Articles and Teachings
Arguing the Rabbinical Contradictions
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The following is the basic dialog between myself and certain well trained orthodox Rabbi’s who in the past, and just recently have attempted to school me on my wayward heretical ways. Although I never go so far as to hit them over their heads with their multitude of verifiable Levitical / Pharisaic additions to original Torah; as that would only serve to completely sever all attempts to redeem me from time to time, thus; never allowing me to consistently prove them wrong with their own words in the hopes of further expanding their non-rabbinical enlightenment. Thus, you will see that I discuss all topics within their known sphere of belief, not so much mine. Much of this unfortunately also cross’s over into the Karaite camp as well, as, in my opinion, the Karaim way over time has been slowly merging with many of the same rabbinate beliefs , customs and traditions as they so loudly proclaim to be against.
Being brought up within the Karaite way of study, I started at a young age to ask myself various questions of both Karaism and Rabbinical Judaism, the sort of questions that one dared not raise to the rabbinates, because raising such points are absolute heresy in the eyes of Rabbinic Judaism. Recently I was called out about how my kind disregarded the holy and absolute word of the Sages to my own souls peril.. In response, I stated; One such question that enters my mind Rabbi is, "How come the rulings of some the Amoraic sages are accepted while others are rejected?" He of course, as they all do, rationalized this legitimate question away by telling me that, the Gemara is not part of the true Oral Law, that being the Mishna, for it could not be as it was the rulings or opinions of the Amoraic sages who lived in the early mediaeval period and was therefore an early mediaeval commentary on the Mishna, thus being only another commentary, there was bound to be differences of opinion among its sages. This answer did not sit well with me of course because I actually do have a memory, and only gave rise to another question, that being, "If the Gemara is only a commentary on the Mishna, then why does one have to accept the opinions of any of the Amoraic sages as holy or absolute? Surely as with all commentaries it is up to the educated reader whose opinion he accepts if any!" Here lies the beginning of the split between critical thinking of the Karaim, opposed to the extreme liberal opportunistic style of Torah understanding we get from the Rabbinical sect.
Being one taught to take no man’s word for anything scriptural, as well as being taught to also consider all other manner of science, biblical period languages, cultures, tradition’s and even archeology in order to make a more definitive study of Torah truth. I could not of course leave out my own study into Rabbinic Babylonian Judaism before passing judgment, and of course to better be able to prove them heretical. I found during the study of the Tractate Hullin, which deals with laws and regulations concerning the slaughter of permitted animals and the dietary laws, we begin to glimpse into the credibility of the Mishna where the Oral Law itself comes into doubt.
Studying Hullin chap- 8 Mishna- 4 which states; "…Rabbi Yose the Galilean says, it is said, 'You shall not eat any carrion,' and it is said, 'You shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk' hence whatever is prohibited under carrion is forbidden to cook in milk.
It might be deduced that a bird which is also prohibited under carrion is prohibited to be cooked in milk; but the teaching says, in its mother's milk, therefore a bird is excluded for it has no mother's milk."
Then we have Maimonides in 1195 who even suggested:
"As for the prohibition against eating meat [boiled] in milk, it is in my opinion not improbable that - in addition to this being undoubtedly very gross food and very filling - idolatry had much to do with it. Perhaps such food was eaten at the ceremonies of their cult or one of their festivals" (The Guide to the Perplexed 111:48).
Now, reading these words of Maimonides, I believe I can plainly see that he was being quite careful with his choice of phrasing. I can see that he well knew of such pagan rituals using the milk of an animal’s mother to sacrifice them in, but obviously feeling the need to address this subject matter, given his high position and situation at the time, felt the need to be coy in his answer. That is what I see. Be that what it may, lucky thing for Maimonides and us, archeology has also proven him right; this was a Canaanite ritual. However, all of the Rabbinate virtually dismisses both the very clear probability of pagan ritual as expressed through their top holy sepulcher Maimonides, as well as modern science!
So, after checking the actual Biblical verse, Exodus 23:19, which this Mishna referred to, I realized that according to the Rabbinical view, and even most Karaim, that Rabbi Yose (the Galilean) was correct, however, we are informed that his opinion is not accepted! How could this be? Surely, they believe his opinion was in keeping with the Biblical text!
If the Tannaitic sages had received the Oral Law through an uninterrupted chain going back to Moshe himself, how could we not accept the opinion as absolute from one of the Mishnaic sages? Of course, I then pointed out that this meant they we were picking and choosing what we desired from even the Oral Law! No kidding! Of course I don’t personally agree with their sect on this, or even my own, because I believe it is perfectly clear from Genesis that we are strictly forbidden to kill or eat anything in which the (Breath of Life) was imparted; and that all men will be judges for the souls they cut off, for either man or beast. This of course, and many other traceable insertions - man-made laws and or systems in which I personally decline to believe were actually given to anyone by our Eternal Creator, of course this makes me a heretic in both camps.
At this point they are becoming more angry, and less hopeful of my conversion.
We move onto reading into the Mishna in more depth.
My sage of a Grandfather once told me, "when searching for the truth, we must be prepared to be shocked & dismayed, because the truth is rarely what others have taught us it would be." I have spent my life slamming into the full force of this wisdom, even my long held Karaite beliefs would finally end up being turned inside out as I progressed through my life.
As I said, with an in-depth critical reading of the Mishna, we notice that in various places it mentions the Cutheans, which is the Pharisaic name for the Samaritans, for example: Tractate Bekhoroth, chap- 1 Mishna- 1, Tractate Berakhoth, chap- 7 Mishna -1; chap- 8 Mishna- 8, Tractate Demai chap- 3 Mishna- 4, and others. How could this be truth?
The Samaritans are a complete and verified phenomenon of the Second Temple and later periods, they were surely not around at the giving of the Torah! Which by the way is when the Oral Law was supposedly also given. Then, lo and behold what else do we see with little surprise in Tractate Rosh Hashshana chap- 1 Mishna- 3 it mentions Hanukka!! And again in Tractate Meghilla chap- 3 Mishna -4 & 5, and in Tractate Ta'anith chap- 2 Mishna -10 not only does it mention Hanukkah but also Purim! Please pinch me Rabbi! The story of Purim took place during the reign of the Persian king Ahasuerus – AKA- Xerxes, approximately in the year 475BC, and Hanukkah in the year 165 BC. This should mean that the Mishna was of a late compilation as will be seen from the very text itself!! Very interesting.. And people still question how and IF other Pharisaic laws and customs were written into our Torah and Ketubim texts at such later dates?
When one confronts the Rabbis with such findings, we are met with arguments which attempt to save our eternal souls by working to prove the validity of the Oral Law, and of course the divinity of the opinions , and of the men who wrote them. All of which is something that has many times now actually caused me to delve deeper into their ideas, which only continue to help me in proving them fraudulent every time. I told this and many other Rabbi’s so far, that they would have been allot better off by adopting the Roman Church’s practice of hiding everything from everyone. At least then they might have a chance at convincing someone.
Moving on in this discussion, and with further testing, I brought up something else in the Mishna, something that according to Rabbinic doctrine was impossible to be, clearly identifiable out- right contradictions between the Tannaitic sages! For example: Tractate Peah chap- 4 Mishna- 5 states; "Three times daily were there attendances of the poor: in the morning and at noon and in the afternoon - Thus Rabban Gamliel says, These times were given as a minimum. Rabbi 'Akiva on the other hand says, "They were given as the maximum." Hmmm… This is an outright contradiction between two major Tannaitic sages!
There also exists contradictions between the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel, Tractate Berakhoth chap- 8 Mishna -2 states; The School of Shammai say, "They wash the hands and after that fill the cup" - - However the School of Hillel says, "They fill the cup and then wash the hands." Again in Tractate Shabbath chap- 1 Mishna -5, The School of Shammai states, "They must not soak ink or paints or vetches unless they will be dissolved the same day - - but the School of Hillel says "permit it." The more we critically read the Mishna, the more we see that it is full of like contradictions.
Thus Rabbi, we see how the various sages contradict each other, So, if the Pharisaic Sages have received their tradition through an uninterrupted chain going back to Moshe himself, how could disagreement arise among them? Ooop’s, there’s that nasty logic bomb again! If the last statement is true, which of course they say it is everytime I set them up for this fall, then shouldn’t they have been of one mind on every point?
So then I ask further, Rabbi, seeing that I have proven thus far that the various schools appear to have clearly diverged, then I have to ask the, to which school does the truth belong? I mean please do not ask us to believe all of them are correct! At this point the gripping fear for any Talmudic Rabbi of being outed is taking hold. The giant steel door of truth & validity concerning their Oral Law has begun to slam shut! At which point this and of course other Rabbi’s in the past fall back to their final perceived position of strength; the fear of eternal damnation of my soul, a tactical retreat by informing me that according to the great Sage Maimonides, "He who does not believe in the Oral Law will have no share in the world to come,".. Which of course, sticking with my proven method of truth which I like to refer to as, (Interlocking fields of fire), I very plainly state, "but Rabbi, this is the opinion of a man and not of God"… Please show me the very words of The Eternal. At which point I am generally scathingly informed that my beliefs are the same as the heretical Karaites, which of course in all actuality, my actual beliefs are even far worse than my Karaite brothers.
Of course, he came to me, so I felt entitled and compelled to cast out yet another annoyance into the mix, one I know is near and dear; the question of our physical position during prayer. Yes you guessed it, more non-Torah argument for standing in prayer that I won’t lengthen this document with. Of course growing up Karaite, I always kneeled and bowed as the scriptures tend to show us. As many of you may know, most Jew’s stand in prayer, which to me always appeared to be yet more defiance. I was taught that one should prostrate in prayer as an act of genuflection, which is in complete accordance with the scriptures historical accounts - for it is written, "When Solomon finished offering to God all this prayer and supplication, he rose from where he had been kneeling," (1 Kings 8:54) and then there’s, "Now when Daniel learned that the writing was signed, he went into his house; his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously." (Dan. 6:11). Again, hate to point out the obvious but…
Moving on, the Rabbi grilling me of late questioned me about the holy days, specifically the period of the counting of the 'Omer leading to Shavuot. Of course I knew that Pharisaic Judaism and its successor Rabbinic Babylonian Judaism always held that the bringing of the 'Omer and therefore the beginning of the counting of the weeks to Shavuot was on the 16th Nisan, the day after the first day of Pesah. Here is the way that Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism understands that verse, "And you shall count to yourselves from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the 'Omer of the elevation-offering, seven complete Sabbaths there shall be. Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you shall count fifty days." (Lev. 23:15-16). Of course I won’t even go into the truth of my findings to these guys concerning these high days, and what I believe the books of Lev, Num & Duet to be, for fear of having to defend myself with deadly force. Suffices to say, just proving what he believes he knows to be truth as man-made is damaging enough for them.
From my experience, having both original Karaite family, as well as some who traversed back to Rabbinical Judaism, this is the way they are led to understand the above verse concerning the day of Shavuot, according to traditional rabbinical misunderstanding.
The source for the Pharisaic/Rabbinic understanding of the phrase the morrow after the Sabbath' was the Mishna itself. But there was another opinion. In Tractate Menahoth chap- 10 Mishna- 3 it states, that the Boethusians did not hold to this opinion, and in Tractate Haghigha chap- 2 Mishna- 4 it states; "And the High Priest may not put on his raiment, and mourning and fasting are permitted so as to furnish no support to the views of those who say, The Festival of Weeks must fall on the day following the Sabbath."
This means that the Boethusians started the counting of the 'Omer on a Sunday and therefore for them the word Sabbath in the phrase 'the morrow after the Sabbath' meant Sabbath and not the first day of the festival. What do the Karaites say about this Sabbath?
The Karaite argument is simple and goes as follows:
Also remember, I’m not even getting into the false calendar issue for either sect here.
1. The Torah states, And The Eternal said to Moshe saying: "Speak to the Children of Yisrael, and say to them when you come to the land which I am giving to you, and you harvest its harvest, and you shall bring the 'Omer of the first-fruits of your harvest to the Kohen. And he shall elevate the 'Omer before The Eternal for acceptance for you, on the morrow after the Sabbath the Kohen will elevate it." (Lev. 23:9-11). We see here, as it is in the Hebrew, that the word Sabbath with the definite article is meant to define the indeterminate noun a – (Sabbath.)
2. The Torah goes on to state, "And you shall count to yourselves from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the 'Omer of the elevation-offering, seven complete Sabbaths there shall be. Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you shall count fifty days." (Lev. 23:15-16). Therefore (IF) according to the Rabbinates the first Sabbath is a high festival day i.e. the 15th of Nisan, and not just an ordinary Sabbath, then what festivals are the remaining seven Sabbaths? If the remaining six Sabbaths are the weekly Sabbath or if they mean weeks in general, as the Rabbinate claims, then surely they are contradicting themselves as to the meaning of Sabbath in this passage. Why in one instance does Sabbath here mean the day of the festival and in another a regular Sabbath or weeks? Hmmmm…
3. It is written in Torah, "And bread and parched grain and fresh grain you shall not eat until during that same day, until you have brought a near-offering for your God, a law for ever throughout your generations in all your settlements." (Lev. 23:14). This means that we cannot eat from the new harvest until the 'Omer has been brought, and with this the Rabbinate is in full agreement. We then see in the Book of Joshua, "And they ate of the produce of the land, on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the same day," (Josh. 5:11). This is in complete accordance with Leviticus 23:14, but the Rabbinate claims that we can see from this verse that they ate the grain on the 16th of Nisan - for it is written, 'the morrow after the Passover.' The Karaite argument then states that the Rabbanites have left out a vital piece of evidence, and that is the 15th is never referred to in the Torah as the Passover! Technically, only the period of twilight between the 14th and 15th is. Therefore, "the morrow after the Passover" does NOT refer to the 16th but to the 15th! As can be seen from the Torah itself, "And they journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the morrow after the Passover," (Num. 33:3). Therefore, on the year of the entry into the Land 'the morrow after the Sabbath,' which is a Sunday fell on the 15th Nisan. Yes! That was the door of this discussion ending…
This document is not a teaching perse’ but a short glimpse into the critical research and thinking required to intelligently and successfully argue against entrenched Levitical dogma from extremely intelligent men who are specifically schooled within our Jewish tradition to fully know what we believe, and be able to argue anyone down on any point. If you are not prepared as such to up-hold your views and win against such people, I highly suggest you do not attempt such a dialog, especially in public. I wrote this because most people outside of Judaism never get to see such arguments or understand what it takes to hold your own in one.
Dr. Shmuel Asher Th.D
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