The Prince of Egypt (problem number 1)

Someone asked me (in person) what I think was the worst injustice in the movie “the Prince of Egypt”, and my answer is going to sound weird at first, but once you hear the explanation, maybe it will make more sense.

My answer is, they robbed the leader of the jewish people of his jewish education and Pharaoh’s daughter of her jewish identity.

Moses (Moshe in hebrew) did not grow up thinking he was an Egyptian. Not remotely. When Yocheved (his mother) put him in the basket on the river, Miriam followed the basket, until it reached Pharaoh’s daughter, whose name was Batya. Now, Pharaoh’s daughter wasn’t just coming down to the river to bathe herself. It’s explained specifically in Tractate Sotah (in the talmud) that she came to ritually immerse herself in order to convert to Judaism. I’ll say it again, Pharaoh’s daughter was converting to Judaism when she found Moshe. Miriam knew this, and went up to Batya and asked her if she needed a jewish caretaker to help her raise the baby and give him a jewish education. After Batya agreed, Miriam brought Yocheved, Moshe’s own mother, to raise her own son in her own jewish household (until about age 5-6 when he went to go stay by Batya in the house of Pharaoh). Moshe always knew he was jewish! His mother was jewish, his foster mother (Batya) was also jewish. He always knew his sister Miriam, and his brother Aharon.

So as a side point - if that’s the case, why did Pharaoh agree to let his daughter raise a jewish baby as her own? He came up with a test to figure out if this baby boy was wise and power hungry (and thus a threat to his own son). He placed in front of Moshe a bowl of gold, and a bowl of burning coals, and if he reached for the gold, he was a concern, and if he reached for the coals, he would be safe to keep in his house. An angel took hold of Moshe’s hand and put it in the coals, after which Moshe put his hand in his mouth, burning his tongue, and giving him a speech impediment that would plague him until the last 40 days of his life (something else they conveniently left out of the movie). Because Moshe couldn’t speak clearly, he had to bring Aharon with him as a spokesman when he spoke to Pharaoh - the arrangement sort of that Moshe would whisper it to Aharon, and Aharon would relay to Pharaoh what Moshe intended to say. So in addition to the gross inaccuracy of the movie in general, those of you who make a big deal about Ableism by movie makers doing away with character disabilities. Here is an example of a real historical figure who had a REAL speech impediment that makes a big difference in how Moshe should have been communicating. Why do you remain silent? Please reblog this, thanks.

Tomorrow, some will observe the Fast of the First Born on Erev Pesach. During this, the First Born son (and daughter, in some customs) fasts to commemorate when the Angel of Death spared the First Born of the Israelite during the Exodus. However, to prevent entering the joyous holiday of Passover while suffering, there is a different custom.

There is a widely practiced exemption: On the principle that fasting is prohibited on a joyous occasion, Judaism allows for anyone who attends a religious feast to forego fasting. It is customary to hold a celebratory meal on the completion of study of a tractate of , called a siyyum (conclusion). So rabbis initiated the practice of studying a portion of a Talmud tractate after morning services, held especially early on Erev Pesach. All the firstborn are invited to be present for the conclusion and share cake and schnapps afterward, considered a seudat (meal) mitzvah (in honor of a commandment; in this case, studying the Torah).

(Excerpt from MyJewishLearning, “The Fast of the First Born,” by Lesli Koppelman Ross)

anonymous asked:

What nonbinary genders are there in the torah? The only one ive heard of is tumtum but idk what it means...

Hi anon!

I think you are referring to a tractate from the Talmud.  The Torah makes very specific mention to humankind (אדם) and two specific genders (זחר and נקבה), but not to other genders.  (A small note on zachar and nekevah- they are often translated to “male” and “female,” but are in fact part of the gendered language used in modern and Biblical Hebrew.)

The word טומטום [tumtum] appears in tractate Hagigah of the Babylonian Talmud as a part of a new mishnah. (A mishnah is a statement of oral law).  It is used to argue the role of non-cisgendered folks in ancient Jewish life.  The mishnah explains that אנדרוגינוס folks (often translated to the archaic ‘hermaphordite,’ but for our contemporary Jews I would translate it to ‘intersex’) and folks with the status of  טומטום(either translated as a ‘fool’ or a ‘person of an indeterminate sex or gender’) are not obligated to appear at the Temple.

In this mishnah the sages cite the following passage from Exodus 23:17: “Three times in the year [Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot] all your males [כל–זכרך] shall appear before the Adonai your LORD.”  Specifically using the gendered word zachar, in our modern context we would understand this verse to be referring to gender thus leaving out nekevah, androgenis, and tumtum.  Although we are not sure what the biblical author or the author of this mishnah knew about gender (and some might assume that they are really referring to biological sex), this is still a fascinating window into the world of our ancient traditions.

But that all being said, this was only a close reading of one mishnah of Chagigah 4a and not the rest of the commentary on it– a grave sin in the Talmud world!  I wish that I had more time to study this particular verse, but right now I’m working on a different book for school!

Two years ago, a wonderful article was written about the six different genders in the Talmud which I highly recommend!

Thank you for your awesome question!


When/where was VFD created?

Featured above:  Thomas Cole. The Course of Empire: Destruction. 1836. Oil on canvas. 99.5 x 161.2 cm. New York Historical Society, New York, NY, USA

The secret organization’s origins are left to interpretation, but we understand it has been around for quite some time. For how long has it subsisted, exactly? Some clues in the text may lead us to a suprising, outlandish, but nevertheless fitting theory…

VFD originated in Ancient Rome. Stay with us after the cut to learn why.

Keep reading

gonnafindhope  asked:

Hi! I'm studying philosophy and one of my subjects is about judaism. I'm having trouble trying to understand the differences among words that refer to the Scriptures: Mishná, midras, halaka, haggada, Talmud, Guemará and Masora. (Especially Talmud, Tanakh, Masora and Torá). I've been doing some research but it just gets me more confused bc everyone says something different. Could you explain it to me or tell me about any website where all this concepts are well explained? Thank you very much!


I hope I an help.  I will define the above terms– but in a better order to make it easier to understand.

The Torah (the 5 Books of Moses, hasefer Torah, the first third of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), literally translates to “Law”, consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  This is the holiest of texts of the Jewish people.  Traditional Jews believe that the Torah was given to Moses and to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.  Progressive Jews believe that this text was written over a few centuries by several different authors (Documentary Hypothesis theory). 

The Torah is broken up into parshiot (parsha-singular) and read once per week.  It is tradition to read Torah on Monday, Thursday and Saturday (Shabbat).  This tradition stems from antiquity when our ancient ancestors would read Torah on “market days” so that everyone can hear its powerful words. 

The Torah itself is a large-duel scroll.  The text is written with a special ink on special animal-skin paper and is written by a sofer (a male Torah scribe) or in many Progressive communities a soferet (a female Torah scribe). Torahs can cost upwards of thousands of dollars/sheckels as it takes the scribe about a year to write a Torah.  A special jacket is kept on the Torah and is adorned with special “jewelry” and kept in a special closet called an ark (aron hakodesh) modeled after the Tabernacle in antiquity.

Because Torah means law, Jews symbolically pass the Torah from generation to generation (l’dor vador) from grandparent to parent to child and so on.  Also an important note is to distinguish “Torah” from “The Torah”.  The Torah is the physical scroll, the text of the 5 Books of Moses etc.  Torah (without the definite article) is Jewish law, I believe that every text, teaching and act of lovingkindess (done in a Jewish way) is Torah.   

For more on the Torah, check this out.

( Photo source)

The Tanakh is an acronym for the three sections of the Hebrew Bible: Torah, Nev’i’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).  Christians may understand the 24 books of the Tanakh as the Old Testament.  Many of these stories do appear in Muslim sources as well.

Jews read parts of the Prophets and Writings on Shabbat and holidays known as Havtorah.  Many psalms and other parts of the Tanakh appear in ancient and contemporary Jewish music, liturgy and prayer.  This is the Jewish or the Hebrew Bible, the ancient story of the Jewish people and the holiest piece of literature that we own as a nation.

Although the Torah appears in an actual scroll,  copies of the Tanakh are simple books (usually huge) that contain all of the books.

Halachah is Jewish law.  Literally meaning “the walking,” Halachah is rabbinic interpretation of the Tanakh and oral law for how to live an authentic Jewish life. For instance, rules about Shabbat and holiday practice exist in Halacha alongside law about how to treat one another.  Historically, Halachah has been used as a tool to keep the Jewish people together, to keep them believing and to keep them in wonder of G-d.  In the contemporary Jewish world, many Jews still keep Halachah in a traditional sense.  Some have reinterpreted many of its laws for the modern day and some do not acknowledge its importance but rather understand the great works of the Jewish people in their own way, a way that gives them meaning.  As you can probably guess, this is a VERY heated topic in the Jewish world.

The Talmud actually refer to two separate compilations of texts: the Babylonian Talmud (the Bavli) and the Palestinian/Jerusalem/Eretz Yisrael Talmud (the Yerushalmi). Essentially, the Talmud is a combination of oral law and Jewish interpretation of oral law.

Typically Jews today follow the teachings in the Babylonian Talmud because after the exile from the Land of Israel in 70 CE, most writers from the Holy Land were gone and the Babylonian authors and teachers held authority.

For the sake of this post, it will be mainly about the Bavli.  The Talmud has two components the Gamara and the Mishnah.  The Mishnah is ‘oral law’ (Torah sh’be’al pe or Torah of the mouth) passed down over generations and finally compiled between 200 and 220 CE.  The Gamara is the commentary on that law compiled circa 500 CE.

The Talmud is broken down into several sections such as zeraim (seeds), nashim (women) and than smaller sections.  For instance the moed (festivals) tractate breaks down into smaller sections on Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat and reading the Megilla.  Each of these smaller sections break down into verses much like in the Hebrew Bible(The Tanakh).

The Masoretic Period  (6th-11th century CE) in Jewish history was one which introduced vowels to Hebrew which made it easier to understand and read.   They were really committed to writing down everything and they are the reason why we have many of the great texts that we have today!

The Haggadah (meaning “telling”) is a special piece of liturgy that Jews use on Passover (Pesach) when they sit down to their sederim (seder-singular)– a seder, meaning order, is a special dinner on the first (usually also the second) nights of Passover.  The text is old, some date parts of it back to the time of the Mishnah (Oral Law).  Today, we have our own very special Haggadot (plural) that have the original text, but might interperate it in a modern way.   For instance, some have beautiful artwork in them and others bring feminism, LGBTQ rights and interfaith families into them.  Some are meant for kids, while others still harken back to a very traditional understanding of the text.

Hope that this helps!


“I approached a bodily dwelling and evicted the previous occupant, and I went in. The whole multitude of archons was upset, and all the material stuff of the rulers and the powers born of earth began to tremble at the sight of the figure with a composite image. I was in it, and I did not look like the previous occupant. He was a worldly person, but I, I am from above the heavens. I did not defy them, and I became an anointed one, but neither did I reveal myself to them in the love coming from me. Rather, I revealed that I am a stranger to the regions below.”

Second Discourse of Great Seth (Nag Hammadi Codex VII, tractate 2)

it’s funny to think about how my connection to Judaism has shifted and changed and evolved. at first, it was very much so based in the holidays and shabbat. there were cultural aspects - listening to Jewish music, having Jewish friends, eating Jewish foods, reading Tablet. but those were an afterthought.

two years and a few weeks after I completed my conversion. a lot has changed. I graduated college. before that, my relationship to Hillel changed and my affinity for campus Jewish life was damaged, to put it politely. my last semester of college was weird Jewishly.

there was one Saturday morning. I hadn’t kept Shabbat in a few weeks due to a slew of excuses, some more valid than others. I went to shul. I had a sudden interest in taharat hamishpacha. I sat down with an Artscroll tractate of Niddah and skimmed through a few of the pages. I reached Niddah 13b. here I was, on a Saturday morning, sitting in shul. the night before I had lit candles and davened and had Shabbat dinner. I’d turned my phone and the fridge light off. I was doing what I was supposed to, and yet, staring right back at me in Niddah 13b was this repulsive reminder that I was never really going to be accepted, that I’d always be an other, a stranger. 

I held back tears and put the book back on its shelf and walked home. I angrily turned my phone on and told my boyfriend I wasn’t keeping Shabbat and that I didn’t want him to come over at 1 that day - could we push it? could he meet me at Bagelers? all I wanted to do was go to Bagelers, doodle, drink a vegan mocha, sit across from him, process, mourn, eat a bagel. that moment felt like some sort of turning point. I still believed observance was the most valid lifestyle for me, but I was tired of being hurt and pushed away and constantly feeling that way. despite my feelings, it was still Shabbat. if I wasn’t going to eat a bagel at kiddish, I was going to eat a bagel at that place in Lincoln Park. that approach might not be halachically-condoned, but it was enough for me that day. 

I started thinking about all of this because I get this incredible newsletter called Arq. it’s this incredible conglomerate of stuff Jews my age are interested in from across the web. they’ve highlighted vegan Jewish delis and Ilana Glazer’s brother and pop-up seders and how to create a sacred space and Eater’s list of TLV restaurants and important conversations couples should have and a Teen Vogue article about a 25-year-old Muslim Jewish politician. the newsletter is niche and weird and reading it makes me feel really Jewish. it’s hard to explain. these are messy thoughts. there has been a lot going on in my life lately, and for better or for worse, deep introspection and reflection re: my Jewish practice and where I’m at with all of that has very much so been postponed.

CRY FOR THE MOON - Parshat Pinchas

God has sinned.

I wouldn’t dare say such a thing, you know. But what I can I do? Rashi told me so.

Here’s how it all came out. In Parshat Pinchas, we get a long list of the sacrifices offered on each of the festival celebrations in the Jewish calendar. And on each of them, along with the various offerings of praise and thanksgiving, there is one goat sacrificed specifically to atone for our transgressions. And usually, that sacrifice is listed as:

One goat, as a sin-offering, to atone for you.

שְׂעִיר עִזִּים, אֶחָד, לְכַפֵּר, עֲלֵיכֶם

But on Rosh Chodesh, the celebration of the New Moon, the goat is mentioned slightly differently:

One goat, as a sin-offering, for God. (Num. 28:10)

וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת, לַה

Now that could be read as I’ve written it, with a comma, to mean: this sin-offering is for God. It is given over from me to God. But Rashi understands it as it would sound without the comma: this is a sin-offering for God. That is, this sin-offering is offered on God’s behalf.

That in itself is an astounding thing to say. But to add to the shock, the particular sin that he attributes to God is a rather strange one:

The Holy Blessed One said: Bring an atonement for Me, for having reduced the size of the Moon.

אמר הקב"ה, הביאו כפרה עלי על שמעטתי את הירח

Keep reading

I have deconstructed your fake Talmud one too many times

“Gentile (non-Jewish) girls are in a state of niddah (filth) from birth.“ (Abodah Zarah 36b)

Interestingly enough this is not an actual quote (what a surprise considering reactionarytraditionalist cannot speak Hebrew and possibly cannot actually read, as any of their statements is liable to be as ridiculous as the last). Here are all the quotes in which niddah is mentioned in Abodah Zarah 36b.

"The Court of the Hasmoneans decreed that an Israelite who had intercourse with a heathen woman is liable on four counts, viz., she is regarded as niddah, a slave, a non-Jewess, and a married woman; and when Rabin came he declared: On the following four counts, viz., she is regarded as niddah, a slave, a non-Jewess, and a harlot!”

Prohibition of intercourse with a woman in a state of niddah is a law that is in place for all Jews and has been for centuries. Niddah does not mean filth–it means ‘separated’ (referring to the separation of women considered niddah) and refers to ritual impurity, not filth. A state of niddah occurs when a woman is menstruating up until she immerses herself in mikveh–a ritual bath.

Obviously, Gentile women do not immerse in mikveh, so it is impossible for her to be anything but niddah. It isn’t because she is filthy, it is because she does not follow Jewish laws and therefore must be separated from Jews (in the sense of sexual contact).

None of the tractate ever says that Gentile women are niddah from birth, for niddah refers to menstruation. That does not occur at birth. However, a Gentile woman could technically be considered bat niddah (just as a Gentile man could be considered ben niddah)–meaning they were conceived while their mother was niddah. Most opinions offered today on Jewish b'not niddah are that the distinction doesn’t matter as long as a person shows good character.

Today, Gentile women are not held to niddah laws and menstruating Gentile women do not impart ritual impurity according to Sifra (halakhic midrash of Wayikra) and the passage was likely just meant to deter Jewish men from having sex with Gentile women.

“A Jew may have sex with a child as long as the child is less than nine years old.” (Sanhedrin 54b)

Ah yes. The usual “Jews are pedophiles” argument. Sanhedrin 54b is a favorite of National Socialists (and progressive leftists) everywhere. It makes it so obvious that none of you have ever actually read Sanhedrin 54b.

“Rab said: Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty with a child above that…Rab maintains that only he who is able to engage in sexual intercourse, may, as the passive subject of pederasty throw guilt; whilst he who is unable to engage in sexual intercourse cannot be a passive subject of pederasty.”

All this says is that children under nine who are victims of pederasty are not guilty under Jewish law. The law literally protects them from any sort of punishment and functioned somewhat similar to a statutory rape law. A law that prevents the punishment of a victim of child abuse is certainly not condoning pedophilia.

“When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing.” (Kethuboth 11b)

It is not considered “nothing.” Rather, a girl who was a victim of child abuse is considered to be exempt from punishment and is allowed to marry as any other woman would when the time to marry comes. It states that “no deed has been done to her by a man”–meaning that she is allowed to live as if it never happened and incur no punishment despite non-marriage.

“Virgin Mary: An evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son (Jesus) was born to me.” (Tract Kallah, 1b)

Firstly, let me make it clear that Kallah is a minor tractate and it is rare to find anyone who is even well-versed in that tractate. This is an aggadh and with all aggadhot, it usually consists of bits of folklore, anecdotes, etc.; no aggadhot are considered to be entirely true.

Secondly, let me also make it clear that this quote is fabricated; for the aggadh does not mention anything about 'Virgin Mary’ (any possible references to Mary were usually written as Miriam, since Virgin Mary was a Christian rather than Jewish name). Any references to her or Jesus are vague and not very well-supported.

This aggadh refers to two children, one of whom was proclaimed a bastard and ben niddah by a rabbi. It is almost certainly not any sort of reference to Jesus, because it does not mention names, and this 'Jesus’ figure also had one brother with him. The rabbi approaches the mother in a market and asks her about the status of her son; the mother replies that her husband would not approach her while she was niddah, but the best man of her wedding approached her and she became pregnant.

Also, your reference number is wrong. You are supposed to be citing Kallah 51a, not Kallah 1b. It’s like your anti-Semitism is getting lazy.

"A Jewish man is obligated to say the following prayer every day: Thank you God for not making me a gentile, a woman or a slave.” (Menahoth 43b-44a)

This is comedy. This is actual comedy.

This is referring to thanks that G-d has brought it upon Jewish men to follow all laws of the Torah.

“An Israelite must not associate himself with the Christians because they are given to the shedding of blood.” (Iore Dea (153, 2)

“When Jewish women come out of a bath they must take care to meet a friend first, and not something unclean [a dog, an ass, or People of the Earth; a Christian, a camel, a pig, a horse, and a leper]. For if so, a woman, if she wants to keep holy, should go back and bathe again.” (Iore Dea (198, 48) Hagah)

HAHAHAHAHA. You couldn’t do any better than Iore Dea? Iore Dea is fake Latin at best, not Hebrew. It does not exist. It simply does not.

“It is permitted to deceive a Goi.” (Babba Kama (113b)

Babba Kama 113b states that it is not permissible to steal from a heathen (nobody writes 'Goi’) but to keep their lost articles is permissible. There is nothing written about deception. Do you ever consider using actual quotes?

“The ass means the non-Jew, who is to be redeemed by the offering of a lamb. If he refuses to be redeemed, then break his skull.” (Zohar (II, 43a)

The Zohar is not part of the Talmud. It is the work upon which qabbalah is based. This passage does not exist except for in anti-Semitic works, including “The Moderate Religion.”

Jesus died like a beast and was buried in that “dirt heap…where they throw the dead bodies of dogs and asses, and where the Christians and Muslims, also Jesus and Mahommed, uncircumcized and unclean like dead dogs, are buried.” (Zohar, III, (282)

This passage of Zohar also does not exist. Where in the world are you getting this? You did not even transcribe מוחמד close to correctly. 'Uncircumcised’ is misspelled. We do not have this fixation on dead dogs that you think we do.

Wow, what do you know, anti-Semites don’t know anything

“That, in fact, which came into being after the image of the light is perfect itself, since it is an image of the single light that is, and that is the members of the All. Even if it was smaller than that of which it was an image, it nevertheless possesses its indivisibility because it is a countenance of the indivisible light.”

Tripartite Tractate