richard Allen, Richard Brook, W.H. Clark, Samuel J. Leonard, James Kyle, L.L. James and J.S. Sanders; Galveston Lodge No.25, Brothers N.W. Cuney, Frank Miller, Wilson Nichols, John DeBruhl, J.H. Morris, and John Lands.

 

Respectfully,

 

FRANK MILLER, Chairman

J.J. MORRIS

SAMUEL J. LEONARD

EDWARD WILKERSON

J.S. SANDERS

 

On August 20, at 10am, the convention reconvened and a committee of four consisting of Brothers L.L. James, J.H. Morris, Frank Miller, and J.J. Hamilton were appointed to recommend names for the various officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas. The committee retired for deliberation, and on their return reported the following brethren as Grand Officers:

 

Most Worshipful Brother N.W. Cuney, Grand Master, Galveston, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother J.R. Taylor, S.G. Warden, Brenham, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother Edward Wilkinson, J.G. Warden, Austin, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother J.H. Morris, G. Secretary, Galveston, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother J.P. Ball, Jr., G. Register, Brenham, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother Wilson Nichols, G. Treasurer, Galveston, Texas

 

Rt. Worshipful Brother John Lands, G. Tiler, Galveston, Texas

PURPOSE OF MWPHGL OF TX

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on May 22, 2013 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The Mission Statement is promulgated by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Subordinate Lodges owing obedience to the same and by its Supreme Authority. The purpose of this Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas is to control and regulate the practice of Freemasonry throughout its Jurisdiction, in accordance with immemorial usages of this Ancient and Honorable Craft, and to advance the moral and social interests of its membership’s honesty, industry and upright living. It cultivates the exercise of charity in its best and broadest sense, to assist the Widows and Orphans of its deceased members, to stimulate friendship, harmony and brotherly love and generally, to promote in its own way, the happiness of mankind. It is a fraternity of good men, linked and bound together by honorable and unbreakable bonds of friendship and virtue, and to accomplish the noble purpose it eschews all interest in fractional politics and sectarian religion and free from the dictation of both.

PURPOSE OF MWPHGL OF TX

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on May 22, 2013 at 3:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Mission Statement is promulgated by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Subordinate Lodges owing obedience to the same and by its Supreme Authority. The purpose of this Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas is to control and regulate the practice of Freemasonry throughout its Jurisdiction, in accordance with immemorial usages of this Ancient and Honorable Craft, and to advance the moral and social interests of its membership’s honesty, industry and upright living. It cultivates the exercise of charity in its best and broadest sense, to assist the Widows and Orphans of its deceased members, to stimulate friendship, harmony and brotherly love and generally, to promote in its own way, the happiness of mankind. It is a fraternity of good men, linked and bound together by honorable and unbreakable bonds of friendship and virtue, and to accomplish the noble purpose it eschews all interest in fractional politics and sectarian religion and free from the dictation of both.

MISSION STATEMENT OF MWPHGL OF TX

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on April 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Texas and Its Jurisdiction is a non-profit organization which embodies an attractive system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The fraternity, founded upon Christian principles established in the Holy Bible, strives to teach a man the duty he owes to God, his neighbor and to himself; but interferes neither with religion or politics as it prescribes the practice of virtues in the conduct of its business. The foundation is character. Its purpose is service. Its measure is giving. Making “Good Men Better” perpetuates its foundation. Its purpose is service, which is rendered to the people of Texas to improve their social, cultural and economic conditions. Its measure is giving, an act of unselfish sacrifice for the benefit of others.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRINCE HALL FREEMASONRY IN MASSACHUSETTS

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on March 6, 2013 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and 14 men of color were made masons in Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry at Castle William Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. It marked the first time that Black men were made masons in America. <br><br>

About a year later, since the conflict between England and America had commenced, the British Foot Infantry left Boston, along with its lodge, leaving Prince Hall and his associates without a lodge. Before the lodge left, Worshipful Master Batt, gave them a "permit" to meet as a lodge and bury their dead in manner and form. This permit, however, did not allow them to do any "masonic work" or to take in any new members.

Under it, African Lodge was organized on July 3, 1776, with Prince Hall as the worshipful master. It wasn't long before this lodge received an additional "permit" from Provincial Grand Master John Rowe to walk in procession on St. John's Day.

On March 2, 1784, African Lodge #1 petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, the Premier or Mother Grand Lodge of the world, for a warrant (or charter), to organize a regular masonic lodge, with all the rights and privileges thereunto prescribed.

The Grand Lodge of England issued a charter on September 29, 1784 to African Lodge #459, the first lodge of Blacks in America.

African Lodge #459 grew and prospered to such a degree that Worshipful Master Prince Hall was appointed a Provincial Grand Master, in 1791, and out of this grew the first Black Provincial Grand Lodge.

 

In 1797 he organized a lodge in Philadelphia and one in Rhode Island. These lodges were designated to work under the charter of African Lodge #459.

In December 1808, one year after the death of Prince Hall, African Lodge #459 (Boston), African Lodge #459 (Philadelphia) and Hiram Lodge #3 (Providence) met in a general assembly of the craft and organized African Grand Lodge (sometime referred to as African Grand Lodge #I).

In 1847, out of respect for their founding father and first Grand Master, Prince Hall, they changed their name to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the name it carries today. In 1848 Union Lodge #2, Rising Sons of St. John #3 and Celestial Lodge #4 became the first lodges organized under the name Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

From these beginnings, there now are some 5,000 lodges and 47 grand lodges who trace their lineage to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts.

Honorable Brother Leslie A. Lewis., is the 66th Most Worshipful Grand Master for Massachusetts, and carries on the tradition started by Bro. Prince Hall over 200 years ago.

March 6th A Legacy Of Having Been Tried, Sometimes Denied, But Always Ready To Be Tried Again

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on March 6, 2013 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

By Worshipful Brother Frederic L. Milliken <br><br>

Two hundred thirty seven years ago today, on March 6, 1775, Prince Hall, Cryrus Jonbus, Buestop Slinger, Prince Rees, John Carter, Peter Freeman, Benjamin Tiler, Cuff Bufform, Thomas Sanderson, Prince Taylor, Cato Spears, Boston Smith, Peter Best, Forten Howard and Richard Tilly were made Master Masons in a British Army Lodge of Irish register. The Lodge gave them the privilege of meeting, marching in procession, and burying their dead, but not conferring degrees. In March, 1784, Brother Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England for a charter which was issued September 29, 1784, but was not delivered until April 29, 1787, establishing African Lodge 459 on May 6, 1787. Four years later, on June 24, 1791, the African Grand Lodge was formed with Prince Hall as Grand Master. MWB Hall died December 7, 1807. Subsequently, in his honor, the Lodge became M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F&AM, of Massachusetts. Today, the great majority of US state Grand Lodges as well as the Grand Lodge of England and many international Grand Lodges recognize Prince Hall Lodges.

It may seem strange to some because of the fierce determination for the astute ,mason of darker persuasion to be identified, not just as a mason, but as a Prince Hall Mason. There is a difference in “masons.” Because of the trials and tribulations that we, as Prince Hall Masons have endured, it is with a great sense of pride to be privileged to wear the name. It is mute and vocal testimony to the fact that, “Prince Hall, we’re still here!”

A lot of things are not appreciated in life, sometimes because the method used in gaining the honor, the privilege, or the tangible product, is not one where it called for a sacrifice of some sort. Not so with Prince Hall Masons, for we have, “been up the creek, and down the river.” The Prince Hall Mason can truly say, “I have often been tried, but never denied…” The background, the legacies, the involvement of the Prince Hall Masons in the growth of the meaningful things that were gained in the Black Experience and the Black Church, speak louder than the negative reports that sometimes seep into our midst. Prince Hall Masons have many things to be proud of, because of the sacrifices made by those brothers and sisters in by-gone years. I for one do appreciate the many years of their sacrificial efforts.

Because of its beautiful history, Prince Hall Masons have come under attack, by word and deed. There have been court cases, negative media coverage, and by and large, an exclusion from the pages of history found in libraries or in private collections, sorry to say. However, little by little, the story is being told of the many worthwhile things that have been done in the name of human endeavors by those brethren of the craft. Because of its beautiful history, Prince Hall Masons have had to endure many groups professing to be “masons.” Some even carry the name, “Prince Hall Mason,” but the result is not the same. It is said that “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” or something to that order. However, when the term, “mason” is used, everyone should be aware that it does not always mean, “Prince Hall Mason” and there is a difference.

When one considers Prince Hall, one can readily understand why there would be attempts at duplicating the fraternity that bears his name. It is a proud name, one that can stand up to the criticisms that may come from opponents; one that can, because of the many brothers and sisters that wear the name, withstand the court cases and innuendoes of smaller minds. Prince Hall was a man that American History can be proud of, even though some today may feel threatened by the love some members have for their order

Freemasonry is a system of morality, a system that is shared between members of the Masonic Family, and then is shared with the community at large. It is not a secret system, for the lessons come from the Holy Bible, the Holy Koran, the Vegas, and many other religious books found wherever there is a system of religious ideals. Because of the Judeao-Christian principles practiced by the bulk of the Prince Hall membership, it stands to reason the main teachings regarding Freemasonry would come from the Holy Bible.

Prince Hall may not have foreseen the results of his endeavor way back in 1775 when he and 14 other Blacks were initiated into the Masonic Order. He may not have foreseen the many hundreds of thousands of members world-wide that we see today. But Prince Hall did believe in a God that “sits high” and looks low.” That belief was fostered down through many generations of Afro-Americans, and now includes members of all racial persuasions. It is a dream come true for anyone that dared to dream in 1775. We cannot say that those members did dream in 1775, but I am sure that the same God that blessed their endeavors back then is still in the blessing business, for we are the recipients of His grace and goodness. Our very survival and presence bear witness to that.

It was not in man’s cards that we be here, for the mason of old had to “be tried, sometimes denied, but stood ready to be tried again.” Those days of physical opposition are gone now. The days of being in court, defending your right to be called Prince Hall Masons, are now history. The blood that was shed for the right that was taken for granted by all other Americans, shall not be in vain, and we revere our dead members, we celebrate the birth of our founder and benefactor, Prince Hall, the man, the mason, the patriot, the preacher! We’re still here, Prince Hall! (1)

(1) Prince Hall, We’re Still Here, Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas - http://www.arkphagrandlodge.com/still_here.htm

The Bee Hive is indebted to Brother Antonio Caffey, PM St. Mark’s Lodge No. 7, Columbus, OH for an excellent video and for The Phylaxis Society and The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of Arkansas for text

Is it racist to want a Jewish Spouse?

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on March 1, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

By Aron Moss <br><br>

Question:

I was explaining to a non-Jewish work colleague that I only date Jewish men, because I would not marry a non-Jew. He accused me of being racist. I was caught on the spot and had nothing to say. How would you respond to this accusation?

Answer:

If insisting that you will only date Jews makes you racist, does insisting that you will only date men make you sexist? You are certainly discriminating, but is this discrimination bad?

You are not talking about what type of person you want to work with, or whom you would prefer to sit next to on a train. You are talking about whom you want to marry. Are you expected not to discriminate about whom you marry, the same way you are expected not to discriminate when reading a job application?

if you want a Jewish family, he’s got to be a he, and he’s got to be a Hebrew There are plenty of wonderful women out there, but they can’t father your children. And there are plenty of wonderful non-Jewish men out there, but they can’t give you a Jewish family. You want a family, so you seek a man; you want a Jewish family, so you seek a Jewish man. There is nothing offensive about that.

And there is no racial issue here. Jewishness is neither a race nor a religion. It is a soul identity. The man you marry can be a European Jew or an Oriental Jew, a black Jew or a white Jew. He can be a Jew by birth or a Jew by choice. But if you want a Jewish family, he’s got to be a he, and he’s got to be a Hebrew.

By Aron Moss

Rabbi Aron Moss teaches Kabbalah, Talmud and practical Judaism in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.

When not to Obey Parents- An Exception

Posted by Sir Knight Nash on February 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

By Jacob Immanuel Schochet

Published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society

There is but one important qualification.

The fact that the precepts to honor and revere parents are commands of G-d implies not only the wide extent and significance of these Mitzvos, but also their limitation. It is G-d Who prescribes these Mitzvos, and it is G-d's Torah which delineates their specific details.

These Mitzvos are, therefore, integral parts of Torah and subject thereto. They can never apply to incidents that would contravene the letter or spirit of the Torah:

"'Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father, and ye shall keep my Sabbaths; I am the L-rd your G-d.' Scripture juxtaposes the observance of the Sabbath to the fear of one's father in order to teach you that 'although I admonish you regarding the fear of your father, yet if he bids you to desecrate the Sabbath do not listen to him [and the same is the case with any of the other commandments], for 'I am the L-rd your G-d' - both you and your father are equally bound in duty to honor Me. Do not, therefore, obey him if it results in disobeying My words.'" [Rashi on Lev. 19:3; Yevamos 5b; Bava Metzia 32a.]. <br><br>

If parents would order their child to transgress a positive or a negative command set forth in the Torah, or even a command which is of rabbinic origin, the child must disregard the order. Moreover, in the event that the father requests a personal service from his son while the son has a Mitzvah to perform, then: if the Mitzvah can be performed by others, let him delegate it to others and attend to the duty of honoring his father, for one commandment is not to be neglected in order to fulfill another. But if there are no others to perform the Mitzvah (and it cannot be postponed), he must perform it himself and disregard the honor due his father, because both he and his father are duty bound to fulfill the commandment. The latter would include especially the duty of studying Torah which supersedes that of honoring parents [Hilchos Mamrim 6:12f., Shulchan Aruch, ibid, 240:12f and 25 (note the commentaries ad loc.).].


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