Question: Genesis 18

seattlegal

Mercuræn Buddhist
Messages
6,888
Reaction score
318
Points
83
Location
Pacific Ring of Fire
One of Abraham's visitors was identified with the tetragrammaton, who was described as physically standing before Abraham in verse 22! Is this just figurative, or considered as actually happening?

They shared a meal together, consisting of veal and dairy products, and then mentioned Sarah would finally have a son! Is this a reference to the Canaanite fertility ritual of "boiling a calf in its mother's milk?" Or was this meeting viewed as a magical ritual by the Canaanites when they heard the story of Sarah having a child at such an advanced age, which they tried to duplicate (in an idolatrous manner?)

So many questions! I would be most grateful for any insights.

Thank you.
 
seattlegal said:
One of Abraham's visitors was identified with the tetragrammaton, who was described as physically standing before Abraham in verse 22! Is this just figurative, or considered as actually happening?
deary deary me, is there any way to answer this one simply? i don't think so. it very much depends on the particular language and vocabulary used. there is a configuration of the TG, known as "kavod HaShem" where this is envisaged, which involves stacking the four letters on top of each other, yod on top; this is an interesting idea.

They shared a meal together, consisting of veal and dairy products
er...there's nothing that says "veal". calf, perhaps, but there's nothing about boxes! similarly, the dairy bit - you will note that the dairy is served first, also that this occurs before the law about meat and milk is revealed; there is quite the argument about this one in the sources, particularly from those who maintain that abraham kept the entire Torah having reasoned it from first principles.

and then mentioned Sarah would finally have a son! Is this a reference to the Canaanite fertility ritual of "boiling a calf in its mother's milk?" Or was this meeting viewed as a magical ritual by the Canaanites when they heard the story of Sarah having a child at such an advanced age, which they tried to duplicate (in an idolatrous manner?)
if anything, i'd say its a prefiguration of the "binding of isaac", where the "calf" is not ultimately sacrificed. there are a number of midrashic sources where the canaanites try and catch abraham and sarah out, such as the bit where they say that isaac isn't really their son, so isaac's face is described as being unequivocally resembling his father, so they switch their attack to sarah, saying she's too old, at which point she then promptly wet-nurses every child in the camp. it's knockout stuff, really, if you like that sort of mythic approach.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
Thanks, Bananabrain! I just noticed that Abraham served a young male calf, whereas the law in Exodus 23, Exodus 34, and Deuteronomy 14 specifies boiling (or seething) a young male goat in its mother's milk as being prohibited. So it seems it was different from the Canaanite fertility ritual. My bad. :eek:
 
One of Abraham's visitors was identified with the tetragrammaton, who was described as physically standing before Abraham in verse 22! Is this just figurative, or considered as actually happening?

They shared a meal together, consisting of veal and dairy products, and then mentioned Sarah would finally have a son! Is this a reference to the Canaanite fertility ritual of "boiling a calf in its mother's milk?" Or was this meeting viewed as a magical ritual by the Canaanites when they heard the story of Sarah having a child at such an advanced age, which they tried to duplicate (in an idolatrous manner?)

So many questions! I would be most grateful for any insights.

Thank you.


No, it did not happen in reality. It all happened during a dream/vision. That's how HaShem used to make His will known to the prophets. Read Numbers 12:6, and keep reading the following text:

The Truth About Visions and Dreams

Dreams and visions. And they are very closely related. "And our old men will have dreams; and our young will have visions." (Joel 2:28) But these are dreams and visions in the metaphorical meaning of ideals and intellectual development.

Normal dreams occur when one is deeply sleeping. And everyone dreams; and we dream every time we are asleep. Many think they don't because 75 percent of dreams are forgotten as we wake up.

What is the difference between dreams and visions? To dream, everyone does, although only 25 percent remember to have dreamed or the dream they dreamed. To have a vision, one must be self-trained to be in control of the dream, which will become a lucid dream. And the ancient Israelite Prophets were pretty good experts at it.

Visions are known as lucid dreams, and they occur during that period of transition between deep sleep and the awaken state. But they mostly occur during a slumber, as one takes a rest and can't fall asleep because of preoccupations about what has been happening with one's life or with significant ones.

A classical example of the above we have in Abraham, when soon after his circumcision, he tried to rest at the entrance of his tent in the shade under a large tree as he was taking advantage of the fresh breeze in the heat of the day. He could not stop worrying about the barren condition of Sarah vis-a-vis God's promise of a son. Then, he would worry about his nephew Lot living in Sodom in the middle of corruption. Thus,he slumbered and had a lucid dream or vision, which he, almost involuntarily, would control it into his understanding through his imaginations as how things would take a turn either this or that way. Then, he saw in his lucid dream/vision the Divine confirmation of the promise, and even Sarah laughing from her tent at the idea of giving birth to a child as the old woman that she was.

Then, in the same lucid dream/vision he would change scenery as his imagination went from Sarah to Lot in Sodom. Then, he would find himself dialoguing with Divine emanations in the form of human messengers who spoke with him on behalf of God, or even with God Himself about His promissed heir and about Sodom.

The same thing happened with Ezekiel the Prophet when he was in Babylon at the end of the exile. He would worry about Israel and the eminent return. In his vision he would be lifted up in the air and brought to Jerusalem. Any non-trained reader would think of him in Jerusalem when he never left Babylon.(Ezek. 8:3) It had been all in
the lucidity of his imaginations.

The Prophets had rich imaginations which they would use during a lucid dream or vision in order to find solutions and sound advices to kings or people in charge of the government of nations. I am not ruling out the Divine intervention, but through emanations in the minds of the Prophets, or even in some of the common people.

Now, during dreams, lucid dreams or vision, everything is possible, even to see God and live. And some Prophets thought they would die because of the intensity with which they would self-induce themselves into believing that they had really seen God, when everything occurred during a lucid dream or vision.

Of course, the imagination functions according to the mental or religious orientation of the dreamer or visionary.

Ben
 
No, it did not happen in reality. It all happened during a dream/vision. That's how HaShem used to make His will known to the prophets. Read Numbers 12:6, and keep reading the following text:

The Truth About Visions and Dreams

Dreams and visions. And they are very closely related. "And our old men will have dreams; and our young will have visions." (Joel 2:28) But these are dreams and visions in the metaphorical meaning of ideals and intellectual development.

Normal dreams occur when one is deeply sleeping. And everyone dreams; and we dream every time we are asleep. Many think they don't because 75 percent of dreams are forgotten as we wake up.

What is the difference between dreams and visions? To dream, everyone does, although only 25 percent remember to have dreamed or the dream they dreamed. To have a vision, one must be self-trained to be in control of the dream, which will become a lucid dream. And the ancient Israelite Prophets were pretty good experts at it.

Visions are known as lucid dreams, and they occur during that period of transition between deep sleep and the awaken state. But they mostly occur during a slumber, as one takes a rest and can't fall asleep because of preoccupations about what has been happening with one's life or with significant ones.

A classical example of the above we have in Abraham, when soon after his circumcision, he tried to rest at the entrance of his tent in the shade under a large tree as he was taking advantage of the fresh breeze in the heat of the day. He could not stop worrying about the barren condition of Sarah vis-a-vis God's promise of a son. Then, he would worry about his nephew Lot living in Sodom in the middle of corruption. Thus,he slumbered and had a lucid dream or vision, which he, almost involuntarily, would control it into his understanding through his imaginations as how things would take a turn either this or that way. Then, he saw in his lucid dream/vision the Divine confirmation of the promise, and even Sarah laughing from her tent at the idea of giving birth to a child as the old woman that she was.

Then, in the same lucid dream/vision he would change scenery as his imagination went from Sarah to Lot in Sodom. Then, he would find himself dialoguing with Divine emanations in the form of human messengers who spoke with him on behalf of God, or even with God Himself about His promissed heir and about Sodom.

The same thing happened with Ezekiel the Prophet when he was in Babylon at the end of the exile. He would worry about Israel and the eminent return. In his vision he would be lifted up in the air and brought to Jerusalem. Any non-trained reader would think of him in Jerusalem when he never left Babylon.(Ezek. 8:3) It had been all in
the lucidity of his imaginations.

The Prophets had rich imaginations which they would use during a lucid dream or vision in order to find solutions and sound advices to kings or people in charge of the government of nations. I am not ruling out the Divine intervention, but through emanations in the minds of the Prophets, or even in some of the common people.

Now, during dreams, lucid dreams or vision, everything is possible, even to see God and live. And some Prophets thought they would die because of the intensity with which they would self-induce themselves into believing that they had really seen God, when everything occurred during a lucid dream or vision.

Of course, the imagination functions according to the mental or religious orientation of the dreamer or visionary.

Ben

a dream is really like a movie , a picture or a recording but a vision is literally being transported somewhere.
 
a dream is really like a movie , a picture or a recording but a vision is literally being transported somewhere.


We have no control over dreams. But we do have over a vision, which happens in between the rem phase of the dream and the almost awaken stage. Maimonides says in his "Guide for the Perplexed" that one, especially from among the prophets, must have a rich imagination to come out with a solution for the affairs of the State or to prophesy, usually within the actual generation. These things, the disciples of the prophets used to learn in the schools of the prophets, which was very common at the time of Samuel, Elijah and Elisha.
Ben
 
Ben,

Meditation and spiritual exercises lead me to disagree with you. As do the writing of many mystics. "Visions" are not limited to some relationship to sleep or rem phase. They can and do occur in totally wake moments; thay is, there is no sleep on either side of the vision.

Panta Rhei!
(Everything Flows!)
 
Back
Top