Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Atheism & Utopianism: A Failed Social Experiment

I was engaged in a recent conversation with a gentleman who insisted that atheism was the answer to the woes of the world and the elimination of religion will bear the fruit of a more tolerant and peaceful society for all. I had to disagree and I asserted that atheism and its ideal of utopianism is a failed social experiment which slaughtered more innocent people in the 20th century than did all of the combined religious democide during that same time period. My atheist friend couldn't believe such a seemingly absurd notion and challenged me to prove my claim. I compiled the information and I present it in part to the readers of my blog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Answering a Challenge to Biblical Morality

Recently I was challenged to respond to some accusations made by a lady who apparently believes that the Hebrew Bible is an immoral and despicable document.  I answered her challenge in my typical manner of exegesis which is to consider cultural context and linguistic possibilities latent within the texts in question. I decided I would share this with the readers of this blog as it represents a unique way of reading the Torah’s narrative and a more enlightened exegesis.

CHALLENGE-  Tell me this, what was Abraham taking up the mountain to sacrifice, a weasel? Did Samson not sacrifice himself to bring the temple down on the heads of the Philistines? Isn't that "Pinchas": something the Israelis are particularly extremist about? And did Lot not shag his own daughters.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Karaites & Kabbalah

Several years ago a friend once remarked that he considered himself to be a Karaite Kabbalist. At the time my reaction was to scoff at this claim because the two terms seemed an oxymoron. Karaite and Kabbalah don't go together I said. Today, many assert the same view point including modern Karaites. Over the years I have come across many interesting examples from history which demonstrates that this perceived contradiction of terms is in actuality not a reality. Karaites have historically studied the Rabbinic texts and asserted that it was necessary to do so as Rabbinic Judaism was the eldest brother. In other words, Karaites didn't throw thousands of years of Jewish wisdom in the trash in order to develop their own uniquely deficient Judaism. Throughout the manuscripts and seforim of medieval Karaite literature there is a consistent turning to Talmudic and other Rabbinical texts for insight. Karaites also turned to the Kabbalah for spiritual answers and inspiration. Here are a few of the more noteworthy examples: