Sunday, January 15, 2006


bta has another swipe at King Solomon - the wisest of all men. In one of the comments he sets down an argument that really gives the lie to the claim that 'The Oral Law' was transmitted through the ages all the way down from Sinai. I Quote:

The Tanach reports that the written Torah was both lost and completely forgotten for over 50 years and only rediscovered by the Temple priests (2Kings 22,8; 2Chronicles 34,15). It is inconceivable that an Oral Law could have been remembered when even the written Law was forgotten!

That is a real whopper. Can there be any sensible response to it? I don't think so.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


So now I know the English term for gematrios; its numerology. And did you know the origin of the term gematria? Well read about it here.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Solomon The Idolator

BTA on Solomon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More Chanuka Links (Updated)

Did The Maccabess Betray The Chanuka Reveloution

The Hasmoneans Were Here-Maybe

Hatip: PaleoJudaica

And a good post here (look at the comments as well) from FailedMessiah

And some more from FailedMessiah here.

I paste some of it below:

"[At Hanukah] we commemorate the dedication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans who fought and defeated the Hellenists, and we kindle lights -- just as when [we] finished the Tabernacle in the Wilderness . . . ." (Pesikta Rabbati, ch. 6)
"Why do we kindle lights on Hanukah? Because when the sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priest, defeated the Hellenists, they entered the Temple and found there eight iron spears. They stuck candles on them and lit them." (Pesikta Rabbati ch. 2)
"Why did the rabbis make Hanukah eight days? Because . . . the Hasmoneans entered the Temple and erected the altar and whitewashed it and repaired all of the ritual utensils. They were kept busy for eight days. And why do we light candles? Because . . . when the Hasmoneans entered the Temple there were eight iron spears in their hands. They covered them with wood and lit candles on them. They did this each of the 8 days." (Megilat Ta'anit ch. 9)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Chanukah Reading

I am reading the books of Maccabees this Chanuka, from here.

If you know anything about the book and you have a moment please leave a comment.

I appreciate it.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

L' Kovoid Channuka (Updated)

In honour of Channuka that comes again at the end of the week I will interrupt my posts on biblical morality/immorality and post on a topical issue.

Even during my yeshiva years I found that the Channuka 'Miraculous Oil Story' very very suspicious. The only place one find this story was in a short passage of the Talmud (Shabbos 21b ) but in 'Al Hanissim' (which we say in davening) or 'Haneiros Hollolu' (which we say at candle lighting time) which are both far older (tannaic in origin) than The Talmud we have no mention of such a miracle at all.

Last year while mis-nagid was still posting he did a great article on the matter. Yesterday DovBear posted on this subject and mis-nagid reposted his original article in the comments section. You can get to it here. Please do.

DovBear has another post in a similar vain here. And a couple of good comments there as well.

UPDATE: B.Spinoza has copied Mis-nagids chanuka divrei torah post here. Have a look at the comments.

I am pasting one of the comments here because I think it's very pertinant:

The Mechilta (excerpted in Megilath Tanith) asks why we light candles and answeres because the Hasmonean made a Menorah out of their spears, so to remember this event we light the menorah. No mention of a miracle of lights.Joshephus writes the story of Channukah and says that this Holiday is for some reason called the Holiday of Lights, he doesn't know why 'maybe because lights symbolize freedom'. now if he knew anything about a miracle of lights then this statement of his sounds quite stupid.The Gemara gives us the Halacha of lighting the candles in a fashion of relating to us a folks tradition, "some light like this, others like that, still others light it another way". It's not something that the Rabbis started, it seems like folklore.In the Hanieros Hallolu and in Al Hanisim there is no mention about the miracle of lights.This miracle story happened in a time where there are many different historical evidence so that we have a clear picture on what really happend.We should assume that the same is true about all other miracle stories even if it purportedly happend in a time where there is no extrabiblical documents etc. to disprove it

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Two Types of Moral Lesson

I would like to differentiate between two types of moral lesson. I would like to call the first an 'objective moral lesson' while the second type will be a 'subjective moral lesson'.

Objective Moral Lesson

This is were one finds an unambiguous moral lesson within the text of the bible. So for example if someone was to tell me that the Torah finds child sacrifice immoral, I would be happy to agree with him. Indeed the Torah explicitly forbids child sacrifice.

Subjective Moral Lesson

This is where one reads a passage in the Torah and then begins to wax lyrical about the great moral lesson one finds there. But wait a minute; is the Torah really trying to express this idea, or is it you who is projecting your own moral idea onto the Torah's narrative. Agreed your own moral idea might evolve in your mind through this process, but this does not mean that the Torah actually came to tell us this idea. You happen to respect The Bible as a Godly book and therefore you use the Bible as a tool to develop your own moral ideas. But you probably could do the same by using any volume of Harry Potter or even Curious George.

My contention is that the vast majority of moral lessons we glean from the Torah are subjective and not objective.