What is Judaism?

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11 Responses

  1. YGB says:

    Not that I disagree with you, but you surely know that true blue Briskers would deem your understanding of the Gemara to be heretical…

  2. micha says:

    Not too relevant. True Blue Briskers would have stopped reading this blog back here.

    Second, I’ve been believing heresy since erev Yom Kippur of last year or so. So I guess I should be unsurprised that quoting the opinion of a number of rishonim in Menachos could also be heresy.

    But I’m wondering, perhaps for your own blog, how a Brisker would understand the gemara. Like Rashi over the Rambam?

    But in any case, I am unsurprised that quoting the opi

  3. Speaking of things that some people might consider heretical, i’ve heard the phrase divrey Eloqim hhayim parsed as the living words of God, besides ‘the words of the living God’.

  4. Grey Area says:

    The first time “Yehudi” is mentioned is in Zechariah, not Esther.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “The first time “Yehudi” is mentioned is in Zechariah, not Esther.”

    Actually it’s in yirmiyahu

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Not that I disagree with you, but you surely know that true blue Briskers would deem your understanding of the Gemara to be heretical.”

    What do you mean? Why would brisker specifically object?

  7. Lisa says:

    Actually, the first time the word Yehudi shows up is II Kings 18:26. Sennecherib’s army is besieging Jerusalem, and Ravshakeh is spewing propaganda. So Elyakim, Shevna and Joach ask him to speak Aramaic, rather than Yehudit (the language of the Yehudim), so that the folks on the walls won’t understand. Needless to say, Ravshakeh doesn’t comply.

  8. Lisa says:

    Issachar was known for Torah study, but there’s no indication that this was the case during the period of the divided monarchy.

    Also, I’m just curious to know what your basis is for saying that cases didn’t go to the Sanhedrin in order to maintain One Torah. Rambam says otherwise. Do you have a reason to say the Rambam is wrong about this?

  9. micha says:

    The question isn’t the first use of “Yehudi”, but the first use that is clearly “Jew” as opposed to “descendent of Judah”. Mordechai being described as both from Binyamin and as a Yehudi IMHO is the first such case. I agree it’s arguable, but Sancheirev was in Yehudah’s territory, and Zecharia 8 speaks also of Beis Yehudah and Yerushalayim. Not clear indications that the word extended in meaning beyond the tribe.

    As for Lisa’s question… The role of the Sanhedrin was to bring a single ruling to questions that needed them. Not to resolve every debate that came up. Or to put it more simply: There aren’t enough hours in a day for 71 men to answer every open halachic question at the rate they arise.

    Simple proof: The dispute between using Rashi and using Rabbeinu Tam tefillin ran at least through much of the 2nd Temple Period until the rishonim, and more probably from Sinai on. (Given the ease of finding old tefillin and seeing what was done, it’s hard to believe anyone would forget what norm was if there ever was one. But in any case, the question was open for centuries of Sanhedrin without ever being resolved. Why? Because no one saw a need to unify pesaq on this issue.

    Thus, since each tribe had their own high court and their own subculture and because communications aren’t what they are now, I proposed (as I wrote in the post) that there were more questions that didn’t require common resolution.

    And then there are the non-halachic differences that shape our religious expression. A yeshiva guy and a Modern Orthodox Jew who both turn to the Shulchan Arukh and Mishnah Berurah (even both quote Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchaso) still vary significantly in religious expression and outlook. Issues like tendencies toward compassion and justice or confronting the world vs ascenticism are attitudes that run below specific and codifiable halakhah.

  10. YGB says:

    A true-blue Brisker cannot stomach the idea that there was something that Moshe Rabbeinu did not know. Since they define knowledge as sheleymus, that result is almost inevitalbe.

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