DOES DESTINY EXIST?

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In Greek mythology, the Fates, three ladies dressed in white, symbolized man’s fate. The first of them, Clotho, spun the thread of life on her spindle; the second one, Lachesis, measured its length by her rod; the third, called Atropos, cut the thread of life at her will. Nobody was able to oppose them. Even almighty Zeus was powerless against them; he was unable to change the destiny of a person even if he firmly wished it.

The issue about the existence of destiny more or less remains unsolved. People’s lives look like numberless straight lines, each one a different color and nuance, which  emanate from a common center. Like the rails of a railway, they never meet, and each of them follows its own predetermined course. According to many theologians, and even in some passages from Martin Luther and Saint Paul, the trajectories of our lives follow a route already set. They believed that God has prearranged everything. Poets, philosophers, and writers think in the same way.
Free will is just illusion; man cannot act apart from the events that drag him here and there like a flag, which changes direction according to the wind that is blowing. It is as if a great architect had already designed a path for every living being to follow, as a director does when giving the actors roles in a play.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

CAN A RICH MAN ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

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“Starting from nothing, I have become very rich. Hence, I have asked myself, ‘With all these riches, do I deserve the kingdom of heaven?’ In fact, in the Gospel it is written: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:24). What does this passage mean to you? Do you think I have sinned by accumulating wealth on behalf of our families?”
“In my opinion, in that passage, Jesus wanted to say that you must create riches on behalf of others, not only for yourself. You have built the fortune of our families. This was a good action, because now we are rich, thanks to you.”
“My interpretation is different. With money we can buy external things, not the inner world, and the kingdom of heaven is linked with the innermost heart. To be close to God, the heart should not be spoiled by the lust for wealth. At the beginning of my life as a rich man, I was sure that I could purchase everything with money. But over the years, I came to realize that I couldn’t buy love, friendship, or the esteem of others. In other words, I couldn’t buy feelings. I couldn’t buy invisible valuable things for my soul.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE PRECEPTS THAT NON-JEWS HAVE TO OBSERVE

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Non-Jews have to observe seven precepts, but we Jews have to observe six hundred thirteen precepts!’
“I looked at Erez with astonishment. He stood up and took out a pen and a sheet of paper from the drawer of the desk. ‘Now, hold this pen in your hand and write down the seven precepts that non-Jews have to observe. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not have sex with your family members. Do not have sex with animals. Do not eat parts of animals that are still alive. Do not worship other gods but God. Do not worship idols. Do not curse the  name of God. Build law courts in your country,’ Erez said.”
“Uncle Salvatore, the precepts are nine not seven. Why did Erez say seven precepts?”
“I guess that the precepts that had similar contents, that is, those regarding God, were grouped into one. At that time I didn’t notice how many they were.”
“After writing down the seven precepts, I was doubtful about the seventh precept. ‘I think law courts are places where people quarrel. In the courts of law there are arguments, anger, and hatred. Attorneys argue with each other, and there is also acrimony against the judge whenever one feels that his verdict is unfair. So why should we build new law courts? Instead, they should be abolished,’ I said. ‘No. It’s not like that. It is necessary that a third person judges. If law courts didn’t exist, people would kill one another, for everybody would think he is right. Without law and judges, humanity wouldn’t progress and people couldn’t settle their quarrels. To these seven precepts I want to add one special precept for you.’
“I listened to Erez and was enchanted by him. His hair and beard were dark chestnut, and his face resembled Jesus’s more and more. Then he spoke, ‘Listen to this eighth precept carefully. It is never to say bad words about anybody when they are absent and can’t defend themselves. Your words, both spoken and written, should be positive, not destructive or defamatory. I emphasize the importance of this eighth precept, for words contain vibrations and have consequences all the time.’

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A MESSIANIC JEW EXPLAINS KABBALAH

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“I asked Daniel, ‘What is Kabbalah?’ ‘Kabbalah is the power of words. Words have vibrations. Through a word, you can even create things or life. Jesus was a great Kabbalist. He could perform all those miracles because he knew Kabbalah well,’ he answered.”
“Uncle Salvatore, it sounds strange to my ears that a person can perform miracles if he knows a secret. How can one create things or life by knowing the power of some words? It is absurd! If it is true, I want to learn Kabbalah.”
“Benedetto, to learn Kabbalah well, you have to know Hebrew first. A word in the original language has a different meaning than a word translated into another language. Nevertheless, I’ve never studied Kabbalah, so I can’t answer your question properly.
“I asked Daniel, ‘What are the threads dangling from your shirt?’ He looked at the threads, put his hand on them, and showed some knots to me. ‘These are called tzitzit. They symbolize the word of God. As you see, there are knots along the tzitzit. The knots mean that you have to hold on to the word of God, you shouldn’t let it go away.’
“I asked, ‘How do you pray in the synagogue? Can I visit a synagogue on the Sabbath?’ ’Unfortunately, I can’t go to the Synagogue of Nazareth Illit because I believe that Yeshua or Jesus was the real Messiah. In the synagogue, they don’t approve of my point of view. A short time ago, they damaged my car. So I go to the Synagogue of Afula, a town near Nazareth. There are Messianic Jews throughout the world and also in Israel, even though they are a minority, who believe that Jesus was the Messiah. You can come to the Synagogue of Afula, if you don’t mind. But I don’t think the Sabbath is right for you. The ceremony is too long. It takes almost three hours. Do you want to visit my house?’ ‘Sure!’
“While we were walking to his home, he showed me some houses that had been abandoned by the Jews as soon as some Arab families had settled in the area. The Jews didn’t like to live flank and flank with the Palestinians.”
“Do you think the Jews are racist, Uncle Salvatore?”
“I don’t think so. If they don’t want to live next door to the non-Jews, they have the right to do so. Individuals have freedom to stay with whomever they want. In Isola, the Jehovah’s Witnesses marry within their religious group. They can’t marry those who have a different religion from theirs. In society it happens the same. The rich tend to live next door to those of the same social class, and the poor next door to the poor. This is the landscape of the world.

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE CHARM OF THE MOSQUES IN TURKEY

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Visiting Turkey, I have come across many majestic mosques with minarets so slender that they seem to want to touch the sky. But what impressed me was the sincere prayers of the Muslims. They pray five times a day, with great zeal.
In my hometown most of the congregation consists of old women, while in the mosques there are many young men that pray zealously.
Seeing them praying with such ardor, I wanted to pray with them. So I entered a mosque and asked a man to teach me how to pray. He said, “Our prayers are in Arabic, even though Arabic is not our mother tongue. All Muslims must pray in Arabic, for the Koran can’t be spoken in a language different from the original.”
“How can I pray?” I asked.
He answered, “Start your prayer by saying Allah Akbar (God is most great). However, if the imam is present, follow him. He will guide you.”
Then he gave me a few booklets about Islam. I accepted his gift gladly. I will read them when I come back to my hometown.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE LAST SURAH OF THE KORAN

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“As I kept walking, I caught sight of two armed guards in front of a building. I went in their direction. Pretending indifference, I tried to pass beyond them. But they stopped me. ‘You can’t get in!’ ‘Why not?’ I asked with eyes full of surprise. ‘You can’t enter if you are not Muslim.’ ‘I am Muslim. Including Islam, I follow many religions, therefore, I have the right to pass.’ ‘You must prove us that you are Muslim. Show us your passport, so we can see what your religion is.’ ‘In Italy, where I come from, we don’t declare our religion on our passport, but I’ve read the Holy Koran. I’ve been to the mosque of Catania twice, to the mosque of London once, and I can say the last surah of the Koran entitled ‘The Men.’
“I recited the last surah, which I loved. On listening to me, one of the guards seemed to be convinced. He was about to let me pass. But the other intervened. ‘Show us how Muslims pray.’ At that point I gave up entering because I didn’t know how Muslims pray. ‘If you want, you can come here from seven to eleven o’clock in the morning. You can visit the Esplanade, but you can’t go inside the Dome of the Rock. This is the third holiest place of Islam after Mecca and Medina,’ one of the guards said.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I want to know the last surah of the Koran. It must be very beautiful if one of the armed guards was about to let you in after listening to it.”
“Yes, Benedetto, I learned that surah by heart. Here it is: ‘In the name of compassionate and merciful God, say I seek refuge in the Lord of humans, the King of humans, the God of humans; from the evil of the whisperer, who slinks off, who whispers into the hearts of humans; from jinn and men!’ Can you understand?”
“No. What does it mean?”
“It means, seek refuge in God whenever the devil comes into your heart and pushes you to be a bad man. When the devil blandishes you and pushes you in the wrong direction, invoke God, and then the devil will become smaller and smaller.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

BURIAL RITES IN THE WORLD

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“I think, Uncle Salvatore, there are countless burial rites in the world according to culture, custom, ethnic groups, historical periods, and so on. Last year I visited Korea with my father. I saw many rounded mounds in a mountain. They were graves shaped like maternal wombs. Somebody said that the womb-shaped grave completes the cycle of life. There are two wombs, the womb of the mother and the womb of the earth.”
“There are people that practice neither burial nor cremation. For instance, in Tibet dead bodies are dissected and thrown to vultures. Buddhist tradition gives less importance to the body, which is considered as a mere container of the soul. For the Buddhists, what matters is the soul, a continuum without beginning and end, not the body. But for the Christians, the body will be resurrected on the Last Day. So, it is important.”
“Supposing that the body will be resurrected, I don’t think the new body will be the same as it was before death. It may be a body of light, ethereal and subtle.”
“Yes, I think so. All four Evangelists are unanimous in admitting that Jesus resurrected, but his body was not the same as it was before death. Even the Apostles couldn’t recognize the risen Christ at first glance.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I want to be cremated after I die. I read somewhere that a few body functions continue for some time after death, for instance, nails and hair keep growing. It would be hideous to feel still alive while you are being buried. What about you? What do you think about the cremation of your body?”
“I don’t want to be cremated after I die. I will follow my family tradition. I’ll ask to be buried. The most important thing is God’s help. It’s not important which funeral rites you choose.”

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo