Today (Thursday, September 29, 2011) is a day of celebration for the Jewish people. It's Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.
Welcome to the year 5,772 on the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashana represents both a happy day and serious day. It is a time for introspection and spiritual preparation for the coming year.
I receive more than one thousand emails each day which usually include at least one variation upon the same theme asking the following question:
"As a Jew, how do you come to terms with God's promise to Moses to deliver him to a land flowing with milk and honey?"
One must consider the sweetness of freedom.
In the Old Testament, Moses was promised a "Land flowing with milk and honey." Egyptian Jews lived in slavery.
First-born infants were put to death. Exodus represented a promise. A world in which milk flowed from breast-feeding mothers who would often nurture their children, one from each breast, with the sweetness of freedom.
There are more than 7 billion people who share planet earth, and of those, a mere 13 million are Jews. One out of every 500 person is a Jew, which makes us a rarity, indeed. The most important of all Jewish surnames is Cohen, which means 'priest.'
In Judaism, one out of every 500 or so Jews is named Cohen, so I belong to an extremely small minority of people representing one out of 250,000 people on this planet.
Upon reaching their 13th birthday, Jewish boys and girls read a passage from the Torah (5 books of Moses) in front of their congregations, in celebration of that day in which they become adults. There are many tens of thousands of different Torah passages, but mine was very special, for it predicted my destiny.
I did not know it then, but my Torah reading predicted that out of 7 billion, I would become the Notmilkman.
The words which I read in Hebrew that day more than four decades ago included the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, and ended with Exodus 32:35.
In that passage, Moses was walking down Mount Sinai holding onto the Ten Commandments. God had promised to deliver the
Jews to that land filled with "Milk and Honey," but the Jews had turned their backs to God and constructed a baby cow to worship. In fury, God called them a "stiffed-necked people" and told Moses that he was going to destroy them all and build a new race in the image of Moses. Moses talked God into reconsidering his position and God then instructed Moses to gather his soldiers and kill the three thousand people responsible for such blasphemy. That is what the Bible tells us. And then, after the guilty parties were killed:
"Then the Lord sent a plague upon the people, for what they did...." Exodus-32:35
Moses was a sheep-herder, a shepherd.
He was not a cow herder, or coward.
In those days people drank sheep and goat's milk. The average dairy cow only yielded one quart of milk each day, not enough to feed the multitudes.
What was the plague that God sent to all of the people...to all of mankind? I have asked this question of priests and rabbis, Judaic scholars who study Torah. Their response is that the Torah does not state specifically what that "plague" or punishment was. Biblical writers had no microscopes. Nor did they, in their wildest dreams, imagine our biotechnology. Cells, amino acids, proteins were all impossible to imagine.
Imagine that you have before you a bowl containing twenty- eight marbles, each one a different color. You are blindfolded and asked to pick out the purple one. What are the odds of doing this? If you answer, one out of twenty-eight, you would be correct.
There are twenty-eight different amino acids, the building blocks of life. These amino acids make up the proteins of our bodies, complicated chains of chemicals, like separate beads on a strand of a necklace, which form our hair and skin and flesh and organs and hormones, and which act as chemical messengers.
Instead of a bowl containing marbles, let us imagine that same bowl contains the 28 different amino acids and let us substitute phenylaline for the purple marble. The odds of picking phenylaline out from all of the others is also one out of twenty-eight.
Now imagine two bowls. What are the odds of randomly picking out the purple marble, or phenylaline, twice in a row? That number works out to be one out of seven-hundred and eighty-four. Don't bet the rent money on successfully picking two in a row! Three bowls? That would be nearly 22,000 to one. After five bowls, we approach the improbable...17 million to one. Perhaps that is why few people win lotteries. Six bowls and the odds increase to nearly one in one-half billion. Ten bowls would be 280 trillion to one and fourteen bowls would be one chance in five-thousand million trillion tries.
Imagine seventy bowls. I could try to calculate the number for the next month and still not be able to write it out.
That number would be greater than the total number of atoms in the universe.
One very special protein hormone contains 70 amino acids.
This hormone happens to be the most powerful growth hormone produced in the human body. Discovered only twenty years ago, this powerful growth factor resembled insulin, so an unnamed scientist called it insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-I.
There are four thousand animals in the animal kingdom and millions of different proteins. Each protein is different, save one.
There is a miracle of nature at work here...a cosmic coincidence that is so improbable as to approach the unthinkable. IGF-I in humans and cows is identical. A protein hormone containing seventy amino acids...a perfect match, picking the same amino acid seventy times in a row from seventy different bowls. ur most powerful growth hormone is identical to a cow's most powerful growth hormone. IGF-I, both in humans and bovines, contains 70 amino acids in the same exact order and gene sequence. A coincidence, the odds of which are astronomical. Seventy bowls. Seventy amino acids. An event that could hardly have occurred randomly.
One protein, exactly alike in humans and cows. IGF-I. The odds of that occurring, astronomical.
A study published in the May 9, 1998 issue of the British medical journal, Lancet, revealed the absolute correlation of high levels of this powerful hormone in the bodies of women with breast cancer. IGF-I has made front page news in every newspaper in America as a result of that paper. Many months earlier, a similar study found IGF-I levels elevated in males with prostate cancer.
The prostate cancer study was published in the journal Science in January of 1998.
Many scientists call our most powerful growth hormone the key factor in the growth and proliferation of cancer. What these scientists do not realize is that IGF-I is identical in humans and cows. One 12-ounce glass of milk doubles the amount of free IGF-I in the human body.
God sent a "plague" upon all of the people.
God's gift to man was the Ten Commandments. Had the Israelis not insulted their deity by building a graven image in the form of a baby cow while Moses received those immortal tablets, God might very well have added commandment number eleven: Don't drink the milk.
Instead, angered by the "stiffed-neck people" for their blasphemous sin, God exacts his immediate revenge upon the 3,000 who built that baby cow by killing them. He then curses all of mankind with an eternal revenge in Exodus 32:35:
"And then God sent a plague upon all of the people."
Got milk? Got IGF-1, the key factor in the growth and proliferation of every human cancer. See: