Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cohens and The Vulcan Hand Sign

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                

Leonard Nimroy aka Spock from the planet of Vulcan was a major character in Star Trek.  He just passed away at age 83.  Leonard was Jewish, and picked up the idea of the Vulcan hand sign when attending synagogue and seeing the priestly blessing, said by the Cohen in the synagogue.
"The text of the Priestly Blessing recited by the Kohanim, which appears verbatim in the Torah, is:
May the LORD bless you and guard you –
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
(Yevhārēkh-khā Adhōnāy veyishmerēkhā ...)
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you –
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
("Yāʾēr Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā viḥunnékkā ...)
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace –
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
("Yissā Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā viyāsēm lekhā shālōm.")"

"The Jewish priestly gesture looked sufficiently alien and mysterious, and became part of Star Trek lore. Nimoy later recorded an English translation of the blessing for Civilization IV; the recording is played when the player discovers the technology "Priesthood".
Bob Dylan's song "Forever Young" from the Planet Waves album uses the form and some content ("May God Bless and keep you...") of the Priestly Blessings.
Leonard Cohen ended his concert in Ramat GanIsrael, on 24 September 2009, with the Priestly Blessing, i.e. reciting it in Hebrew. As his name suggests, Cohen is halakhically a priest.
In the movie Deep Impact, the President of the United States, played by Morgan Freeman, recites the Priestly Blessing in a speech to the world. This speech announces to the world that a comet is approaching the world and will cause an E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event)."
Cohens live with special rules that other Jews do not have to follow.  A Cohen/Kohen, one who is a descendanat of the priestly tribe, is forbidden to come in contact with the dead.  It includes any physical contact or even being in the same room with a corpse, no matter how large the room is.  It is even prohibited to be in any openings or passages leading into other rooms.

He may enter the room when the deceased is taken out.  Cohens are not to be any closer than about 6 feet to a grave.  When the casket is being carried to burial under the open skies he says away for only about 15 inches.  These rules are dropped for the death of close relatives; wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, unmarried sister, in order to attend the burial.  These special rules for the Kohenim only apply to the male Cohens. 

This is how we find out that Cohens in the synagogue carrying out their duties are actually descended from Aaron.  Most all carry the Cohen gene found after being tested.  It used to be that to be accepted as a Cohen, a man presented his genealogy tree to the Sanhedrin, but those days are gone and only today has genealogy made a comeback.  With computers, we can now find many ancestors and have our DNA tested.  The Cohen gene is found only through testing a male.  Though we carry our father's genes, it doesn't show up in a DNA test for women.  Most Cohens know who they are and they know the rules about entering cemeteries and the hand sign which they usually have placed on their tombstone.  This they know through oral tradition.  

To Be a Jew by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin

What is Holy?

       Nadene Goldfoot                                                              
 G-d's world is great and holy.  Among the holy lands in the world is the Holy Land of Israel.
In the land of Israel the holiest city is Jerusalem
 In Jerusalem the holiest place was the Temple*, and in the Temple the holiest spot was the holy of holies.
     There are 70 peoples in the world.  Among these holy peoples is the people of Israel.  The holiest of the people of Israel is the tribe of Levi.  In the tribe of Levi the holiest are the priests.  Among the priests, the holiest was the high priest.
Friday Night Shabbat Dinner
         There are 354 days in the Jewish calendar year.  Among these the holidays are holy.  Higher than these is the holiness of the Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night).
Blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur
 Among Sabbaths the holiest is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) , the Sabbath of Sabbaths.

     There are 70 languages in the world.  Among the holy languages is the holy language of Hebrew.
                                        Holier than all else in this language is the holy Torah,
Carrying the Torah in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur
And in the Torah the holiest part is the Ten Commandments.  In the Ten Commandments the holiest of all words is the Name of G-d.                                
     And once during the year, at a certain hour, these 4 supreme sanctities of the world were joined with one another.  That was on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest would enter the holy of holies and there utter the Name of G-d.
And because this hour was beyond measure holy and awesome, it was the time of utmost peril not only for the high priest but for the whole of Israel.  For if, in this hour, there had, G-d forbid, entered the mind of the high priest a false or sinful thought, the entire world would have been destroyed.
     Every spot where a man raises his eyes to heaven is a holy of holies.  Every man, having been created by G-d in His own image and likeness, is a high priest.  Every day of man's life is a Day of Atonement, and every word that a man speaks with sincerity is the Name of the Lord.

Moses and Aaron, brothers, were from the tribe of Levi.  Moses had his older brother Aaron be the first high priest.  All males with the Cohen gene are descendants of Aaron, and they serve in the congregation as Cohens with certain responsibilities such as being called first to read from the Torah.  It was Moses who brought us the 10 Commandments from Mt. Sinai.

Resource:  Folk tale adapted from a version in THE DYBBUK by Saul An-Ski found in the first page of THE JEWISH CATALOG BY Richard Siegel, Michael Strassfeld, and Sharon Strassfeld.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why Some American Jews Are Balking at Netanyahu's Visit to Congress

Nadene Goldfoot                                                  
Netanyahu speaking at UN explaining need to stop development of uranium in Iran
The Jewish Democrat Senators are divided down the middle into staying to listen to Netanyahu speak on March 3rd about Iran and nuclear power.  Out of 27 Jewish Senators, 13 say they will attend and 14 will not attend.  We only have one Jewish Republican Senator and he plans to attend, making it 14 to 14.  Those not attending are staunch followers of the Democratic President Obama and take their cue from his behavior.  What makes Jews so divided over such as thing as listening to the Prime Minister of Israel?  Why is it that Jews have been followers of Obama when he shows a change of attitude towards Israel from what other previous Presidents have shown?  

Many American Jews, about 35%,  belong to the Reform Jewish movement.  They in turn, probably  have become Democrats.  The reform movement in Judaism  historically started in the 19th century in Germany. Over time, it has given rise to a set of Jewish beliefs and practices separate from Orthodox Judaism.   Synchronistically, Judaism came to an end in Germany with hideous torture and gas chambers in the 20th Century with the Holocaust that wiped out 6 million Jews of Europe with intentions to go onto all parts of the world to do the same thing.  The Holocaust brought out sadism in certain Europeans and loss of belief in G-d in many Jews.  
Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews share a culture and its foods
All Jews have had in common the acceptance of only one G-d, but today even many Jews say they are atheists.  From results in a 2003 poll, 79% of Americans believe in G-d but only 48% of the Jews do today.  This could be from the affects of the Holocaust and the affects of science, something many Jews have as their profession.  Jews are found to have a very high intellect, being a few points higher in IQ than the general population.  1/5 of Nobel prizes are earned by Jews who make up only 1/2 of 1% of the world population.  Such minds are more questioning than most people, I find.    For some Jews, being Jewish is more about culture than religion these days.  The last thing they have kept is the food.   Intermarriage has a great deal to do with this.  Some have settled on Reform as an inbetween way of keeping religious.  

As a result, many who would decide to belong to a synagogue would find themselves more comfortable in a Reform Synagogue .   We find that 90% of American Jews are Ashkenazi and make up 1.7% to 2.6% of the American population.  In 1932, when Nazis were just getting going in Germany, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Democrat,  was president in the USA for 4 terms, voted in by 85% to 90% of the Jewish vote.  

The reason  that many Jews go for Reform Judaism is that it cuts out more of the Hebrew prayers and does more in English. It is considered more modern.  The central tenet of the Reform movement is to deny that the Torah is the authentic word of G-d and to reject the historical reality of the Sinaic revelation.  They view both the Oral and Written laws of Judaism as a product of human hands, not divinely given to Moses.  They also feel that the Torah is a reflection of the time over 3,000 years ago since Moses (1391 BCE- 1271 BCE) was said to have written them all as the 5 Books of Moses,  and have lost their binding force on us.  It reflects only the historical development of Judaism which is subject to change based upon contemporary moral and doesn't represent a G-d-given truth for all time.  In other words, they reject the Torah as the eternal word of the living G-d of Israel.  Historically the Reform movement was very anti-Zionist. 

 Update: 2/15/15..The Reform Movement rejected the Balfour Declaration and wanted everyone to know that.  In 1885 they signed a paper saying that they didn't consider themselves any longer as a nation, but just as a religious community and didn't expect a return to Palestine or the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.  With the Balfour Doctrine, the Reform didn't like the declaration that Palestine shall be the national homeland for the Jew.  They weren't about to move there.  Contemporary Reform Jewish leaders are today every bit as Zionistic as their Orthodox brethren.  In fact, we do have extreme Orthodox groups as much against living in Israel as the Reform had once been.  (The Jewish Press, January 30, 2015, page 28-29 by Saul Singer.  

Before 1980, the Reform synagogues went back to accepting more of what Conservative Judaism does and accepts, and they became far more supportive of Israel.  Rabbi Rose in Portland was a good example.  He even helped to train and educate those interested in Israeli advocacy.  He held debates with Arabs in Portland, and once did lose his cool, just as Moses did once, whereas Rabbi Rose walked off the stage in the middle of a debate, finding his opponent unreasonable.  I was a first hand witness to that and would have done the same thing.  He could not logically debate this person .  
Moses with 10 Commandments

So when it comes to Israel, we have a dilemma.  We know that historically, Judea and Samaria were our land in the beginning.  Orthodoxy takes the Torah seriously in that G-d told us this was where we were to live.  Joshua led us into Canaan since Moses died at age 120 and was not allowed into the land due to losing his temper earlier, anyway.  The ancestors of Jacob's 12 sons were given their allotted land by Joshua.  Today the Palestinians are demanding our ancient land as theirs for their state without accepting the fact that there is a Jewish state now, and has been for the past 66 years.  The Labor party of Israel (Leftist) want to cede the land to them again, something we have already tried and failed with Ehud Barak, Yitzak Rabin and Shimon Peres ,  while Likud, Netanyahu's party, says no.  They stand on international law proving that the land after 1967s war belongs rightly to Israel being it didn't belong to Jordan who had just helped themselves to it with England's looking the other way in 1948.  

Rabbi Rashi (1040-1105), the great French/German commentator of the bible who I happen to carry a few segments of genes, had a father, Rabbi Isaac,  who said that the main purpose of the Torah was to teach the mitzvot or good deeds and ways of living civilly in this world by starting with the first mitzvah in the Torah, blessing the New Moon in Exodus 12:11.  It begins with Genesis because...and this is very important...Because if the nations of the world should say to Israel, YOU ARE ROBBERS BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEIZED BY FORCE THE LANDS OF THE 7 NATIONS, CANAAN;   ISRAEL SHOULD SAY TO THEM, THE ENTIRE WORLD BELONGS TO GOD, HE CREATED IT AND GAVE IT TO WHOMEVER IT WAS RIGHT IN HIS EYES.  OF HIS OWN WILL HE GAVE IT TO THEM, CANAAN,  AND OF HIS OWN WILL HE TOOK IT FROM THEM AND GAVE IT TO THE JEWS.  

How amazing!   That day has come when the world demands that we are to allow against our will that this land is to go to the Palestinian Arabs who, by the way, never existed as a people throughout the entirety of human history.  Livni and Hertzog of Israel from the Labor party are some of those ready to give it up.  You will not find the Palestinians mentioned anywhere in the Torah or in the rest of the "Old Testament" we call the Tanakh.  They are people from Syria and other surrounding lands.  
Menorah in front of Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel's capital 

The Democratic 2012 platform "Omits support for Jerusalem as capital of Israel. The 2008 Democratic platform advocated the controversial and inflammatory position that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” That is still Mitt Romney’s position, but the 2012 platform has excised that section completely, much to the chagrin of Israel hawks. (The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin has already labeled it “the most radically unsupportive statement of policy on Israel by any major party since the founding of the state of Israel.”)"  
Rabin, Clinton and Arafat win Nobel Prize for Peace-it didn't take...

As a reminder, we had 2 prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Yitzak Rabin in the Oslo Agreement from the Labor party before ready to give almost every part of Israel up to the Palestinians except their own bedrooms and beds and still the Arabs were not about to make peace.  It did no good except to make the Jews look weak.  What miracle has happened today, I wonder, that would change their minds?  They have become more adamant and demanding.  That's how they are getting what they want.  Israel is building in these areas and the Labor party is against it, wanting to wait another 66 years, I imagine to build on land legally Israel's no matter what weak arguments they come up with.  

Henry Kissinger is for Netanyahu's speaking to the Senators.  So is Elie Wiesal.  Giullani, former NY city mayor is for his speaking.  

Now, that last argument I've heard from Americans is that they hate Netanyahu because of his father.  His father hasn't been mentioned in the news or in politics, so this is a pretty weak excuse for hating Netanyahu, a hatred I'm afraid, coming from radical  anti-Semitism of the left.  It happens that his father, Benzion Netanyahu, was born 2 years after my father in 1910 but in Warsaw, Poland, scene of the Warsaw Ghetto where Jews were tortured, starved to death and shot.  He was an Israeli scholar of Judaic history and was an activist in a Zionist movement who lobbied in the USA for the creation of the Jewish state; and he couldn't have foreseen what was going to happen to his birthplace.  His father, Nathan Mileikowsky, was a rabbi who also toured  Europe and the USA in support of Zionism.  Rabbi Nathan made aliyah in 1920 and changed their surname to Netanyahu.  

Benjamin or Bibi, as we know him, was one of three sons.  Yonatan was born in 1946 and died in 1976, a commander of Sayeret matkal, and was killed in action leading Operation Entebbe.  Our Prime Minister, Benjamin, was born in 1948, and his young brother Iddo was born in 1952 and is a physician, author and playwright.  Their father, Benzion, died in 2012 in Jerusalem  at the age of 102.  He was a good man.  

Therefore, Jews in the USA have had it easy.  So easy, as a matter of fact compared with past history, that they are letting loose the religion of their fathers in the form of a more liberal Judaism and a liberal political position as Democrats, even though their charter is not keeping the promises of the presidents before Obama about Israel.  The Democrats in their political meeting in 2008  had eliminated the word God from their party platform.  .  

Jews of Israel are the product of people fleeing to Israel in order to continue living, and have been accosted with wars and giving their energy to the service of the IDF in order to maintain their lives. Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews are a little over half of the Jewish population.   They may be agnostic or religious, but all are very nationalistic.  They have no other choices.  They are maintaining the ethics of Judaism which is where American  Democracy  found their values. 

 It was Harry S. Truman, Democratic president, who was for Israel becoming a state and voted for it in 1948.   The last Democratic meeting in the USA changed their charter and left out the points about backing Israel.  This is another reason for needing Israel.  One cannot depend on a country's backing.  Throughout history, countries have invited Jews to live there and then in a few years would exile them.  We've been waiting patiently for 2,000 years and have our state once again.  

***Saul Singer in The Jewish Press, February 6, 2015 page 77;  The Reform Movement and Zionism
The Holocaust by Martin Gilbert
Update: 2/14/15 Story about Rabbi Nathan, Netanyahu's grandfather and why he made aliyah to Palestine: excellent

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nephilim and Other Giants like Og and Goliath in Canaan

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                      

"The Nephilim (Giants) were on the earth in those days---and also afterward when the sons of the rulers would consort with the daughters of man, who would bear to them.  They were the mighty who, from old, were men of devastation. (Genesis 6: 4)  This was before the flood and information about Noah.

During the Exodus led by Moses:  "There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of the giant from among the Nephilim;  we were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in their eyes!"(Numbers  13:33)  In Num. xiii. 33 this name is used of the pre-Israelitish population of Palestine.  This is when the Children of Israel sent spies into Canaan and they had reported that the people there were powerful, the cities were fortified and very great and they saw the offspring of the giant."  The spies were a leader from each of the 12 tribes.  They gave a terrible report about the land saying that the people there were too strong for them and that the land through which we have passed to spy out is a land that devours its inhabitants!  All the people which we saw in it were huge!  Caleb argued with them and said,"We shall surely ascend and conquer it, for we can surely do it!  Joshua also spoke that the land that we passed through--is very good!  If G-d desires us, He will bring us to this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.  But they should not argue with G-d.  You should not fear the people of the land, for they are our bread.  Their protection has departed from them:  G-d is with us.  Do not fear them!"

12 sons of Jacob      Leader of tribe acting as spy
Reuben:                      Shammua, son of Zaccur
Simeon;                      Shaphat, son of Hori
Judah:                       Caleb, son of Jephunneh
Issachar:                     Yigal, son of Joseph
Ephraim:                   Hoshea, son of Nun  Hoshea was called Joshua by Moses
Benjamin:                    Palti, son of Raphu
Zebulun:                      Gaddiel, son of Sodi
Joseph for Manasseh:  Gaddi, son of Susi
Dan:                            Ammiel, son of Gemalli
Asher:                         Sethur, son of Michael
Naphtali:                     Nahbi, son of Vophsi
Gad:                           Geuel, son of Machi

So they went into Canaan and fought to be there.  "At that time, Joshua came and cut down the Anakim (a family of giants that lived in the Hebron area and terrified all their opponents)   from the mountain, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all of Mount Israel:  Joshua destroyed them with their cities.  No Anakim were left in the land of the Children of Israel;  however, in Gaza, Gatha and Ashdod they remained.  thus, Joshua took the entire land, according to all that G-d had spoken to Moses. Joshua gave it to Israel as a heritage, according to their divisions, to their tribes.  The land then rested from war.  (Joshua 11:21).  
Og, King of Bashan, was said to be a giant and the last of the Rephaim. (Deut 3:11). The Rephaim were an ancient people living in Transjordania in the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:5).  Some of them apparently settled near Jerusalem in the Valley of Rephaim.  Og was the Amorite king of the land of Rephaim in Bashan and Gilead, called the king of Bashan.  He was noted for his stature and physique.  He attempted to interrupt the march of the Israelites but was defeated (Num 21:33-35)  The Land of Og was a strongly fortified territory throughout the Middle and late Bronze Ages.
    "We turned and ascended by way of the Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, went out toward us, he and his entire people, for war at Edrei.
    G-d said, "Do not fear him, for in your hand have I given him and his entire people and his land, and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorite, who dwells in Heshbon.  ...and we smote him until no survivor was left of him.  .....
For only Og, king of the Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim---behold, his bed was an iron bed...9 cubits was its length and 4 cubits its width, by the cubit of that man....and the entire Bashan, the kingdom of Og, did I give to half the tribe of Manasseh, the entire region of the Argov of the entire Bashan, that is called the land of Rephaim.  The length could have been anywhere from 13 1/2 feet long to 15 3/4 feet long, twice the length of a normal man of today, and the width could have been  6 feet to 7 feet wide.  It must have been the first king sized bed!
   For we have heard how G-d dried up the waters of the Sea of Reeds for you.....and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were across the Jordan--to Sihon and to Og--whom you utterly destroyed.  we heard and our hearts melted---no spirit remained in any man because of you---(Joshua 2:10).
    These are the kings of the land whom the Children of Israel smote....and the boundary of Og, king of Bashan, who was a remnant of the giants who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei and who reigned in Mount Hermon and Salcah, and in all of Bashan up to the border of the  Geshurite and the Maacathite and half of the Gilead( up to) the border of Sihon, king of Heshbon.  (Joshua 12:4)
    A Hivvite came to Moses in peace, as they had heard of the Exodus.  "They had heard all that He did to the 2 Amorite kings that were on the (other) side of the Jordan, to Sihon, king of the Heshbon, and to Og, king of Bashan, who was in Ashtaroth." (Joshua 9:10).

Goliath was a Philistine giant that young David killed with a slingshot to the forehead.  He was their champion.  Goliath of Gath was 6 cubits in height and one span, meaning that he was 12 to 13 feet tall.  Here, a cubit was said to be just under 2 feet and a span was a half a cubit.  (I Samuel 17-4).  "Goliath of Gath, the most famous of the ancient giants, was around 12 feet tall. To get some perspective on his size, try to imagine him standing in your living room. If he tried to stand up in an ordinary home, his bronze helmet would punch through your ceiling. From the chest up, he would be in your attic."     

He had a copper helmet on his head and was wearing armor of mail;  the weight of the armor was 5,000 copper shekels.  He had a copper shield on his legs and a copper neck-guard between his shoulders.  The shaft of his spear was like a  weavers' beam and the blade of his spear weighed 600 iron shekels.  The shield-bearer walked before him.  He stood and called out to the battalions of Israel and said to them,
     "Why are you going forth to wage war?  Am I not  the Philistine, while you are the servants of Saul?  Choose yourselves a man and let him come down to me!  If he can fight me and kill me, we will be slaves to you;  and if I defeat him and kill him, you will be slaves to us and serve us. (I Samuel 17-8)
 David was the son of a certain Ephrathite man from Bethlehem in Judah; his name was Jesse and he had 8 sons.  .....David was the youngest.  (I Samuel 17-12)  David stretched his hand into the sack.  He took a stone from there and slung it, and struck the Philistine in the forehead.  The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell upon his face, upon the ground.  Thus David overpowered the Philistine with the slingshot and stone, he smote the Philistine and killed him;  there was no sword in David's hand....and he cut off his head with it.  (I Samuel 17:49).  

A cubit is an ancient unit of length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.  In some ancient cultures it was 21 inches.  The average length today is 18 inches or 45.72 centimeters.  This tells me that in ancient days, it was not uncommon to find very tall people.  Being our Children of Israel (Israelites) had been held in bondage as slaves for at least 400 years, coming to Egypt from a lack of food in the first place, most likely they were very short in stature when they set out on the Exodus with Moses, who would have had his full natural height.  My great aunt and uncle were about 4'6" tall, so short I almost thought they were midgets, but they had come from Poland in the early 1900s and no doubt had not had the nourishment we had had in the USA.  Their 2 daughters were normally tall, being about 5'4" and 5'7".  Their sisters, my paternal grandmother among them, were all extremely short people, showing the problem was throughout the family.  They all produced normal people in height.  Therefore, normally tall people in Canaan would have seemed like giants to them.  The measurement of the bed is proof of actual height.

Gibborim are listed as some sort of giant.  Gibborim  are not listed in my Tanakh in the index.  Therefore they are giants in some other writings, but not the bible.  In the next paragraph, Nephilim are mentioned. in
Genesis 6: 4)  but not Gibborim.

Genesis 6:1–2 relates that the "sons of gods," i.e., divine or angelic beings, took mortal wives; verse 4 continues, "It was then, and later too, that the Nephilim appeared [lit., were] on earth–when the divine beings cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes [Heb. gibborim] of old, the men of renown." This could mean that the Nephilim were contemporaneous, but not identical, with the offspring of divine beings and earthly women, who were called gibborim (so, e.g., Morgenstern, in HUCA 14 (1939), 85ff.). The above translation, however, follows an ancient tradition in equating the Nephilim and the gibborim as offspring of the union of *angels and mortals.
In apocryphal writings of the Second Temple period this fragmentary narrative was elaborated and reinterpreted. The angels were then depicted as rebels against God: lured by the charms of women, they "fell" (Heb, nfl. נפל), defiled their heavenly purity, and introduced all manner of sinfulness to earth. Their giant offspring were wicked and violent; the Flood was occasioned by their sinfulness. (None of these ideas is in the biblical text.) Because of their evil nature, God decreed that the Nephilim should massacre one another, although according to another view most of them perished in the Flood." (Jewish Virtual Library). 

 Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. (II Samuel 21:16)  This was when the Philistines again made war with Israel.  David and his servanats went down and fought with the Philistines, and David became faints.  Ishbi Benob, who was one of the children of the giant, and whose spear weighed 3,00 copper weights and who was girded with a new sword, declared that he would strike down David.  Abishai, son of Zeruiah, came to his aid and he struck the Philistine, killing him.  

Saph was one of the children of the giant.  It happened after this that there was another war with the Philistines in Gob.  It was then that Sibbecai, the Hushathite struck down Saph, .  

The brother of Goliath of Gath in another war with the Philistines in Gob and we see Elhanan, son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite, struck down the brother of Goliath of Gath who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's beam.  "Gath was also the home city of Goliath and his brothers, as well as of Itai and his 600 soldiers who aided David in his exile from Absalom. David, while running from Saul, escaped to Gath, and served under its king Achish."

Another son of the giant: and in another war in Gath, there was a man of huge dimensions,  whose fingers and toes were 6 each, 24 in number, he too, was born to the giant.  He ridiculed Israel, and Jonathan, the son of David's brother Shimea, struck him down.  

These 4 were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.  

(Isaiah 13: 1-8) tells about a prophecy about Babylonia and its downfall and he speaks of a sound in the mountains like that of an enormous people, the crescendo of the kingdoms of gathering nations....He is not talking about giants as some have misunderstood in their translation.  I wonder if IS has been hearing such things with the coalition of  Jordanian and American jets flying over them trying to stop their successes. The word translated as enormous must mean many.  

Update: 3:37pm We know Neanderthals lived in what is now Israel.  See reference below.  But if giants were here, they could not have been Neanderthals as they were not that tall.  

Do we have giants today?  "A Giant is Spotted At Kim Jong’s Funeral Procession in North Korea." "It could have been Ri "Michael" Myung Hun -- North Korea's national basketball star -"  No wonder he is interested in basketball.   " Players in the National Basketball Association since the 1985–86 season facts:  The NBA peaked in height during the 1986–87 season, when the average height was 6 feet 7.62 inches (2.0223 m)..  In 2002-03 the average height was 6' 7.40".   In 2012, Hasheem Thabeet played for the Blazers and he was 7'3" tall or 2.21 m.   In 1997-98 Priest Lauderdate  of the Denver Nuggets was 7'4" tall.  However, New Jersey Nets in 1998 to 2000 had 7'7" Gheorghe Muresan on their team who was the tallest listed.  
7 foot 7 inches Gheorghe Muresan 

The tallest man recorded was Robert Wadlow born in 1918 in Alton, Illinois who was 8'11.1" tall.  A woman, Ella Ewing, was 8'4" and was born in 1872 in Missouri, USA and died in 1913.  
I used to be 5'4".  With age, I have shrunk to barely 5'2".  It happens.  I got together with an old beau several years ago who had been the tallest I had dated who was at least 6'2" and when I saw him from my vantage height of 2 less inches, I wondered how in the heck he had grown so tall.  I had to tip my head back to see his face!  He had definitely not shrunk.  Yes, we Jews have managed to have our men grow to nice heights today.  No longer are we so short and think that the world is full of giants.

Tanakh (Old Testament) Stone Edition, ArtScroll Sseries from Mesorah Heritage Foundation,_weight,_age_and_playing_experience
Update: 8/16/15