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In the Name of God بسم الله

anyone have any actual questions about Judaism?

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Okay Ive got one I was reading that some Jewish people believe that a sacred temple needs to erected where Masjid Al Aqsa stands and something to do with a red crow. Is this true? Not to sound hostile but is it in the Jewish agenda to destroy the Blessed Masjid Al Aqsa?

Wasalam

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When trying to "prove" that Jesus is the messiah predicted in the Hebrew Bible, some Christians have been known to mistranslate a verse, cite it completely out of context/intended meaning, cite something that isn't even a messianic prophecy, or all three.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is correct. Christians are particularly adept at misreading Isaiah. If he were alive today and was asked, "Were you predicting the coming of Jesus?" He would answer "Jesus who?"

It was very sharing of you to start this thread. Jews seldom participate here (The last being Ron who got too busy to come back. We miss him.). Without one of the Jewish faith here to guide us, we are left to guess what Jews believe, which hardly contributes to the general knowledge.

Hopefully, you will find the Shia to be open minded towards Jews and learn something in return.

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Bro. Maimonides,

Thanks for making this thread. I noticed not many Christians are participiating...I would like to see that changed....

Anyway, you mentioned previously, that it is unclear what is supposed to happen before the Messiah comes (re: the land known as Israel). If it is unclear, then isit possible that it is wrong to have Jews 'returning' to the land before the prescribed time?

Edited by oldsword81
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Do you have any comment on this verse from the Torah:

The Lord said to me [Moses]: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you among their brothers; I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My name, I will Myself call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:17–9)

We have something similar in the Koran:

((Abraham prayed): “Our Lord, raise up in their midst a Messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Your revelations, and teach them the Book and Wisdom, and purify them. Verily you are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”) (Al-Baqarah 2:129)

In the Torah is STRESSED that the messenger will be among the brothers of the sons of Israel.

In the Koran, Abraham (pbuh) STRESSED in his imploration that Allah sent a messenger among them.

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Alright.  I wouldn't worry about it then.

Check these out. I haven't listened to these particular lectures but I've heard other lectures by the same guy -- Tovia Singer, who specializes in refuting Christian missionary arguments based on the Tanakh -- something most Jews don't find worth the time

Anyway, the title of this particular talk is "Daniel 9, and Psalm 110 and 2:12."

http://audio.simpletoremember.com/spiro/dan9ps110p1.mp3

http://audio.simpletoremember.com/spiro/dan9ps110p2.mp3

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Okay Ive got one I was reading that some Jewish people believe that a sacred temple needs to erected where Masjid Al Aqsa stands and something to do with a red crow. Is this true? Not to sound hostile but is it in the Jewish agenda to destroy the Blessed Masjid Al Aqsa?

Ok, slow down.

First, the Temple in Jerusalem used to stand, not where the Al Aqsa Mosque now stands, but where the Dome of the Rock now stands. There were actually two Temples. The First Temple was built during Solomon's reign around 1000 BCE (archaeologists cannot date to the exact year). It was destroyed in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar's army. The Second Temple, which was much smaller, was rebuilt under Ezra & Nehemiah in 515 BCE after the return from the Babylonian Exile. It was destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman army.

You can learn some very basic facts from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Jerusalem

You also mentioned the ritual of the parah adumah, or red cow. You can read about this in Numbers 19. It is probably the single most mysterious ritual of the Torah.

Finally, re: the future -- Jewish tradition definitely states that the Temple will be rebuilt when the messiah comes. This is specifically prophesied by numerous of the Hebrew prophets (e.g., Ezekiel 37:24-28). For example, the thrice-daily prayer service for the past 2000 years calls for the restoration of the Temple.

However, you need to be careful when asking about "is it in the Jewish agenda to destroy the Blessed Masjid Al Aqsa?" First of all, there is no "Jewish agenda." Second, different Jews have different views about things. There is a small lunatic fringe -- maybe 40 or 50 guys -- that would like to blow up the Dome of the Rock, provoke a world war, and force the messiah to arrive. There is also a 99.99% majority content to leave things as they are until the messiah arrives and then let it get sorted out then.

And, finally, think logically for a moment; if there was a "Jewish agenda" to damage the Al Aqsa Mosque, it would have been easy enough for the Israeli army to have done that at any time since 1967. In fact, to the contrary, the army reassured the Islamic Waqf Trust that not a stone would be harmed, and not one was. (There was an incident in the 1970s but it was a mentally ill Christian involved.)

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Anyway, you mentioned previously, that it is unclear what is supposed to happen before the Messiah comes (re: the land known as Israel). If it is unclear, then  isit  possible that it is wrong to have Jews 'returning' to the land before the prescribed time?

That is the view of some ultra-Orthodox sects. For example, the Satmar Hasidim. If you ever rent the movie "The Chosen," it is set in the 1940s & concerns a somewhat modernized young Jew and an unlikely friendship with a young Hasidic Jew whose father is the rebbe (community leader). In one scene the more modern Jew is talking about Zionism and the rebbe gets very angry and says "Only moshiach [the messiah] will bring us back to Eretz Yisroel [the land of Israel]. Not Ben Gurion and his henchmen!"

But very few Jews hold this way.

One reason why is that almost all Jewish commentators agree that there is an explicit Torah mitzvah (commandment) (actually, several) to live in the land of Israel. There is some disagreement upon whether it is binding on all Jews at all times, with Nachmanides saying it is, and others taking a more nuanced position.

A more common (and when I say "more common," I still mean a tiny minority, but not a fringe minority) view is that it is good for Jews to return to the land of Israel, but that a secular, non-Torah-based state (like Israel has) is illegitimate because it is not based on the Torah. These are Jews who want to live in Israel, but not under irreligious Jewish rule.

An even more common view (by which I still mean a minority) is that it is good for Jews to return to the land of Israel, and the present state is problematic because it is secular, but it is a necessary means of survival, and will save Jewish lives while we await the messiah.

There are many other different views about the timing of the ingathering of the exiles vis-a-vis the messiah, and it is true here more than usual that when you get 2 Jews in a room you get 3 different opinions.

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Do you have any comment on this verse from the Torah:

The Lord said to me [Moses]: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you among their brothers; I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My name, I will Myself call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:17–9)

I commented on this on a different thread; this seems to be for Muslims what Isaiah 53 is for Christians.

Moses was not the last Jewish prophet. Quite a few came after him (the very next was Joshua). Some of them wrote books, others are merely quoted in someone else's book. Here are just those with their own books:

Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nachum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

I found recently an article that explains this issue in depth:

http://www.messiahtruth.com/islam18.html

Edited by Maimonides
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Why did Rabbis of old perform temporary marriages when they were in a journey?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

To be honest I'm not familiar with this practice; possibly a source reference would help.

I do want to say that I'm extremely discomforted by your quotation from, and picture of, Hitler, plus your "heil" and your connection between Hitler and (l'havdil) the mashiach. While I'm not going to burn down your embassy or kill anyone in the streets about it, I am going to exercise my right to decline to respond to any more of your posts while you've got that up.

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To be honest I'm not familiar with this practice; possibly a source reference would help.

I do want to say that I'm extremely discomforted by your quotation from, and picture of, Hitler, plus your "heil" and your connection between Hitler and (l'havdil) the mashiach.  While I'm not going to burn down your embassy or kill anyone in the streets about it, I am going to exercise my right to decline to respond to any more of your posts while you've got that up.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/040...ceMarriage.html

    "Married Jewish male seeks company of Jewish single female for purposes of short-term marriage."

According to a report that appears in two places in the Talmud, the equivalent of the above personal advertisement was published by two distinguished third-century Babylonian rabbis, Rav and Rav Nahman, in the course of their travels.

The former, when journeying to Dardashir, and the latter when going to Shekhansib, would announce: "Who will be my wife for the day?" in order to arrange for temporary marriages that would be in force only for the duration of their sojourns.

From discussions that are preserved in the Talmud itself, we can sense that the ancient scholars and editors were not entirely comfortable with the conduct ascribed to these great sages. A serious concern was that the offspring of such unions, unaware of the identities of their absentee fathers, might inadvertently end up wedding their half-siblings.

In response to such potential problems, the Talmud was prepared to modify some of the details or implications in the accounts of Rav and Rav Nahman: One-day marriages were only permitted to prominent celebrities--i.e., rabbis--because we can presume that their children will proudly mention the identities of their distinguished fathers.

The Tamud even allowed for the possibility that the "marriages" in question were limited to platonic companionship, but did not involve physical contact. According to this view, the mere availability of a consort was enough to satisfy the emotional needs of the traveler, since "a person who has bread in his basket cannot be compared to one who has no bread in his basket."

This was still not enough to reassure the later commentators. Medieval moralists found it inappropriate that religious leaders, who should have been models of otherworldly spirituality, could not survive a few days on the road without attending to the pleasures of the flesh.

Modern scholars appear more concerned that the behaviour of the ancient rabbis might reflect poorly on the moral standards of Judaism.

Furthermore, the scenario of hiring a woman for a temporary liaison-- even if the relationship was sanctified with the full apparatus of a religious ceremony, marriage contract and eventual divorce--struck the commentators as disturbingly similar to more sordid types of sexual solicitation.

The sheer diversity of their explanations testifies to their desperate determination to justify the conduct of the talmudic rabbis.

There were some who argued (basing themselves on Rashi's innocuous use of the plural when referring to the "days" of the rabbis' sojourns) that the Talmud was not speaking of casual one-time encounters, but rather of arrangements where the rabbis would be returning to the towns with some frequency, and therefore wanted to maintain permanent domiciles.

After all, travel in those days, even for relatively short distances, was a prolonged affair that could easily keep a person away from home for months at a time.

The maintaining of families in multiple localities is still quite common today in polygamous cultures. I recall, for example, an Arab bookshop that I used to frequent in East Jerusalem, whose owner kept additional branches in Amman and Cairo, each of which was reputedly administered by a different wife.

Some commentators proposed that the rabbis' main objective in contracting short-term marriages was to give public affirmation to the centrality of that noble institution. According to this interpretation, many Jews in the remote frontiers of Babylonian settlement were not bothering with the formalities of halakhic weddings; and therefore the rabbis staged weddings for themselves with the explicit purpose of demonstrating to the yokels how indispensable a legal marriage is, even for an ostensibly temporary union.

A more elaborate rationalization for the temporary marriages was based on a story that is recounted elsewhere in the Talmud,(A.Z. 76b) about two Jews who were entertained by King Shapur of Persia. According to a tradition preserved by Rashi, the monarch honoured his guests by offering them women for the night.

Given the existence of such customs, it has been suggested that Rav and Rav Nahman arranged fictitious marriages for themselves in order to provide themselves with convenient excuses, should they be subjected to an embarrassing offer of that kind; as if to say: Sorry, Your Excellency, I would gladly accept your generosity, but my wife is in town with me.

Evidently, there is some historical truth to the premise that temporary marriages were a conventional feature of Persian culture in Babylonia.

Subsequent to the talmudic era, the institution of temporary marriage, known as mut'a, had a notoriously controversial history among Muslims. The Arabic term comes from a root meaning "pleasure," and might delicately be translated as "marriage of convenience."

An ambiguous verse in the Qur'an was understood to sanction mut'a, provided that the woman is provided with a respectable dowry. Though mainstream (Sunni) Islam withdrew its official approval of the practice by the ninth century, it is still accepted by the Shi'ites, who introduced, many Persian elements into the Muslim religion. In fact, the issue of mut'a marriage is arguably the most persistent and definitive dispute between the two sects.

Echoes of this controversy can be discerned in Jewish writings emanating from Islamic lands. For example, Sa'adia Ga'on's Arabic translation of the Bible employs a cognate of mut'a to render the Hebrew qedeshah (Deuteronomy 23:18), usually translated as "harlot."

While discussing adultery his Arabic commentary on the Decalogue, Sa'adia explicitly designates mut'a marriage as a form of illicit relationship, though of relatively minor severity.

Sa'adia proceeds to characterize Judah's liaison with Tamar as an instance of a mut'a arrangement, though it was legitimized by a marriage contract, legal witnesses and a formal betrothal.

When compared to the conventional reading of the story, in which Tamar disguises herself as a roadside pick-up, Sa'adia's interpretation has the advantage of giving a slightly more respectable status to the tryst, which produced the dynasty of King David and the Messiah.

A similar interpretation had been proposed by the ninth-century Karaite scholar Daniel al-Kumisi, who distinguished between two modes of qedeshah. The first of these consists of merely hiring a woman for a fixed period of time, without any commitments or contractual obligations. "This is what they do in India, and they regard it as marriage."

The second type of qedeshah relationship is a temporary marriage that is regulated by law. This is the relationship that Judah had with Tamar, and it might have been deemed acceptable in the days before the giving of the Torah.

"This is what the Muslims do sometimes," writes al-Kumisi, "and they call them 'marriages of convenience' [mut'a]."

By classifying temporary marriages as illicit relationships that are subject to the Torah's disapproval, Sa'adia may also have been trying to discourage Jews who would otherwise have been tempted to adopt the gentile society's tolerance of the institution (especially it it seemed to be practiced by rabbis in the Talmud).

The Muslim version of the temporary marriage could be terminated without a formal divorce. The Jewish religious leaders were undoubtedly concerned that, if Jews would start emulating the Islamic model, they might also dispense with the need for a get, and thereby allow the women to remarry into unions that were adulterous according to Jewish law, and whose offspring would be stigmatized with the grave consequences of illegitimacy.

If their intention was to eradicate temporary marriages among Jews, then they succeeded fully; so much so that the Talmud's stories of Rav and Rav Nahman strike us now as bizarre and incomprehensible incidents from a far-off past.

Indeed, the conceptual chasm that separates us from those ancient practices illustrates some of the complex changes that marriage has undergone over the ages. Attitudes towards marriage have been affected by numerous factors, including not only religious teachings, but also changing moral sensibilities about family and sexuality, receptiveness to foreign cultures; not to mention the advances in transportation that speed the traveler's return home.

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The Antimason, you should change your avatar.

Plus, on a previous post you said you were a Hitler fan, I don't want to know why you are a Hitler fan, I want that pic of Hitler removed on this site. If you don't, I'll have the moderators remove it.

Edited by THE GUARDIAN OF FAITH
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The Antimason, you should change your avatar.

Plus, on a previous post you said you were a Hitler fan, I don't want to know why you are a Hitler fan, I want that pic of Hitler removed on this site. If you don't, I'll have the moderators remove it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Edited.

Edited by -ZeinaB-
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In Biblical times, polygyny was clearly both permissible by the Torah, and actively practiced, although usually with unhappy results.  One rabbi put it well when he said that Torah law permits polygamy, but Torah narrative prohibits it; virtually all the stories of multiple wives involve problems.

(salam)

1) Who narrates Torah ?

Fi-Amanillah.

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what is Mount Gerizim to jews....and to samaritans...does it have anything with blessing

because the Igbo name Chiagoziem, means God has blessed me....

oh and which is a better symbol for Judaism, a menorah, or the six pointed star, just wanted to know because my history book equates the star of judaism to a cross to christianity and a cresent to Islam.....( :donno: I don't know the history of any of the fore-mentioned symbols, except for the cross...that one is obvious...)

Edited by JideoforHCX II
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Bro. Maimonides,

Thanks for making this thread. I noticed not many Christians are participiating...I would like to see that changed....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

He's not making mistakes or, at least, not deliberate ones for me to challenge. We don't ask him questions because we have the Old Testament (Torah) ourselves. The differences would be in translation and interpretation. But I'll review his posts again for comment. But, if I do comment, it is not as a challenge to Maimonides personally, as I find his volunteering this thread to be both helpful and unselfishly offered. When a Christian and a Jew debate, a point like that can be easily lost and I don't want that to happen. I've never met a Jew I didn't like and I want to keep it that way.

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This link is not entirely accurate. It represents a "sanitized" version of the Talmud which contains opinions on just about everything, and often conflicting ones. Included amongst those opinions are the status of Gentiles. Some of these opinions are very degrading towards Gentiles. I'm not going to repeat them all because there is no requirement that a Jew believe and practice those negative opinions and some are quite insulting. Instead, I will simply limit myself to one Talmudic author, Maimonides, who our Jewish friend has named himself after. Using Maimonides views on Gentiles is appropriate because Maimonides is probably the single most respected contributor to the Talmud. Here are some of his views on Gentiles:

1) Whereas one who murders a Jew is subject to the death penalty, one who murders a non-Jew is not (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 2:11).

2) As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war…their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: 'neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow'--but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow" (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 4:11).

3) On Jesus and his disciples, "It is a duty to exterminate them with one's own hands. Such as Jesus of Nazareth and his pupils, and Tzadoq and Baitos [the founders of the Sadducees] and their pupils, may the name of the wicked rot."(Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion, 1994)

4) It is forbidden for a Jewish doctor to heal a Gentile even for payment.

5) Jews may keep the lost property of a Gentile (This it is explained in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 266, section 1).

This is not intended to be a complete list, or even an accurate one, as I simply cut and past the above from various web sites (I do not have a copy of either Talmud). My intent isn't to disagree but simply to point out that the Talmud has many, many opinions towards Gentiles that are in contradiction to the website posted. That is not to suggest that our friend was trying to disguise these beliefs as much as that he is not aware of them when he posted the link (Which suggests he is American.).

I was told by a reliable source that German Jews practised/accepted the anti-Gentile opinions of the Babylonian Talmud and Hitler used that to his advantage when he came to power, creating Gentile hostility towards Jews.

The Talmud also has opinion comments directed towards Muslims which can be Googled. However, these, again, are only opinions and not instructions from God. One cannot assume a Jew believes or practices these negative opinions. I've never met one who does. :)

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That is the view of some ultra-Orthodox sects.  For example, the Satmar Hasidim.   If you ever rent the movie "The Chosen," it is set in the 1940s & concerns a somewhat modernized young Jew and an unlikely friendship with a young Hasidic Jew whose father is the rebbe (community leader).  In one scene the more modern Jew is talking about Zionism and the rebbe gets very angry and says "Only moshiach [the messiah] will bring us back to Eretz Yisroel [the land of Israel].  Not Ben Gurion and his henchmen!" 

But very few Jews hold this way. 

One reason why is that almost all Jewish commentators agree that there is an explicit Torah mitzvah (commandment) (actually, several) to live in the land of Israel.  There is some disagreement upon whether it is binding on all Jews at all times, with Nachmanides saying it is, and others taking a more nuanced position. 

A more common (and when I say "more common," I still mean a tiny minority, but not a fringe minority) view is that it is good for Jews to return to the land of Israel, but that a secular, non-Torah-based state (like Israel has) is illegitimate because it is not based on the Torah.  These are Jews who want to live in Israel, but not under irreligious Jewish rule.

An even more common view (by which I still mean a minority) is that it is good for Jews to return to the land of Israel, and the present state is problematic because it is secular, but it is a necessary means of survival, and will save Jewish lives while we await the messiah.

There are many other different views about the timing of the ingathering of the exiles vis-a-vis the messiah, and it is true here more than usual that when you get 2 Jews in a room you get 3 different opinions.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks for your answer and taking the time to write it out. It makes more sense to me now. I need to ask two more though, sorry!

1. all the views you mention seem to be pretty much in minority. what is the most common view?

2. when you say that one of the views says: "...will save Jewish lives while we await the messiah.." what do you mean? I hope you can clarify this, bc it sounds like you are saying that the Jew's lives are at stake in the meantime...and i don't know what that means exactly... is there some sort of risk when not living in Israel?

thanks

Edited by oldsword81
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1) Who narrates Torah ?

The short answer is that, according to Jewish belief, the Torah was dictated word-for-word by God to Moses, except for 8 verses which were dictated to Joshua after Moses died.

But I think behind your question is another question about my contrast between "Torah law" and "Torah narrative." By narrative I meant "description of events." So my point is that while Torah law clearly allows polygamy, the actual stories/events related in the Torah indicate that polygamy usually doesn't work out. This may be another example of a well-known phenomenon of Torah which was that certain practices among the Israelites were so deeply ingrained that it would have been virtually impossible to get them to stop doing them in one fell swoop. Rather, the Torah allows them but puts sharp limits on them and suggests it isn't a good idea. (I believe there are analogous, if not identical, concepts in Islam?)

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But, if I do comment, it is not as a challenge to Maimonides personally, as I find his volunteering this thread to be both helpful and unselfishly offered. When a Christian and a Jew debate, a point like that can be easily lost and I don't want that to happen. I've never met a Jew I didn't like and I want to keep it that way.

I appreciate this. My response below (I'm writing this as an afterthought) gets a little worked up in one or two places, and I want to return the point that this is not personal, and I appreciate the civilized tone of your post, even though I think most of it is ill-informed. So take the personal element right out of this.

(Note: the 'quote' feature appears not to be working. No idea why not.)

the Talmud which contains opinions on just about everything, and often conflicting ones.

That is definitely true. It is a point many non-Jews do not fully appreciate. The Talmud is structured as a set of arguments over various points. Generally the context is that everyone agrees on the 90% case, but there is a diametric opposition on the 10% case. The minority (dissenting) opinion is even stated. Where there is a clear majority of the sages, usually the law follows the majority of the sages, although there are some cases where it does not. And in many other cases, there simply was no majority; the Mishnah is full of cases where the school of Hillel held one way and the school of Shammai held another way, and there is no resolution. This process continued into the Middle Ages, e.g., sometimes Nachmanides held one way and Maimonides (not me -- the real one) held directly contrary. How the law turns out is often a function of time. (There is no one authoritative body in Judaism that can proclaim law for everyone analogous to the Catholic Church.)

Re: the status of non-Jews, here are some representative quotes from the Talmud and from Maimonides' Mishneh Torah:

http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/gentiles.html

Using Maimonides views on Gentiles is appropriate because Maimonides is probably the single most respected contributor to the Talmud.

Maimonides did not "contribute" to the Talmud; it was finished hundreds of years before he was born. He commented upon it, which is quite different.

1) Whereas one who murders a Jew is subject to the death penalty, one who murders a non-Jew is not (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 2:11).

Sigh. This is taken out of context and stripped of its original meaning. See

http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/kill.html

2) As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war…their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: 'neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow'--but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow" (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 4:11).

The Mishneh Torah Hilchot Rotzeach 4:11 does indeed say this, although the translation is inaccurate in one important point; it does not say "gentiles." Digression: there is no Hebrew word meaning "gentile." There is a word meaning "nation" which is sometimes applied to Israel, but when applied in the plural, usually means "all the other nations," i.e., non-Jews, and is typically translated "gentiles"; and an entirely phrase that literally means "star worshippers" but which is more idiomatically translated "idolators." That latter phrase is what Mishneh Torah 4:11 says; anyone who reads Hebrew can check it here:

http://www.chabad.org/library/archive/Libr...ve.asp?AID=7521

So this quote was very explicitly referring to idolators.

Nevertheless, that is what it says.

Needless to say, 99.99% of all Jews do not hold by this, and would save a drowning Hindu. For a more representative view, see, e.g., To Heal A Fractured World, by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK.

3) On Jesus and his disciples, "It is a duty to exterminate them with one's own hands. Such as Jesus of Nazareth and his pupils, and Tzadoq and Baitos [the founders of the Sadducees] and their pupils, may the name of the wicked rot."(Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion, 1994)

Ah, I see where this is all coming from. Israel Shahak. On him generally, see:

http://www.edah.org/backend/coldfusion/sea...A2&authorid=433

This particular quote can't be right, though, because the Talmud never says "Jesus of Nazareth," anywhere. There is a figure named "Yeshu" who is mentioned, but it almost certainly does not refer to the person that you, I, & everyone else would call "Jesus of Nazareth" (let's remember that "Jesus" is just the Latin form of "Yehoshua", a common Hebrew name, and that there may well have been >1 Yehoshua in Nazareth ... but at any rate, we can call the fellow you're talking about "J.C. Waterwalker" to avoid any confusion). For explanation, see

http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/jesusnarr.html

4) It is forbidden for a Jewish doctor to heal a Gentile even for payment.

This is hilarious! Maimonides himself was the physician to the Sultan Salah ad-Din. This is completely undisputed and you can even trust Wikipedia on it (but if you don't, check any other historical reference whatsoever). It would be a little, um, illogical for Maimonides to say that his own employment violated Jewish law. As some of our readers may have noticed, Jews have specialized in medicine for >1000 years, including treating non-Jews.

5) Jews may keep the lost property of a Gentile (This it is explained in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 266, section 1).

Maimonides didn't write the Tur or the Shulchan Aruch, but let's ignore that for a moment. In M.T. Hilchot Gezelah va'Avedah 11:3 he does say something like that. Again, however, he uses the phrase "oved akum," which means "idolator" -- not "goy" ("nation") ("gentile"). ("Akum" is not a word in itself, but an acronym for "oved kochavim" ["worshipper of the stars"] or, some say, "oved kochavim umazalot" ["worshipper of the stars and constellations"], either of which means "idolator" and would not apply to a monotheist.)

I think this should be read in context of the historical situation, in which gentiles (of any stripe) would certainly not have been returning lost Jewish items.

Morever, when you actually look at the rest of M.T. Hilchot Gezelah va'Avedah 11:3, he goes on to say --

"If one returns a lost item [to an idolator] to sanctify G-d's name, in order that they glorify the Jews, and know that they [the Jews] are a faithful people -- this is praiseworthy. In a case where there is a desecration of G-d's name, his [the idolator's] lost item is forbidden, and he [the Jew] is obligated to return it."

Translated into modern-speak: (1) If returning the lost item would cause the recipient to say, "Gee whiz, I'm impressed that you returned this item to me; Judaism must teach you good moral lessons," or (2) if failing to return the lost item would cause anyone (Jewish or otherwise) to say, "Hey, those Jews don't return lost items," in either case, the Jew is obligated to return it. This principle comes directly from the Talmud (Bava Kamma 113b, quoting R. Pinchas b. Yair: "Whenever the danger of causing a desecration of God's name exists, even the retaining of a lost article (of the Gentile) is forbidden.") and is also found in the Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 266:1. The Shulchan Aruch goes on to say that the return of a Gentile's lost property where such an act would be likely to result in sanctification of God's name reflecting credit upon the Jew and his faith, merits the highest religious praise.

Moreover, all this must be read in a broader context.

See:

http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/theft.html

In particular, see Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 348:2:

Anyone who steals even a minor amount violates the prohibition of [Leviticus 19:11] "You shall not steal" and is required to repay [the amount stolen] whether one steals from a Jew or a gentile.

and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 359:1:

It is forbidden to rob or to cheat even a minor amount from either a Jew or a gentile.

One of the better-known stories from the talmudic literature (from Jerusalem Talmud, Bava Metziah 8c; also found at Deut. Rabbah 3:3) is this:

--

Once, R. Shimon b. Shetach bought a donkey from an Ishmaelite. His students went and found a precious stone hanging around [the donkey's] neck. [R. Judah the Prince] said to him [Proverbs 10:22] "It is the blessing of G-d that enriches." R. Shimon b. Shetach said to him "I bought a donkey. I did not buy a precious stone." He went and returned it to the Ishmaelite and the Ishmaelite said "Blessed is the G-d of Shimon b. Shetach."

--

Shimon b. Shetach, by the way, was not just some random rabbi. He was the head of the Sanhedrin.

Just a few pages earlier is an almost identical story (Jerusalem Talmud, Bava Metzia 7a):

--

R. Shmuel ben Sustrai went to Rome when the empress had lost her bracelet and he found it. A decree was proclaimed in the region that anyone who returned it within 30 days would be paid such and such; anyone who returned it after 30 days would be beheaded. He didn't return it within 30 days but after 30 days. She said to him "Weren't you in the region?" He replied "Yes." She said to him "Didn't you hear the proclamation?" He replied "Yes." She said to him "What was it?" He replied "Whoever returns it within 30 days will receive such and such; whoever returns it after 30 days will be beheaded." She said to him "And why didn't you return it within 30 days?" He replied "So that you wouldn't say that I did it because of fear of you; rather I did it out of fear of G-d." She said to him "Blessed is the G-d of the Jews."

--

That, I think, can be fairly said to sum up Jewish attitudes towards returning lost property of non-Jews.

My intent isn't to disagree but simply to point out that the Talmud has many, many opinions towards Gentiles that are in contradiction to the website posted.

Actually, it's fair to say that Jewish texts, as a whole, have many opinions on every topic in contradiction to just about any proposition anyone could make about anything. (The classic line is 2 Jews in a room -- 3 opinions.) Cherry-picking a couple of quotes here and there serves little purpose. First, many of them are mistranslated and/or misinterpreted -- particularly a risk when the ultimate source is what I'll delicately refer to as "web sites." Second, even, as in the case of the reference to saving the life of a drowning non-Jew, where the quote is more or less correct, it may not be the law, and it may never have been the law. Maimonides is a great authority, but he is not God, and on many points (of all sorts) he is not followed by everyone, or in every aspect. (E.g., ask a Chasidic Jew whether he holds by Maimonides or Nachmanides on one of the most basic Jewish topics: prayer.)

That is not to suggest that our friend was trying to disguise these beliefs as much as that he is not aware of them when he posted the link

Actually, that they are in some cases flatly incorrect, and in other cases historical detritus that does not have much influence on what 99.9% of Jews think.

I was told by a reliable source that German Jews practised/accepted the anti-Gentile opinions of the Babylonian Talmud

I'm afraid the sad truth is the opposite -- the German Jews were by and large self-hating, and internalized the Jew-hatred of their surrounding culture.

The Talmud also has opinion comments directed towards Muslims which can be Googled.

Now this is just absurd. The Talmud says nothing about Muslims, good or bad, because it was completed before Muhammad appeared. The Talmud has about as much to say about Muslims as Shakespeare has to say about Mormons.

However, since you claim to have found some references on the Internet, if you will post tractate, page, & side (e.g. "Bava Kamma 12b") I will look them up. Not dozens; say the top three.

However, these, again, are only opinions and not instructions from God. One cannot assume a Jew believes or practices these negative opinions. I've never met one who does. :)

Thank you for at least emphasizing this point.

P.S. It took me quite a while to assemble this post, I hope you appreciate the time & effort that went into it.

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what is Mount Gerizim to jews....and to samaritans...does it have anything with blessing

because the Igbo name Chiagoziem, means God has blessed me....

To Jews, it has historical significance but not too much more. From Deuteronomy:

11:26 You can therefore see that I am placing before you both a blessing and a curse.

11:27 The blessing [will come] if you obey the commandments of God your Lord, which I am prescribing to you today.

11:28 The curse [will come] if you do not obey the commandments of God your Lord, and you go astray from the path that I am prescribing for you today, following other gods to have a novel spiritual experience.

11:29 When God your Lord brings you to the land which you are about to occupy, you must declare the blessing on Mount Gerizim, and the curse on Mount Ebal.

11:30 They are across the Jordan, just beyond the Sunset Highway on the way to Gilgal, near the Plains of Moreh, in the territory of the Canaanites who live in the flood plain.

11:31 [You must do this] because you are crossing the Jordan to come to the land which God your Lord is giving you and occupy it. When you have occupied it and you live there,

11:32 you must carefully keep all the rules and laws that I am prescribing to you today.

See also Deut. 27, and Josh. 8:30-35.

The Samaritans, an offshoot sect of Judaism, put their temple there and believe that it, not Jerusalem, is where God intended the Temple to be. They have a modified version of the Torah that says this.

I found the following on the Internet that may be of interest:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerizim

http://www.jewishgates.com/file.asp?File_ID=1226

http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_Item...=36&subj_id=286

http://www.campsci.com/iguide/har_gerizim_and_har_ayval.htm

which is a better symbol for Judaism, a menorah, or the six pointed star

The menorah is a much older symbol for Judaism; it evokes the menorah in the Temple, and has been found on coins dating many hundreds of years BCE.

The Star of David (6-pointed star) is a much more enigmatic symbol; although some say it hearkens back to the Temple era, there's no specific evidence for that, and it seems to have originated in the medieval era (12th c. I think). Moreover, nobody is exactly sure where it came from (though some have their theories) (and some have "interpreted" meanings that could be read from it even if they aren't "original"). That said, over the intervening centuries it became a very popular symbol for Judaism, and can be found on many, many ritual objects, books, etc., even though nobody exactly knows what it means or where it came from.

So take your pick. One is very old and connects directly to the most central institution of Jewish worship; the other is recent, mysterious, and yet very popular.

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Do Jews believe Mary (ra), the mother of Jesus (pbuh), married Joseph before Jesus was born? If not, do you say she had sex outside of marriage?

We don't really "believe" anything in particular about that happy little family. (It's like asking what Muslims believe about the Smith family at 12 Kensington Lane, Vancouver, British Columbia.) In fact, there are no Jewish beliefs whatsoever regarding Jesus, except that if he existed, he was definitely neither a prophet nor certainly the mashiach. So to answer your question, either of the above -- or he might not even have existed (or might be a composite character).

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1. all the views you mention seem to be pretty much in minority. what is the most common view?

Let me first give the second most common view, which is sometimes called "national-religious" or "religious Zionism" (which is more than just being "religious" and "Zionist" -- it means that your Zionism itself is religious). Under this view, Jewish return to the land of Israel and establishment of an independent state has theological significance, and is the "dawning of our redemption," i.e., the preparation for the mashiach, who could come any minute now. The joke is that mashiach will make his dramatic appearance at the Temple Mount after a bumpy ride on an Egged bus.

But the most common view, I think, is that most Jews support political and cultural Zionism but reserve judgment (i.e. are unsure) of the theological significance (is it the dawning of the messiah? the preparation for the messiah? just a good idea for Jewish national survival and flourishing? no way to know just yet?).

And you should also know that many Jews, including a majority in Israel, are actually not very religious at all, but are politically & culturally Zionist.

2. when you say that one of the views says: "...will save Jewish lives while we await the messiah.." what do you mean? I hope you can clarify this, bc it sounds like you are saying that the Jew's lives are at stake in the meantime...and i don't know what that means exactly... is there some sort of risk when not living in Israel?

Um ... yeah? Check world history over the past 2000 years?

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We don't really "believe" anything in particular about that happy little family.  (It's like asking what Muslims believe about the Smith family at 12 Kensington Lane, Vancouver, British Columbia.)  In fact, there are no Jewish beliefs whatsoever regarding Jesus, except that if he existed, he was definitely neither a prophet nor certainly the mashiach.  So to answer your question, either of the above -- or he might not even have existed (or might be a composite character).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Although that was a tasteless reply I still seek to understand this better. Why would he not be a Prophet?

What is the definition of 'Messiah'?

What about Prophet Muhammed (SAW), why can't he be a Prophet?

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P.S.  It took me quite a while to assemble this post, I hope you appreciate the time & effort that went into it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I appreciate the time you put into all your posts under this thread you've started. It's very easy for the rest of us here to have a misconception regarding the Jewish faith and never be corrected. Very few of your faith stop by here so special thanks for doing so. Awhile back, l couldn't seem to find any Jewish discussion groups on the Net to go and learn from (Probably due to trolls?). But I just checked now and found 24. Any you recommend?

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Although that was a tasteless reply

Sorry to offend you; I gave an honest answer (and thought it was in a civil tone).

Why would he not be a Prophet?

Well, why would he?

There were an awful lot of guys running around in Israel in that era claiming to have received some special revelation or something. Not every one of them was a genuine prophet. It takes more than him saying he's a prophet, or even a bunch of people believing him, to mean he actually was a prophet.

That's just general logic. More specifically, there are two important principles of Judaism that eliminate Jesus from the running.

1. It is explicitly stated -- by Jeremiah, by a couple of the minor prophets, and in the oral tradition -- that no true prophet will advocate "changing" the Torah. If Jesus's words in the New Testament are to be believed, he misquotes the Torah on a few occasions, and states some rather non-Torah views on "approaching the father through the son" or whatever.

2. There is an explicit tradition that prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

I would also note that the Torah, and I think Habakkuk too, give very explicit warnings about false prophets. In fact the Tanakh has some examples where this happened. In 1 Kings 22, Zedekiah b. Chenanah who predicted in the name of God that Ahab would vanquish the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead; he was a false prophet. There is also the case of Hananiah b. Azur, who listened to everything Jeremiah said and repeated it as if it was his prophecy.

What is the definition of 'Messiah'?

Well, literally the Hebrew word 'mashiach' means 'anointed' (i.e. had oil poured on your head), and is used to refer to various people in the Bible, including Saul, David, Cyrus (king of Persia), and every single priest. I recently heard that the Tanakh contains 39 instances of the word "mashiach." If you look at a Jewish translation of the Bible, it translates it "anointed" in all 39. The King James (Christian) translation translates it as "anointed" in 37 of those 39, then suddenly translates the exact same word as "messiah" in 2 of the 39.

But more generally, here is a summary of Jewish beliefs in the messiah (and why Jesus couldn't possibly have been the one):

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsoc...ve_In_Jesus.asp

What about Prophet Muhammed (SAW), why can't he be a Prophet?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, I suppose there is room in Jewish thought to say maybe Muhammad was a prophet sent specifically to Arabs or Ishmaelites or whatever. But certainly whatever message he had couldn't have been intended from God to the Jews, because

(1) some of what he said (admittedly, it may be a small % in context, but...) contradicts the Torah (and yes I realize that many Muslims believe that there is, somewhere, an "uncorrupted" Torah which nobody has ever seen which is 100% consistent with the Quran ... but no Jew believes that)

(2) prophecy ended in Israel for the reason described above

(3) there's only one example in all of the Tanakh of God sending a non-Jewish prophet to talk to the Jews (Balaam), and frankly he wasn't really talking to the Jews, but to his employer, Balak

Ultimately the question is evidence. As a whole, Jews are skeptical and not given to taking things just because someone said so. The reason we accept the Torah as divinely transmitted is because we have an unbroken chain of transmission from our ancestors at Sinai -- not just 2 or 3 witnesses but the entire Jewish people! And the subsequent prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, and so forth) -- well, we were there, we (not literally me -- my great-great-great......great-grandparents) saw them prophesy and receive their message. So when someone in some other country says they just had a direct conversation with God and God said "change of plans" ... well, we just don't give it that much weight against the evidence we have.

Again, sorry to give offense, but I am trying to explain the Jewish point of view..

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is their anything like reincarnation in the Tanakh(btw, what is the other name of the tanakh...does it start with an M??)

Good memory. The Tanakh is also sometimes called the Mikra ("Reading"). As a side note, I am fairly sure that the consonantal root underlying the noun mikra -- kuf-resh-aleph, which means "read" or "call" -- is cognate to the Arabic root from which the word "Quran" comes. But I don't know Arabic so I'm guessing. At any rate, Mikra is a more elegant/fancy name than Tanakh, but means the same thing.

And to answer your question, and then provide another --

1. There is nothing like reincarnation in the Tanakh.

2. BUT the kabbalah (mystical tradition) does discuss reincarnation. Not all Jews follow kabbalah (in fact, most don't) and reincarnation isn't exactly a central belief of Judaism by any means ... but if you talk to someone mystically inclined, they will tell you there is such a concept in Judaism.

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