Judaism AMA

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,558
SoCal
The Karaites are not mainstream Jews, though, are they? Rabbinic Jews disagree with the Karaites on this, as on nearly everything else.
Fair enough, I suppose.

1) Millennia of tradition is a "compelling argument" in and of itself.
The same would also apply to things such as homosexuality and Biblical prohibitions on whom one can marry if one is a devout Orthodox Jew, no?

2) You're going to have to show me where in the Bible you're deriving patrilineal descent from.
One could flip this question around and ask where exactly in the Bible (not the Mishnah) one derives matrilineal descent from, no? Anyway, did non-Jewish spouses of male Jews in the Bible always convert to Judaism?

BTW, what do you think about this article? :

 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,703
Netherlands
1) Millennia of tradition is a "compelling argument" in and of itself.

2) You're going to have to show me where in the Bible you're deriving patrilineal descent from.
Matrilineal is throughout the entire old testament bible. I have been wondering though about the story of Ruth. It was never made clear to me whether she converted or remained a Moabite. I must say I didn't study the bible much so I didn't put in too much effort to find out.
 
Jul 2019
1,075
New Jersey
Do you happen to know any English language monograph discussing their history or the exilarchy's history in general? The Encyclopaedia Judaica 2nd edition has a nice detailed article on the exilarchy, but as I saw all the further bibliography suggested there is in Hebrew, German or French, so I was wondering maybe you can recommend some further reading. Also do these families still have any halakhic problems due to the maternal descent from an unconverted Sassanid princess, or was it settled definitively in the medieval times and their Jewish status is longer disputed?
Here is a general overview of the history of the exilarchate. You can probably find an English translation of Sherira Gaon's Epistle in a university library, as well.

Conveniently, all of the families I know maintain that their branch of the family branched off before the Bostenai incident, or else are descended from his fully Jewish children by his first wife. That said, the decision by the Gaon at the time was that the children were Jewish. You do find their dubious ancestry used as a rhetorical cudgel against some later exilarchs, though.

Does it mean that all synagogues' community need a priestly descent member who performs this, or is it optional, prayers can be performed in the synagogues without a Cohen too (just then this blessing is not said)?
If there's a Cohen, they say the blessing. Otherwise, they just move on with the prayers. As a matter of fact, outside of Israel, Ashkenazi Jews only do the blessing on holidays. I'm Mizrahi, though, and we do it every morning.
 
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Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,703
Netherlands
One could flip this question around and ask where exactly in the Bible (not the Mishnah) one derives matrilineal descent from, no? Anyway, did non-Jewish spouses of male Jews in the Bible always convert to Judaism?
" A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp." Leviticus 24:10
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,558
SoCal
" A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp." Leviticus 24:10
Which Israelite does the end of this quote refer to?
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,703
Netherlands
Which Israelite does the end of this quote refer to?
Doesn't matter, the guy spoke the name of the lord and was stoned, because he was Jewish.

Good site btw, with a couple of (English) bible versions, including Wycleff
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,558
SoCal
Interesting. I wonder why this quote isn't invoked in debates about the historical origin of the matrilineal principle.
 
Nov 2016
1,592
Germany
I wonder why this quote isn't invoked in debates about the historical origin of the matrilineal principle.
This principle has its origin in Paleolithic times. The strong emphasis on the maternal line in orthodox Judaism most likely has the psychological reason of the return of the repressed (link to psychoanalytical explanation below). Because the feminine in Judaism was for the first time ousted from the divine sphere, it was - compensatorily - assigned the function of being the biological carrier of the Jewish faith, so to speak.

A return of the repressed can also be noticed in the cult around the Torah. The Torah is strongly connoted with the feminine in Judaism. It should be pointed out that (a) the Jewish psychoanalyst Theodor Reik interprets the Torah as a symbol of the "oppressed mother", that (b) in Jewish wisdom literature the "Lady Wisdom" is identified with the Torah, that (c) the Torah (= the law) is associated with the mother (and not the father) at an important place in the Tanach, and that (d) in Judaism there is the idea of marriage with the Torah, as it is currently known. Pinchas Lapide, for example, speaks of Yahweh marrying his daughter (the Torah) to Israel at Mount Sinai. The Torah's reference to femininity is (e) quite evident in the context of the liturgical ritual of 'undressing the Torah', which suggests associations with the undressing of a woman. In the course of the liturgy, first the wrapping of the Torah and then the role itself is kissed.

To all this it is of course fitting that (f) orthodox Jewish religious affiliation is only passed on through the maternal line.



See also my post:


Male regency has only been taken for granted since the 5th millennium BCE, when patriarchy was introduced as a regular form of society. Previously, societies were organized egalitarian in principle. Until the early Neolithic, societies were matrilinearly organized around the maternal bloodline. Only with the discovery of the male contribution to procreation (via large cattle breeding) was it recognized that reproduction occurs bi-linearly.

This idea of bi-linear descent was retained in the patriarchate. As a result, a ruler was only legitimate if he was the son of a queen. So the maternal bloodline was still decisive for the legitimation of a king. But it was even more complicated: The king had not only to descend from a queen, but this queen had to be the daughter of a king. This was the only way to guarantee the royal lineage. This explains Egypt's strong inclination towards sibling incest. Because only if a king impregnates his sister, it is certain that the begotten son stands in the bloodline of the previous kings. This explains the complications in the interpretation of relationships, e.g. with Tutankhamun.
 
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