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bio website angelfire.com/md3/…
location Maryland
age 56
visits member for 1 year, 5 months
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I converted to Orthodox Judaism in 1980. My conversion story was originally published in the Baltimore Jewish Times and was reprinted in its entirety by About.com and in excerpt form by Rabbi Maurice Lamm in his book Becoming a Jew. I learned Daf Yomi for 10 years completing the entire 11th Cycle and getting half way through the 12th. I stopped shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and recognized I could not stay up for late night Daf classes nor keep up if I did not. For the 20th anniversary of my conversion, I decided to teach the last daf of Kesubos and contacted Art Scroll for help, as they had not yet published their translation of that daf. Rabbi Yehezkel Danziger surprised me by suggesting that I try translating the page for publication in order to make my celebration "more special." It took me 3 months to translate the main text and the Rashi, but I submitted my work and, after much editing, received an editorial credit in Volume III of Art Scroll's Kesuvos translation. I have been a frequent contributor to the About.com Judaism board and specialized in counter-missionary posts. My website, "A Primer: Why Jews Cannot Believe in Jesus" is designed as a quick introduction to major points I tend to make when dealing with missionaries. In my secular life, I am an attorney for the Federal Government.


Aug
29
reviewed Close The role of Mark 12:1-12 within Mark's gospel
Aug
29
answered How to reconcile God's promise to Abraham with the current Jewish population?
Aug
29
comment Is stewardship of the earth a modern interpretation?
There are very old Jewish commentaries on this, but I'll need time to look them up.
Aug
29
answered Can there be any eschatological claim made from 1 Samuel 28:19, concerning Saul in the afterlife?
Aug
28
answered How to understand Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Aug
24
accepted Did King Ahaz find a virgin mother?
Aug
22
answered What were the translators of the LXX thinking in rendering “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14?
Aug
22
answered How did Ecclesiastes come to be associated with Sukkot?
Aug
20
comment How did Ecclesiastes come to be associated with Sukkot?
This is probably a better question for the Judaism.stackexchange.org (Mi Yodea) cite, if they don't have it already.
Aug
12
revised Who were the Pharisees?
Edited out that Sotah 22b refers to Essenes, and edited first paragraph to explain what Sotah 22b stands for.
Aug
11
answered Who were the Pharisees?
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
BTW, I recognize that the translation of the Talmud you are using is the Soncino; but there is a reason why the Soncino is publicly available on-line now -- it is not highly respected unlike the new Schottenstein edition of the Talmud published by Art Scroll (which you have to pay for). The Soncino is a poor translation in many places and often unreadable. The Gemara is written like telegrams, using few words and requiring more analysis and contextual study. That's why the margins of the Aramaic version are filled with commentaries.
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
When the rabbis want to teach the personal attributes appropriate to one of their own, they would use the word "chaver" -- literally "friend", but in context, someone you can trust. There are numerous quotations scattered through the Talmud that explain how to recognize a chaver. Also, a study partner is called a chavruso.
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
The Pharisees had a merit-based system. As one learned more, and could accurately recite the law as taught by previous teachers, and were themselves righteous, they would literally move up and up row by row in the Academy. Moral set backs would literally send one to the back rows. Rabbi Meir, for example, had the greatest learning, but his personal judgment at times was dodgey, and he was never given a position of leadership.
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
I had to pull out Sotah, to see what's really on the page. The original Aramaic uses the word perush which can mean Pharisee but not in this context. In this context, the rabbis (real Pharisees) are talking about seven kinds of ascetics (phony Pharisees) who want the honor of being a Pharisee but don't have the credentials. I've studied Talmud for years and all of the tractates, and I can't recall perush being used by the rabbis themselves as a self-describer. In Sotah they are clearly openly critical of these perushim, which further leads me to say it is not self-descriptive. (MORE)
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
Frank, I assume from your bio that you are studying the Mishna and Gemara. You probably have noticed that these sources are brutally honest about the personalities of many of the rabbis (Rabbi Meir in particular). Yet, I see nothing resembling in these writings that in any way resemble their descriptions in the NT (which in almost all cases never names an individual Pharisee known to history). The exception is the praise for Rabban Gamliel in Acts, which closely resembles his description in the Mishna.
Aug
11
comment When the Kingdom of Israel split, what happened to Benjamin?
Look at the Book of Esther 2:5 which describes Mordechai as someone from the nation of Judea and the tribe of Benjamin.
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
Another example of how the NT seems to mischaracterize the Pharisees is in Matt. where Jesus instructs his followers to follow the teachings of the Pharisees to the letter, but to not do as they do. Had the sentence stopped there, it would have been a quotation of Jewish law, which teaches that one cannot learn law by watching individuals b/c they may have a special circumstance to be stricter or lenient at that moment. Bava Basra 130b-131a. The clause stating the Pharisees are hypocrites seems to undermine the force of Jesus' teaching, and implies it was a subsequent change in the text.
Aug
11
comment Who were the Pharisees?
IMHO, some of the NT accusations against the Pharisees belong more properly to the Sadduccees. The Sadduccees did not believe in life after death, or punishment after death. They were entrenched in the Temple service and their members frequently bribed their way to become High Priest. In the final 100 years of the Temple, many were high priests, and barely lived a year after their appointment. Babl. Tal. Yoma 8b-9a (suggesting short life span because of their sins). Note all of the Gospels hold the trial of Jesus at the home of the High Priest, not at the Sanhedrin.
Aug
11
comment Jacob's name is Israel. So why is he still called Jacob?
@FrankLuke To illustrate what Gone Quiet is talking about, note that whenever Jacob has the Divine Spirit, he is referred to as Israel. When he was depressed at the loss of Joseph, he lost the Divine Spirit. Note Gen. 37:13, Israel tells Joseph to look for his brothers, setting forward the events that will lead to the Jewish people going to Egypt. After that, Jacob is not again referred to as Israel until after he learns Joseph is alive, EXCEPT where he finally agrees to let Benjamin go to Egypt (Gen. 43:6-11), contrary to his fears. See especially Gen. 45:27-28! (Jacob-Israel transformed).