By Michael Hoffman
I am currently writing the introduction, compiling the bibiliography and designing the cover for our forthcoming book, Testing the Talmud, which was written by a professor of Hebrew at a major university. Judaism is again on my mind therefore, after writing three books on the subject (in 2000, 2008 and 2011) and then pursuing other revisionist history, most recently, Usury in Christendom.
Yesterday was Lag B'omer, an Israeli holdiay in honor of Rabbi Shimon Ben Yohai, the reputed founder of the Kabbalstic system of magic and superstition in Judaism, and the Mishnaic theologian who declared, "Even the best of the gentiles should all be killed."
In honor of this sweet guy, tens of thousands of Orthodox Judaics converged at his grave April 28, for supplication, dancing and the usual occult bacchanal.
While Yohai is the main attraction, a sideshow revovles around another Talmudic "sage," Rabbi Akiva, who was the chaplain to the murderous, sicarii type of zealots of the first two centuries A.D. who are incarnate today in occupied Palestine as "the Israeli settlers" -- receiving cash payments and lavish laurels from Churchianity's Protestant Fundamentalist mountebanks.
Akiva supported the Jewish terrorist Bar Kokhba in his drive to expel the Romans from Palestine by terror and force of arms. The Jewish defeat was so calamitous that for the next eighteen centuries, until the dawn of the Zionism of Moses Hess and Theodore Herzl, the Talmudic sages counseled deception, stealth, subversion and treachery as the means by which the despised gentiles could be overcome, rather than Judaic force of arms. These tactics, as perfected by "the Rambam," the eminent medieval rabbi, Moses Maimonides, physician to the sultan's family, included forming a sly alliance with the Muslims in order to use them against the Christian powers (even though Maimonides privately execrated Muslims, as he did all gentiles of every religion).
According to the Talmud, Rabbi Akiva saw 24,000 of his students die during the Omer period until the 33rd day, now known as "Lag B'Omer. "
I ask you to ponder the significance of this self-advertised casualty figure. As some readers may know, if you are sketpical about the Six Million casualty figure officially promulgated with regard to Judaic deaths under the Nazis, you will be branded by the media (and even the "alternative” Wikipedia media), as a devil/heretic, i.e. as a "Holocaust denier."
Every year this writer is denied speaking engagements, advertising space and serious consideration for his books by means of the magical invocation of this stigma by all and sundry, from the post-Renaissance Roman Catholic authorities (for whom the heavily financed and highly organized international campaign to deny the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is simply not an issue of comparable concern), to movements and intellectuals on the conservative Right and the liberal Left. If one desires to feel what it is like to be treated as a heretic in the Age of Agnosticism, just dare to say you don't believe Six Million "Jews" died at the hands of the Nazis. You and your reputation will soon be parted like a drunken sailor and his money.
Asking for evidence of the sacred Six Million World War II casualty figure is offensive, because history has nothing to do with it. We are in the realm of religious faith under the mask of historiography. One can draw a parallel with the Boston marathon bombings: the case is still developing, the investigation has just begun, yet it is already a sign of gravely disordered "whacko conspiracy theorizing" to dare to ask questions about Boston and invoke blasphemous terms such as "false flag" and "FBI patsy."
The way the hypocrisy functions is that certain chosen people have the right to deny or minimize the extent of the Allied holocaust against German civilians. No less a figure of authority than the lady who coined the "Holocaust denial" Newspeak, Prof. Deborah Lipstadt, has reduced the number of Germans murdered in the city of Dresden by British and American firebombs, by tens of thousands. As one of the Holy People and an author of "Holocaust" liturgy, the media and academia accord her the solemn right (and duty!) to curb any notion that German civilians suffered a holocaust in World War II.
As a heretic these many years (I was a voracious and reasonably precocious reader as a kid, and 44 years ago, in 1969, I stumbled upon a booklet published by Willis Carto, The Myth of the Six Million -- my career as a thought criminal was launched). The main problem with The Six Million figure is that it is a religious statistic derived from Kabbalistic numerology. It has cropped up repeatedly on the Talmudists' peregrination through time, along with other intriguing casualty figures, such as the eight million Jews and even, the eight billion.
Lag B'omer centers on a more modest pile of mythical corpses, "The 24,000," a figure that was concocted just as the Mishna, the first portion of what has come to be known as the Talmud, (the laws and traditions of the Phairsees committed to writing), was being compiled. Consequently, it is at the very root of what has come to be known as Orthodox Judaism.
I hope I will be forgiven for doubting The 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva. I don't think I can can get into any more hot water than I am already boiling in (the Talmud has Jesus Christ boiling in another, less salubrious substance), for having added 24,000 to Six Million as two sacred casualty figures that do not impel belief from my horribly heretical soul.
There is no more factual basis for the 24,000 than for the Six Million, and hardly anyone outside of Talmudists, and researchers like yours truly, have even heard of it. But its utility for revisionist history is that it testifies to an eternally recurring Talmudic mentality. A "don't bother me with the facts" attitude of mendacity, together with an imperious, ipse dixit psychology that is threaded through the Mishnah, Gemara, Midrash, Mishneh Torah, Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Berurah and all the rest of the halachic hooey by which the heirs of the Pharisees have deluded themselves these many centuries. Now, since every religion has a right to its own story (in a First Amendement sense), who would care whether the rabbis believed these numbers, were it not for the fact that these wild imaginings are enforced by the US State Department, US Holocaust Museum, President Obama (and all presidents prior to him beginning with Reagan); the mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches, and 99% of all university faculty and corporate employers.
Somehow, in our 21st century atheists' elysium, where Copernicus and Darwin and Dawkins are the tutelary gods of scientism, we are all required to believe whatever the Kabbalah and the Talmud tell us to believe. The New Testament? A mere fairy tale. Christ's resurrection? A shoddy hoax. But only a satanic cretin would scruple to deny The 24,000 or The Six Million.
Michael Hoffman is the editor of Revisionist History Newsletter and the author of seven banned and damned history books.
Lag B'Omer: Rethinking the Rabbi Akiva Narrative
The sudden deaths of so many thousands of Rabbi Akiva's disciples, which according to the Talmud stopped on the day that is now known as Lag B'Omer, can potentially be thought of as casualties of Hadrian’s push to crush Jewish revolutionary activity once and for all, writes Binyamin Kagedan.
By Binyamin Kagedan
The Algemeiner | April 28, 2013
As is the case for many holidays in the Jewish calendar cycle, Lag B’Omer (April 28 this year) carries within it not one, but multiple and distinct layers of meaning. Mystical significances, historical memories, and moral reflections all meld together into the contemporary notion of what makes this day special, the product of nearly two millennia of overlaid and interwoven innovations in tradition and observance.
One of the most prominent themes describes that the 33rd day of the Omer period brought the sudden cessation of a calamity of national proportions in ancient Judea—the death of 24,000 students of the sage Rabbi Akiva. The mourning practices that have become a standard part of counting the 50 days between Passover and Shavuot likewise cease on Lag B’Omer for most traditional Jews, corresponding to the end of the catastrophe.
The Rabbi Akiva narrative can be traced back to a single, rather ambiguous passage in the Talmud that identifies neither the timing of the event nor how the scholars died. It does, however, specify a cause—namely that Akiva’s students had made a habit of treating each other with disrespect. The Talmudic narrators reviewing the anecdote then supply more detail, placing the event chronologically between Passover and Shavuot, and attributing the mode of death to a divinely ordained plague, punishment for the pupils’ collective lapse in behavior.
While it has often been interpreted at a literal level, the vague and mystifying nature of the account, coupled with the immensity of loss of life it describes, demands that we think critically about what is being conveyed. It seems quite unlikely that the rabbis would have contented themselves with explaining such unthinkable devastation as an act of divine justice necessitated by widespread academic hubris. Instead, it is helpful to understand the narrative against the social and political backdrop of the times and the persona of Rabbi Akiva.
Rabbi Akiva’s life coincided with period of violent upheaval that resulted in the fall of the Judean state. Beginning in the year 70 CE, radical Judean militias staged a series of revolts against the Roman Empire, on the basis of religious repression, heavy taxation, and the desire for independence. Each time, the rebellions held out successfully for a few years, only to be eventually overwhelmed and put down by Rome’s determined leaders and immense military machine.
It is said that Rabbi Akiva began his rabbinic career at the late age of 40, but his brilliance, charisma, and creative interpretation of the law propelled him to fame, wealth, and a spot in the highest echelons of Jewish leadership. He was also, it seems, an ardent Jewish nationalist. The Jerusalem Talmud depicts Rabbi Akiva as throwing his influential support behind the leader of the final revolt, known as Bar Kochba, and publicly designating him the long-awaited Messiah who would restore Israel to political and religious freedom! A tradition associated with Rabbi Akiva’s death is that he was executed for continuing to teach Torah publicly, defiantly flouting a Roman prohibition against it that came in the aftermath of the last revolt.
In light of the fact that Talmudic lore associates Rabbi Akiva with the Jewish rebellion movement, we might consider an alternative reading of the story of his dying pupils. Not every rabbi in Rabbi Akiva’s day supported armed resistance against Rome, some seeing the probability of Roman retribution as too great a cost. But we can conjecture that Rabbi Akiva’s many students across Judea would have been loyal to him, and would have taken up arms against the imperial forces at his suggestion. In that case, the sudden deaths of so many thousands of his disciples can be thought of as casualties of Emperor Hadrian’s push to crush Jewish revolutionary activity once and for all. Hadrian was largely successful, and no effort was made to reclaim the province as a Jewish state until modern times.
Why then would the Talmud be so sparse with detail, and why would later rabbis composing the Talmud come up with such a different explanation? Francince Klagsbrun, in her book Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture, offers the idea that since those compilers may still have been living under Roman rule, it would have been unwise to refer openly to Jewish rebellions in the recent past.
Another possibility is that changing or leaving out the details of the true cause of the students’ demise was a silent repudiation of Rabbi Akiva, or alternatively an effort to protect his reputation from being tarnished by a connection to a failed war and a false messiah. In any case, whatever actually happened to Rabbi Akiva’s students, Lag B’Omer continues to be celebrated as the day on which the tragedy ended and the hope of peace was restored.
Binyamin Kagedan has an MA in Jewish Thought from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.