Kingdom of Priests

Among the top 10 lies about Jews and Judaism that I listed a while back, No. 3 was:

3.) Judaism has no apocalyptic vision of the End of the World, similar to that in Christianity’s book of Revelation and certainly not one with a particular year as the deadline for wrapping up world history, as in the modern 2012 Mayan calendar doomsday prediction.

So here comes the festival of Sukkot, starting this Friday night, to correct the misunderstanding. My essay for Beliefnet on this too little appreciated feature of the Jewish calendar is here. Excerpt:

Little do most Jews know that this innocuous celebration of supermarket produce is, in the classical liturgy and literature, actually a rather edgy encounter with the apocalyptic strain in Judaism. You didn’t know there was one? When modern American Jews try to explain what makes them uneasy about Evangelical support for Israel, they often cite the Christian belief in the Apocalypse, when an evil superpower is expected to launch a world war, whose survivors then undergo religious conversions. But in broad outline, this happens to be just what Jews have traditionally believed about the End of Days.

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