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About Tzvi ben Daniel

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So far Tzvi ben Daniel has created 3 blog entries.

The Waters of Creation

In the beginning, God created the shamayim and the earth. This word, shamayim, appears in the first verse of the Scriptures and has much more richness, depth, and significance than we can appreciate in any language other than Hebrew.

There are profound concepts in the creation narrative. Concepts that, even with an understanding of the Hebrew language, are difficult to conceptualize with our limited human minds

To begin with, we must note the plural nature of this word. The sound “im” at the end of shamayim is the cause of the translator’s decision to translate this word as heavens, instead of heaven (singular). 

This has important implications, for as we read the scriptures in context we understand that there is more than one heaven. There are at least:

1)    the heaven where the birds fly,
2)    a higher heaven where the stars are, and
3)    a heaven where the angels and the Almighty dwell.

1 Kings 8:27 tells us about, “the heaven of heavens,” and in 2 Corinthians 12, Shaul (Paul) mentions having met someone who was taken up to the “third heaven.” These provide evidence for a plurality of heavens.

Another interesting point has to do with the connection between “the heavens” and “the waters.” 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and immediately afterwards the Word tells us that Elohim’s Ruach “moved over  the face of the waters.” 

An inquisitive reader will then wonder when did the Creator created the waters – since, there is no indication between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that water had been created.

This is the reason we cannot establish a certain doctrine or a new theology unless we analyze the scriptures in their original language. This is why I’m passionate about Hebrew!

The word water in Hebrew, just like the word heaven, occurs, naturally, in the plural form: waters is pronounced mayim and, if you’ve been paying attention, you will notice that this word, mayim, is part of the word shamayim: heavens!

That’s right. The “waters” (mayim) were created in Genesis 1:1, when the Creator created the “heavens” (shamayim). 

Armed with this knowledge, the sixth verse of Genesis 1 now makes sense to the reader. Elohim “separated  the waters from the waters” when he creates the “expanse” of the heavens, or the “firmament.”

By |October 16th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

What Does Hallelujah Mean?

From the “elel” that is shouted in traditional Ethiopian festivals, to the sound of early instruments, to the “halleluyah” that is shouted in Pentecostal churches today- whether we know it or not, they are all related to the concept of praise in ancient Israel.

The word halel, where halleluYah comes from, is usually translated as “praise” or “to give glory.”

Hallelu is simply the imperative form of the verb halel and Yah is the first part of the name of the Creator. Therefore, the meaning of this ancient word would be “praise Yah” or “give glory to Yah.”

The problem that arises is that the concept of praising or giving glory is not something concrete in English. To delve into the meaning of this word, and the concept of praise, in Biblical Hebrew we must go back to its first usages in the Scriptures.

“when His lamp shone (hilo, הִלֹּו) on my head, when I walked in the dark by His light.”
– Job 29: 3 ISR

In this example we have the shortened root of halel and we see that it has the meaning of illuminating or shining- the same action as the glowing of a candle.

The following is a very interesting Biblical example since it has brought about much confusion in different translations:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (heilel, הֵילֵל), son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
– Isaiah 14:12 KJV

In this verse of Isaiah, the word heilel, which is related to halel also gives us that image of “shining” or “giving light.” In this case, it is the light that a star gives, the brightest star seen in the sky just before sunrise.

The context of this chapter tells us that we are talking about the king of Babylon and his pride. The word heilel was translated into the Vulgate of Jerome as Lucifer in Latin. “Lucifer” is simply something that gives light, such as a star, but being one of the words with which hasatan is denominated (“the angel of light”), this verse is often taken out of context.

In fact, many translations in English and other languages ​​preserved here the Latin word Lucifer (capitalized, as if it were a name) instead of the most adequate translation of the word: the shining one.

In the Jewish tradition, halel is also the name given to Psalms 113 through 118, which were sung in the Temple at the time that the lambs were sacrificed at Passover and, most likely, the hymns that Yeshua and his disciples would have sung at the end of the “Last Supper” (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26).

In conclusion, we see how the word halel is connected with the action of shining, such as a light, either from the fire of a candle or a star. Lights (fires) and stars were used in ancient times as reference points, that is, as objects of orientation that could be followed to reach a specific destination safely.

Beyond the basic and loosely accurate translation of “praise” or “glory”, the next time you say or think of the word halelu-Yah, keep in mind these ancient meanings and connections, which give a deeper meaning to everything that we should attribute to Yah.

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By |July 31st, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

What Does Shavuot Mean?

The word bikurim was popularized in the Messianic movement in the wake of, “Yom haBikurim,” the day ‘after Shabbat’ when an omer of the first fruits of the barley harvest was offered in the temple (Lev 23:10). Interestingly, the word bikurim does not appear in this verse.

The word, or rather the words, for “first fruits” here are reshit k’tzirchem, literally “the beginning of your harvest.”

It may surprise many to know that in the same chapter, just a few verses later, the word bikurim appears, only now, in the context of another appointed time: Shavuot.

Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits (bikurim) to YeHoVaH.
– Leviticus 23:17

In verse 20, the lechem haBikurim, or “bread of the first fruits,” is mentioned and in Numbers 28:26 the Feast of Shavuot is called Yom haBikurim.

Have we learned something wrong again? Not quite.

The reality is, thematically speaking, that the “beginning of the harvest,” those fruits of the barley harvest offered during the week of Chag haMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), from when we began to count the fifty days until Shavuot may also be called bikurim.

So, if we want to define the terms correctly and accurately, it is important to understand that the Day of First Fruits is NOT called ‘Yom haBikurim’ in the Torah. On the contrary, the day that is called ‘Yom haBikurim’ is Shavuot, as we saw above.

Finally, I will share the meaning of this word. Bikurim is the plural of the word bikur, which is literally “first,” related to organic elements such as animals, fruits and plants.

It is related to the root bakr which means “firstborn.” In Egypt, for example, the tenth plague was called makat haBechorot, “plague of the firstborn.”

As expressed biblically, the first “fruit of the womb” of a woman is linguistically related to the first fruits of the earth.

By |May 22nd, 2019|Blog|0 Comments