Jews and Muslims, Isaac and Ishmael

Posted by & filed under Isaac and Ishmael, Ishmael, Israel, Jews and Muslims, Middle East, Palestinians, war on terror.

According to an article in today’s Huffington Post (and this has been noted by others before) the biggest terror threat to New York City is the possibility of an attack on the Subway system. It’s happened already in Madrid, London and Minsk, and there have been foiled attempts in New York. So now it’s simply routine in the subways to see security cameras, random bag checks, motion detectors, as well as a large police presence armed with high-powered rifles, radiation detectors, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Patrons hear loudspeaker messages reminding them “If you see something, say something”.

Clearly these security measures and strategies are necessary. But will it ever end? Is New York and the rest of the world doomed to a future of endless fear and suspicion? Perhaps not. Bin Laden is gone. Leon Panetta recently said that a successful end to the war on terror is in sight. Might we eventually win this battle, and return to a safe, secure world, where cruelty and hatred are replaced with vibrancy and joy?

Not by police, military, or political actions alone – though these are certainly necessary (we cannot be naïve or drop our vigilance). But ultimately, the different world we seek is only possible if we become different people, i.e., different on the inside. So the real long-term question is whether this is possible. Can enemies come together and become friends? Throughout history this has happened – we’re now friends with Germany and Japan for instance. And yet, the Middle East conflict seems so intractable! Is it conceivable that the Israelis and their allies could ever have a peaceful, friendly, beneficent relationship with the Palestinians and their allies? What hope do we have?

Soon after the Sacrifice scene in Genesis, Sarah passed away and Abraham arranged for Isaac to marry Rebecca. As Rebecca arrived, we are told that “Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Beer-lahai-roi” – which means ‘the well of the Living One who sees me’, and was so named many years earlier by Hagar (Abraham’s concubine and Ishmael’s mother). The Bible then tells us that Abraham also now remarried, this time to a woman named Keturah, and he lived another 37 years. When he passed away, Isaac and Ishmael together buried him, and then “Isaac settled near Beer-lahai-roi.”

According to the Oral Tradition, preserved in the Talmud, ‘Keturah’ was another name for Hagar. Before Rebecca arrived, Isaac had been in Beer-lahai-roi – which strongly suggests that he had been living with Hagar and his brother Ishmael! And after Abraham’s death, Isaac returned again and “settled near Beer-lahai-roi.”

So what is this story telling us? On a psychological and family level, the story suggests that it is never too late for broken families to come back to each other and heal their wounds. On a social and political level, given the immense importance of this particular family for all of western history, it clearly tells us that since Isaac and Ishmael could reunite as brothers, there is no reason why their children, Jews and Muslims, cannot do the same.

Andrew Cort says:

I’ll try to get a look at your book. From your opening paragraphs here, it seems to me you have no idea what I am trying to get across or where I’m coming from. I suppose that’s my fault. You seem to be suggesting that I’m somehow unaware that religion causes hatred and violence, when the whole point of my work is to get people to see the absurdity of all the hatred and violence that of course I see, and to realize how unnecessary it is and to stop doing it. But you would blame religion itself, instead of the real culprit — our insane misunderstanding of the actual inner esoteric meaning that all great traditions possess. But we just see the superficial. The bigger picture isn’t ‘outside’ religion. It’s embedded deeply INside, and my work is all about getting people to make the effort to acknowledge and realize it, rather than blaming their religion and running off to other ones they imagine are better. (Kabbalah, for instance, by the way, IS Judaism: it’s not something ‘other’.) If you take the stories of Abraham and his family, e.g., as purely literal historical narratives – which it seems from your comment you do — then OF COURSE you can portray them as a dysfunctional family. But if you give the stories their due, as symbolic mythological allegories (written by brilliant and highly evolved adepts) that are connecting beyond your reasoning mind into your deep subconscious soul, then the idea of their being dysfunctional is absurd.

Lynn Boston says:

Andrew,

I’ll try not to rant as heavy as Diane but I will pitch my novel at the end. :-)

Drive through Southern Georgia and see Confederate Flags on walls with “The South Shall Rise Again.” There is nothing religious about this, yet, prejudices drive hard core Southerners 150 years after the Civil War. Yes, right here in glory-hailed America, staunch prejudice reins with little difference to the Arab-Israeli conflict raging for 1,500 years; or the Christian-Jew conflict for 2,000 years; or the China-Vietnam conflict for 1,000 years or… or…

There is little difference between these and the religious wars of your post (or Huffington’s). The difference is that religious zealots do it “IN THE NAME OF GOD”, whichever god they follow at that moment. By doing it in the name of god, unparalleled insanity supports their prejudicial fight.

Religious stimulated prejudice have no foundation to improve our society. Prejudice and greed is everywhere, Andrew. Religions just give it an anchor.

But religions do serve a purpose. In general they keep people in line: “kill someone = burn in hell for eternity.” “Don’t kill yourself or you burn forever”… “Life is not hopeless”.
In order to find a greater purpose, a larger picture, we have to get beyond our little world on this planet. We have to see something greater than a Methodist Heaven, a Catholic Pergatory, 72 virgins when I kill a bunch of infidels with a suicide bomb >>
72 virgins? Wait … I have to think about that… 72 virgins? Maybe Islam is not so bad. :-) JUST JOKING

Is there a bigger picture outside of religion? Perhaps. (here comes my pitch)

I researched past life regression for nearly 5 years before publishing my novel “Through the Third Eye”. I did not really believe in reincarnation before I started the research. I “got religion” on the topic after having undergone a lot of regression therapy to be able to write about the experience from the subject’s viewpoint.

I am now convinced there is a MUCH greater picture than what is painted by our lame religions that claim to have all the answers (I apologize for the harsh words). However, I do not see Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Kabbalah (excepting the current cult in America) as religions the same as the Abrahamic religions – which I believe are full of prejudices.

Funny thing on my novel, almost ALL of the historical religious characters you mentioned in your post, Isaac, Ishmael, Abraham, Sarah… are in the book. Yes, my 3 fictional characters were regressed back to their previous lives as these people, and MANY more. In the early part of the novel I filled in gaps in history; and it upset some people. I portrayed them as totally dysfunctional families, not unlike the Kardashians or Ozzie Osborn on TV today. But religions raised them to status of Prophets. The rest of the novel shakes it up even more.
My editor made me tone it down… I thank her for that. I wanted a thought-provoking mystery/thriller, not an oratory.

Please grab a free copy of my ebook at Smashwords or you can get it for 99 cents at any of the on-line stores (they won’t let me give it away).

But please be gentle on a review. :-) The reviews are coming out pretty good. But one-on-one emails can be terse; one psychologist asserted “there is no scientific evidence that reincarnation is real”. I figured he was a Presbyterian and did not have the heart to tell him that there was no scientific evidence of zombies, vampires, aliens or God.

My novel is fiction and people have to determine in their own mind what is real and what is not; whether the source of truth is the Bible, Torah, Zohar, Koran, or “Through the Third Eye”. We believe what we believe to make our path through THIS life a little easier. Hopefully that does not mean blowing up someone else.

Lynn @ lynnbostonbooks . com

Andrew Cort says:

(Thanks for posting Diane, though I was rather hoping for a comment on my blog post, not so much a rant on your book)

What is wrong with humanity is that it is far too negative as we have forgotten our ability to create that which we want rather than what others are creating for us, i.e., the mindset of war, murder, rape, and everything else being “programmed” into us day and night via television “programming” via their “channels”. Much of what is being created for us is controlling our own ability to create. Heavy taxation on the creation of ideas, businesses, the ownership of anything at all & the controlling of ideas by the elite’s control over who can do or say what according to their “laws” implemented for the purpose of controlling us. Is this satisfactory to mankind? I hear many people complaining privately but not so much publicly and very little encouragement to pray to the higher powers capable of doing anything at all for us.
What most people do not know is that many of the people appointed to our legislative bodies were put there without a legal vote. Sorry, but it is the truth. The voting process is no
longer controlled by the people and those who
control it have stated so privately to others.
Knowing this, what do we want the Higher Powers
that be to do on our behalf? Is anyone inviting them to assist us? If not, why not?
No faith? They are capable of restoring order in the land but we have to ask “them” to do it.
We have to begin to use our thoughts for good,
and not for evil as others are doing. The Divine beings are waiting for enough people to WAKE UP & ask for assistance from their higher beings. What are we waiting for? A crisis in
the land? Indeed, a crisis is coming if we
continue allowing the elitist to exercise control over our freedoms and liberties and yes,
even our thoughts. The Divine beings are standing by to assist all of us who wish to see freedom and liberty restored in the land but will we ask for it. Will we believe again in
a higher power…not one being…but a higher
consciousness of many…they are standing by.
think positive. Think healing of the world’s
people and our minds. Ask for it. Pray for it.
We need a million strong praying and then…
we will have it coming our way. It doesn’t matter if the people understand completely who
the higher beings are but know that there are lower beings manipulating their minds, their
thoughts, and their creative genius right now.
Without an intervention, you can expect more of the same. So we must WAKE UP now. We are not
here to become programmed into becoming the slaves of another race of beings and yet…it is
happening. Around the globe…it is happening.
So let the people make up their minds if they are ready to allow a higher power to assist us.
We are here to learn more about ourselves and
our own nature. To learn to become more
compassionate, more loving, more understanding
& to see that without these things, life can be quite miserable. Andromeda’s Truth. Check it out. The higher beings are reaching out to us
to wake up…!!! Time is of the essence.
Diane Freeman
Author of The Race to Eternity