Ushpizin, the Seven Shepherds of Judaism

This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, when he tramples on our citadels, then we will raise against him Seven Shepherds and Eight Princes of men.

– Micah 5:5

ushpizin-guests.jpg

Ushpizin (Aramaic: “visitors”)- according to the Jewish Kabbalistic book the Sefer ha-zohar (“Book of Splendour”), Seven ancient worthies who take turns visiting the homes of all pious Jews to share their dinner on the festival of Sukkoth. A custom developed of reciting a fixed formula of invitation to the Seven: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.

Encyclopedia Britannica (2008), Britannica.com

In chronological order, the Seven Shepherds of Judaism are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. However, these Shepherds also correspond to the Seven days of the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles) and appear as spiritual guests in the following order: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David.

Why are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David called Shepherds? Some were indeed shepherds, and this was, at times, the primary reason they were chosen to lead

– The Seven Shepherds we invite to the sukkah are in fact none other than ourselves, Arthur Kurzweil (2009) Arthurkurzweil.com

The Seven Shepherds of Israel
1. Abraham
2. Isaac
3. Jacob
4. Joseph
5. Moses
6. Aaron
7. David

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During the holiday [of Sukkot], some Jews recite the ushpizin prayer which symbolises the welcoming of seven “exalted guests” into the sukkah. These ushpizin (Aramaic אושפיזין – ‘guests’), represent the seven shepherds of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. According to tradition, each night a different guest enters the sukkah followed by the other six. Each of the ushpizin has a unique lesson which teaches the parallels of the spiritual focus of the day on which they visit.

– Sukkot, Wikipedia

The Seven Ushpizin of Sukkot
Day 1. Abraham
Day 2. Isaac
Day 3. Jacob
Day 4. Moses
Day 5. Aaron
Day 6. Joseph
Day 7. David

So we come to the ushpizin. As we fill our sukkah with earthly guests, we merit to host seven supernal guests, the seven “founding fathers” of the Jewish people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. While all seven ushpizin visit our sukkah on each of the seven nights and days of Sukkot, each supernal “guest” is specifically associated with one of the festival’s seven days, and is the “leading” or dominant ushpiza for that night and day.

– The Ushpizin, by Yanki Tauber, Chabad.org

Interestingly enough, the Babylonian Talmud has a very different list of Seven Shepherds than that used today by all denominations of Judaism. Indeed, David, Adam, Abraham, Jacob and Moses are included, but two others are different as they exclude Isaac and Joseph from the list:

Who are these Seven Shepherds? David in the middle, Adam, Seth, and Methuselah on his right, and Abraham, Jacob, and Moses on his left. And who are the Eight Princes? Jesse, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zedekiah, Messiah, and Elijah.

– The Talmud, Sukkah 52b

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Talmudic Approval for Giving the Dog a Bone

It’s Kosher to give your Dog a bone!

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Our Rabbis taught: ‘Bones may be handled because they are food for Dogs.’

– The Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 128a

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The Right and Left Hands of God the Father

Hands of the LORD God

I will give the victor the right to sit with Me on My throne, as I Myself first won the victory and sit with My Father on His throne.

– Revelation 3:21

The Two Good Hands of the Fathers
In Christian tradition, it is said that Jesus ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the Right hand of the Father. Who then sits at the Left hand of the Father? The most likely answer is Satan, the accuser. On the other hand, it may well be the Holy Ghost, who has been worshipped and revered as a integral part of the Christian Trinity for nearly 2,000 years. In fact, there is a book which has been published fairly recently which argues this very case, that the Holy Ghost does indeed sit at the the Left hand of God the Father. Nevertheless, the older, more traditional, argument that Satan, the ‘accuser’ or ‘adversary’ of those souls seeking to enter the Kingdom of Heaven continues to be seated at the Left (Sinister) hand of God’s Throne of Judgment, remains a fairly common understanding for most devout Christians, even in the Pagan/New Age world of today that is constantly being filled with an ever-increasing amount of new viewpoints and theological outlooks. The most specific mention of a ‘diabolical’ accuser performing the vital function of keeping disobedient sinners from a Heavenly reward which they do not deserve, and have never earned, comes from Rabbi Joshua ben Joseph Himself in the Gospel of John. The exact passage reads as follows:

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

– John 5:45-47

In general, Christian doctrine believes mankind has been saved from eternal damnation by the atoning sacrifice of Rabbi Joshua’s Crucifixion along with His Divine forgiving grace bestowed upon individual believers through the Sacrament of Baptism and life-long Christian practices.  Nevertheless, every single Christian Bible still includes the full text of the Laws of Moses which can be found in the first five books of the Old Testament. Regardless of any specific details, these supposedly ‘primitive’, ‘arcane’, and ‘out-dated’ Commandments were kept there for a reason, most probably to be read and studied by any and all Christians and perhaps even to be obeyed. Given the metaphorical passages found in the Book of Revelation there is ample reason to believe that what Joshua the Messiah said  in the Gospel of John was, and still is true even today. For just as Church tradition believes that Rabbi Jesus ‘will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,’ the Synagogue of Satan (as specifically mentioned in Revelation) might claim that, at the same time, Satan will come again in fury to accuse and punish the living and the dead for their continued and flagrant disregard for the laws of the Old Testament which continue to remain in force because God the Father has never rescinded or removed any of them.

Behold the Hands of God!

It is often said that when a person is judged before the throne of God, Joshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) acts as their defense lawyer, while Satan sits in opposition as the prosecuting attorney, hoping to sentence those who clearly deserve it to Hell. This means that Satan is nothing more than the ‘evil’ one who records the sins and misdeeds of the living in order to restrict, and even prohibit, their undeserved access to the Kingdom of Heaven and to demand punishment for one’s disobedience to the clearly written laws of God as presented in the Old Testament. Here is a sampling of some various, different Judeo-Christian Fathers and a rare glimpse of who would be seated at their Right and Left hand:

————— —————- 

Right Hand —- Father’s Throne —— Left Hand

Joshua the Messiah — God the Father ————- Satan the Accuser
Abel —————————- Adam —————————— Seth
Isaac (by Sarah) ———– Abraham —————— Ishmael (by Hagar)
Jacob/Israel —————— Isaac —————————— Esau
Ephraim ———————- Joseph ————————- Manasseh
Prince William ———- Prince Charles —————– Prince Harry
Knights Templar —— St. Peter (or Pope) ———- Knights Hospitaller
The Sheep ————- Joshua the Messiah ————- The Goats
Defense Attorney ——— Judge ——————– Prosecuting Attorney
Blue/Green —————— White —————————— Red

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