Men of my Counsel

Men of my Counsel

A person needs acknowledgment in order to survive. A person needs to feel that he or she is significant and that their life makes a difference. Without this feeling of self-respect and self-worth it is difficult to stay afloat on the raft of life.

There are different levels of acknowledgment. When you walk in to a store and the person behind the counter smiles at you and offers a greeting; that can be an act of acknowledgment. Sometimes you actually get a sincere greeting from a store-clerk; not because they are out for your patronage; but because they respect you as another human being.  Being acknowledged as a human being is important, but there is more to acknowledgement than that.

If the goals and aspirations that are dear to your heart are important to other people and these people appreciate that you are the person that will bring these goals to fruition, then the acknowledgement that you receive from them is so much deeper and more significant. These people will have acknowledged; not only your humanity, but also your role in life.

If you are blessed with a group of close friends who open their hearts to you and these friends constantly identify with your struggles and your aspirations; you will find yourself being affirmed and accepted on a constant basis.

The Psalmist declares that he is blessed with such an inner core of friends; men with whom he can constantly confide (Psalm 119:24). These “men of his counsel” are the commandments of the Torah. Each one of the commandments is a personal directive from the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth charging man with God’s work in this world. Can there be a greater confirmation and acknowledgment of one’s significance? What can be greater than the direct word of God telling you: “My son; My daughter; I, the Creator of heaven and earth entrust you with this particular act. I believe you can do it and it is important to Me that you do it.” Can you ask for more?

No; it is not that God “needs” our service. As Elihu declared: “If you are righteous; what have you given Him?” (Job 35:7). God does not “need” the existence of the universe altogether. But as far as there is a universe and as far as God has a purpose with this universe, then our deeds play a role in His plan.

Just as it is possible to receive acknowledgment and affirmation so can we receive the opposite of these; we can be invalidated and our sense of self-worth can be undermined. When we walk in to a store and we sense that the greeting that we receive has only been offered in order to buy our patronage; we have received a message of invalidation. We have been told that our humanity is not something that is worthy of acknowledgment. – Most people can handle such negative messages.

How about when we are treated rudely? Or how about when our basic human dignity is ignored and someone physically hits us? It is much more difficult to deal with such an extreme invalidation of our humanity – but most people can still bounce back from such an experience. Perhaps our friends and family will offer moral support. Perhaps we can draw upon our own inner strength and reaffirm our own dignity as people created in the image of God.

How about when those who stand against us exhibit a complete lack of respect for our very lives? How about if this comes together with a comprehensive message that invalidates every one of our goals and aspirations? How about if these negative messages are coupled with our enemies violently trampling on our entire thought process while the rest of humanity looks on with indifference?

That was the holocaust. But the holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum. The holocaust was merely the apex of 2000 years of the invalidation of the Jew as a human being and of the invalidation of everything that the Jew stood for. For 2000 years the European defined the Jew as “sub-human” or worse. What the Jew considered holy and righteous was considered by the fellow inhabitants of the planet to be evil and impure. And these fellow inhabitants of the European continent did not hide their feelings; they put them on display in their Churches, in their town-squares and in their museums of art.

So how did the Jew survive?

When the Jew went out into the street the message was: you are dirt, you are worthless and you are a child of the devil. But when the Jew turned to God’s holy law; the voice of the Creator of heaven and earth greeted him or her with the message: “you are my beloved child in whom I delight.” Yes; the nations around us even took our law and tried to prove from the very love-letter written to us by God that He hates us and has cast us away. But the commandments were always there to reassure us. The holiness of the Sabbath, the purity and holiness of the commandments, the Godly joy of the holidays and the closeness we experienced in the days of awe all of these were appointed by God to stand at our side. Not only to affirm our humanity and sense of self-worth but to affirm our every step as servants of God, to affirm our thought process and to validate our role in God’s plan.

“If not for Your Torah as my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (Psalm 119:92)

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal


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21 Responses to Men of my Counsel

  1. Annelise says:

    You’re right… thanks for writing this.

  2. hyechiel says:

    Dear Friend; I am fighting for just this very same thing. I am on two blogs, AOLA and Rosh Pinai discussing the importance of recognizing each human’s self worth. Many respond positivily, but some just do not get it. I am asking your permission to copy and past this on my posts. It shall help those who agree, and may slow down those who are so negative. I post under Hyechiel on both of them. I am also posting “Whatjewsbelieve” with permission. Some negative responces, of course, but also many positive ones. Thank you and G-d Bless you for your efforts; they mean a lot to me and I am blessed to have this opportunity to say so. Shalom; Hyechiel44

  3. Shomer says:

    ….invalidation of my humanity – that’s the point. Even my beloved ones, my family, give me the feeling of no acknowledgement any more, since I understood the value of the Torah and of HIM who has given it to us – as a former Christian. No, I am given the reaction that I am only loved in case I believe in the very belief they expect of me.

    There are three brethren, former Christians, that were led the same way that I was. Amongst us, there in fact is acknowledgment and when we talk to Jews about our knowledge, it is usually mind-blowing to them. Shma Yisrael, Adonai Echad – and it was HE who had forbidden to pray to a triune Christian divinity (idol). I have found some acknowledgment in Judaism today, some call me “Noachide”, but as I see the significance of the Shabbat there must be more than “Noachide” within me. Anyway – I comprehend the invalidation, Jews were given by “us” Christians in history and to the very day by my own experience.

    Sac 8:23 Thus saith the LORD (Adonai) of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt (kanaf) of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

    I suggest; wait a little and your dignity will be fully restored to you – like Job’s was.

    • Annelise says:

      “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
      you make my lot secure.
      The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
      surely I have a delightful inheritance.
      I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
      even at night my heart instructs me.
      I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
      With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

      There’s a real blessing in sometimes only having God to hold onto, because it teaches our hearts to look to Him more securely and sincerely. I pray that from that place, He’ll bless you with very meaningful relationships in time…and that He will bring understanding among your family and friends, whatever their perspective, so that your cup runs over and you can pour into their lives as well.

  4. Linda says:

    Psalms 100 A Psalm of thanksgiving.
    Psalms 100:1 Shout unto the LORD, all the earth.
    Psalms 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.
    Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD He is God; it is He that hath made us, and we our His, His people, and the flock of His pasture.
    Psalms 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; give thanks unto Him, and bless His name.
    Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; His mercy endureth for ever; and His faithfulness unto all generations.

    Isaiah 41: 13 For I the LORD thy God hold thy right hand, who say unto thee: ‘Fear not, I help thee.’

    Again thank you for all that you do…it helps with my studies..

    Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curse thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

  5. Annelise says:

    Shomer, you’re welcome. It’s something I’m still learning to hold onto as well, but it’s so true. How did you come to this place in your faith and understanding of God, by the way?

    • Shomer says:

      Shalom Annelise,
      how can I make a long story short? I believe, it has something to do with my calling. While I was on this “new” way I learned that my birthday (end September) in that very year was 10th Tishrei and that I was born at 7 pm, a qarter of an hour before the end of dusk. When 17, I decided to have a Christian baptism (in the name of the >father and the son and the holy ghost<) and I didn't know any better. Three or four months later I obtained a calling in Düsseldorf which made me start a theological education as a pastor of my denomination. But after two terms the scolars decided that I am not the right person for that. I later married to Switzerland where I worked as a truck driver first and after five years I changed my job and worked as a watchman in the security branch – my calling came closer: Shomer! And yet I was a Christian and full of Christian ideas.

      In May 2000 my wife and I learned that our older daughter had her second multiple sclerosis thrust then. We hoped that "God" would heal her because our church believed in divine healing; yet nothing happended. By the end of 2002 I talked on the phone to an old friend of mine in England who was a Christian pastor in Oxford at that time. He gave me the advice to take bread and wine daily. I knew that "Jesus" must have taken Matzah and I also knew that Moshe had prohibited leavened bread (chametz) in death penalty in the Torah. In our shops we have a type of bread which resembles matzah – a Swedish type crisp bread. I later fasted and before I fasted 40 days and nights, I was revealed that the "Holy Ghost" is not a person. I did a Bible study about trinity and learned that the Shma Yisrael is the truth – and then on and on. No man could indoctrinate me any more. Virgin birth, the Christian gospel which is based on a Christian hell, "Christian" holidays (all derived from pagan holidays), the Christian Satan and other weird Christian ideas were reformed. When I read about a Christian Holy Ghost, I definitely know that where Ghosts are, there it is haunted. No, ruach haqodesh is something different, very different in fact.

      Thus I discovered two different religious systems in the Bible. One system is the truth and the other one, the "new" one is no truth. I can see a "Jesus" (carven idol) and a Yeshua, a "holy virgin Mary" and a Jew Miriam, a Christian saint St. Paul and a Jew called Shaul etc.


  6. Annelise says:

    Thank you for sharing that. Everyone’s relationship with God is such a personal and intricate thing, and it’s really good to hear how He engages with us in each of our lives. I have a similar journey to yours in some senses. I was brought up as a Christian but then was challenged by some of the reasons that Jews believe they can’t accept the message or the worship of Jesus without first letting go of the way they are guarding what they hold… as the Torah and the prophets positioned them to do. I think we have had different questions and paths of thinking, but I’m living in agreement with the things you wrote. That’s where my earlier comment to you came from. Thankfully with God, even though things can be complicated and confusing, it’s so simple at the heart: just a matter of belonging to Him and living in surrender to wherever He leads. He gives us enough for each day.

    What has it been like for your wife? You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to, but I was wondering how she responded to the journey you went on, and what she believes, and what it was like for you as a couple to engage with these things.

    By the way, our birthdays are close if you take the Hebrew calendar. Someone pointed out to me that I was born on the first day of Sukkot in 1989, so like yours it’s not hard to remember.

  7. hyechiel says:

    Dear Friends;
    We cannot control where or when we arew born, or which faith our parents are. But we can use the knowledge we acquire to further our connectioin with Hashem, if we choose to do so. Millions of Christians have, and even most remain Christian, still recognize the truth of His word, and change their lives accordingly.
    You are a blessing for many, as your experience shall help others to find the light. Shalom and Baruchuth alichim.

  8. hyechiel says:

    Dear Shomer;
    A Rabbi I used to know had this saying; “You push and pull-push away the negatrive with one hand, and pull the person, with love, to you with the other hand.”

    • Shomer says:

      See, dear Yechiel, this in fact is a wise senctence. But I believe, that not the mentioned “person” is the point but it is rather a personality. You mention “love”. The Shma Yisrael ends with you shall love Y-H-V-H with…. This excludes a love for “God” as pretended in Christian mind set. But Christians must love “God” as we must love YHVH and they even use the same scripture for their idolatry. As long as I loved a Christian triune God and his son, which was a carven image in fact, I had no problems with the acknowledgement by my environment. But today I am called; “backslidden into the law”, “legalistic” or “someone who is fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). According to my former Christian brethren, even my family, I am damned to hell because I see with open eyes that the truth is with you Jews and not with the goyim.

      In my “Christian” Bible” I find a “Christian” Prophet. But no Christian comprehends this statement because it was translated in a way that no “Christian” may understand him. It says, that in the last days ten men from all languages of the goyim will hold a kanaf of a Jewish man and tell him; “We will go with you because we have heard that Y-H-V-H is with you”.

      Sec 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts (remember, he is triune!); In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt (Christians do not know what a kanaf is) of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God (again the pagan Christian divinity) is with you.

      Being despised for the love for HIM that our soul loves, this is something that you Jews unfortunately are very familiar with. Today, I feel the same contempt with all my being. Today, in Jewish company I feel at home. I was born and aducated in a country with hardly any Jewish population since it was nearly blotted out in the Shoa. I cannot push away Christian doctrines and pull the Christians. Their doctrines have so much become substance of their personalities that they rather despise the truth and their relationships than that they would repent and hold the kanaf of him that is a Jewish man.

  9. Annelise says:

    Do you think it’s possible that even if people have the wrong perceptions and beliefs about God, they can still be sincere and have a true relationship with the real creator?

    I feel that it’s possible… that God doesn’t turn people away when they call out to Him, no matter how they have been raised etc. I know that the Bible says that those who worship idols are praying to a ‘god’ that can’t hear them and doesn’t exist, but maybe there’s another level to that… where everyone who has been created by God is in some kind of relationship with their creator. I know a lot of Christians who love Him, and people from other religions as well.

    That doesn’t make it easy, especially because the New Testament doesn’t allow a belief that people can come to God except through Jesus… so a loyal Christian has to worry about you if they take their faith seriously. And there are things they believe that you just can’t relate to or go near. But with God’s help, I believe that the fact that a lot of the Christians we know really do love God makes a difference in the way we can relate with them as well.

    • Annelise says:

      If people are saying that you’re backslidden into ‘the law’, then they don’t have a true understanding of what the law was given to be and what it still is; they haven’t thought about the Jewish awareness of God’s grace. Ignorant comments like that can be said harshly or they can be well-meant, but they are hurtful. That’s why I wrote the comment above, about still being able to have a relationship with people who don’t completely understand us or the things we think are important and precious. Praying for you in this situation… may you see many blessings.

    • In the Tanach, we learn that He does not dispise one who is not knowledgable of Him.
      If the Word of HaShem, in the Tanach is true, then how would a human being be needed to be saved, as G-d does not judge by what you sincerily believe, but by how well you are observant of moral and ethical precepts.At the time of the Exodus, He nulified the Gospel.
      The idea of having to accept a certain figure is Hellinic, as the need was to control the people under the rule of the government. Torah sees the “government” as heaven. In which case, we all are under His authority, thus there cannot be abother.
      Also, the Christian Triune is not original in the Christian faith, but centuries before the birth of JC, thus not anything a Jew would have to deal with. We already acepted what we shall deal with-the One and only HaShem; there is no other.

  10. Shomer says:

    >…have a true relationship with the real creator?… because the New Testament doesn’t allow a belief that people can come to God except through Jesus……Ignorant comments like that can be said harshly or they can be well-meant<
    – or both. But these statements about me, I never heard with my ears. No, because I used to think like that and because I would have reacted like that, I know from the way I am treated how they think about me. I am given the feeling that I only have dignity when I think, believe and behave as they expect it of me. I like to use the sentence: “Christians only love me when I believe what they expect of me.” And; “ I love all Christians but I do not know whether it is the love for a neighbour or the love for an enemy….

    • hyechiel says:

      Dear Shomer;
      Look at it this way; the whole idea of some anceint religions was to sell you a product.
      A modern example; I was negotiating a mortage renewal, and found some things with the companyI did not like. So i put a stop to the process. You should have gottenan earfull of what the agent said to try and keep me on. i could not even ask a question, so i hung up on him. End of story, except his name was Je’sus. I had the same exchange with Christians; love you when you agree-explosion when you do not. So do not worry about it in this day and age. Cannot burn you at the stake. That is for other religious fanantics to do.

      • Adrian Vink says:

        Dear Shomer and Hyechiel;
        I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Like you, I’ve been there and done that. Don’t worry about what those from the Christian church may think or say against you. You know in your heart what is right in your walk with HaShem, G-D of all Israel, which you are a part of.

  11. Annelise says:

    That is really alienating and lonely, it must be hard 😦

    I know exactly what you mean about the things that people don’t say but that you know they’re thinking, because you used to believe what they did and you remember what you would have thought. I don’t have any really helpful advice about that, I don’t understand it all from God’s perspective.

    Still, there are a few reasons why I try to avoid making assumptions about what people are thinking. First, I think it’s not right to assume that I’m alone and others are against me, because I might imagine things that aren’t actually true if I’m afraid or defensive, and then alienate myself from people who actually aren’t thinking the worst (or as bad as I imagine) at all. Also, there are many people who are sincere, so even if they misunderstand us, their love for God also leads them to a real love for us on some level; maybe God has decided that these relationships should exist and be very valuable, and we still have a lot to learn from each other. Third, just like you and I have been on a spiritual journey where we have learnt new things about God, everyone else is on a journey as well. It’s not us against them, it’s all of us on a journey of life together.

    So even though it is awful not to feel acknowledged or understood by people you care about, sometimes this is part of life… we can only make the most of what we’ve been given… and see the good in every person and every situation. That’s all I know at the moment about these things, alongside the thing I wrote earlier about how it can be precious to have some times of life alone with God, and other times when others try to listen to us and we will also try hard to really understand them.

  12. Annelise says:

    but that’s only my experience… I’m sorry if it’s not the same as yours and if I’m missing anything about what is going on in your circles.

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