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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Archaeologists Discover that Ancient Dead Sea Scroll Is Chapter of Leviticus

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Archaeologists have learned a pleasant surprise: One of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that never has been understood turns out to be a 1,500-year-old copy of the beginning of the Book of Leviticus (VaYikra).

Modern technologies made it possible for the first time to read the contents of the burnt scroll that was found 45 years ago inside the Holy Ark of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi excavations, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

This is the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue, particularly inside a Holy Ark.

The extraordinary find, presented at a press conference Monday, was the conclusion of efforts during the last year that brought the Biblical verses back to life after state of the art and advanced technologies preserved and documented the Dead Sea scrolls.

The scroll of the first chapter of Leviticus, was written in Hebrew and was dated by Carbon 14 analysis to the late sixth–century CE, making it the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century BCE-first century CE).

The Israel Antiquities Authority Israel’s Merkel Technologies Company last year cooperated to perform high-resolution 3-D scanning of some Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and phylactery (tefillin) cases by means of a Micro-CT scanner.

The fragment of the Ein Gedi scroll was scanned along with the phylacteries and phylactery cases. The Israel Antiquities Authority then sent the outcome of these scans to University of Kentucky Professor Brent Seales, who developed digital imaging software that allows to virtually unroll the scroll and visualize the text.

This enabled the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus to suddenly became legible:

The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying:

Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

If the offering is a burnt-offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you.

The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt-offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts.

The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 1:1-8).

Dr. Sefi Porath, who discovered the scroll in the 1970 Ein Gedi excavations, said, “The deciphering of the scroll, which was a puzzle for us for 45 years, is very exciting. Ein Gedi was a Jewish village in the Byzantine period (fourth–seventh century CE) and had a synagogue with an exquisite mosaic floor and a Holy Ark.

“The settlement was completely burnt to the ground, and none of its inhabitants ever returned to reside there again, or to pick through the ruins in order to salvage valuable property. In the archaeological excavations of the burnt synagogue, we found in addition to the charred scroll fragments, a bronze seven-branched candelabrum (menorah), the community’s money box containing c. 3,500 coins, glass and ceramic oil lamps, and vessels that held perfume.

“We have no information regarding the cause of the fire, but speculation about the destruction ranges from Bedouin raiders from the region east of the Dead Sea to conflicts with the Byzantine government.”

New Rabbinic Ruling Forbids Correcting Torah Reader’s Mistakes in Synagogue

Monday, July 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) According to a reasoned ruling by Rabbi Jonathan Raziel from Ma’ale Adumim, Israel, it is forbidden to correct mistakes made by the reader of the Torah during the reading, even if he mispronounces a word or a phrase, because “reading the Torah on Shabbat and during the week is a rabbinic law,” while the ban on shaming the reader is a Torah prohibition.

The mitzvot (commandments) are divided into those that are delineated directly from the Torah text, and those imposed by the rabbis over the generations. Both are considered part of the Oral Torah, and both are taught through the interpretation of the rabbis, however the mitzvot that are spelled out by the Torah have a higher value, and in cases of a conflict between a Torah-level mitzvah and a rabbinic one, the Torah-level mitzvah supersedes.

The process of reading from the Torah scroll in most synagogues is monitored strictly by the worshipers, because the mitzvah is, literally, to hear the Torah—reading the text silently doesn’t do the trick, and neither does reading it aloud from a printed book. When the reader makes a mistake in pronunciation, skips a word or adds one, it is customary to correct him immediately, and loudly, at which point the reader may go back to the beginning of the verse and read it aloud once more, in the correct way.

Rabbi Raziel, writing in the latest volume of the prestigious halachic journal Techumin, published by the modern-Orthodox Tzomet Institute, presented a view that offered to give up the tradition of correcting the reader.

“This article was born as a result of an unfortunate event that took place a few years ago,” Rabbi Raziel wrote in the introduction to his piece, “when a secular, fatherless boy who had come closer to the Torah and the mitzvot, went up to the Torah at age 15 and read from it. The corrections emanated from the crowd, some tried to silence them, and as a result of the turmoil and confusion, the boy’s feelings were hurt and he left halfway through the reading, with tears in his eyes. He wouldn’t come back to read and eventually left religious practice altogether.”

Rabbi Raziel noted that “in our generation there are often cases of children who do not observe the Torah and mitzvot, who come to the synagogue on their Bar Mitzvah to read from the Torah, even though they don’t always know how to read properly. Such a seminal and emotional event in the life of the child can be harmed by loud corrections from the audience, and therefore we should discuss the question of whether or not there is a need to correct the reader.”

Rabbi Raziel argues that “most authorities believe that the reading of the Torah, even on a Saturday morning, is a rabbinic commandment, and even those who believe it is a Torah-level commandment, concede that it refers to the minimal reading obligation and not the entire weekly portion. Also, all the authorities that the mitzvah or Torah reading on weekday mornings and Shabbat afternoon is rabbinic.”

In any event, even in a synagogue where the public insists on correcting Torah reading errors, Rabbi Raziel believes that “It is absolutely forbidden for individuals from the audience to howl at the reader, so as not to shame him, but they should instead appoint one official to do it.”

He also stressed that “extra care must be taken when the reader is a young person, who is more vulnerable than an adult, because of the possible consequences of a perceived insult.”

Rabbi Nahum Eliezer Rabinowitz, dean of Birkat Moshe Yeshiva in Ma’aleh Adumim, supported Rabbi Raziel’s opinion, saying, “the prohibition against shaming a person, which is Torah-level, supersedes the obligation to read the Torah aloud, which is rabbinic.”

Rabbi Rabinowitz conceded that, according to Maimonides, “the worshipers might not fulfill the commandment of hearing the Torah” if there is a mistake in the reading, but believes it is “better that the worshipers not fulfill their obligation of hearing the reading, than transgress the Prohibition against shaming an individual.”

Microsoft Pays $39 Million for ‘FieldOne’ Headed by Satmar Hassid

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

A New a York-based high-tech company founded and headed by a member of the anti-Zionist Satmar sect has been sold to Microsoft for $39 million.

Shlomo Boim of Kiryat Joel in New York, developed for FieldOne a program that helps offices, factories and government agencies make logistics more efficient by connecting all branches with their headquarters. Among FieldOne clients are United Technologies and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems.

Boim previously developed a filter for Hareidi Internet users in order to prevent exposure to unwanted material, particularly pornography and immodest dress.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bob Stutz notes wrote on the company’s official blog:

Field service management is a specific but critically important area of customer service, providing companies with the ability to deliver end-to-end field service. This is a unique and transformational point in time for these solutions as enterprises look to improve their responsiveness to customers with service in the field – taking service directly to the customer anytime a service cannot be managed by phone or other channels.
In this critical area, FieldOne really stands out. They have the baseline functionality that organizations need to drive a more effective field service operation stands out. They have the baseline functionality that organizations need to drive a more effective field service operation

South Africa one of Leading Kosher Markets

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

It is certainly not Jerusalem and New York but according to a recent article in the SA Jewish Report, the two major South African cities can take their place among some of the world’s vibrant kosher centers.

There are approximately 70,000 Jews in South Africa, and the paper reported, “Its members are fortunate to choose from an impressive selection of kosher products available at all local supermarkets.”

By comparison, Britain has approximately 300,000 Jews. London Beth Din Rabbi Eli Schoeman explained that there is a difficulty in securing products for those living outside the typically Jewish areas. “Meat and dairy products are difficult to come by and people have to make different arrangements for how they get these delivered to their area.”

Toronto, with 270 000 Jews, is a significant kosher market. In a price comparison of a whole kosher chicken across the continents, Jewish Report ascertained that kosher chicken comes out cheapest in Johannesburg as opposed to Britain, Toronto, and Melbourne.

Turning to kosher restaurants, the paper notes, “South Africa has a good selection of kosher restaurants, some of which have even become a favorite of overseas visitors who return to foreign shores raving about.”

How to Cure Israel of its ‘Weakness’ Malaise

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

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JPost op-ed editor Seth Frantzman talks to Yishai about the prosecution of an IDF officer who ordered the shelling of a terror position.

They wonder whether Israel is doing this in order to show the world that “we prosecute our own,” so it won’t have to, and discuss the phenomenon of Israeli self-blame.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

The Power of Zealots

Friday, July 10th, 2015

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Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Yishai to discuss Pinchas and other biblical figures.

Though a zealot who killed the immoral Zimri, unlike most zealots, Pinchas was completely in line with God’s will. The daughters of Zelaphchad, five righteous biblical women, were zealous for the land of Israel, and they were rewarded for it.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Shas MK Begins ‘Three Week’s with ‘Senseless Hate’ against Reform Jews

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

 

Minister for Religious Affairs, Shas Knesset Member David Azoulay, ridiculed approximately 2 million Jews Tuesday with the incredible statement, “A Reform Jew, from the moment he does not follow Jewish law…. I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew.”

His vile libel comes on the heels of the Netanyahu government’s rollback of religious reforms passed in the previous administration and which broke the gridlock that the Hareidi establishment has held over the conversion process and the approval for private and public eating facilities to be certified as kosher.

There are tens of thousands of Reform Jews who indeed are not Jews according to Jewish law because of  intermarriage. Jewish law states that if the mother is Jewish, so is the child.

But for the time being, most Reform Jews in the United States and elsewhere are Jews by birth, regardless of whether they follow Jewish law.

MK Azoulay’s rant comes during the first week of the “three weeks” of a semi-state of mourning over the destruction of the First and Second Temples on the Ninth of Av, which is observed at the end of the period.

Every year, rabbis preach that the sages teach that the Second Temple fell because of “senseless hate” among Jews,” and that every Jew today must express unlimited love.

And how does the Shas MK express his love? He told Army Radio today he cannot call them “Jews” and added:

These [Reform] Jews took the wrong path, and we need to make sure that every Jew returns to the lap of Judaism and [we need] to receive everyone with love and joy.To my sorrow, most of the Reform Jews in the Diaspora have erred. They are like babies who are hostages, and we want to make sure that every Jew will return  to Judaism according to Jewish law.

The most infuriating part of MK Azoulai’s remarks, worse than refusing to recognize Reform Jews as Jews, is his arrogant pretense that “we need to receive them with love and joy.”

The Hareidi establishment, of which the Shas Sephardi party is a major leader, does everything in its power to turn Jews off from Judaism.

Reform Judaism is not Judaism, and Reform rabbis are not rabbis, no more than alternative medicine is “medicine” and their practitioners are “doctors,” but to publicly say – or even privately think – that they are not Jews is nothing less than a blood libel.

Reform Jews never will be accepted with “love and joy” by the Israeli Hareidi establishment no more than MK Azoulay will accept national religious Jews with “love and joy.”

No matter how much Talmud we learn, and no matter how often we say the same prayers that Hareidim say – except for the addition of the Prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF that are absent from almost all Israeli Hareidi prayer books – it is not good enough for the their establishment.

Unlike the Agudah Hareidi movement in the United States, which practices “kiruv” – reaching out to non-Orthodox Jews to bring them closer to Judaism – the Hareidi  leaders in Israel are interested in power. They don’t accept others who do not dress like them, obey them like robots and contribute to their yeshivas.

There was an unconfirmed claim by the Women of the Wall yesterday that guards stopped a woman at The Western Wall because she was wearing a kippah.

The guards allegedly asked the woman to go with them to the police station, a request she refused.

Instead, she was escorted to a taxi stand outside the Western Wall Plaza.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shas-mk-begins-three-weeks-with-senseless-hate-against-reform-jews/2015/07/07/

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