I thought, this being New Year, specifically the Gregorian calendar’s New Year
— which is specifically the calendar for the Catholic Church, and then, from there, the calendar for Western Civilization and now the entire world—- to just speak about calendars.
Nothing reveals our ignorance about ourselves more than calendars.
Calendars are humbling. Very humbling. And yet, you would be shocked at how calendars are near-worshipped, and this is true within Jewish ranks as well.
First, in keeping with the scientific aspect of Universal Judaism, we must acknowledge, without a doubt—- WITHOUT A DOUBT—- indeed, less doubt than most people have about God— that no one—- NO ONE— WITHOUT A DOUBT— not any single human being— existing or ever exiting, knows, exactly, what is the date of our specific universe.
We don’t know when it happened. And in fact, if the standard Big Bang Theory is correct (and I think, by the way that it isn’t), then dating this universe is problematic, since time itself would have come into existence at the very same time (lol) and could, therefore, hardly be a measure applied to anything.
The TRUE calendar we are ignorant of. We are ignorant of the origin of so-called “creation”. We can, however, have reasonable discernment as to certain cyclically-generative motions— such as our traveling around the sun, and the moon’s traveling around us, with, of course, the seasons.
We could also— if we were able to discern correctly— sense a kind of natural ebb and flow to the 7th day, which corresponds to the quarter cycle of the moon.
And this would, of course, being circadian, have a natural correspondence to Life. The 7th day ebb, is where the life force is lowest, and beyond that, the life force replenishes. This was ancient knowledge, if you have read Umberto Cassuto who compares, in an insufficient way, the relative meanings of the “shapatu”, or proto-Sabbath, corresponding to the Moon goddess, Sununu.
It is fascinating that the larger creational calendar, we do not know. Yet, we have reasonable discernment about the calendar-elements here on earth, in relationship to the Greater and lesser lights, as Genesis terms them.
The larger creational calendar— whether Gregorian or Hebrew—- remains mythological. As does the Chinese. As does the Mayan. Beyond the sphere of human life, time (if not space, and in an age of Einstein-Minkowski, space-time), remains a mystery.
Now, when traditionalists look backwards, counting the generations to Adam, or the creation of the world (depending on which midrashic viewpoint), they are, in a sense, making rational the mythological, and passing it off as FACT. This betrays, as I’ve discussed numerous times, the fallacy of confusing revelation and canon—- which is one of the “highlights” of rabbinism, upon which virtually all Jewish modes of self-expression are based, and which was passed into Christianity and Islam as well. Universal Judaism considers it dangerous!!
It is, in fact, nonsense. Counting back generations from scripture does not give one accurate dating, for, the dating system of creation must precede scripture, or scripture will have had to precede creation— which is exactly what the rabbis do, when they oftentimes, with great reverence, describe the Torah as the “blueprint of Creation”. It is no differently than importing Jesus backwards to the beginning of creation.
However, the other aspect of our dating systems, that we do discern properly, although lacking a “cosmic ground” by which it relates to all other possible “solar” systems (and their datings)— these are not nonsense.
The cycles of the moon, and menses, the cycles around the sun, and the agricultural cycles, are all real, factual and lawful. Indeed, they remain lawful. They remain important. They remain valuable insights into how our world functions— though sadly, so reliant as we’ve been on technology, we have become woefully disconnected to the earth and the cycles of nature.
And since these take place within a creation which has some kind of beginning— although the mythological dating through scripture is preposterous— nonetheless, the INTENTION of this dating system is not preposterous. It’s meaning is critical.
Do you see? Our Torah retains the meaningful calendar, and ritualizes it— ensuring that we stay connected to it. Yet it places it within the larger God-time-scale, mythologically, because they cannot do otherwise.
Perhaps in a few decades we’ll have an accurate view of when our universe began. I think it may be possible, since I think the classical Big Bang Theory is false, and that Creation occurs IN TIME (for another time, lol).
Yes, many so-called rationalists despise the insanity of the Hebrew dating system, and they are not wrong. But, they are not right either. They forget the intention.
Myth fills a place in our heart for what our minds cannot discern, when the discernment is something which is critical. We enshrine it as a story. We give it a power beyond us by rendering it mythic. And this kind of story is bigger than “Goldlocks and the three bears”. It is endowed with spiritual power!
Dispense with the myth? Sure! Dispense with the meaning behind the myth.
Never! That has been the problem with so-called Jewish “rationalists”. They reduce the rational to the mere understandable, which is a fabulous idolatry, so beguilingly modern you don’t notice it.
Universal Judaism respectfully uses 5776 as its dating, because it retains this MEANING, but not because it was counted from scripture. It was counted from scripture backwards TOWARDS its meaning. But, the counting backwards is not, in itself its meaning.
Do you see?
Jews date from God. The sun, and the moon, however worth as markers (and the traditional Jewish calendar uses both), are not gods— which Deuternomy warns us about having. Universal Judaism too, dates from God . . . BUT . . .
Universal Judaism looks forward to a more correct dating system, purified of the scriptural mythologies, yet, retains the purity of the intention of Hebrew thought.
I’m open to suggestions.
Anyone out there, have thoughts about a possible new dating system for our movement. After all, respecting other Jewish denominations doesn’t mean following them. There’s lots of room for creativity.
My God— where do you think the rabbis got it from? They were CREATIVE!
As far as the first of the New Year, it’s a great time to get drunk, party, and let out your inner-Purim.
It has grown into a useful universal dating system, once the religious elements from A.D. are eliminated by a B.C.E. But, then again, that’s mythic and de-mythic, as a compensation—- and no one escapes the problem.
No one knows time.
No one knows eternity.
So, recognizing that fact, nothings wrong with a party on the first of the year.
But, don’t attribute it to God!