Marko is Yisrael?

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Benjamin Goldstein, who might be Leigh, yesterday told me I had won. He did not make it clear what I had won, but told the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel, or what I assume was an angel of G-d.


Do you know that story? I didn't, not being well-versed in Biblical reference, and having had my Bible stolen by the people at church. I looked for a Bible at the place where I live and couldn't find one. How can there not be a Bible in the house? I'll have to get a Noss comparative religion book, both of my copies were stolen. So much of my stuff has been stolen. But it doesn't matter. From what Benjamin is telling me I have won the most important wrestling match of my life.


Okay, the story of Jacob, which is also the story of all prophets. He's alone, a being from the void appears and challenges him to a contest. Wait, this is also Gilgamesh and Ankidu. They wrestle for some time and neither can beat the other. It is so wearying for someone who's never even had to compete that hard and so refreshing to be meeting an equal that you'd like it to go one forever, but there are chores to do, so the angel (I think it wasn't exactly clear who asked what) asks Jacob to release him, and Jacob says, "not before you bless me." And the angel says, "from this day you shall not be called Jacob, but Yisrael (wrestler with G-d in Hebrew)."


So Benjamin said I should no longer be called Marko, but Yisrael. And I was very blown away by this, not knowing how to respond. Of course I have spent my life wrestling with the big questions of existence and I have known G-d in my life. I am not one of those people who thinks that perhaps I might have been intervened with. No, I am totally unequivocal in how I look at those events. I was going to die and something stopped the process so I could live. I call that G-d. If you want to call it something else, I'm cool with that, but don't call it chance, or coincidence. Coincidence happens, but when it happens for the twentieth time, coincidence starts to sound far fetched.


More than twenty years ago I wrote a story about how an angel named Oconos (a homage to Cronos that Benjamin pointed out, his name was originally Sonoco, the name of the mythical American Indian friend I had as a child, see all the connections?) who came to offer me a deal, a covenant, and I accept that deal. And then the Devil comes to offer me a better deal, but I have one question that the Devil won't answer and I won't take the deal until the Devil answers. I'm going to play coy with you here, because all of this will be part of the first novel that I will produce shortly. But the point is that all people who are touched by G-d are touched by the Devil too.


My point in saying this is that all of the predictions in that story have played out as told by Oconos. I could never have imagined how difficult this all would be, just writing a bunch of stories about my crazy life as the smartest man in the world (which Oconos tells me is not true, that I have misconstrued what my greatest gift is to be). I have been treated so horribly it's beyond imagination. And that I have come to this place of peace is beyond my wildest dreams.


G-d really does work in mysterious ways and those who believe they know the plan are deluded. The point is never to try to figure out the plan, for in that route lies madness. The point is to learn what being a good servant to your master is and let the master guide you. In performing that duty is found abundance, and bliss, and the caresses of angels with whom you have wrestled to a draw.


Love and peace to all on writerbeat and beyond. I take my message to the world on the phone, the most strange of the strange way things have appeared in my life, well, not really.       


mark henry smith Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:08pm
So much strange has happened in the last twenty four hours that I don't know what to say. But it is another day and I am still here about to perform my new song, Broken Thread, on the phone tonight with drum accompaniment. I need to get my keyboard back. That also was stolen by the church, taken under duress. Under all the religious dress hat the priests wore was duress. Pardon my French, but f... all of them, all of those m.... f..... who did me dirty, despite how well it turned out for me. How many others have they treated so callously? Never again, I say to all my Jewish friends, all my female friends, all my abused friends, to all I say, never again. 
Shane Laing Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:20pm
May I suggest you find another church. The one you are at is robbing you blind.
mark henry smith Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:20pm
Oh, sorry, I just went back and looked at Benjamin's comment. He told me I had prevailed over angels and men and left the Yisrael moniker as a question. But still. Heady stuff for a burned out (REALLY?), ex-con (REALLY?), next Hemmingway (REALLY?), nothing (really), who's having the time of his life.
It appears that Facebook and some of the libraries have begun cleaning up the mess that some people have made. As I just posted on another of my posts, I won't feel that I've prevailed until I have the first ten million in the bank. Lawyers will be involved I'm sure.  
mark henry smith Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:35pm
Thanks for the advice, Shane, but you can't rob a blind man blind. This was all part of a plan begun more than twenty years ago. The blind are the people who stole, but didn't know about the plan. It's all coming to fruition, I do believe. They never saw the tricks that G-d had up his/her sleeve. And they never do until it's too late. Right? And then they start scrambling, as we've seen here.
I got the call yesterday inviting me to another family party at my brother's place and they so want me to attend as the family disgrace, and the unregulars will be there too, Jonathon, and who knows. What would Jacob do? Wrestle or leave it be? I'll ask Dayton and though he may be part of this mess of sin, he's the one person who let me in when I was desperate. Money is just the Lord's way of making the suckers pay with what they hold most dear. Y'all hear?
mark henry smith Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:37pm
Lots of boring articles on writerbeat today. Opher, get a life.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:21am
I think the Gilgamesh story can rather be compared to Cain and Abel in its message. The Gilgamesh tale marks the transition to urbanisation. The city wins. Cain and Abel marks the neolithical revolution, the farmer Cain killing the nomad Abel.
Of course, I know the latter story better, so I see that there are obviously other layers: sibling rivalry, expulsion from the wilderness, responsibility, discipline to rule over your desire to sin.
Cain is asked by g-d before the murder to work harder, to do more, or, so warns the Lord, he may fall to sin. He sins and is cursed, and yet the cursed still receives the love and protection of the Lord.
The angel who fought Jacob was a man. We don't know if sombody challenged the other or if they fought for other reasons. The legend is so old that the word 'angel' does not yet mean a supernatural being, it just means messenger.
After the fight, the man delivers the message of g-d. He is not only blessed for he struggles with men, but with g-d himself. G-d does not expect or want gullible followership, he has create men in his image, with a free will. Again that is what differs our tradition from pagan traditions that generally know only fate, and lethargy as 'wisdom'.
The bible warns on many occasion to put yourself above g-d. Lucifer, somewhat an old deity representing the morning star, falls from heaven because he tries to rise above g-d. The tower of Babel is another example. One should not condescent onto g-d or dismiss him, rather rub against him, your will against his will, accept and refuse what is in his name, challenge and dare. So, yes, what brings you close to g-d can bring you close to Satan. There is also a mythical story of Satan trying to entice Jesus in the desert.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 4, 2018 - 12:47pm
I just remember that Jesus also struggles with G-d and became insecure. On the cross he supposedly screamed 'Lord, have you left me!', in Arameic "Eloï, Eloï, lema sabachtani".
mark henry smith Added Jan 5, 2018 - 12:50pm
That's true. Why hath though forsaken me? And Christ had to deal with the Devil, and the Jews had to deal with the desert, and G-d was there, right? But why won't the children of G-d just accept fundamental truths? Such as Kant's categorical imperative, that behavior we justify for ourselves we justify for all humanity? Doesn't that seem obvious?
All people who follow G-d have to go through long periods of struggle and we who struggle because of the good works we do in the name of G-d ask ourselves, why? Why is a loving G-d so interested in having his/her most beloved be so tested? So abused?
I think that's the wrong question. We're all being tested in some profound way, but the reality of those close to G-d is that our test is different. It's not a test in this world, but a small drama in an eternal struggle between good and evil. And then when we meet what we believe to be evil incarnate we discover, if we're open to it, that the being we're wrestling with is ourselves, the many facets of a unified identity that has been fractured by mortal existence, by creation of being.
At the base of all things we could say there is the Toa, or G-d, or Allah, or the eternal soul of all things. At the base of all wisdom is forgiveness for we know that no person made themselves, but that doesn't mean we don't have to hold them responsible for their actions. If we can't do that, make people claim responsibility, like Michka for his comments, that he so quickly disavowed, we create a world devoid of hope. Forgiveness is not the foundation of hope. Justice is.   
mark henry smith Added Jan 5, 2018 - 12:55pm
Let's not forget what G-d says to whomever he is with in the garden. What if man partaketh of the tree and become like us? Or something to that effect. Since I don't have my religious texts to cite. This has to be the oddest passage in the old testament where we are presented with a mono-G-d addressing another being of equal stature worrying about the development of his/her creation.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 5, 2018 - 1:24pm
I would suggest that you buy a new bible. It's worth the money.
The snake tells Eve that they become like g-d in understanding decency. Man was created with free will, but not with morals. With the original sin, the disobedience, Adam and Eve understood that they were naked. Men have innate morals. The equality of man and g-d as advertised by the snake only relates to having some moral compass. And, of course, the snake is deceptive. Men and G-d are still not equal in decency.
Why does g-d test us? Maybe it is the price of the disobedience. We wanted morals, the forbidden fruit, now we have them. I think it is a lot about free will. Unlike all other creatures, men are free. To act freely we have to pay the price, erect moral boundaries of our actions. Remember that these legends have the answers to some questions, but they were written by men! Some will never be answered.
mark henry smith Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:23am
Again, I say unto you, beautifully stated Benjamin. We are men and women flawed in our conception, naked in our essence, fearful of our vulnerability.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 7, 2018 - 4:10pm
And some of us are relieved a bit after having sent an amicable text message to our beloved brother.
mark henry smith Added Jan 8, 2018 - 12:44pm
I asked if was queer. If all of this was about him being in the closet and all of his female conquests a compensation device for all of the older men he had sex with as a teenager. Wait, I just made that up. That's not my brother. He's a dude, a stud, a model for humanity, the honorary mayor of this town. He didn't go down on anybody decidedly male.  
The person I'm so happy to have a decent relationship with finally is my mom while we still have some time to relate. There once was a man who read Jane Austin, because his mother when moving had tossed them. He found them quite boring, they put him to snoring, but he didn't tell mom because it would cost him.
Thanks Ben, keep the faith.