Lag B'Omer Sameakh!

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Lag Ba'Omer Sameakh! brakha.blogspot.com)

See also:
The Stones of Heavens - Shimon Ben Yokhai

Lag B'Omer Sameakh!
לַ״ג בָּעוֹמֶר שָׂמֵחַ

Joyous 33 in Omer!


(Israel National News ©2012. Artist: Hillel Meir. Image: Lag B'Omer Bonfire. Article: A Call for Ecological and Spiritual Lag B'Omer. israelnationalnews.com.
Online Page: www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/155609.
Online Image: www.israelnationalnews.com/static/Resizer.ashx/news/250/168/342509.jpg).

The counting of the Omer is on each day between the Festival of Pesakh (“Passover”), the Return from Mitsrayim and the Festival of Shavuot (“Weeks”), the Giving of the Tora on the Mountain of Sinai.

Shavuot is the fiftieth day, comprising the forty-nine days in between - a sevensome of sevensomes.

Today, on the thirty-third Omer, is the Khilula חִלּוּלּה (memorial) of Rashbi - Rabi Shimon Ben Yokhai - a great teacher of Kabala (Tora spirituality).

It is a custom to light bonfires during the eve. Zal זַ״ל ! The memory of him be for a blessing!

Kabala: Pardes Rimonim: Sfirot As Acronym

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Kabala: Pardes Rimonim: Sfirot As Acronym. brakha.blogspot.com)

The author of Sefer Pardes Rimonim סֵפֶר פַּרְדֵּס רִמּוֹנִים , “The Book of the Paradise of Pomegranates”, is Rabi Moshe Kordovero רַבִּי מֹשֶׁה קוֹרְדוֹבֵירוֹ (Rabbi Moses Cordovero), also known by his acronym, Ramak רמ״ק . An early publication, dating to 1592, illustrates the ten Sfirot (Sephirot), the ten “numberings” of spiritual states, as ten concentric letters. The illustration uses the initial Hebrew letter of each name to represent the Sfira (Sephirah) as a concentric circle. Thus each letter of the acronym fits inside the previous one. The center letter is מ , the Sfira of Malkhut מלכות , the “Kingship” of God.

Sfirot As Acronym
Stein Atle Vere, וירא , brakha.blogspot.com, Pardes Rimonim פרדס רימונים , Ramak רמ״ק , Rabi Moshe Kordovero רבי משה קורדובירו , Moses Cordovero, Sfirot ספירות , Sefirot, Sephiroth
Stein Atle Vere, וירא , brakha.blogspot.com, Pardes Rimonim פרדס רימונים , Ramak רמ״ק , Rabi Moshe Kordovero רבי משה קורדובירו , Moses Cordovero, Sfirot ספירות , Sefirot, Sephiroth
Stein Atle Vere, וירא , brakha.blogspot.com, Pardes Rimonim פרדס רימונים , Rimmonim, Ramak רמ״ק , Rabi Moshe Kordovero רבי משה קורדובירו , Moses Cordovero, Sfirot ספירות , Sefirot, Sephiroth

Acronym of the Sfirot

The form of each letter gestures the distinctive behavior of each circle, as it reveals more and more light into the lowest world, the physical universe, Malkhut מ .

(The revealing of light happens thru the process of humans learning to sharing - in an optimal, wise, balanced, and sustainable way. The technical term for this process of sharing is: Or Khasdim אוֹר חַסְדִּים , “the light of compassionate actions”.)

Each Sfira is a distinctive spiritual state. The names of the Ten Sfirot, according to the Ramak, are:

• כ Keter כתר , “Crown”
• ח Khakhma חכמה , “Sageness” (Chochmah “Wisdom”)
• ב Bina בינה , “Understanding” (Binah)
• ח Khesed חסד , “Compassion” (Chesed “Kindness”, “Mercy”, “Love”)
• ג Gvura גבורה , “Overpowering” (Gevurah “Strength”)
• ת Tiferet תפארת , “Adornment” (Tiphereth “Beauty”)
• נ Netsakh נצח , “Triumph” (Netzach “Victory”)
• ה Hod הוד , “Glory”
• צ Tsadik צדיק , “Altruist” (Tzaddik “Righteous”) - usually the name is Ysod יסוד “Foundation” (Yesod)
• מ Malkhut מלכות , “Kingship” (Malchut “Kingdom”)


The word Pardes, “Paradise”, literally means a “Tree Garden”, an elegant orchard. Pardes is another name of Malkhut, albeit specifically when the Sfirot fully reveal all of their light to Malkhut.

In other words, Pardes is the same name as Gan Eden גַּן עֵדֶן , “the Garden of Eden”. Even more specifically, the “Garden” is the infinite desire of Malkhut, while “Eden” is the infinite light.


Kabala: Ets Khayim: Ten Sfirot

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Ets Khayim: Ten Sfirot. Translation: Vere Hyperliteral from Hebrew to English. brakha.blogspot.com).

Sefer Ets Khayim

סֵפֶר עֵץ חַיִּים
[“The Book of the Wood of Lives”] [The Book of the Tree of Life]

The Tora of the Ari - Adonenu Rabi Yitskhak Lurya Ben Shlomo Ashkenazi [Rabbi Isaac Luria]
תורת האר״י ־ אדוננו רבי יצחק לוריא בן שלמה אשכנזי
On the mouth of Rabi Khayim Vital [Rabbi Chaim Vital]
חיים ויטאל
Gate 1, Branch 2

In the interest of En Sof אֵין סוֹף [“No End” the infinite oneness of God]:
- By the help of God [to even talk about En Sof]:
How was the beginning of the emanation of the worlds, the ones being emanated from it?

En Sof

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Sefer Ets Khayim: En Sof. brakha.blogspot.com)
En Sof, Ein Soph, “No End”, Infinite Oneness

And also a great investigation: A tremendous division [among viewpoints]: All of the Mkublim [the teachers of Kabala “being received”], all of them were divided.

Because theres someone that wrote as [follows]:

The Ten Sfirot סְפִירוֹת [“numberings”] are as the order of ten steps, this one after this one, and this one down from this one.

And theres someone [else] that wrote as [follows]:

The order of their position is [by] way of lines, right and left, and middle.

The Three Lines of the Sfirot

And those ones are three Sfirot -
• Khakhma חָכְמָה [“sageness”] [Chochmah, wisdom],
• Khesed חֶסֶד [“compassion”] [Chesed, kindness, mercy],
• Netsakh נֶצַח [“triumph”] [Netzach, victory, eternity]
- this one on the back of this one, in the right line.

And three Sfirot -
• Bina בִּינָה [“understanding”] [Binah],
• Gvura גְּבוּרָה [“overpowering”] [Gevurah, strength],
• Hod הוֹד [“glory”]
- this one on the back of this one, in the left line.

And four Sfirot -
• Keter כֶּתֶר [“crown”],
• Tiferet תִּפְאֵרֶת [“adornment”] [Tipheret, beauty, grandeur],
• Ysod יְסוֹד [“foundation”] [Yesod],
• Malkhut מַלְכוּת [“kingship”] [Malchut, kingdom]
- this one on the back of this one, in the middle line.

The Ten Sfirot

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Sefer Ets Khayim: The Ten Sfirot. brakha.blogspot.com)
“The Book of the Wood of Lives: The Ten Numberings”
Sefer Ets Khayim, Sepher Etz Chaim, Tree of Life: Eser Ha'Sfirot, The Ten Sfirot, Ten Sefirot, Ten Sephiroth

And masses will become sage. And they will say as [follows]:

They are in the form of circular wheels, this one inside this one, and this one orbiting and going around to this one.

The Ten Wheels

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Sefer Ets Khayim: Ten Sfirot As Ten Wheels. brakha.blogspot.com)

In the lowest world, Malkhut is the farthest from the En Sof,
being at the extemity of the “line” קַו of light,
the only light available after the Tsimtsum צִמְצוּם , “Constriction”.

But eventually, as in the upper worlds now,
Malkhut will be the center of all of the light.
Each Sfira, being each “step” up in the line of light,
is actually a holistic “circle” עִגּוּל of light.
But the rest of its circle is hidden creating the appearance of linear causality,
within the limitations of time and space and time.

Transcending all,
even the infinity of the light of En Sof exists for one purpose:
To fulfill the infinite desire of Malkhut.
Malkhut is the center of En Sof.

Developing Emuna אְֶמוּנָה “trust” in God is a way to benefit
from these hidden holistic ways to fulfill desire
via the opportunities that are unobvious.

In the lowest world,
only the process of sharing reveals more light,
more of the circle of each Sfira of light,
that the Constriction hides from Malkhut.

ספר עץ חיים

תורתו של האר״י
על פי רבי חיים ויטאל
שער א ענף ב

בענין א"ס
ב"ה ׃
איך היה התחלת אצילות העולמות הנאצלים ממנו

וגם חקירה גדולה ומחלוקת עצום נחלקו בו כל המקובלים כולם

כי יש מי שכתב כי ׃

הי"ס הם כסדר י' מדריגות זו אח"ז וזו למטה מזו

ויש מי שכתב כי ׃
סדר עמידתן דרך קוים ימין ושמאל ואמצע

והם ג"ס
זו ע"ג זו בקו ימין

זו ע"ג זו בקו שמאל

זו ע"ג זו בקו האמצעי

ורבים יחכמו ויאמרו כי ׃

הם בצורת גלגלים עגולים זה תוך זה וזה מקיף וסובב לזה


Kabala: Constriction

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Kabala: Constriction. brakha.blogspot.com).

Desire All

Every blessing is the fulfillment of a desire.

Desire is infinite. When a human achieves the fulfillment of one desire, one desires more. There is even a feeling of wanting “all”.

In the highest world of spirituality, long before and high above the creation of the physical world, there is only God. God is En Sof אֵין סוֹף , “No End”, the infinite one.

Beyond the fabric space and time, God infinitely, immediately, and completely fulfills the infinity of desire.

God is both the infinite desire, and the infinite fulfillment of the infinite desire. Both the “container” כְּלִי that desires and the “light” אוֹר that fills the container. Both the need and the blessing.

This infinite desire - to desire all - is an aspect of God that humans experience immediately, intimately, and self-evidently.

Kingship of the Light of No End
(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Kingship of the Light of No End. brakha.blogspot.com).
The highest world corresponds to the Sfira (Sephirah) of Keter כֶּתֶר, the “Crown”.
The divine infinite fulfillment satiates the divine infinite desire. 

Desire Sharing

There is only one desire that God cannot fulfill in the highest world. Or more precisely, God does fulfill it, but this fulfillment requires and causes the lower worlds to come into existence.

This infinite desire of God includes a desire to be like the infinite fulfillment of God.

In other words, the receiver wants to also be a giver. The one who is loved wants to express love back, not just receive love, but reciprocate love. Just like the fulfiller is infinitely self-sharing, the desirer wants to be infinitely self-sharing too. Pure love.

However in the highest world, the receiver cannot become a giver because the giver already fulfills every need - infinitely, immediately, and completely. There is no room to give, sotospeak. No absence to fill.

The only way the fulfiller can fulfill the desire for sharing, is to stop fulfilling all desires except the desire for sharing.

Only in the absence of the fulfillment, can the desire for sharing find places and times to fulfill the still-unfulfilled desires.

Thus the lower worlds require the absence of blessings. The absence of light. Darkness. Emptiness. Chaos. This is the fabric of space of time.

In Kabala, Adonenu Rabi Yitskhak (Rabbi Isaac Luria), the “Ari”, coined the phrase Tsimtsum צִמְצוּם (often Tzimtzum). In means “constriction”, compressing something into a smaller space. By extension, it means “minimizing”, minimalism. It describes how God as the infinite fulfillment withdraws from God as the infinite desire. Thus the infinite light hides, causing a lowest world of infinite darkness. A terrifying infinite absence of God.

Into the lowest world, farthest from the fulfillment for all, where infinite desire suffers infinite deprivation, the fulfillment sends a thin ray of light. The “line” קַו . This light shining in the darkness is the fulfillment of the desire for sharing.


(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Constriction: All. brakha.blogspot.com).

“Fulfill All” corresponds to the Sfira of Khakhma, “Sageness”.
“Desire All” corresponds to the Sfira of Malkhut, “Kingship”.

These two infinite principles emanate from Keter, “Crown”,
as the Desire for All separates from the Fulfillment for All,
choosing deprivation rather than to continue to take without giving.

Tsimtsum means the “Constriction” (Minimization, Restriction, Reduction, Contraction).
It corresponds to the location of Daat, “Knowledge”.
Constriction refers to the process whereby space and time enables
the infinite fulfillment to hide from the infinite desire.
Where fulfillment is light, the absence of fulfillment is darkness.

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Constriction: Sharing. brakha.blogspot.com).

The Constriction denies the fulfillment of any desire except the Desire for Sharing.
Only the Desire for Sharing can receive fulfillment.
The rest of the Desire for All remains unfulfilled unless
humans make effors to fulfill them
by means of sharing.

“Desire Sharing” corresponds to the Sfira of Bina, “Understanding”.
“Fulfill Sharing” corresponds to the Sfira of Tiferet, “Adornment”.
This is the fulfillment of the Desire for Sharing.
The Fulfillment for Sharing is the only means to fulfill the Desire of All.

The Desire for Sharing is a subset of the Desire for All.
Therefore the Desire for Sharing exists both
above in Bina where it is pure sharing
and below in Malkhut where it is part of all.
As a human, below, makes an effort to fulfill the Desire for Sharing with others,
the unity with the divine Desire for Sharing, above, makes Fulfillment happen.

Light Shining in the Darkness

From this line of light, everything in the lower world comes into being.

(This ancient concept of creation out of light anticipates the modern concept of the Big Bang.)

The light radiates and recombines to form all of the convolutions and permutations of everything that exists. It becomes the bewildering diversity of the physical universe.

This divine light is both “light” and “sight” - both energy and consciousness.

The light continues shining in the darkness to sustain the existence of the matter and consciousness entangling and structuring within the lowest world.

From this light humans come into existence. This light fulfills desires. This divine light is awareness, money, friendship, health, children, and so on, all that fulfills desire, including the desire to exist.

However, the light of this world can only fulfill the desire to share. From this light, humans derive their existence. But humans must use their existence to share. If a human use the blessings that one has to bless others, then the light intensifies with even more blessings shining into the universe. More sharing, more fulfillment, more love, more power, more success, more pleasure. However, if a human abuses ones blessings to fulfill ones own selfish needs only, the light shining into ones own experience of the universe dims. More predation, more need, more hate, more powerlessness, more failure, more pain. The resources of the selfish person eventually run dry, leaving empty darkness.

All the fulfillments besides sharing remain forever hidden.

In this lowest world, there is no way to fulfill the infinite desire except by means of sharing.


In this lowest world, there is no way to fulfill the infinite desire except by means of sharing.

When a human has a little bit of light, and uses this light to share, with others who suffer darkness, then God sends that human even more light. Those who use the flashes of light for compassion and justice, and mercy, will gain even more light. Those who use the light for predation and injustice, and cruelty - even what they have will be taken away.

As more humans begin to share, more light, more power, more potential becomes available in this universe. The line of light intensifies, shining brighter and brighter, fulfilling eachothers desires.

God is One

The day will come - in a future “world that is coming” עוֹלָם הַבָּא - when sharing infinitely will fulfill the infinite desires for all. Thus the infinite fulfillment becomes fully present in the lowest world.

Thus at the culmination of this process of sharing, there will no longer be any difference between the highest world and the lowest world. They are the same.

God will be One
Tanakh: Zkarya 14'9
(Jewish Bible: Zechariah)
(Stein Atle Vere 2012. English Hyperliteral Translation.)
(Hebrew. mechon-mamre.com)

And, God will be for a King over all of the Land.
In that day,
God will be one,
and the Name of [God] one.

וְהָיָה יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ
בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא
יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד
וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד

Within the fabric of space and time, there “will be” in the future a time when there is no difference between the lowest world of “the Land” of infinite desire, and the highest world of the “King”.

Humans will achieve the power to transcend the fabric of space of time, to become infinite. This is the great resurrection, the life of the world that is coming. Humans only achieve this by means of sharing, of using ones own power to empower others - to empower eachother - in the most optimal ways possible.

By means of human efforts, God will become one.

“God” as fulfillment and “the Name” of God as desire will become indistinguishable from each other. One.

Actually, this divine “King” is only the light of this world, shining in the darkness of this world. But human sharing intensifies this light. “In that day”, the process of sharing will grow to fulfill all needs. No darkness will remain anywhere in the infinite desire. All light. Therefore, by means of human efforts to share, there will no longer be any difference between the light shining in this world and the infinite light shining in the higher worlds.

The fulfillment for sharing will become the same as the fulfillment for all.

In this way, by means of humans, the divine desire for sharing becomes able to fulfill the infinite desire for all. Thus the receiver of love becomes able to be the giver of love.

Also, the giver of love becomes able to become the receiver of love.

Humanity participates in both the infinite desire who receives and eventually the infinite fulfillment who gives. The very existence of a human - the energy and consciousness - is a fulfillment of the divine desire. Yet this divine fulfillment - as a human within fabric of space and time - becomes able to feel need and receive love. Reciprocally, the giver becomes a receiver.

Thus by means of the process of human efforts to share - God - the infinite desire and the infinite fulfillment become one and the same.

By means of this process within the fabric of space and time - the loved loves and the lover is loved. One absolute infinite love. Divine oneness. Divine simplicity.

Of course, God is infinite, utterly beyond the fabric of space and time. In the highest world, from the perspective of God, this process has already completed. The work of sharing is done. God is already one. God is already loving and loved. God never changes.

God Is Perfect

God is beyond the limitations of space and time. God is already perfect. But it is precisely this perfection of God that causes an imperfect world to come into existence.

Humans will eventually perfect this world. Thus humans are part of what makes God perfect.


Kabala: While on One Foot

(Stein Atle Vere 2012. Kabala: While on One Foot. brakha.blogspot.com).

The Torá תּוֹרָה (often Torah) is the sacred scroll that forms the first five books of the Tanakh (Jewish Bible). The study of the Tora expands to include the sacred texts that apply and explain the Tora, the rest of the Tanakh, Mishna, Talmud, and so on. In its widest sense, Tora is synonymous with Yahadut (Judaism), a comprehensive spiritual heritage and way of life. During the Classical Age, the sage Hilel (Hillel) defines the essence of Tora. “It that is hateful on you, you will not do it to your companion.” This teaching summarizes the essence of the Tora legal tradition. It also summarizes the essence of the Tora spiritual tradition, Kabalá קַבַּלָה (Kabbalah).

Tree of Life
(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Image: Kabala while Standing on One Foot. brakha.blogspot.com).
Here the Tree of Life that comprises the Ten Sfirot (Sepherot) of Kabala (Kabbalah) maps out a teaching by Hilel (Hillel),
who sumarizes “all of the Tora (Torah)” into a single sentence.
What Hilel says is the essence of all of the Tora, is likewise the essence of all of Kabala.

Kabala is Tora

Kabala is an aspect of the study of the Tora. Kabala is Yhudi spirituality. It literally means the “reception”, being an area of Tora study that each generation receives from the previous generation.

Tora tends to cluster into three areas of study: Halakha (Halachah), Agada (Aggadah), and Kabala (Kabbalah).
• Halakha is the “way” of life, the Yhudi legal tradition.
• Agada is the “tale” of life, the Yhudi narrative tradition.
• Kabala is the “reception” of life, the Yhudi spiritual tradition.

The Essence of the Tora

The book of the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) reports an incident concerning the ancient sage, Hilel (Hillel). He then summarizes the essence of the Tora. A man challenges the teachers of the Tora to explain the entirety of the Tora culture within a reasonably short amount of time, while he as a listener can remain standing on one foot.

All of the Tora while standing on one foot
(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Hyperliteral translation, Hebrew and italic Aramaic: Talmud Bavli, Seder Moed, Msakhat Shabat 31a. brakha.blogspot.com):

Again, an (other) deed:
In (the deed of) one (Nonjewish) foreigner that came before (the sage) Shamai.
(The foreigner) said to him:
Make me a resident (adopting me into the kinship of Yisrael) on condition that you teach me all of the Tora, all of it, as I am standing on one foot.
(Shamai) pushed him (over) by the cubit (measuring stick) of the building, that is in his hand.

(The foreigner) came before (the sage) Hilel.
(Hilel) made him a resident.
(Hilel) said to him:
(It) that is hateful on you, you will not do (it) to your companion.
This (teaching), it is all of the Tora, all of it.
And all-else (in the Tora), it is (detail) explaining it.
Go conclude (the explanations, learning them by heart).

שוב מעשה
בנכרי אחד שבא לפני שמאי
ע"מ שתלמדני כל התורה כולה כשאני עומד על רגל אחת
דחפו באמת הבנין שבידו

בא לפני הלל
אמר לו
דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד
זו היא כל התורה כולה
ואידך פירושה הוא
זיל גמור

The text is originally and mostly in Hebrew. But the Talmud adds comments in Aramaic, and translates the saying by Hilel into what is already a famous rendition of the saying in Aramaic.

Whatever you hate to happen to you, dont do to others.

The Essence of Kabala

This saying that summarizes the essence of all of the Tora, is therefore also the essence of all of Kabala. Kabala is a subset of the study of the Tora.

Kabala (Jewish spirituality) is about what a person actually “does”. It is a spirituality of physical actions.

Moreover, Kabala is about what one “doesnt do”. Only certain actions have merit, those that make the world a better place. One must avoid actions that worsen the world.

It is easy to see, striving to do good actions is spiritually good.

Less obvious, refusing to do bad actions is in some ways more spiritually vital. Altho avoiding the bad actions seems like only a minimal requirement, it is a prerequisite for a community of people who are doing good actions, mutually, in a sustainable and expanding way. Bad actions disrupt the ability of the community to function. Thus even if one does good actions less often, simply avoiding bad actions is still making a real effort to maintain the good activity of a community. What the community can do cooperatively is powerful, far more powerful than the sum of the good actions that each individual can do separately.

The general rule for deciding which actions to do and which actions to avoid, is using ones own experience. What does one desire to happen to oneself? Generally, one should do the equivalent for others. What does one hate to happen to oneself? Generally, one should stop oneself from doing equivalent to others.

This general rule is all of Kabala. ALL of it. The rest of Kabala is just commentary that goes into more detail.

Tikun Olam

Whatever actions a human does to others, the universe eventually does the equivalent actions back to that human doer.

Kabala emphasizes how God creates, sustains, and maintains the universe in such away that the universe itself responds in kind. When a doer does an abundance of deeds to fulfill the desires of others, helping others become able to share, then the universe reciprocates in kind. The universe ensures an abundance of deeds happen to the doer to fulfill the doers desires to share. In other words, the doer experiences even more blessings while making an effort to share those blessings with others.

Oppositely, when a doer does actions to fulfill ones own desires in a predatory way that is hateful to other humans, this lack of sharing shuts off the blessings that is to flow toward others. Likewise, the universe itself responds in kind, to ensure a cessation of the flow of blessings toward the predator. Eventually the resources of the predator dry up.

Often this universal principle is called “karma” from the Hindu tradition. Kabala calls it Tikun Olam תיקון עולם , “the Restoration of the World”. The world is currently incomplete and requires humans to do sharing actions in order to restore it to its fully beatific potential. As individuals bless the universe, the universe likewise blesses the individuals.

The Tikun (Restoration) is a slow process requiring many humans across thousands of years. The Tikun culminates in the Days of Mashiakh (Messianic Era). Beyond that era of compassion, the Tikun will culminate in a mode of reality beyond what humans can currently imagine.

Each human makes the world a better place when making an effort to do desirable actions - and making an effort to avoid doing hateful actions.

The Greatest Desire of All

Surprisingly, we also desire the frustration of desires.

The frustrations of desire are death, poverty, isolation, disability, childlessness, and so on. The lack of blessings is opportunities built into the world. In the absence of a blessing, each individual can become a blessing. Where someone is poor, one can make an effort to share money with that person. Where someone endures a disability, one can make an effort to assist and accommodate that person. And so on.

By fulfilling the desires of others, we become as God. God fulfills desires.

It is easy to understand the concept of God as one that is “powerful”. Actually, the concept of God is one that “bestows compassionate actions” גומל חסדים . The power has no purpose except to fulfill the compassionate desires of others.

The desire to become as God is the greatest desire of all - and the reason this universe comes into existence in the first place.


The activity of Tikun Olam is evident in the “tale” about Hilel and Shamai.

This Non-Yhudi (Nonjewish) student wants to become a “resident” among the doers of the Tora, the Yhudi (Jewish) community. But his actions are mixed. On the one hand, he wants to understand the Tora and become part of the life of the Tora - good efforts. On the other hand, he lacks patience and seriousness - these are less good here.

Likewise, the universe itself mirrors his physical efforts back at him with the same mixed results. Via Shamai, the universe responds to him with impatience and lack of seriousness. Afterward, the student makes a special effort to muster some persistence. Via Hilel, the universe itself responds to him in kind, and patiently and seriously fulfills his desire.

On principle, Shamai greets every human with a friendly welcoming face. When Shamai pushes the man away with a “cubit” measuring stick, it isnt to be cruel. This a method of teaching. Putting the teaching prop into words, by the exact same measure of the hateful action that this man does - in this case expressing a lack of patience and seriousness - the universe mirrors back the same amount - in this case occassioning experiences that also lack patience and seriousness.

To the mans merit, he takes the lesson to heart and avoids taking personal offense. Instead, he makes an extra effort to become a resident among the Yhudim (Jews). Because of this, the universe blesses his efforts, and he finds Hilel who is known for his compassion and insight. Hilel succeeds in sharing the Tora in a way that can fulfill this mans desires.

Notice, the mans desires remain the same. He still wants to know the Tora in brief. But in this case, he channels his desires thru active efforts that no longer express impatience and unseriousness. Instead, his actions express his desire for deep insight so as to make sense of the bewildering details of the culture of the Tora.

Foreign Resident

According to Tora, the concept of “conversion” sotospeak is more like becoming a resident or even a citizen in another country. In the case of the Tora, the resident becomes a member of an ancient tribal kinship system. There are two different kinds of resident. (Often it is ambiguous which one is meant.) There is the “inhabiting resident” גר תושב , this is a Non-Yhudi (Nonjew) who lives as a member of a Yhudi (Jewish) community. Such person does the basic requirements of the Tora, namely the Laws of Noakh, including trusting God and doing general principles of good actions. This one remains Non-Yhudi. Note, only Yhudim (Jews) need to do the rest of the Tora, such as keeping kosher. An inhabiting resident can affiliate with the Yhudi community in any number of ways, intimately by marriage, distantly by mutual alliances, and so on. Now the other kind of resident, sotospeak, is an “altruist resident” גר צדיק . In this case, the altruism refers to the love for the Tora to the point of self-identification. This member of the Yhudi community formally becomes a Yhudi, and takes on all of the cultural activities that the Tora requires Yhudim to do and to not do. Such a person is truly Yhudi and is actually no longer a Non-Yhudi. In either case, the resident is a member of the spiritual community, is part of Am Yisrael (the kinship of Israel), and the active presence of God dwells among them, and inside them.

Tree of Life

Look at the “map” of Kabala (the illustration near the top of this post). It is a map of the spiritual states that the Tora alludes to and that the study of the Tora discovers. Kabala calls this map, the Tree of Life עץ חיים . The map has ten circles. Each circle represents a Sfira סְפִירָה (Sephirah), a distinctive spiritual state. The word Sfira literally means a “numbering”, and refers to the ability to count different ways that God interfaces the universe, despite God Godself being One. This numbering only applies to within the diversity of the creation of the universe. Of course, without creation, there is no numbering. The Tree of Life is a “theory of everything”, mapping out the states of the spiritual journey, the states of the existence of the universe, the ways God engages the universe at different states, and everything else really.

The context is, a sage summarizes the whole Tora briefly within the amount of time that a student can remain “standing on one foot”. Here four Sfirot (Sephiroth) gain emphasis to map out the Tora in brief:

• “Compassion” חסד (the one doing good deeds) on the right,
• “Overpowering” גבורה (the one not doing bad deeds) on the left,
• “Adornment” תפארת (“Do”: the one doing deeds wisely in balance) in the center,
• “Kingship” מלכות (“Desire”: the desire for deeds) below the three, is the physical world where deeds happen.

Notice, the possible deeds from above fulfill the desire below. Desire motivates action.

Technically, the word “all” כל in the phrase “all of the Tora” כל התורה corresponds to an additional Sfira in the map, the one in between Adornment saying “Do” and Kingship saying “Desire”. This is “Foundation” יסוד that channels the flow of possible actions above into the physical world below. Nevertheless, the four Sfirot around this one constitute the essence of the Tora.

While there are other spiritual states in this map - plus an endless sea of profound yet encrypted insights - the essence of Kabala is these four spiritual states. These four Sfirot organize and structure the rest of the ten.

The physical universe is also called the world of “Doing” עְַשִׂיָּה , where the activities - the “deeds” - happen. However the world of the “Doer” עֹשֶׂה - the one who does these actions - is at a higher spiritual state. This Doer is God. The actions within the physical universe are God revealing Godself by means of what are ultimately compassionate activities. (If we ask why does the universe exist rather than not exist, this fundamental axiom of abundance, of simply existing in the first place, is an aspect of the Compassion of God.)

But this “Doer” can also be each and every human individually - as a spiritual being - who freely does desirable actions and refuses to do hateful actions.


Seventh Day

Seventh Day

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Seventh Day. brakha.blogspot.com).

In the opening chapters of the Tora Scroll (the first five books of the Jewish Bible), the Book of Breshit (Genesis) says:

God made this universe in six days, “and, desisted” וַיִּשְׁבֹּת on the seventh day. The name of this seventh day is Shabat שַׁבָּת , meaning a “desistance” from doing an activity, whether a cessation or an interruption.

“And, Divineships blessed the seventh day. And, (Divineships) made it holy.”

On this seventh day, God desists from doing those “tasks” of God מְלַאכְתּוֹ that are necessary to maintain the blessing and the holiness of creation. By the seventh day everything becomes able to receive blessing. God sets this seventh day aside, dedicating it for holiness, marking it as different from the rest of the seven days.

The rest of the Tora Scroll (being the first five books of the Jewish Bible) reinforces the holiness of these days. These days comprise a week in the calendar, a cycle of a time of seven days. Every seventh day manifests the blessing and holiness of the primal seventh day. The Book of Shmot (Exodus) says:

Rested in the Seventh Day

(Shmot 31'17. English translation from Hebrew: Vere 2012).

Six days you will serve.
And, you will do all of your tasks.

And a day − the seventh − is Shabat (that belongs) to your Divineships.
You will not do each task.
- Yourself and your son and your daughter,
- Your servant, your maid,
- And your cattle,
- And the (foreign) resident in your gates.

Because six days God did the heavens and the land - the sea - and all that is in them.
And, (God) rested in the seventh day.
On (account of) thus, God blessed the day of the Shabat.
And, (God) made it holy.

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד
וְעָשִׂיתָ כָּל מְלַאכְתֶּך

וְיוֹם , הַשְּׁבִיעִי − שַׁבָּת , לי״הוה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה כָל מְלָאכָה
אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ , עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ , וְגֵרְךָ , אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ

כִּי שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה י״הוה אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֶת הַיָּם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּם
וַיָּנַח , בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי
עַל כֵּן , בֵּרַךְ י״הוה אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת − וַיְקַדְּשֵׁהוּ

According to the Pshat פְּשָׁט (“plain meaning”), God created during the six days and “rested” וַיָּנַח in the seventh day, Shabat.

Note, the first day of the week specifically corresponds to Sunday in the common calendar, and the seventh day corresponds to Saturday.

In Saturday, God rests.

God blesses the seventh day - because - in it God rests.

God makes the seventh day holy - because - by means of this day, God is able to rest.

God rests.

Am Yisrael (the Kinship of Israel) participates in this blessing and in this holiness when they likewise rest on the seventh day.

God rests because on the seventh day, humans become fully able to participate in the blessing and holiness of God. God does not need to “do” anything.

Shabat Shalom.


Timeline from Moshe

(Stein Atle Vere. ©2012. Timeline from Moshe. brakha.blogspot.com).



Tora divides chronology into the following ages:

• From Creation
• From Adam
• From Noakh (Noah)
• From Avraham (Abraham)
• From Moshe (Moses)
• From David

This post examines the Age from Moshe.


Middle Bronze Period
(−1590) Moshe Period

Late Bronze Period
(−1500) Early Shoftim Period
(−1348) Middle Shoftim Period

Early Iron Period
(−1193) Late Shoftim Period

Late Iron Period
(−1009) Early Bet David Period

YEARS −1550 AND −930

brakha.blogspot.com presents speculative research, toward a hypothesis that archeology can confirm or disconfirm.

It lists dates for events according to the textual record of the Tanákh תַּנַּ״ךְ (Jewish Bible) in a way that coheres with the current scientific understanding of the archeological record.

All of the Tanakhí תַּנָּכִי dates organize around two absolute dates: roughly −1550 and precisely −930.

Year −1550 is when the town of Yrikhó יְרִיחוֹ (Jericho) falls, marking the return of the Tribes of Yisrael to the Land of Yisrael. Year −930 is when the Kingdom of Shomron secedes from the the Kingdom of Yrushalayim, dividing the Tribes of Yisrael into north and south.

Toward the end of these two dates, the tribes of Yisraél יִשְׂרָאֵל (Israel) gradually transition from a nomadic culture to a sedentary culture. The archeology corroborates this shift. From about about −1200 onward, pastoral nomads gradually build permanent villages. Typically these comprise the distinctive four-room houses that characterize the material culture of the Tribes of Yisrael across the entire Iron Age, from the −1100s to the −500s.

Finally, in light of the plausibility of these dates, the exodus of the Tribes of Yisrael from Mitsráyim מִצְרַיִם (Egypt) occurs about 40 years before the destruction of Yrikho. The Tanakh reports these many years for nomadic migrations in the wilderness between these two events.

Hence, the exodus occurs in Mitsrayim in year roughly −1590.


Around this time in the Bronze Age, (I personally am confident), Yhoshua Bin Nun (Joshua Son of Nun) destroys the town of Yricho (Jericho). (Yhoshua 6'24). At least, this is the destruction layer that the Tanakh claims credit for.

Archeologically, this destruction layer (stratum city 4) dates to about −1550, from its pottery styles. (Kenyon 1957 1981). From the radiocarbon of its grain, it dates it to roughly −1541, ranging from −1560 to −1523. (Bruins, Plicht 1995) An alternative radiocarbon date is also possible that is earlier, roughly −1582. The later date seems preferable because it corroborates the pottery date. Hence roughly −1550.

Note, there is conflictive evidence that might date the destruction to later, during the −1400s. Some local pottery styles seem date to this time, as do some finds by Garstang, including a rare scarab of Pharaoh Hatshepsut not earlier than −1478. (Wood 1990 2009).

Some archeologists, including Bryant Wood concerning Yrikho and Kenneth Kitchen concerning Avaris in Egypt, emphasize irregularities in the calibration methods for the radiocarbon dates, thus continue to prioritize ceramic evidence.

Evidence suggesting a later date still requires a careful answer. For now, possibly there is a disturbance of the stratum, or the local pottery style originates in this locale, earlier than expected. Meanwhile surface evidence might suggest habitation at Yrikho during or soon after the −1400s, without necessarily associating with the destruction of Yrikho at a date of −1550.

Tentatively, brakha.blogspot.com accepts the majority opinion of roughly −1550 for the destruction of Yrikho, corresponding to the radiocarbon date.

This destruction layer at Yrikho evidences peculiarities that corroborate details in the story in the Tanakh. (Wood 1990).

• Remarkably, the western townwalls of Yrikho fall down, apparently due to an earthquake, thus corroborating the famous report of the townwalls “came tumbling down”.
• The attackers enter the breach.
• There are homes built up against the townwalls from the inside. The Tanakh reports a prostitute who assists Yisrael lives in such a home.
• It is spring, just after the harvest with large amounts of grain. The Tanakh times the destruction to just after the spring festival of Pesakh.
• Unusually, the attackers destroyed the grain totally, rather than using it, suggesting a sacred destruction.

It seems clear, this is the destruction layer that the Tanakh describes. It associates with the Days of Yhoshua Bin Nun.

Soon afterward, Yhoshua destroys the town of Khatsor (Hazor). (Yhoshua 11'11).

Likewise, archeology dates a destruction layer at Khatsor (stratum 16 and lower city 3) to roughly −1540, contemporary with the destruction of Yrikho. (Yadin 1969, Dever 1992).

The archeological evidence tentatively supports attributing the destructions in Yrikho about −1550 and soon after in Khatsor about −1540, to Yisrael during the Days of Yhoshua.


The chronology of the Bet David Period (Davidic Dynasty Period) coheres precisely to the synchronicities with the choronology of Ashur (Assyria). (Thiele 1965, McFall 1991, 2008, Finegan 1998). Accordingly, during the Iron Age, in year −930, the Kingdom of Yisrael falls to civil war. The Kingdom of Shomron (Samaria) in the north secedes from the Kingdom of Yrushalayim (Jerusalem) to the south.

By extension, before the division, Shlomo Ha'Melekh (Solomon the King) begins his reign in −969 about forty years before this. And David Ha'Melekh begins his reign in about −1009 about forty years before him. The kingdom of David and Shlomo succeeds in uniting all twelve tribes of Yisrael. Notably, in about −966 in the fourth year of Shlomo, Yisrael begins construction of Bet Ha'Mikdash (the House of the Holy Place) (the Temple) in Yrushalayim.


Between these two absolute dates, −1550 and −930, spans the chronology according to the Book of Shoftim (Judges) and the Books of Shmuel (Samuel 1 and 2). The succession of the reigns of the Shoftim (Judges) lacks anchors, allowing a loose chronology. But simply stretching the reigns between these two dates - without intellectual gymnastics - produces dates that cover this timespan naturally.

The “precision” is about the same as that of the Dynasty 18 in Mitsrayim (Egypt), who are contemporaries of this timespan. Certain squences of Shoftim and Pharaohs can “slide” later or earlier upto about decade, without too much disruption, if necessary to accommodate absolute dates still awaiting discovery.


The dates here in brakha.blogspot.com are plausible, both for cohering to the evidence of the Tanakh and for explaining the archeological evidence.


Traditional scholars of the Tanakh might notice: I ignore the “480 years” between the Ytsiya and the fourth year of Shlomo. (Melakhim-1 6'1).

The scholars of the Tanakh - whether classical, medieval, or modern - seem to fixate on this verse because of its simplicity. And to avoid the complexity and obscurity of other years elsewhere. Nevertheless, the emerging archeology suggests the traditional understanding of this 480 years is improbable. Meanwhile the lists of years elsewhere in the Tanakh during this same timespan, require more time. This longer time agrees with the archeological record.

According to the timeline here in brakha.blogspot.com:

Rather than 480 years, there are roughly 594 years between the Ytsiya and the fourth year of Shlomo. About a 114 years longer.

Ancient Yisrael can and do keep track of long periods of time. The sacred farming calendar marks the cycles of the Shmita (year of fallow) every seventh year. Moreover the calendar marks the Yuval (jubilee) every seventh Shmita, every forty-ninth year. Thus every two of these 49-year cycles can count off almost a century.

I suspect the report of 480 years “from the going out from Mitsrayim” are a meaningful number. I dont know what it means. Possibly Yisrael is somehow not “completely” out of Mitsrayim until this time. Are there Yisreli caravans still returning to Mitsrayim for trade during the reign of Thutmose 3? Or possibly Yisrael is unable to start the farming cycle of the Shmita until this time, and in this sense is not “completely” in the Land, thus not completely out of Mitsrayim? I allow the number 480 to remain “difficult”. Both the archeological evidence and the weight of the numbers elsewhere in the Tanakh seem to require more time, over a century more, than the simplistic 480 seems to suggest.


This chronology here distinguishes between two separate groups: the tribes of Yisrael versus the royal Hyksos.

In about −1549, Pharaoh Ahmose 1 from Upper Egypt conquers Lower Egypt, the Nile delta. He founds his Dynasty 18 and thus begins the New Kingdom Period.

Eventually in about −1540, Ahmose expels the Hyksos, the former Pharaoh of Lower Egypt and his courtiers. Until this time, Ahmose is sieging their capital, trapping the Hyksos inside their townwalls. The Hyksos flee to the town of Sharuhen, while Ahmose pursues them, and defeats them there.

Happily, archeology has an account of the expulsion of the Hyksos by an eyewitness. One of the warriors who participates in the campaign of Pharaoh Ahmose against the Hyksos, is also called Ahmose. Ahmose Son of Ebana (his mother) (his father is Baba) writes his autobiography on the wall of his tomb, for posterity. Despite both groups being Amu (from the Land of Yisrael) who flee Mitsrayim, surely the description of the Hyksos in this mural has no relation to the Tribes of Yisrael in the Tora. These are separate events.

Tentatively, according to the chronology here, the nomadic tribes of Yisrael already flee from Mitsrayim, in about year −1590, decades before Ahmose ever takes control of Lower Egypt.

Unfortunately, this date happens to fall into the Second Intermediate Period in Egypt, somewhat of a “dark age”. At this time, the sequence of Pharaohs remains uncertain both for Dynasty 17 of Upper Egypt and for Dynasty 15 of Lower Egypt.

Thus it is difficult to identify which Pharaoh most likely relates to the sacred tradition of Ha'Ytsiya Mi'Mitsrayim (the going out from Egypt), that the Tora records.

On the other hand, the scarcity of evidence from this period in Egypt, might also explain the difficulty with finding textual inscriptions that mention Moshe or other members of Yisrael by name.

Even so, archeological evidence demonstrates a vibrant presence of foreigners who come from the Land of Yisrael, who the Egyptians call Amu and Shasu. Not least among them are the Hyksos themselves. Thus the presence of Yisrael fits the milieu of this time.


Important to understanding the archeological record, the ancient tribes of Yisrael (Israel) are nomads.

In the beginning of the Late Bronze Period, the aboriginal Tribes of Yisrael return to their Land of Yisrael, the Land of their sacred ancestors. Even then, they continue to live as nomads. They live in tents.

They still appear to read and write, and transmit a cultural sophistication that is intimate with urban environments. Nevertheless, their ancient way of life since the Days of Avrahám אַבְרָהָם (Abraham) persist. They transmit a culture of pastoral seminomads, who herd sheep and goats, and periodically rest to farm. The Tribes of Yisrael continue to wander the Land of Yisrael as tent-dwellers for centuries.

In the Early Iron Period, from about year −1175, Yiftakh Ha'Shofet (Jephtah the Judge) appears to be the first person among the Kinship of Yisrael, that the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) specifies as living in a “house”. His daughter comes out of the “door” of his house. (Shoftim 11'31, 34). His rivals threaten to burn his house down with him in it. (12'1).

Upto this time, references to a “house” virtually always mean, “house of a father” - Bet Av - meaning not a physical structure, but rather the nuclear family. The word “house” means all the children, spouses, guests, and servants who journey with and live under the authority of the “father”. In Hebrew, the word “house” Bayit בַּיִת (also in the form Bet) relates etymologically with the words “son” Ben בֵּן and “daughter” Bat בַּת , all in the sense of “building up” the family.

Only later, does this word “house” come to mean primarily a physical building, as the Tribes of Yisrael gradually abandon their nomadic traditions, and settle in permanent structures, building villages, then towns with town walls.

In the Early Iron Period, from roughly −1175, archeology identifies a massive shift in the material culture. Pastoral nomads who roam the Land for centuries, begin to settle down and to build the “four-room houses” that come to exemplify the presence of the Tribes of Yisrael across the entire Iron Age.

“The emergence of Israel begins at the end of the thirteenth century BCE [−1325] and culminates in about 1000 BCE [−1000]. ... Evidence from both excavations and archaeological surveys suggests a process whereby pastoral tribes already inhabiting Canaan [the Land of Yisrael] grew in number and began to settle down. In time, they built impressive cities in the Shephelah, inland valleys, and highlands, the latter being the region with which Israelites are traditionally associated.” (Golden 2004).

Despite increasingly adopting town life, most of Yisrael continue to live as nomads in tents. Social processes on the other side of the River of Ha'Yarden (Jordan), similarly produce “kings of the nomads”, among Moav, Bne Amon, and Edom. (Labianca, Younker 1995). These nomadic but increasingly sedentary tribal kingoms centralize their authority to group their military numbers together. Thus they better defend their way of life against the military power of the bureaucratic township states, as well as against rival nomads. A curious feature of the Bronze Age is the coexistence of pastoral nomads and urban elites, in addition to farmers. This complex population persists to some degree thru much of the Iron Age too. The emergence of Shaul, David, and even Shlomo probably represent this “King of the nomads” phenomenon among Yisrael

Even by the time of David Ha'Melekh (David the King) near the start of the Middle Iron Period, most of Yisrael still appears to be living in tents.



(−1590) Days of Moshe Ha'Navi (Moses the Prophet)

(For 40 years in the wildernesses)

(−1590) Ytsiya Mi'Mitsrayim (Going out from Egypt)


(−1550) Days of Yhoshua Bin Nun (Joshua Son of Nun)

(For probably about 25 years) (Yhoshua 24'29)

(−1550) Khurban Yrikho (Destruction of the town of Jericho)

(−1540) Khurban Khatsor (Destruction of the town of Hazor)

Estimate the timelength of Yhoshua

According to the Tanakh, Yhoshua Bin Nun is probably about 45 years old at the time of the Ytsiya, then about 85 years old at the destruction of Yrikho, and is said to die at the great age of 110 years old. (Yhoshua 24'29, Shoftim 2'8). Thus his reign as a prophet is from the time of Yrikho for life, about 25 years, while on the Land of Yisrael.

Arriving at this timespan, his contemporary, Kalev Ben Yfune, is 40 years old at the time of the Ytsiya. (Yhoshua 14'6-7). Kalev outlives Yhoshua. However Kalev is unlikely to live as long as 110, like Yhoshua does. Tho he seems to come close. Therefore, Yhoshua is probably older than Kalev.

On the other hand, Yhoshua cant be too much older. When Kalev is 40, Moshe sends both he and Yhoshua out as military scouts. So both are the age of a warriors. Yhoshua seems about 45, possibly 50, while on this mission.

Therefore later, the Days of Yhoshua on the Land of Yisrael are probably about 25 years, possibly 20.

(−1525) Days of the Zkenim (Elders)

(Probably for about 25 years) (Yhoshua 24'31, Shoftim 2'7)

Estimate the timelength of the Zkenim

After the Days of Yhoshua Bin Nun, his younger contemporaries live out a full generation after his death. If they are as young as 20 years old, taking military orders from Yhoshua at the beginning of his reign, then they are about 45 at the time of his death. Likely some of them live on as Zkenim, tribal “elders”, to be about 70 years old. Hence about 25 years after the death of Yhoshua.

Thus the Days of the Zkenim are about 25 years.

Later, the first Shofet (Judge) is Atniel Ben Knaz. Probably it is his father Knaz who is the youngest “brother of Kalev”. (Shoftim 3'10). Thus the Days of Yhoshua are one generation, the Days of the Zkenim are the next generation, including Knaz the youngest brother of Kalev. Finally, Atniel the son of Knaz is in the next generation after that, who begins the Early Shoftim Period.

(−1500) Early Shoftim Period

(For 146 years total)

(−1500) Oppression by Aram
(For 8 years) (Shoftim 3'8)

(−1492) Days of Atniel Ben Knaz
(For 40 years) (Shoftim 3'11)

(−1452) Oppression by Moav
(For 18 years) (Shoftim 3'14)

(−1434) Days of Ehud Ben Gera
(For 80 years) (Shoftim 3'30)

(−1354) Days of Shamgar Ben Anat (Shamgar Son of Anat)

(For possibly about 6 years, an interruption in the timeline)

Uncertain Provenance of Shamgar

The Book of Shoftim (Judges) mentions Shamgar between two extensive sequences of oppressions and liberations. Apparently Shamgar flourishes “after” the eighty years of peace of Ehud, but ambiguously before the next sequence of Shoftim, starting with the oppression by Khatsor (Hazor). If so, there are several ways to reconstruct a chronology from these two separate timelines. Possibly, he signifies an unspecified amount of time between the two sequences. Seemingly, he stands for both an era of oppression by the Plishtim (Philistines), and then an era of freedom following his heroic victory.

Proto Plishtim

In the context of Shamgar, these “Plishtim” probably refer anachronistically to the aborigines that already live in the southern Land of Yisrael. They preexist the immigration of the Plishtim. But these Plishtim merge with these aboriginal communities, and come to define the self-identity of these aborigines. By extension, the preexisting aborigines, being the inhabitants of the territory of the Plishtim and part of the identity of the Plishtim, also come to be called “Plishtim”. Hence “Proto Plishtim” sotospeak.

As early as the Middle Bronze Age, Avraham visits aborigines that the scribes call “Plishtim”. (B'Reshit 20'1, 21'34, 26'1). These early Plishtim specifically come from the town of Grar.

(−1348) Middle Shoftim Period

(For 155 years total)

(−1348) Oppression by Khatsor (Hazor)
(20 years) (Shoftim 4'3)

(−1328) Days of Dvora Ha'Navia Ha'Shofta (Deborah the Prophet the Judge)
(For 40 years) (Shoftim 5'31)

(−1288) Oppression by Midyan (Midian)
(For 7 years) (Shoftim 6'1)

(−1281) Days of Gidon Yrubaal (Gideon, also known as Jerubaal)
(For 40 years) (Shoftim 5'31)

(−1241) Days of Avimelekh Ben Yrubaal
(For 3 years) (Shoftim 9'22)

(−1238) Days of Tola Ben Pua
(For 23 years) (Shoftim 10'2)

(−1215) Days of Yair Ha'Giladi
(For 22 years) (Shoftim 10'3)

Proto Iron Age

Iron artifacts exist during the Bronze Age, long before the socalled Iron Age.

Iron artifacts come into existence experimentally and sporatically, including from the high-quality iron of meteorites. Since the Early Bronze Age, especially northwestern Turkey is known for ironwork. (Weeks, Leichester 1968, Sarna 1989). The Tora mentions “Tuval Kayin the Forger, (the father of) each artificer חֹרֵשׁ of bronze נְחֹשֶׁת and iron בַּרְזֶל .” (B'Reshit 4'23). This epynomous ancestor corresponds roughly to the Bronze Age culture relating to the town of Tuval in Turkey. In Iraq, variants of this townname likewise come to mean “metalworker” in Akkadian (tabura, tabira) and in Sumerian (tibira, dibira). (Sarna 1989). Later, the Empire of Hatti in northern Turkey achieves a reliable technology for smelting iron for industrial use, from roughly −1400 onward. (Weeks, Leichester 1968).

Via caravans across the traderoutes, nomadic Yisrael occasionally acquire iron tools. The famous mural in the tomb at Beni Hasan in Mitsrayim, portrays nomadic Amu with their donkey transporting a bellow, suggesting the possibility of ironwork in the −1800s. Iron tools are known, albeit rare and precious. The Tora mentions the presence of iron among bronze and tin, and these metals alongside gold and silver. (B'Midbar 32'22).

Possibly Yisrael acquires iron smelting technology, in the Early Iron Period. (Kurinsky 1994).

Iron in Khatsor

Before the Iron Age, tentatively abound the same era as Dvora Ha'Shofta (Deborah the Judge), an iron dagger ornaments the burial of Pharaoh Tut'ankh'amun (King Tut) in about −1323 in Mitsrayim. These iron tools display his royal wealth.

Iron in the Bronze Age

(Stein Atle Vere 2012. Late Bronze Period (−1323), Mitsrayim: Iron Dagger of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. brakha.blogspot.com.

In the preceeding era, Yavin (a royal name like “Pharaoh”) the king of Khatsor has “nine hundred rider of iron” רֶכֶב בַּרְזֶל . (Shoftim 4'3). The Hebrew word רֶכֶב derives from the verb “he rode” and can mean “a ride” in the sense of a chariot or later a steed, or can mean “a rider” in the sense of a charioteer or later a horseback rider. Originally horses are too small to support humans effectively, whence several pull a chariot, until human breeders increase their size.

Here the “iron” probably describes the “rider” - that is the charioteer - not the chariot. Large amounts of iron and even the benefit of using iron for chariots, are unlikely at this time.

Possibly the phrase, “rider of iron”, is a metaphor, meaning a “deadly” or “impervious” charioteer. If so, there would be no literal iron artifacts for archeologists to find at Khatsor during this era. Iron enjoys glamor: prestigious and striking awe. Iron blades cut thru bronze blades, thus inspire terror. Whence an origin for a hypothetical proverb such as “rider of iron”.

Possibly the “iron” refers to combat gear. Iron spearheads are possible. However around this time, the chariots seem mainly for archers, who stand on the mobile platform to fire arrows into enemy infantry, while racing out of reach. Precious iron for arrowheads is improbable. Possibly the iron refers to the “scales” of scale armor. The novelty of iron armor is extravagantly expensive, but has practical benefit for stronger and lighter armor, and deserves fame.

Apiru in the Amarna Letters

Tentatively, much of the era of the oppression by Khatsor from about −1348 to −1328 overlaps with the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten from about −1351 to −1333. The Amarna Letters are the international correspondences in the Akkadian language between this Pharaoh and the various towns of his empire, in cunieform cut into clay tablets.

Among them, “Yavin” (Yebaenu) the “King of Khatsor” (Shar Khazura) appears to initially request assistance from Pharaoh, but later to gain independence from the control of Pharaoh. This suggests both general turbulance and a surge in the power of Khatsor.

Other Amarna Letters mention the presence of the “Apiru” (Egyptian plural ˁpr.w), possibly relating etymologically to the word Ivri עברי (“Hebrew”). These are generally pastoral seminomads, often working as military mercenaries. Records from across Syria, Iraq, and Turkey attest to their presence from roughly −1800 to −1100. The Tribes of Yisrael seem to be a subset of the broader category. Altho not mentioning the tribal affiliations by name, the Apiru in the Amarna Letters probably include members from the Tribes of Yisrael.

Who Destroys Khatsor?

The town of Khatsor (Hazor) stands in the north of the Land of Yisrael, north of the Kineret (Sea of Galilee).

Notably, the Book of Shoftim (Judges) lacks any claim, the tribes of Yisrael destroy the town of Khatsor at this time. Archeology identifies two destruction layers at Khatsor, both before and after the Days of Dvora (Deborah): one dates to roughly −1400 and one in roughly −1230. (Yadin 1972 suggests mid-third −1200s, Kitchen 2003 suggests about −1220). These evidence the turbulance of the period for Khatsor during this period.

Tentatively, Yisrael has no responsibility for either of these destructions in Khatsor.

Regarding the earlier destruction layer of roughly −1400, probably Pharaoh Amenhotep 2 is responsible. He reigns from about −1424 to −1399. His Amada Stele claims to conquer Khatsor in his year 3, thus about −1422. Unlike other Pharaohs, who exaggerate such claims, possibly for magical effect, Amenhotep 2 might have actually destroyed the town. Nevertheless, the two Leningrad Papyri from his year 18 over a decade later, suggest Khatsor begins to recover becoming part of a trading community, probably by its rural population in the surrounding farming areas.

It is unclear who is responsible for the later destruction of roughly −1230 sometime after the Days of Dvora.

Note, Yisrael is probably responsible for the much earlier destruction layer that dates to the Days of Yhoshua, in about −1540.


(−1193) Late Shoftim Period

(For 149 years total)

(−1193) Oppression by Plishtim and Bne Amon (Philistines and Amonites)
(For probably 18 years) (Shoftim 10'7-8)

(−1175) Days of Yiftakh Ha'Giladi (Jephtah the Gileadite)
(For 6 years) (Shoftim 10'9)

(−1169) Days of Ivtsan Mi'Bet Lakhem
(For 7 years) (Shoftim 12'9)

(−1162) Days of Elon Ha'Kvuloni
(For 10 years) (Shoftim 12'11)

(−1152) Days of Avdon Ben Hilel Ha'Piratoni
(For 8 years) (Shoftim 12'14)

(−1144) Oppression by Plishtim (Philistines)
(For 40 years) (Shoftim 13'1)

(−1104) Days of Shimshon (Samson)
(For 20 Years) (Shoftim 15'20, 16'31)

(−1084) Days of Eli Ha'Kohen (the Priest)
(For 40 Years) (Shmuel-1 4'18)


The Plishtím פְּלִשְׁתִּים (Philistines) seem among the seafaring nations that archeologists today call the “sea peoples”. The Mitsrí (Egyptian) name for them, “Pr-s-t”, appears identical with the Ivrí (Hebrew) name, “Pleshet” פְּלֶשֶׁת (Philistia), namely the territory of the Plishtim.

These Plishtim attack Mitsrayim about −1174 during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses 3. Pharaoh claims to defeat them and apparently to settle them in the coast of the Amu, apparently along the southern coastland of the Land of Yisrael.

Archeology shows, after a lull the Plishtim resurge in power. and appear to force Mitsrím (Egyptians) to retreat and even abandon their empire about −1150. Pharaoh Seti 2 definitively withdraws from the Land of Yisrael.

Tentatively, the Plishtim attack the Land of Yisrael from the west from the Sea - a decade or so before they attack Mitsrayim in about −1174. Meanwhile the Bne Amon attack Yisrael from the east from across the Yarden (Jordan River).

When Mitsrayim defeats the Plishim, there appears to be an era of peace among the tribes of Yisrael too, beginning with the Days of Yiftakh (Jephthah), about −1175. This is also the time when the Plishtim settle the coastland and merge with the local aboriginal population. The peace lasts about thirty years.

Then Plishtí aggression surges with a vengence.

Tentatively, after the Mitsrí withdraw in −1450, the Plishtim emerge as the most dangerous enemies against the Tribes of Yisrael from about −1144 on.

(−1044) Days of Shmuel (Samuel) and Shaul Ha'Melekh (Saul the King)

(For possibly about 35 years)

Estimate the timelength of Shmuel and Shaul

The Books of Shmuel (1 and 2 Samuel) omit the years of reign for both Shumel Ha'Shofet שְׁמוּאֵל הַשֹּׁפֵט (Samuel the Judge) and Shaul Ha'Melekh שָׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ (Saul the King). Thus the timespan of Shmuel-and-Shaul between Eli and David remains loose.

Adding to the complexity, the sequence of all four reigns - Eli, Shmuel, Shaul, and David - involve coregencies and possibly an interregnal gap because of the illegitimacy of later years of Shaul.

Together, Shmuel and Shaul seem to represent one or two generations. With each generation averaging about twenty-five years, their combined reigns span somewhere between the twenty-five and fifty years.

The Books of Shmuel, describe events that, according to the plain meaning, suggest extensive reigns for each of them.

Tentatively, the Days of Shmuel and Shaul together approximate roughly 35 years. Each is at least twenty years, but part of these twenty overlap while they share a coregency.


Bet David Period (Davidic Dynasty Period)

(−1009) Days of David Ha'Melekh (David the King)
(For 40 years)

(−969) Days of Shlomo Ben David Ha'Melekh (Solomon Son of David, the King)
(For 40 years)

(−966) Shlomo in his fourth year of reign begins construction of the Bet Ha'Mikdash (Temple)
(Mlakhim-1 6'1)

(−930) Rkhavam Ha'Melekh Yrushalayim (Rehoboam the King of Jerusalem)

(−930) Yravam Ha'Melekh Shomron (Jeroboam the King of Samaria)


Yravam the King (Jeroboam) founds the Kingdom of Shomron (Samaria) to the north, after leading the ten tribes of the north in a successful revolt. The secession leaves Rkhavam the King (Rehoboam) with the Kingdom of Yrushalayim (Jerusalem) to the south.


Navi - Prophet - Shaman

Navi - Prophet - Shaman

(Stein Atle Vere ©2012. Navi - Prophet - Shaman. brakha.blogspot.com)

The leadership style of Moshé מֹשֶׁה (Moses) Ha'Naví (the Prophet) resembles that of a shaman. We can understand the concept of a Naví נָבִיא , usually translating as “prophet”, in some similar sense to “shaman”.

The Navi communicates the desire of God during oracles, thus physicalizes the divine authority as a political authority. Among the nomadic Tribes of Yisraél (Israel) יִשְׂרָאֵל , the shaman evolves into the only political institution whose authority can extend beyond one tribe, to lead all twelve tribes. Usually each tribe is its own nation. In the case of Yisrael, it is only the Navi that unites the twelve separate tribes into a single nation.

Navi (Prophet) (Seer) (Shaman)

(Stein Atle Vere 2012. Image: Moshe Ha'Navi (Moses the Prophet). brakha.blogspot.com.
Derivation: Charlton Heston as Moshe. Movie: Ten Commandments. Paramount Pictures 1956).

Moshe Ha'Navi

Moshe demonstrates divine authority by his shamanic manifestations.

In addition, Moshe enjoys political prestige among the nomadic tribes because of his status as a Son of the House of Pharaoh, being a member of the aristocracy in Mitsráyim (Egypt). Similar to the mastery of Mitsrí divination by Yoséf יוֹסֵף (Joseph) before him, the Mitsri education of Moshe likely provokes awe and dread.

Moshe has difficulty in speaking. Probably this refers to his nonfluency with the Ivrít עִבְרִית language. In this case, Ivrit refers to “Proto-Hebrew”, namely the Canaanite language that the “Hebrews” - Ivrím עִבְרִים - speak. The first language of Moshe is Mitsrít (Egyptian). A daughter of Pharaoh adopts him when he is near birth. Apparently Moshe speaks Ivrit with a heavy Mitsrit accent.

Possibly, the Tribe of Leví לֵוִי already serves as a sacred caste among these nomadic tribes. Moshe happens to be a member of this caste, and enjoys its prestige. If so, he confirms the sacred status of his caste, and, in the role of a shaman, goes further to appoint his biological brother, Aharon, as a Kohén כֹּהֵן (a hereditary priest) and as the founder of a new clan of Kohaním כֹּהְַנִים (priests) within this sacred Tribe of Levi.

These three factors for Moshe - his shamanic manifestations of prophecy, his education as an aristocrat, and possibly his sacred caste - can elevate his leadership status beyond his own tribe, to influence the other nomadic tribes.

Evolution of the shaman

Later, a special kind of Shoftím שֹׁפְטִים (Judges) who also happen to be Nviím נְבִיאִים (Shamans) emerge. Their new political clout shows a shift in the tribal structure of Yisrael, as they start to intermingle to some degree. These nomadic tribes intermarry, journey together, and periodically camp together at certain vicinities to grow crops. Also, pragmatically, they band together to increase the size of their armies, to cope with aggressive neighbors, especially the brutal township kings with their bureaucrats inside townwalls.

Initially, each nomadic tribe has its own tribal council with its own clan “elders”, Zkenim זְקֵנִים . Plus, its own tribal court system with its own “judges”, Shoftim. (Yhoshua 24'1). These Shoftim seem to derive from the “seventy Shoftim”, who Moshe appoints, selecting them from among the Zkenim. (B'Midbar 11'24-25). Probably each Shofet שֹׁפֵט adjudicates only the legal disputes between the clans of ones own tribe, respectively. These founding Shoftim appeal to Moshe as a Navi for divine guidance in cases without precedent, or possibly consult him as a shaman in cases of disputes between different tribes.

This institution of a legal system with interclan authority is social revolution. The Tora (five books of the Tora scroll) attributes the innovation to Moshe. The earliest known law code, in this case a royal one, develops in Shinar (Babylonia). There the Code of Hammurabi the King promulgates it roughly two centuries before Moshe, depending on the chronologies for Hammurabi and for Moshe. (Akkermans, Schwartz 2003). Probably, some of the Amu or Shasu from the Land of Yisrael brought knowledge of the Code into Mitsrayim (Egypt) from across the traderoutes. The Tribes of Yisrael themselves may know of it, since some of their ancestors via Avraham come from that region. Whence indirect influence inspiring Moshe.

Yhoshua Ha'Navi

Moshe the Navi transmits his own central intertribal authority to his successor Yhoshúa יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Joshua). Yhoshua himself is also a Navi. (B'Midbar 27'18). Only the role of a shaman can enjoy the respect of all twelve tribes because each respects the authority of God.

After Yhoshua there seems an intermediary generation, during the Days of the Zkenim. These clan elders appear to revert back to the affairs of their respective tribes, but they preserve the union of the twelve tribes out of their pious reverence for Yhoshua the shaman. (Yhoshua 24'31, Shoftim 2'7). Probably, these Zkenim also consolidate the legal systems of each tribe that earlier Moshe innovates. So those Zkenim who are also Shoftim emerge as an authoritative decision-making institution among the clans of each tribe.

Shoftim Ha'Nviim

The first leader to explicitly “judge” וַיִּשְׁפֹט more than one tribe is Atniél Ben Knaz, who apparently judges all of the tribes of Yisrael, following an era of intertribal crisis. Atniel innovates this intertribal authority of the Shofet. Thus he causes a new period in the lives of Yisrael, albeit the years of the crisis that he responds to mark the beginning of this Early Shoftim Period.

“And, the spirit of God was on him. And, he judged Yisrael. And, he went out to war.” (Shoftim 3'10).

Thus, it is his role as a shaman who manifest the oracles by “the spirit of God”, that allows Atniel to extend his legal authority beyond his own tribe to the other tribes. Probably these members from other tribes come voluntarily, to him to hear Atniel transmit the verdict of God to settle their legal disputes. The authority of Atniel to send the armies of multiple tribes of Yisrael to war, derives from his status as a shaman. However, his decision to go to war seems to emerge within the context of a remedy concerning a legal dispute.

Later near the start of the Middle Shoftim Period, Dvorá Ha'Shoftá דְּבוֹרָה הַשֹּׁפְטָה (Deborah the Judge) is necessarily Ha'Nviá (the Prophet), a shaman, as well. The report about her gives a fuller picture about this leadership position of an intertribal “Shofet”. As a nomad, she would sit outdoors in a wellknown locale, “under the palm tree between Rama and Bet El”. Presumably she and her husband keep their tent permanently nearby. Members from all of the nomadic tribes of “Bne Yisrael” “would go up to her for judgment”, probably voluntarily because of her reputation as an authentic shaman. It appears she is a Zkená זְקֵנָה, a clan elder, whence becoming a Shofta with judicial authority among her own tribe. Yet it is her status as a Nvia, giving oracles from God, even moreso than her sageness as a Shofta, that extends her reputation to other tribes.

Her role as a military commander extends from her shamanic authority, but again, like Atniel, it seems to emerge within the context of a legal decision. She literally summons the warrior to her outdoor court.

“And, she sent (a messenger). And, she called for Barak Ben Avinoam from Kedesh Naftali. And, she said unto him: Did God the Divineships of Yisrael not command you? Go. And, you will take with you ten (military units of) subtribes, man (of military age) from Bne Naftali and from Bne Zvulun.” (Shoftim 4'6).

If Barak already hears this command from God, then Dvora is probably the oracle that he hears the divine command from. Possibly, Barak himself has volunteered to take his legal question to Dvora. Her oracle is the final judgment on his case. Possibly Barak is afraid to carry out her divine and legal verdict. Therefore Dvora follows up on this case, to ensure her legal decree carries effect. Moreover, her followup demonstrates how her shamanic and judicial authority take on the responsibilities of a military commander, who can lead the armies of multiple tribes. By prophecy, she spells out the war strategy that these warriors must put into effect.

The report about Dvora demonstrates how the institution of the clan elder - Zaken - can extend to serve judicial duties for other clans of the tribe - Shofet. But then this institution of Shofet evolves to serve as a leader of all the tribes, if a Shofet also exhibits the status of a shaman - Navi.

During eras of oppression by foreign groups, the nomadic Tribes of Yisrael seem as if they lack Shoftim to “save” them from their enemies. Surely, each tribe has Shoftim, per se, meaning the Zkenim of certain clans who also serve as a Shofet to adjucate among the clans of their tribe. However, these intermediary eras lack a Shofet who also has a reputation as an authentic shaman, who can communicate oracles directly from God. Therefore none of these Shoftim have any authority over all of the other tribes of Yisrael.

Centralizing political authority of the shaman

The institution of the clan elder, by itself, enjoys no authority over other clans - and has zero authority over other tribes.

It is the shaman - the Navi - alone who has the divine authority to unite all the tribes under one leader. This leader is God Godself.

This sole intertribal authority of the shaman explains the centrality of the sacred memory about Moshe. As a shaman, he unites the disparate tribes by the authority of God directly. During the Days of the Shoftim, this sole intertribal authority also explains why, politically, the tribes have no choice but turn to God via a shaman to unite the armies of their various tribes against the common enemy. It also explains how the authority of the shaman remains above even the authority of a king, albeit tensions emerge between the two.

This sole intertribal authority of the shaman also explains why the desire of the tribes for a king seems to hurt the feelings of God sotospeak. Pragmatically, via oracles, God alone functions as the central government for the twelve independent tribes. To Shmuel the shaman, God says, “They rejected me from being king over them.” (Shmuel-1 8'7). The desire among the tribal elders for a human king who can centralize the intertribal political system, in some sense, overthrows God who upto now is the only one to wield this authority.

Later, well into the Iron Age, the tribes recognize their kings, David and his son Shlomo, as authentic because they are also shamans. Apparently it is only their reputation as shamans that can succeed in uniting all twelve tribes within a central monarchy. The ancient proverb, “Is also Shaul among the Nviim (Prophets)?”, communicates doubt about his authenticity as a shaman, thus necessarily doubt about his legitimacy as an intertribal king. (Shumel-1 10'12).

Finally, the political institution of the shaman persists even among the scribes and Kohanim (priests) among the royal courts of the Kingdoms of Yrushalayim and Shomronim. It is these courtiers who are also Nviim, who produce the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) as we know it today.

Navi - Prophet - Shaman

The rise of this title “Shofet”, in a special sense to mean an intertribal shamanic authority, signals a shift in the tribal social structure. These Shoftim are unlike clan “elders”, who are only patriarchs (and anomalous matriarchs) of specific clans. Their jurisdiction extends beyond their own tribe because of the authority of God Godself. Instead, these Shoftim emerge military leaders, who can draft warriors from several tribes and command them in times of war, because of their shamanic status as a Navi.

The nomadic Tribes of Yisrael evolve in a peculiar way. Via the prophetic oracles of their Nviim, God Godself is literally the central political system that unites these separate tribes into a single kinship system, Am Yisrael (the Kinship of Israel). God becomes the common origin that imbues the pluralistic societies with a sense of national unity.