Martin M. van Brauman


The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die; for God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.” Genesis 3:4-5.

The serpent cannot but lie for Adam now will surely die, mankind will pursue the sin of trying to be like God and condemn his soul and evil will be indistinguishable from good.  At creation in Genesis 2:7, “The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life”.  With our effort to become as God come the loss of the soul and the loss of our humanity.[1]  The soul was created in God’s image at the time of creation.

God had just one commandment to Adam of not eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  The sin of the temptation to be as God continues since Adam.  Good and evil cannot be distinguished without God’s moral law.  Mass murder committed by the suicide of Islamic terrorists and martyrdom are blurred, because good and evil becomes indistinguishable as mankind attempts to be like God.

When God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” in Genesis 4:9, God was asking Cain, “Where is your soul?”[2]  When God asked Cain, “What have you done?” in Genesis 4:10, God was asking Cain, “What have you made of your soul?”[3]  Cain set out to kill God by killing his brother and in killing Able killed his substance and identity, his soul, and evil is unmasked and it is ego.[4]

Anti-Semitism is the attempt to banish God from creation.  Anti-Semitism is an assault on the soul, which includes an assault on the body.  The body is but a moment in the life of the soul that is eternal, for the soul is not in the body but rather the body is in the soul.[5]  The killing of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob requires the killing of the Jewish people.  God chose the Jewish people as His witnesses to announce to the world the eternal presence of the one and only God.

For the last two thousand years Esau’s offspring, the ancestors of Edom, in their various manifestations have held sway and the Jewish people have been exiled from their land and former glory.[6]  Edom has signified Christendom with its anti-Semitic dogma, its crusades and persecutions and its underpinnings leading to the Holocaust.[7]

The Nazis were determined to destroy the soul, the divine spark within man from having been created in the image and likeness of God, before destroying the body.  Israel’s enemies doom their own souls as their souls will be hurled into eternal screaming pain as one shoots a stone from a slingshot. I Samuel 25:29.  The Holocaust was not just a genocidal attempt to destroy the Jews, God’s witnesses, but an attempt by the Nazis to destroy God Himself, deicide, and purge Him from the Christian churches of Europe forever.

There is an eternal struggle by Amalek, the consummate evil.[8]  Amalek’s enmity against Israel is based upon its legacy as the grandson of Esau and from what the Amalek’s nation represents.[9]

Now Esau harbored hatred toward Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau thought, “May the days of mourning for my father draw near, then I will kill my brother Jacob. Genesis 27:41.  Edom’s . . . anger tore perpetually and he kept his wrath forever. Amos 1:11.

The prophet Balaam considered Amalek as the first among nations in Numbers 24:20, in which Amalek, the primary offspring of Esau, is the leading force of evil in the world and the struggle of Israel and Amelek is the eternal struggle of good versus evil.[10]  The only reason for Amalek’s cowardly and unprovoked attacks on the weak nation of Israel, traveling out of Egypt during the Exodus, is to “show its brazen denial of God and His power, which is a perpetuation of the ancient legacy of Esau’s hatred for Jacob.”[11]

The Amalekites were the Nazis who wish to obliterate every trace of morality from the world and now are the Islamic suicide bombers who target innocent civilians in cowardly and unprovoked attacks.  For God maintains a war against Amalek from generation to generation until the eternal swords of the enemy [Amalek] have come to an end, the name and memory of Amalek is completely eradicated by God’s wrath and God’s Judgment Throne is complete.[12]  For Balaam declared in his prophecies, Amalek is the first among nations, but its end will be eternal destruction. Numbers 24:20I shall surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Exodus 17:14.

As Rabbi Irving Greenberg said that it one thing to kill Jews, but it is something else to cut in half the gas supply per chamber in 1944 to bring down the cost to less than one-half cent per person to gas Jews while taking twice as long to kill in agony and then to save that one-half cent, they threw Jewish children alive into the crematorium.[13]  Such decisions go beyond murder to deny the image of God and testify to life’s worthlessness.[14]

Ultimately, the prophecy given to Rebecca between Jacob and Esau shall be fulfilled when “the might shall pass from one of them to the other” and judgment shall be rendered upon those who trace their greatness to the mountain of Esau and the kingdom will be God’s.[15]

 Extend the sickle, for the harvest has ripened! Come and trample [the grapes], for the winepress is full, the vats have overflowed! – for their evil is great. [Commentary: God is speaking to His agents of destruction, who are now to harvest the crops of Divine vengeance].  Multitudes upon multitudes [will fall] in the Valley of the [Final] Decision, for the day of the Lord is near in the Valley of the [Final] Decision.  The sun and moon have become blackened, and the stars have withdrawn their shine.  And the Lord will roar from Zion and will emit His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and earth will tremble. But the Lord will be a shelter for His people and a stronghold for the Children of Israel.  Thus you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who dwells in Zion, My holy mountain; Jerusalem will be holy, and aliens will no longer pass through her.

 And it shall be on that day that the mountains will drip with wine, the hills will flow with milk, and all the watercourses of Judah will flow with water, and a spring will go out from the House of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.  Egypt will become a desolation and Edom will become a desolate wilderness; because of the robbery of the children of Judah, for they shed innocent blood in their land.  Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.  Though I cleanse, their bloodshed I will not cleanse, when the Lord dwells in Zion. [Commentary: Though I will cleanse the nations by forgiving many of their sins, I will not forgive them for the bloodshed they perpetrated against Israel.  When the Lord dwells in Zion, at the End of Days, they will be punished.] Joel 4:13-21.

After biting into the forbidden fruit and hiding from God, Adam was called out by God in Genesis 3, Where are you?  It is the first question asked in the Bible and it is the primordial question.[16]  God knew where Adam was, the question was whether Adam knew.

The Jewish presence in the Land has metaphysical significance demonstrating the holiness of life and the truth of the Bible and Jerusalem signifies divine authority and the divine commandment to affirm the holiness of humanity.[17]  Professor David Patterson wrote that “Jerusalem is the lens through which God looks upon the world and puts to every human being the question He put to the first human being [Adam] in Genesis 3: Where are you?[18]

Do you know where you are?  What does God want you to do?  Are you moving towards God, or moving away?  These are the fundamental questions of why are we here.


[1] David Patterson, Overcoming Alienation: A Kabbalistic Reflection on the Five Levels of the Soul, (1st ed. 2008), pp. 140-141

[2] Ibid., p. 38.

[3] Ibid..

[4] Ibid., p. 138.

[5] Ibid., pp. 152-153.

[6] Chumash, Genesis 36:31 (commentary), p. 196.

[7] Alan L. Berger and David Patterson, Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey from the Rock, (1st ed. 2008), p. 24.

[8] Exodus 17:16.

[9] The Chumash, Exodus 17:8-15 [commentary].

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Exodus 17:14-16 (Rashi).

[13] Irving Greenberg, For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity, (1st ed. 2004), p. 169.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Chumash, Genesis 36:31 (commentary), p. 196.

[16] Elie Wiesel and Philippe-Michaël de Saint-Cheron, Evil and Exile, (1st ed. 1990), p. 157.

[17] David Patterson, A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad, (1st ed. 2011), p. 264.

[18] Ibid., pp. 264-265.

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