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Old 03-06-2012, 06:05 PM
 
2,934 posts, read 1,328,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
I will give you the benefit of the doubt, whoppers, that since your post is very long, it likely took you more than the 16 minutes before when I in fact did post my thoughts on the Goldstein massacre, and how terrible and inexcusible that was.

I'll also give you the benefit of the doubt that you missed my post before that where I agreed that it was in bad taste to associate Athiests and Amalek in any possible way, and that I was sorry for having done so.

I'll just assume you don't have any agendas towards us Torah Observant Jews who hold by the tradition of, aghast... the Torah!
I have no agenda towards anyone. I accept your apology for trying to make an association between the Amalekites - the perrenial symbol of all enemies of the Jews - and Atheists, especially during this particular time of Purim.

Many may find the character of Esther appealing, but others would suggest that Ruth was the paragon of womanhood. Not only that, she showed the Nationalists that a Moabitess (another hated and forbidden tribe) could become a Jew, and become an example of one of the finest Jewish women ever written about in the Hebrew Bible. Retroactively adding her lineage to the ancesty of King David - King Extraordinairre - she showed for all time that Nationalism and Racism should have no place in the hearts and minds of the Jews.

Many feel that it was written near the time of Ezra's extremely bigoted act of forcing the lower-class Jews to divorce their "foreign" wives, whom they had married while the upper-class Jews were away in Exile in Babylon, as a protest against such racist attitudes. The men were forced to divorce their wives and send them away, along with their children - all so Ezra could reinforce the practice (possibly begun during the Exile, when Temple officials were no longer active and their tribal makeup of little importance) of making personal genealogies an important function of determining one's "jewishness", now that the Tribes had been effectively separated and that aspect of Jewish heritage had a less tenuous grasp. The upper-class habit of keeping a meticulous genealogy was brought back from Exile, and then thrust upon the lower-class Jews who had never been taken away. This same Nationalist and Racist attitude seems to have been a major part in the refusal of the Southerners to allow the Northerners to help build the 2nd Temple - an act that would forever cause emnity between Jews and their future Samaritan relations.

Even the Book of Jonah teaches a lesson about Nationalism, when the pouty, complaining Jonah throws a tantrum when God refuses to destroy Ninevah. Jonah learns (by his futile attempt to flee from Israel, and thus escape a god who he assumed only had power in His own country) that God is no respector of persons or peoples - He is a Universal God who cares for all the nations of the earth: even the Assyrians who were responsible for the destruction of the Nothern Kingdom. What makes the book even more potent is it's late date - it was composed long after the Assyrians had conquered Northern Israel, so it must have riled many a refugee or exile to know that God spared the nation that eventually destroyed them, and that the Jews were not the special people they once they thought they were. The Universal God cared for all his creations. Most people focus on the Whale part of the story, and entirely miss the point of the book, and it's ending in which God upbraids Jonah for expecting Him to destroy Ninevah - with it's children AND animals within.

Of course - these views were not popular, and I imagine they are not popular right now, either. This thread seemed to smack in opposition to these themes in Ruth and Jonah, and reinforce the idea that the Jews should act more like the Jews in the book of Esther - bloodily and violently stamping out all who oppose them.

I hope you see where I'm coming from, and I appreciate your apology. And yes, because of the length of my post - I DID miss your previous one.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:11 AM
 
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whoppers, I do see where you're coming from. Isn't it interesting that you and I have flat out 180 degree views on almost everything Torah related. We read exactly the same source material, and then we come to entirely different conclusions to what it means.

Just curious, do you think the Torah was meant as a document for the entire world, or just for the Jews? (just to show I have no agenda in asking this question, I'll tell you my thoughts: I believe the Torah will indeed be a document the entire world will be interested in once moschiach arrives, but for these times, I can't see the relevance of the document to anybody other than the single people beholden to its 613 mitzvahs - and I therefore find it curious that all your alternative interpretations exist at all. Is the purpose to the alternative conclusions to simply find the truth? Or to davka prove the Jews as false and foolish - I assume the first).
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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And FYI, the message we Jews take from Queen Esther and her story is that even in our darkest times, when it appears as if Hashem has abandoned us in favor of the despots of the world , He is actually feverishly working behind the scenes to control every facet of our lives, and all He wants is our T'shuvah (our return to our adherence to His 613 mitzvahs), and in return, we get His love and protection. This whole business of Jews interpreting the Book of Esther to be some kind of call to arms to kill our enemies, is actually the "dialog" coming FROM our enemies who seek to destroy us.

I think the Purim story has never been more relevant than it is right now, with the very existence of the Jewish nation, once again, being threatened by a Persian. And Israel is dominated by godless secular Jews who don't seem the slightest bit interested in T'shuvah. I think the jury is still out if my nation is deserving of Hashem's protection, but I would like to think there is enough "merits" in the actions and lives of the world's rightous Talmud scholars to merit protection in this dark dark time.

Ruth is indeed a choshuv (esteemed) character in our bible. Lots of good messages to get out of the story of Ruth. Perhaps we can discuss at Shavous time in a few months, as we Jews read the story of Ruth during the holiday of Shavous.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:23 AM
 
6,276 posts, read 4,140,469 times
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Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
I read a story this morning that a large Athiest group (run by a Yid named David Silverman, I think his name is) has purchased several billboards in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, printed in Hebrew, that declare there is no G-d. (The irony being that the Jewish residents of Williamsburg are mostly Chasidic, and mostly speak Yiddush, not Hebrew)

We are currently in the Hebrew month of Adar, where we Jews celebrate the triumph over Amalek and godlessness. It's our belief that as we prepare to do battle with Amalek (whether in person, or as Pamela points out against the memory of), the forces of Amalek make more and more noise. With the Purim story, Haman the Amalekite secured the approval of the Persian King Achashveros to destroy the world's entire population of Jewery. And the non-Amalekite (and non-Jewish) nations of the world did not speak up in protest. It was only with the miraculous intervention of Hashem did the Jews rise up and prevent this genocide. If you've ever heard of Queen Esther (no, not Madonna the pop artist), this is her story.

We Jews are amazed at the similarity to our times. We have a Persian (Akmadenejab) threatening to wipe out world Jewery, while the nations of the world stand by idely secretly hoping for Persian success. But the current versian of Persians will make the same mistake Haman and Achashveros made - miscalculting G-d's presence and support of the Jewish people.

Ii don't mean to ask a stupid question,but don't Jews and Muslims pray to the same God?
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
whoppers, I do see where you're coming from. Isn't it interesting that you and I have flat out 180 degree views on almost everything Torah related. We read exactly the same source material, and then we come to entirely different conclusions to what it means.

Just curious, do you think the Torah was meant as a document for the entire world, or just for the Jews? (just to show I have no agenda in asking this question, I'll tell you my thoughts: I believe the Torah will indeed be a document the entire world will be interested in once moschiach arrives, but for these times, I can't see the relevance of the document to anybody other than the single people beholden to its 613 mitzvahs - and I therefore find it curious that all your alternative interpretations exist at all. Is the purpose to the alternative conclusions to simply find the truth? Or to davka prove the Jews as false and foolish - I assume the first).
We do have different views on the Torah, indeed. Is it safe to assume that you're speaking about THE Torah (the "Five Books of Moses"), and not TORAH (the specific teachings contained within it, and later rabbinic teachings)?

I'm not on a mission to disprove traditional Faiths (can one disprove a Faith?), but am more interested in the source material that is common to them - the traditum. From this common traditum multiple traditions emerged, each with their unique traditio, their way of interpreting the original source material. Traditional Judaism is well-known for it's midrashim, or interpretations, of the traditum; in many ways, midrash has become more authoritative than the original traditum. God himself, has been subjected to the exegetical methods of midrash (see the Bablyonian Talmud, Baba Meiʾa 59b).


In regards to this Jewish Tradition, Michael Fishbane asks several questions that are still important ones:
    1. When did the Jewish exegetical tradition come to be formed?
    2. What literary and historical factors contributed to its birth?
    3. Is the devlopment of an exegetical tradition in post-biblical Judaism soley the product of internal tensions - fostered by competing sects with different claims on the biblical heritage, or do its roots go back to the biblical past itself?
    4. Are the independent and religiously dignified compilations of oral traditions in early Judaism soley the product of theoretical study and practiced need - fostered by different exegetical techniques and social factors - or does the Hebrew Bible also reflect the prehistory of those post-biblical phenomena whose contents are so new and often 'unbiblical'? (Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, p. 2, Oxford, 1985, 1988)
These questions highlight the differences between traditum and traditio, and the underlying assumptions that a member of a Tradition will hold regarding his tradition's interpretation of the traditum. You, coming from your particular background, begin with your traditio, while I prefer to start with the traditum. This is where we frequently disagree: in this approach to the traditum's relationship to later traditio. You feel that your traditio was contemporary with the traditum; the traditum was given in written form, and the traditio was given in oral form - at the same time; and that it is impossible to understand the traditum without the traditio. We disagree on this. The questions posed above deal with this issue, for it is obviously an important one.

So, basically - I am interested in Ancient Israel and it's literature and faith, but am wary of interpreting that literature and faith through the lens of a later tradition; I don't automatically assume that traditional forms of Faith (whether Rabbinic Judaism or Fundamentalist Christianity) are the same forms that the faith of the ancient Israelites took. It would be bad exegesis to start with an interpretation that was later than the traditum, and then reach one's conclusions through that interpretation - working backwards.

As for a search for Truth - I think we all do that, in varying degrees. Some are satisfied with traditional views of "truth", while others are not.

Was the Torah meant for the whole world? Well, I suppose it depends on how one interprets it, and what "Torah" one is talking about. The verses in Genesis concerning Abraham's seed becoming a blessing for the entire world are certainly suggestive, but one must wonder if the ancient Israelites felt that way or not, or whether this implied that the authors of the Torah meant for their writings to be read by non-Israelites at some point. That's a bigger topic for another post, I suppose.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:31 AM
 
9,343 posts, read 16,448,582 times
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Originally Posted by jerseygal4u View Post
Ii don't mean to ask a stupid question,but don't Jews and Muslims pray to the same God?
Supposedly, yes; and, this includes Christians, as well.

However, there are some Muslims who believe that Allah is greater than G-d when they chant, "Allahu Akbar", "Allah is greater".
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jerseygal4u View Post
Ii don't mean to ask a stupid question,but don't Jews and Muslims pray to the same God?
Yes, that's my understanding.

Amalek was not a Muslim nation. They are decendants of Esau (Abraham's grandson through Isaac). We don't know exactly who Amalek is today - possibly the Persians. Many sages believe it's the Germans. Or as whoppers has pointed out, Amalek may be more of a concept that is representative of the Jews' enemies, as opposed to any real people.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Walter Greenspan View Post
Supposedly, yes; and, this includes Christians, as well.

However, there are some Muslims who believe that Allah is greater than G-d when they chant, "Allahu Akbar", "Allah is greater".
Never heard that one.

But,Christians,Muslims,and Jews all pray to the same God,but call him different names.
Is the one who calls him the right name heard,and does he listen to the others?
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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Thanks for that post above, whoppers.

So tonight we read the Megilla in shul (the book of Esther). During the public reading, which takes roughly 45 minutes, every time Haman's name is mentioned, we make loud noises, stamp our feet and do whatever we can to "blot out" even the memory of Haman. The children (and many adults) wear masks and costumes to highlight the hidden nature of Hashem's miracles inside the story. We celebrate with festive meals and dancing tonight and tomorrow. For us Yidden, this is one of the big ones. Even secular Jews participate in the revelry and feel good to know Hashem does indeed care for us and wants to protect us, even when perhaps we don't merit that protection.

With the events going on in Persia right now and the parallels between today's times and time of the story of Esther, I don't think I've ever felt so much connection to the story itself. Remember, to us Jews, the Torah and it's books are not just history books, nor are they simply morality stories. These stories are the very blueprints to how we lead our lives and are the foundation for every large and mundane decision we make. For instance, when I wake in the morning, the Torah guides me to which show lace I tie first. The very survival of the world depends on me and my fellow Jews making the correct decision on this. G-d is everywhere in my life. But not in some cheesy football player pointing to the sky when he scores a touchdown kind of way. I mean in every single facet of my life. I wear a yarmulke on my head to always remember there is a power greater than me. I wear fringes on my four cornered garments to remember the 613 commandments G-d gave to me. And tonight, all of this comes together as I thank my maker for His ongoing, every day involvement in my life.

(forgive me any typos - as we Jews are fasting today. The fast of Esther is one of the 7 fasts we do during the year).
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jerseygal4u View Post
Never heard that one.

But,Christians,Muslims,and Jews all pray to the same God,but call him different names.
Is the one who calls him the right name heard,and does he listen to the others?
Surely G-d hears the prayers of all people, regardless of religion or affiliation. What kind of a crazy psycho god would choose one set of prayers over another? If they are heart felt, they're good to go.

BTW, I suspect you Athiests also talk to G-d. It's hard not to. He's there for you, too, in whatever form you deem appropriate.
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