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Old 07-23-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
This is interesting and I'll have to think about it. So, when there is a new problem in understanding Torah, where does that information come from? I mean, as technology advances there are obviously new decisions that have to be made. When electricity was first discovered, there was not already a standard passed down from Moses for how to deal with it on Shabbat. How to modern Rabbis find answers to these new problems as they relate to Torah? They don't pray? Is there no way of asking G-d to show us things? Does G-d not communicate with us directly?

It seems to me that the world isn't perfect and there isn't always a clear answer to all questions. Even for Rabbis.
Pegotty, I'm really impressed with your questions and approach and openness to learning more, and not just defending a viewpoint.

So yes, a Rabbi should never just "pray on it" that he'll find the proper way to decide a halachic question. He may pray for Hashem to give him the wisdom to find the proper answer, but the answers are never ever found internally in the Jewish faith. The answers are in a book, or in the mouth of someone more learned than yourself.

So then for instance, how does a rabbi come to the conclusion that one cannot turn a radio on during Shabbos, when clearly there were no radios on Mount Sinai, nor were there any radios 1500 years later when the rabbis wrote down the Oral Law in the Talmud. This may shock you, but looking in the Talmud is exactly where a Rabbi in 2013 will go to find the answer. There are tens of thousands of shailas and tshuvas (modern halachic decisions) that address all sorts of modern issues, using the lens of the Oral and Written Torahs to come to their conclusion. You want to know if you can turn a radio on during Shabbos, well the Talmud is going to address a similar enough issue that can be used as a proof than one in fact cannot turn on a radio during Shabbos. Often times a huge Rav will bring a proof from the Torah, and other poskim (halachic deciders) will argue over the validity of that proof and offer alternate ones until all agree on a conclusion, or at least until there is a majority decision. This is the very foundation on which the Talmud is written. It's a series of conversations and arguments of some the greatest Rabbis who ever lived on what was said at Har Sinai and what are we doing to this very day.

Last edited by theflipflop; 07-23-2013 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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Quote:
I mean, as technology advances there are obviously new decisions that have to be made.
It's all based on previous decisions. Experts study said technology and refer to previous decisions to issue rulings. For example: the prohibition of using electricity on Shabbos is based on the prohibition of heating metal--which is how electricity is conducted.

Quote:
It seems to me that the world isn't perfect and there isn't always a clear answer to all questions. Even for Rabbis.
Sometimes Rabbis themselves will argue about something, but their argument will not be their own understanding, but will also be based on the Torah itself. That's why you can have differing opinions. But no legitimate Rabbi will dare tamper with a Talmudic prohibition, let alone nullify it or call it a mistake.

To sum it up: What is the Rabbi doing? Is he strengthening his/our our observance of mitzvos, or is he breaking down barriers and allowing that which has been forbidden for generations?

G-d, in His infinite wisdom, commanded ALL Jews to study Torah. This ensures that your typical Moshe, David, and Joseph KNOW when their teacher knows what he's talking about or when he's making things up. Ignorant masses are anti-Judaism.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,689,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
Pegotty, I'm really impressed with your questions and approach and openness to learning more, and not just defending a viewpoint.

So yes, a Rabbi should never just "pray on it" that he'll find the proper way to decide a halachic question. He may pray for Hashem to give him the wisdom to find the proper answer, but the answers are never ever found internally in the Jewish faith. The answers are in a book, or in the mouth of someone more learned than yourself.

So then for instance, how does a rabbi come to the conclusion that one cannot turn a radio on during Shabbos, when clearly there were no radios on Mount Sinai, nor were there any radios 1500 years later when the rabbis wrote down the Oral Law in the Talmud. This may shock you, but looking in the Talmud is exactly where a Rabbi in 2013 will go to find the answer. There are tens of thousands of shailas and tshuvas (modern halachic decisions) that address all sorts of modern issues, using the lens of the Oral and Written Torahs to come to their conclusion. You want to know if you can turn a radio on during Shabbos, well the Talmud is going to address a similar enough issue that can be used as a proof than one in fact cannot turn on a radio during Shabbos. Often times a huge Rav will bring a proof from the Torah, and other poskim (halachic deciders) will argue over the validity of that proof and offer alternate ones until all agree on a conclusion, or at least until there is a majority decision. This is the very foundation on which the Talmud is written. It's a series of conversations and arguments of some the greatest Rabbis who ever lived on what was said at Har Sinai and what are we doing to this very day.

You wouldn't be so impressed if you knew that I am seriously considering the Messianic perspective as well. :-) It seems to me that the arguments are from traditional Judiasm: Jesus was not the Messiah because he didn't fulfill the prophecies. Believing that he was is idol worship. IIRC, the penalty for that in the Torah is death...? From the Messianic side it's: Jesus was the Messiah and DID fulfill the prophecies. Rejecting this idea also results in death. Pretty serious allegations on both sides.

Yes, thank you for clarifying this. I have been witness to many Christian "pray on it" scenarios that seem to just mean 'this is what I want to do and it feels right.' I have no desire to feel my way through the answers to these questions. If it's that important, I'm sure G-d gave us proof.

I am planning to work my way through an article that was posted on Aish.com at Christmas time: Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus, why Jews reject Jesus I will look up all the references and research everything and come to a conclusion that way. I just hope that everyone here will be respectful of my search. I'm sure I will be asking for lots of information along the way.

I also wanted to say that one of the things I have learned in life is not to let fear guide my path. I spent many years of my life with extreme anxiety, to the point that I became agoraphobic and couldn't leave my house. I have been ruled by fear and I'm not willing to be that person anymore. I know G-d is good and I know that if I seek Him I will find the Truth. I'm not afraid of what that truth is one way or another.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,112,597 times
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Very fascinating post, Pegotty!

I guess there are two extremes for approaching life. You could be like me and live by the motto I learned in the 60's - "If it feels good, do it."

On the other hand, you could belong to a culture or a religion that is very authoritarian so you don't have to think for yourself. One time I saw a poster of a tough guy with his henchmen and it said, "When I want your opinion, I will give it to you."

It appears you are someplace in the middle but you aren't quite sure exactly where. That's good. Since you believe in a god, you must also believe that he (or she) gave you a brain so you could think for yourself.

You said, "If it's that important, I'm sure G-d gave us proof." Maybe you are right, but I wouldn't count on it. The questions you are trying to answer have puzzled people for a long time.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:53 AM
 
3,951 posts, read 3,339,069 times
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Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
You wouldn't be so impressed if you knew that I am seriously considering the Messianic perspective as well. :-) It seems to me that the arguments are from traditional Judiasm: Jesus was not the Messiah because he didn't fulfill the prophecies. Believing that he was is idol worship. IIRC, the penalty for that in the Torah is death...? From the Messianic side it's: Jesus was the Messiah and DID fulfill the prophecies. Rejecting this idea also results in death. Pretty serious allegations on both sides.

Yes, thank you for clarifying this. I have been witness to many Christian "pray on it" scenarios that seem to just mean 'this is what I want to do and it feels right.' I have no desire to feel my way through the answers to these questions. If it's that important, I'm sure G-d gave us proof.

I am planning to work my way through an article that was posted on Aish.com at Christmas time: Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus, why Jews reject Jesus I will look up all the references and research everything and come to a conclusion that way. I just hope that everyone here will be respectful of my search. I'm sure I will be asking for lots of information along the way.

I also wanted to say that one of the things I have learned in life is not to let fear guide my path. I spent many years of my life with extreme anxiety, to the point that I became agoraphobic and couldn't leave my house. I have been ruled by fear and I'm not willing to be that person anymore. I know G-d is good and I know that if I seek Him I will find the Truth. I'm not afraid of what that truth is one way or another.
I thought you said you were a Jew? What does Jesus have to do with you? You're considering changing your 3300 year heritage for what exactly? (there was no tone in those last few questions. You just shocked me with your last post, so take those questions as coming from a place of total and utter bewilderment. It's amazingly rare for a Jew to become a Chrstian. So I'm just shocked you'd even consider it).
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
I thought you said you were a Jew? What does Jesus have to do with you? You're considering changing your 3300 year heritage for what exactly? (there was no tone in those last few questions. You just shocked me with your last post, so take those questions as coming from a place of total and utter bewilderment. It's amazingly rare for a Jew to become a Chrstian. So I'm just shocked you'd even consider it).
Maybe it is hard for you to understand because you haven't lived my life. But the fact is, I have to consider the claims of someone who says he is the Messiah. If it isn't true, that will come out in the wash. Like I said in another post, it seems to me that Chrstians take exactly the same scriptures we do (The Tanakh) and come up with the idea that G-d is done with the Jews and they (Chrstians) are now the beneficiaries of our promises. From what I have heard the NT is, historically speaking, a valid document. It is basically a compilation of what is known about the time period it represents. It wouldn't be surprising if Chrstians had misunderstood everything they read in it and come up with their own (false) interpretation for it.

But that really doesn't matter to me. I don't intend to spend any time with the NT. If Jesus really is the Messiah I should be able to determine that from the Tanakh. I should be able to go through that whole document from aish.com (and given the fact that they wrote an article like that it is obvious that I'm not the only person thinking these things) and check their facts. I will probably also go through other anti-missionary information. So whatever you have, throw it at me!

Edited to add: flipflop, you also don't understand what it is like to be married to a Christian. you THINK about these things. What if the allegations are true? It's no different than the spouse of a Jewish person considering Judaism. Which brings to mind another question that just popped into my head... Do Chrstians serve the G-d of Israel? Or is it a different god entirely?

Last edited by Ellen Pitts; 07-24-2013 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Do Chrstians serve the G-d of Israel? Or is it a different god entirely?
Christianity is idolatry for a Jew. There is divided opinion whether it's idolatry for a non-Jew.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
Christianity is idolatry for a Jew. There is divided opinion whether it's idolatry for a non-Jew.
That's very interesting. Seems to me it should be all or nothing. Sure maybe there are different rules for different people, but there really is only one G-d.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,689,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Very fascinating post, Pegotty!

I guess there are two extremes for approaching life. You could be like me and live by the motto I learned in the 60's - "If it feels good, do it."

On the other hand, you could belong to a culture or a religion that is very authoritarian so you don't have to think for yourself. One time I saw a poster of a tough guy with his henchmen and it said, "When I want your opinion, I will give it to you."

It appears you are someplace in the middle but you aren't quite sure exactly where. That's good. Since you believe in a god, you must also believe that he (or she) gave you a brain so you could think for yourself.

You said, "If it's that important, I'm sure G-d gave us proof." Maybe you are right, but I wouldn't count on it. The questions you are trying to answer have puzzled people for a long time.
I have always been in this unfavorable position. It feels like being pulled in two. I can always see good thoughts and ideas on both sides of just about anything. Politics, religion, parenting...

Do you know who I feel like? Jacob. I was thinking this the other day. I wrestle with myself on every topic trying to figure out right/wrong. And it brought to mind the image of Jacob wrestling with G-d. Don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. It sure is frustrating.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:52 AM
 
3,951 posts, read 3,339,069 times
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Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
But that really doesn't matter to me. I don't intend to spend any time with the NT. If Jesus really is the Messiah I should be able to determine that from the Tanakh. I should be able to go through that whole document from aish.com (and given the fact that they wrote an article like that it is obvious that I'm not the only person thinking these things) and check their facts. I will probably also go through other anti-missionary information. So whatever you have, throw it at me!
There's no finer book written, IMO, demonstrating the difference between the Jewish and Chrstian beliefs in messiah than "The Real Messiah" by Aryeh Kaplan. This link below includes the entire book. This was a life changing book for me, as I first read it back in my non-religious days and was overwhelmed by the truth in what I read. So much i didn't even know about my own religion.

http://www.simpletoremember.com/vita...al_messiah.pdf

If you are seriously looking for the truth, then knock yourself out reading NT texts. You will likely find a total absence of truth in there. If you want an objective view on who Jesus and Paul really were, on how Paul came to his conclusions to make Jesus a messiah, you should read "The Mythmaker - Paul and the invention of Chrstianity" by Maccoby. It's a brilliant and easy to read book. You'll likely need to purchase this one - I don't think it can be found online. BTW, nearly all Chrstian churches have banned their followers from reading this book. Truth hurts.
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