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Thoughts and Afterthoughts


Recently released documents reveal that 30 years ago the British ambassador in Baghdad wrote to the Foreign office that if Israel would magically disappear overnight, it would do a lot of people and a lot of countries much good.

That's funny! Because that is precisely what Napoleon 200 years ago thought about Britain. He felt that Britain, being at the doorstep of Europe, yet separated by 25 miles of water, was playing a disproportionate part in the affairs of Europe. If Britain was joined to Europe or was far away in the middle of the Atlantic, there would have been stability and peace on that continent. London did not want to give up its privileged position and fought Napoleon tooth and nail, rejecting his terms for a united Europe, which were better than what Britain would get today, being in two minds whether to go in or not.

Trafalgar and Waterloo were in vain. We would also have been spared two World Wars, the advent of Stalin and Hitler, and the Holocaust which will remain for ever a black stain on Europe's history.



To the Editor of The London Jewish News.

Contrary to what David Rohl claims (LJN 6 November), the Torah never borrowed anything for the Sumerians. The events described in Genesis were common tradition to all the peoples of the Middle East, going back to almost 9,000 years ago when our ancestor Adam discovered the wild wheat, in the Garden of Eden and thus started our present civilisation.

These traditions came down to the Hebrews, as well as to the Sumerians and other people who lived in that region. It all points to that many of the events described in Genesis actually took place.

By the way, the Garden of Eden was not in Northern Iran but in Aden - where else?

Naim Dangoor (Appeared 20 November 1998).

Scribe: It is possible that there were more than one garden referred to in Genesis and as David Rohl suggests, that one likely site is in the area between Turkey and Iran where the Tigris and Euphrates emanate as well as the two other rivers, named in Genesis as Pishon and Gihon.



Even if it is true that we are the chosen people of God, and one day in the future the Mashyah will come to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, what is there in it for us today, seeing all the suffering undergone by the Jews?

Our reward must be the pleasant thought of that blissful day in the future when all will be well. This was perhaps what our schoolmaster Shimon Effendi Muallem Nessim, 70 years ago, meant when he used to tap on his tummy and say: 'Guilu bene me'ay, guilu.' 'Rejoice, my unborn offspring, rejoice'.



The Psalms represent some of the most sublime religious writings that man has devised. The most famous is Psalm 23 - The Lord is my Shepherd, which expresses man's true connection with his Creator. But, who wrote the Psalms? Some were written by Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah and others, but the rest are attributed to King David.

Now David was a shepherd, a warrior, a musician, but in writing poetry he must have needed help. I think most of David's Psalms were written with the help of the prophet Nathan, who was closely associated with his monarch and managed to express in verse David's inner thoughts and feelings. He was, his Mentor, who could go into the Royal Palace and tell the king to his face, 'you are the man' (who has you served the wife of his neighbour).



A computer, we are told, can make a million calculations in one second, and it can store a whole encyclopaedia on one small disc.

But, unlike humans, a computer has no intelligence and cannot think. Recently, I needed to find a Biblical inpoint Hebrew phrase that has a numerical value (Gematria) equal to the next Jewish year 5760 which corresponds to the year 2,000 C.E. The thousand is usually discarded, so the required number was 760.

I was unable to find such a phrase through the computer. Sitting by the pool at Elat, my mind wandered through various Biblical texts and, hey presto, I was attracted by two words in Psalm 23 - NAFSHI YESHOVEV (He comforteth my soul). I said to myself it is impossible, it can't be, can these two words add up to 760? And true enough, they did add up to 760.

I had the same experience 15 years ago. I went to sleep with the problem, and woke up with the answer.


Before the invention of numbers, people used to denote numbers by writing or scribbling a line for every unit up to four; a diagonal across these four lines would denote five. In Baghdad, we used to call these markings SHEKHOOT EL SAQQA, "The scribbling of the water carrier," who used sheepskin to carry water to houses and used to mark a line on the wall with a piece of charcoal for every journey. That became the basis of Roman numerals: I found V for 5, X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500 and M for 1,000.

The Jews designed numerical values to the letters for the alphabet - the first ten letters for 1-10, the next ten letters for 20-100 and 200, 300, 400 for the last three letters. (It was very difficult to do sums in these two systems).

A breakthrough was achieved with the invention of zero and what is referred to as Arabic numerals which revolutionised arithmetic based on the decimal system.

It is interesting to note that the alphabet is used in Arabic publications to denote paragraphs, but in that case, the order of the Hebrew alphabet is adhered to, rather than the Arabic alphabet.



The Bill to abolish the voting rights of Hereditary Peers, cannot succeed. Surely, there is something wrong with the notion that the Salisbury Agreement or the Parliament Act, which limit the power of the Lords, can also be used to abolish or mutilate the House of Lords itself.

The orderly reform of the Upper House should await the outcome of the Royal Commission.



If hereditary power is wrong and should be abolished, what about inherited wealth. Money, too, is power, no less. Inheritance Tax is not effective in dealing with the problem. The transmission of wealth, especially consisting of national and community loans, from one generation to another, should be restricted for the sake of fairness to the unborn generations.


BOOK REVIEW: Noah's Flood

by William Ryan and Walter Pitman

Published by: Simon & Schuster

For a long time historians and scientists speculated on whether a great deluge actually took place as recorded in the Bible. It was suggested that the Mediterranean once was a desert and that the weight of the Atlantic waters broke the thin barrier at "Gibraltar" flooding the whole area, which became the Mediterranean sea. But this event took place millions of years ago, even before man appeared on earth.

But now, two distinguished geophysicists have discovered that a sensational flood occurred in what is now the black sea.

Sophisticated dating techniques confirmed that 7,600 years ago the mounting seas had burst through the narrow Bosporus valley, and the salt water of the Mediterranean had poured into the lake with unimaginable force, racing over beaches and up rivers, destroying or chasing all life before it. The margins of the lake, which had been a unique oasis, a Garden of Eden for an advanced culture in a vast region of semidesert, became a sea of death. The people fled, never to return.

It was once thought that the flood took place in Mesopotamia, immediately after the end of the ice-age, when heavy rain fell for "forty-days" and "forty-nights" and the melting of the ground snow flooded the Tigris and Euphrates basin. This may have been a secondary flood and excavations have not shown evidence of a major flood.

The fact that, what is supposed to be the remains of Noah's Ark are found on Mount Arrarat in Eastern Turkey, clearly indicates that the event took place in the Black Sea area rather than in Mesopotamia.

If Noah lived in Turkey, then Abraham who is fifth generation from Noah, must be considered as coming from that region, as also shown by his ripe old age of 175 years, which is indicative of the longevity of the people of Turkistan.



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