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July 02, 2007



Sir, your rebuttal doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Thanks for proving my point anyway.


Before posting my first comment I didn't pay enough attention to your address to me, so I'd like to remark on some of your assertions.

>Can you propose a reason why the Rabbis would have pursued a difficult and non-surface interpretation of the verses instead onfthe apparent meaning?

My take on this is that the ancient rabbis wanted to counter and eventually replace the Torah-true interpretation that adheres to the text's plain meaning. This is my proposition, take it or leave it.

>Don't respond with slogans and insult the Rabbis, as Karaites routinely do.

Orthodox Rabbinites routinely parrot ignorant and in many cases mendacious slogans and insults about the Qaraite Jews. Here are several examples: http://orahsaddiqim.org/Resources/Myths_About_Karaism_Lies_and_Misconceptions.shtml

>I suggest that the meaning of the word Shabbat, which does not mean the same as our Sabbath, forces the rabbinic interpretation.

Sorry, you're indulging in the typical Rabbinical delusions that do not change the truth according to the text's plain meaning.

>I assume that you would agree that, whatever you think of Rabbis, they created a great civilization and left us a legacy which still, stands, unlike Karaism.

Qaraism still stands and is doing rather well given all that has happened. I'm afraid you've got much to learn that proves you wrong in this regard and your only problem might be an *unwillingness* to do some reading in the Wikipedia webpage on Qaraite Judaism(leaving aside some conspicuous factual faults) and the Qaraite websites it links to.

>Karaism is gone and in practical terms it is no longer a challenge to Rabbinic Judaism.

More power to your elbows if you believe you've convinced yourself of that. I've noticed many Orthodox Jews insist that Qaraism has disappeared. This is hilarious.
Yet currently there are more than 2,000 followers in the US alone. According to the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs' website there exist 40,000 Qaraite Jews in the Land of Israel while the lowest reliable estimate of followers in Israel is 25,000. Smaller communities exist in France (about 1,000 persons), the UK and a few other Western European states.
Back on the real date of Shavu`ot (according to the Torah) I had an exchange with a young Haredi in Jerusalem who was surprised to hear that 25,000 to 40,000 Qaraite Jews were present in Israel, let alone the existence of other communities abroad.
Rabbinical Jews are increasingly switching to Qaraism and I can vouch for this personally since I've witnessed it happen even by myself in Israel. Let me give you some examples of former observant Orthodox Rabbinical Jews who've long been Qaraite:
1. Eli`ezer ben Ephraim haKohen (Qaraite since 1998)
2. Nehemia Gordon (Qaraite since the mid 1980's)
3. Melekh ben Ya`aqov
4. Yosef Me'ir Rekhavi (Qaraite since the mid 1980's)
These names are easily found through internet searches, albeit with slightly different spellings.

>It is worthwhile, however, to face [Qaraism's] challenges because through respectful debate we might better understand not only these verses but also clarify the entire rabbinic approach.

You may have been respectful to me personally but you haven't shown a readiness to break with the untenable Rabbinic methods of exegesis like Drash and Remez.
I fail to see what needs to be further clarified about "the entire rabbinic approach". The Jewish world is inundated with it and the explanations that ostensibly uphold them as is, and it's not like you're going to convince me to abandon my Qaraite convictions and interpretations. At this point it's best to agree that we disagree.



One of my first sentences in the last post should read:

My take on this is that the ancient rabbis wanted to counter and eventually replace the Torah-true interpretation that adheres to the text's plain meaning in order to undercut the Sadducees and other Jewish currents that subscribed to a straightforward exegesis by the plain meaning.



Thank you, Jay, for your comments. All I suggest is that using new interpretative methods shows many rabbinic interpetations to be eminently reasonable. This is the way forward. Ultimately, if this thesis can be demonstrated, Karaites should also accept them, or at least clarify how far "sebel hyerusha" goes when new methods demonstrate a new understanding of the old texts. I don't claim we are there yet, but using these methods, as I do in many of my posts, can, I believe, eventually take us there.
This said, I think that much of old bitterness and division can be let go at our time, when the enemy of Judaism is ignorance and apathy to the word of Hashem. In some ways Karaites and Rabbanites are alies against these forces.
An appendix in a newly published book discusses the new interpretative critical tools in regard to 'contra' Biblical Criticism. It's a good introduction to the approach that I also propose. The rest of the book restates traditional rabbinic anti-Karaite polemic. See http://www.yasharbooks.com/Advocate.html


Avaskesh, you're welcome for reading my recent comments.

I've got no idea which new interpretative methods you have in mind. It is not enough for rabbinic interpretations to seem or be reasonable though this is certainly progress over downright exegetical falsehood; they must match the text's plain meaning and follow Hebrew grammar rules and fit the context of a given passage. "Reasonable" just isn't good enough when YHWH's Word is at stake. Furthermore, in the final account no Qaraite Jew is under any obligation to follow any given interpretation reached by his/her counterpart let alone Orthodox rabbis. The topic you're commenting about, Qaraite Judaism, is one you're too ill-informed about, what with the fact you're still laboring under the untenable belief the ancient rabbies reached by taking out of context a certain passage in Sefer Devarim as if it endows the rabbis with exegetical authority over the entire Jewish people. The same false understanding of this Torah passage is also what grants the "oral" Law its authority in the rabbis' eyes. Your reference to Sevel ha-Yerusha is another demonstration of how insufficiently informed you still are since no one is bound by it unless they agree to be, and most Qaraites not born into the Egyptian descended congregation don't accept it while some of the more traditional Qaraites at least question it on occasion.

Qaraite Jews aren't interested in sleights of hand and other forms of "trickology" merely devised to mislead unsuspecting or uncritical Jewish believers into acceptance of trite untenable Rabbinic interpretations. But if you (plural) are genuinely seeking real new Rabbinical understandings of Torah commandments that sit well with the plain meaning, we'll be most interested in hearing them.

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