Readership Response

APRIL 2000

Akiva G. Belk ,Director

Rachel Gold, Editor

Subject: Bethany {As In The New Testament}

I was wondering if you could tell me the meaning of the place name "Bethany". I believe "Beth" means "house", so could it have originally meant house of something??

Thank you for your assistance.

David H


Shalom David,

Your question uncovers a most interesting problem.

First, Bethany is not a Hebrew word.

Second, Bethany is not found anywhere in the Torah, the Writings or the Prophets.

Third, it is said that Bethany is the name for the West Bank town of El-Azariyeh, supposedly named in honor of Lazarus.

Fourth, the meaning / definition of Bethany is uncertain according to Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible. Zondervan states that Bethany probably means "house of dates or figs." Unger's Bible Dictionary indicates Bethany means "house; place of unripe figs." Bethany is defined by Berry's Interlinear Greek - English New Testament to mean "house of misery." Strong's Concordance defines Bethany to mean "date house." New Thayer's Greek - Lexicon defines Bethany to mean, "house of depression or misery." Each of these authors are considered scholarly among Christian Messianics.

Fifth, Christians / Messianics are uncertain of the proper spelling for Bethany. The Trinitarian Bible Society, another well respected group among Christians / Messianics, spells Bethany differently in several publications of their Hebrew - English New Testament when attempting to translate into Hebrew.

One MUST understand that this is the Bible Society that Christians / Messianics use and depend upon in their attempt to convert Jews to their mistaken belief in Jesus and the New Testament. This is an atrocity! The same publisher CANNOT determine the proper way to spell its translation of Bethany, yet Christians / Messianics use its translations to witness to Jews, G-d forbid! In addition to this inconsistency their versions have added or missing words when compared to each other.

Now one might think we are being picky. NOT SO! This demonstrates the careless and undependable handling of the New Testament by Christian scholars over hundreds of years. This is why Christian / Messianic scholars like Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix and publishers like Moody Press are forced to admit the New Testament has between 150,000 to 200,000 errors. Why does this problem exist?

The New Testament, like these translations into Hebrew, are an evolution of writings over hundreds of years by a mixture of people who were generally of poor education. The results are obvious. There is no first, no original New Testament.

There is an original Torah. It was given by G-d to Moshe at Har Sinai. The Torah, unlike the New Testament, remains error free even though it is considerably older than the New Testament. The Torah is consistent. Upon careful examination one will NOT find misspellings or added or missing words. Even the seventy Hellenistic Jewish translators appointed by the Monarch Ptolemy II Philadelphus at Alexandria around 285 BCE are highly praised for their individual and "PERFECT" translation of the Tenach from Hebrew into Greek. These seventy Hellenistic Jews, secluded from each other, working independently, translated what is called the Septuagint, meaning seventy, WITHOUT ONE VARIATION of letter or word. Seventy independent works were 100 percent in agreement with each other. The Septuagint is hundreds of years older than even the earliest writings of the New Testament. The Septuagint, commonly designated LXX, is the oldest Greek version of the Tenach, {Old Testament to Christians / Messianics}.

In 1948 a discovery of ancient Hebrew writings were found, called the "Dead Sea Scrolls. Among these writings were portions of the Book Isaiah. They were compared for accuracy with other copies of Isaiah. They were acknowledged to be 100% accurate.

What is the point? Neither Zondervan's possible definition of Bethany as "house of dates or figs" or, Ungers "house; place of unripe figs" or, Berry's "house of misery" or Strong's "date house" or Thayer's "house of depression or misery" agree with the Trinitarian Bible Society's translation of Bethany. This further exposes a most serious and vast problem.

If Bethany is not a Hebrew word, if Bethany is not found in Hebrew dictionaries, if Bethany does not exist anywhere in Tenach and if the definition of Bethany cannot be determined nor agreed upon by non Jewish scholars and translators then what does this say about the New Testament? Does Bethany exist? Did Bethany ever exist? This casts much doubt on the credibility of the New Testament, its writers, its translators and its scholars.

Thayer states that Origen {an early church father who is generally considered the greatest theologian and biblical scholar of the early Eastern church by non Jewish scholars} confesses "that in his day {185 CE- 254 CE} nearly all the codd. {manuscripts} {then} read {Bethany}, declares that when he journeyed through those parts he did not find any place of that name."

The point is that Bethany like so many other words, claims, suggested quotes and statements of the New Testament is not verifiable and is very questionable.

Wishing you the best,


Subject: Where May I Find A Hebrew Calendar?
Where may I find a Hebrew calendar that would go back to 1950? I want to see if specific dates line up with any festivals in torah.
On JewishPath we have links to calendars, listed under Jewish Links. Go to the index page, click on Jewish links then scroll to Calendars.
Racheld Gold

Subject Jewish Assimilation
I have tried to research the subject, but only vagues details: among the Jewish movements is there any data pertaining to assimilation rates: orthodox-conservative- reform if there are, what does the data indicate as far as reasons.
Also, where may I continue to locate this information.
Thank you
Shalom Ros,
Please contact the Intermountain Jewish News. From time to time they carry articles on Assimilation. The IJN is an award winning Jewish paper. One of the very best in the nation. You can find them on our index page under Jewish Links. We would enjoy reading your research once it is completed.
All the best,
Rachel Gold,

Subject: A Timely Lesson For My Life!
This was a lovely lesson you gave, and very timely in more than my life, I am
sure. Thank you so much! :-)
We are pleased that the lesson My Problems {SINS} Have Returned ...for Pesach {G-d Forbid!}was helpful.
Best Regards,
Rachel Gold,

Subject: Contributions to JewishPath
I really like your Gematria, I already used it at my Synogogue. I would like to donate to your cause in memory of my Mother. What your address, or where do I send the donation.
Rafeal, (robert)

Shalom Robert,

Thank you for your kind words about Dr. Belk's Gematria lessons. We are very pleased that you want to share in the mitzvah of JewishPath. Any contribution is greatly appreciated!!

For a gift of Chai, $18.00 American dollars or greater you can sponsor a Cyberspace Gematria lesson in the memory of your mother, may she rest in peace.

We have a standard dedication that we use or, if you like, you may write your own dedication and E-Mail it to us or send it along with the contribution. Sometimes it is necessary for us to edit dedications that are long. We will need your mothers name as she spelled it and the name of those making the dedication. Also a good time to make a dedicate is on the Hebrew date of the loved one's death or birth.

Please send your sponsor contribution to:
Morrison, Colorado 80465 - 0005

Best regards,

Rachel Gold

Anyone desiring to make a dedication should follow the same procedure.

Subject: Define The Tribe of Levi and The Tribe Of Yisroel

what does levi and yisrael mean?


Shalom Manzer,

There are twelve tribes of Yisroel plus Yosiefs two sons Ephraim and
Menashe, a total of fourteen tribes. Hashem chose the tribe of Levi which
include the Kohanim to be His. Yosief was not included in the count but his
sons were. That makes a total of twelve tribes again. Yaakov who is also
called Yisroel gave Yosief the firstborn son of the wife that he loved,
Rachel, the blessing of the firstborn. This means that Yosief received two
blessings. He received a blessing for Ephraim and a blessing for Menashe.
The name Yisroel was given to Yaakov after he wrestled with the melech of
his brother Esov in Genesis 32:29 I have discussed the meaning of this name
in Parshas Vayishlach Genesis 32.4 - 36.43 in the article >On Wrestling
With The Angel Of Hashem.<

Wishing you the best,


Subject: Significant Stories That Play A Major Role In Those Whom Practice Judaism

My name is Jennifer and Im from NYC. I am doing a report on religion and how significant it is to everyday life. I would like to know if you can suggest to me a couple of significant stories that play a major role in those whom practice Judaism.

Thank you very much for your help.

Shalom Jennifer,

Three books come to mind all of which are reasonably priced:
Small Miracles, Small Miracles II and Small Miracles of Love and Friendship all by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal published by Adams Media Corporation.

Best Regards,

Racheld Gold


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