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Author Topic: Ornery U: Judaism 101
seekingprometheus
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quote:
As is every woman who ever converted to Judaism.
Interesting.

What does the conversion process entail?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
So who's the matrilineal "Eve?"

It can't be Sarah, because she didn't have any daughters, right?

Rebekah? Leah, Rachel and their handmaidens?

Is it simple descent from whoever the first Jewess was, or do children of converted mothers count?

There isn't just one. Until the revelation at Sinai, no one was born "Jewish". It was an individual choice for everyone. So Abraham had many sons, but only Isaac took on the religion he had taught. Isaac had twin boys, but only Jacob kept the religion.

At Sinai, God made us into a nation. He made it so that we were Jews by identity. Every woman who stood at Sinai is one of the matrilineal Eves of Judaism. As is every woman who ever converted to Judaism.

I would agree that at Sinai, God made you into a nation and gave you an identity, and that every woman who stood at Sinai could be considered the matrilineal Eves of what is now called Judaism.

Except it wasn't called Judaism then, was it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the term Jew ever appear until Rehaboam? And did it even have the broader meaning that you ascribe to it, i.e. embracing all of Israel that stood at Sinai, until after the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah?

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RickyB
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Lisa is correct in her definition of pharisee, but it's not the only truth. Since the term pharisee had relevance for almost 250 year, precise meanings move, as do political definition in the real world. Originally the term did mean sommeone who removed himself from regular company through a series of restrictions and pieties derived from rabbinical interpretation (or as Lisa would have it, the oral law that was handed down some 100-1300 years prior, but only now became a bone of contention. This, btw, should give you a clue that phariseeism was the innovation, but never mind.

With time, this came to be accepted political shorthand for the majority of Jews at the time, who accepted the leadership of the Rabbis, as differ from Sadducees and Essenes, who did not, at least not willingly, and the pharisees usually lacked the power to force the priestly elite (Saduccees) or priestly throwbacks (Essene cultists) to do much that they didn't want to do privately.

Now, the vast majority of laymen were not "pharisees". That is, they did not, themselves, adhere to all the strict rules of the rabbis - and the pharisees had much contempt for the great unwashed. However, most of the common people accepted the rabbis rather than the priests even so, because the rabbis were willing to change the laws to deal with problems.

For instance, Hillel. In the torah, there is a rule that says that debts get canceled every seven years. This was a pretty good law for a bronze/early iron age economy. Not for the global economy of the post-Persian period. What happened was, as the jubilee approached, rich folks would stop lending out money, for fear that the borrowers will simply hold out for a few years, then not have to repay.

So Hillel changed the law, in a way that utterly drained it of meaning. He decreed that only debts owed to a person were canceled, whereas debts owed to god were not. Why is this helpful? Because he also decreed that any creditor could come to the temple, deposit the debtors IOU and essentially make the debt god's problem. This was a huge, major innovation that basically enabled economic activity.

Also, the rabbis enabled economic activity by instituting something called a "transaction permit" (Ed to add; this I don't know the exact date of, could be hundreds of years later for all I know. Looking it up. Seems like a long process, stretching through Maimonides into the 16th century), which allows you to charge interest from a fellow Jew. Any Jewish owned bank has a copy of this permit on the wall. This also in direct contradiction to the torah. Now, you can believe that this little legal fiction always existed, that Moses handed it down the chain saying "someday it'll be necessary" until Hillel just took it out of the great handed down but not breathed about oral tradition. Or you can believe that Jewish history happened the way all other histories do.

[ February 27, 2008, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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"What does the conversion process entail?"

Lisa can give all the details, but basically much study and an exam, this following a rejection process designed to weed out the insincere and insufficiently committed (you know, telling people to go away to see who will insist). If you pass the test, there's a ritual bath, I think, and that's it. I think, but am nt sure, that there's a probation period too until you're "fully" a convert. Not sure.
BTW, though converts are automatically full Jews in most regards, it takes several generations before the descendant of a convert can be a high priest. I think a priest can't even marry a convert.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Children of converted mothers count, of course. Rahab and Ruth were converts named in the Tenach account as ancestors of King David, and you don't get more Jewish than King David.

Actually, nothing in Tanach says Rahab converted. You're confusing your book and ours. Our tradition does indeed say she converted, but she married Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim, and was therefore not an ancestress of David.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I would agree that at Sinai, God made you into a nation and gave you an identity, and that every woman who stood at Sinai could be considered the matrilineal Eves of what is now called Judaism.

Except it wasn't called Judaism then, was it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the term Jew ever appear until Rehaboam?

I'm not sure the word "Yehudi" appeared until Hezekiah, actually. That's why I put "Jewish" in quotes, the first time.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And did it even have the broader meaning that you ascribe to it, i.e. embracing all of Israel that stood at Sinai, until after the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah?

No, but the current term "Jew" is equivalent in meaning to "Israelite" prior to that.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"What does the conversion process entail?"

Lisa can give all the details, but basically much study and an exam, this following a rejection process designed to weed out the insincere and insufficiently committed (you know, telling people to go away to see who will insist). If you pass the test, there's a ritual bath, I think, and that's it. I think, but am nt sure, that there's a probation period too until you're "fully" a convert. Not sure.
BTW, though converts are automatically full Jews in most regards, it takes several generations before the descendant of a convert can be a high priest. I think a priest can't even marry a convert.

<wince> First, we don't turn away people wanting to convert as some sort of a test. We really aren't interested in converts. If they're really, really persistent and clearly sincere, we make an exception.

We don't discourage converts because we aren't interested in sharing. On the contrary; a non-Jew who keeps all the Noachide laws is every bit as good in God's eyes as a Jew who keeps all of Jewish law, and it's a far sight easier to do. But a Jew who violates Jewish law harms himself, the entire Jewish people, and the very fabric of existence. Accepting a convert entails risking that, so we only do it when absolutely necessary.

The primary element of conversion to Judaism is what we call "acceptance of the yoke of heaven". That means agreement to keep all of the laws that God gave us. No exceptions. To that end, there's a great deal of study and preparation required, and the convert must make a verbal acceptance in the presence of a minimum of three learned rabbis (at the same time).

In addition to this, there's the "snip and dip" thing. Men who aren't circumcized must be circumcized, and those who are already have to have what's called a hatafat dam brit, which means ritual letting of a drop of blood from where the foreskin was. And both men and women have to immerse in a ritual bath, as Ricky said.

A king or high priest had to have a mother who was born Jewish. So in theory, his maternal grandmother could have been a convert. And no a priest (that means any kohen today) is not allowed to marry a convert. In addition, converts are permitted to marry mamzerim (people born from certain forbidden marriages), who are otherwise not allowed to marry other Jews. But if they do, their children are mamzerim, so most converts wouldn't do it.

There's no probationary period, though a female convert isn't permitted to get married in the first three months after the conversion. Among other reasons, this is because a pregnant woman who converts also converts the fetus, and we need to know if the child had the status of a convert for purposes of marriage to a kohen.

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RickyB
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"If they're really, really persistent and clearly sincere, we make an exception."

Which is remarkably like I said.

We used to be a proselytizing religion, up until the destruction of the temple, after which most of the people who converted because it was fashionable at one time left Judaism for Christianity and we became very suspicious.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Lisa is correct in her definition of pharisee, but it's not the only truth. Since the term pharisee had relevance for almost 250 year, precise meanings move, as do political definition in the real world. Originally the term did mean sommeone who removed himself from regular company through a series of restrictions and pieties derived from rabbinical interpretation (or as Lisa would have it, the oral law that was handed down some 100-1300 years prior, but only now became a bone of contention. This, btw, should give you a clue that phariseeism was the innovation, but never mind.

Why? You might as well say that the invention of the Reform Movement 200 years ago indicates that everyone was Reform prior to that, and that Orthodoxy was the new thing. Only you know that's not true, so why would you think otherwise in the case of the Sadducees? In both cases, there was a sudden exposure to non-Jewish culture. The same incentives to assimilation existed. Why is it so hard to believe that what happened 200 years ago also happened 2300 years ago?

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Now, the vast majority of laymen were not "pharisees". That is, they did not, themselves, adhere to all the strict rules of the rabbis - and the pharisees had much contempt for the great unwashed. However, most of the common people accepted the rabbis rather than the priests even so, because the rabbis were willing to change the laws to deal with problems.

Not so. There was a subset called haverim, or fellows (or comrades, if you like). These were Jews who followed the rabbis and were extra, extra strict about certain matters of ritual purity. There was no contempt for those who were not haverim. Simply an acknowledgement of that fact, and steps taken to ensure that their laxness didn't impinge on the observance of the haverim. You see contempt where there was none.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
For instance, Hillel. In the torah, there is a rule that says that debts get canceled every seven years. This was a pretty good law for a bronze/early iron age economy. Not for the global economy of the post-Persian period. What happened was, as the jubilee approached, rich folks would stop lending out money, for fear that the borrowers will simply hold out for a few years, then not have to repay.

So Hillel changed the law, in a way that utterly drained it of meaning. He decreed that only debts owed to a person were canceled, whereas debts owed to god were not. Why is this helpful? Because he also decreed that any creditor could come to the temple, deposit the debtors IOU and essentially make the debt god's problem. This was a huge, major innovation that basically enabled economic activity.

Except that it never happened. Judaism is, among other things, a system of laws. As in all such systems, there are what you might call loopholes. Contrary to those who object to using such loopholes as acting against the "spirit of the law", Jews believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient. He was more than capable of setting up the laws in such a way that loopholes wouldn't exist.

There are also interdependencies between sets of laws. For example, we aren't obligated to bring sacrifices when we don't have access to the location of the altar on the Temple Mount. When we do have access, we are obligated. In this vein, there are a number of laws which are only in force when the Jubilee is in force, and the Jubilee is only in force when a majority of Israel is living in the land of Israel. Among these laws are the Sabbatical year (not planting on the seventh year, remitting all debts on the seventh year, and so on), and the laws of eved ivri (the Jewish manservant).

Jubilee stopped being in force when the Assyrians exiled the northern Israelite tribes. Subsequent to that, what we've observed in the way of the Sabbatical year is only rabbinic in force.

Generally, this makes no difference. We aren't any more permitted to violate rabbinic laws than we are Torah laws. But what the rabbis forbade, the rabbis could permit. Hillel's prosbul, or method by means of which debts could be transferred to the Jewish courts (not the Temple, btw) and maintained through the Sabbatical year, would not and will not work once a majority of Jews are living in the land of Israel. It only works because the Sabbatical year is currently only rabbinic.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Also, the rabbis enabled economic activity by instituting something called a "transaction permit" (Ed to add; this I don't know the exact date of, could be hundreds of years later for all I know. Looking it up. Seems like a long process, stretching through Maimonides into the 16th century), which allows you to charge interest from a fellow Jew. Any Jewish owned bank has a copy of this permit on the wall. This also in direct contradiction to the torah.

Not so. There are actual differences between the way "interest" can be paid under the permit you're talking about. I know of a case where a man borrowed money from the Bank of Jerusalem for building and lost everything. He went to the rabbinic court in Jerusalem and he did not have to pay any interest on what he'd borrowed, because the heter iska, which you translated as "transaction permit", only permits the bank to take additional repayment out of profits, as part of a legalistic business deal. In this case, there was none.

Now... the Bank of Jerusalem abided by this ruling because they're the biggest commercial bank in the religious sector in Israel. Had it been Bank Leumi or Bank HaPoalim, I guarantee you, they would have appealed it to the Israeli high court and it would have been overturned. That doesn't mean that the heter iska is a sham. It just means that these banks treat it as such.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Now, you can believe that this little legal fiction always existed, that Moses handed it down the chain saying "someday it'll be necessary" until Hillel just took it out of the great handed down but not breathed about oral tradition. Or you can believe that Jewish history happened the way all other histories do.

Omniscience is cool, huh?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
We used to be a proselytizing religion, up until the destruction of the temple, after which most of the people who converted because it was fashionable at one time left Judaism for Christianity and we became very suspicious.

No, we were never a proselytizing religion. Not for people to convert to Judaism, at any rate. During early Roman rule, we did convince quite a number of Romans to become Noachides. A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however.
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RickyB
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"No, we were never a proselytizing religion. Not for people to convert to Judaism, at any rate. During early Roman rule, we did convince quite a number of Romans to become Noachides. A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however."

<sigh>

During the early Roman period, as you say, Jews were actively, actively proselytizing in Rome and all around the Roman world. Conversion came to be seen as a threat more than once. Once in the 20's and once near the revolt. It (and some unethical conduct associated) led to an expulsion of the Jews from Rome once, during Tiberius. This is documented fact. The guys doing it would get a cut from the donations the converts made to the temple as token of their conversion.

You wanna say the rabbis frowned on it even at the time? Fine. But it was happening in a large way, sanctioned by the authorities of the temple (who were not the rabbis) who eagerly accepted the tributes, and those converts were recognized as Jews. There was also a movement of Noachides, but there was a lot of actual conversion too. There were many so-called Jewish communities in the Empire which had negligible amounts of actual, Hebrew blood.

"There was no contempt for those who were not haverim. Simply an acknowledgement of that fact, and steps taken to ensure that their laxness didn't impinge on the observance of the haverim. You see contempt where there was none."

"עם הארץ מותר לנחרו בשבת שחל להיות ביום הכיפורים"
This is Rabbi Elazar, saying "The ignorant commoner, it is permitted to slit his throat on a sabbath that falls on yom kippur" (an elaborate way of saying "any time's a good time to waste one of those"). It gets better. Elazar uses a peculiar verb for the killing in his statement, so his pupils ask him "Rabbi, why not say 'slaughter'"? and he goes: because that's for when you kill a clean animal and it requires a blessing...

Lisa of course will dispute the meaning of "Am Haaretz", and it's true he didn't mean any commoner, but specifically the kind that hated on eggheads like him, you know the type [Smile] Still, the contempt was there, and there are other verses, though this one takes the cake. The Talmud is huge and there are any number of contrasting statements there. There's a guy who had a beautiful daughter that men lusted after, and he told her "better that you die than cause men to fall to sin". All sorts of tough to defend stuff. Sure there is language about the great unwashed that's not contemptuous. These people intended - and succeeded - in leading the whole nation. You don't do that with an all contempt diet. But it's there if you read it all.

"there are a number of laws which are only in force when the Jubilee is in force, and the Jubilee is only in force when a majority of Israel is living in the land of Israel. Among these laws are the Sabbatical year (not planting on the seventh year, remitting all debts on the seventh year, and so on), and the laws of eved ivri (the Jewish manservant)."

Um, where on earth did you get the idea that the sabbatical year is dependent on the majority of Jews living in Israel? Cite it please, because the Shmita (sabbatical year of not planting) is enforced by all orthodox Jews in Israel. Produce carries disclaimers attesting that it was grown in a field where this (and a couple other laws, such a tithing) were observed. Just this year the religious parties caused a pretty big crisis in fruits and vegetables by refusing to continue another legal loophole through which produce was available on sabbatical years.

So I really can't accept you claiming to speak for all orthodox if that's what you're saying, because it's patently false. The sabbatical year is enforced and is incumbent on any Jew raising produce in the land of Israel.

Also, I'd like you to cite a source for the fact that the Jubilee was discontinued after the fall of the *northern* kingdom. Maimonides calculates the time to the destruction of the first temple in full jubilees (+36 years at the end).

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
During the early Roman period, as you say, Jews were actively, actively proselytizing in Rome and all around the Roman world. Conversion came to be seen as a threat more than once. Once in the 20's and once near the revolt. It (and some unethical conduct associated) led to an expulsion of the Jews from Rome once, during Tiberius. This is documented fact. The guys doing it would get a cut from the donations the converts made to the temple as token of their conversion.

Not only is that not a documented fact; it's not true. Yes, the Romans saw the Jews as proselytizing. And you can call it that, if you want, but it wasn't for them to become Jewish; it was for them to become Noachides. Some did convert, but that wasn't the goal. And what you claim about donations is ridiculous.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"There was no contempt for those who were not haverim. Simply an acknowledgement of that fact, and steps taken to ensure that their laxness didn't impinge on the observance of the haverim. You see contempt where there was none."

"עם הארץ מותר לנחרו בשבת שחל להיות ביום הכיפורים"
This is Rabbi Elazar, saying "The ignorant commoner, it is permitted to slit his throat on a sabbath that falls on yom kippur" (an elaborate way of saying "any time's a good time to waste one of those").

That's in the context of a discussion of violent and dangerous "commoners" who had a mad hate on for the rabbis. Read the whole context, Ricky.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"there are a number of laws which are only in force when the Jubilee is in force, and the Jubilee is only in force when a majority of Israel is living in the land of Israel. Among these laws are the Sabbatical year (not planting on the seventh year, remitting all debts on the seventh year, and so on), and the laws of eved ivri (the Jewish manservant)."

Um, where on earth did you get the idea that the sabbatical year is dependent on the majority of Jews living in Israel? Cite it please, because the Shmita (sabbatical year of not planting) is enforced by all orthodox Jews in Israel.

Correct. And it's d'Rabbanan. Go ask someone. Surely you know some Orthodox Jews there. Or check out the Talmud, Tractate Arachin 32b:
quote:
When the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh went into exile, the Jubilees were abolished as it is said: And ye shall proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof, i.e., [only] at the time when all the inhabitants thereof dwell upon it, but not at the time when some of them are exiled.
The phrase kol yoshveha aleha means a majority of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Kol means rov in most cases in Jewish law.

The three laws which are dependent upon the Jubilee to be in force are eved ivri, batei arei choma, and shmitta. In fact, there are major halakhic authorities who say that shmitta today isn't even d'Rabbanan. That it's "middat chassidut". But the majority ruling is that it's rabbinic.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
So I really can't accept you claiming to speak for all orthodox if that's what you're saying, because it's patently false. The sabbatical year is enforced and is incumbent on any Jew raising produce in the land of Israel.

I never said otherwise. I said it's rabbinic today. Not that it isn't kept. Not eating chicken parmesan is rabbinic, too. When was the last time you saw an Orthodox Jew do that?

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Also, I'd like you to cite a source for the fact that the Jubilee was discontinued after the fall of the *northern* kingdom. Maimonides calculates the time to the destruction of the first temple in full jubilees (+36 years at the end).

Arachin 32b. Thanks for asking.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Transcending mere secular scholastics and orthodox canon into profound reaches of the absurd...

"Moses is a ringer for Charlton Heston..." [Big Grin]

[ February 27, 2008, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I would agree that at Sinai, God made you into a nation and gave you an identity, and that every woman who stood at Sinai could be considered the matrilineal Eves of what is now called Judaism.

Except it wasn't called Judaism then, was it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but did the term Jew ever appear until Rehaboam?

I'm not sure the word "Yehudi" appeared until Hezekiah, actually. That's why I put "Jewish" in quotes, the first time.
Hezekiah? Thank you for the clarification.


quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And did it even have the broader meaning that you ascribe to it, i.e. embracing all of Israel that stood at Sinai, until after the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah?

No, but the current term "Jew" is equivalent in meaning to "Israelite" prior to that.
Really? So you would consider members of the ten lost tribes as "Jews" (assuming they could show matrilinial descent)?

quote:
Actually, nothing in Tanach says Rahab converted.
Is Isaiah not part of Tanach? Or when Isaiah says "cut" is that not a figurative expression relating to conversion?

quote:
You're confusing your book and ours. Our tradition does indeed say she converted, but she married Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim, and was therefore not an ancestress of David.
Thank you. I was unaware of allegations that Matthew contradicted your traditions in this detail. So you don't think that Rahab was mother to Boaz, but you do believe that Ruth was his wife, and mother to Jesse, correct? So David's paternal grandmother was Gerim, neh?

Is there a conversion process for mamzerim or for their children?

[following the discussion of Jubilee debt, divine laws exceptions and loopholes with great interest]
quote:
It only works because the Sabbatical year is currently only rabbinic.
What does this mean? [I nearly called you Rebbe Lisa but did not know if you'd take that as disrespectful]

quote:
Omniscience is cool, huh?
So is inspiration and interpretation. Moses himself wished for more prophets, did not want to bear the whole burden. Why does Judaism stand or fall on the proposition that Moses gave 100% of the law, when Moses himself disclaims such an honor?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
We used to be a proselytizing religion, up until the destruction of the temple, after which most of the people who converted because it was fashionable at one time left Judaism for Christianity and we became very suspicious.

No, we were never a proselytizing religion. Not for people to convert to Judaism, at any rate. During early Roman rule, we did convince quite a number of Romans to become Noachides.
Do you perceive that change to be a conversion or a repentance?

quote:
A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however.
Do Noachides not have a role within Judaism? Did they not have a role within Israel, in that term's earlier significance?

If you were never a prostelyting religion, then what word would you use for what John Hyrcanus, son of the High Priest Shimon did to the Idumeans and Galilleeans during the Hasmonean expansion?

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And did it even have the broader meaning that you ascribe to it, i.e. embracing all of Israel that stood at Sinai, until after the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah?

No, but the current term "Jew" is equivalent in meaning to "Israelite" prior to that.
Really? So you would consider members of the ten lost tribes as "Jews" (assuming they could show matrilinial descent)?
Certainly. More to the point, members of these tribes did return after the Babylonian exile. For one thing, Jeremiah had brought some of them back to Judah even before the Babylonian destruction, but for another, the areas that Assyria exiled them to weren't cut off from the Babylonian Empire.

For all I know, I might be descended from one of those tribes.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Actually, nothing in Tanach says Rahab converted.
Is Isaiah not part of Tanach? Or when Isaiah says "cut" is that not a figurative expression relating to conversion?
Isaiah is part of Tanakh. I just did a search on Isaiah for the name Rahab and came up blank. Do you have a chapter and verse?

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
You're confusing your book and ours. Our tradition does indeed say she converted, but she married Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim, and was therefore not an ancestress of David.
Thank you. I was unaware of allegations that Matthew contradicted your traditions in this detail. So you don't think that Rahab was mother to Boaz, but you do believe that Ruth was his wife, and mother to Jesse, correct?
No. Boaz and Ruth's son was Obed. Jesse was his son. Last two verses of Ruth.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So David's paternal grandmother was Gerim, neh?

His great-grandmother was a giyoret, yeh. Ger, masculine singular, giyoret, feminine singular, gerim, masculine (or general) plural, and giyorot, feminine plural.

Not only was she a giyoret, but she was a controversial one. The Torah forbids Moabites and Ammonites from converting. But that prohibition was only for Moabite and Ammonite men. Still, the text didn't specify, and it hadn't been an issue until Ruth, so there was a bit of controversy.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Is there a conversion process for mamzerim or for their children?

Unfortunately, no. It's worse than herpes. I mean, if a male mamzer has children with a non-Jewish woman, which is completely forbidden, the children would be non-Jews. If they were to convert, they wouldn't be mamzerim.

Also, in the days when the laws of a Hebrew manservant were in force, the owner of a Hebrew manservant was allowed to use him for stud service (basically) with his female non-Jewish slaves. A non-Jewish slave in Judaism is a bit of an anomaly. When a non-Jew becomes the slave of a Jew, he or she has the status of a semi-convert (whether he or she likes it or not). The slave becomes obligated in all negative commandments and all non-time bound positive ones. When such a slave is freed, the manumission completes the conversion, and the newly freed person has most of the rules applying to a convert. So that'd be another way for the children of a mamzer to become non-mamzerim. But it isn't practicable.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
[following the discussion of Jubilee debt, divine laws exceptions and loopholes with great interest]
quote:
It only works because the Sabbatical year is currently only rabbinic.
What does this mean? [I nearly called you Rebbe Lisa but did not know if you'd take that as disrespectful]
Nah, I'd probably laugh. I don't merit it, anyway. But thanks.

The Torah forbids us to add or subtract from it. That means that laws made by the rabbis have to be strictly separate from Torah laws. If someone were to claim that the Torah forbids us to eat chicken parmesan, they'd be violating this commandment, which is called Bal Tosif (don't add). But that doesn't mean the rabbis aren't permitted to make such a law.

The main difference between laws that are d'Orayta (from the Torah, or Sinaitic) and laws that are d'Rabbanan (Rabbinic enactments) lies in what happens when a doubt arises.

Let's take food blessings as an example. The Torah commands us to say a blessing after eating ("and you shall eat, and you shall be satisfied, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you"). The rabbis also instituted blessings before eating. Before bread, there's one blessing. Before fruits, there's a different one. Before veggies, there's yet another. I don't put any food in my mouth without first having said a blessing. In the words of the rabbis, doing so would be tantamount to stealing from God.

Now... let's say I had a meal, and it's an hour later, and I can't remember if I said the blessing after the meal. The rule is that in the case of a doubt about a Sinaitic law, we go the stringent route. So I say it. But let's say that I started eating, and halfway in, I realize that I don't remember if I said the blessing before it. The rule for a rabbinic law is that we go the lenient route. So I assume that I did say it, and don't repeat it.

Other than that, there isn't usually any distinction made between Torah laws and rabbinic laws, other than the basic recognition of which is which. And we're obsessive about that.

The one other place where it's relevant is that rabbinical rules are subject to rabbinic modification. Though only in strictly defined cases and conditions.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Omniscience is cool, huh?
So is inspiration and interpretation. Moses himself wished for more prophets, did not want to bear the whole burden. Why does Judaism stand or fall on the proposition that Moses gave 100% of the law, when Moses himself disclaims such an honor?
Prophecy isn't about giving the law. Yes, Moses said, "Would that God would give prophecy to all the people, that He'd put His spirit on all of them." But that doesn't have anything to do with the law. It's not Moses who is important here, but the fact that God gave it all at that time.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
We used to be a proselytizing religion, up until the destruction of the temple, after which most of the people who converted because it was fashionable at one time left Judaism for Christianity and we became very suspicious.

No, we were never a proselytizing religion. Not for people to convert to Judaism, at any rate. During early Roman rule, we did convince quite a number of Romans to become Noachides.
Do you perceive that change to be a conversion or a repentance?
Interesting. The latter, I think. Because it isn't hereditary, or anything.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however.
Do Noachides not have a role within Judaism? Did they not have a role within Israel, in that term's earlier significance?
I'm not sure. What kind of role should they have? I mean other than being good people.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
If you were never a prostelyting religion, then what word would you use for what John Hyrcanus, son of the High Priest Shimon did to the Idumeans and Galilleeans during the Hasmonean expansion?

Heh. I was actually expecting Ricky to raise that. He conquered the Idumaeans and enslaved them. As I explained earlier, that's a kind of involuntary conversion, but it's not about proselytizing. It's just about the fact that Jewish law decrees non-Jewish slaves to be obligated in Jewish law, and makes them Jews when they're freed.

Don't worry, though. We paid a deep price for what Hyrcanus did. Among the Idumaean slaves was a guy named Antipater. He had a son named Herod, who caused us no end of trouble.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And did it even have the broader meaning that you ascribe to it, i.e. embracing all of Israel that stood at Sinai, until after the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah?

No, but the current term "Jew" is equivalent in meaning to "Israelite" prior to that.
Really? So you would consider members of the ten lost tribes as "Jews" (assuming they could show matrilinial descent)?
Certainly. More to the point, members of these tribes did return after the Babylonian exile. For one thing, Jeremiah had brought some of them back to Judah even before the Babylonian destruction, but for another, the areas that Assyria exiled them to weren't cut off from the Babylonian Empire.

For all I know, I might be descended from one of those tribes.

True, but those that did return were assimilated into the kingdom of Judah, and I imagine (although it is not IIRC written in Tenakh) that when the northern KoI apostatized into idolatry that some righteous Israelites may have moved into the southern KoJ for religious reasons. The lost tribes I speak of are those who could not be called Jews in the sense of descended from subjects of the Kingdom of Judah. You would consider these Jews if their matrilinial geneaology could be established?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Actually, nothing in Tanach says Rahab converted.
Is Isaiah not part of Tanach? Or when Isaiah says "cut" is that not a figurative expression relating to conversion?
Isaiah is part of Tanakh. I just did a search on Isaiah for the name Rahab and came up blank. Do you have a chapter and verse?
Isaiah 51:9.

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
You're confusing your book and ours. Our tradition does indeed say she converted, but she married Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim, and was therefore not an ancestress of David.
Thank you. I was unaware of allegations that Matthew contradicted your traditions in this detail. So you don't think that Rahab was mother to Boaz, but you do believe that Ruth was his wife, and mother to Jesse, correct?
No. Boaz and Ruth's son was Obed. Jesse was his son. Last two verses of Ruth.
Thank you. Guess that's what I get from doing genealogy from memory. [Embarrassed]


quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So David's paternal grandmother was Gerim, neh?

His great-grandmother was a giyoret, yeh. Ger, masculine singular, giyoret, feminine singular, gerim, masculine (or general) plural, and giyorot, feminine plural.
Ah. Hope that distinction sticks in my memory. Does Hebrew use the masculine as an unspecified gender, e.g. refer to a person of unspecified gender as a Ger?

quote:
Not only was she a giyoret, but she was a controversial one. The Torah forbids Moabites and Ammonites from converting. But that prohibition was only for Moabite and Ammonite men. Still, the text didn't specify, and it hadn't been an issue until Ruth, so there was a bit of controversy.
Interesting. Is that because Lot's daughters date-raped him resulting in their inbred sons Moab and Ammon, or are Moabites and Ammonites specifically identified as folks who cannot convert?

If it's the inbreeding thing, then why does it apply to the descendants of Lot's daughters, but not to all descendants of all of the children of Adam and Eve, who (according to most literal accounts) had no one to marry with except for their siblings?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Is there a conversion process for mamzerim or for their children?
----
Unfortunately, no. It's worse than herpes. I mean, if a male mamzer has children with a non-Jewish woman, which is completely forbidden, the children would be non-Jews. If they were to convert, they wouldn't be mamzerim.

So ... a male mamzer cannot convert, but his children can convert? So Moabites and Ammonites were an exceptional kind of uber-mamzer whose curse was multigenerational?

quote:
Also, in the days when the laws of a Hebrew manservant were in force, the owner of a Hebrew manservant was allowed to use him for stud service (basically) with his female non-Jewish slaves. A non-Jewish slave in Judaism is a bit of an anomaly. When a non-Jew becomes the slave of a Jew, he or she has the status of a semi-convert (whether he or she likes it or not). The slave becomes obligated in all negative commandments and all non-time bound positive ones.
What is the distinction between time bound positive commandments and non-time bound positive commandments?

quote:
When such a slave is freed, the manumission completes the conversion, and the newly freed person has most of the rules applying to a convert.
Most, but not all? Which ones would differ -- would the children of the freed slave be Jewish?

quote:
So that'd be another way for the children of a mamzer to become non-mamzerim.
Has anyone attempted to resolve the controversy by positing that Ruth offered herself as concubine rather than as wife when she sat at the feet of Boaz, thus using slavery as a loophole?


quote:
But it isn't practicable.
you mean with slavery abolished and all? [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
[following the discussion of Jubilee debt, divine laws exceptions and loopholes with great interest]
quote:
It only works because the Sabbatical year is currently only rabbinic.
What does this mean? [I nearly called you Rebbe Lisa but did not know if you'd take that as disrespectful]
Nah, I'd probably laugh. I don't merit it, anyway. But thanks.
You're welcome. I can't be too careful with humor in topics like this, but I'm glad to hear that one would have gone over well.

quote:
The Torah forbids us to add or subtract from it. That means that laws made by the rabbis have to be strictly separate from Torah laws. If someone were to claim that the Torah forbids us to eat chicken parmesan, they'd be violating this commandment, which is called Bal Tosif (don't add). But that doesn't mean the rabbis aren't permitted to make such a law.

The main difference between laws that are d'Orayta (from the Torah, or Sinaitic) and laws that are d'Rabbanan (Rabbinic enactments) lies in what happens when a doubt arises.

Ha. Wish I'd known those terms when I'd had an argument with a Reform Jewish lawyer who was trying to justify courts refusing to make that sort of distinction with rules about "constitutional" law. Thank you.


quote:
[snipping excellent example for space] The rule is that in the case of a doubt about a Sinaitic law, we go the stringent route. ... The rule for a rabbinic law is that we go the lenient route. ... The one other place where it's relevant is that rabbinical rules are subject to rabbinic modification. Though only in strictly defined cases and conditions.
This is very useful, Rebbe Lisa. Thank you.

quote:
Other than that, there isn't usually any distinction made between Torah laws and rabbinic laws, other than the basic recognition of which is which. And we're obsessive about that.
And my people honor yours for that obsession.


quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Omniscience is cool, huh?
So is inspiration and interpretation. Moses himself wished for more prophets, did not want to bear the whole burden. Why does Judaism stand or fall on the proposition that Moses gave 100% of the law, when Moses himself disclaims such an honor?
Prophecy isn't about giving the law. Yes, Moses said, "Would that God would give prophecy to all the people, that He'd put His spirit on all of them." But that doesn't have anything to do with the law. It's not Moses who is important here, but the fact that God gave it all at that time.
If you reject that God may give the law line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little as necessary, then how do you interpret Isaiah chapter 28?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RickyB:
[qb]We used to be a proselytizing religion, up until the destruction of the temple, after which most of the people who converted because it was fashionable at one time left Judaism for Christianity and we became very suspicious.

No, we were never a proselytizing religion. Not for people to convert to Judaism, at any rate. During early Roman rule, we did convince quite a number of Romans to become Noachides.
Do you perceive that change to be a conversion or a repentance?
Interesting. The latter, I think. Because it isn't hereditary, or anything.
I'm glad you find it an interesting question. Please feel free to bring it up again later if you discover a different perspective on this from discussions with others.

Do you see the Noachides as sharing your "religion"? What about sharing your "beliefs"?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however.
Do Noachides not have a role within Judaism? Did they not have a role within Israel, in that term's earlier significance?
I'm not sure. What kind of role should they have? I mean other than being good people.
Well, if someone you considered to be an observant Jewish woman married a Noachides man, would this be a sin? Would it be the same as if she'd married a goy?

quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
If you were never a prostelyting religion, then what word would you use for what John Hyrcanus, son of the High Priest Shimon did to the Idumeans and Galilleeans during the Hasmonean expansion?

Heh. I was actually expecting Ricky to raise that. He conquered the Idumaeans and enslaved them. As I explained earlier, that's a kind of involuntary conversion, but it's not about proselytizing. It's just about the fact that Jewish law decrees non-Jewish slaves to be obligated in Jewish law, and makes them Jews when they're freed. Don't worry, though. We paid a deep price for what Hyrcanus did.
Yes, the slavery loophole answered my question; I'd never heard of that before, otherwise I'd not have asked the question. BTW, the info I got on Judaism having a history of prostelyting came from a page called "Judaism 101: welcoming new converts to Judaism" or something like that. It didn't mention the slave loophole, and

I assure you that I did not ask the question in an attempt to embarass you. Remember, I don't believe that prostelytizing is a bad thing, so long as it's done with consent and respect for dignity of the other. One curious thing, though -- by the definition of conversion and prostelytizing that you've offered here, Christians don't "prostelytize" at all, and there are no "converts" to Christianity. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Among the Idumaean slaves was a guy named Antipater. He had a son named Herod, who caused us no end of trouble.

Yes, I know a little of that history. [Frown] And on the Galilleean side, we have Peter, James, John, and many others among the first Christians, and I'm glad that you consider Herod the "Great" more problematic than our great fisherman. [Smile]

[ February 27, 2008, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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I would like to rephrase a question that may be unclear when I said "Do you see the Noachides as sharing your "religion"? What about sharing your "beliefs"?"

Better phrased: do you use the word "religion," "beliefs," or some other word to describe what you share with the Noachides, as distinct from the Jewish _identity_ which the Noachides do not partake in?

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hobsen
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Fascinating stuff...

Regrettably the Old Testament should really be read in Hebrew, which is a lot easier if you are able to read Hebrew.
quote:
Isaiah 30:7 (New King James Version)
New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose.
Therefore I have called her
Rahab-Hem-Shebeth.[a]

Footnotes:

Isaiah 30:7 Literally Rahab Sits Idle

quote:
Isaiah 51:9 (Amplified Bible)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation


9[Zion now cries to the Lord, the God of Israel] Awake, awake, put on strength and might, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, as in the generations of long ago. Was it not You Who cut Rahab [Egypt] in pieces, Who pierced the dragon [symbol of Egypt]?

A comparison of different Bible translations seems to indicate there is uncertainty whether Isaiah's mention of Rahab referred to the woman.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
The lost tribes I speak of are those who could not be called Jews in the sense of descended from subjects of the Kingdom of Judah. You would consider these Jews if their matrilinial geneaology could be established?

Yes, but it would probably be quite a tragedy. In the case of the Beta Israel (the Ethiopian Jews), they were required to convert, because it was better for them to be assumed to be non-Jews (there was no proof of lineage, let alone matrilineal). Had they been assumed to be Jews, they would probably have been considered mamzerim, en masse, since they had no knowledge of Jewish divorce law.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Actually, nothing in Tanach says Rahab converted.
Is Isaiah not part of Tanach? Or when Isaiah says "cut" is that not a figurative expression relating to conversion?
Isaiah is part of Tanakh. I just did a search on Isaiah for the name Rahab and came up blank. Do you have a chapter and verse?
Isaiah 51:9.
Ah. Not her. Rahab in the book of Joshua is spelled reish-het-vet. Rahab in that verse is reish-hei-vet. They look the same in English transliteration, but they're two entirely different names.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So David's paternal grandmother was Gerim, neh?

His great-grandmother was a giyoret, yeh. Ger, masculine singular, giyoret, feminine singular, gerim, masculine (or general) plural, and giyorot, feminine plural.
Ah. Hope that distinction sticks in my memory. Does Hebrew use the masculine as an unspecified gender, e.g. refer to a person of unspecified gender as a Ger?
Yes. Hebrew lacks a neutral gender. There's no "it" in Hebrew. Even objects have gender.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Not only was she a giyoret, but she was a controversial one. The Torah forbids Moabites and Ammonites from converting. But that prohibition was only for Moabite and Ammonite men. Still, the text didn't specify, and it hadn't been an issue until Ruth, so there was a bit of controversy.
Interesting. Is that because Lot's daughters date-raped him resulting in their inbred sons Moab and Ammon, or are Moabites and Ammonites specifically identified as folks who cannot convert?
Deuteronomy 23:4. It's specified. Why, we don't know.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
So ... a male mamzer cannot convert, but his children can convert? So Moabites and Ammonites were an exceptional kind of uber-mamzer whose curse was multigenerational?

A male mamzer is Jewish. So there's nothing for him to convert to. He's already Jewish. If his children aren't Jewish, which would be the case if their mother wasn't Jewish, then they wouldn't even be related to him, according to Jewish law. Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside. The converse is true as well. A convert is not related to any of his or her blood relatives, technically speaking.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
What is the distinction between time bound positive commandments and non-time bound positive commandments?

Without meaning to sound flip, the time-bound ones are delineated by time. For example, saying Shema (the primary profession of faith in Judaism, which is said in mornings and evenings) is time-bound, because we're obligated to say it specifically in the morning and in the evening. Prayer in general is not time-bound. Saying the blessing after food isn't time bound, but reciting the prayer that brings in Shabbat (kiddush) is.

Jewish women are also, generally speaking, exempt from time-bound positive commandments. There are some exceptions, however, for women (not for slaves).

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
When such a slave is freed, the manumission completes the conversion, and the newly freed person has most of the rules applying to a convert.
Most, but not all? Which ones would differ -- would the children of the freed slave be Jewish?
Yes. I said most only because I'm not 100% sure if it's all. The fourth chapter of Tractate Kiddushin in the Talmud is called "Ten Types of Descendance", and starts by listing ten categories that Jews fall into:
  • Kohen - A patrilineal descendent of Aaron.
  • Levi - A descendent of Levi who isn't a Kohen.
  • Yisrael - A Jew who isn't from the tribe of Levi (most of us).
  • Halal - The child of a Kohen and a divorcee or a Kohen and a convert is considered "desecrated", and is disqualified as a Kohen. A Kohen also can't marry a Halal.
  • Ger - A convert.
  • Harur - A freed slave.
  • Mamzer - The child of an incestuous or adultrous union.
  • Netin - A Gibeonite.
  • Shetuki - One type of possible mamzer.
  • Assufi - Another type of possible mamzer
I don't remember off-hand what the two types of maybe-mamzer are. One is an abandoned child in a Jewish area, I think, whose parentage is unknown, and I'm not sure about the other one.

The fact that Ger and Harur are listed separately leads the Talmud to ask why, but I don't recall the reason. It's been a long time since I learned this chapter.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
So that'd be another way for the children of a mamzer to become non-mamzerim.
Has anyone attempted to resolve the controversy by positing that Ruth offered herself as concubine rather than as wife when she sat at the feet of Boaz, thus using slavery as a loophole?
Well, the controversy was resolved by the scholars of the time pointing out that the ban didn't apply to Moabite women. Just men.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
But it isn't practicable.
you mean with slavery abolished and all? [Smile]
Yeah, that's a problem. <grin>

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
The main difference between laws that are d'Orayta (from the Torah, or Sinaitic) and laws that are d'Rabbanan (Rabbinic enactments) lies in what happens when a doubt arises.

Ha. Wish I'd known those terms when I'd had an argument with a Reform Jewish lawyer who was trying to justify courts refusing to make that sort of distinction with rules about "constitutional" law. Thank you.[/QUOTE]

Heh. He might not have known what you were talking about. I've met very few Reform Jews who would.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
This is very useful, Rebbe Lisa. Thank you.

<laugh>

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Other than that, there isn't usually any distinction made between Torah laws and rabbinic laws, other than the basic recognition of which is which. And we're obsessive about that.
And my people honor yours for that obsession.
<curtsey> Thanks.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Prophecy isn't about giving the law. Yes, Moses said, "Would that God would give prophecy to all the people, that He'd put His spirit on all of them." But that doesn't have anything to do with the law. It's not Moses who is important here, but the fact that God gave it all at that time.

If you reject that God may give the law line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little as necessary, then how do you interpret Isaiah chapter 28?
Read verse 13. That's not a positive thing. It's saying that little bit by little bit is how you teach little kids. Isaiah is complaining that some of the people have become so estranged from the Torah that it's like a foreign language to them. And so that God will trip them up and make them fail with dribs and drabs of the Torah.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Do you perceive that change to be a conversion or a repentance?

Interesting. The latter, I think. Because it isn't hereditary, or anything.
I'm glad you find it an interesting question. Please feel free to bring it up again later if you discover a different perspective on this from discussions with others.
I will.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Do you see the Noachides as sharing your "religion"? What about sharing your "beliefs"?

Sort of. Remember, for Jews, Judaism is a little bit religion, a little bit tribe, a little bit culture, a little bit race (even), a little bit legal system, a little bit philosophy (and I'm hearing Donnie and Marie doing "A little bit country and a little bit rock and roll"...). So we don't really pull it apart into its constituent parts. But on the level of beliefs alone, I'd say yes. God doesn't intend for us to be separate. The difference between Jews and non-Jews is like the difference between a Kohen and a non-Kohen. There are things I can do that a Kohen can't, and vice versa. A Kohen has a special set of responsibilities. Jews have a special set of responsibilities. But we're all God's children.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
A small number of these converted afterwards. It was all seen as Judaizing, however.
Do Noachides not have a role within Judaism? Did they not have a role within Israel, in that term's earlier significance?
I'm not sure. What kind of role should they have? I mean other than being good people.
Well, if someone you considered to be an observant Jewish woman married a Noachides man, would this be a sin? Would it be the same as if she'd married a goy?
Definitely. Goy just means someone who isn't Jewish. Literally, it doesn't even mean that; that's just the way it's come to be used. It actually just means "nation".

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I assure you that I did not ask the question in an attempt to embarass you.

Oh, I didn't think you had.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Remember, I don't believe that prostelytizing is a bad thing, so long as it's done with consent and respect for dignity of the other. One curious thing, though -- by the definition of conversion and prostelytizing that you've offered here, Christians don't "prostelytize" at all, and there are no "converts" to Christianity. [Smile]

Heh. But you see, Christianity is idolatry for Jews. Not necessarily for non-Jews, but definitely for Jews. Trying to draw a Jew into idolatry is frowned upon. If done by Jews, the Torah says we're to destroy the entire city where it happens.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Among the Idumaean slaves was a guy named Antipater. He had a son named Herod, who caused us no end of trouble.

Yes, I know a little of that history. [Frown] And on the Galilleean side, we have Peter, James, John, and many others among the first Christians, and I'm glad that you consider Herod the "Great" more problematic than our great fisherman. [Smile]
I never heard anything about Hyrcanus enslaving anyone in the Galilee. Galileans were just Jews who lived in the Galilee. One of the famous Talmudic rabbis was Rabbi Yosi the Galilean.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I would like to rephrase a question that may be unclear when I said "Do you see the Noachides as sharing your "religion"? What about sharing your "beliefs"?"

Better phrased: do you use the word "religion," "beliefs," or some other word to describe what you share with the Noachides, as distinct from the Jewish _identity_ which the Noachides do not partake in?

I don't know. I don't talk about it enough to have a standard way of talking about it. And it's subject to so much misunderstanding that I tend to avoid terse terminology and spell it all out at length.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
"Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside."
Could you give me a citation on that? I know some people who need that flung in their face. [Big Grin]

quote:
"Heh. But you see, Christianity is idolatry for Jews. Not necessarily for non-Jews, but definitely for Jews. Trying to draw a Jew into idolatry is frowned upon. If done by Jews, the Torah says we're to destroy the entire city where it happens."
I assume that the Rabbis have found some exceptions to that rule, neh? In an internet discussion, I saw something once (and just once) that sounded like a death threat, but the person that made it emphatically denied that it was a death threat; he was merely stating what the law said. [Eek!] And I certainly have not heard of observant Jews destroying whole cities lately, or even trying to do so.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I would like to rephrase a question that may be unclear when I said "Do you see the Noachides as sharing your "religion"? What about sharing your "beliefs"?"

Better phrased: do you use the word "religion," "beliefs," or some other word to describe what you share with the Noachides, as distinct from the Jewish _identity_ which the Noachides do not partake in?

I don't know. I don't talk about it enough to have a standard way of talking about it. And it's subject to so much misunderstanding that I tend to avoid terse terminology and spell it all out at length.
Then how would you spell out the answer to the question "do you share the same religious beliefs with the Noachides, and if not, what do you share with the Noachides?"

Edited to add: as a grammatical side matter, why is it the Noachides rather than the Noachites?

(also, I think that I just figured out why I enjoy discussions about Judaism -- because these discussions are a combination of semantics, culture, religion, world view, logic, and law ... [Big Grin] )

[ February 27, 2008, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
"Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside."
Could you give me a citation on that? I know some people who need that flung in their face. [Big Grin]
I'm hesitant to look for it. I believe it involves material that could be offensive to non-Jews.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
"Heh. But you see, Christianity is idolatry for Jews. Not necessarily for non-Jews, but definitely for Jews. Trying to draw a Jew into idolatry is frowned upon. If done by Jews, the Torah says we're to destroy the entire city where it happens."
I assume that the Rabbis have found some exceptions to that rule, neh? In an internet discussion, I saw something once (and just once) that sounded like a death threat, but the person that made it emphatically denied that it was a death threat; he was merely stating what the law said. [Eek!] And I certainly have not heard of observant Jews destroying whole cities lately, or even trying to do so.
You'd need a Sanhedrin. The city would have to be in the land of Israel. And a majority of its inhabitants would have to be idolators. At a bare minimum. There are other reasons why it's not a practical law, certainly not currently. But its message is fairly clear.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Then how would you spell out the answer to the question "do you share the same religious beliefs with the Noachides, and if not, what do you share with the Noachides?"

Well, currently, there are various Noachide groups. I don't know if all of them have proper rabbinic advisors. But assuming they do, I'd say that Jews and Noachides share a common belief system. They should, at any rate.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Edited to add: as a grammatical side matter, why is it the Noachides rather than the Noachites?

Actually, it's Bnei Noach. I've heard Noachide, Noahide, Noachist, etc. Anything's probably fine, so long as it's understandable.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
"Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside."
Could you give me a citation on that? I know some people who need that flung in their face. [Big Grin]
I'm hesitant to look for it. I believe it involves material that could be offensive to non-Jews.
Ah. I take it that the source is not in the Tenach or Talmud?

Does the above apply retroactively to Gerim who convert to Judaism, i.e. are their children up to the point of conversion theirs but after conversion not theirs if they stay married to the same wife who does not convert?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
"Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside."
Could you give me a citation on that? I know some people who need that flung in their face. [Big Grin]
I'm hesitant to look for it. I believe it involves material that could be offensive to non-Jews.
[Big Grin] Yes, I believe I stumbled onto one of those sites after clicking on a link that said "read this only if you are Jewish or B'nai Noach. Being a son of Noah and not considering myself an idolator, I entered the link without guile and was rather shocked and somewhat nauseated at what I saw. [Frown]

Not holding that experience against you, Lisa, and not interested in repeating the experience, or in having you state something in public which might draw public wrath, I am simply fishing to be able to fill in first of the following blanks:

quote:
As I understand, [insert credible source here] holds that technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside. So I don't see how it's any of your business whether []'s children are raised Jewish or LDS, and your own religion gives you no excuse for bad manners on this point.


[ February 27, 2008, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Jesse
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"Public wrath" is no excuse to hide anything.

I'd rather hear Lisa's reasoning than go web-crawling for the info and *not* have her well thought out explination.

[ February 27, 2008, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Jesse ]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
But a Jew who violates Jewish law harms himself, the entire Jewish people, and the very fabric of existence.
For the latter, how so?

Adam

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
"Technically, the Jewish father of non-Jewish children is not considered their father, biology aside."
Could you give me a citation on that? I know some people who need that flung in their face. [Big Grin]
I'm hesitant to look for it. I believe it involves material that could be offensive to non-Jews.
Ah. I take it that the source is not in the Tenach or Talmud?
I believe it's in the Talmud. I'll give you a source in Maimonides, which he draws from the Talmud.

Laws of Inheritance, Chapter 2 Law 12:
"A Jew who has a child from a non-Jewish slave or from a non-Jew, since he is not considered his son, a son he has later from a Jewish woman is considered his firstborn, and receives a double portion".

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Does the above apply retroactively to Gerim who convert to Judaism, i.e. are their children up to the point of conversion theirs but after conversion not theirs if they stay married to the same wife who does not convert?

If a non-Jew converts, he or she is no longer married. Not in the eyes of Jewish law. That same citation I gave above actually starts "If he had children when he was a non-Jew and then he converted, he has no firstborn for the purposes of inheritance". On the other hand, there is a view in the Talmud which states that if he and his children all convert, they are still considered his heirs (and the firstborn is still the firstborn) for the purposes of inheritance. But I believe that was instituted so as not to make someone feel like he was being punished for converting. Similarly, if a father and daughter were to convert, they would not be permitted to marry, but the prohibition would be rabbinic in force. The rabbis wouldn't allow it, even though technically the two are unrelated.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
But a Jew who violates Jewish law harms himself, the entire Jewish people, and the very fabric of existence.
For the latter, how so?
By going against God's intent, one makes the entirety of creation less compliant with God's will.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
I believe it's in the Talmud. I'll give you a source in Maimonides, which he draws from the Talmud.

Laws of Inheritance, Chapter 2 Law 12:
"A Jew who has a child from a non-Jewish slave or from a non-Jew, since he is not considered his son, a son he has later from a Jewish woman is considered his firstborn, and receives a double portion".

Thank you. Maimonides is certainly a reputable source.

quote:
If a non-Jew converts, he or she is no longer married. Not in the eyes of Jewish law.
Do you have a source on that as authoritative as Mamonides?

Here again I'm tempted to observe the sheer contrast between Judaism and Islam as cultural manifestations of R and K competitors, ie the strategies of maximizing the resources available to the group vs. maximizing the sheer numbers of the group.

[ February 27, 2008, 11:59 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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RickyB
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Pete - the rabbis were pissed at Hyrcanus (and his son Jannai) for doing that.

"Not only is that not a documented fact; it's not true. Yes, the Romans saw the Jews as proselytizing. And you can call it that, if you want, but it wasn't for them to become Jewish; it was for them to become Noachides. Some did convert, but that wasn't the goal. And what you claim about donations is ridiculous."

<sigh> Fine. So Roman historians AND Josephus made up the expulsion of the Jews from Rome in... 23 AD I think, the story about the Flavian woman who was duped into sending a fortune to the temple, and other evidence about proselytizing. Anyone not conforming to your source is wrong and making it up. Is that really what you're saying? And it's not even your source. There are tons of religious scholars who accept that the temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, and that wouldn't feel the slightest need to deny that (excessive, ill advised) proselytizing was going on in Roman times. This is just you, not even some party line.

"That's in the context of a discussion of violent and dangerous "commoners" who had a mad hate on for the rabbis. Read the whole context, Ricky."

Which is precisely what I said right after you chose to cut off my quote. There are others. I have an ex-religious friend who delights in those. There was a definite elitist subtone of "If you don't study you're less worthy" - which again begs the question how and why people needed to put in so many years studying stuff that was always there, always adhered to.

"Not eating chicken parmesan is rabbinic, too. When was the last time you saw an Orthodox Jew do that?"

I dunno. According to you, never ever. I'd hazard that during 1st temple times, but neither of us has any proof. I doubt it was universally accepted in the 4th or 3rd centuries BCE. [Smile]

BTW, care to cite the Talmud passages that say it's not allowed? Just for curiosity's sake. I kno w they exist.

As for the rule itself, I thought Rabbinic was every bit as incumbent as torah rules?

Finally (I'm picking this post up after a good night's sleep) I spoke with Prof. Zeev Meshel. He said there's a paucity in certain parts of Israel from the Persian era - compared to other parts of the Persian empire, which on the whole rperesents a huge spike in orthographic evidence as I said. He was also deeply amused by your theory that the 1st temple was destroyed in 421 BCE, and said he'd ask an orthodox colleague.

BTW, if they stopped counting jubilees a bit before Shomron went down (for which interesting reference I thank you), maybe that's where they lost track of 166 years. Also if they stopped then, why does Maimonides calculate the time until the destruction in jubilees?

[ February 28, 2008, 12:48 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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BTW - there are other categories of Halal. If you or even your mother was taken captive, you're disqualified at least for high priesthood (though if you tell that to the high priest/king, you might get a back full of red stripes).
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Jesse
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Thanks Lisa.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
If a non-Jew converts, he or she is no longer married. Not in the eyes of Jewish law.
Do you have a source on that as authoritative as Mamonides?
Probably. I don't know where, just now. I do know people who were married, and when they both converted, they had to remarry.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Here again I'm tempted to observe the sheer contrast between Judaism and Islam as cultural manifestations of R and K competitors, ie the strategies of maximizing the resources available to the group vs. maximizing the sheer numbers of the group.

R and K?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
BTW, care to cite the Talmud passages that say it's not allowed? Just for curiosity's sake. I kno w they exist.

Not particularly. Especially if you already know they exist. You can look it up as easily as I can.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
As for the rule itself, I thought Rabbinic was every bit as incumbent as torah rules?

Yes. I discussed this. But I also discussed the fact that we always differentiate between rabbinic and Torah laws, even when there's no practical implication to it.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
BTW, if they stopped counting jubilees a bit before Shomron went down (for which interesting reference I thank you), maybe that's where they lost track of 166 years. Also if they stopped then, why does Maimonides calculate the time until the destruction in jubilees?

Good God, Ricky. You can't find the 166 years elsewhere. The rabbis had a specific chronological sequence of events from the fall of Jerusalem to the fall of Persia. That's where the gap is. It's not before the Flood, not before the fall of Jerusalem, and not in the bottom drawer of my desk. It's where it is. Sheesh.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
BTW - there are other categories of Halal. If you or even your mother was taken captive, you're disqualified at least for high priesthood (though if you tell that to the high priest/king, you might get a back full of red stripes).

That's because there's a presumption that a Jewish woman captured by non-Jews was raped.
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RickyB
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"Good God, Ricky. You can't find the 166 years elsewhere. The rabbis had a specific chronological sequence of events from the fall of Jerusalem to the fall of Persia. That's where the gap is. It's not before the Flood, not before the fall of Jerusalem, and not in the bottom drawer of my desk. It's where it is. Sheesh."

Where exactly? You say it's between the fall of Ninveh and the Seleucids, but I'm having some problems here. The skew is already present, for you, by the fall of Shomron (before the fall of Ninveh, obviously) and the skew remains unchanged save by three years, some 132 years later when the first temple is destroyed. then, within about 100 years, the two counts are brought in line. How is this possible? Where did all the events in between go?

Timeline:
Fall of Shomron (Northern Israelite kingdom): 722 BCE

Fall of Jerusalem to Babylonians: 586 BCE

At this point we are 166 years apart.

Fall of Babylon to Cyrus of Persia: 539

Battle of Marathon: 490 BCE

Battle of Salamis: 480 BCE

Start of Peloponesian war: 431 BCE

End of Peloponesian war: 404 BCE

Alexander born: 356 BCE

Alexander king after Phillip's murder: 336 BCE

Alexander dies: 323 BCE

At this point we are only 10 years apart, according to you.

Seleucids take "palestine" from Ptolemaids: 198 BCE.

I don't see how you can account for the discrepancy. Would it be so awful to say that Maimonides made a mistake?

[ February 28, 2008, 08:40 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Good God, Ricky. You can't find the 166 years elsewhere. The rabbis had a specific chronological sequence of events from the fall of Jerusalem to the fall of Persia. That's where the gap is. It's not before the Flood, not before the fall of Jerusalem, and not in the bottom drawer of my desk. It's where it is. Sheesh."

Where exactly? You say it's between the fall of Ninveh and the Seleucids, but I'm having some problems here. The skew is already present, for you, by the fall of Shomron (before the fall of Ninveh, obviously)

No. That has nothing to do with it. Both Shalmaneser V and Sargon claim to have conquered Samaria. A lot of sources give more credence to Shalmaneser's claims and put the fall of Samaria in 722. But the book of Kings points out that Hoshea was captured by the Assyrians years before Samaria actually fell. There are views that say that Sargon's conquest was actually in 719. And as it happens, that matches the internal chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
I don't see how you can account for the discrepancy. Would it be so awful to say that Maimonides made a mistake?

What does Maimonides have to do with anything?

If I had a fully developed revision hypothesis for the period, I'd have written and published it already. Generally speaking, however, the Heifetz revision, which I think is a good framework, for all its imperfections, works like this.

Jewish sources say that the Persians and the Medes had a kind of rotation agreement between their royal houses, where dominance passed back and forth.

We know historically that the Medes helped Nebuchadnezzer conquer Assyria. They were a fully fledged kingdom at that time, but were clearly subordinate to Babylon. Khshayarsha the Mede was Nebuchadnezzar's vassal, and the wars of Xerxes with the Greeks happened during the period of the Babylonian Empire. His early victories (before his later disasters) resulted in him taking the title Akhuwa-khshatra (ruler of Achaea), which Greek sources render as Cyaxares.

The destruction of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, as described in Ezekiel, is the violent conquest of Egypt by Cambyses the Persian, described in Greek sources. Cambyses succeeded Xerxes as the head of the Medo-Persian union, and was also a vassal of Nebuchadnezzar. This was Cambyses the father of Cyrus the Great (known from Darius' Behistun Inscription), and not Cyrus' son Cambyses, whose time in Egypt does not match the Greek descriptions of Cambyses' invasion in any way.

(Btw, just to avoid confusion, it's acknowledged by everyone that the Persian name Khshayarasha is rendered by the Greeks as Xerxes and in Hebrew as Ahasuerus.)

Meanwhile, the son of Khshayarsha the Mede was named Darius. That's the "Darius the Mede" who is mentioned in the book of Daniel. When Cambyses died, his son Cyrus the Great succeeded him as king of Persia, but Darius the Mede was the head of the Medo-Persian union. Even though Cyrus may have done most of the heavy lifting in conquering Babylon, he was still technically subordinate to Darius. And a year after Babylon fell, Darius died, and Cyrus took over.

Three years after that, Cyrus was killed by Darius's son, also named Khshayarsha. He's the Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. That's why it says in the first chapter of Esther that it was "in the third year of his reign" and "when he sat on his throne in Shushan the capital", which was in Persia, and not Media.

It was this Ahasuerus who sent Cambyses off to Egypt to quell a revolt there, which was where Cambyses died. His cousin Darius returned to Persia and defeated the pretender there, who had also killed Ahasuerus, and took the throne as Darius the Persian. He's the one who left the Behistun inscription, and he's the one who was defeated, ultimately, by Alexander.

The Persian period isn't as shortened as you might think looking at a reduction of 166 years, because much of it overlapped the 70 year period of the Babylonian Empire, not to mention the fact that the Persians and Medes reigned in parallel, and not sequentially.

The Greek accounts got confused. They knew that Darius was succeeded by his sons Artaxerxes and Cyrus, and that the two fought and Artaxerxes won. What they didn't realize was that Artaxerxes was simply a title used by Ahasuerus (and later by Darius the Persian), and that while Ahasuerus was Darius's son, Cyrus was Darius's successor. They weren't brothers, though they were probably brothers-in-law.

And the Greeks also knew that Darius had a son named Xerxes who succeeded him. Not realizing that Artaxerxes the son of Darius was the same person as Xerxes the son of Darius, they duplicated him and made a second Darius. They knew that Artaxerxes the son of Darius did well against the Greeks, but they knew that Xerxes had been a disaster. Not realizing that the Xerxes who failed was the father of Darius the Mede, they attributed those disasters to the later Xerxes they'd created.

Herodotus doesn't even seem to know that there was ever a king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I mean, the biggest emperor in centuries, and Herodotus doesn't mention him even once. Not so much, this "father of history". He was a collector of folk tales and a storyteller. Far too much has been based on what he wrote.

Xenophon writes about the war between Cyrus and Artaxerxes. He writes as though Cyrus was the rebel, but then, he was writing it at the time of Artaxerxes, so he kind of had to.

Herodotus does mention an Alexander of Macedon at the time of Darius son of Hystaspes (Darius I). But this Darius is considered by historians to have been an ancestor of Alexander the Great. Even though all we know about Alexander's early life is stuff written by his followers.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
If a non-Jew converts, he or she is no longer married. Not in the eyes of Jewish law.
Do you have a source on that as authoritative as Mamonides?
Probably. I don't know where, just now. I do know people who were married, and when they both converted, they had to remarry.
Well, we mormons do that too, but its not because the previous marriage is invalid; it's because there are covenants in our marriage in addition to the ones in other marriages. That's one reason that a couple might be expected to remarry after conversion. Another possible rationale would be that the religious law never viewed the marriage as valid in the first place (see below).

IIRC Chabad really emphasizes the "fellow Jew" aspect to the commandments, so does the law as you see it even recognize other marriages in the first place? For example, if a man of your congregation had sex with a gentile housewife, would your rabbi call that adultery, fornication, bestiality, or something else?

If a married couple coverts to Judaism and doesn't remarry each other according to Jewish law, would the Rabbis let the ger take a different Jewish wife without civilly divorcing the first, despite the IIRC temporary rabinnic restriction on polygyny?

[ February 28, 2008, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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