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Israel or Ishrael, What Are You?

This is not a joke question. Yes, it has very serious consequences. Here is the sad part, for two thousand two hundred years and more almost nobody noticed.

[ References here to the Written Torah, which I do include are from the JPS 1917 version, which when checking interpretation, with few exceptions, for me has proved most accurate. While translation is important, context gives to the real meaning. Yet, even Hebrew speech is a translation, including when done by Ancient Hebrew Scholars. ]

I wrote an article called: “Ishrael?”. In it I attempted to display that there is a difference, between the two names and caused by the placement of a single Dot, placed where it is by our teachers. The Hebrew Letter ‘ש’, the dot on the left side is “Pronounced as Sin” and on the right “Pronounced as Shin”. The word is “ישראל”, today pronounced ISRAEL. Meaning: “To Struggle with GOD”!

So, in one of the Torah Studies this week, where the person next to me said: “Mishnah, Talmud, Gemara these are what help us struggle with god”, referring to Israel, and to my ears, said with pride.

I was shocked at hearing this stated out loud. It is not the first time I have heard this, but this statement has bothered me for couple of days now. Today, I must re-address the question.

In the article “Ishrael?”, I started with:

“There are some inconsistencies I see in the world. So many people say one thing and do the opposite. I have been part of the Jewish world since the 1984, and have been watching as the world and people change. There are some things that bother me, but it was not until a few days ago, that I realized this issue.

Children of Jacob does not Equal Jews(Judah is a Tribe and after King Solomon, it was also one of the two Kingdoms. {This was a fulfillment of a promise to Jacob {Genesis 35:11} ) which does not equal Judaism, and none of these Equal ISHRAEL. Strange but true!

Jacob is a Group that includes Judah(Jews), yet it seems that the Jews do not want to be included in Jacob, and only a very few of Jacob or Judah are included in ISHRAEL. {Only A Very Few: Ref: “Isaiah 10:21 A remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto God the Mighty. 22 For though thy people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return; an extermination is determined, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For an extermination wholly determined shall the Lord, the GOD of hosts, make in the midst of all the earth. ” Perhaps this destruction catches your attention, start with “The Last Day” .}

So you are Jewish, but are you of Israel? Ishrael??”

Some background regarding the Names. In Genesis 32, Jacob has left the House of Laban(his father-in-law) in Paddan-aram. Having successfully parted with Laban, Jacob has stopped at the ford of Jabbok at the river Jordan(Jacob has not yet left the land of Paddan-aram). The rest of Jacob’s family and possessions have go over in an Jacob’s elaborate plan to deal with Esau. Jacob has stayed behind this night. Before day light Jacob struggles with an man/angel, whom Jacob forces him to bless Jacob. The blessing is a name change to Israel. “Genesis 32:28 And he said unto him: ‘What is thy name?’ And he said: ‘Jacob.’ 29 And he said: ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’ . . . .” . Hence the Sin to be Israel.

There is another renaming of Jacob in “Genesis 35:9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him: ‘Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name’; and He called his name Israel.”. Following this renaming, the LORD blessed him again, renewing the family sizes, kingdoms, land. Almost the same blessing Isaac gave Jacob(Genesis 28), where THE LORD Blesses Jacob in similar fashion also in Genesis 28, at the Ladder. Point of interest here: At the Ladder, Jacob receives the Blessing, but makes his own deal of when This GOD will be his GOD.(Struggling with GOD?) This blessing has been passed down from Abram to Abraham, to Isaac and to Isaac then From Isaac to Jacob, then by GOD to Jacob and then restated here in Genesis 35.(Grounds for the three witnesses, as in The GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob, for promises kept, blessings received and those that are still coming true.)

Okay, those are the Re-namings of Jacob. Yet, there is this: Genesis 46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said: ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said: ‘Here am I.’ 3 And He said: ‘I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. 4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.’” Okay, so Israel is going down to Joseph in Eygpt(Leaving the LAND) stops to offer a sacrifice, and them The LORD calls “Jacob, Jacob”, not Israel, and blesses Jacob again. Here Jacob is also told that it is okay for him to go to Egypt.

To recap what we have so far, Jacob has been renamed twice. Not once like Abram to Abraham and The LORD never refers to Abram again. Yet, at the second renaming of Jacob to Israel(as commonly written), where The LORD says “thy name shall not be called any more Jacob”, some twenty years later, when Jacob is heading to Egypt, The LORD calls “’Jacob, Jacob.’”. Why did The LORD do that? Reference Genesis 46 above.

IS there are difference in these renamings of Jacob? Yes, the first is just a name change the the change is the blessing. While the second also contains an name change and very specific blessings. Even the Blessings or promises give to Abraham and Isaac are given again under this new name.

Jacob is concerned about leaving the Land, when Isaac, his father was told to “Not Leave” the land. Jacob goes to the place Beer-sheva, to offer sacrifices to The LORD. Asking for permission? Jacob received permission and another set of blessings. Perhaps this means that The LORD is please at the question or consideration shown by Jacob. Would this not be an Up Right or Righteous Act? ISHRAEL? Does an act, get a blessing, nice!

Struggling with GOD?

This has been done so often that I think we have a difficult time noticing that we are doing it. What is common and usual is that we live our lives “day to day’ and that is as our reality. Hence even slavery in Egypt, became our reality and we accepted our condition. Only when it became overwhelmingly bad, did we cry out. Wait a second, We are not a people that are to be as everybody else, doing evil because it is the common practice. We KNOW better and are held to a Higher Standard to show others how to do what is Right before Our Father(The ALMIGHTY GOD, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth). We are suppose to be the Blessing to the WORLD. When we struggle against The LORD OUR GOD, are we being a blessing or are we showing that what the world does is okay.?

Abram/Abraham got it Right only three times. Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 22. When I say that Abram/Abraham it right, right looks like this: In Genesis 12, Abram is to go, and he does, without question, without negotiation and without talking back, he just does what he is told.;
In Genesis 15:5 And He brought him forth abroad, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them’; and He said unto him: ‘So shall thy seed be.’ 6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.; Abram was counted Righteous for believing GOD!

However, when he is told about the promise of the land, Abram FAILS saying “8 And he said: ‘O Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?’” —GIVE ME PROOF. –Failure to continue to believe The LORD he is Talking with.
Last, Genesis 22, the binding of Isaac. This is actually Abraham Getting It Right, not wrong as so many Rabbis declare. Proof of RIGHT, is in the Blessings.

“Genesis 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said: ‘Abraham, Abraham.’ And he said: ‘Here am I.’
12 And he said: ‘Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou art a God-fearing man, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.’
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the LORD is seen.’ 15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven,
16 and said: ‘By Myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son,
17 that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast hearkened to My voice.’”

Wow!, Abraham commanded by GOD to do this horrendous thing, that would cost Abraham his inheritor, his heir, the future of the family(as declared by The LORD). But Abraham does what he is told, without question, without hesitation and without a fight. This request would make the Declaration by GOD void. “Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham: ‘Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall seed be called to thee.” The LORD my GOD’s WORD is always true. As difficult as it seems, Abraham knows that GOD does not fail ever, even when he cannot understand what is happening, just do what The LORD Commands.

Isaac, was told not to leave the land, and he never does. What ever is happening, Isaac just goes with the flow and it is good.

The descendants of Jacob, do not do so well. After all of the deeds performed in their sight and then leaving Egypt with great wealth and everybody that would go, did so. Then brought to the Mountain of GOD, even Mount Horeb, where three million plus people see what is on the mountain, and hear the word of The LORD themselves, turned away from GOD within 40 days. Created an idol and did worship it. Causing:
Exodus 32:7 And the LORD spoke unto Moses: ‘Go, get thee down; for thy people, that thou broughtest up out of the land of Egypt, have dealt corruptly;
8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed unto it, and said: This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’
9 And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.
10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation.’”
Truly, they are Israel. They just swore to:
Exodus 20: 15 And they said unto Moses: ‘Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’
Exodus 24: 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said: ‘All the words which the LORD hath spoken will we do.’
Exodus 24: 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the hearing of the people; and they said: ‘All that the LORD hath spoken will we do, and obey.’”

So far I have only shown actions and responses to those actions, is there a declaration of what we are to do to be Holy, Righteous?

Exodus 19: 5 Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine;
6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.’”

Leviticus 19: 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 And ye shall observe all My statutes, and all Mine ordinances, and do them: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 20: 7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the LORD your God.
8 And keep ye My statutes, and do them: I am the LORD who sanctify you.

Leviticus 22: 31 And ye shall keep My commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.
32 And ye shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD who hallow you,
33 that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.

And there are many more times, in similar phrases and teachings. The LORD declares we are to keep HIS Statues, HIS Ordinances, HIS Commandments, they are HIS words we are to hear and perform. Not to question, but to do.

This does not set well with the multitude. This, just keep and do what so ever the LORD OUR GOD Declares.

The multitude is mistaken, and each will receive their just payment or reward.

At this weeks Torah Study, it came up that “We can interpret the Written Torah anyway we want, even to accept or reject any part or all of it.” I agreed, that everyone of us has a choice. Even the Almighty will not touch your choice. It is your soul that is in the balance, and no one else’s soul. You are either seeking to perform as the GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob declared and demands, or you are not. Ishrael(Upright of GOD) or Israel(Struggles with GOD), it is your choice and your actions that define who you are and what reward you receive.

I always pray that we and they should have ears that hear, eyes that see and an understanding heart that they may return to the LORD only.

In case you are wondering about the Eyes and Ears in the last line. Deuteronomy 29:3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. (The context is Deuteronomy 29:1 thru 8). Plus there is:

Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: ‘Here am I; send me.’
9 And He said: ‘Go, and tell this people: hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their heart, return, and be healed.’”

The LORD our GOD, has HIS PLANS. Yet your free will(Choice) to do or not to do, the out come will be yours.
Isaiah 28: 23 Give ye ear, and hear my voice; attend, and hear my speech. 24 Is the plowman never done with plowing to sow, with the opening and harrowing of his ground? 25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the black cummin, and scatter the cummin, and put in the wheat in rows and the barley in the appointed place and the spelt in the border thereof? 26 For He doth instruct him aright; his God doth teach him. . . .”.
The Field was made ready, and planted, then harvested, mayhap we are not at the harvesting of the grain, and the plan is coming to an end. Are you really standing in the place your soul desires to be?

Your choice about what you will be. It is HIS JUDGEMENT perfect and righteous about what where you are in HIS BOOK or not.

How do you KNOW what to do? As a reminder: “Exodus 19: 5 Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine;
6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.’”

Questions? Login and write your response.

I can not save you, no one can, You must Return and do that which is Right.

I can show you the way, if you want to know.

IT is to our benefit to HEARKEN until the LIVING GOD OF ISHRAEL/ISRAEL/JACOB, and to our pain and shame to do otherwise.
My prayer is that The LORD grant you eyes that see, ears that hear and an understanding heart, then you return unto HIM soon!(Isaiah 6: 9 And He said: ‘Go, and tell this people: hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their heart, return, and be healed.’)

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Shalom,

Yaakov

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