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Author Topic: Questions for starLisa
Adam Masterman
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I found this statement very interesting:

quote:
Judaism is intended to be kept in the land of Israel. Not that we don't have to keep it elsewhere, but it's meant for our one home. Half the commandments in the Torah just about can't be done outside of our land.

The goal is to be a special nation. Rather than questioning our morals and ethics, the nations of the world should be coming to us for spiritual guidance. We're the priesthood of mankind.

Of course, we aren't in any condition right now to be carrying out that responsibility. No offensive, Ricky and Hannibal, but the two of you are classic examples of how much work we have to do in order to get our house in order.

So yes, that's the long term goal. In the short term, we're supposed to be independent in our own land. And we're supposed to rely on God to a certain extent. "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition", so to speak. Jewish legend says that when we had our backs to the Red Sea and the Egyptians were there and Moses called for the sea to split, nothing happened. Not until Nachshon, head of the tribe of Judah, went into the sea himself. And the sea didn't split until the water was up to his nose. We don't get anything for free. God helps, but we have to reach out first. And we have to not be pissing Him off.

and was hoping to ask some follow-ups about your beliefs. I intend no baiting or even debate, I'm merely curious. I realize that my posts on another thread may have disinclined you to discuss this with me, but I'm hoping to simply agree to disagree, and in the meantime, I'd very much appreciate some elaboration of this theology. So, if you are willing:

Why did G_d allow the destruction of the Temple (twice) and the exile?

Was the Zionist movement, and the wider political events that led to the creation of the state of Israel, part of His plan? Was there some redemption that allowed the Jewish people back into Israel?

What is expected of non-Jews in terms of worship, religious observance, etc.?

Can you give an example of the kind of spiritual insight available to Jews that is (presumably) not available to non-Jews?

Well, that's enough for now. Again, no debate intended, and definitely no baiting.

Adam

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Greg Davidson
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Note also that some of starLisa's views, at least from that quote, are not universally held by other Jews (no surprise there)
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Pete at Home
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Yes, but if I understand Adam's intent (i.e. the survival of Tibetan Buddhism) there's a reason why he's asking StarLisa this question specifically. Not that others won't have relevant answers.
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Paladine
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http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=19;t=000013

Might be a good place for this [Smile]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
and was hoping to ask some follow-ups about your beliefs. I intend no baiting or even debate, I'm merely curious. I realize that my posts on another thread may have disinclined you to discuss this with me, but I'm hoping to simply agree to disagree, and in the meantime, I'd very much appreciate some elaboration of this theology. So, if you are willing:

No problem.

quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Why did G_d allow the destruction of the Temple (twice) and the exile?

The First Temple was destroyed because of violence and social oppression. Pretty much the same things that required prophets. I explained the purpose of prophecy over on Hatrack, but I'm not sure if you remember.

Take sacrifices, for example. The large percentage of the Torah that contains laws about sacrifices could easily give the impression that they're the most important thing. And there's really nothing the text could have said to remedy that without making it seem like the sacrifices were unimportant. So when we (and by we, I mean more than just one or two mistaken individuals) started getting this wrong, and mistreating others, thinking that the sacrifices would make up for it, God sent prophets to tell us otherwise.

Prophets weren't about telling the future. That's a very ancillary thing. The main thing was to explain what we were screwing up in terms of priorities. They were really an integral part of the Torah.

But many people were influenced by the surrounding cultures (just as they are today), and they emulated lots of things that they shouldn't have. And God warned us that we'd be exiled for it, but when you've had a kingdom for four centuries, you start feeling like nothing's really going to threaten it.

The Second Temple was destroyed for similar reasons. Gossip and "free hatred" (hating without cause). There were zealots called the Sicarii who were carrying out assassinations on fellow Jews, there were Sadducees and their followers who wanted to be Romans more than Jews. There were ascetics who were running off to the desert with their Dead Sea Scrolls. There were crackpots who believed an executed criminal was God. It was all pretty bad. And again, God did warn us.

quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Was the Zionist movement, and the wider political events that led to the creation of the state of Israel, part of His plan? Was there some redemption that allowed the Jewish people back into Israel?

I think so, yes. Jewish history has a lot of patterns in it. On Passover, we drink four cups of wine at the Seder, representing the four terms of redemption used in Exodus at one point. "And I will take you out of the land of Egypt, and I will save you from their hand, and I will redeem you from slavery to freedom, and I will take you to Me as a nation." The events represented by those four things are the actual Exodus from our exile in Egypt, saving us from Egypt at the Red Sea, helping us defeat Amalek in the desert, and receiving the Torah at Sinai.

Our later exiles consisted of the same four elements. We were exiled by Babylon and grew accustomed to exile being normative. We were saved from Persia through political artifice and grew accustomed to relying on that instead of God. We encountered Hellenism and learned to see other cultures as superior to our own. And we lost the Sanhedrin, which was the one thing which bound us together as a single nation.

As things have begun to come back together, everything has started reversing itself. We began returning to the land of Israel. We declared sovereignty and stood up for ourselves in the face of the nations of the world. We've had a major flood of Jews returning to Judaism and Jewish culture. The only thing we haven't done yet in this vein is to reestablish the Sanhedrin and create a unified source of Jewish law, as it's supposed to be.

That's on a religious and schematic level, of course.

quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
What is expected of non-Jews in terms of worship, religious observance, etc.?

Non-Jews have to follow the seven Noachide laws. Which aren't really only seven any more than the 613 commandments Jews have to follow are only 613. They're really seven categories. No bloodshed, no stealing, no forbidden sexual activities (incest, adultery, bestiality, etc), no idolatry, no blaspheming, no eating meat from a living animal, and creating governments to enforce the other six.

When it comes to what God wants from them, non-Jews have one address, which is us. Beyond that framework, they can pretty much do what they want. And a non-Jew who keeps all of the laws they're obligated in is considered to be just as good and righteous as a Jew who keeps all of ours. Only it's a helluva lot easier.

quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Can you give an example of the kind of spiritual insight available to Jews that is (presumably) not available to non-Jews?

I'm not sure I understand. Other than learning Torah, which is the source of correct understanding of God, non-Jews aren't spiritually "less" than Jews in any way. Granted, there are groups like Lubavitch Hasidism who think otherwise, but they're a minority. And I think even most Lubavitchers aren't aware that the Tanya (a book written by the founder of that Hasidic group) says such a thing.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=19;t=000013

Might be a good place for this [Smile]

Good call.
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Pete at Home
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Are there no positive laws for the Noachide? Surely a righteous gentile is more than a gentile who refrains from violating those seven general prohibitions. Those laws don't even contain any suggestion that one worship or honor God.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Are there no positive laws for the Noachide? Surely a righteous gentile is more than a gentile who refrains from violating those seven general prohibitions. Those laws don't even contain any suggestion that one worship or honor God.

Sure. I mentioned the requirement to create governments to enforce the other 6. But yes, there's an implied one, just as there is for Jews. There's no actual commandment to accept God, but keeping His commandments implies that. And since the seven laws aren't given explicitly in the text of the Torah, keeping them for a non-Jew implies acceptance that the Torah of the Jews is true and from God.

Incidentally, non-Jews who want to live in the land of Israel have an additional obligation to be "resident strangers" (ger toshav), which requires them to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Jews there.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Yes, but if I understand Adam's intent (i.e. the survival of Tibetan Buddhism) there's a reason why he's asking StarLisa this question specifically. Not that others won't have relevant answers.

Actually, I am really just curious. I've always found comparative religion fascinating; if I ever got a doctorate, it would be in that.

Also, interestingly, Tibetan Buddhism predicts its own complete eradication. Obviously, the truths it points to will still be true, but the tradition, the handing down of practices and insights, that will be completely gone at some point (not sure when, though. [Smile] ).

Another question for starLisa (thanks you for answering the earlier ones):

Why does G_d favor Jews over non-Jews? And can a person born as a non-Jew become a Jew in the eyes of G_d?

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Clark
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quote:
And a non-Jew who keeps all of the laws they're obligated in is considered to be just as good and righteous as a Jew who keeps all of ours. Only it's a helluva lot easier.
Lisa, would it be fair then, to say that there are many non-Jews who are keeping all of the laws they're obligated to? I suppose the idolatry, blasphemy and government to enforce the other laws are the hardest ones, depending on how those are defined. Where I'm heading with this is, are there many people active in other religions who are, in your opinion, meeting their obligations?

(And what I'm even more intrigued by is the question: Do I fit in that category? I'm very interested to find that it might be possible to be complying with multiple religions at the same time here.)

(And the snide part of me is wondering what the greatest number of non-conflicting religions that could be found are. Sort of like picking up dual citizenship. And yes, I realize that this line of thinking clearly misses the point of most religions.)

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RickyB
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"The First Temple was destroyed because of violence and social oppression. (bold mine)

Which you don't think the state should do anything about, iirc [Smile]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Another question for starLisa (thanks you for answering the earlier ones):

Why does G_d favor Jews over non-Jews? And can a person born as a non-Jew become a Jew in the eyes of G_d?

Does God really favor Jews over non-Jews? 'Cause I don't feel favored.

Sure. A convert is a Jew. About the only thing a convert can't do that a born Jew can is be king (or the equivalent). And that's true of born Jewish women as well.

But converting is a very big deal, not easy, not recommended, discouraged and permanent.

(Don't start, Ricky. A dispute over whether something was a legitimate conversion doesn't mean conversion isn't permanent.)

One of the greatest Sages of all time, Rabbi Akiva, was descended from converts. King David, ancestor of the Messiah, was the great-grandson of Ruth, who was born a Moabite and converted to Judaism. A number of my friends are converts, though I have to say that I don't even begin to understand why they would convert.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Clark:
quote:
And a non-Jew who keeps all of the laws they're obligated in is considered to be just as good and righteous as a Jew who keeps all of ours. Only it's a helluva lot easier.
Lisa, would it be fair then, to say that there are many non-Jews who are keeping all of the laws they're obligated to?
Yes and no. Most Muslims probably keep at least 5 of them. There's a question as to whether their rejection of the Torah (and how they do it) gets into blasphemy, and I don't know to what extent they keep the obligation to have governments which enforce the other six.

I've been told that Buddhists don't practice idolatry. I don't know enough about it.

quote:
Originally posted by Clark:
I suppose the idolatry, blasphemy and government to enforce the other laws are the hardest ones, depending on how those are defined. Where I'm heading with this is, are there many people active in other religions who are, in your opinion, meeting their obligations?

(And what I'm even more intrigued by is the question: Do I fit in that category? I'm very interested to find that it might be possible to be complying with multiple religions at the same time here.)

Are you a Christian? 'Cause that'd be a problem on at least two counts. Do you eat rocky mountain oysters? That'd be another one.

quote:
Originally posted by Clark:
(And the snide part of me is wondering what the greatest number of non-conflicting religions that could be found are. Sort of like picking up dual citizenship. And yes, I realize that this line of thinking clearly misses the point of most religions.)

I don't really think so. We don't deny that other religions may include some truth. Just not all of it, and not only. We have a saying: Kabel et ha-emet me-me she-omro. Accept the truth from whoever says it (in other words, regardless of the source).
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"The First Temple was destroyed because of violence and social oppression. (bold mine)

Which you don't think the state should do anything about, iirc [Smile]

We have a difference of opinion about whether government interference reduces social oppression or furthers it.
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RickyB
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"About the only thing a convert can't do that a born Jew can is be king (or the equivalent). And that's true of born Jewish women as well."

He also can't be a priest, nor can her child even be one, as a priest may not marry a convert (though a woman of priestly stock may marry a convert). I believe it's only in the fourth generation (original convert included), although that may be for high priesthood, and a grandchild of a convert may be a priest.

Again, compare with Catholic Christianity where a convert can grow up to be pope (or at least a strong legitimate contender).

[ September 07, 2010, 01:35 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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RickyB
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"We have a difference of opinion about whether government interference reduces social oppression or furthers it."

Right, because there was less of it before any kind of labor legislation, frinstance. One can argue about the extent, say "what was done 10/50/100 years ago is enough and more is detrimental", but flat out? Are you some sort of Ayn Rand Jew? [Smile]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Does God really favor Jews over non-Jews? 'Cause I don't feel favored.
Poor choice of words on my part. Maybe "Why does G_d treat Jews and non-Jews differently?" Is it because your ancestors took the covenant on the behalf of all of their descendants?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"About the only thing a convert can't do that a born Jew can is be king (or the equivalent). And that's true of born Jewish women as well."

He also can't be a priest, nor can her child even be one, as a priest may not marry a convert (though a woman of priestly stock may marry a convert).

But our priesthood is hereditary. No Jew who isn't born a kohen can be one.

=============================
A guy goes to his rabbi and says, "Rabbi, I want you to make me a kohen."

The rabbi says, "I'm sorry, Mr. Tembel, but there's no way I can do that."

Tembel says, "Look, I'll donate $10,000 to your synagogue."

The rabbi says, "No. I'm sorry, but it just can't be done."

Tembel offers him $50K and the rabbi refuses. He offers him $100K and the rabbi refuses. He offers $250K and the rabbi buckles. He agrees to the deal, makes up some mumbo-jumbo, waves his hand, and tells the guy he's a kohen.

Tembel is happy, and the rabbi has a quarter million dollars for his shul, but he's confused. He asks Tembel, "Look, Mr. Tembel, I have to know. Why on earth were you willing to pay such a huge amount of money to be a kohen?"

Tembel says, "Well, rabbi. My father was a kohen. His father was a kohen. So I wanted to be a kohen, too!"
=============================

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
I believe it's only in the fourth generation (original convert included), although that may be for high priesthood, and a grandchild of a convert may be a priest.

A kohen can't marry a convert. But a kohen's daughter can. And a convert's daughter can marry a kohen, which would result in their sons being kohanim.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Again, compare with Catholic Christianity where a convert can grow up to be pope (or at least a strong legitimate contender).

So what?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"We have a difference of opinion about whether government interference reduces social oppression or furthers it."

Right, because there was less of it before any kind of labor legislation, frinstance. One can argue about the extent, say "what was done 10/50/100 years ago is enough and more is detrimental", but flat out? Are you some sort of Ayn Rand Jew? [Smile]

Quite so. Honestly, you didn't know that I'm an Objectivist?
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Does God really favor Jews over non-Jews? 'Cause I don't feel favored.
Poor choice of words on my part. Maybe "Why does G_d treat Jews and non-Jews differently?" Is it because your ancestors took the covenant on the behalf of all of their descendants?
Well, Abraham figured out God all on His own. Everyone knew God existed in the beginning, but things devolved into idolatry. And Abraham twigged to the fact that there must be a God. Isaac carried on in Abraham's footsteps, and Jacob kept it going further. And God made promises to all three of them, and all that resulted in us getting the Torah.

Judaism is all about distinctions. We don't try and blur them, as is so common in the Western world. We aren't ruled by Brown v. The Board of Education. A Jew isn't a non-Jew. A kohen isn't a non-kohen. A Levite isn't a non-Levite. A mamzer isn't a non-mamzer. A convert isn't a born Jew. A man isn't a woman. A child isn't an adult. A slave isn't a free man. Jerusalem has different rules than the rest of the land of Israel, which has different rules than the rest of the world. Horses and elephants aren't kosher, but goats and giraffes are. Catfish aren't, but carp are. Day isn't night, and Shabbat isn't a weekday.

God treats everyone differently. Uniformity isn't a Jewish value.

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RickyB
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"Quite so. Honestly, you didn't know that I'm an Objectivist? "

I seem to remember now. Makes sense actually, if you can forgive the snark (which is there in the words and so I won't pretend it's not. You don't think any better of my ideas).

"Judaism is all about distinctions."

This is very true and crucial to understanding Judaism, whatever one may think about it.

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RickyB
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"So what?"

Point is, most people would agree that this (choosing solely by merit and not by blood) is a far more evolved, advanced and moral concept of morality and spiritual guidance.

Also the argument that the blood thing is more conducive to maintaining continuity won't work, since by now the Catholic Church has maintained continuity of leadership for as long as can be argued for the line of Aharon. We don't even know who's descended from the original high priest lines anymore. Any of them.

Of course, "most people would agree" does not mean you must adopt any point of view, and I have no illusions of convincing you personally of anything. I am demonstrating to third parties reading that according to what their likely pov is (as is mine), in this instance Judaism is inferior.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
I've been told that Buddhists don't practice idolatry. I don't know enough about it.
Knowing what I do about both faiths, I would guess that, from the Jewish point of view, Vajrayanists (Tibet) would be considered idolators, whereas Theravadins (Southeast Asia) would not. Mahayanists could go either way (Zen, probably not; Pure Land, almost certainly.)

To go deeper would require a more exact definition of "worship" and "diety" (I'm assuming that "idolatry" means "worshiping a diety other than the G_d of Abraham"). In the Vajrayana, the diety is understood to be "empty", or lacking any inherent existence, and also an aspect (or potential aspect) of one's own basic being. The practice is very devotional, but it also contains acts of embodying the deity, symbolically and psychologically. No idea whether that would be considered idolatry.

Another question: Does G_d still communicate with human beings? Could a non-Jewish individual today initiate the same kind of relationship that Abraham developed with G_d?

[ September 07, 2010, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: Adam Masterman ]

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Another question: Does G_d still communicate with human beings? Could a non-Jewish individual today initiate the same kind of relationship that Abraham developed with G_d?

Like that? Probably not. But the disciplines that allowed prophecy still exist. They just aren't taught publically or in group settings. And I'm pretty sure they aren't as complete as they once were.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"So what?"

the Catholic Church has maintained continuity of leadership for as long as can be argued for the line of Aharon.

Heh heh. Much better then some line of inheritance. There were times the Catholic Church had two or three Popes continuiting at the same time.
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RickyB
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"Heh heh. Much better then some line of inheritance. There were times the Catholic Church had two or three Popes continuiting at the same time."

The high priesthood line wasn't free of interruption, and if you count a really continuous line in actual possession of the high priesthood then the number for the cohanim drops to less than 900 years, from David's time to mid 2nd century BCE. If you totally want to take the Jewish religious narrative, you can argue back another 300 years or so to actually Aharon. I'm also allowing another 500 years or so of there being firm records of who is descended from whom was reliably known after the line of Zadok irrevocably lost the high priesthood (in the Jerusalem temple anyway).

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starLisa
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Nope. There are families which are known widely to be kohanim meyuchasim.
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RickyB
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Name me a single individual who is widely held to be directly descended from the house of Zadok (later known for a couple centuries as house of Honio). Please specify how widely and where the documentation is held, and/or referenced in publicly available texts.

In fact, notwithstanding wanting to see that, documented acceptance of any living individual being from any specific named priestly shift would be interesting.

Thanks.

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starLisa
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Why davka Tzadok?
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RickyB
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um, cause that was the house that held the high priesthood for certain (according to Jewish narrative, not some Josephus or outside testimony) from around 1000 bce to around 170 bce. After that the high priesthood was bastardized beyond recognition, although I guess the shifts were kept pretty much to the destruction.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Yes, but if I understand Adam's intent (i.e. the survival of Tibetan Buddhism) there's a reason why he's asking StarLisa this question specifically. Not that others won't have relevant answers.

Actually, I am really just curious. I've always found comparative religion fascinating; if I ever got a doctorate, it would be in that.

Also, interestingly, Tibetan Buddhism predicts its own complete eradication. Obviously, the truths it points to will still be true, but the tradition, the handing down of practices and insights, that will be completely gone at some point (not sure when, though. [Smile] ).

Ah so. shimatta. I mistakenly assumed that you were posing the same question recently posed by the Dalai Lama.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"We have a difference of opinion about whether government interference reduces social oppression or furthers it."

Right, because there was less of it before any kind of labor legislation, frinstance. One can argue about the extent, say "what was done 10/50/100 years ago is enough and more is detrimental", but flat out? Are you some sort of Ayn Rand Jew? [Smile]

Quite so. Honestly, you didn't know that I'm an Objectivist?
Urp? En serio?

Can objectivism and Orthodox Judaism be reconciled? Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK Objectivism leaves no place for unmerited acts of kindness in the private sphere. For example, in the Randian view, there is absolutely no rational explanation Polish Catholics to have hiddem Jews during the Holocaust, often at the cost of their lives; no rational self-interest that could have justified hiding Jews during the Holocaust. But AFAIK, Orthodox Judaism calls such people "righteous gentiles." Rand would simply call them idiots.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Quite so. Honestly, you didn't know that I'm an Objectivist?

Urp? En serio?
En muy serio. (Muy en serio?)

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Can objectivism and Orthodox Judaism be reconciled? Correct me if I'm wrong, but AFAIK Objectivism leaves no place for unmerited acts of kindness in the private sphere. For example, in the Randian view, there is absolutely no rational explanation Polish Catholics to have hiddem Jews during the Holocaust, often at the cost of their lives; no rational self-interest that could have justified hiding Jews during the Holocaust. But AFAIK, Orthodox Judaism calls such people "righteous gentiles." Rand would simply call them idiots.

A common misunderstanding. Objectivism views altruism as a Very Bad Thing, but it views benevolence as a cardinal virtue. One of the reasons it's called Objectivism is that no one has a privileged position. If you can be killed willy nilly, so can I. It's to my benefit to avoid that situation.

Objectivism views giving a buck to an alcoholic bum on the street out of pity to be wrong. But if you see potential in that alcoholic, and you get him a warm meal and bring him to an AA meeting, that's a whole different thing. Not that anyone should ever be required to do such a thing, of course.

The incorrect image of Objectivism that many people have, and rightly object to, is something Objectivists object to as well.

[ September 08, 2010, 08:29 AM: Message edited by: starLisa ]

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RickyB
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" If you can be killed willy nilly, so can I. It's to my benefit to avoid that situation."

But that does not hold for the example given. Your argument is a case of sheep making the rules and expecting the wolf to adhere to them. Nazis were not objectivist. They did believe some are more (or much less) privileged, and acted accordingly. if I am a Christian, non-Jewish Pole, or Ukranian or Russian, and I keep my head down, most chances are I will survive even under nazi rile. If I take in and hide Lisa the Jew I severely increase my chances of being killed willy-nilly. At immense danger and zero material benefit to myself.

So again, why should the gentile in this situation do this, according to objectivism?

You can make an objectivist argument for going partisan, sure, but hiding members of a specifically hunted group you have nothing to do with, in a manner that does nothing to remove the threatening situation but only serves to make you a sitting duck and eligible for punishment you were not otherwise eligible for? Why?

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RickyB
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"Objectivism views giving a buck to an alcoholic bum on the street out of pity to be wrong. But if you see potential in that alcoholic, and you get him a warm meal and bring him to an AA meeting, that's a whole different thing. Not that anyone should ever be required to do such a thing, of course."

These are not the only two options. What if I see a drunk, have no idea if he has potential or not, don't give him cash but give him a sandwich and continue on my way, without sobering him up and taking him to an AA meeting?

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
" If you can be killed willy nilly, so can I. It's to my benefit to avoid that situation."

But that does not hold for the example given. Your argument is a case of sheep making the rules and expecting the wolf to adhere to them. Nazis were not objectivist. They did believe some are more (or much less) privileged, and acted accordingly. if I am a Christian, non-Jewish Pole, or Ukranian or Russian, and I keep my head down, most chances are I will survive even under nazi rile. If I take in and hide Lisa the Jew I severely increase my chances of being killed willy-nilly. At immense danger and zero material benefit to myself.

Out of a view of life as a supreme value. And I disagree with you. Any rebellion against tyranny and genocide, however seemingly ineffective, is a moral act.

quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
You can make an objectivist argument for going partisan, sure, but hiding members of a specifically hunted group you have nothing to do with, in a manner that does nothing to remove the threatening situation but only serves to make you a sitting duck and eligible for punishment you were not otherwise eligible for? Why?

I think this is the main thing, Ricky. I view protecting someone from murder as a moral act and a demonstration (even if no one else sees it) against the murderers. And it might be worth my life, depending on the person. I mean, if someone is being hunted by Nazis and I take them in and they start heaping abuse on me, I'd probably turn them out. Not out of any desire to see them killed, but simply out of a lack of interest in protecting such a person.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
if someone is being hunted by Nazis and I take them in and they start heaping abuse on me, I'd probably turn them out. Not out of any desire to see them killed, but simply out of a lack of interest in protecting such a person.
This reminds me of a story from my tradition, kind of the opposite view, but I always found it kind of funny:

When the great Indian Saint Atisha was invited to Tibet, he worries that his patience and tolerance might erode, because the Tibetans were rumored to be flawlessly polite and well mannered. How, he wondered, would he ever work on his anger if no one ever provoked any. His solution was to select as his attendant the most miserable, cranky, grumpy individual he'd ever encountered, a crusty old teaboy from Bengal. The man was so personally repellant that Atisha would constantly be forced to put his compassion and understanding into practice.

As it turns out, the Tibetans proved to be just as disagreeable and prone to grumpiness as any other people, so Atisha needn't have worried. To this day, however, Buddhists often use "Bengali Tea Boy" as an affectionate term for those people in their life who test their patience (most often, their spouses [Big Grin] ).

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Pete at Home
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You raise an interesting distinction between altruism and benevolence, Lisa. Thank you for another thought-provoking reply.

In my own belief system, an anonymous gift is considered more righteous to the giver, since there's less chance of having "selfish" motives. (Which isn't necessarily coterminous with what Objectivists call selfish motives.) I have been told that some Rabbis have argued that it's even more righteous when the giver doesn't know the recipient either, but I don't like that reasoning at all. How would you come down on that issue as an objectivist orthodox Jew?

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RickyB
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"Out of a view of life as a supreme value. And I disagree with you. Any rebellion against tyranny and genocide, however seemingly ineffective, is a moral act."

You don't disagree with me, but rather with my assumption of what objectivist means.

So life being a supreme value, an objectivist is obligated to incur severe personal disinterest and danger to save lives?

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Pete at Home
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Lisa repeatedly disclaimed obligation. Eg:
quote:
Not that anyone should ever be required to do such a thing, of course.

Aren't there Misvots or somesuch that you can do that are good, but the lack of doing isn't a sin?
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