The biblical Israelites may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, according to a new study by an Israeli psychology professor.

Writing in the British journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an “altered state of awareness,” Shanon hypothesized.

“In advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation, the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings,” Shanon wrote.

“On such occasions, one often feels that in seeing the light, one is encountering the ground of all Being … many identify this power as God.”

[Full article]

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  • I think I read about this drug the professor is taking, ayahuasca, in an article about one of the Bronfman children who belongs to some sect that uses this drug for worship.

  • Muffti loved the last quote:

    “The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event. We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science.”


  • Middle has never displeased Muffti. He just thinks the Rabbi responsible for the quote he quoted must ahve been, well, high…

  • The people of Israel giveth, the people of Israel taketh away.

    Does this mean we have to radically re-interpret Scriptural passages calling for stoning?

    “Rastaman Vibration, yeah, positive!….”

  • I’m not sure why one has to do a study for this.

    It was common in my highschool to suggest such theories. Mass halucination FTW

  • Well, Tom, that would explain Revelations as well.

    With Revelations, I’ve always thought it was bad oysters, but that’s just me.

  • Oh, yeah, speaking of Jews and drugs:

    Our community recently hosted Rabbi Tendler, the son-in-law of R. Moshe Feinstein, for Shabbat. He was here to speak at a Jewish medical ethics symposium.

    Anyway, at a panel discussion Motzei Shabbat, someone asked him his position on medical marijuana. He said that while marijuana is a serious drug and that there are serious issues for habitual users, he saw no reason to withhold the drug from people if it relieved their pain and suffering.

    However, he said, the real issue was what bracha one should make before partaking. His opinion was that the proper thing to do was to recite the tefillat ha derech (the prayer one recites prior to setting out on a trip).

    Rim shot.

  • 600,000? Mmmm, sounds as if an introducion to exegesis of that pericope might be of interest when I’m back from work. 🙂

  • Ephraim, we Catholics leave Revelations to the Mike Huckabees of the world– we pretend it doesn’t exist. We’re not inclined to examine entrails for the End of Days. But we like Israel anyway,

  • Watch…Chabad will start using this shit to recruit people instead of Vodka.

  • ….mea culpa, for it’s off-topic– Ephraim, my sincere congratulations to you and to Middle on last night’s results (the Comeback Kid, version 4.0).

    BBC World Service carried a report today on Israelis’ views of the presidential candidates– Hillary is reportedly seen as by far the most favorable to Israel. A great day for America, a great day for Israel.

  • I’m a Hillary supporter?

    Who knew?

    I want someone like Lieberman but who is electable: compassionate old-school liberalism for domestic politics (without the distortions of the “Progressives”) and an aggressive non-apologetic foreign policy that is four-square behind Israel and has no truck with Islamazoids.

    I know. Not gonna happen.

    And I’m astonished that Israelis think that a woman who sat there and let Suha Arafat defame Israel with a blood libel rather than walk out and who then embraced her and kissed her is the best candidate for Israel. She’s an unprincipled opportunist and you can’t trust anything she says.

    Obama said something last night about how he wants to create an America where an American abroad can be proud to call himself an American or something like that.

    I almost puked. He may be ashamed to be an American, but I’m not.

  • Ephraim, I was always ashamed to be an American until Michelle Obama said the campaigh had finally made her proud to be an American. (Check out the Michelle profile in the current New Yorker. It’s priceless. Or, to quote you guys, oy.)

    The BBC’s Israeli talking head opined that since Bill was considered Israel’s best friend, Hillary basks in his reflected glory. (Shades of Middle’s view that if you liked him, you’ll love her.)

    If McCain’s elected, Lieberman ends up in his cabinet with either the State or Defense portfolios.

  • Well, another reason to vote for McCain. Not the guy I would have chosen, but if the alternative is Obama, I’ll take him.

    Not sure, in retrospect, that Bill was a good friend of Israel at all. As far as I’m concerned, Oslo and everything that came from it has been disastrous for Israel. That’s still Peres’ fault more than Bill’s, but Clinton’s desire for a “legacy” certainly didn’t help.

  • Seriously, who cares about Israel and the supposed views of the candidates? They’ve all said they support Israel and want to move the peace process ahead in a way that agrees with ideas that have been on the table since Clinton was Prez.

    What’s more important in this election is that the US is being driven to bankruptcy and ruin by the war in Iraq and the many stupid policies of this Administration – policies supported by McCain. Not only that, but the US Supreme Court can’t afford another extreme conservative justice.

    I don’t care who the Republican nominee is, it is time for that party to take a break from governing. Hillary or Barack will do better than McCain on any number of issues.

  • Middle, that is indeed the wet dream of the National Review’s editorial board. However, McCain’s unlikely to nominate “extreme conservative” justices or indeed govern in an “extreme conservative” fashion. This is a guy who opposed Arctic drilling; legislated against torture; teamed with Ted Kennedy on immigration reform; co-sponsored the Patient Bill of Rights with Kennedy and John Edwards; co-sponsored legislation on global warming with Lieberman; opposed Rumsfeld on Iraq policy…. the list goes on and on.

    There may be lots of reasons to vote against McCain. But the notion that he’s an “extreme” right winger doesn’t fly.

    As for Iraq, we’re there like it or not, and even Obama will have a tough time extricating us from it. And sure, McCain and the rest of them will give de rigeur statements of support for Israel. But it’s not just the “peace process” (say what?) that’s at issue. It’s Iran, Islamofascism, and the rest of the pathologies in that part of the world.

    I can’t agree there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the candidates on the Middle East.

  • That’s precisely my point, Middle. All of the “peace” policies that have been in place since Clinton was President are fucked up. They have put large parts of Israel under Arab bombardment and transferred billions of dollars and tons of weapons to the people who are doing the bombarding while everyone turns a blind eye to what is going on. Meanwhile, relentless pressure is placed on Israel to “take risks for ‘peace'” and to not “respond disproportionately”. You’d think the people doing all of this wanted to see Jews murdered indiscriminately. Israel does not need any more of these “peace” policies. A

    s I said, I think a lot of the blame for this lies with Israel itself, so it is probably more important to get rid of Olmert and his gang rather than worry about the US presidential election.

  • Remember the big Keith Ellison scare? He’s probably spent more time in Israel the last two years than anyone else in Congress. That doesn’t make me like him, just that any panic in the streets at his election was misguided.

    Ephraim – Lieberman an old-school Liberal? When I think of old school Liberals who also were unwavering in their support of Jews and Israel I think of Hubert Humphrey, not Joe Lieberman. Unlike slick Joe, HHH wasn’t always playing both sides for political gain. Nor was HHH constantly trying to impose his own morality on free speech. He may have been a hack in some ways, but he didn’t play both sides of the fence for his own political benefits. With the exception of Vietnam and it cost him the Presidency – which Lieberman should take to heart. Supporting NAFTA, CAFTA and other free trade agreements while at the same time supporting environmental legislation is more than wishy-washy. Working for alternative fuel legislation while voting for tax cuts for oil companies and supporting a war waged for oil companies; supporting wholeheartedly a war that did more to hurt National Security than help and then whining about how it wasn’t being waged properly… and on and on…

    Old school Liberal?

    Will Senator Clinton – of all the candidates the one who is the most emotionally attached to Taba – use that more as an incentive for redemption? Or will it make her gun shy like Bush. If it were the latter, would that make her more palatable to you?

    Tom – I know we like to talk about Jewish athletes at Jewlicious, and you and I like to barb about your beloved local teams… but what’s up with your pervert baseball scout who happens to be a fairly practicing Jew?

  • Tom, McCain approved and approves of both Roberts and Alito (even if the asshole Novak claims that he dissed Alito). He believes in cutting taxes for corporations and keeping the Bush tax cuts that mean that Warren Buffet pays less than half of the taxes I do as a percentage of income. He has no intention of getting out of Iraq soon, which puts him in a box which neither Obama nor Hillary will face.

    Here’s a good resource.

    On abortion, he talks liberal but votes conservative.

    On finance, he is old school fiscal conservative.

    On bankruptcy, he voted for the new rules that give preference to banks and credit cards over individuals.

    Big “Drug War” advocate and supports heavy prison sentences with little latitude for judges.

    Voucher advocate for schooling. Opposes governmental inclusion or presence in education. Likes prayer in schools.

    On the environment, he scores less than 30% by this watchdog group. By comparison, both of California’s senators score around 90%.

    Strong NRA record.

    Big Patriot Act supporter. Opposes torture but doesn’t want intelligence agencies to have to respond to questions about their methods.

    There’s no question that he’s his own man and that on some issues he’s willing to contend with parts of his party. However, he votes with his party around 88% of the time and that’s not the mark of a closet liberal. He’s a conservative Republican who in some instances has aligned himself with other politicians or votes that run counter to the majority of his party. That will help him in the election, but it won’t help him with my personal opinion. Another Republican President right now is just bad news for America.

  • Ramon, if HHH were alive and running, I would vote for him.

    But he’s dead, Jim.

  • ramon, that dude’s Jewish? Man, somebody tell him about internet porn…. His alleged victims say he was going at it for 45 mins.– how would they know that?

    Looks like Pawlenty may be McCain’s VP choice. What do you make of the guy?

    Middle, I wouldn’t mistake McCain for a liberal, believe me. However, if he’s elected, and the Dems strengthen their hold on Congress, I think you’ll see a lot of bipartisan legislation. Immigration reform immediately comes to mind. Keep in mind McCain owes the Republican establishment nothing. Unlike Bush or his father, McCain won’t give a damn about the hard right. Hell, he’s likely a one-termer. This could work out well for the country.

    Obama at times hints at this kind of governance, too– bringing competing interests, parties etc. together. We’ll see in the general if this is likely, or if he wants to govern on the left.

    Across a range of issues– immigration, entitlement reform, health care– our government has abjectly failed to accomplish anything. Which candidate is more likely to push through legislation on these kinds of issues? That’s what I’ll be looking at as the campaign unfolds.

  • Ephraim – thanks for the info on HHH untimely passing. News around these parts. I was supposed to have lunch with him next week.

    I wasn’t questioning whether or not you would’ve voted for Humphrey if you had the chance. Just, IMHO, Humphrey personified the old school Liberal, not Lieberman. HHH may have been great at playing the political machine, but as far as the issues (outside of Vietnam – which was Johnson’s fault) he stayed true to his Progressive roots until he died.

    I don’t know what Lieberman stays true to. If it were up to him he’d rewrite the whole Constitution to find a way to public school prayer jibe with separation of church and state. His flip flop on Affirmative Action is legendary. And HHH would never have tried to push off that starting a war in Iraq would somehow help in the war on terrorism – and then complained about the way it was being waged.

  • Who is this Jewish baseball scout perv of whom you speak?

    Well, I think it is quite possible to push for a war and then complain about how it is being waged. Even from before we went in (which I supported on general principle), I had a bad feeling that Bush, being Bush, would fuck it up. At the time, I thought it was part of a grand strategy where Iran, which is the real enemy, was the ultimate objective. If I had my druthers, and in a perfect world) we would have invaded Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. The Saudis provide the ideology and money for the worldwide jihad, and Iran provides the muscle and organization. The fact that Bush is still all up in their ass shows that he really isn’t serious about this.

    But it turned out the whole thing was run by incompetents (why is Moqtada el Sadr still alive? He should have been dead within a week) who tried to sort of have a war but didn’t take it seriously. Not so sure that criticizing that is out of court.

    Anyway, my comments about Lieberman are not because I like the guy so much. It’s just that he was a handy name to try to make a point: that I want a liberal for domestic policy and a hawk for foreign policy. Unfortunately, such a person does not seem to exist.

  • Rabbi, Obama has done everything in his power to distance himself from these folks. These attacks are an attempt to link him to people whose relationship to Jews is negative, but there is little in his record that confirms that he shares these views. If anything, he has gone out of his way to make public declarations that oppose these views and that show his support for Israel. This particular article has a clear bias and I find it hard to take it seriously for that reason.

    Tom, we all want bipartisanship. Let’s not forget that Hillary did finally learn about bipartisanship in the Senate and seemed to be quite good at it – as McCain will attest. The issue is different. The issue is that 12 of the past 14 years, the Republicans have controlled the House and usually the Senate. They have been so partisan and so effective in their partisanship because of their lockstep, arm-twisting demands from their politicians, that they have caused great rifts and divisions in the US and certainly in the government. McCain, with his 88% voting-along record has been part of this partisan push and putsch. Why should we trust that he’ll be bipartisan now? The other question that comes up is how believable the claim is in the first place. Bush Jr. made the same claim and even trotted out all kinds of Democratic Texans who told whoever would listen that he had been a truly bipartisan governor. He entered the White House and became one of the most partisan Presidents I can think of.

    In other words, I don’t believe McCain because his power-base wants division and partisanship.

  • You want hawkish? How’s this: we’ll leave Iraq forthwith, but if we find that any al-Qaeda are there in the future, we’ll go right back in.

  • I’d vote for Hillary so she could get an intern of her own. Revenge is a dish best served cold. 🙂

    And I can’t help but wonder why there never seem to be any females commenting on the threads involving current politics. It somewhat reminds me of a gentlemen-only club. Fancy any drinks, Sirs?

  • That Barackism may end up rivalling John Kerry’s ‘I voted for it before I voted against it’. I wonder if Hillary will use it. All McCain had to do was get a bit aggressive with Barack, and he responded with a mistake. Blitz the linebackers, and good things happen.

    Women are too intelligent and emotionally healthy to take any interest in our idle musings, froylein.

  • That’s hawkish? That’s bullshit.

    Obama is like Kerry in that regard: Kerry said that he would have invaded Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq. Only a fool would believe that. Same thing with Obama and his Pakistan remarks. Democrats trying to outflank Republicans on the right is not going to be taken seriously.

    That’s like a play fake into the line when everyone knows you can’t run the ball. Your blitzing linebacker is going to ignore it and drop the QB for a loss.

  • Nice analogy!

    Muffti has to agree, though to be careful about it, what Kerry said iddn’t suggest that he would have invaded Saudi Arabia – just that he would have done it rather than Iraq which presumably as president he wouldn’t have invaded.

  • Democrats want to make war just like Republicans; they’d just pick different countries.

  • froylein, you haven’t been here to witness the campaign, and it’s hard to explain– but it has to do with change and hope, OK?

  • “Well, I think it is quite possible to push for a war and then complain about how it is being waged.”

    Ephraim, I completely agree with you. I meant in the context of Lieberman veiling to the Dems eyes his support of a poorly planned war that was obviously going to harm national security, by arguing how poorly the war was executed. He thinks he’s playing to moderates and Independents, except most of them have already seen through the deceit. Like you, most Independents see a national security benefit for war against Iran and Syria – but now we obviously can’t handle invading Iran while occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. Independents see we can barely handle an emasculated Iraq – plus a masculated Iran or Syria?

    There were plenty of Jewish Israel-supporting Dems opposed to the war from the start: Schumer, Harman, Sander Levin, Carl Levin (who called for an attack against Syria), Lantos (B’ma-alot k’doshim u’tohorim) – American Jewish supporters of Israel should take note of that. Remember, the Israeli gov’t. was even cool to the war in the first place.

    Having said that, here’s you daily dose of Jewish-American Athletes:

    Tom can explain the details further as he’s a big fan of the guy’s team.

  • froylein, you haven’t been here to witness the campaign, and it’s hard to explain– but it has to do with change and hope, OK


  • Middle, the English language has got more than 500,000 words – should be enough to provide for a sufficient amount of catch phrases for a while. 😉