Showing posts with label Talmud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Talmud. Show all posts

Friday, 22 July 2016

The New Christians' Role in the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch Empires

Henry the Navigator
Prince of the House of Aviz


"We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, counties, principalities, and other property [...] and to reduce their persons into perpetual servitude."

Dum Diversas (Until Different)
Pope Alexander V
1452




"He saw the land of India, but like Moses and the Promised Land, he was not permitted to enter."
- Galvano, on Bartholemew Diaz




"[The Spaniards are] heretics, schismatics, accursed of God, the Offspring of Jews and Marranos, the very scum of the earth."

Pope Paul IV,
1555


"So, not only did the royalty of Spain agree to finance Magellan's voyage (it was several ships), but, interestingly enough, the bankers of Antwerp, in Belgium, poured money into this because they could see it as a means of taking over new lands, new wealth, gold, tin, silver, and all those spices and other trade goods. So they financed his trip, and three ships took off."

Col. L. Fletcher Prouty

"The mysterious Venitian was beaten."

Quoting the Jewish Virtual Library :

"When the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived off Angediva in 1498, he was greeted in a friendly fashion by this long-bearded European on behalf of his master. Vasco da Gama self-righteously seized the Jew and compelled him to embrace Christianity under the baptismal name of Gaspar da Gama. He was also known as Gaspar d'Almeida and Gaspar de las Indias.

As a Catholic, Gaspar da Gama became the pilot of Vasca da Gama's fleet. He successfully guided the ships through treacherous Indian waters and was subsequently brought back to Portugal.

In Lisbon, Gaspar was granted a pension by the king, who employed his linguistic ability in subsequent Portuguese naval expeditions. In 1500 he accompanied Cabral on his voyage in western waters and was with Nicolau Coelho when he first stepped ashore in Brazil.

On the return voyage he met Amerigo Vespucci, the Tuscan explorer after whom America is named, at Cabo Verde and was consulted by him.

In 1502, he went to India once more with Vasco da Gama and again in 1505 with Francisco d'Almeida. He took part in the latter's expedition against Calicut in 1510, when he may have died."

"They came with intemperate demands for spices and for the expulsion of the deep-rooted Muslim community; they flouted the taboos of Hindu culture and backed up their threats with traumatic acts of violence beyond the acceptable rules of war."



The History of the Crypto-Jews/Hispanic Sephardic Jews

A Brief History of Crypto Jews of Spanish and Portuguese Descent
By Yvonne Garcia

Jews first settled in the Iberian Peninsula, (the region now known as Spain and Portugal) before the arrival of the Phoenicians in about 900 BCE. Jewish merchants settled along the coast of Spain during the time of King Solomon when this region was called Tarsus, or Tarshish. Iberia was referred to as Sefarad by its Jewish inhabitants and Hispania by the Romans from which the name “Spain” was later derived. More Jews immigrated after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. When the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, there were already large well-established Jewish settlements throughout Iberia. 

The first recorded persecution of Jews in Spain began about 489 CE when Jews were forbidden to marry non-Jews or to hold public office, and any children already born of inter-marriage were forcibly baptized into the Catholic Church. 

From this time forward, the Iberian Jews were periodically subjected to progressively worse persecution until finally from 653 to 672 CE, Jews were beheaded, burned alive, or stoned to death for the crime of relapsing from forced conversion to Catholicism back into Judaism. It was during the period of 489 to 711, under Frankish and Visigothic rule, that Crypto Jews (Secret Jews) first emerged as a large group.

In 711 CE the Moors of northern Africa conquered the region and there resulted approximately three hundred years of what is known as the “Golden Age of Tolerance,” when the Muslim rulers coexisted with Jews and Christians. Non-Muslim people were allowed great freedom as long as they paid a special tax, to which the Jews gladly agreed. Jewish art, music, medicine, education and religious study flourished, and the Jewish population increased greatly and prospered, many Jews becoming fabulously rich and famous.

During the Golden Age, Spain became the world center for Talmudic Studies, with some of the world’s most famous rabbinical academies. Some of the greatest Jewish scholars lived in Moorish Spain during the years of transition just after the end of this period of time. Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born in Tudela, Spain, in 1089. He was a poet, mathematician, grammarian, astronomer, commentator of Torah and philosopher. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known as “The Rambam” or “Maimonides,” was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1135, and earned his living as a physician. He is most famous for his codification of Jewish law, entitled Mishne Torah, and for his philosophical work Guide for the Perplexed. Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, known as “The Ramban,” was born in 1194. He, like Maimonides, was a physician and scholar who was the first to incorporate Cabala, or Jewish mysticism, into the Torah teaching, and was a strong proponent of taking possession of the land of Israel. Jews and Crypto Jews flourished in relative peace and plenty, enjoying the Golden Age and the free exchange of ideas, a relatively high level of education for that time in the world, and the benefits from living among Torah and Talmudic scholars. Cities such as Lucena, Granada and Tarragona were populated by Jews magnificently wealthy in culture and material goods.

However, the so-called Golden Age in Spain was also marked by occasional violent upheavals and political turmoil that affected the Jews and Crypto Jews, who were subject to the whims of the frequently changing governments. For example, violence erupted in 1002, when two politically powerful and wealthy Muslims fought to rule Granada; unfortunately the Jews had backed the loser and suffered from Muslim suspicion thereafter. In 1066 a Jewish chief minister of Granada was crucified, followed by the slaughter of more than 1500 Jewish families. The original Moorish dynasty was overpowered by the fanatical Muslim Almoravides in 1086, who were in turn overpowered by the even more fanatical Muslim Almohades from Morocco in 1112.

By 1149 the Almohades had overrun the entire peninsula which had become fragmented into about twelve small kingdoms. The lack of centralized control caused constant power struggles among neighboring kingdoms, such that the Almohades were unable to gain a strong hold on the peninsula. 

Although the Jews had coexisted relatively peacefully with the Muslims, the Catholics bitterly resented the loss of Christian control of the peninsula since 711 and had perpetuated unrest and uprisings, and by 1212, outright rebellion. The centuries-long “Reconquista,” or reconquest, of the entire region was considered a holy obligation. Unfortunately, to the Christians, the Jews were identified with the death of their Christ and with the Muslim rulers under whom the Jews had enjoyed privilege and power. Also during this period of time, the Black Plague was ravaging Europe, killing as many as one in every four people, but far fewer of the Jewish population. 

Relatively few Jews died from the Plague perhaps because of better hygiene. Jews washed their hands before eating bread, bathed weekly prior to Shabbat and before holidays, washed their clothing regularly, maintained sanitary households (especially the kitchen and toilet facilities), consumed only fresh and kosher meats from healthy animals, were required to be distant from sewage and other forms of uncleanliness when reading Torah, and buried their dead within twenty four hours. All of these practices in combination with segregated all-Jewish neighborhoods provided some measure of protection from the Plague, albeit not total immunity.

The Catholics did not observe such hygienic lifestyles, and seldom washed or bathed. The Catholics hated the Jews for their apparent immunity to the Plague, and widely believed the canard that the Jews were the source of the “Black Death” by poisoning wells. 

The Catholics united against the Muslims who were absorbed in fighting one another and slowly took over most of the small kingdoms, one by one. Catholic rule was not kind to the Jews. Widespread pogroms in 1391 resulted in the deaths of fifty thousand Jews, such that, in fear for their lives, tens of thousands converted to Catholicism. These people were called “Conversos” (converts), “New Christians”, and “Maranos” (a derogatory term meaning “pig people.”)  In 1412, the Laws of Catalina were promulgated, which excluded Jews from any economic interchange with Christians.  From this time until the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, Jews were strictly confined to ghettos and had to wear identification badges prominent on the outside of their clothing.  Hard-pressed to survive, many Jews, perhaps as many as 600,000, converted to Christianity by the end of the fifteenth century.  Many of the New Christians were in reality Crypto Jews, outwardly Christians, but tenaciously and secretly practicing Judaism.

The Spanish Edict of Expulsion of 1492 stated that all Jews must leave the country. Those who stayed faced the Inquisition. A small number fled to Italy, Amsterdam, and the Americas, but most went to neighboring Portugal. When the Inquisition came to Portugal in 1496, the Jews were forced to leave, convert, or die. Of those Conversos who opted not to emigrate, many, if not most, were murdered by the “Holy” Inquisition. By 1500, estimates of as few as 40,000 and of more than 200,000 Jews were forced to leave the Iberian Peninsula. Exact numbers are not available because many of the Crypto Jewish family names had been changed after the pogroms of the 1300s in anticipation of future persecution. 

The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition continued for three hundred and fifty years. Accurate recorded accounts of the names, numbers, dates and punishments were kept by the officers of the Inquisition, such that today anyone who cares to recount the horrors may read of them. Of those Jews and Crypto Jews who chose to not leave, or could not afford to leave the Iberian Peninsula, many later bought passage or a commission on a sailing ship bound for safer destinations, preferably as far as possible from the nearest Office of the Inquisition. 

Some purchased the proper documentation for “temporary” (which frequently became permanent) business trips to Italy or Germany, whereas poorer people fled to the north through the mountains and into France. Entire communities of “Portuguese Christians” were documented in southern France, while others continued northward to Amsterdam, England, Scandinavia, and eastward to the German provinces, Austria, Hungary and Poland. In most of these European destinations, these “Portuguese Christians” eventually revealed their true identity as Jews, and then subsequently blended into the established Jewish populations; thus, we do not find long histories of Crypto Judaism throughout Europe.

Many Jews and Crypto Jews immigrated to the New World, now known as the Americas, or the Western Hemisphere. Their choices were limited to the colonies of Spain and Portugal, so that when the Inquisition came to Peru in 1570, to Mexico in 1571, and to Cartegena in 1610, these same people were forced again to choose to convert or to die. The Inquisition spread throughout what is now the southern United States of America, Mexico, Central and South America, the islands of the Caribbean, and Cuba. No Jew or “Converso” was safe from suspicion, accusation and persecution, thus the numbers of Crypto Jews swelled to encompass almost all people of Jewish descent. The experience of the Crypto Jews in the Western Hemisphere was a litany of suffering, continual fear, social, political, professional, and religious suppression and murder. As late as the 1850s the Inquisition was finally officially ended in Mexico, and elsewhere a little sooner; however, overt discrimination and random incidents of lynching and murder continued until well into the 1950s in what we now call “Latin America”.

The final result of approximately one thousand years of persecution and murder of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (minus the three hundred years of the “Golden Age”) caused many families who immigrated to the New World to become Crypto Jewish, while living their public lives as Catholics. In the Americas, some of the Crypto Jews reverted back to being openly Jewish, only to find a few years later that the Inquisition had followed them to their new homes, and they were forced to go back into hiding again. All of these people, the “Conversos” or “New Christians”, were forced to submit to Catholicism, thus in Hebrew they are referred to as the “Anusim” or “those who were forced.”

It has been approximately fifteen-hundred years since the emergence of Crypto Jews in the Iberian Peninsula, and five-hundred years since Crypto Judaism moved to the Americas. Today we find a large Crypto Jewish presence throughout the Western Hemisphere. No one knows for sure how many there really are, however in Brazil alone an estimated 10 to 25% of the total population are Crypto Jews, which translates to 15 to 40 million people. 

While not all people of Crypto Jewish lineage are prepared at this time to accept the challenge to return to living a fully Jewish life, there are thousands, if not millions who are hungry to learn and to reconnect with G-d as Jews. 

References:
1. The Tanach, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., N.Y., 1996.

2. Malka, Edmond S., Sephardi Jews: A Pageant of Spanish-Portuguese and Oriental Judaism Between the Cross and the Crescent, Edmond S. MalkaTrentonNJ, 1979.

3. Netanyahu, B., The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain, Random House, New York, 1995. 

4. Pereira, Dione, “Contemporary B’nai Anusim in the Northeast of Brazil”, Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, Portland Conference, PortlandOregon, 2004

5. Warshawsky, Matthew, PhD., “The End of Jewry in Sephard, Land of the Hebrew Golden Age,” HaLapid, Summer 2004 issue.

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Shellfish Thing

Hexaplex trunculus is a medium-sized species of sea snail was found on the north part of Israeli coastal plain near Tel Shikmona

Leviticus 11:9-12

King James Version (KJV)

These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.


A guide from the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation shows how a piece of wool, dipped into the solution for the Hexaplex (Murex) trunculus based dye, turns into leek-like green in sunlight, and eventually into (dark) blue with a purple hue.


Numbers 15 :

37 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:

39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them ; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

41 I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

Tzitzit (tassel) with blue thread produced from Hexaplex (Murex) trunculus


Structural formula of Hexaplex (Murex) spp. based blue, the tekhelet indigo 
(note the two bromides: in marine environments, 
sodium bromide is abundant, 
not so in terrestrial ones)

 Tekhelet (Hebrew: תכלת təḵêleṯ, "blue-violet", or "blue", or "turquoise" (alternate spellings include tekheleth, t'chelet, techelet and techeiles) is a blue dye mentioned 49 times in the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh. It was used in the clothing of the High Priest, the tapestries in the Tabernacle, and the tassels (Hebrew: ציצית, Tzitzit (or Ṣiṣiyot) [tsiˈtsit], pl. Tzitziyot or Ṣiṣiyot) affixed to the corners of one's four-cornered garment, such as the Tallit (garment worn during prayer, usually).

According to the Talmud, the dye of Tekhelet was produced from a marine creature known as the Ḥillazon (also spelled Chilazon). According to the Tosefta (Men. 9:6), the Ḥillazon is the exclusive source of the dye.

After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans, the sole use of the Tekhelet dye was in Tzitzit. A set of Tzitzit consists of four tassels, some of their strands being Tekhelet, which Rashi describes as green as “poireau,” the French word for leek, transliterated into Hebrew. There are three opinions in Rabbinic literature as to how many are to be blue: 2 strings; 1 string; 1 half string. These strands are then threaded and hang down, appearing to be eight. The four strands are passed through a hole 25 to 50 mm away from the corners of the four-cornered cloth.



Making Sense of Kosher Laws - Biblical Archaeology Society

Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in July 2012. It has been updated.—Ed.




The origins of Jewish dietary or kosher laws (kashrut) have long been the subject of scholarly research and debate. Regardless of their origins, however, these age-old laws continue to have a significant impact on the way many observant Jews go about their daily lives. One of the more well-known restrictions is the injunction against mixing meat with dairy products. Not only do most Jews who observe kashrut avoid eating any meat and milk products together, many also wait a certain amount of time—30 minutes to a few hours—between eating meat and dairy. Everything the foods touch must be kept completely separate. A fully kosher household, for example, might have two or more different sets of flatware, tableware and cooking ware for making and serving meat dishes separate from dairy-based dishes. Some families even use two different dishwashers in order to maintain the separation. Outside the house, some Jews keep kosher by eating only at kosher restaurants while others have no problem eating non-kosher foods, so long as they maintain a kosher home.
But what are some of the other laws of kashrut, and how are they to be explained? Many of the dietary restrictions outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus prohibit the consumption of certain “unclean” animals that either don’t chew their cud or don’t have cloven hooves, such as pigs, camels and rabbits. Likewise, while the Hebrew Bible permits the eating of fish with fins and scales, shellfish like lobsters and crabs are an abomination. Why were such seemingly innocuous physiological traits so objectionable to the early Israelites?
One possible reason may be that the Israelites wanted some way to distinguish themselves from their non-Hebrew neighbors. Archaeological excavations of Iron Age I sites in Israel have shown that while pigs were a popular part of the Philistine diet, they were entirely absent from the herd-based economy of the Israelites. According to Ronald Hendel, such culinary distinctions soon became codified markers of cultural identity, whereby “the Philistine treat became an Israelite taboo.”
*
Perhaps similar efforts to affirm Israel’s uniqueness lay at the heart of other animal prohibitions.
But according to kashrut, even permissible animals have to be prepared in a certain way in order to remain kosher. As explained in Deuteronomy 12:23-24, for example, the blood of a slaughtered animal cannot be ingested, for “the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.” The Israelites, like many ancient peoples, believed that an animal’s blood carried the soul of the animal and therefore should not be consumed.** Thus, before a piece of meat could be cooked, it had to be fully drained of its blood. Though not discussed in the Bible, traditional kosher methods for doing this include broiling the meat or a combination of soaking and salting.
Kosher law also forbids the consumption of wine that has been made, bottled or handled by non-Jews. Although this prohibition does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, it seems to have been followed as early as the second century A.D. In antiquity, wine was often used in libation rituals to various deities; for Jews this meant that any “pagan” wine could potentially have been made or used as a sacrifice to a foreign god. Thus, in order to avoid coming into contact with contaminated wine, Jews began making and bottling their own wine in accordance with Jewish law.

Notes

*Ronald S. Hendel, “Of Sacred Leopards and Abominable Pigs,” Bible Review, October 2000.
**Bryan Bibb, “What’s a Pleasing Sacrifice?” Bible Review, October 2004.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Judy and Asherah

Asherah
"God's Wife"
Shakhina
The Female Aspect of YAWH 

JUDY is the Female Messiah.

JUDY is the Feminine Aspect and Manifestation of THE CHRIST.
Asherah, with her owls.

"We're not going to talk about Judy, 

No, we're not gonna talk about Judy at all.."

"Who do you think that is, there...?"

Who do you think that is, there...?

"The legend is, that during that benediction, the Shakhina comes into the sanctuary to bless the congregation; and you don't want to see that because it's so powerful that you could be really seriously injured, or, it could be fatal.

So, that's why you protect yourself by hiding your eyes, y'know, 'Don't look..!'

I survived..."


- Nimoy


"This is the Hebrew Letter 'Shin'...
Very interesting letter in the Hebrew language...


Why you're not supposed to look... came to me much, much later...

Well, I peeked..."

- Leonard Nimoy



"The Ark is more than just an ancient artefact - it's a radio for talking to G*d."

- The very esoteric goyim George Lucas, and the very Talmudic Steven Spielberg, 1981


"I am uncomfortable viz ziss... Jewish ceremony, Monsiuer"

"Would you rather wait until we get to Berlin? And open it for your Furhur there?"

Which of course dodges the question and avoids the point of the previous statement - it's not a Jewish ceremony, it's a Hebrew-Israelite ceremony.

The Vichyssoise, Beloq is dressed in the Temple garb of a Hebrew priest of the Temple of Solomon, charged with the sole duty of keeping the resting place for the Ark in the Holy of Holies and tending and ministering to the needs of The Pressence according to strict ritual procedure and protocols.

Post-Temple Rabbinical Judaism has not priests, only Rabbis ("Teachers").

Rabbinic Judaism was created in Babylon, not Palestine, during the time of the Babylonian Captivity, and the Babylonians (who were studiously pedantic bureaucrats and administrators, much as the Germans are) did not list the Ark of the Covenant amongst their inventory of loot pillaged from the Temple of Solomon during the sack of Jerusalem in the 8th Century BCE. 

It wasn't there.

The Cohens had already made off with it.

Using "a radio" to "talk to G*d" and attempting to connect with The Pressence is a highly dubious career move.

The god of the Torah makes no pretensions towards benevolence - you cannot have a "personal relationship" to YAWH, the way some Christians claim to have with Christ.

Talk to Asherah instead.

She handles the household.

Any attempt to make direct contact with The Presence, and It will likely annihilate your soul.

You must balance out the Male and the Female aspects, the Generative and the Destructive aspects of G*d - 

Otherwise, He will melt your face.



We went through four Adams before we figured that one out.

...and then there is the Pillar of Fire.



"The legend is, that during that benediction, the Shakhina comes into the sanctuary to bless the congregation; and you don't want to see that because it's so powerful that you could be really seriously injured, or, it could be fatal.

So, that's why you protect yourself by hiding your eyes, y'know, 'Don't look..!'

I survived..."

- Nimoy



"Yet … Judaism long ago acknowledged the validity of [the] feminine dimension of the Deity. 

The two names of God differ grammatically with regard to sexual connotation… The Tetragrammaton (YHVH)…is…feminine; it refers to God as if “He” were in fact “She.” 

Yet, as we have frequently noted, the Lord is also called ELoHiYM. That name ends with…masculine plural… If human beings are created in God’s image, and the single most important thing we know about God is that He is One – why did God create two kinds of people, male and female, after His likeness? …God chose to create two different kinds of people on this earth, not in spite of the fact that He is One, but precisely because God in the deepest sense of the word is really two. 

Of course we do not suggest any kind of dualism implying separate identities. Rather, as the very names of God imply, there are two distinct aspects to the Deity. God is both masculine and feminine. 

This gender difference is not one of physical attributes but one of emotion and typology. "


Benjamin Blech, 
Understanding Judaism, 
p.273


Cayce Carmel Readings

Cayce Readings On Mt. Carmel
Mt. Carmel Temple
(From the Sleeping Prophet "readings" given between 1939 until 1945.)

"Thus in Carmel - where there were the priests of this (Essene) faith - there were the (temple) maidens chosen who were dedicated to this purpose, this office, this service . . . That was the beginning, that was the foundation of what ye term The Church." (Cayce 5749-6)

Q.   "How did Mary and Joseph first come in contact with the Essenes and what was their preparation for the coming of Jesus?" 

A.   "As indicated, by being dedicated by their parents." (Cayce 254-109)

Q.   "How closely was Judy, the head of the Essenes, associated with Jesus in His Palestine sojourn?" 

A.   "For a portion of the experience the entity Judy was the teacher. How close? So close that the very heart and purposes were proclaimed as to those things that were traditions! For the entity sent Him to Persia, to Egypt, yea to India, that there might be completed the more perfect knowledge of the material ways in the activities of Him who became the Way, the Truth!"  (Cayce 1471)

"Ye say that there were those periods when for four hundred years little or nothing had happened in the experience of man as a revelation from the Father, or God, or from the Sources of Light. What was it, then, that made the setting for the place and for the entering in of that consciousness in the earth that you know as the Son of Man, the Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of the Cross? Did the darkness bring the light? Did the wandering away from the thought of such bring the Christ into the earth? Rather, is this idea not a refutation of the common law that is present in spirit, mind, and body; that like begets like? As we asked oft, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? "Isn't it rather that there were those that ye hear little or nothing of in thy studies - the Essenes - who dedicated their lives, their minds, their bodies to a purpose, to a seeking for that which had been to them a promise of old. Were there not individuals - men and women - who dedicated their bodies that they might be channels through which such influences, such a body might come?

Q.   What is the correct meaning of the term Essene? 

A.   Expectancy....There purpose was of the first foundations of the prophets as established, or as understood from the period of the prophets, by Elijah; and propagated and studied through the things begun by Samuel. The movement was not an Egyptian one, though adopted by those in another period, or an earlier period, and made a part of the whole movement. They took Jews and Gentiles alike as members. The Essenes were a group of individuals sincere in their purpose and yet not orthodox as to the rabbis of that particular period.... 

Priests were active in the Carmelian area, where there had been the early teachings established years ago by Elijah, Elisha, Samuel; that taught the mysteries of man and his relationships to those forces as might manifest from within and without. For in those days there were more and more of the leaders of the people in Carmel - the original place where the School of the Prophets was established during Elijah's time and that of Samuel - these were called the Essenes; and those that were students of what ye would call astrology, numerology, phrenology, and those phases of study of the return of individuals - or reincarnation. These led to a proclaiming that a certain period was a cycle; and these had been the studies then of Aristotle, Enos, Mathesa, Judas, and those that were in the care or supervision of the school - as you would term in the present. These having been persecuted by those leaders, Sadducees (who taught) there was no resurrection - or there is no reincarnation, which is what resurrection meant in those periods. Then with those changes that had been as promptings from the positions of the stars - that is the common vision of our solar system and Sun, and those from without the spheres - or as the common name, the North Star - this began the preparation - for the 300 years, as has been given, in this period. In these signs then was the new cycle - the beginning of the Piscean Age, or that position of the Polar Star or North Star as related to the southern clouds. These made for the symbols, as would be the sign used, the manner of the sign's approach and the like. These then were the beginnings and these were those that were a part of the studies during that period.

Then there were again...the approach of that which had been handed down and had been the experiences from the sages of old - that an angel was to speak. As this occurred when there was the choosing of the mate that had - as in only the thought of those so close - been immaculately conceived. These brought to focal point the preparation of the mothers. Then there were those periods when he priest Zacharias, was slain for his repeating of the same in the hearing of those of his own school, these made for those fears that made the necessary preparations for the wedding, the preparation for the birth, for those activities for the preservation of the child; or the flight into Egypt. Hence, there was the continued preparation and dedication of those who might be the channels through which this chosen vessel might enter - through choice - into materiality. Thus in Carmel - where there were the priests of this faith - there were the maidens chosen who were dedicated to this purpose, this office, this service...That was the beginning, that was the foundation of what ye term The Church.

Among them was Mary, the beloved, the chosen one; and she, as had been foretold, was chosen as the channel. Thus she was separated and kept in the closer associations with and in the care or charge of this office...Then, when the days were fulfilled that the prophecy might come that had been given by Isaiah, Malachi, Joel and those of old, she - Mary, espoused to Joseph - a chosen vessel for the office among those of the priests, the sect or group who had separated and dedicated themselves in body, in mind, in spirit for this coming - became with child. There should not be merely the aggrandizement of an earthly or body passion. Each should give their bodies and there is a necessity for training, even as there was a training in that experience of the twelve girls, in the fitness of their bodies, and of their fathers and mothers. In the present this is called eugenics, which is the preparation for the entrance of souls that make the earth better in material and spiritual ways. For God is not mocked; and whatever ye sow that must ye also reap.

Q.   How were the maidens selected and by whom? 

A.   By all those who chose to give those that were perfect in body and in mind for the service...each as a representative of the twelve in the various phases that had been, or that had made up, Israel - or man. 

Q.   Please describe the training and preparation of the group of maidens? 

A.   Training as to physical exercise, first; training as to mental exercises as related to chastity, purity, love, patience, endurance. All of these by what would be termed by many in the present as persecutions, but as tests for physical and mental strength; and this under the supervision of those that cared for the nourishments by the protection of the food values. These were the manners and the way they were trained, directed, protected. 

Q.   "Were they put on a special diet?" 

A.   "No wine, no fermented drink ever given. Special foods, yes. These were kept balanced according to that which had been first set by Aran and Ra Ta." (Cayce 5749-7)

Q.   Could you name some of the twelve maidens? 

A.   Andra, Sophia, Edithia, Mary, and (one) was in the house of lodgement of the maidens, and third on the stair when the choice was made of Mary. 

Q.   How long was the preparation in progress before Mary was chosen? 

A.   Three years. 

Q.   In what manner was she chosen? 

A.   As they walked up the steps. 

Q.   How old was Mary at the time she was chosen? 

A.   Four, and as ye would call, between twelve and thirteen when designated as the one chosen by the angel on the stair. The Temple steps- or those that led to the altar, were called the Temple steps. These were those upon which the sun shone as it arose of a morning when there were the first periods of the chosen maidens going to the altar for prayer; as well as for the burning of incense. On this day, as they mounted the steps all were bathed in the morning sun; which not only made a beautiful picture but clothed all as in purple and gold. As Mary reached the top step, then there was thunder and lightning, and the angel led the way, taking the child by the hand before the altar. This was the manner of choice, this was the showing of the way; for she led the others of this particular day. 

Q.   Was this the orthodox Jewish Temple or the Essene Temple? 

A.   The Essenes, to be sure. Because of the adherence to those visions as proclaimed by Zacharias in the orthodox temple, he was slain even with his hands upon the horns of the alter. Hence, those as were being here protected were in Carmel, while Zacharias was in the temple in Jerusalem. 

Q.   "Where was the wedding of Mary and Joseph?" 

A.   "In the Temple there at Carmel."(Cayce 5749-8)

Q.   Were Mary and Joseph known to each other socially before the choosing for them to be man and wife? 

A.   As would be chosen in a Lodge, not as ye would term by visitations, nor as chosen by the sect of the families. Then it was not a choice altogether, as that they were appointed by the leaders of the sect or of the group or of the Lodge or of the Church, for this is the church that is called the Catholic now, and is the closest. These were kept, then, in that way of choice between them, and choice as pointed out by the divine forces. 

Q.   Please describe the membership of the women in the Essene Brotherhood, telling what privileges and restrictions they had, how they joined the Order, and what their life and work was? 

A.   This was the beginning of the period where women were considered as equals with the men in their activities, in their abilities to formulate, to live, to be channels. They joined by dedication - usually by their parents. It was a free will thing all the way through, but they were restricted only in the matter of certain foods and certain associations in various periods - which referred to sex, as well as to food and drink. John the Baptist first taught that women who chose, might dedicate their lives to a specific service. 

Q.   Please describe the process of selection and training of those set aside as holy women such as Mary, Edithia, and others as a possible mother for the Christ. How were they chosen, and what was their life and work while they waited in the Temple? 

A.   They were first dedicated and then there was the choice of the individual through the growths, as to whether they would be merely channels for general services. For these were chosen for special services at various times; as were the twelve chosen at the time, which may be used as an illustration. Remember, these came down from the periods when the School had begun, you see. When there were the activities in which there were to be the cleansings through which bodies were to become channels for the new race, or the new preparation, these then were restricted, of course, as to certain associations, developments in associations, activities and the like. We are speaking here of the twelve women you see - and all the women from the very beginning who were dedicated as channels for the new race, see? Hence the group we refer to here as the Essenes, which was the outgrowth of the periods of preparations from the teachings of Melchizedek, as propagated by Elijah and Elisha and Samuel. These were set aside for preserving themselves in direct line or choice for the offering of themselves as channels through which there might come the new or divine origin, see? There life and work during such periods of preparation were given to alms, good deeds, missionary activities - as would be termed today.
Essene Personalities

ANNA lived in the promised land preceding and just following the entrance of the Prince of Peace into the earth. And she was a member of an organization which attempted, through the mysteries of the sages, to interpret time and place according to astrology and numerology. Her interpretations were much sought after by the leaders in the group. However, because some individuals were inclined to interpret and apply the knowledge for material benefits, difficulties arose between Anna and the leaders of the Essenes. She was not in the Temple, but she chose the twelve maidens who were to be channels that might know truth so thoroughly that they could be moved by the Holy Spirit. Anna was the waiting maid with Elizabeth and Mary when they were heavy with child. This was during the activities which brought the Prince of Peace, the Christ, Jesus, into the earth. At their meeting when they had both become aware of what was to occur, she blessed them and made the prophecies as to what would be the material experience of each in the earth. She helped the maidens prepare and consecrate their lives during their periods of expectancy. Hence, she was known as a seeress and prophetess.

ELOISE then was in the capacity as one of the holy women who ministered in the Temple service and in the preparation of those who dedicated their lives for individual activity during that sojourn. The entity was then what would be termed in the present in some organizations as a Sister Superior, as an Officer, as it were, in those of the Essenes and their preparations. Hence, we find the entity, then, giving, ministering, encouraging, making for the greater activities; and making for those encouraging experiences oft in the lives of the disciples; coming into contact with the master oft in the ways between Bethany, Galilee, Jerusalem. For, as indicated, the entity kept the School on the way above Emmaus to the way that goeth down toward Jerico and towards the northernmost coast from Jerusalem. The entity blessed many of those who came to seek to know the teachings, the ways, the mysteries, the understandings; for the entity had been trained in the schools of those that were the prophets and prophetesses, and the entity was indeed a prophetess in those experiences - thus gained thruout.

DUENE was in the earth when the holy women were made heads of the church, or counselors. They were not Deaconesses, nor were they what we call today sisters of mercy or sisters superior. They took the Veil in order that they might better prepare themselves to be channels through which greater blessings might come, and to attain greater abilities for teaching. They separated themselves from their families and homes that they might become channels of blessings to others.

PHILO's experience at that time may become the key to his present sojourn. For when the Master walked in the earth, he was among the Essenes who made the predictions and the preparations for His entering in that period. And he kept the records for the Temple Service where the men and women were taught the law pertaining to material things, and the tenets relating to spiritual matters.

SOPHIA lived in the Promised Land when individuals looked forward to the channels through which the Messiah was expected to come. And she was among the group chosen to present themselves as channels worthy of acceptance. Hence, during both her girlhood and motherhood, she knew many of the people who were active in some way in connection with this definite religious experience.

JOSIE was close to Mary when the selection was indicated by the shadow or the angel on the stair, at that period of consecration in the Temple. This was not the Temple in Jerusalem, but the Temple where those who were consecrated worshipped, or a School - as it might be termed - for those who might be channels. This was part of that group of Essenes who, headed by Judy, made those interpretations of those activities from the Egyptian experience - as the Temple beautiful, and the service of the Temple of Sacrifice. Hence it was in this consecrated place where this selection was made. Then when there was the fulfilling of those periods when Mary was espoused to Joseph and was to give birth to the Savior, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Way, the Truth, the Light, soon after this birth there was the issuing of the orders first by Judy that there should be someone selected to be with the parents during their sojourn in Egypt. Thus the entity Josie was selected or chosen by those of the Brotherhood - sometimes called White Brotherhood in the present - as the handmaid or companion of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph in their flight into Egypt...

The period of sojourn in Egypt was in and about, or close to, what was then Alexandria. Joseph and Mary were not idle, during that period of sojourn, but those records - that had been a part of those activities preserved in portions of the libraries there - were a part of the work that had been designated for the entity. And the interest in same was reported to the Brotherhood in the Judaen country...

Those same records from which the men of the East said and gave, By those records we have seen his star. These pertaining, then, to what you would call today astrological forecasts, as well as those records which had been compiled and gathered by all of those of that period pertaining to the coming of the Messiah. These had been part of the records from those in Carmel, in the early experiences, as of those given by Elijah, who was the forerunner, who was the cousin, who was the baptist. All of these had been a part of the records - pertaining not only to the nature of work of the parents but as to their places of sojourn, and the very characteristics that would indicate these individuals; the nature and the character that would be a part of the experiences of those coming in contact with the young child; as to how the garments worn by the child would heal children. For the body being perfect radiated that which was health, life itself. Just as today, individuals may radiate, by their spiritual selves, health, life, that vibration which is destructive to disease in any form in bodies. These were the characters and natures of things studied by Josie. Hence much of the early education, the early activities, were those prompted or directed by that leader in that particular experience, but were administered by - or in the closer associations by - Josie. Though from the idea of the brotherhood the activities of the entity were no longer necessitated, the entity Josie preferred to remain - and did remain until those periods when there was the sending or administering of the teachings to the young Master, first in Persia and later in India, and then in Egypt again - where there were the completions.

EDITHIA was in the household, and of the lineage, where the men had been set aside for a definite service among the people of that day. This was not in the manner understood today with respect to Israel, but rather that which was understood then by the meaning of the word, "Israel". It referred to those called of God for service among their fellow men. Then the group or sect to which the household of Edithia belonged, had been prepared through study, experience, longing, and desire. And the time had come when there was to be a change in the order of things...And it was to be understood, through the very expression of that Being in earth, that the Law was written in the hearts of men rather than upon tablets of stone, and that the Temple, the Holy of Holies, was to be within. This entity, Edithia, was among the daughters who were chosen to dedicate and consecrate their bodies, their minds, and their service to become a channel. And they were chosen in their early youth. 

Hence, the entity's thought and activity at that time was directed to that environment and atmosphere of expectancy and promise. And then the one was chosen, as through a gift from on High. At that time, this entity knew Mary, Martha, those of the households of Cleopas, of Anna, and of Joseph, and those of the Brotherhood of the Order called the Essenes in that particular land...

At that time, there were more and more attempts by those in authority to disband the members of the brotherhood...Edithia was one who aided in those preparations, and was a follower of the Lord during those periods of preparation, and during the persecutions that scattered the individuals chosen for offices...And the day will arrive, even as it arose then, when he who separates himself will become the one that declares to all. Edithia remained with the holy women who acted as mourners for Mark. For the latter had been her companion when she dedicated herself, her abilities, and her body for those services.

Q.   Can any more details be given as to the training of the Child? 

A.   Only those that covered the period from six years to about sixteen which were in keeping with the tenets of the Brotherhood; as well as that training in the Law - which was the Jewish or Mosaic Law in that period. This was read, this was interpreted in accordance with those activities defined and outlined for the parents and the companions of the developing body. Remember and keep in mind, He was normal. He developed normally. Those about him saw those characteristics that may be anyone's who wholly puts the trust in God! And to every parent might it not be said, daily, dedicate thy life that thy offspring may be called of God into service - to the glory of God and to the honor of thy name! Here, after the presentation at the Temple, when there were those questionings among the groups of the leaders, the entity was then sent again into Egypt for only a short period, and then into India, and then into what is now Persia. Hence, in all the ways of the Teachers the entity was trained. 

Q.  Were there any others besides Josie who were associated with the training or early education of Jesus? 

A.   Sofa was one of the women educated to service in the Temple...the entity was chosen by - what would be, what is termed in the Qabbalah - the moving of the symbols on the vesture of the priest...to be the attendant or the nurse to the babe when there was the birth then of John...


The Nazarenes of  Mount Carmel



Copyright © 1999-2006. All rights reserved.





Did YHWH have a wife?

The Charm of Biblical Polytheism 
Short outline of the presentation

Written sources for the history of ancient Palestine.
The historical axis is diagonal and outlines the main historic epochs.
The lower register attempts to capture (recreate) what used to be called “Biblical history”, while the upper section captures some historical and epigraphic artifacts.

After a profound paradigm shift in the ancient Near Eastern historiography it is becoming clear that the Biblical Texts cannot be used as historical sources. (The process of the written fixation of biblical texts is complex and relatively late. Growing academic consensus observes that a true writing and editing of the Bible took place in the Persian and Hellenistic periods. This process was strongly influenced by later ideological interests. Certain parts of the tradition are undoubtedly very old, other parts are just the intentional projections back into history.
      Inaccurate biblical archaisations are responsible for a large number of biblical anachronisms: Texts were written and or edited in the Hellenistic period, they reported Early Iron Age events, and pretended to be old by using Iron Age realities.
      The Bible cannot be used as a primary source for our understanding of the history of Palestine or the development of religion in this region. Datable historical artifacts and epigraphic documents should be the main source of any serious study of Palestinian religion.



The Biblical self-portrait (Deuteronomistic theological thinking) or religious situation is quite schematic:
      The Israelites received a distinct, revealed religion. It was revealed first to the patriarchs and then in a comprehensive way to Moses.
      There was a completely foreign, fallen, polytheistic, and magical religion of the indigenous population “the Canaanites” in existence.
      Some Israelites succumbed to the lure of Canaanite religion. They corrupted and polluted their unique religion thus initiating the Israelite fallen popular religiosity. 



Growing scholarly consensus sees the development of biblical religion in more complexity. All three groups greatly overlap. Polytheistic West Semitic religion was a substrate from which local varieties and ultimately biblical monotheism grew. Traces of this process are discernable in archeology, epigraphy as well as in biblical texts.




Asherah in the West Semitic Pantheon: Biblical texts often couple the Semitic goddess Asherah and the god Baal. Thus, in biblical scholarship Asherah and Baal were considered divine partners until the beginning and occasionally as late as middle of 20th century. With the development of archeology and especially with the discovery and decipherment of the Ugaritic religious texts (discovered in 1920's and dating from 1200 B.C.E.) it became clear this was an obvious misrepresentation. The Goddess Asherah was a partner of the Semitic head of pantheon god El. Baal belonged to very different level of the Canaanite pantheon.


Khirbet El Qom inscription: In the 1960's a series of drawings and inscriptions were found in the tomb located between Hebron and Lachish. Paleography (an art of dating of writings) pointed to the late 8th century. Inscriptions were faint, broken, and difficult to interpret. At the time of discovery this find did not attract much attention.
       One inscription was accompanied with a blessing (magical) hand of protection and was accompanied with a written apotropaic (protective) blessing for the entombed. The blessing was made in the name of YHWH and (his) Asherah/Asheratah.



Kuntillet Ajrud discovery: In 1970's another intriguing discovery was made in east Sinai in a place called Kuntillet Ajrud. Several drawings and inscriptions were found in the ruins of what is often described as an ancient caravanserai (a rest house for caravans), dating around late 9th early 8th century BCE. The writings again mentioned YHWH and (his) Asherah. The inscriptions and drawings were on the remnants of two large clay storing jars and on some broken plaster.






Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions: There is a lengthy scholarly discussion as to whether and how the inscription should be interpreted; that is, together with the drawings or independently. One matter is certain: People (associated with royalty) bearing Israelite “Yahwistic” names are blessing and are being blessed by YHWH and Asherah. In addition, and also interestingly, YHWH is being portrayed not as a universal deity but as localized deity, associated with geographic places and sanctuaries (YHWH of Timna and YHWH of Samaria) 

 Asherah iconography: Some of the drawings also conform to well-established or at least suggested iconography of the goddess Asherah. Some conservative scholars used to make a distinction between Asherah the goddess and Asherah as an cultic object (sacred pole). This distinction is clearly artificial. For millennia there was a fluctuation between different depictions and concepts. The Ancients could deify what we would consider inanimate objects. For instance the god “Lyre” was clearly a deified musical instrument which in Ugarit received regular sacrifices. If Asherah, as a “sacred pole” was able to extend or sponsor blessings, she was clearly a goddess no matter how she was portrayed. 
Here are some plain, direct mentions of Asherah in the Bible. One example of her presence was as sacred poles, and one example of her close connection with the god Baal as we talked about it earlier.
Asherah in disguise: Here is another presence of the goddess Asherah in the Bible. This time the goddess is disguised as a personified Wisdom. This translation highlights the original features of a divine partner of creation. This poem represents at least partly creation as cosmogony (divine procreation of the world). I am providing slightly different tanslation (with some explanation) and more discussion of this text in this blog entry "Lady Wisdom"
Biblical divine androgyny: And finally here we have some examples, where the deity (either El or YHWH) is depicted in a clear androgynous role. Some features of androgyny of the head of pantheon, god El, are discernable also in other ANE speculations. It is possible that these archaic features were temporarily highlighted in the process of monotheization of the West Semitic religion.

Short summary:
El and Asherah were the original ruling divine couple of the West Semites.
After the god YHWH was assimilated (theologically merged) with El, he also “inherited” goddess Asherah as a divine consort. For period of time, YHWH and Asherah existed and were worshiped as divine couple. In the process of monotheization of Jewish religion in Persian and especially in Hellenistic period, different techniques were used to eliminate this important goddess: direct negation and deletion from texts; re-labeling of the original practices as heterodox and illegitimate; attempted secularization of the goddess as just a cultic object, or as the personification of Wisdom; and highlighting archaic androgynous aspects of the most senior deity also played some role.


Yahweh and Asherah


by Ronald L. Ecker
from the book ’And Adam Knew Eve’
from Hodge&Braddoc Website

 
YAHWEH - "Thy Maker Is Thine Husband"

The Hebrew God Yahweh is conceived of biblically as a male deity, with the covenant relationship between him and Israel often portrayed as that of a marriage between husband and wife. 
(The other name by which the deity is most often referred to in the Hebrew Bible is Elohim [translated "God"], an originally plural form meaning "gods." "The LORD" in English versions translates Yahweh--the assumed pronunciation of YHWH [a name of uncertain meaning], there being no vowels in the original Hebrew text.)

The perception of God as masculine is of course not surprising in a patriarchal or male-ruled society. As noted by Susan Ackerman, there are some feminizations of Yahweh in Isaiah (e.g., "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" [66:13]; see also 42:14 and 49:15). 
But then Isaiah also refers to kings as "nursing fathers" (49:23) and to daughters who "shalt suck the breasts of kings" (60:16), words that cannot be taken literally. In any case, Yahweh outside of some Isaianic imagery is masculine in the Hebrew Bible.

In the New Testament, "God" translates the Greek Theos, with God remaining a male deity. Thus Jesus regularly uses the word Father (Greek Pater, in Jesus’ Aramaic Abba) for God (e.g., Matt. 6:8-9; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21; John 17:1; see also Paul’s use in Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6). 
Elaine Pagels points out that some Christian Gnostics thought of the divine in both masculine and feminine terms, with Jesus referring to the Holy Spirit as his Mother in the Gospel of Thomas and in the Gospel to the Hebrews, and with the Apocryphon of John describing the Trinity as Father, Mother, and Son. 
As Pagels notes, however, such views were suppressed as heretical, with none of the Gnostic texts included in the New Testament canon. (The Nag Hammadi Library)

There is archeological evidence that at least some ancient Hebrews perceived of Yahweh as having a consort or female companion. This could be the origin of the mysterious Lady Wisdom found in Proverbs and the Apocrypha. (She is in some of the Gnostic texts as well.) 
Wisdom (Hebrew hokma, a feminine noun) is personified in Proverbs not only as a woman but as a preexistent entity with Yahweh. 
"The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," says Lady Wisdom, "before his works of old,... and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him" 
(Prov. 8:22,30). 
It was through Wisdom that Yahweh "founded the earth" (3:19), she is "a tree of life" to those who lay hold of her (3:18), and she offers to reward all who seek her: 
"I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me" (8:17).
In the Apocrypha, Lady Wisdom is identified with the Torah or biblical law (Sirach 24:23; Baruch 4:1). In the New Testament, the preexistent Word (Greek Logos) at the beginning of the Gospel of John is reminiscent of Wisdom, and in 1 Cor. 1:24 Paul calls Christ "the wisdom of God" (Greek Theou Sophia).

The metaphor of Yahweh and the Hebrew people as husband and wife is found first in the book of Hosea, and continues in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. It is a troubled marriage, for despite Yahweh’s "love toward the children of Israel," they "look to other gods" (Hos. 3:1). 
The wife’s infidelity is thus a metaphor for the Israelite people’s idolatry. 
"Thy maker is thine husband," Isaiah tells Israel, yet she beds down with others (Isa. 54:5; 57:7-8). 
"Turn, O backsliding children," Yahweh pleads in Jeremiah (3:14), "for I am married unto you."
At one point Yahweh divorces Israel for her adultery, only to have "her treacherous sister Judah" commit adultery also (Jer. 3:8). Ezekiel 23 allegorizes Samaria and Jerusalem, the Israelite and Judahite capitals, as two sisters with a host of foreign lovers while both are married to Yahweh.

Particularly disturbing to feminist commentators are the biblical passages that describe Yahweh’s brutal punishment of the women who symbolize Israel’s unfaithfulness. As noted by Kathleen M. O’Connor, the portrayal of physical abuse by the divine in such passages implicitly condones such behavior in humans. Yahweh strips "the virgin daughter of Babylon" in Isa. 47:1-4, and helps the Babylonians rape Jerusalem in Jer. 13:26. 
In Lamentations, Yahweh trods "the virgin" Jerusalem "as in a winepress" (1:15), and in Ezekiel he tells his wife Oholibah (Jerusalem), 
"I will raise up thy lovers against thee," and they will "strip thee out of thy clothes"; they will take away not only "thy sons and thy daughters" but "thy nose and thine ears," and "thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee" 
(23:22-27)
Needless to say, the thought behind these metaphors of Yahweh the husband physically abusing his wife presents a challenge to modern biblical interpreters. Through such imagery "the Bible," writes Sharon H. Ringe in The Women’s Bible Commentary
"seems to bless the harm and abuse with which women live and sometimes die." 
The brutality seems hardly ameliorated by Yahweh’s assurances to his mutilated wife of a brighter tomorrow, for they make God sound like the stereotypical wife beater who minimizes what he has done and promises not to do it again: 
"In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee... Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel,... and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry" 
(Isa. 54:8; Jer. 31:4).
ASHERAH -  The Lord God’s Lady?

The goddess Asherah was the consort of El ("god"), the supreme god of Canaan and father of the popular Baal. 
In the Bible her name often appears as ha asherah, meaning "the" asherah. In such instances the reference is not to the goddess but to a symbol of her, an object (in the plural asherim) that was apparently a sacred pole, tree, or group of trees (hence the translation "groves") at Israelite sanctuaries or "high places" as well as by altars of Baal. The erecting of asherim was among the "evil" deeds of kings like Ahab and Manasseh, and cutting the things down was a regular chore of "right" kings like Hezekiah and Josiah.

The presence of Asherah or her symbol at places where Yahweh, the biblical God of the Hebrews, was worshipped raises the question of whether the Canaanite goddess was considered also to be the consort of Yahweh. 
We know from references to,
  • "the sons of God" (Gen. 6:1-4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7)
  • "the host of heaven" (1 Kings 22:19)
  • "angels" (Gen. 19:1; Ps. 103:20)
  • God’s statement "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26), 
...that Yahweh was not alone in his heaven.
We know also that Yahweh supplanted the Canaanite El to the extent that God’sother names in the Hebrew Bible include El, El Elyon ("God Most High"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), and the (originally) plural form Elohim (as in Gen. 1:1). 
But did Yahweh take El’s woman too?

The answer may well be found, appropriately enough, in some graffiti, inscriptions dating from the eighth century B.C.E., found on walls and storage jars at two sites, Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud, in Israel. (See Dever’sRecent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research.) 
The graffiti includes blessings such as,
"I bless you by Yahweh of Samaria and by his asherah," and "I bless you by Yahweh of Teiman and by his asherah." 
Does this mean by Yahweh and by his goddess? Or is it saying "by Yahweh and by his sacred pole"?
All we may safely assume at this point has been well put by the French epigrapher Andre Lemaire:
"Whatever an asherah is, Yahweh had one!"