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March 23, 1984 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



40

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, March 23, 1984

Judaism's Elokim

DINNER FOR 2

CHOICE OF:








95

CHICKEN KABOB
$
KAFTA KABOB
SHISH KABOB
LAMB SHANK
GUS (Shaworma)
HOMEMADE KIBBEE (Raw baked)

With
this
coupon
Expires 3/31/84
INCLUDES: SOUP OR SALAD, POT. OR RICE,
FRESH VEG. AND HOMEMADE PITA BREAD

Chaplain, Sinai Hospital

What's in a name? people
sometimes wonder about
the plural form for God —
Elokim — in the Hebrew.
Christian scholars often

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point to it as a proof for the
Trinity, i.e. that there are
three entities which corn-
prise God. During the hor-
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Middle Ages, our leading
rabbis had to contend with
this question. Generally,

By RABBI ALLAN
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the one true God

they succeeded in refuting
the assumption but often-
times they had to confront a
"stacked deck" inasmuch as
the judge and jury were
usually "somewhat" biased
against them.
Nevertheless, the plural
form of the word for God ap-
pears no fewer than 2,000
times (often accompanied
by the article HE, i.e.
Haelokim designating the
True God) in Scripture. The
plural term is treated and
translated as if a singlular
noun is used.
Various explanations are
offered as to why the Torah
uses a plural term to de-
scribe the one God of Israel.
Some say it's a vestige of the
polytheism of Abraham's
forebears while others con-
tend it's the plural of
majesty. The Encyclopedia
Judaica also raises the pos-
sibility that it could express
an abstract idea (i.e.
zekunim — old age; neurim
— youth, etc.). Thus Elokim
would mean the "Divinity."
The most plausible theory
holds that it stems from
Canaanite usage (a lan-
guage very similar to He-
brew).
The early Israelites felt
no inconsistency in refer-
ring to the one True God in
pluralistic terms inasmuch
as the nations surrounding
them often employed plural
terms to denote a singular
noun. Elokim appears also
when Scripture wishes to
describe someone or some-
thing as godlike, preter-
natural or extraordinarily
great. More remarkable yet
are the several instances
where a plural verb form is
employed even though the

One God of Israel is de-
scribed (i.e. Genesis 20:13,
35:7; Psalms 58:12, etc.).
The singular form of
Elokim is Eloka. It occurs in
the Book of Job some 40
times, but is rarely used
otherwise. It and its plural
form are lengthened ver-
sions of the basic term (K)el
for God. The Aramaic form
is (K)elah while the Arabic
is Ilah. Orthodox Jews sub-
stitute various letters when
they read/pronounce the
many names of God for
other than liturgical or
ritual purposes (as is done
here). This is but one more
way of showing respect and
awe when speaking of the
Lord.
An interesting incident
concerning an encounter
between Rabbi Simlai and
the minim (dissenters)
exists. When asked by them
to explain how many gods
created the Universe, the
former quotes Scripture
(Genesis 1:26) "Let us make
man in our image, after our
likeness" and proceeds to
ask them to read the next
verse: "And God created
man in His own image."
After they had gone, his
students, dissatisfied with
the reply, asked him for
further elucidation.

Said Rabbi Simlai to
them, "In the past Adam
was created from the dust of
the ground and Eve was
created from Adam. Hence-
forward it is to be "in our
image, after our likeness —
meaning man will not be
able to come into being
without woman, nor woman
without man, nor both
without the Lord God."

Artifacts of Michigan's first
Jew set for museum exhibit

For the first time since
their discovery, artifacts
from the home of Michigan's
first Jewish settler, Ezekial
Solomon, will be on display
to the public. They will be
included in "Jewish Life in
Michigan," an exhibition at
the Detroit Historical
Museum April 12-29.
The items were loaned to
the exhibition by the Mac-
kinac Island State Park
Commission Office of Ar-
cheology.
"Jewish Life in Michi-
gan" is a companion exhibi-
tion to "Jewish Life in
America: Fulfilling the
American Dream," which is
coming to the museum as
part of the Anti-Defamation
League's 70th anniversary
celebration. Both ex-
hibitions document more
than 300 years of the
American Jewish experi-
ence.
Chairperson of the
Michigan exhibition, Judy
Nolish, said acquiring the
Solomon artifacts "give the
viewer a real insight into
how Solomon and other
early Michigan settlers
lived."
The exact location of the
Solomon house was un-
known until July 1983,
when a document dis-
covered in the Mackinac Is-
land State Park Commis-

sion's archives in Lansing
detailed the location and
structure of the house.
State archeologists work-
ing on the restoration of
Fort Michilimackinac near
Mackinaw City began exca-
vation of the house and have
been classifying and ap-
praising artifacts through
the winter.
Salomon was born in Be-
rlin. He came to Michigan
from Montreal in 1761 to
engage in fur trading with
the Indians. Solomon
bought the Michigan house
in 1765. He married a
French Canadian Catholic.
By studying the artifacts
found in the Solomon house,
scientists hope to learn how
he lived, if he retained his
Jewish faith, whether or not
he was a wealthy man, how
extensive his trading net-
work was, and more.
Visitors to the Jewish life
exhibitions at the Detroit
Historical Museum will see
trinkets Solomon used in
trading with the Indians,
fragments from guns used
in trading during the
British colonial period,
smoking pipe fragments
made at Fort Michilimac-
kinac. There are also photo-
graphs of the archeological
dig of the Solomon house
which provide an outline of
the design of the home.

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