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General My Research on the Bible and Biblical Hebrew

How to Build a GAG (Roof) in Two Steps

In an earlier post, we have addressed the significance of GAG (roof in biblical Hebrew). The word comprises two appearances of the second most rare letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the third letter, Gimmel (corresponding to the letter g in English).

In an added comment, I have observed that the two major sins of the Israelites, on their way to the Promised Land, are denoted, in Hebrew, the Sin of The Egel (Sin of the Golden Calf), and the Sin of The Meraglim (Sin of the Spies). For both sins, the Hebrew names include Gimmel as their middle letter. Combined, the two sins form a particular version of Gag, the Israelite Gag.

As the Bible tells us, both sins were responded by extreme Divine wrath.

Reacting to the sin of the Egel, God said to Moses:

“Now, therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may burn against them and that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation” (Exodus 32:10).

Reacting to the sin of the Meraglim, God said to Moses:

“..How long will this people provoke me and how long will they not believe in me for all the signs which I have performed amongst them? I will smite them with the pestilence (Dever), and disinherit them, and will make of thee a great nation and mightier than them” (Numbers 14:11-12).

Moses prayed to God, and his prayer mitigated the severity of the intended Divine punishment.

According to Jewish tradition, as reflected in Talmud and affiliated interpretations, the Jewish people, for generations to come, had to pay dearly for these two sins. For example, the sin of the Meraglim occurred, according to Jewish tradition, on the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av. This date is known in Jewish tradition (and possibly also historically) to be also the date when the First Temple and The Second Temple of Jerusalem were destroyed. Other catastrophes that befell the Jewish people throughout history (like the expulsion from Spain, 1492) had also taken place on that date.

Reading these two episodes in the Bible, the Egel episode and the Meraglim episode, one cannot escape the conclusion that with these two sins, combined, the Israelites have created their own particular form of Roof (Gag), namely, a disconnect between The Heaven and The Earth.

Unlike the Gag of Agag, king of Amalek, Hamman the Agagite, Gog and Magog, a Gag formed with an explicit intention to disconnect The Heaven and The Earth (Genesis 1:1; refer to the earlier linked post), the Israelites formed a particular version of Gag, one that is not deliberately pre-planned, one that is not intentional.

What can we learn from this particular form of Gag? Can we construct a similar Gag?

The two sins teach us a powerful lesson of how to construct own personal Gag. We detail herewith a two-step procedure to achieve this goal.

Step 1: Repeat The First Sin (of the Egel): “Dancing around a Golden Calf”.

Explanation: Build your whole life around a materialistic objective, like gold (money), fame, territory and other similar materialistic assets.

Step 2: Repeat The Second Sin (of the Meraglim): “Slander and refusal to go to the Promised Land” (for whatever excuses).

 Explanation: The latter involves two elements:

  • The spies spoke ill of the Promised Land. The Israelites spoke ill of God (Deuteronomy 1:27). Therefore, Prescription A:

“Speak ill of all, all the time” (whether people, Promised Land, God or otherwise);

  • The Israelites refused to “go up” to the Promised Land, giving excuses (Deuteronomy 1:26-27). Therefore, Prescription B:

“Refrain from any attempt to gain blessing awaiting you; Generate your own personal justification to stay passive, idle, to stay lazy” (Example: “…in Jehovah’s hatred of us He had brought us forth out of the land of Egypt..”, Deuteronomy 1:27).

Articulated more succinctly, Step 2 to owning a Gag involves rejecting any possible blessing by avoiding necessary work to be done (”And Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He ceased from all his work which Elohim had created to be done”; Genesis 2:3).

We have outlined in this post a two-step prescription to becoming happy by pursuing the two sins of the Israelites, on their way to the Promised Land. The Israelites constructed their own version of Gag, namely, disconnecting the physical dimension of life, The Earth, from the spiritual dimension, The Heaven. As related in the Bible, over and over again, constructing the Gag is guarantee to stop “pouring down” of blessing.

If, to the contrary, the idea of building a personal Gag does not seem that appealing, we may wish to re-consider how Eretz Israel is described in the Bible, which also becomes a faithful description, so we believe, of the most basic human condition on Planet Earth (Deuteronomy 11:11):

“And the land, into which you go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys; By the rain of the heaven will you drink water”.