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In the Name of God بسم الله

BostonJew

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  1. Samaritans are not Jews, and Jews are not Samaritans.
  2. In the first video, it appears that the purportedly Yemenite Jewish chanter (I say purportedly because I am not 100% convinced that is a Yemenite accent, but let's assume it is) is translating verse-by-verse from Hebrew to Aramaic (Targum) and then Arabic. There are long-standing traditions in which the Torah is chanted first in Hebrew and then in Aramaic translation-- this arose at a time when many Jews spoke better Aramaic than Hebrew -- and I suppose you could do it in a third language too. However, usually it's not done in this fashion (each verse in each of the three languages, then the next verse into each of the three languages, then the next verse, etc.) but rather in blocks known as "aliyot." At any rate, this is one of the most famous & commonly recited sections of the Torah, known as the Shma, which is also part of the daily prayers said 2x (actually 3x) daily.
  3. This is not the Jewish understanding. Because the Torah discusses Sarah's death immediately after the account of the Akedah (Binding of Isaac), it follows that Sarah died right after these events, i.e., when she heard about Isaac's experience. (A midrash further suggests that the Adversary falsely told Sarah that Abraham had IN FACT sacrificed Isaac, and this shock killed her.) Therefore, Isaac was 37 at the time of the Akedah.
  4. Let me clarify.When I said the joke is probably a little offensive, I didn't mean "offensive to Jews," I meant offensive to Africans, Mexicans, etc. The stereotyped Afro-talk and Mexican-talk is a bit much. As to some of the other jokes circulating on this forum: Jews are very into humor and write hundreds of thousands of jokes about ourselves. But there's a crucial difference between Jewish jokes written &amp told by Jews, vs. Jewish jokes written &amp told by non-Jews. First, our jokes are generally funny. This is a key point. Second, our jokes invite the listener to laugh with the Jewish protagonist, not at him. Third, our jokes generally poke fun over characteristics that are overall benign, not pernicious outside stereotypes. For example, note the difference between the joke that started this thread, and the (much less clever) jokes about pennies and so forth that have followed. A naive person who does not understand humor might think that the punchline of the opening joke is about Jews being tightfisted. It is not. It is about Jews being smart. We got a good deal! Whereas the penny jokes are just about money-grubbing. See the difference? No Jew would ever tell a joke like that. Here's another classic Jewish joke. Four Jewish women are kvelling (= bragging) about their sons' accomplishments. (This is, btw, a major pasttime of Jewish parents.) Mrs. Cohen says, " My son Sam, he got his Ph.D. in physics at Yale, and is now a tenured professor at Columbia and Chair of the Physics Department. He discovered a new particle that changes everything the scientists thought they knew." Mrs. Goldberg says, " Oh, such naches (= pleasure in your children's accomplishments) you have, Mrs. Cohen. My son Jake, he went to Harvard Medical School and is now a very prominent liver specialist in Manhattan." Mrs. Seplowitz says, " Oh, such naches you two ladies have. My son Murray, he went to Yale Medical School, and then did his residency at Johns Hopkins and is now a very the Chief of Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital." The others agree, " Such naches you have, such naches." Then they turn to the fourth woman, Mrs. Epstein. " Tell us, Mrs. Epstein, what is your son doing?" Mrs. Epstein smiles. " My son Moishe, he went to Yeshiva University and is now a rabbi with a very solid congregation in Kew Gardens Hills." The others wrinkle their noses. " A rabbi?! What kind of job is that for a Jewish boy?!"
  5. The verb in that verse (nicham) is actually not well translated as "repented" or "regretted." The root n-ch-m means "comfort." In this form, the meaning is more at "to be comforted" or perhaps "to comfort oneself" See for example Genesis 24:67 or 37:35. At any rate, the point still stands, re: G-d's decision making. I think the point is that people have free will, and G-d hopes people will make the right choices, but sometimes they do not.
  6. I didn't watch the video but I will attempt to contribute some thoughts on the Jewish view of Muhammad. Probably the place to start is with Rambam (Maimonides). Rambam was one of the greatest Torah scholars and Jewish philosophers of all time. He was born in Spain in the 12th century, and fled from Almohad persecution, eventually landing with a more congenial regime in Egypt, where he became physician to the sultan (I forgot to say he was also a physician). He was one of the leading Jewish authorities of his day and of all time, and while we don't necessarily hold by Rambam in every single issue of halacha (Jewish law) or hashkafa (Jewish thought) today, his views are always treated with the utmost respect, and there are certain Jewish communities (notably those of Egyptian and Yemenite origin) for which Rambam is the #1 authority. Regarding Muhammad, Rambam wrote in two different places. I will quote from wikipedia: So that's Rambam's view: a false prophet, but still a part of G-d's larger plan. As a general matter, Jews don't evaluate gentiles by their doctrines or beliefs, but by their actions. Show me a gentle, refined, kind Muslim, and I'll say you've got a righteous gentile. For example: http://thenewjew.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/yad-vashem-honors-albanian-muslims-among-righteous-gentiles/ Most of us don't really care about Muhammad per se--if Islam makes you better people, then great; if it doesn't, then not so great.
  7. This joke is probably a little offensive, but oddly enough, it is based (perhaps unwittingly) on a very ancient midrash. The midrash comes to inquire about Shemot (Exodus) 24:7, where there is an unusual phrase: "He [Moshe] took the Book of the Covenant and read it in earshot of the people, and they said, 'Na'aseh V'nishma' - we will do and we will hear." Note the unusual word order - usually you would hear first and then do! The meaning of this famous phrase is: The midrash elucidates this a bit further and details the process of the Jewish nation's acceptance of the Torah, and goes like this: ------- When Hashem revealed Himself to give the Torah, He revealed Himself not only to the B'nai Yisrael but to all other nations as well. First Hashem went to the Children of Esau. He asked them: 'Will you accept the Torah?' They said right to His face: 'What is written in it?' He said: 'You shall not murder.' They replied: 'Master of the Universe, this goes against our grain. Our father, whose 'hands are the hands of Esau (B'ray[Edited Out] 27:22),' led us to rely only on the sword, because his father (Yitzchak) told him, 'by your sword shall you live (B'ray[Edited Out] 27:40).' Therefore, we cannot accept Your Torah.' He then went to the children of Ammon and Moab, and asked them: 'Will you accept the Torah?' They said right to His face: 'What is written in it?' He said: 'You shall not commit adultery.' They replied: 'Master of the Universe, our very origin is in adultery, for it is written, 'And so were the daughters of Lot with child by their father (B'ray[Edited Out] 19:36).' Therefore, we cannot accept Your Torah.' He then went to the children of Ishmael, and asked them: 'Will you accept the Torah?' They said right to His face: 'What is written in it?' He said: 'You shall not steal.' They replied: 'Master of the Universe, it is in our nature to live off what we steal and what is gotten by assault. Of our ancestor Ishmael it is written, 'And he shall be a wild-ass of a man, and every man's hand against him (B'ray[Edited Out] 16:12).' Therefore, we cannot accept Your Torah.' There was not a single nation among the nations to whom Hashem did not go, speak, knock on its door, asking whether it would be willing to accept the Torah. "At long last He came to Israel and asked them: 'Will you accept the Torah?' They said, 'We will do and we will obey.' (Shemot 24:7).' ------- Now, in case you are asking do Jews literally believe this story, let me paraphrase Rambam (Maimonides), who said something to the effect of anyone who thinks midrash is 100% true has no head, and anyone who thinks midrash is 100% false has no heart. There is a good discussion of this at http://adderabbi.blogspot.com/2005/06/alternative-reading-of-well-known.html if you are interested in learning more about the midrash and its meaning.
  8. On Deut. 10:17, you have to remember that Moshe was speaking to the Jewish nation which still, despite having been delivered from Egypt and witnessed the miracles, had a very tenuous grip on faithfulness to G-d. The Jewish people were on the edge of backsliding into idolatry, or more mundanely, just not having confidence that G-d would be able to protect and provide for them -- and maybe thinking they might get a better deal by checking out Baal, Asherah, etc. So in this particular speech (please read the whole chapter, not just one isolated verse) Moshe was reminding the Jewish people of G-d's supremacy. He said "G-d of gods and Lord of lords" to remind the Jews that any supposed "god" (Moabite, Canaanite, Egyptian, etc.) or human lord was no match for G-d -- i.e., at this point you are stuck with G-d! As Rashi puts it on this verse, the point of this phrase is to say that "no lord will be able to deliver you from His hand."
  9. I skimmed this page and I must say that I found much of the logic rather odd. Here is a recurring theme: 1. According to a Muslim hadith, at some point in the 7th century CE some random Jewish guy said, "The Torah says X." 2. The Torah does not in fact say X. 3. Therefore, X was removed from the Torah. But this is a little odd, is it not? I realize you accept the hadith as true. But consider what you're saying: 1. The Torah has been a matter of public record since 1400 BCE; by the 7th century CE, it had been in writing for 2100 years, and in multiple translations for 1000 years. 2. Some random Jewish guy says, "The Torah says X." 3. (Implied) The random Jewish guy was correct. 4. Therefore, X was removed from the Torah at some point between 1400 BCE and the 7th century CE (a 2100 year time span). For the sake of discussion, let's split the difference and say it was removed in 300 BCE (the halfway point). 5. (Implied) And for reasons no one can explain, this random Jewish guy knew what the Torah said before 300 BCE, even though no written copies, nor any other Jewish person ever, outside of Muslim hadith, ever suggested having seen that. This particular Jewish guy quoted in this hadith was the last survivor of a secret tradition, passed down for 1000 years in complete secrecy, as to a sentence that used to be in the Torah but was since removed, without anyone else in the entire Jewish world knowing it was missing or had ever been there. X was evidently removed by a conspiracy of scribes that effectively removed that verse from every single Torah scroll in the world, without arousing anyone's suspicion, leaving as the sole keeper of their secret, this one Jewish guy in Arabia. I understand you are bound by your faith to accept that #2 is true, and I won't ask you to doubt that. But facts impel you to accept that #1 is true. Do you see that assuming #3, and then reaching conclusion #4, implies the difficulties of #5? The problem is what we call in English hearsay. Abdullah ibn whoever says, "Some Jew told me, 'The Torah contains X.'" OK, let's say we believe Abdullah ibn whoever because you know him to be so truthful. The Jew actually said that. But that doesn't mean it was true! Would it not be more parsimonious to say: 1. The Torah has been a matter of public record since 1400 BCE; by the 7th century CE, it had been in writing for 2100 years, and in multiple translations for 1000 years. 2. Some random Jewish guy says, "The Torah says X." 3. In the 2100 year history of the Torah before this one Jewish guy said this, no one had ever suggested that the Torah said X; no previous translations into other languages ever contained X; and for the Torah to have contained X, but the Jews to have removed it, requires a worldwide conspiracy of massive intricacy and total cooperative silence. 4. Jews are not known for their ability to shut up. Jews can barely get it together to put together a coherent lunch order for a group of more than two people, let alone coordinate the activities of hundreds of scribes across multiple countries in the days before the telegraph. Also, Jews are known to be disproportionately represented in stand-up comedy. 5. Therefore, the most likely explanation is that the random Jewish guy was either (1) wrong, (2) making up stuff to please Mohammad, or (3) having a little bit of fun at Mohammad's expense. I mean, suppose I told you that the Torah specifically says that it's good to recite 'C++ for Dummies' at night. Then you find no such verse in the Torah. Do you assume the Jews have deleted the 'C++ for Dummies' references from the Torah? Note that for the purpose of this discussion only I am assuming that the report that some Jewish guy said, "The Torah contains X," is true, and the only question is what to make of the Jewish guy's statement. In reality, I very much doubt that any Jew ever informed Abdullah ibn anybody that the Torah specifically recommends reciting Surah Al Mulk nightly. I think you can preserve your faith in the hadith and reconcile it with reality by questioning whether this Jewish guy was pulling Mohammad's leg.
  10. I'm glad you found the Psalms and Proverbs valuable. I guess I would just caution you that "Revelations" is a Christian book that has no place in a document calling itself the "Complete Jewish Bible." It would be like a book called the "Complete Muslim Koran" that included the Book of Mormon at the end. What you have evidently bought is a Christian Bible that uses some Hebrew transliterations. Also, I highly suspect that, since it is a Christian document, even the books that are supposed to be there (e.g., Genesis) have been deliberately mistranslated, or at the very least misleadingly commented upon, to support a Christian interpretation. As for other recommendations ... we are approaching the Ninth of Av (Tuesday, as it happens, the ninth of August this year), which commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, so I would be remiss in not pointing you towards Eichah (Lamentations), which was written by Jeremiah and which we read every year on this day. It is a great day of sadness for the Jewish people, and the book of Lamentations is fairly stark, but it will give you a sense of the Jewish mood and our sense of loss at this calamity.
  11. Well, to be clear - the Torah is written in Hebrew, not Greek, so it is irrelevant which Greek word is used in one particular Greek translation. But your larger point is not completely off. The Hebrew says "goy gadol." "Gadol" in its simplest sense means "big." It also can mean great in a more metaphorical sense; for example, the "kohen gadol" is not a large priest, but rather a the High Priest; it can refer to social status (e.g., Jeremiah 8:10 or 31:34); it can refer to age (e.g., in Judges 2:7, the reference is to the great men of Israel, not to the tall men of Israel); in Exodus 11:3, the point is that Moses became feared and respected in Egypt, not that he grew taller or more numerous; throughout Deuteronomy, "gadol" often is translated as "mighty"; etc. I guess the point I was making is that being a "great nation" might involve a bit more than just being numerous, and by that standard, the Arab nation has (at least in the past) achieved what was forecast for it. If you want to focus more on the military aspect than culture, OK; that's not really my angle but it's not inconsistent with my larger point, and no real harm is done. The point is that, by just about any standard, the Arab nation fulfilled the promise set forth for Ishmael, sometime in, let's say, 1000-1300 CE as a rough estimate. Now we can move on.
  12. You could have started with Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew#Oldest_Hebrew_inscriptions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khirbet_Qeiyafa#Oldest_Hebrew_inscription Or done a simple Internet search. I recommend Google, but if you prefer another search engine, that's fine too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/20/ancient-hebrew-artifact-f_n_206085.html http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107183037.htm Slightly more recent (8th century BCE) is the Siloam inscription, a graffiti written in Hebrew by the workers completing Hezekiah's Tunnel. The original stone was removed by the Turks and is on display in Istanbul. (An impression was made and is in the tunnel.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siloam_inscription etc. I would recommend you call a friend who is (1) a Muslim and (2) has a PhD in archaeology from a respected university, and ask for a basic tutorial in archaeology. Why a Muslim? Because anything a non-Muslim will tell you will be a Zionist Capitalist Communist Plot. But you might listen to a Muslim. Why a PhD in archaeology? So you start working with actual information. You could have started with Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew#Oldest_Hebrew_inscriptions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khirbet_Qeiyafa#Oldest_Hebrew_inscription Or done a simple Internet search. I recommend Google, but if you prefer another search engine, that's fine too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/20/ancient-hebrew-artifact-f_n_206085.html http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107183037.htm Slightly more recent (8th century BCE) is the Siloam inscription, a graffiti written in Hebrew by the workers completing Hezekiah's Tunnel. The original stone was removed by the Turks and is on display in Istanbul. (An impression was made and is in the tunnel.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siloam_inscription etc. I would recommend you call a friend who is (1) a Muslim and (2) has a PhD in archaeology from a respected university, and ask for a basic tutorial in archaeology. Why a Muslim? Because anything a non-Muslim will tell you will be a Zionist Capitalist Communist Plot. But you might listen to a Muslim. Why a PhD in archaeology? So you start working with actual information. Oh, by the way, here's that other source. I was paraphrasing, but here's an example: http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html "Don't TYPE IN ALL CAPS; this is read as shouting and considered rude. .... More generally, if you write like a semi-literate boob you will very likely be ignored." Indeed.
  13. Rasul, I find it incredible that you would imagine that you've discovered some sort of long-dormant secret. The text of the Hebrew Bible has been a matter of public record for 3400 years. Jews read the Torah from beginning to end every single year. And at least for the past 2000 years, weekly readings have been accompanied by translation into other languages for those whose Hebrew is weak. (2000 years ago, they actually used to read an Aramaic or Greek translation aloud as part of the service itself; now we just follow along with the Hebrew & English in a book.) We were reading this verse aloud in synagogue once a year for 2000 years before Mohammed was born. As for Ishmael's 12 princely descendants ... Placid pretty much pointed you to the Torah verses that name them. And Ishmael certainly did become a "great" nation. At its height, the Arab nation conquered a vast land area, and, for a few centuries, was the leading civilization in terms of science, technology, mathematics, etc. Of course, those days are long past. But they did happen, and the various Arab peoples have every right to be proud of that history. Just as the Greeks and Italians do. (For the Chinese and Indians, I suspect that their past greatness will be matched by future greatness.)
  14. It's sometimes been said that if you don't have anything intelligent to say, say it in all capitals. Written Hebrew artifacts exist back to about 1000 BCE. I've seen some of them myself (various stone/cave carvings in Israel). It is true that the oldest extant Hebrew manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are "only" about 2100 (+/-) years old. But that doesn't mean anything other than that parchment degrades over time. As for the derivation of "Ashkenaz," unfortunately one needs a bit of a logic circuit. If someone is described as a "Scandinavian Muslim," does that mean his ancestors were all Swedish? No. It means he lives in Scandinavia. The Jews who lived in Germany called themselves "yehudim ashkenazim," or more literally "German Jews." The Jews who lived in Spain called themselves "yehudim sfaradim," or "Spanish Jews." It does not mean that their ancestors were indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula. I call myself an "American Jew." It does not mean that I am descended from Cherokees. It describes the country and culture I live in. So too with Ashkenazim (who in any event spread eastward from Germany to Eastern Europe).
  15. Hmm, on one side we have the unbroken Jewish oral tradition that accompanied the giving of the Torah itself, and that faithfully carried the Torah and lovingly copied every letter for thousands of years before Protestant Christians ever came to make a translation of it. On the other side we have "John Gill," who likely does not read Hebrew, and even if he does, he can only do it with the benefit of the vocalization tradition (vowelization) which is as much a part of the oral tradition as the tradition of who the servants were. In other words, John Gill is completely dependent on the rabbis to even know how to pronounce the Hebrew of the unvoweled Torah, yet when it comes to basic questions of what the text means, John Gill (writing some 3400 years after the Torah was given) is willing to dismiss the same body of oral tradition as "without foundation." To be consistent, Mr. Gill should concede that the vocalization of the Torah text is "without foundation" and therefore that it cannot be read, pronounced, or interpreted by anyone, including himself. He has therefore put himself out of business! The reality is that the Torah is written in code. http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Why_You_Dont_Understand_the_Bible.html Honestly, Mr. Gill has no explanation for why the Torah would even mention these two servants -- what's the point? To him, there is no point. Yet we know that the Torah does not waste even a letter. Mr. Gill's approach cannot even explain why the servants are mentioned, let alone who they are. To him, they are simply an irrelevant distraction that G-d thought important to insert in this fraught, tense story, because to him, G-d writes the Torah the way a newspaper reporter writes an article about the hazards of unrefrigerated cheese.
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