infants, little girls, teens, youthful, young, vibrant…
young women, young mom’s, young wives…
elderly, wise, full of years, survivors of much…experience, insight, fearless…
God’s daughters….His beautiful crowning creation…
Trafficked, abused, marginalized, second class citizens…chattel, booty, prized possession, captive in a harem…
This is history. This is factual. This is a travesty.
But take heart dear one! He is restoring all things! He is not only restoring His Shabbat, Feast Days and Torah, but He is also restoring His lovely ladies to their role, design and function!
I want to share with you a show Keisha Gallagher and I did a while back and I want to share with you some other resources that may be a blessing to you! For my brothers, I urge you to ask Yah to help you to see the truth of false doctrinal teachings regarding women! I will post some resources that will assist you in your own studies on this topic!
This week’s Torah reading describes Abraham as being “old, come along in days.” What is the difference between the two? If one has already been told that Abraham was old, why is it necessary to add that he also lived many days?
The answer is that to be “old” means to have lived a long time, but says nothing about how one spent his time. To “come along in days” describes the manner in which a person’s life was lived. Abraham did not merely pass through life, racking up the years. His years were made up of much smaller units of time—days. He lived with the knowledge that there will never again be a time like this time right now. He had a sensitivity to the significance of each moment, and succeeded in actualizing whatever unique opportunities presented themselves. If I live my life right, then I am not just “x” amount of years old. I am the product of days, hours and minutes lived to their fullest G‑dly potential.
Even the smallest unit of time is a distinct creation never to be replicated againThere are some who push through life just trying to get from one day to the next. There are others who say that every moment is to be savored, not just endured. Abraham’s attitude surpassed both of these. He saw every moment as something to be put to use. Even the smallest unit of time is a distinct creation never to be replicated again. Today’s work is not tomorrow’s. The call of the hour is not that of the next.
When those of us in recovery speak about taking sobriety “one-day-at-a-time,” we don’t just mean breaking up time into manageable chunks. We mean that to stay sober, we need to stay in the moment. We have to be in the now; we need to know that we were brought to this place and time at this very second to serve a purpose and be of use to our fellow and our Creator. We need to be aware that we are being given a gift that will never be precisely replicated.
When we were drinking or drugging, the past dogged us with remorse and resentment; the future loomed before us with fear and dread. The present was barely tolerated or frittered away with procrastination. As sober people in recovery, we still have difficulty relating to time. But sober living, and the kind of spiritual awareness that it demands from us, have helped us to learn how to look with keen eyes at the opportunities for service brought by each moment.
Whereas aging takes no special effort or insight, truly living means to “come along” in days, hours, minutes and seconds—all put to good use in our service to man and G‑d.
As I looked in the mirror and saw the bunny trails returning, I thought “now what do I do about them” Those dreaded stinking bunny trials. When I got my last Botox injections, I knew it was only temporary, as with the fillers. Only a temporary fix. I told my husband and my anti-aging doctor I wanted the lifestyle lift. It was more permanent than filler and injections and less invasive and expensive than a face lift. Less down time. Made sense to me. They both frowned. So did I. I didn’t call the shots, the one with the money and the one with the needles did.
Here I am, in a shelter for women fleeing domestic abuse worrying about returning bunny trials….how stupid and superficial! Three times I have left the destructive relationship, two times I have returned due to the financial situation…and dare I look back at the pleasures enjoyed? The messages, the facials, the access to an anti-aging doctor, a good chiropractor`, manicures, pedicures. A beautiful house, a house cleaner, good organic food. Vacations, shopping sprees, what more could a woman want?
Reality. Damage Control…Therapy, medications, stress so bad the chiropractic adjustments wouldn’t hold, the messages didn’t undo the layers of knots in my shoulders, the manicures and pedicures were less than what I needed. Botox and fillers couldn’t erase the added 10 years of aging in the less than 4 years of marriage. I had to go back the The House. No amount of exterior excursions could change the fact that I had to go back to The House. To The Abusive Husband.
As I looked at my traumatic chaotic life and the great losses, the Lord said, “do not look back”. What? Was that You Lord?” I was unsure. All through the day Lots wife came to my mind. I pondered why she looked back as the Lord’s angel was delivering her and her family from destruction. Did she, too, have a leisurely lifestyle and nice pretty clothes and a beautiful home?
I reviewed the reasons I returned to the relationship 2 times previously and also the outcomes of returning. There was no change in him thus no change in the marriage. Since returning from Florida the last time I left him I needed to take Xanax when I knew he was on his way home from the office. I took it on the weekends to keep calm around him. Depression and anxiety were my everyday norms now. Did I want to continue living like this or was I willing to trust God and let Him lead me on a final Exodus journey into the life He wants me to live.
This time there was no returning; no looking back. I was wasting my life on an illusion that my husband controlled. When I pulled aside the illusion and tried to confront his fantasy world all hell broke loose. I was the crazy one, I was the one on meds, I was the one that twisted things and abused him. I was the one playing the victim…well, no more! I came to a decision… No more games, no more lies, no more power and control over me. Enough was enough!
No looking back this time. So let the bunnies run the trails on my aging face. May I age gracefully free in the arms of the One who won my freedom.
We’ve all made mistakes and bad decisions in life and unfortunately we sometimes have a problem getting those mistakes out of our system. This week, the Torah warns us that looking back and focusing too much on the past can result in spiritual and physical stagnation.
Lot’s family was warned not to look back when they leave the city of Sodom, a city that was being destroyed for its total lack of morality (Gen 19:17). Instead of focusing on the past, they needed to focus primarily on the future.
Lot’s wife ignored the warning and looked back. As a consequence she was turned into a “pillar of salt.” Salt is the ultimate preservative; she is essentially mummified — frozen into the same position for all of eternity, never able to grow or change.
A person needs to be able to admit to his failings, make amends, roll his sleeves up, and start over. To focus any more than necessary on the past will inhibit the opportunities presented to us to maximize our potential and move forward into the future. King Solomon says it all when he teaches, “A bad person will fall once and never again get up, whereas a righteous person will fall seven times and get up again each and every time.”
This extraordinarily rich parashah filled with violence — not just the obvious and dramatic violence of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the incipient violence of the binding of Isaac, but also various, more ordinary, forms of violence against women. Half-buried in the vivid description of the people of Sodom gathering around Lot‘s house and demanding the strangers staying with him is Lot’s reply, “Look–I have two daughters who have never been intimate with a man; let me bring them out for you, and do to them as you please.
But do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof” (19:8). While a later midrash will see Lot’s offer as evidence that he was infected by the wickedness of Sodom and picture him as having been punished (Tanchuma Vayera 12), the biblical text offers no explicit judgment on his behavior. The violence of the people of Sodom merits the destruction of the city, but the willingness of Lot to see his daughters assaulted and raped is apparently unworthy of comment.
Abraham & Sarah
At the beginning of Genesis 20, we have another form of violence: the second of two stories (or two versions of the same story; see 12:10-20) in which Abraham seeks to pass off his wife Sarah as his sister in order to protect himself. In this passage, Abimelech, king of Gerar, seizes Sarah, but her potential rape is averted when God keeps Abimelech from touching her. The similar tale will be repeated once again in relation to Isaac and Rebekah (26:6-11).
The three-fold reiteration of the narrative suggests that it might serve as a paradigm of the situation of Jewish women. The first two male ancestors of the Jews, perceiving themselves as “other” and therefore endangered in foreign lands, use their wives as buffers between themselves and the larger culture. The women become the “others’ other,” the ones whose safety and well-being can be sacrificed in order to save the patriarchs’ skins.
The story names a pattern that becomes a recurring part of Jewish history: male Jews, subordinated by the dominant culture, in turn subordinate women within their own cultures, doubling the otherness that partly mirrors their own. As in the case of Lot’s offering his daughters to the people of Sodom, the biblical text offers no comment on or protest against this situation. Unlike when God appears to Abimelech in a dream and threatens him with death unless he releases Sarah (Genesis 12), God does not explicitly chastise Abraham or Lot.
Sarah & Hagar
Then, in Genesis 21, we meet still another form of violence–this time Sarah’s violence against Hagar. After Sarah bears Isaac in her old age, she tells Abraham to throw the slave girl Hagar and her son Ishmael out of the house, so that Ishmael will not share in his father’s inheritance along with Isaac. The violence that is practiced by Abraham against Sarah, she now recapitulates in relation to the most vulnerable person in her own household. Thus, the cycle of abuse goes on. In this context, not only does the text not judge Sarah, but God is explicitly on her side, telling Abraham to listen to Sarah because her son Isaac will be the bearer of the covenantal line.
This Torah portion makes clear that our ancestors are by no means always models of ethical behavior that edify and inspire us. On the contrary, often the Torah holds up a mirror to the ugliest aspects of human nature and human society. It provides us with opportunities to look honestly at ourselves and the world we have created, to reflect on destructive patterns of human relating, and to ask how we might address and change them. In Lot’s treatment of his daughters-and in the Torah’s lack of comment on that treatment–can we see the casual acceptance, indeed the invisibility, of violence against women that is so ubiquitous in many cultures, including our own?
In Abraham’s seeming lack of concern about the fate of Sarah, can we see the ways in which marginalized peoples are all too liable to duplicate patterns of subordination from which they themselves have suffered? In Sarah’s banishment of Hagar, can we see the horizontal violence that oppressed people visit on each other as they jockey for what seems to them limited resources, rather than making common cause against the forces that suppress them? And what do we do when we see ourselves enacting these patterns in our own personal and political lives? How do we respond to and interrupt them?
It is striking that throughout the portion, God is implicated in the violence in the text. Except in the case of Lot’s willingness to sacrifice his daughters, God carries out or commands the violence (Sodom and Gomorrah; Isaac) or supports it (Abraham and Sarah; Sarah and Hagar). The representations of violence that the text holds up to us are ones on which the human and divine levels mirror each other. There is no cosmic relief, so to speak, from the reality of violence. Abraham’s challenge to God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah can thus be seen as a question to both God and ourselves. “Must not the Judge of all the earth do justly?” Abraham asks God. “Will You indeed sweep away the innocent along with the wicked?” (18:23).
The implication of these questions is that it is the judge of all the earth who creates the ethical norms that Abraham reflects back to God and to which he holds God answerable. But the moral voice in this passage is Abraham’s voice. What happens to that moral vision two chapters later when Abraham betrays his wife Sarah? Can we read these narratives in ways that strengthen our resolve to hold both ourselves and God accountable to standards of justice that we recognize and value-and yet continually violate?
Reprinted with permission from The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea L. Weiss (New York: URJ Press and Women of Reform Judaism, 2008).
Female on Male Rape in the Bible
Lot’s Daughters: The men of Sodom, but they’re women
Jun 10, 2019·3 min read
Genesis 19:30–38, at least to me, is one of the most disturbing passages in the Bible. In this passage, Lot’s two daughters got him drunk and raped him in order to preserve his family line. Although this is just one of many horrible things people did in the Bible, this one stands out due to the fact that male victims of rape, especially by female rapists, go overlooked and are even ridiculed.
This incident inverts traditional power dynamics in a family unit. One would expect Lot, the father and the man, to be the rapist, but his daughters, the women his offspring, were the rapists. Some people might take this as a warning against allowing women to have power, but, this power was not delegated to them. Instead, they violently seized power from Lot while he was in a compromising position. Such is the case with all rapes no matter the gender of the victim or the rapist.
If Lot were female and raped by her sons in order to continue the family line, the rape would be acknowledged as such: a rape. However, other sources do not use the word “rape” to describe the incident. One source even suggests that Lot lusted after his own daughters and knew what happened to him, but that does not justify his daughters’ actions or make them any less serious. Others might try to point to the apparent lack of available men, but, again, consensual incest was the overlooked option. Their sons, Ben-ammi and Moab, even had names that referred to their mothers’ crimes; their descendants came to be hated by the rest of ancient Israel.
Ironically, before this happened, Lot offered his daughters to be raped in the place of his guests. However, it does not carry the same satisfaction that “eye-for-an-eye” moments typically do. Perhaps one could see Lot’s desperation as the men of Sodom surrounded his house or that the rape did not solve any initial problems or bring about any sense of justice. Instead, it left Israel with two hated tribes, both of which were banned from places of worship, and Lot probably feeling conflicted about his rape and unable to do anything about it because he was a man. Though they left the city of Sodom, the city of Sodom did not leave them, especially the two daughters.
The city of Sodom was not conducive to the development of healthy sexuality, not due to homosexuality as some have been taught, but due to the absence of consent and mutual enjoyment seen in both the men who wanted to rape the angels and Lot’s daughters raping their father. When sex is nonconsensual, it strips someone of their power in a way that humiliates the victim and disregards the value of the human body. I don’t know how it took me seven years to realize the connection between the men of Sodom and Lot’s daughters, but seeing it now made me realize how foolish I was to overlook the nature of Lot’s daughters as being like that of the men of Sodom.
Are You Living in Sodom? #MeToo
The biblical city had a culture of rape — and it wasn’t the victims’ faults.
#MeToo. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of women are saying it. I’ve said it too, in this blog.
I’ve told stories about home invasion. Police laughing at our report. An attacker on the ferry. A rude boss with an onion fetish.
These aren’t easy stories to tell. For 20 years I was afraid to sleep, afraid of my own bed. But I can speak now.
Because 20 more years have passed. My body no longer recoils when I remember.
And because these stories are straightforward. Even the most judgmental critics could agree. I was exactly where I should be: home, work, and public transit. Wearing what I should wear: pajamas, long-sleeves, a heavy coat. Doing what I should be doing: writing, sleeping, stacking boxes.
But I’ve got other stories, too. More recent stories. Stories I’m ashamed to tell – because I’m not sure they would be viewed as assaults. When I tell them, I second guess myself. They took place in men’s homes, offices and cars. Places I could have chosen not to go. Offers of hospitality I could have declined. By being a guest, did I implicitly consent?
No, says the Torah. No, no, no. A host may not assault a guest. Remember the story of Sodom? A city so horrid God planned to destroy it?
Two men — traveling angels in disguise — arrive in town. Through their eyes, we see the horror: Sodom has a culture of rape. No one but Lot will shelter the travelers overnight. A mob storms Lot’s house, yelling, “Give us the men so we can rape them!” Lot knows he ought not to surrender his guests. So he says, “Take my daughters instead.” The angels stop him and strike the mob with blindness. Early the next morning, they grab Lot’s wife and daughters and run. They save Lot too — an incomprehensible move until you read the conclusion of this grim fable.
Fire and brimstone rain down on the city. Mrs. Lot dies. Lot and daughters set up camp in a cave. Surely by now, Lot’s daughters hate him. “I wouldn’t want you as the grandfather of my children unless you were the last man on earth!” they must think. But guess what? Recent experience tells them he is the last man on earth. So they drug him and rape him — to harvest his sperm. Thus, they believe, they save the human race.
What’s the sin of Sodom? Our prophets Amos, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah offer interpretations. Oppression. Idolatry. Arrogance. Adultery. But the peshat, the simple text of the story, is less delicate.
Sodom is a rape culture. Enter the city at your own risk. Accept hospitality and you’ve invited assault. One ethical man lives there. But he’s a rapist too. And he’s initiated his children into the culture.
I want to believe that we aren’t in Sodom. That women, men, and children are safe from sexual assault. That hospitality is sacred. That if my host attacks me, he, not I, has sinned. I want to believe.
But I don’t believe it yet. Because #MeToo keeps rolling in. We’re still discovering the painful truth. Too many of us feel we are in Sodom — unable to see the way out.
Takes time to heal…renewing our minds with His truth about us is one of the most powerful ways to be reprogrammed…renewing those old tapes takes time, I am still working on it…and many events in life give ample opportunity to the enemy to press play on those old tapes…we have the way of pressing stop!
We are His…His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Sometimes, we really do need to leave our earthly father’s “house”…
his way of thinking, doing and even his perspective…
on life, on us ,on Yah
to follow the great I am that I am…
to become who He created us to be…
too many of us are still carrying father wounds…
but, we have a way out of the old country to the new…
out of darkness to light…
out of lies to truth…
Is it time for you to leave your fathers house to your Father’s house?
Recovery wisdom from our older brother Judah:
Leaving Self to Find Yourself – Lech Lecha
“Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you”—Genesis 12:1.
This week’s reading begins with G‑d‘s command to Abraham to go forth from his birthplace and travel to the land which would eventually be given to him and his descendants. On a deeper level, this narrative describes not only Abraham’s geographical relocation, but tells about his spiritual journey of self-discovery. Implied in the words of G‑d‘s command is an instruction to Abraham that he abandon every aspect of self—and be willing to become something totally unknown to him.
Here is how the verse may be interpreted, in the context of a spiritual journey:
“Go from your land…”—The Hebrew word for land, eretz, shares a common root with the word for will, ratzon. G‑d told Abraham to surrender his own desires and leave self-will behind.
“…from your birthplace…”—G‑d also told Abraham to abandon all of his traits that were a product of his environment and conditioning—all of the effects of his ‘birthplace.’
“…from your father’s house…”—In Kabbalah, the capacity to generate new ideas is called ‘father,’ because the potential for insight is the progenitor of feelings and behavior. Thus, G‑d told Abraham to leave his intellectual pre-conditioning behind, and allow himself to grasp an entirely new way of thinking.
“…to the land which I will show you…”—G‑d did not specify to Abraham where he was heading, but only told him to leave where he was. He would be shown where to settle when he got there. There he would be shown an entirely new way of being.
For many of us, recovery from alcoholism and addiction has meant a discovery of a new self; but first we had to be ready to let go of everything we thought that made us who we were.
We need to examine the story of Abraham for inspiration and instruction—for our stories in recovery have followed this same pattern. Like Abraham, we had to leave our will, our habits and our mode of thinking behind. Common sense dictated that if were we to remain our old selves, it was highly unlikely that we would not return to our old using behaviors. We needed to seek G‑d’s help in changing ourselves (Steps 1-3). We even mustered up the courage to face the truth of exactly who we were (Steps 4-5). We even agreed that we were not just giving up alcohol—but most everything about our desires, our conditioning and our way of thinking (Steps 6-7). We were ready to let go of everything that made us who we were and become someone completely different. But, like Abraham, we had no idea where we were going and what we would become. We simply trusted in G‑d—that it was He who was guiding our path. After forsaking all that was known and comfortable to us, He would help us to arrive at the destination He had planned for us.
As we continued to follow the Steps, we found ourselves changing. Nature abhors a vacuum, and wherever we had pushed out our old self, G‑d came rushing in to fill the void. We slowly began to recognize our new selves, our true selves—an optimistic, confident and humble soul who could live life without the bottle or the pipe.
This amazing process of self-discovery also mirrors the journey of Abraham. “To the land which I will show you,” may also be read “to the land where I will show you.” So, it is not that G‑d just shows you the land; G‑d takes you to the place where He can show and reveal yourself to you. The bold venture into the unknown culminates with G‑d showing us who we really are. In order to get there, we need to pay attention to His call — to leave behind everything we thought we were.
Have we been lied to? And if so, then what are the lies? How deep do they go? Let’s explore some of these topics in this week’s Torah Portion…
Note this…for me, flat earth is not a salvation issue, however, this has led many atheists to His Word and His Torah…
Note this…it DOES matter how He designed the first woman…I believe He is restoring all things…and this is one of them.
Do not debate, educate!
I want to share with you one of my favorite writers.Keisha Gallagher’s website is called Grace in Torah. This website has a series on the role, design and function of woman. There are other Hebrew Scholars that also help people to understand what He is saying to us about how He designed woman.
Another author, Skip Moen, also assists us in our endeavors to know His truth.
And yet another resource for you to glean from!
We walk blindly, not knowing who we are, not knowing who each other is…shooting our wounded…telling them its their fault because of x,y and z…many tell women how wrong they are when they are actually walking out their God-given design…women are disrespected because they are not allowed to walk as she was originally designed to walk…imbalance is the result.
We are all out of balance, and will remain out of balance until we allow the Ruach Ha’Kodesh to teach us the truths so long ago hidden with words…twisted words.