Sunday, January 3, 2016

Exclusive Material: Holy Incense for the Golden Altar

Today, I would like to talk about Holy Incense (hakatoret qodesh - הקטרת קדש). Its Exodus 30:34-38.
YLT Ex 30:34 And Jehovah saith unto Moses,  'Take to thee spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, spices and pure frankincense; they are part for part; 
YLT Ex 30:35 and thou hast made it a perfume, a compound, work of a compounder, salted, pure, holy; 
YLT Ex 30:36 and thou hast beaten some of it small, and hast put of it before the testimony, in the tent of meeting, whither I am met with thee; most holy it is to you. 
YLT Ex 30:37  'As to the perfume which thou makest, with its proper proportion ye do not make to yourselves, holy it is to thee to Jehovah;
YLT Ex 30:38 a man who maketh any like it--to be refreshed by it--hath even been cut off from his people.'
First of all, the word סמים (samim) traditionally means (sweet) spices or aromatics. There is nothing to cross-reference this word within the Written Torah, however, the closest word appears to be קסם (kesem) from Numbers 23:23 which means "divination". 

This is why my theory about the ingredients of the Holy Incense goes as follows:

First of all, all of these ingredients should've been readily available as they needed a lot of it for daily use in the Tabernacle so it couldn't have been something like you see in the translation above. These are all rare spices so I do not think they were used.

Secondly, spices come from organic material (trees and herbs), which is why I think that samim means "sweet herbs" (oshev as in Gen 1:11) properly. 

Thirdly, the Incense had to have some kind of practical use as everything in the Tabernacle was practical, so aside from one of the reasons given in the Torah in Leviticus 16:13, there had to be another reason. I think that listed compounds were psychoactive in nature which was the main reason to burn this incense daily in the Tabernacle.

So to make 4 Oz of Holy Incense we need to take: 

1) 1 Oz of Marijuana. The word nataf means inspiration/prophecy. In other words, the text speaks about an aromatic that causes you to be inspired or prophecy (a hallucinogenic). Marijuana is an obvious choice due to sweet smell and due to its hallucinogenic properties. Please note that Marijuana does not affect judgment as alcohol so hallucinations from the use of the herb are not delusions but rather inspirations. High Priest talked to God in the Holy of Holies (Ark Room) so he had to be inspired to do so. The reason why Marijuana is because it is easily available and it is known to most cultures throughout the world.  

2) 1 Oz of Coca Leaves (shchelet - roar or fierceness). Coka Leaves is a perfect choice as it makes you "roar", stimulates you so to speak. The text definitely talks about some stimulant. Coca just seems the most obvious choice as it is widely available and known to many cultures in the world. Coca is not exactly a herb, it is more of a tree or a bush/plant so perhaps it was something else, a herb with stimulating properties when smoked. My prime candidates for this component used to be Ephedra Sinica and Acacia Rigidula. However, I am not sure about these ones. Ephedra probably because it grows in the desert, but it is not sweet. On the other hand, can it be as simple as coffee? Basically, it had to be easily available, seed-bearing, SWEET herb. It couldn't have been something exotic, because they were in the desert and could not easily obtain goods. This is the only ingredient that I can't definitively identify yet.

3) 1 Oz of Opium Poppy (chelbenah - fat or gum). Definitely, opium poppy as it drips fat(opium) and it is a depressant. Widely available and known around the world. Grows in the desert.

4) 1 Oz of pure Frankincense, (white - levonah). Basically a WHITE nice smelling incense - a base. This is the only ingredient that tradition seems to get right. It is widely available and used around the world. It is white and it has a sweet smell. Torah uses the word "pure" so traditional explanation (frankincense) is correct. 

You grind them fine and mix it well together to get 4 Oz of the Holy Incense. Three out of four of these components are foods according to Gen 1:29.

Here is the idiomatic translation of Exodus 30:34:
"And saying is Yahuah to Moses: Take to yourself sweet spices: a hallucinogen, a stimulant and a depressant, sweet herbs and white incense pure. Component by component shall it be;"
Basically, here is my inner reasoning for the above: In order to make a Holy Incense, first, we must take a white base (levonah) which will provide the compound with the smoking properties. Then we take the main active ingredient - nataf to make High Priest inspired. Hallucinogenic herbs cause huge anxiety, so you need chelbenah(depressant) to take it off. Unfortunately, the High Priest now is so doped up that he is about to fall asleep. So we need an upper/stimulant - shchelet - to balance him out.

As a smoker, I also want to point out that the most healthy way to smoke (especially something like that) is to do it the way Torah describes it - indirectly, by burning it on hot coals. So no cigarettes for the High Priest. :)

God made us in His image, which means that God likes what we like, and He most certainly likes organic drugs. Torah never prohibits organic drugs (unlike alcohol) and does not prescribe any punishment whatsoever for using it or being under its influence in the Tabernacle.

Remember, we can't make it for ourselves because this mix was reserved specifically to the Tabernacle. Concoction described above is extremely addictive (even lethal - can cause severe respiratory depression) so only a holy person (High Priest), who has ultimate discipline and self-control could handle it without problems. This mixture brings a lot of pleasure when smoked so it was reserved for those who God brought near to Himself. This mix was forbidden to the commoner similarly to other things that were prohibited to non-priests. However, there is no prohibition to eat it, so I highly recommend to try the mixture as a tea or as food (i.e a brownie). 

Please note that organic drugs are absolutely harmless when used responsibly and in moderation. In fact - they are food. So please do not think that by smoking this Incense High Priest was somehow "under the influence" of drugs. This is not what happens, in fact, the opposite happens so I think my theory is quite solid in this sense. We are made in the image of God, so I am sure that God likes organic drugs as much as we do.

If you will ask me how sure I am about my theory, I would say 99%. 

I hope you enjoyed this material. And if you have any thoughts I would love to hear them.

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