Judaism AMA

Jul 2019
107
New Jersey
#51
They don't believe in a pre-messianic Jewish state, but they're still willing to live in Israel? You can tell that I am not exactly a scholar of the Torah, but that sounds highly suspicious to me. How do the Haredim that claim that belief and live in Israel justify it?
Well, their stance would be that the Land of Israel has always been a holy land, even when it had no Jewish state. Accordingly, they can live in Israel just as if it were still controlled by the Romans or the Mamelukes or the Ottoman Empire. The holiness of the land and the legitimacy of its government are distinct from one another.

Well, this would only help with one of the problems you mentioned, but maybe some Haredim would agree to serve in Haredim-only units? Perhaps with temporary non-Haredim officers until appropriate officers can be found or trained? This might alleviate the desire for seperation at least.
Such a thing has been created some years back - the Nahal Haredi. It still remains fairly controversial within the Haredi community (when studying in Israel, I personally witnessed a gang of teenaged Haredi hooligans taunting and physically harrassing a religious soldier who had entered the synagogue to pray. These hooligans are a minority, I might add, but they are vocal and violent and dissuade many Haredim from joining the army.
 
Jun 2018
471
New Hampshire
#52
Greetings Abraham,

Excellent thread by the way. I was wondering, what ever became of the 1st century sect of the Sadducces? I know they were among the most Orthodox of all Jewish sects, and even went so far as to reject all other Scriptural writings except for the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Levticus. Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

How strong is their doctrines and influence in modern day Orthodox Judaism? Does the sect still exist in some capacity? Or were the Sadduccees and their doctrines entirely replaced by the Pharisees who were (as far as I am aware) the sect mostly responsible for the Talmud.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,232
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#53
A mere curiosity.

Since it's a kind of tradition for a numerous group of Orthodox Jews from all around the world to come here [with kosher equipment and kosher cooks ...] to celebrate the Jewish Pesach in our Grand Hotels [I live on Lake Maggiore, the Jewish Pesach is celebrated in Stresa, this year also in Verbania], I'm wondering if it's an oddity or a habit. Do you usually gather in great numbers for the Pesach, may be travelling abroad?
 
Jul 2019
107
New Jersey
#54
Greetings Abraham,

Excellent thread by the way. I was wondering, what ever became of the 1st century sect of the Sadducces? I know they were among the most Orthodox of all Jewish sects, and even went so far as to reject all other Scriptural writings except for the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Levticus. Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
I would quibble on that description of the Sadducees as hardliners. The way Josephus describes them is as wealthy, acculturated elites, not a hardline religious sect. I would venture that their rejection of the Oral Torah had more to do with their desire to reject the more cumbersome rabbinic ordinances than to preserve some notion of purity. In other words, their stance wasn't informed by principled religion as much as their religion was informed by their political stances.

How strong is their doctrines and influence in modern day Orthodox Judaism? Does the sect still exist in some capacity? Or were the Sadduccees and their doctrines entirely replaced by the Pharisees who were (as far as I am aware) the sect mostly responsible for the Talmud.
There is nothing left of them whatsoever. Orthodox Judaism is entirely built on the Pharisaic school of thought. The Saduccees were unable to survive as a sect after the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, as they had none of the prayer or study academies that the Pharisees had. Their religion was based entirely around the Temple, so when the Temple was destroyed, their religion fell apart. During the middle ages a similar sect arose: the Karaites. They too rejected the Oral Torah (although they were more principled than the Sadduccees). They were fairly prominent during the middle ages, but now there are only a few thousand of them left.
 
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Jul 2019
107
New Jersey
#55
A mere curiosity.

Since it's a kind of tradition for a numerous group of Orthodox Jews from all around the world to come here [with kosher equipment and kosher cooks ...] to celebrate the Jewish Pesach in our Grand Hotels [I live on Lake Maggiore, the Jewish Pesach is celebrated in Stresa, this year also in Verbania], I'm wondering if it's an oddity or a habit. Do you usually gather in great numbers for the Pesach, may be travelling abroad?
Pesach always has been a time for families to gather, as the entire purpose of the Seder is for parents to communicate to their children the events of the Exodus. That said, the luxury vacations and travelling abroad has no religious significance whatsoever - it's just people who want to go on vacation. The only holiday destination with religious significance is Jerusalem.
 
Jun 2018
471
New Hampshire
#56
I would quibble on that description of the Sadducees as hardliners. The way Josephus describes them is as wealthy, acculturated elites, not a hardline religious sect. I would venture that their rejection of the Oral Torah had more to do with their desire to reject the more cumbersome rabbinic ordinances than to preserve some notion of purity. In other words, their stance wasn't informed by principled religion as much as their religion was informed by their political stances.



There is nothing left of them whatsoever. Orthodox Judaism is entirely built on the Pharisaic school of thought. The Saduccees were unable to survive as a sect after the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, as they had none of the prayer or study academies that the Pharisees had. Their religion was based entirely around the Temple, so when the Temple was destroyed, their religion fell apart. During the middle ages a similar sect arose: the Karaites. They too rejected the Oral Torah (although they were more principled than the Sadduccees). They were fairly prominent during the middle ages, but now there are only a few thousand of them left.
Thank you for your informed reply. I also seem to recall that the Sadduccees and the Sanhedran were mostly pro-Roman and were thus utterly despised by most of Judea's Jewish population since they were seen as a Roman puppet government, and collaborators with a hated occupying power.

The Pharisees on the other hand, in spite of their willingness to accommodate a ceetain degree of Hellenistic influence, were far more patriotic and from them arose the zealot resistance.

Are my perceptions here correct?
 
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AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
26,232
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#57
Pesach always has been a time for families to gather, as the entire purpose of the Seder is for parents to communicate to their children the events of the Exodus. That said, the luxury vacations and travelling abroad has no religious significance whatsoever - it's just people who want to go on vacation. The only holiday destination with religious significance is Jerusalem.
This makes me think to a more religious matter: so the idea of a pilgrimage to visit the tomb of a Prophet or of a Patriarch is not so pivotal in your perspective, or it has got some importance anyway?
 
Jul 2019
107
New Jersey
#58
Thank you for your informed reply. I also seem to recall that the Sadduccees and the Sanhedran were mostly pro-Roman and were thus utterly despised by most of Judea's Jewish population since they were seen as a Roman puppet government, and collaborators with a hated occupying power.

The Pharisees on the other hand, in spite of their willingness to accommodate a ceetain degree of Hellenistic influence, were far more patriotic and from them arose the zealot resistance.

Are my perceptions here correct?
Roughly, although there is, as always, some complexity. The Pharisees were themselves divided into two factions, The Academy of Hillel and The Academy of Shammai. Although most of their disputes were halakhic in nature and they generally maintained good relationships with one another, some historians (Heinrich Graetz in particular springs to mind) maintain that they were split on the issue of the Roman Wars. The Academy of Hillel supported limited resistance in order to negotiate some settlement with Rome, while the Academy of Shammai were the radical zealots who would accept nothing less than the absolute expulsion of the Romans from Judea. Josephus is clear, in any event, that the Zealots were simply Pharisees with extreme political positions.
 
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Dec 2015
3,610
USA
#59
No. Deuteronomy (7:3 - 4) is pretty clear on that account: "Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you."

The 9th chapter of Ezra is also pretty clear that such a thing is unacceptable. The reason, of course, has nothing to do with race or racial superiority, but with the fact that a child with a gentile father will be taught his religion and led astray.



No. I would theoretically love to see a theocratic republic (or constitutional monarchy) in Israel. In practice, however, I don't trust the religious establishment in Israel and I fear that if they ever gain power they will corrupt religion rather than purify the political arena. That said, I do believe that it should be a prerequisite that the Prime Minister of Israel believe in the God of Israel.
Understood. And as this is an AMA of course we know folks will agree or disagree with what you provide. I also noted your earlier stance on Homosexuality, your view that apparently Homosexuals can be cured...

Personally, while I know some people who have quietly struggled with (and overcame) the test of homosexual desires, I know nobody in my community who has "come out".

I humbly submit that indeed in the USA or any liberal country in Europe that view would be viewed with high disdain. That said I personally feel Judaism approves of equality wrt LGBT rights. That in a proper Jewish ran Gov that even an Atheist could be President of a Jewish State. Now note Im not just saying this because its a feel good thing to say. There areJewish Rabbis whom have come fourth with viewpoints that contradict what you are providing my friend,

5 Reasons Being an Orthodox Rabbi Compelled Me to Support Gay Marriage | HuffPost

Also consider that LGBT folks existed in the ancient and middle ages and in some cases were accepted in society in others they were not. Even Jewish scholars have varying approaches on how to deal with LGBT rights and intermarriage. So its not a one way issue here wrt how Jewish folks view these topics is it? In this day and age of social media its easy to see that many Israeli Jews want a society that allows a President to be Atheist, that allows intermarriage and other basic human rights. You talk about how in your view Judaism disapproves of interfaith marriage. But what about the millions of Jews in the USA that intermarry? Some of them marry Muslims.

I respect your contribution by creating this thread and I would ask what of the many Liberal Jews that for example push for improved LGBT rights in Israel, that push for a political system where a non Jewish person can become President of Israel, things like this...I take it you simply disagree with such Jewish folks? Or does it perhaps go further, Lets say you were the President of a Jewish State, let me bluntly ask would you arrest LGBT people for openly living there life? Or would you perhaps disallow LGBT marriage while at least for example allowing Gay pride parades and for example for gay clubs to exist as Israel for example does?

Pew survey of U.S. Jews: soaring intermarriage, assimilation rates - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
 
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Jul 2019
107
New Jersey
#60
Great thread! Thank you for your candor.
Now forgive me for my ignorance. I have a few questions if you may.

Judaism is a religion and not a race, correct? That said, is there a known contemporary link to the tribe of Judah or was that lost to history, perhaps after Rome’s siege of Jerusalem? Lastly, for a religion that is drenched in history and tradition, are you as an Orthodox Jew excited for the future? Do you have a positive outlook of the future?
1- Judaism is a religion, yes, in the sense that anybody can convert. However, there is an ethnic side to the issue as well, in that a Jewish woman's children are Jewish, whether they like it or not. They may convert to Christianity, but that doesn't make them non-Jewish, it simply makes them Jews who aren't doing their duty. There's no way to "escape" Judaism.

2- There are a number of families who trace themselves back to King David's family. Some's traditions are more valuable than others. There are some families who are definitely descended from Judah the Prince (by way of the Exilarchs), who was of the Tribe of Judah. That said, most Jews (yours truly included) have no idea which tribe they come from. Interestingly, my family took a DNA test and it turns out that our genetic haplotype is from a strain in the J1 category which is distinctly Semitic and almost entirely Jewish, so at the very least we can assume that we're from one of the tribes.

3- Orthodox Judaism is growing by leaps and bounds due to a sustained high fertility rate (I'm from a family of 8; my wife from a family of 12), so there's optimism over there. However, there are unique challenges posed by our modern, liberalized world, so I have some apprehension as well. It's a mixed bag.
 
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