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Is God a Zionist? An anthropological perspective

Is God a Zionist? An anthropological perspective

As an anthropologist and Jew, I could not fail to mention here some of the most eminent anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Franz Boas and Bronislaw Malinowski regarding some aspects that make up the different human groups to make a brief parallel with current societies and their customs, cultures and laws.

We can start with Franz Boas in his work “The mind of the Primitive Man” (2011, p.167-168) in which he states in “primitive” societies in which there is an inextricable association of ideas and customs related to society and religion, and that a social group tends to associate itself with different impressions of nature, especially with the divisions that exist in the animal world, which is a characteristic feature of totemism as observed in the most varied American, African and Melanesian tribes, in which each group establishes a supposed connection with a category of objects, predominantly with animals and a certain social group, a relationship valid for this group, for others a replacement of the object is established, that is, identical in form, but different in content, often the social group related to the same totem is composed of blood relatives, true or supposed.

You see, therefore, marital rules are often implicated in beliefs and customs, relative cultural values ​​intertwined with totemism. The relationship between human beings and a certain category of objects or animals has a recurring religious meaning. 

Lévi-Strauss (2017, p.208) states that mythical thought is situated not only in language, but beyond language, he states that the intrinsic value attributed to myth comes from the fact that the events that are supposed to occur at a specific moment of time, in addition, they shape a permanent structure that refers simultaneously to the past, the present and the future, although the myth has a temporal system, which combines properties, and always refers to past events related in the beginnings or in the era of creation.

Malinowski (2015, p.48), within a complementary perspective regarding laws and customs, states that culture is permeated by rules, specifically by laws, adding that legal phenomena and the law do not consist of any autonomous and independent institutions , the law symbolizes yet another aspect of their tribal life, as in the Melanesian part it was described, the law is not a specific system of decrees, the law is the specific result of the configuration of obligations and customs, which makes it impossible for the native to escape of its responsibility without suffering for it in the future, being a binding force with binding obligations that has as some of its characteristics the feeling of group, clan solidarity, spontaneous obedience, a degree of communism based on systems of exchange and collaboration, for example.

Malinowski means that the laws in primitive societies establish the horizons, the limits, within which the member of a given group must follow in order not to be punished or suffer the consequences of the laws erected and structured in the respective culture in which they are inserted.

Lévi-Strauss (p.244-248) in his observations, descriptions and reflections on the arts, more specifically on the primitive arts such as the great impression made by the art of the northwest coast of North America with the artistic works of Archaic China, as well as a possible pre-Columbian contact between people from Alaska and New Zealand, among other similar cultural phenomena, which Lévi-Strauss suggests, contrary to historians of the time, that there may have been cultural contact and cultural diffusion, and if not there was historical contact between these cultures, which is possible that human psychic functions, or human psychological attributes separated by considerable space and distances, caused the anthropologist to infer the question of psychology and for the structural analysis of the ways in which the human beings think, develop, create art, culture, beliefs and customs that occur on a universal scale in humanity, which cannot be worked as a problem of probabilities, but as a structural phenomenon of the human psyche, and of the structures of social organizations and possible human cultural exchanges.

Over time, religions in much of the planet became more complex and sophisticated, and with the advent of writing, many customs, traditions, codes of conduct and religious laws were established, with emphasis here on Judaism. which has a conceptual and textual part that is more abstract, logical and not focused on elements of imagery beliefs, for example.

All human peoples have established and developed their traditions, cultures and laws, in the case of the Jewish people there is a different peculiarity, that the scripture of the Jewish religion itself, much of it codified in the Tanakh, condenses a series of habits such as keeping Shabbat (the day of remembering the creation of the world by God, as a way of remembering that God worked and that he needs a day to rest and so do the Jewish people), extremely detailed diets, fasts, days of Jewish celebrations, mourning, historical events such as slavery of the Jewish people in Egypt, as well as the conversion to Judaism carried out by Ruth, among many other events and the laws and customs that govern every aspect of Jewish life, codified in the Torah that makes up the Tanakh.

Among some passages from the Jewish sacred books that make up the Tanakh, which link the Jewish people to the Land of Israel as a constituent element of Jewish identity as an ordination and commandment of the God of the children of Israel, the Israelites, the first highlight we can see below about God commanding Abram to leave his family and emigrate to the Land of Canaan, the Land of Israel promised to Abraham and his generation.

Genesis 12:1-3 The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and he who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Above, we noticed some moral elements and the choice of Abraham’s descendants to inhabit the Promised Land. And the conduct that humanity must have towards the Israelites so that they are blessed or not.

Above, we noticed some moral elements and the choice of Abraham’s descendants to inhabit the Promised Land. And the conduct that humanity must have towards the Israelites for them to be blessed or not.

Bereshit 15: 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River”.

There is a description of the extent of the Land promised to Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites, which goes from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River, the latter passing through Syrian Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is a territory much larger than the ancient nation of Israel and the present State of Israel.

Exodus 23:31 And I will make your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of ​​the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates: for I will deliver it into the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out from before you.

God of Israel commands the expulsion of the people that existed at that time in that region, as mentioned above, and that will bring all the dispersed Jewish people scattered in different countries on the planet back to the promised land, the Land of Israel.

Ezekiel 34:13 And I will bring them out from among the peoples, and will gather them out of the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land.

We conclude that the God of the Jewish people, the God of the children of Israel is a Zionist God!

God was who founded Zionism, with the initial Jewish character of ancient Zionism, the first Jew in history, Abraham, as the one in charge of abandoning his family and the land where he was born towards the land promised by God of Israel, the land of Canaan, a unique and non-negotiable condition with which God would make the Jews in the region between the River Nile and the River Euphrates, a great Nation on Earth.

The land flowing with milk and honey, whose property is granted to the Jewish people by God, whose unfolding occurred with God’s Covenant with Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites, in a great historical and religious odyssey of decolonizing and reoccupying the their land in an uninterrupted process of Zionism and faith in the sacred scriptures, on which Jewish history, culture, faith and identity are built.

About the Author
Dr. Alan Freire de Lima, Sephardic Jew, scientist, anthropologist, clinical psychoanalist, writer, librarian, artist, journalist and marketer. PhD in Anthropology and Religion and Ph.D in Psychology (PsyD in Psychology). Member of the Synagogue OHR HATORAH SYNAGOGUE (Los Angeles California, USA) Son of his Jewish mother Arlete Freire de Lima, she is an anthropologist, writer and clinical psychoanalyst.