Tallit tydlyn

Tallit tydlyn



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Waarom is dit so moeilik om gewoond te raak aan 'n vrou wat 'n Tallit dra?

Toe ek 'n kind was, het ons 'n beroemde raaisel gehad wat ek dosyne kere gehoor/vertel het. Dit betrek 'n man en sy seun wat in 'n motorongeluk was. Die man sterf onmiddellik en die seun word na die hospitaal gehaas. Die chirurg is op die punt om die seun te laat opereer en skielik roep hy uit: 'Ek kan nie hierdie seun opereer nie. Hy is my seun. ”

Daar was 'n heerlike plesier om te kyk hoe die wenkbroue van diegene wat na hierdie raaisel luister, stadig sou waai en die koppe kantel. Ek sou binnekant giggel, vol van die wete dat hulle hulself beslis sou skop as hulle die oplossing hoor. Omdat hulle verbasend genoeg byna nooit op hul eie vorendag gekom het nie.

En u dink, hoe kon hulle dit nie kry nie? Maar in die 80's kon die meeste mense, vroue sowel as mans, net nie die voor die hand liggende antwoord kry nie. Natuurlik het ons almal geweet dat vroue dokters kan wees. Ons ken almal vroue wat dokters was. Maar begin om 'n generiese dokter te bespreek, vra iemand om vinnig 'n dokter voor te stel - en die beeld wat in ons kop sou verskyn, was 'n man. Elke keer.

Ek het die afgelope tyd baie aan hierdie ou raaisel gedink. Deels omdat ek wonder hoe diep 'n uitwerking op ons beeld van 'president' sou 'n president Hillary Clinton hê. Nogal 'n bietjie, verbeel ek my. Maar ook om veral selfsugtige redes dink ek hieroor in 'n Joodse konteks.

Ek het al so lank met 'n Joodse gebedsdoek of tallit gebid dat dit vir my heeltemal 'n tweede natuur moet wees, 'n sagte ou badjas wat my omhels en soos 'n huis voel. En soms is dit presies die gevoel wat ek kry. Maar ander dae, miskien is dit 'n oogopslag op my pad, miskien is dit iets meer. Heel waarskynlik is dit die beeld wat in my kop sweef van hoe 'n 'godsdienstige' Jood daar uitsien. Daardie dae voel my beslis feministiese self manlik as dit in 'n gebedsdoek toegedraai is.

Dit strek selfs meer na filakterieë, of tefillien. Ek glo onteenseglik dat die verpligting vir tefillien net soveel op vroue as op mans berus, en dit altyd was. Dat dit 'n verpligting is wat vir soveel jare vir ons verborge was, bedek deur die dik swaar seile van samelewings wat deur seksisme en vrouehaat bedek is. Vandaar my besluit op dertienjarige ouderdom om myself elke dag by die skool te begin toedraai in tefillien. En ek het vir myself gesê dat die enigste rede waarom ek opgehou het toe ek hoërskool toe gegaan het, was dat ek moeg was vir die nare voorkoms, die kommentaar, die smaaklose grappies.

Maar daar was meer as dit. As kind het ek presies geen modelle van vroue in tefillien gehad nie. Ek het in teorie sterk daarin geglo, maar ek het dit nog nooit in die praktyk gesien nie. Ek was die eerste vrou wat ek geken het om elke dag tefillien aan te sit. Maar in my kop was die beeld van 'n Jood wat tefillien dra altyd die beeld van 'n man. Dit het so diep manlik gevoel dat ek 'n diep afstand geneem het. En ek het in al die jare sedertdien nie na my tefillien teruggekeer nie.

Maar rondom my het dinge verander. Ek ken nou baie vroue wat daagliks tefillien opdoen, (of ten minste as hulle daarin slaag om in die oggend se davining in te pas). Dit voel vir my baie minder vreemd. En my eie 12-jarige dogter wemel van opgewondenheid oor die aankoop van haar eie stel in afwagting op haar bat mitzvah.

Dus, ek het dit ernstig oorweeg om terug te keer na die mitzwa wat ek die afgelope paar jaar net onder oë gehad het. Ek verwag nie dat ek dadelik gemaklik sal voel nie. Maar ek besef nou dat troos nie my hoofdoel is nie. Die beeld dra soveel krag. Hoe meer meisies, en vroue, en mans, en seuns, wat vroue met selfvertroue sien om hul tefillien te sit, hoe beter.

Ek het aanvaar dat my rol op hierdie oomblik in die geskiedenis moontlik is om myself liggaamlik in die ongemaklike situasies te druk. Want miskien help dit om 'n lang blik op die geskiedenis te hê. In 30 jaar, of 60 jaar - 'n blip op die tydlyn van die Joodse geskiedenis - kan dinge heel anders lyk. Vra dan 'n kind om 'n Jood voor te stel wat met talliet en tefillien bid, en hulle kan net so maklik agterkom dat die prentjie van 'n vrou in hul kop verskyn. Groter veranderinge as dit het plaasgevind, en die Joodse volk oorleef nietemin.

Toe ek my kinders die raaisel vertel, die een oor die chirurg, het hulle dieselfde verwarde voorkoms gekry. Skuinste koppe, wenkbroue met wiele. Ek wag, 'n bietjie van die opwinding van my kinderjare wat in my maag draai. "Ima, wat bedoel jy?" het my seun gevra en die Hebreeuse woord vir ma gebruik. “Die dokter is sy ma.” Die ander kinders knik almal instemmend en stap weg van hul eie ma se dom grap.

Gewoonlik steek dit op as hulle my vertel wat ek gesê het, dom is. maar hierdie keer het dit redelik goed gevoel.


Vroue en Tallit

Women of the Wall is 'n pluralistiese groep. Elke Rosh Hodesh -vrou uit verskillende denominasies, en vroue wat nie 'n kerkgenootskap onderskryf nie, bid saam met ons by die Westelike Muur. Baie van hierdie vroue het tydens die gebed die mitzwa om 'n tallit te dra, aangeneem. Net soos dit hul gewoonte is om elke dag tallit te dra terwyl hulle bid, behoort dit hul wettige reg te wees om hierdie mitzwa in die Kotel te beoefen. As 'n gemeenskap het Women of the Wall 'n doelwit gemaak om hierdie vroue te help om die wettige reg te kry om by die Westelike Muur te dra, terwyl hulle tallit dra.

Hierdie afdeling gee 'n uiteensetting van die debatte oor die vraag of vroue 'n Tallitot kan dra of nie. Argumente word verskaf vir en teen hierdie praktyk. Uiteindelik is dit volgens sekere halakhiese interpretasies toegelaat dat 'n vrou 'n tallit dra terwyl sy bid.

Om te begin, wat is die tradisie om 'n tallit te dra? Die Torah (Numeri 15: 38-9) sê: “Spreek met die kinders van Israel en sê vir hulle: Hulle sal vir hulle randjies maak op die hoeke van hulle klere ... En dit sal vir julle tzitzit wees, en as julle dit sien , jy sal al die gebooie van God onthou en dit uitvoer. ” Die franje tossels wat aan die tallit hang, word tzitzit genoem. Hulle snare en knope is 'n fisiese voorstelling van die Torah se 613 gebooie.

In die Talmoed is daar 'n debat oor die vraag of hierdie gebod om tzitzit te dra, van toepassing is op beide vroue en mans:

Menachot 43a: "Die rabbi's het geleer: almal is verplig in die wette van tzitzit: priesters, Leviete en Israeliete, bekeerlinge, vroue en slawe." “Rabbi Shimon stel vroue egter vry omdat dit 'n positiewe gebod is wat deur tyd beperk is en van alle positiewe gebooie wat deur tyd beperk is, is vroue vrygestel.”

Oor die algemeen is vroue vrygestel van tydgebonde positiewe gebooie. Dit is gebooie wat die Torah opgedra het, moet slegs op spesifieke tye gedoen word, byvoorbeeld deur die Shofar op Rosh Hashanah te blaas. So sê Rabbi Shimon dat vroue nie verplig is om tzitzit te dra nie, want dit is 'n tydgebonde positiewe gebod. Ons sien egter dat die anonieme rabbi's in hierdie Talmudiese gedeelte sê dat vroue is verplig.

As bewys dat vroue tydgebonde gebooie kan uitvoer, sê die Talmoed (Eruvin 96a) dat selfs Michal, die dogter van Saul, tefillien gedra het. Alhoewel tefillien nie die belangrikste fokus is nie, bewys hierdie gedeelte dat vroue 'n seën op tydgebonde positiewe gebooie kan maak:

'Michal, die dogter van Saul, sou tefillien neerlê ... En dit is vir hulle toegelaat om 'n seën te maak oor tydgebonde positiewe gebooie, al is dit nie van hulle verwag om die gebed uit te voer nie ...'

In die Middeleeue word hierdie kwessie bespreek in die belangrikste Joodse kulture van Spanje, Egipte, Suid -Frankryk en Noord -Europa. Op alle gebiede word vroue toegelaat om tallit te dra; die enigste twis is of hulle 'n bracha (seën) kan voordra of nie.

Rambam (Maimonides), Egipte, Wette van Tzitzit 3: 9:

'Vroue is vrygestel van die Bybelse wet van tzitzit. Vroue wat tzitzit wil dra, draai hulle daarin sonder seën toe ... as hulle dit sonder seën wil uitvoer, word dit nie verhinder nie. ”

In teenstelling met die uitspraak van die Rambam, sê Rabbeinu Tam, 'n Franse Toasafist en toonaangewende halagiese gesag in sy generasie (1100-1171), dat vroue die seëninge kan voordra oor positiewe tydgebonde gebooie, soos om tzitzit te dra: (Tosafot tot Rosh Hashanah 33a):

'... En hulle kan die seëninge opsê oor 'n tydgebonde gebod, al is hulle van daardie mitzvah vrygestel.

Maar terwyl die Rabbeinu Tam erken dat dit vir vroue toegelaat is om taliete te dra en sê die Rema (rav. Moshe Isserles, 16de eeu) dat 'n vrou wat besluit het om hierdie ekstra verpligtinge te aanvaar, skuldig is aan yoharah, trots (Shulcah Arukh, OC17: 2).

In die moderne kodes van die Joodse reg word steun aan vroue wat tallit dra, voortgesit:

Epstein, die Chayyei Adam van Rabbi Abraham Danzig (1748-1820) sê:

'In elk geval, as hulle tzitzit wil dra en die seën wil maak, kan hulle die seën opsê. Dit is die wet met betrekking tot alle tydsbeperkte positiewe gebooie, soos lulav en sukka en ander ... "

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), 'n Litause Ortodokse rabbi, skryf (Iggerot Moshe, OH 4:49):

'Trouens, volgens die oordeel van die Tosafiste is hulle [vroue] gemagtig om die gepaste seën te maak. Soos ons gewoonte onderhou die vroue die gebooie van shofar en lulav ... dienooreenkomstig selfs tzitzit. ”

Ten slotte, terwyl Women of the Wall verstaan ​​dat vroue nie verplig is om tallitot te dra nie, is dit beslis nie verbied nie. Net in 2012 was daar meer as 50 arrestasies van vroue by die Kotel omdat hulle tallit gedra het. As gevolg hiervan het die tallit 'n groot simbool geword van Women of the Wall. Vroue van regoor die wêreld het WOW -tallitot gekoop ter ondersteuning van hulle. Hierdie wet toon 'n voorbeeld van die globale belangrikheid van ons stryd vir vroue. Van buite Israel en van binne spreek vroue hul begeerte uit dat hierdie praktyk by die Westelike Muur aanvaar moet word. Die dra van 'n tallit is 'n herinnering aan wat ons as Jode beveel is om te doen, en 'n herinnering aan ons plek as vroue in die Joodse gemeenskap.


Dankbare gebruik van die Tallit

Die tallit, (ook uitgespreek tallis afhangende van dialek) of Joodse gebedsjal is 'n godsdienstige item wat tydens gebed gedra word deur Joodse mans in ortodokse en tradisionele kringe, en ook deur vroue in meer liberale Joodse bewegings.

Die tallit is so 'n oulike, eksotiese visuele afkorting vir "Jode wat Joodse dinge doen", dat dit geneig is om byna altyd verkeerd in TV, film, strokiesprente en ander visuele media gewoond te raak.

Baie Ortodokse Joodse mans dra wel 'n onderhemdagtige kledingstuk wat die tallit katan (of "klein tallit") te alle tye om die Bybelse gebod te vervul om 'n "omringde kleed" te dra. Maar 'n tallit katan is nie 'n volwaardige tallit nie, en is nie sigbaar nie, behalwe klein randjies wat van die bandlyn hang.

In die meeste hoofstroom Joodse denominasies en sektes word die volle tallit gedra slegs tydens weeklikse oggendgebede, tydens die oggend Sabbat en feesdienste in die sinagoge en by 'n paar ander baie spesifieke geleenthede. Selfs in die sinagoge word die tallit selde tydens middag- of aanddienste gedra, en dit word feitlik nooit vir die meeste ander godsdienstige vieringe gedra nie. In sommige ultra-ortodokse gemeenskappe besit 'n man tradisioneel nie eers 'n tallit voordat hy getroud is nie. (Daar is 'n paar sektes wat hul lede die hele dag lank aanmoedig om die volle tallit te dra, maar dit is 'n baie ongewone praktyk.)

In teenstelling met baie mediavoorstellings en mdash en met die marginale sektes wat hierbo genoem is, kan u dit moontlik uitsonder nooit sien 'n volle tallit gedra:


Soorte tallit

Daar is twee soorte tallittallit gadol en tallit katan.

Tallit gadol of tallet gedolah

Die tallit gadol of tallet gedola, wat 'n 'groot tallit' beteken, word gedra oor klere wat op die skouers rus. Dit is die groot gebedsjal wat tydens die oggenddienste in die sinagoge gedra word.

Tallit katan of tallet ketannah

Die tallit katan of tallet ketannah, wat "klein tallit" beteken, word gedra as 'n onderkleding onder die hemp, verkieslik nie aan die liggaam nie, maar gedra tussen 'n T-hemp (in die Verenigde Koninkryk bekend as 'n 'vest') en die werklike hemp wat 'n mens dra. Dit word verkieslik te alle tye gedra volgens die Ortodokse Judaïsme. Die tallit katan staan ​​ook bekend as arba kanfot of arba knafot (Yid. arba kanfos of arba knafos) of tzitzit (Yid. tzitzis).

Beskrywing van tallit gadol

Die tallit gadol, wat soos 'n laken uitgesprei kan word, is tradisioneel geweef van wol of sy, in wit, met swart, blou of wit strepe aan die ente. Die sye vir mans wissel in grootte van ongeveer 36-54 duim (133 x 137 cm) tot 183x244 cm. Die woltallit is proporsioneel groter (soms tot by die enkel) en bestaan ​​uit twee lengtes wat aan mekaar vasgewerk is, en die stiksel is bedek met 'n smal sylint. 'N Lint, of 'n band wat artistiek geweef is met silwer of goue drade ("spania" genoem), met die punte wat hang en ongeveer 61 cm lank is, van 5 tot 15 cm breed. bo -op die tallit vasgewerk. Hierdie orkes, wat in Ashkenazi -tradisies as 'n belangrike deel van die tallit beskou word, maar meestal onder Sephardim as van geringe belang beskou word, staan ​​bekend as die atarah, of ‘ kroon ’.

Van die vier hoeke van die tallit hang randjies wat genoem word tzitzit, in ooreenstemming met die wette in die Torah (Numeri 15:38).


Tallit Tydlyn - Geskiedenis

Beperkings op die gebruik van kleurstowwe (100 BCE – 68 CE) -Caesar (100-44 BCE) en Augustus (63 BCE -14 CE) beperk die gebruik van die kleurstowwe tot regerende klasse. Nero (37-68 nC) het 'n bevel uitgevaardig wat die keiser die uitsluitlike reg gegee het om pers of blou klere te dra.

Kleur imperialisering (337-383)-Onder Constantius (337-362) het die beperkings teen die gebruik van tekhelet streng toegepas is. 'N Edik (383) van Gratian, Valentinianus en Theodosius het die vervaardiging van pers en blou van hoër gehalte tot 'n staatsmonopolie gemaak.

Die Talmoed (ongeveer 550) - Die Talmoed vertel van tekhelet van Israel na Babilon gebring in die dae van R. Ahai (506) - die laaste positiewe aanduiding van die gebruik van tekhelet. 'N Mens kan dit aanneemtekhelet was beskikbaar tot die redaksie van die Talmoed, aangesien geen verwysing na die staking daarvan aangeteken word nie.

Verval van die kleurstofbedryf (639) - Die Arabiese verowering van Israel het 'n einde gebring aan die kleurstofbedryf vir slakke in Israel.

Negatiewe vermelding (750-760)-The Midrash Tanhuma (750) betreur “en nou het ons geen tekhelet, net wit. ” In die halachies werk Sheiltot d’Rav Ahai (760) is daar geen sprake van nietekhelet.

Vroeë navorsing oor weekdiergebaseerde kleurstowwe (1500-1685)-Guillaum Rondelet († 1566) was die eerste om Plinius te identifiseer purpura met die spesie Murex brandaris. Fabius Columna (1616) stel voor Murex trunculus soos gebruik in die ou kleurproses. William Cole (1681) het opgemerk dat 'n kleurlose vloeistof in die hipobranchiale klier van mariene weekdiere (Purpura lapillus) wat aan die kus van Brittanje gevind is, is na blootstelling aan lig in 'n rooi kleur omskep, wat die sensitiwiteit van kleurstof wat op mosselbasis gebaseer is op lig, onthul.

Ontdekking van kleurstenslakke -Die Franse dierkundige Henri de Lacaze -Duthiers het drie kleurstof -slakke in die Middellandse See ontdek: Murex brandaris, Murex trunculus en Thais haemastoma (op die foto: links na regs).

Ontdekking van die kleurstofbedryf - By Sidon, massiewe heuwels (honderde meter lank en 'n paar meter diep) van Murex trunculus slakke gevind. Die doppe is gebreek op die plek wat toegang gee tot die kliere waaruit die kleurstof verkry word. Op 'n afstand, 'n aparte en duidelike massiewe heuwel van Murex brandaris en Thais haemastoma was gevind. Aangesien 'n rooipers kleurstof die maklikste verkry kan word uit die Murex brandaris en Thais haemastoma in teenstelling met die blou-pers verkry uit die Murex trunculus, Egiptoloog A. Dedekind (1898) beskou hierdie feit as 'n onmiskenbare bewys dat Murex trunculus is die slak uitsluitlik gebruik vir tekhelet (blou), en die ander vir argaman (pers) stem Rav Herzog saam.

Radzyner Rebbi (Rabbi Gershon Hanoch Leiner)- Pionier in 'n soeke na tekheletwat gelei het tot die isolasie van 'n sekere tipe inkvis (Sepia officinalis) as bron. Daaropvolgende chemiese ontleding het die kleurstof as Pruisiese blou geïdentifiseer, waarvan die kleur afkomstig is van bygevoegde chemikalieë en nie van die inkvis self nie. Dit is iets wat die Rebbi self nie sou sien nie, soos hy skryf: die kleur moet uitsluitlik van die hillazon. Die Rebbi se drie boeke oor die onderwerp (Sfunei Temunei Chol, Ptil Tekhelet, Ein HaTekhelet) dien steeds as basis virhalachies ondersoek.


Tallit Tydlyn - Geskiedenis

U het twee swart leerdose met bandjies in u tefillien sak. Die een is vir die arm, die ander vir die kop. Haal eers die arm uit - dit is die een wat 'n gladde boks is, eerder as vier kompartemente.

Verwyder die tefillien uit die plastiekkas.

Die arm-tefillien gaan op die swakker arm: regshandiges doen die linkerarm, linkses doen die regterarm.

Rol jou mou op sodat die tefillien is in direkte kontak met u arm. Steek jou arm deur die lus wat deur die geknoopte band gevorm word. Plaas die swart boks op u bicep, net onder die halfpad tussen die skouer en die elmboog, regoor u hart (sien illustrasie).

2. Die seën op die Tefillin

Sê die seën op. As u die oorspronklike Hebreeus kan lees en verstaan, sê dit in Hebreeus. Anders kan u dit in enige taal wat u verstaan, sê.

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Elo-heinu melech ha ’olam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’haniach tefillin.

Geseënd is U, Here ons God, Koning van die heelal, wat ons geheilig het met Sy gebooie en ons beveel het om ons te beklee tefillien.

ASHKENAZI AUDIO VOORBEELD

SEFARDI AUDIO VOORBEELD

Fokus op wat u doen. Van die tyd af dat u die seën maak tot albei tefillien in plek is, moenie praat nie. Moenie eers knipoog nie. Konsentreer net daarop om u verstand, hart en dade aan te sluit en dit aan God te verbind.

Draai die band om u arm vas, en let op dat die knoop in direkte kontak met die boks bly.

Gaan voort met die toedraai: nog twee keer oor die riemhuls van die swart boks en om die biceps, dan sewe keer om u arm en een keer om u handpalm. Laat die res van die band los.

Hieronder is video -instruksies:

Gaan dan uit die kop-tefillien. Verwyder die tefillien uit die plastiekkas. Die boks gaan op jou kop, net bokant jou voorkop. Sentreer dit in die middel van u kop reg bokant die punt tussen u oë. Die verval -gevormde knoop moet op die basis van jou skedel rus.

Nou terug na u hand. Draai die res van die band drie keer om u middelvinger, so: een keer om die basis, dan een keer net bokant die eerste gewrig, dan nog een keer om die basis. U het nog 'n band oor, so draai dit om u handpalm en steek die stert vas.

Dit is die beste om die hele oggendgebede in een te bid tefillien. As dit egter nie moontlik is nie, moet u ten minste die Shema -gebed sê:

In die oorspronklike Hebreeus:

Bedek u oë met u regterhand en sê:

Haal die volgende vers in 'n ondertoon op:

Bedek u oë met u regterhand en sê:
Sh’ma Yis-ra-eil, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad.

Haal die volgende vers in 'n ondertoon op:
Ba-ruch sheim k’vod mal-chu-to l’o-lam va-ed.

V'a-hav-ta eit A-do-nai E-lo-he-cha b'chawl l'va-v'cha u-v'chawl naf-sh'cha, u-v'chawl m'o- de-cha. V’ha-yu ha-d’va-rim ha-ei-leh, a-sher a-no-chi m’tsa-v’cha ha-yom, al l’va-ve-cha. V'shi-nan-tam l'-va-ne-cha, v'di-bar-ta bam, b'shiv-t'cha b'vei-te-cha, uv-lech-t'cha va-de -rech, u-v'shawch-b'cha uv-ku-me-cha. Uk-shar-tam l ’ot al ya-de-cha, v’ha-yu l’to-ta-fot bein ei-ne-cha. Uch-tav-tam al m’zu-zot bei-te-cha, u-vish-a-re-cha.

Bedek u oë met u regterhand en sê:
Hoor, Israel, die Here is ons God, die Here is een.

Haal die volgende vers in 'n ondertoon op:
Geseënd is die naam van die heerlikheid van sy koninkryk vir ewig en altyd.

Jy sal die Here jou God liefhê met jou hele hart, uit jou hele siel en uit jou hele krag. Hierdie woorde wat ek jou vandag beveel, sal op jou hart lê. Jy sal hulle jou kinders deeglik leer, en jy sal daarvan praat as jy in jou huis sit en as jy op die pad loop, as jy gaan lê en wanneer jy opstaan. Jy sal dit as 'n teken aan jou arm bind, en dit sal 'n herinnering tussen jou oë wees. Jy moet dit op die deurposte van jou huis en op jou poorte skryf.


Internasionale handel

Die handel het ook wyd bereik gedurende die vroeë Middeleeue. Sekere Angelsaksiese munte het Europese invloede, sigbaar in twee goue Merciaanse munte. Een muntstuk dateer uit die regering van koning Offa (r. 757–796). Dit is ingeskryf met beide Latyn en Arabies en is 'n direkte kopie van muntstukke wat deur die Islamitiese Abbasidiese kalifaat gesetel is in Bagdad.

Die ander muntstuk beeld Coenwulf (r. 796–821), Offa se opvolger, uit as 'n Romeinse keiser. Goue muntstukke soos hierdie, weerspieël waarskynlik uitgebreide internasionale handel.

Die koninkryke uit die vroeë Middeleeue het dus in 'n baie onderling verbonde wêreld geleef en hieruit het baie kulturele, godsdienstige en ekonomiese ontwikkelings ontstaan.


OzTorah

Die volgende artikel van Rabbi Raymond Apple verskyn oorspronklik as 'n hoofstuk in Judaïsme in oorgang, 175 BCE-150 CE: Christelike en Joodse perspektiewe ”, uitgegee deur die Raad van Christene en Jode Victoria, 2008.

Die eerste eeu nC was so gespanne en gebeurtenisvol dat selfs oënskynlik eenvoudige terme soos “Jew ” en “gentile ” aansienlike aandag, verduideliking en toeligting nodig het. Wie was 'n Jood in daardie dae? Wie was 'n heiden?

WIE WAS 'N JOD?

Die Joodse identiteit in die Bybelse tyd was deur twee hooffases, etnies en ideologies. Eerstens het die familie van Abraham, Isak en Jakob die stam geword, daarna die mense, gedefinieer deur drie faktore – genealogies (van wie kom ek?), geografies (waar woon ek?) en histories (watter gebeurtenisse het my geskiedenis gevorm?). Die tweede fase was die ideologiese. Die etos van die familie/stam/mense is nou afgebaken en daar was 'n God, een, onsigbaar en ondeelbaar, wat die wêreld geskep het en dit bly beskerm het. Hy het die familie van Abraham gekies as sy fakkel deur die geskiedenis Hy het sy wil bekend gemaak in ritueel (“Ken Hom in al u maniere ”: Spr. 3: 6) en etiese terme (“Walk in His ways ”: Deut. 13: 5 – “as Hy is barmhartig, so wees barmhartig ”: b. Sotah 14a).

Die term Jood het eers laat in die Bybelse geskiedenis na vore gekom. Oorspronklik het dit een van die inwoners van Judea aangedui: om 'n Jood te wees, was om 'n Judea te wees. In latere rabbynse literatuur word die name “Jew ” en “Jewish ” beslis aangetref, maar meer gereeld is dit eenvoudig “Israel ”. In die meeste gevalle was een 'n Jood van geboorte, volgens tradisie gedefinieer as gebore uit 'n Joodse moeder, ongeag wie die vader was, maar met die genetiese element kom die eis van kenmerkende eienskappe, soos: 'n Jood is afgodery #8221 (Talmud Megillah 13a), “ Jode is beskeie, deernisvolle en welwillende ” (Midrash Deut. R. 3: 4, Talmud Yevamot 79a).

Buitestaanders kon en het wel die Joodse kudde betree. Sommige was inwonende vreemdelinge (gerei toshav) wat in 'n Joodse milieu gewoon het, soms met 'n Jood getrou het, soms as slawe in 'n Joodse huishouding gewoon het en deel geword het van die gesin in die engere en wyer sin, en Joodse gebruike aanneem. Buitestaanders het hulself gereeld op hierdie manier aan die Joodse volk geheg. Sommige (soos Ruth saam met haar en u mense sal my volk wees, u God sal my God wees;#8221: Rut 1: 16-17) het 'n meer doelbewuste keuse van Judaïsme gemaak en was volkome bekeerlinge (gerei tzedek, letterlik “regverdige proseliete ”). In die tyd van die Tweede Joodse Statebond was daar nog nie omskakelingsplegtighede nie en die belangrikste vereiste was dat die applikant afgodediens moes verloën en die God van Israel aanvaar. 'N Prosesontwikkeling word gevind in die verhaal van Hillel wat 'n aansoeker vertel: “ Wat vir jou haatlik is, moenie aan jou medemens doen nie: die res is kommentaar – gaan leer ” (b. Shabbat 31a). Teen die tyd van Josephus blyk dit dat 'n persoon sy lewenswyse moes verander, deur die gebruike en wette van Judea te aanvaar ” (Teen Apion II: 10). Wat gevolg het, was 'n vaste toewydingsprosedure wat in rabbynse kodes uiteengesit is. Tussen die gerei toshav en die gerei tzedek was 'n derde groep, semi-proseliete of “Godvresendes ” wat alhoewel nog heidene as vriende van die Jode beskou is.

Wat bekering moontlik gemaak het, was die verbreding van die konsep van God van die stamgod van die Israelitiese nasie tot die universele God van die hele mensdom, soos beskryf deur die Bybelse profete. Toe dit duidelik was dat Judaïsme 'n universalistiese geloof was, kon formele proselitisme ontwikkel Judaïsme was gretig vir bekeerlinge en so suksesvol dat tien persent van die bevolking van die Romeinse Ryk Joodse Joodse leerstellings geword het en maniere wat 'n bekoring uitoefen onder die aristokrasie en die gewone mense . [1]

Ten minste tot in die middel van die eerste eeu is proseliete verwelkom en maklik aanvaar en in die Romeinse oorlog van 66-70 nC het baie mense moed vir die Joodse saak getoon. Met die vernietiging van die tempel en die verlies van Joodse onafhanklikheid, is aansoekers gewaarsku dat dit moeilik is om 'n Jood te wees. Daarna is die beleid meer bewaak en die vrees het gegroei dat proseliete in hul verbintenis tot Judaïsme sou wankel en terugkeer na hul vorige weë: dit is bekend dat sommige mans die bewyse van hul besnydenis probeer uitwis en 'n aantal laster oor Judaïsme en die Joodse versprei mense. [2]

Uiteindelik het die getal bekeerlinge tot die Judaïsme afgeneem terwyl die bekering tot die Christendom toegeneem het. Die nuwe geloof het nie die streng rituele nakoming van die Judaïsme vereis nie en die kerstening van die Romeinse Ryk het die Christendom groter status gebied.

WIE WAS 'N GENTILE?

Die term heidene (van “gens ”, 'n ras of etniese groep) is in hierdie tydperk nie as sodanig gebruik nie. Heelwat later het dit algemeen geword onder Jode om 'n buitestaander a goy, 'n nasie of volk, maar hierdie term was oorspronklik bedoel enige nasie of volk insluitend Israel self, genoem in Exodus 19: 6 “a koninkryk of priesters en 'n heilige nasie, goe kadosh“. Maar selfs sonder 'n algemene term vir hulle, is buitestaanders beslis erken. Die belangrikste gesplete identiteit was tussen Israeliete en afgodedienaars. Israeliete aanbid God wat afgodedienaars aan afgode vereer het. Bybelse tekste het minagting uitgespreek oor diegene wat gode van hout en klip aanbid wat hulle self gemaak het. Toe die dekaloog (Eks. 20: 3) beveel het, “Hy het geen ander gode as ek nie, het die Joodse wysgere verduidelik dat alhoewel ander gode gode genoem word, dit werklik elilim, beskou as afkomstig van al, “nie ” – nie en was blote nie-dinge: geen gode nie, as't ware.

Die Hebreeuse Bybel was vasbeslote om bewyse van afgodery uit die weg te ruim. Die Mishnah traktaat van Avodah Zarah (“Strange Worship ”) het baie te sê gehad oor afgodiese gode en hul aanhangers, hoewel die belangrikste strekking daarvan nie was om die afgodedienaars self aan te val en hulle te oorreed om hul foute te laat vaar nie, maar teen die Jode en hulle te waarsku om nie beïnvloed te word nie , selfs per ongeluk, deur afgodiese maniere en oortuigings. 'N Jood sou dus nie sake met buitestaanders gehad het tydens afgodelike feeste nie. [3] 'N Suksesvolle saketransaksie met 'n Jood sou die afgodedienaar dadelik na sy godheid stuur om dankie te sê, en dit lyk asof geen Jood op hierdie manier afgodediens ondersteun nie. Die probleem met die afgodedienaars was egter nie net hul valse teologie nie, maar hul valse etiek, wat byvoorbeeld die moreel afstootlike daad van kinderoffer in die naam van hul afgod voorstaan, wat dit ondenkbaar was vir 'n Jood om op sulke paaie te volg .

Maar alhoewel die Judaïsme nie afvallig was van sy teenkanting teen afgodediens nie, het die Judaïsme aangevoer dat geen verstandige persoon bewustelik sou besluit om in afgode te glo as hy in God kon glo nie. Dit het verkies dat afgodediens nie 'n keuse was nie, maar 'n gewoonte: die gewoonte van hul vaders is in hul hande. Nie net die gewoonte nie, maar ook die geskiktheid, patriotisme en omsigtigheid beïnvloed die handhawing van afgodedrag. Dus word die afgodsfeeste wat in die nie-Joodse omgewing waargeneem is, meestal geïdentifiseer as vieringe van keiserlike gebeurtenisse en die verjaardag van die keiser en selfs die dag waarop hy 'n kapsel gehad het (Avodah Zarah 1).

Die heidene van daardie tydperk word gesien in Avodah Zarah nie as primitiewe stamme nie, maar as andersins denkende Grieke en Romeine, onder wie nie net Aphrodite en Mercurius nie, maar die huidige keiser gode was. Beteken dit dat Jode uit die eerste eeu die term “gentile ” grotendeels op hedendaagse kulture en magte toegepas het? Die antwoord is tot 'n groot mate ja. Hulle was antagonisties teenoor die heersers, ondanks beduidende gevalle van sosiale, kommersiële, intellektuele en diplomatieke samewerking. Die heersers was oor die algemeen onbekwaam en onderdrukkend, en Jode kon nie heidene wat goddelike eerbewyse vir hulself eis, amptelike legitimiteit verleen nie. Die plasing van 'n keiserstandbeeld in die tempel was 'n groot skandaal en 'n doelbewuste belediging vir die Jode. Die Joodse gebedsdiens het gesê: "Ons Vader, ons Koning, ons het geen Koning behalwe U nie." Rome is genoem “the goddelose koninkryk ” en daar word gereeld in rabbynse geskrifte in die vorm van kode daarna verwys, bv. deur die naam Edom met die betekenis van Rome te gebruik (Midrash Ex. R. 15: 6). Rome het die kompliment teruggegee. Jode is oor die algemeen in die antieke wêreld beskou, en#8221 skryf Martin Goodman (Die heersende klas van Judea: die oorsprong van die Joodse opstand teen Rome 66-70 nC, Cambridge: CUP, 1987, p. 97), “ om vyandige, stekelrige mense te wees, vinnig aanstoot neem en onvriendelik teenoor vreemdelinge ” (sien ook Menahem Stern, red., Griekse en Latynse skrywers oor Jode en Judaïsme (deel 1: Jerusalem, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities), 1974.

Sou dit ooit moontlik gewees het dat Judaïsme en die Romeinse mag saamleef?

Dit sou van beide partye vereis het om 'n moeilike koers deur stormagtige see te stuur. Onder die Jode was daar sommige wat 'n beleid van matigheid en versoening bepleit het, hoewel teologiese en kulturele verskille sou gebly het. Maar die Joodse saak is oorgeneem deur meer fanatiese elemente, waarvan baie geglo het dat 'n messiaanse ramp die Romeine sou inhaal, en die heerskappy van God, hoe omskryf ook al, sou triomfeer. Daar was inderdaad 'n ramp, maar dit het vier jaar geduur en die uitkoms was geen messiaanse Utopia nie. Harde Romeinse vergelding het die oorhand gekry, soos in die daaropvolgende eeu, hoewel Rome in die daaropvolgende eeu toegestem het in die hervorming van die Joodse godsdienstige leierskap in Yavneh van die aard wat geen verdere politieke of militêre bedreiging vir die keiserlike oorheersing inhou nie.

“AARS ” TUSSEN DIE JODE

Die gevolgtrekking van hierdie deel van die verhaal is dat Jood en heiden mekaar as buitestaanders beskou het om op hul plek gesit te word, met agterdog behandel te word en op armlengte gehou te word.

Wat van groepe binne die Judaïsme? Baie filosofieë en sektes het in hierdie tyd in die Joodse groep toegeneem. Elke groep kon redeneer dat die ander nie een van ons was nie, maar het hulle so ver gegaan om hulle uit die Judaïsme uit te skryf toe hulle nog steeds gesê het: "Hoor, Israel" en die Torah gehandhaaf het? For instance, could either of the Pharisees or Sadducees honestly claim that the other had placed itself outside Judaism?

There was ferment and tension, but Pharisees and Sadducees were Jews and their differences were within Judaism. The Pharisees might say to the Sadducees, “As Jews, can you not see that the resurrection of the dead is a principle of the Torah? Can you not see that the Oral Torah has authority, not just the Written Torah?” The Sadducees might say, “As Jews, how can you expand the Torah as you do when we are warned against adding to or subtracting from the text?” The debate changed its form as the result of historical events, assuming new forms in the Rabbanite-Karaite conflicts, for example, but remained a debate “within the club”, as it were.

Were the Essenes considered Jews? Their distinctive practices were sharply contrasted with both Pharisee and Sadducee teachings, but there was little call for them to be excluded from Judaism and regarded as gentiles. Many scholars regard the Qumran community as Essenes Geza Vermes sees them as sternly orthodox as against the “progressive and flexible” Pharisees, but they are still not gentiles. Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes had their conflicts, but they all fitted within the basic framework of Jewish doctrine and commitment and regarded each other as Jewish. Nonetheless only the Pharisees survived the Roman War and the destruction of the Temple in any meaningful fashion neither Sadducees nor Essenes could gain the confidence of the nation or provide creative answers, whether activist or pacifist, to the changing requirements of the times.

The Samaritans were more controversial because of their origins and the sometimes unusual nature of their cultic observance. Their offers of assistance towards Jewish national projects were not accepted and their building of a temple on Mount Gerizim was viewed askance. A combination of religious and political factors led them to be regarded as a separate people but the breach had occurred already whilst the Second Temple stood, and by the first century CE it was sufficient of a fact of life for Jews to be surprised that Jesus could praise a “good Samaritan”.

The major problem in terms of Jewish/gentile cleavage came with the Christians, but not in the early period. That Jesus himself was a Jew and never thought of himself as outside the fold of Judaism is beyond doubt and debate. He probably had no thought of creating a new religion. He was at home in synagogue and Temple: he “went into the synagogue as his custom was”. He learnt the Jewish tradition, though it is anachronistic to apply the technical term “rabbi” to him. He observed the Sabbath and dietary laws, though he echoed the Pharisees in urging the wider philosophy of Jewish observance to be understood. He used midrashic method and was an effective parabolist. It is not certain to which extent he intended anything more than an arresting homiletical turn of phrase when he claimed that whatever earlier authorities had said, people should heed his own interpretations (“It has been told to you…, but I say…”). Whether he really thought of himself as messianic is uncertain, though there were others such as the Qumran sect who had their private Messiahs. His immediate followers were Jewish and were accepted as such within the Jewish community he told them to address “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6), though a broader outreach was subsequently followed, not without internal conflict. He and they did not always follow what, for want of a better term, might be called “normative” practices, though the range of competing Jewish interpretations and usages at the time was far from monolithic, ranging from conservative to progressive, and in some cases the Jesus party took up positions that rabbinic Judaism later rejected. The rabbinic view is that he “spoiled the dish”, that is, he espoused errant views, but this may be judgment on the christologies of a subsequent generation.

In his lifetime Jesus was one of a number of itinerant preachers and healers. No statistics exist to allow us to form a judgment as to how many of his contemporaries had heard of or been influenced by him. The Gospel stories about “the Jews” (whatever the phrase means) opposing him are highly tendentious. Not only is it unlikely that “the Jews” would have clamoured for the execution of a fellow-Jew at the hands of the hated Roman power it is unlikely that he would have been so vicious about the “scribes and Pharisees” (one wonders what view he took of the Sadducees, but they hardly figure in the New Testament writings so we cannot be sure). Though certain passages suggest that at an early stage “the Jews” persecuted “the Christians”, other passages report that 51 days after Jesus was crucified his followers gathered in Jerusalem, presumably without fear of the Jews (to be clear about it, the phrase should be “their fellow Jews”), and other sources paint a picture of harmony and good relations. There were occasional tensions, but the evidence is more fragmentary than is generally assumed. Neither Jesus nor the early Judeo-Christians caused serious alarm because of their faith. In the – admittedly not very extensive – records of the time there are few references to the Judeo-Christians at all.

“The Jews”, however defined, were not greatly alarmed at the emergence of the Jesus party, were not interested in attacking it, and thought the early Christians (though the name “Christian” had not yet actually evolved) could and would be contained within the range of the Judaism of the period.[4] What, then, brought about the separation? Theology was not yet a major issue between the Jesus party and the rest of the Jewish community. The claim that Jesus was Messiah is, as we have seen, not certain, but messianic claims were not unique nor an offence against Judaism. Even though most Jews would have denied that Jesus had fulfilled the messianic prophecies, such claims were not enough of a scandal to write him or his followers out of Judaism. The claim that he had risen from the dead may have caused criticism and denigration but the claim was not in itself grossly offensive. His tendency to tell his audiences to heed his words regardless of what others had told them was difficult but it could have been, as we have remarked, a homiletical debating point adopted in an excess of enthusiasm. Issues such as vicarious atonement, incarnation, virgin birth, the sonship of God, and the trinity, were doctrines that were not yet fully developed. But between the death of Jesus and the conversion of Paul, the writing on the wall began to appear and serious problems began to surface.

What radically altered the situation was a series of events as a result of which the Christians became more like outsiders. No longer could there be a relatively polite “in club” debate about the nature of Judaism and whether the Jesus party could remain within it. The debate would have taken on a much more theological dimension had the Judeo-Christians already have developed a systematic Christology, but it was not so much theology as history that resulted in the Christian group leaving the debate and to some extent turning against it. Several factors led to the change. The Judeo-Christians did not appear to have supported the Jewish campaign against the Romans.[5] Probably more significantly, the Christians scandalised the Jewish community by interpreting the destruction of the Temple not as chastisement for neglect of the Torah but as God’s punishment for the Jewish rejection of Jesus, leading to the claim that the ‘true’ Israel was now the Church. Subsequently, though after the end of the first century CE, the Christians also failed to participate in the Bar Kochba Revolt, partly because the assertions by Rabbi Akiva and others that Bar Kochba was a messianic figure conflicted with the claimed Messiah-ship of Jesus.

In the post-destruction Jewish community, re-grouping and greater solidarity moved the Judeo-Christian group to the fringes. The earlier latitude towards separatist and fringe groups had become a luxury, especially when the Jesus party increasingly distanced themselves from their fellow Jews. The Judeo-Christians suffered a diminution in numbers and now, though not without an internal struggle, rebuilt and repositioned themselves as an increasingly gentile group, with new adherents directly coming to the new group without having to go through the old one first. They were not a monolithic community they included at least four sub-groups (Ebionites A, Ebionites B, Nazarenes, Gnostic Sycretists and Elkesaites) – but they, like the Jews, needed to find sufficient unity to plan a secure future.

After much internal debate it became possible for an outsider to become a Christian without ever being part of Judaism, either through genealogy or choice. Could you be a Jew without the Sabbath, festivals, circumcision (Jews were not the only ancient people to view uncircumcision as shameful) and dietary laws? The answer was no – but you could become a Christian. Could you be a Jew without saying Sh’ma Yisra’el – “Hear, O Israel” and proclaiming the absolute invisibility and indivisibility of God? – again no: but you could become a Christian if you accepted the re-worked status of Jesus (developed and taught by Paul and his supporters though not necessarily required by a reading of Jesus’ own words) as messianic and part of divinity.

Sharper language than ever before began to be used in Judaism – it was a time of crisis when it was necessary to know where people stood – and heretics could no longer be treated with kid gloves. About the end of the century the Synagogue liturgy introduced a prayer which came to be known as Birkat HaMinim, the Blessing (Against) the Sectarians. There is scholarly debate about which sectarians are meant and though at some stage the word Notz’rim (Nazarenes) entered the prayer (which underwent considerable change over the years), originally the Minim en Notz’rim were not the same and the intention could well not have been anti-Nazarene at all. Later Christian writers alleged that the Jews cursed the Christians in their prayers but this could be a reading back into history of the mutual hostility of a later period. What other sectarians could Birkat HaMinim have had in mind? There are other possibilities in the late Second Temple period, including the Epicureans. We should however remember that the prayer service was not directing itself against outside unbelievers but against members of the Jewish fold who had come under the influence of ideologies that were considered dangerous to Judaism or who in becoming apostates helped to bring trouble to their people. One of the versions of the prayer speaks of slanderers (Malshinim) who shattered Jewish solidarity to curry favour with the regime.

Yet the Christians did not win success everywhere. The rabbis and the Christian community competed with each other, each offering an interpretation of the Scriptures and claiming to have the path to salvation, though each group defined the term “salvation” in its own way. Where Jewish communities existed and where there were rabbis, Christianity did not make radical inroads. The success of the Christians came more in the places where there was less Jewish intellectuality and Jewish leadership such as Syria, Asia Minor and Greece. In these areas the knowledge of Hebrew and traditional exegesis was minimal gentile Christianity was thus not only theologically but culturally different from Judaism and the breach moved apace.

There was no authoritative decision to expel the Christians from Judaism but their exclusion came about gradually. The gentile Christians never were part of Judaism. The Jewish Christians still met halachic (Jewish legal) identity criteria but were excluded from officiating at Jewish worship because they regarded Birkat HaMinim as directed against them – whatever its motives at the time of its formulation – and their books were deemed to lack sanctity. In consequence they felt increasingly unwelcome. Christians were still found in the synagogues at least until the time of Jerome in the fifth century CE. In the second century CE Justin Martyr agreed that Jewish Christians who continued to follow Jewish usages were still to be considered “brethren” but as time went on, pressure was exerted to discourage the practice of Judaism by Christians.

The final break was due to the Romans when Jews (including Jewish Christians) were prohibited from entering Jerusalem the re-established Jerusalem Church was thus an essentially gentile one. Later Jewish concern shifted from the Christians to Christianity, viewing the latter as a (gentile) religion of its own and in error. No longer were the Christians a part of an internal Jewish debate. Though it is outside the time frame of this paper, it should be noted that the two independent faiths now regularly engaged in literary polemics and by the time of the Middle Ages the Jews became the targets for staged polemical attacks sponsored by Christian rulers. If the rulers decided that the Christians had won the debates, the Jews suffered even if the Jews turned out to be the better debaters, which Christian rulers found it almost impossible to concede, the Jews still suffered.

The Jewish communities could only respond spiritually by pleading with God to champion their cause. An example is the recital in the Passover Haggadah of the passage from Psalms, “Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that know You not, upon the kingdoms that call not upon Your name: for they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation” (Psalm 79:6-7). The adoption in the Haggadah of this imprecation, which originally had in mind the ancient idolaters, now addressed the problem of the Christian nations, as did the late medieval author of the controversial sixth verse of the Chanukah hymn, Ma’oz Tzur, with its veiled attack on the Church – probably the only place in the whole of the Jewish liturgy which makes specific mention of Christianity.

The ways had parted. There were Jews and there were gentiles. The gentiles may have had their origins in Judaism, but that was now history. The gentiles tended to give the Jews a hard time, but Jewish attitudes towards gentiles fluctuated according to events and experiences. Though many of the passages I now quote may have come from a later stage, they mirror the first century CE situation.[6] When gentiles showed respect and friendship, Jews reciprocated. Even when they faced hostility, Jews still taught that whoever a person was, it was their deeds that determined their fate: all people were made in the Divine image. Being a gentile might prevent a person from enjoying the blessings of monotheism and morality, but gentiles were not automatically debarred from the World to Come: the righteous (other versions read ‘pious’) of the nations had a place in the afterlife. The commandments of Judaism did not obligate the gentile apart from the Seven Noahide Laws, basic ethics that derive from the post-diluvian age when civilisation had to be reconstructed. These seven laws prohibited murder, robbery, adultery, idolatry, blasphemy and cruelty to animals and required a system of justice (b. Sanhedrin 56b, Tosefta Avodah Zarah 8:4). Rabbinic enactments established that gentiles must be treated humanely: they must be greeted politely, their poor supported, their sick visited and their dead buried. Endeavours should be made to avoid enmity and to foster “the paths of peace” (Prov. 3:17, the basis of enactments in b. Gittin 4-5). The Torah commanded, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev. 19:18), though there is discussion as to what is meant by “neighbour” (Hebrew: re’a).

Nonetheless Jews had a low opinion of gentile law courts (though the gentile law of the land was the law other than in spiritual matters) and many sources report the poor levels of morality and decency amongst gentiles. There is a passage (Jerusalem Talmud 66b etc.) that is often translated, “The best of the gentiles – harog, kill them!” but the rendering, “kill them” is ungrammatical. The grammatical form of harog denotes a profession or trait: cf. karoz, “herald”) and the meaning is that the best of the gentiles are killers.[7] This material clearly reflects social situations that oscillated between Jews and gentiles living in amity and looking at one another with hostility and suspicion.

1. Some Greek and Roman writers held the contrary view and mocked at Jewish observance, scorning, for example, the fact that Sabbath-observing Jews wasted one seventh of their lives in rest. See S.W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York, Columbia University Press, 1952), I:118.

2. For example, see George F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Common Era (Cambridge, Mass., 1927-30), I:341-47.

3. In Hebrew called edim met 'n aleph, meaning “calamities”, as against edim met 'n ayin, meaning “witnesses” (Talmud Avodah Zarah 2a).

4. For example, see Jacob Neusner, The Way of Torah: An Introduction to Judaism (6th ed.: Albany, New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 1997), who prefers the word “Judaisms”.

5. The Christian historian Eusebius relates a story of the Jerusalem Christians fleeing to Pella, a gentile city across the Jordan (Hist. eccl. 3,5.3). However, some scholars question whether the Pella episode is authentic and argue that Eusebius may have told the story in order to authenticate a later Christian community in that area.

6. The Mishnah, for example, though redacted in the second century CE, codified material that was accumulating long before, e.g. information on criminal law, eventually codified in the m. Sanhedrin.

7. Other versions have “Egyptians”, “Canaanites” instead of “gentiles”. Note that such hyperbole also allowed the rabbis to make uncomplimentary remarks (e.g. at the end of m. Kiddushin) about the best of the physicians and even the best of the women.

Alon, Gedalyahu, The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age (70-640 CE), (2 vols.: ET Jerusalem, Magnes, 1980, 1984)

Bamberger, Bernard J., Proselytism in the Talmudic Period (2nd ed.: New York, Ktav Publishing House, 1968)

Baron, Salo W., A Social and Religious History of the Jews (vol. 1: New York, Columbia University Press, 1952)

Braude, William G., Jewish Proselytising in the First Centuries of the Common Era (Providence: Brown University Press, 1940)

Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, s.v. “Gentile”

Flusser, David, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1988)

Goodman, Martin, The Ruling Class of Judaea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt Against Rome AD 66-70 (Cambridge, CUP, 1987)

Lauterbach, Jacob Z., “The Attitude of the Jew Towards the Non-Jew” in Studies in Jewish Law, Custom and Folklore (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1970)

Moore, George F., Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era (3 vols. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1927-30)

Neusner, Jacob, First Century Judaism in Crisis: Yohanan ben Zakkai and the Renaissance of Torah (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1975)

Neusner, Jacob, Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity (Mineappolis: Augsburg Press, 1984)

Sanders, E.P.(ed.), Jewish and Christian Self-Definition (vol.2: Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981) (see especially the essays by Ferdinand Dexinger, Ephraim E. Urbach)

Sandmel, Samuel H., Judaism and Christian Beginnings (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978)

Schoeps, Hans J., Jewish Christianity: Factional Disputes in the Early Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969)

Schultz, Joseph P., Judaism and the Gentile Faiths: Comparative Studies in Religion (Rutherford, NJ: Faizrleigh Dickson University Press, 1981)

Zeitlin, Solomon, Who is a Jew? A Halachic-Historic Study (Philadelphia: Dropsie College, 1959)

NB: In the source references, m. = Mishnah b. = Babylonian Talmud.

NEW TESTAMENT PEOPLE: A RABBI’S NOTES

Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple’s book discusses some 98 themes in the New Testament and Christianity and shows how Jesus and the early Christians can only be understood against a Jewish background. Rabbi Apple never resiles from his own faith and commitment, but sees the book as a contribution to dialogue.

The softcover and ebook editions are available from Amazon, AuthorHouse, The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping), and elsewhere online.


Egalitarian. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means…

Has feminism run its course in Jewish liturgy and ritual practice? Jay Michaelson (Rethinking Egalitarianism:Are We Leveling the Playing Field Too Low?, Forward, Nov. 5, 2010) described how young Jews, who grew up in progressive shuls, when moving to places with fewer synagogue options end up choosing vibrant, engaged, child-friendly, non-egalitarian communities over spiritually empty, formal, egalitarian ones.

Danya Ruttenberg suggested (Sh’maMagazine, Messy Complexity: On God, Language, and Metaphor ,April, 2011) that the goals of feminists over the 40 years: proposing alternative, less male-centric language, allowing people who value feminism to be at home in Judaism, and allowing everyone to explore the female aspects of the divine terms have been achieved. Rottenberg writes that the time has come to “stop thinking about language and God” because this focus becomes the totality of experiencing the divine.
In a similar vein, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, argues ( Do We Still Need Jewish Feminism?, Zeek) that within American practice, “egalitarianism has become the baseline practice for the majority of American Jews” and that in non-Orthodox Judaism, egalitarianism religious practice and liturgy, the dreams of Jewish feminists have been achieved.

Kaiser also describes the great strides in the modern Orthodox world, as it “edges toward Egalitarianism” with women’s Tfillah (prayer) groups, women offering divrei Torah (sermons) and being ordained as quasi-rabbis. This is a better description of the modern Orthodox world than an op-ed in a major Canadian paper by prominent Reform Rabbi Dow Marmur, which said modern Orthodox groups now make women “full and equal participants in worship” because women were allowed to read from the Torah. He was describing an international modern Orthodox movement in which women are indeed accorded significant access to ritual participation. However, this movement deliberately uses the term ‘partnership minyan’ to describe itself to acknowledge that according to their reading of Jewish law, equal access or status is not possible. (Though one partnership minyan in Israel refers to itself as “an egalitarian Orthodox community”). Neither Kaiser nor Marmer note the strong rejection of these innovations from the large majority of Orthodoxy, such as the Rabbinical Council of America to the extent that these congregations are considered “non-Orthodox” by the Orthodox leadership and are denied membership in the Orthodox Union.

Recently, I saw a brochure for a local Orthodox synagogue touting its egalitarian advances. I scanned it, intrigued, looking for a women’s prayer group or Simchat Torah celebration, but found that it was referring to their new policy of allowing women to sit on the board. I could not help channeling Inigo Montoya “Egalitarian…You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” It began to dawn on me that egalitarianism in Jewish practice might be in the eye of the beholder. This uncertainty about what egalitarianism means reminded me of when I attended a college minyan, called “the Egalitarian minyan”. In terms of service leading, what people het gedoen, it was totally egalitarian. But to me, who grew up with an egalitarian liturgy, what people gesê, its use of traditional liturgy was most certainly not.

There are myriad ways for women to enter into public religious practices that were once dominated by men (which shows just how few there once were reserved for women). It is clear women’s roles in public ritual have evolved considerably over the past century. In the timeline of Jewish history, this is quite a short time. It seems equally clear they will also evolve during next century. Some practices that were heretical a hundred years ago are commonplace and normative now across denominations from Orthodox to Renewal (like a public acknowledgement of a bat mitzvah). To have any meaningful discussion about whether egalitarianism has been successful, how much it may have achieved (as noted by Rottenburg and Kaiser) or what future directions should be perused, or how weight should be given to it when it conflicts with other values (as raised by Michelson), one must first know what egalitarianism is, even if there are multiple answers. Towards this end I have compiled a taxonomy of egalitarianism in Jewish practice (inspired by Ben Dryfus’s /BZ’s Taxonomy of Jewish pluralism) , which looks at a four areas of Jewish practice, participation (what we do), liturgy (what we say about ourselves, our ancestors and God), identity (who we are) and in legal status. To assess the merits of egalitarianism, to determine whether its goals have been achieved or to progress, we must first know where we have come from and we now stand.

Egalitarianism In Jewish Practice

Part 1: Egalitarianism in participation. Historically, (and in some parts of Orthodox Judaism today), this simply meant the non-religious aspects of synagogue life like the right to be a voting member of a synagogue or to sit on the board. This is in part why Sisterhoods and Ladies’ Auxiliaries were formed. Women were excluded from the main areas of synagogue governance and active membership. Having female board members and presidents is still controversial in the Orthodox world. The National Council of Young Israel, founded a century ago as a “modern” Orthodox movement, expelled a synagogue in Syracuse, NY for having a female president, an action that included claiming ownership of their building and other assets when the synagogue switched to another Orthodox affiliation.

But for most of the Jewish world concerned with egalitarianism, participation now means performing ritual acts in public and leading the congregation- leading the service, reading from the Torah, having an aliyah (being called to the Torah), being counted in a minyan quorum of 10 required for public prayer), writing a Torah as a scribe, wearing a talit (prayer shawl) and tfillin (phylacteries) or leading the grace after meals.

Currently, Reform, Renewal, Reconstructionist and the vast majority of the Conservative movement are fully egalitarian in terms of participation. ‘Traditional’ Conservative synagogues and the modern-Orthodox partnership groups, allow women to lead introductory parts of the service, have aliyot and read from the Torah, but not to be counted in a minyan or lead the main parts. Partnership minyanim are more egalitarian than many traditional Conservative shuls (especially in Canada) in that they require 10 men and 10 women for a public service and allow more public roles. However, in most groups, if the last possible time for the service approaches, they will begin with 10 men, regardless of the number of women.

Some Orthodox synagogues have women-only prayer groups in which women lead parts of the service and read Torah, usually without the traditional blessings which would indicate their ritual obligation. Some have women-only celebrations of Simchat Torah and Purim Meggilah readings, but all of these practices are seen as controversial most Orthodox circles.

Even congregations that consider themselves “fully” egalitarian in terms of participation have some ritual practices that differ for men and women. In my shul, men, but not women, are required to wear a talit when they are called to the Torah. Usually, men, but not women, are required to cover their heads in the sanctuary. In many synagogues girls, but not boys, may be called to the Torah (become bar or bat mitzvah) at age 12. Traditionally boys became ritually responsible at 13, girls at 12. Pure egalitarianism would be the same age for both.

Others may be more subtle practices. When bestowing honors at a simcha or at a luncheon are men asked to lead the prayer for wine and women to lead the prayer for bread? When there is a discussion of a text, are men called on to respond first or more often? Are only men asked to lift the Torah (hagbah), but not women whom we see lifting weights at the gym or swinging their toddlers overhead? In communal (or even home-based) Shabbat dinners, how often do men light the candles? Are boys and girls equally exposed to gifts of tfillin and training in their use?

Part 2 Egalitarianism in Liturgy A: Female worshipers. The first level of egalitarianism in liturgy is simply acknowledging female participants in the words of prayer. Some prayers implicitly state that the congregation is all male. The traditional prayer after the Torah reading asks for a blessing on “them, their wives and their children”. It is unlikely that lesbian couples were being considered. Similarly, another prayer asks to “preserve among us the sages of Israel, them, their wives” assuming no female sages, which may come as a shock to the disciples of Nechama Leibowitz. The word “wives” was dropped by the Conservative movement in the 1980s, but only from the English “translation”. It remains in the Aramaic. These prayers are not in the Reform liturgy.

Beyond language that assumes a male-only congregation, the traditional morning blessing specifically thanks God for “not making me woman.” Looking at reactions to this blessing over time demonstrates how attitudes towards women in prayer evolved. Early prayerbooks truly assumed few female readers, so this blessing was not seen as problematic. In the middle ages, women developed the custom of saying an alternative blessing, “for making me as God wished”, which rabbinic commentators of the time viewed as a resignation to their lower status. During this time many variants existed, including thanking God “for making me a woman” and “ for not making me an animal”. These alternative blessings first appeared in the notes of rabbis describing what women said and then, much later, in prayerbooks intended for women’s use.

In 20 th century, “for making me as God wished”, which became the main Orthodox option, appeared as a selection in smaller type in the main prayerbook with “women say” printed above it. Current Orthodox prayerbooks have this blessings presented side-by-side with “for not making me woman”.

In the 1850s, the Reform movement issued a prayerbook with a positive blessing to be recited by both men and women thanking God, “Who has created me to worship Him”. In the 1940s, the Reconstructonist and then the Conservative movements introduced the blessing “who has made me in God’s image”, for both men and women. Using this single, positively- phrased blessing is the current practice in all non-Orthodox synagogues.

This egalitarianism has not reached all areas of daily prayer, as seen with the prayer said upon waking, Modeh Ani (I am thankful for my soul). As Hebrew is gendered, a woman says Mod a h Ani (the female form of thank). The first Orthodox, translated prayerbook to include this form came out in 2009 (Koren Sacks). The majority of day schools, camps and junior congregations, even in progressive synagogues, still have everyone sing the male form.

Another example is the ubiquitous Grace After Meals which includes the line, “We thank You for the covenant which You sealed into our flesh”, which refers to circumcision and seems an odd phrase for women to recite. An alternative phrase, “sealed in our hearts” was introduced by the Reconstructionist and Reform movements in the early 1990s ( Kol Haneshamah: Shirim Uvrahot, 1991 and On the Doorposts of Your House, 1993 and Birkon Mikdash M’at, 2005 Previous Reform prayerbooks omitted the whole paragraph ).

Part 2 Egalitarianism in Liturgy B: Female ancestors. The next level of egalitarianism in liturgy is acknowledging that some of our ancestors were women. This is most commonly seen in the addition of our matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah to their husbands in the Amidah, which is done to varying extents in all non-Orthodox movements. However, this inclusion of female ancestors can enrich other prayers as well. The Reconstuctionist prayerbook adds the phrase ‘our mothers’ to the many places where ‘our fathers’ appears in the liturgy since our patriarchs appear in many more places than just the Amidah) such as in the blessing on Hannuka (who performed miracles for our fathers). Matriarchs can also be added by name, as in mentioning Miriam alongside Moses in the prayers about singing at the sea. Various female ancestors are added to the Ushpizin, the biblical guests we invite into the sukah (as in the Conservative prayebook, Sim Shalom). Some congregations, like Chavurat Shalom in Boston, extend this idea, adding in the biblical word for female slave every time the word slave is mentioned in the liturgy (which is quite a lot) as well as many similar changes.

Our immediate ancestors, our parents, also play a liturgical role. Traditionally people were called to the Torah by their Hebrew name and their father’s Hebrew name. Since the late 1970s progressive movements have used both parents’ names in calling people to the Torah. However, the mother’s name is still seen as optional in a majority of “egalitarian” synagogues and almost always follows the father’s name.

Conversely, when we pray for the recovery of the sick in the Mishebearch l’cholim, we use the person’s Hebrew name and only their mother’s Hebrew name. The Zohar describes this as an appeal to God’s compassionate side, as mothers are more compassionate than fathers, which is not a very egalitarian concept! So far, even in most progressive circles, there has been no campaign to add the father’s name to the blessing for the sick. This reflects a common misconception about egalitarianism, which is that it is only about giving women rights and roles that were traditionally held by men alone and not about giving men rights and roles that were previously reserved for women.

Part 2 Egalitarianism in Liturgy C: Female or Feminine God. The third and most contentious level of egalitarianism in liturgy is acknowledging that God may be female or have female aspects. This can be done as simply as directly translating prayers that already have female imagry. Die "V’hi sheamdah” section of the Haggadah is usually translated as the “That which sustained our ancestors and us”. Because Hebrew is gendered, the word “that” in this sentence is the same word as “She”. Tradition defines the unspoken antecedent of “that” as the promise God made to us. Rabbi Kalischer, in the 19 th century, wrote that the female pronoun refers to the feminine aspect of God. Following this interpretation, feminist Haggadot today use the translation “She who sustained our ancestors and us”..

The most far-reaching step is to change not just occasional prayers, but the most common and frequent references to God. In the Hebrew of the prayerbook, and in older English translations, God is primarily referred to as male, as King, Lord, and the-Holy-One-Blessed-be-He. The basic formula of all blessings begins “Blessed are you, God, King of the universe”. More liberal branches of Judaism have created alternatives, using female gender for the formula with Elah (God), Shechina (Presence) Some also replace the word Melech ( king) with Ruach, which means wind or spirit others use Malkah (queen) in Hebrew and Sovereign in English.

Some prayerbooks use these exclusively female blessing formulas (Ma’ayan Haggadah, Kohenet, Siddur Nashim). Others (like the Reform and Reconstuctionst) present them as an option in one section with the idea that they could be used for all blessings, but leave most blessings in the text in the traditional formula. There are few prayerbooks use both male and female God language in close to equal measure (e.g. Or Chadash ).

Some have tried gender-neutral terms or gender-ambiguous terms such as Yah for God, popular in the Renewal movement, but this still raises difficulties in Hebrew, a gendered language. Marcia Falk introduced an avoidance of the third person (and thus of gender in English and in Hebrew), beginning her blessings with “Let us bless the source of life”.

Part 3 Egalitarianism in identity: The obvious debate in identity issues is over patralineal descent. Some liberal movements affirm the rights of fathers to independently pass on Jewishness to their children in the absence of a Jewish spouse. The Orthodox and Conservative do not, based on the rabbinic rulings that paternity can be questioned, but not maternity. Less discussed is the hereditary nature of being a Cohen (priest) or a Levi (member of the biblical tribe who served in the temple), which is passed on only through the father. Some synagogues allow women to inherit the state of being a Cohen or Levi as a bat-Cohen or bat-Levi (daughter of a cohen or Levi) and thus be eligible for the first two Torah readings traditionally set aside for them. This move does not afford full ritual equality, though, as a bat-Cohen is often not permitted to perform the priestly blessing of the congregation (duchanen) (though there is a Conservative opinion permitting this) nor is she permitted to pass on her status to her children. More liberal synagogues have simply dispensed with the public honours associated with Cohen and Levi (for other reasons), which is egalitarian as neither gender performs them.

Part 4 Egalitarianism in legal status: In the Orthodox and Conservative moments, women cannot initiate Jewish divorce. Other movements have egalitarian divorces, but they are not widely used and participants are often counseled to get and Orthodox divorce as well. Similarly, women traditionally cannot serve as valid legal witnesses. Though status in a Jewish court is not something we think of as relevant on a daily basis, a witness is required to sign a kettubah (marriage contract), witness the giving of a get (divorce contract) or approve a conversion. This is a right that most movements of Judaism have denied women (because the Talmud specifically bans women from this role). So even though for 20 years female Conservative rabbis have been able to lead services, teach conversion classes, perform circumcisions and officiate at funerals and weddings, and serve on and author papers for the Conservative Committee on Laws and Standards, they were only counted as legal witness in 2001, in a ruling many do not accept.

Why is this delineation important? Because naming is powerful. The generic term ‘egalitarian’ allows us to take where we have come as the end product and to become complacent. Engaging and wrestling with our ritual practice keeps it alive and relevant and meaningful. If we are already ‘egalitarian’ than we do not need to engage with what it means we do not have to ask ourselves, what does egalitarianism mean now? In what ways is our observance egalitarian and it what ways is it not? How do women’s roles in ritual life relate to their roles in the larger society? What in the past motivated us to pursue ritual changes? What does now? The way forward is through answering these questions.

I do believe that we are not done and that there is a way forward. I was raised in an egalitarian synagogue, the dream my feminist parents’ generation worked hard on and created for themselves and their children. For much of my youth I saw little of other forms of Judaism. It is the nature of feminism and all progressive movements, that what was a dream come true for one generation, what was pushing the envelope, is what is expected as a minimum without question for the next. Just like my parents, the world I try to create for my children demands more of the concept ‘egalitarian’ than the one I was raised with. The native-born children always expect more from their home country than their immigrant parents.


Kyk die video: Meaning Of The Tallit -Spiritual Symbolism Of The Jewish Prayer Shawl