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Author Topic: Ornery U: Judaism 101
starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Are all homo sapiens in history the descendants of Adam? Or only those living on earth today? Could there have once been a homo sapiens creature without a human spirit? I see no reason why a spirit would be locked to genetics.

That's an excellent point. We don't have enough information to say so one way or another, but it's certainly possible. I mean, Jewish sources do speak of 974 generations before Adam. It's based on the verse that says, "He commanded a thing (or Word) to 1000 generations". It can also be read as "the 1000th generation" (davar tziva l'elef dor, Ricky), and since we know that the Torah was given in the 26th generation from Adam (counting from Adam to Moses), that leaves a previous 974 generations.

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
There is after all that curious statement about the sons of God marrying the daughters of men ... is that part any more clear in Hebrew?

Not really. Except that elohim can mean judges, or important men. It's used for that as well, even though it's more often used as Elohim, for God.

There's a book by a guy named John Dayton. In it, he has a chapter heading in which he says, "It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong." I think that's a brilliant sentiment, and one which a lot of people could stand to consider.

A lot of scientists will say that if there's only one premise that leads to a completely worked out solution, that's the one we have to go with. Because doubt hurts.

I remember when I was studying Assyriology, and I came across the two lists of Babylonian kings back around the Amarna period. One of them lasted 4 generations. The other one lasted about 8, if I'm remembering correctly. But they completely disagreed about the order and names of kings even where they overlapped.

Most scholars in the field automatically use the latter one, because it has more information. If the missing part of the first one was around, maybe it would have been given precedent, but it isn't, and for most mainstream scholars, it really is better to be precisely wrong than roughly right. Which is a shame.

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RickyB
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"Is there any scriptural reason that they could not have lived in the Garden of Eden for thousands of years?"

Doesn't matter. They didn't have kids till they got out.

Lisa, I don't want to be a prick, so I'll just drop it. [Smile]

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RickyB
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Where is this, Lisa? I don't remember hearing about this. Cite me, please? That's way cool, cause the Christian literalists don't have that... [Smile]

"Except that elohim can mean judges, or important men. It's used for that as well, even though it's more often used as Elohim, for God."

Um, what?

[ March 06, 2008, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Is there any biblical evidence that the clock starts ticking on 5768 years at the time of the creation, as opposed to after Adam and Eve took the fruit and fell?

Is there any scriptural reason that they could not have lived in the Garden of Eden for thousands of years?

Sure. Unless you want to say that Adam didn't live while he was in Eden, you have to accept the explicit verse that says he lived 130 years before begetting Seth, who lived 105 years before betting Enosh, who lived 90 years before begetting Kenan (and I'm showing my geekiness here, so I'll stop), and so on.
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RickyB
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You don't get to be called geek till you get to Mahalel
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RickyB
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"A lot of scientists will say that if there's only one premise that leads to a completely worked out solution, that's the one we have to go with. Because doubt hurts."

I can't help but admire the twistedness of this [Smile]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Where is this, Lisa? I don't remember hearing about this. Cite me, please? That's way cool, cause the Christian literalists don't have that... [Smile]

Where is what?

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Except that elohim can mean judges, or important men. It's used for that as well, even though it's more often used as Elohim, for God."

Um, what?

The word "elohim" is a plural noun, meaning powerful. Powerful men, judges. It's also a singular proper noun which is one of the names used for God.

"El", itself means essentially "potential" or "ability" or "power". When I moved to Israel and changed my last name to Liel, it was with that in mind that I picked the name. I hadn't even known at the time that it was an actual last name (or first name, in some cases).

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Jesse
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Wasn't trying to bait you or start a thing, Lisa.

I was just curious.

Thanks for answering.

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RickyB
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Where is this talk of generations before Adam.

And please show me where el means just "powerful" and can be applied to mortals/humans.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
Wasn't trying to bait you or start a thing, Lisa.

I was just curious.

Thanks for answering.

Jesse, I didn't take it as baiting. You and I often don't get along, but I don't really have a chip on my shoulder as far as you're concerned.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Where is this talk of generations before Adam.

Link 1

Link 2

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
And please show me where el means just "powerful" and can be applied to mortals/humans.

Exodus 22:8 uses a plural verb with elohim. And... well, I have to get to my daughter's school for conferences, so here's a link.

Also, when you use the phrase "yesh l'el yado laasot...", you're using the word "el" in that way.

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RickyB
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Interesting, thanks.
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Paladine
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Lisa-

If a Jew adopts children, do those children become Jewish as if they'd been born into it?

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starLisa
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Nope. You have to convert them. And when they hit the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah (13 years and a day for boys; 12 years and a day for girls), they can say they reject the conversion, at which point they aren't Jewish. If they don't say anything, they're like any other Jew who became Jewish through conversion.
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Paladine
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Since Jews don't seek converts, do they tend to let their adopted children remain goy or pretty much exclusively adopt Jewish kids?
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Pete at Home
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I don't know if this is the norm, but I do know one Jewish couple that adopted LDS kids and raised them LDS. I don't know if they'd been friends with the parents and promised to take care of them, or what the circumstances were.
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RickyB
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It kinda depends on age. If you adopt infants, you probably raise them Jewish. If you adopt a 10 yr old orphan, it's trickier.
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Paladine
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Also, how do you feel about Bat Mitzvah? I'd read somewhere that it wasn't considered appropriate for women to read from the Torah in public. A lot of my friends are conservative/reform Jews, however, and in their families the girls seem to do things pretty much the same as the boys. Is there supposed to be a big difference there?
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RickyB
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OIrthodox Judaism, just like old school christianity or islam, is chauvinist as all hell. There's an edict by one of the sages that "a voice in a woman is like her genitals" - meaning it shouldn't be "exposed", either, lest a man be tempted. There have been learned women in Orthodox history, but generally they are not taught torah like boys are.
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Pete at Home
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How does that analogy work? How does a woman's voice tempt these poor Orthodox dudes?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
Since Jews don't seek converts, do they tend to let their adopted children remain goy or pretty much exclusively adopt Jewish kids?

It wouldn't make sense to adopt a child and not convert the child. And it's a lot harder (in the US) to find Jewish children to adopt. One of the reasons we only have one child (neither one of us can have any more) is that finding an adoptable Jewish child is hard, and there are no Orthodox rabbis who would do a conversion for a child we'd be raising because of our relationship.
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hobsen
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Try misogynistic, RickyB, having a strong hatred or prejudice directed toward women. Living in Israel, are you forgetting your English?

Chauvinism is militant devotion to and glorification of one's country; fanatical patriotism.

[French chauvinisme, after Nicolas Chauvin, a legendary French soldier famous for his devotion to Napoleon.]

Actually those sages do sound misogynistic. But there are other social possiblities besides the sexes mingling and filling the same roles. Insisting on rigid separation, and a strong division between male and female roles, is not is itself misogyny - although that seems to always follow in practice. It is the "separate but equal approach..."

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
OIrthodox Judaism, just like old school christianity or islam, is chauvinist as all hell.

But Ricky, tell us how you really feel. No, seriously, you don't have to hold back.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
There's an edict by one of the sages that "a voice in a woman is like her genitals" - meaning it shouldn't be "exposed", either, lest a man be tempted. There have been learned women in Orthodox history, but generally they are not taught torah like boys are.

I find that the biggest objections to the role of Orthodox women tend to come from people who are neither Orthodox nor women. Funny, that.

Judaism is about distinctions. Distinctions between Shabbat and weekdays. Between good and bad. Between holy and profane. Between Jews and non-Jews and as I pointed out before, between various statuses of Jews. And there are differences between men and women, as well. You may have noticed these. <grin>

Judaism sees women's singing as being potentially sexually attractive to men. <shrug> Why is that so strange? Because it's not what you think, culturally?

Anyway, as it happens, I'm going to be reading Torah at an Orthodox women's prayer group that I go to and which meets about once a month. I'm a regular, because I can read a lot. And I'll be reading two chapters of Esther on Purim in two weeks. I also teach it.

When Tova gets to be bat mitzvah, we're going to have two services. One with the women's prayer group for women only, where she'll read Torah and probably haftara as well, and probably lead services to boot. And one at the synagogue we normally go to, where she'll give a talk on Mishnah or something before Kiddush.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
Try misogynistic, RickyB, having a strong hatred or prejudice directed toward women. Living in Israel, are you forgetting your English?

Chauvinism is militant devotion to and glorification of one's country; fanatical patriotism.

Actually, Ricky used a correct word, even I don't agree with his conclusions. Male chauvinism is a long standing term for sexism against women.

quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
Actually those sages do sound misogynistic. But there are other social possiblities besides the sexes mingling and filling the same roles. Insisting on rigid separation, and a strong division between male and female roles, is not is itself misogyny - although that seems to always follow in practice. It is the "separate but equal approach..."

Separate but equal is not inherently unequal, Brown v Board of Ed to the contrary.
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hobsen
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You are of course correct, Lisa. Male chauvinism is indeed a term in common usage to describe a belief in the superiority of males.
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RickyB
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Equal my Jewish behind [Smile]

"Because it's not what you think, culturally?"

A woman singing *can* be sexually arousing, but when grown men forbid their pubescent daughters from singing at shabbat table (and this happens, even if not in your circles) - that's a sick obsession. But I'm not gonna get into a whole "yes your religion is chauvinist" [Smile]

(yes, Pete, General Chauvin was known for nationalistic jingoism, not being an ass to women [though one can assume he was that too], but like Lisa says, "male chauvinist" is in the dictionary.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Equal my Jewish behind [Smile]

Excuse me, but are you comparing your rear end to women? For shame.
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RickyB
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"but are you comparing your rear end to women? For shame."

Touch'e [Big Grin] It's a nice behind, they tell me... some women could do a lot worse [Smile]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Equal my Jewish behind [Smile]

"Because it's not what you think, culturally?"

A woman singing *can* be sexually arousing, but when grown men forbid their pubescent daughters from singing at shabbat table (and this happens, even if not in your circles) - that's a sick obsession. But I'm not gonna get into a whole "yes your religion is chauvinist" [Smile]

(yes, Pete, General Chauvin was known for nationalistic jingoism, not being an ass to women [though one can assume he was that too], but like Lisa says, "male chauvinist" is in the dictionary.

Methinks you confused Pete with hobsen. I have no objection to your usage of the term Chauvenism, even though it originally only meant what hobsen says it means.
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RickyB
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yah sorry
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hobsen
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I considered it an honor to be confused with Pete...
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Pete at Home
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No harm done. [Smile]
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Pete at Home
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Speaking of hobsen, have you thought of doing a 101 on the Society of Friends? Or have I misunderstood that this is your affiliation?
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hobsen
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On some other thread, Pete at Home called my attention to a passage in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John:
quote:
But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us[e] that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

So far as I know, the incident illustrates a first century Jewish belief that the high priest could be inspired to speak truth beyond his own understanding. But I am not clear whether this was a popular superstition, or something in Jewish tradition, or something explicitly stated in Jewish canonical books. Which is it?

Otherwise the trial of Jesus certainly did not conform to anything known of Jewish law. But essentially nothing is known of legal procedures at the time, as agreed between the Jewish and Roman authorities, so it seems to be impossible to say whether what took place subsequently was according to local law at the time. And considering the later history of the Great Revolt, the high priest was justified in his apprehension, if possibly unscrupulous in what he advocated. Also assuming he was quoted accurately, which is questionable as the author of the Gospel was almost certainly not present at that meeting.

In any case, it seems unlikely that Jews believe unanimously that the high priest was prophesying the triumph of Christianity.

[ March 08, 2008, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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RickyB
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During first temple times, the high priest had the "choshen", the breastplate with 12 gemstones for the 12 tribes, and that was a divination instrument. That, as the ark, was lost in Babylonian captivity. So at the time of Jesus... doesn't sound right. However, maybe during the special communion of Yom Kippur, when the high priest went into the holy of holies, he was alleged to receive communications.

anecdote: when the high priest went into the holy of holies that one time a year, they'd tie a long rope to his ankle, in case he died and they needed to drag him out [Smile]

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hobsen
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Thank you, RickyB. The rope sounds very practical. Otherwise maybe Lisa will know something, or maybe what was cited is a belief which has been otherwise forgotten.

[ March 08, 2008, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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RickyB
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I mean, the sages say explicitly that prophecy ended in the early Persian era. John is the latest gospel, written at a time when the temple had been gone for 20 years at the very least, and its practices already shrouded in myth for people who are not Jewish AND educated. See what I mean? You can expect Matt and Mark to be (ed. to amend: somewhat) accurate about Jewish religious practices. John not so much.

[ March 08, 2008, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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hobsen
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That sounds right to me. In a fairly extensive Internet search, I found nothing which looked reliable suggesting the high priest prophesied at that period, or was thought to do so; and I did find statements that prophecy had ended by that time.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
On some other thread, Pete at Home called my attention to a passage in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of John:
quote:
But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us[e] that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

So far as I know, the incident illustrates a first century Jewish belief that the high priest could be inspired to speak truth beyond his own understanding. But I am not clear whether this was a popular superstition, or something in Jewish tradition, or something explicitly stated in Jewish canonical books. Which is it?

Otherwise the trial of Jesus certainly did not conform to anything known of Jewish law. But essentially nothing is known of legal procedures at the time, as agreed between the Jewish and Roman authorities, so it seems to be impossible to say whether what took place subsequently was according to local law at the time. And considering the later history of the Great Revolt, the high priest was justified in his apprehension, if possibly unscrupulous in what he advocated. Also assuming he was quoted accurately, which is questionable as the author of the Gospel was almost certainly not present at that meeting.

In any case, it seems unlikely that Jews believe unanimously that the high priest was prophesying the triumph of Christianity.

Who said that Jews believe unanimously that the high priest was prophesying the triumph of Christianity?

The statement is from one Gallileean>Jew>Christian, John the beloved. It was written, as best we can tell, quite late in the 1st century BC, after John returned from Patmos. It wold be silly to suggest that John's beliefs at that time would have been mainstream Judaism, even if we ignore the fact that the multiplicity of sects at the time meant that there really wasn't such a thing as mainstream Judaism.

If you believe that John was inspired to write that line in his gospel, then it's God saying, through John, that the message really did come from God through Caiaphas.

I reckon that's something that God would know.

[ March 08, 2008, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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RickyB
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1st century CE, Pete.
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