Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hawaii is the promised land

Ever since I was a boy I understood that there was a connection between life in Hawaii and the ancient Israelites. I think we all knew that. How many of us have made the joke about the "Big Kahuna" and the Kohen Gadol, the high priest. I started rteading about the "kahuna" as a Hawaiian word/concept. This website does a nice job tracing the etymology to 1865 (other sites say 1875...I sense a conspiracy) but it totally ignores the Jewish angle. Other sites not only see the connection between the words Kahuna and Kehuna (the Hawaiian big man and the Hebrew word for priesthood) but drag in the notion of the High Priest's clothes, the Bigdey Kehuna (thus making "Big Kahuna" even more connected).

While it is true that the Kahuna and the Kohen dress a little differently

there certainly are similarities.

Then I noticed this yesterday in synagogue: the standard well-wishing sign in Hawaii is the "hang loose" sign. The sign is made by pulling in the middle 3 fingers and extending the pinkie and thumb.

The priest, when offering a meal sacrifice, placed his hand in the container of flour-oil and filled up his hand, shaking off the excess. This was called kemitzah. In case you didn't click that link and just want to see a picture of how a priest holds his hand when he performs this ritual, here you go:

So the names are similar, the roles are similar, the clothes are similar and the hand shape is similar. What more do I have to do to get you to move to Hawaii? Do I have to point out that the name of the state shares letters and vague pronunciation with the 4 letter name of God?

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