It is said that when Napoleon was exiled on the island of Elba, he was close enough to smell the aromatic shrubs of his beloved Corsica. Fact or fiction, the nearness and the separation was more than enough to turn the knife in his wound.
Much has been written about the psychology of anti-Semitism. Shockingly it includes the subversive idea that the Jews set themselves up to become the perfect scapegoat for the woes of the world. And though in the last few decades the focus has shifted from persecuting them as a people to discriminating against them as a nation the trend is still motivated by the same underlying hatred.
From ancient times left brained mathematicians and right brained artists have been transfixed by the perfect patterns and recurring proportions that are displayed in creation. They have long since discovered that behind this is the Golden Ratio of 1 to 1.6 which harmonizes our world from the infinitely small to the infinitely big. It can be found in the exquisite shape of a seashell, the intricate details of a human ear, the sequence of branches on a tree stem and the magnificent swirls of the Milky Way. But this universal law of divine proportion is not a coincidence born out of chaos! It expresses the inspiring character of the very God who created and organized our cosmos to be stunningly beautiful.
We had recently moved. After the pine trees of the Alpine mountains, the palm trees of our new garden in the South of France were a novelty. Their leaves, stretching towards the sky like fingers, fascinated me. Then one day it struck me that they were called palm trees because they looked like open hands. And, though this was an exciting discovery, I felt somewhat silly not to have made this simple connection before.
Not withstanding the joy it brings, pregnancy can often feel interminable, especially in a woman’s last term. Little seems to be happening even though the bump and the kicking are tangible proofs that there is life in there! Yet whilst everyone is kept waiting, the baby’s crucial development continues in full swing until it reaches full term.
Not much has changed since Nimrod the power thirsty king of Shinar attempted to form a united humanity at Babel. The leaders who these days meet to fix the world are still looking to make a name for themselves. Their summits amount to lots of noise, much conspiring and extensive plotting, but much of it is in vain. Confusion keeps being generated. And despite wars and rumors of wars all over the world they still pick on Israel as the instigator of it all.
Playing chess is about winning the game, however it is not just about checkmating the opponent’s king with a clever strategy. It’s about taking risks, being decisive, harnessing mistakes, and remaining optimistic to the end. Win or lose, it is a versatile game with its endless tactical maneuvers and constant challenges.
The cosmetic company l’Oréal has become a household name all over the world. Its brand mantra “because I’m worth it” lures women to buy its beauty products on the premise that they deserve to have them. Its shrewd marketing ploy works because it taps into the inherent belief that we deserve privileges and special treatment. And it leads its customers to conclude that the women who don’t buy its products simply don’t deserve to have them anyway.
From the burning bush God promised to give Moses and his descendants a “good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”. But when the Zionists of the 1900’s returned to their homeland they had to pay the few local Arab inhabitants exorbitant prices for a land that was barren, uncultivated and plague ridden.
Remembering our past mistakes ought to be enough to deter us from ever repeating them. Yet today there is a growing conspiracy to re-write the past and insinuate that the holocaust of six million Jews in World War II never happened. And shockingly, as this lie spreads through social media it is gradually influencing a generation which has neither the perspective nor the motivation to refute it.
For those who are technologically oriented there is now a multitude of high tech apps to help them organize their schedules and get things done. But, as wonderful as these apps are, techies miss out on the retrospective that comes around once a year with the transfer of personal data into a brand new analogue year planner.
The young Bedouin woman was banging her head on the floor screaming in grief for her dead toddler, but I could only stand helpless and cry with her. I was a nurse in my twenties working in the underground Intensive Care Unit of the Israeli hospital of Beersheva. I had experienced many similar traumatic situations in Europe, but never such a poignant display of grief.
In the 1st century BC the temple of Jerusalem was the heart and soul of Judaism. But it was still not extravagant enough for Herod the Great, so he rebuilt it on a more magnificent scale. His achievement turned out to be the most ambitious construction project of the era, and stood on what remains to this day the largest man-made platform in the world. Yet it was a sham. Its altar was a slab of stone, the Ark of the Covenant was missing, and there was none of God’s Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies.
Contrary to the long held belief that the brain is static, research has now revealed that it remains pliable even into adulthood. This means that it has the potential to adapt to circumstances and make new connections by using different neural pathways. In short, its make-up and its function can be altered, which is great news for those who suffer from brain damage and learning difficulties!
We often grasp at straws to get in touch with our true self, but Yeshua* knew exactly who He was, where He had come from, and where He was going. On a stormy night He walked on the water towards His disciples while they were struggling to cross lake Kinneret. Yet his feat of walking on water was not as astounding to them as the words He spoke!