Tag Archives: Halakha

Lawrence Schiffman on the Book of Jubilees

Larry has been doing a fascinating series on Eruv and today he posts on the subject in connection with the Book of Jubilees.

So far we have seen that the prohibition on carrying from domain to domain is widespread in the Dead Sea Scrolls literature. But we have argued above that this is part of a wider trend in Jewish law. To convince you that this is correct, and that in general the priestly trend, that is, the Zadokite-Sadducee approach, takes this view, we will now look at parallels from the book of Jubilees. This is a text that was composed somewhere between 180 B.C.E. and the Maccabean revolt (168-164 B.C.E.) of which a number of fragmentary manuscripts are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Unfortunately, the passages we will discuss here are not preserved in Second Temple period manuscripts but derive from the ancient Ethiopic translation probably via Greek.

Do read the rest.

More on Eruv and Sectarianism: Schiffman’s Continuing Series

The latest installment is here.

The Zadokite Fragments (Damascus Document) 11:7-9 preserves the following prohibition:  No one shall carry (anything) from the house to the outside, or from the outside into (the) house. And if he is in the sukkah, let him not carry (anything) out from it or bring (anything) into it.  (cf. 4Q270 6 v 13-14 and 4Q271  5 i 3-5 for the same text.) We should note at the outset that this text, originally known from the Cairo genizah manuscript, is also preserved in two manuscripts found at Qumran. The first clause of this law is the prohibition of carrying from the private into the public domain or vice versa. From the wording, it is clear that this law constitutes a rephrasing of Jer. 17:21 and 22.  M. Shabbat 1:1 seems to be similarly based.   

Etc.  Go give it a read.  It’s really intriguing stuff.

The Latest from Lawrence Schiffman

The purpose of the presentation that follows is to argue that the Qumran sectarians, usually identified as the Essenes described by Josephus and other Greek-writing authors, prohibited carrying from domain to domain on the Sabbath, basing themselves on certain biblical passages, and that these ancient Jewish sectarians did not have an institution such as the eruv to mitigate the difficulties caused by this prohibition. Further, we will argue that the combination of this prohibition with the absence of an institution to ease the difficulties that it presents characterizes the exegetical trend of the priestly, Zadokite-Sadducee form of Jewish law, as opposed to that of the Pharisaic-rabbinic trend that developed the laws of the eruv.

Much more follows.  Via Larry’s fine blog (which you should bookmark and read regularly).

Did You Know That If You’re Jewish You Can Date Someone of the Same Sex While Married to Someone of the Opposite, And It’s Not Adultery?

I didn’t either. But that’s what a ‘matchmaking Rabbi‘ says…

It might well be the most unusual matchmaking service in the world: An Israeli rabbi specializes in setting up Orthodox Jewish gay men with Orthodox lesbians for marriage, reports the AP. The idea is that they can raise a family together while still adhering to religious laws. The spouses could “date” members of the same sex during the marriage, which doesn’t qualify as adultery because it’s out in the open, argues rabbi Arele Harel.

“The main aspiration here is parenthood,” he says. “It allows them to become parents in a way that is permitted by religious Jewish law and prevents a conflict between their religious world and their sexual world.” Arele has wed 12 couples so far, and inquiries are coming in quickly now that he has partnered with a religious gay group called Kamoha that publicized the venture on its website. “It is a risky experiment but there is no other choice,” says one man using the service.

People will believe ANYTHING if it helps them sustain their preconceptions, wishes, desires, and behaviors. ANYTHING, even if it is on its face totally absurd. Need proof? Ok, go on a date with someone of the same sex and see what your normal spouse has to say. Go ahead, falsify my denunciation of this absurd rabbinic nonsense. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya.

People really, really do prefer to trade the truth for any old lie.

Διὸ παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῶν καρδιῶν αὐτῶν εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι τὰ σώματα αὐτῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς· οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.  – Paul the Apostle, to the Romans