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Posted by: Benjamin
Solihull Synagogue, Taharas Hamishpacha International and the people and organizations quoted on www.mikvah.org, are in no way associated with peshat.com and views expressed here.


Birmingham Communal Mikvah

Understanding Mikvah and the Laws of Family Purity
(from mikvah.org
Taharas Hamishpacha International)


by Rivkah Slonim

The world's natural bodies of water- its oceans, rivers, wells, and springfed lakes - are mikvahs in their most primal form. They contain waters of divine source and thus, tradition teaches, the power to purify. Created even before the earth took shape, these bodies of water offer a quintessential route to consecration. But they pose difficulties as well. These waters may be inaccessible or dangerous, not to mention the problems of inclement weather and lack of privacy. Jewish life therefore necessitates the construction of mikvahs (Mikvah pools), and indeed this has been done by Jews in every age and circumstance.

Mikveh: The word "mikveh", as used in the Hebrew Bible, literally means a "collection" – generally, a collection of water.

Genesis Chapter 1
10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together (mikvah) of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good.

Exodus Chapter 7
19 And YHWH said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds (mikvah) of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'

Leviticus Chapter 11
36 Nevertheless a fountain or a cistern wherein is a gathering (mikvah) of water shall be clean; but he who toucheth their carcass shall be unclean.

To the uninitiated, a modern-day mikvah looks like a miniature swimming pool. In a religion rich with detail, beauty, and ornamentation - against the backdrop of the ancient temple or even modern-day synagogues the mikvah is surprisingly nondescript, a humble structure.

Its ordinary appearance, however, belies its primary place in Jewish life and law. The mikvah offers the individual, the community, and the nation of Israel the remarkable gift of purity and holiness. No other religious establishment, structure, or rite can affect the Jew in this way and, indeed, on such an essential level. Its extraordinary power, however, is contingent on its construction in accordance with the numerous and complex specifications as outlined in Halachah, Jewish Law.

An outstanding description of Jewish tradition. It is obviously a very important process and it shows a great desire to please YHWH, one very few religious Jews take lightly. The Torah specifically warns man from becoming unclean by a woman during her menstrual time (i.e. her nidda). The risk is much greater than just becoming unclean, this risk is being cutoff -- this is death.

For rabbinical Jews, the mikvah is used to clean (tahor) a woman of her uncleanness. The intent of this practice should not be questioned, it is honorable. Unfortunately, the method of complying with these instructions are concerning when compared to the instructions of the Torah. These issues will be explored in depth.


Leviticus Chapter 15
19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be in her impurity seven days; and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her impurity shall be unclean; every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sitteth upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if he be on the bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And if any man lie with her, and her impurity be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

Leviticus Chapter 18
19 And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.

Leviticus Chapter 20
18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness -- he hath made naked her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood -- both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

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Posted by: Benjamin
JewishEncylopedia: New Year


Based on the sighting of the new moon as stated in the Torah, Yom Teruah will begin at sunset on Friday, September 26, 2014 and continue until sunset on Saturday September 27, 2014.

Happy Yom Teruah!






WORK IN PROGRESS...

another good reference How the Day of Shouting Became Rosh Hashanah by Nehemia Gordon

Confirmed on Jewish Virtual Library: Jewish Calendar:
The "first month" of the Jewish calendar is the month of Nissan, in the spring, when Passover occurs. However, the Jewish New Year is in Tishri, the seventh month, and that is when the year number is increased.
The year number is increased in the seventh month?

The traditional Jewish New Year known as Rosh Hashannah (head of months) is not found anywhere in the Tanakh; therefore, it is tradition. On the same day that Rosh Hashannah is celebrated, Yom Teruah (day of shouting; commanded from the Torah (see Lev 23:23-25; Nu 29:1-6)) is celebrated. Both Rosh Hashannah and Yom Teruah are on the first day of the seventh month; however, the day is most recoginized for being Rosh Hashannah (or the Jewish New Year).

The first day of the first month is commonly understood as the new year. The New Year, the one in the first month, is in fact, defined as the beginning of months in Exodus 12 which shows it was selected by YHWH as a remembrance for His leading the children of Israel from Egypt with a strong hand. It is defined based on the ripeness of aviv and leads to preparations for Passover.

So, let's examine the tradition, commonly known as Rosh Hashannah, which starts the traditional "new year" in the fall when we are told, in Exodus 12, the first month begins in the spring.


Exodus 12 deals with the exodus from Egypt, at the powerful hand of YHWH, in the spring...
Exodus Chapter 12
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying:
2 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Leviticus Chapter 23
24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.
25 Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHWH.

Numbers Chapter 29
1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.

New Year
By Isidore Singer, J. F. McLaughlin, Wilhelm Bacher, Judah David Eisenstein

Biblical Data:

In the earliest times the Hebrew year began in autumn with the opening of the economic year. There followed in regular succession the seasons of seed-sowing, growth and ripening of the corn under the influence of the former and the latter rains, harvest and ingathering of the fruits. In harmony with this was the order of the great agricultural festivals, according to the oldest legislation, namely, the feast of unleavened bread at the beginning of the barley harvest, in the month of Abib; the feast of harvest, seven weeks later; and the feast of ingathering at the going out or turn of the year (; see Ex. xxiii. 14-17; xxxiv. 18, 22-23; Deut. xvi. 1-16).

Even the American culture has an economic year beginning in the fall. It is called the corporate fiscal year.

Exodus Chapter 23
14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto Me in the year.
15 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep; seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, at the time appointed in the month Abib -- for in it thou camest out from Egypt; and none shall appear before Me empty;
16 and the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of thy labours, which thou sowest in the field; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, when thou gatherest in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord YHWH.

Exodus Chapter 34
23 Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord YHWH, the God of Israel.

Deuteronomy Chapter 16
16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before YHWH thy God in the place which He shall choose; on the feast of unleavened bread, and on the feast of weeks, and on the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before YHWH empty;

This system of dating the New-Year is that which was adopted by the Semites generally, while other peoples, as the Greeks and Persians, began the year in spring, both methods of reckoning being primarily agricultural and based on the seasons of seed-time and harvest.

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Posted by: Benjamin
Not sure if Reform Judaism believes anything beyond the Jewish traditions several of which are misplaced at best. Conservative Judaism does not believe in the covenant. One conservative rabbi once told me that if he were to enter Rabbi school with the belief that the Torah was divine, he would have been kicked out. Could this be the result of following the Talmud rather than the Torah? Orthodox Judaism is dedicated to the Talmud which mostly follows Torah; but discrepancies exist...

The Torah is the contract between YHWH and the children of Israel. While you have the ability to choose to accept or deny the contract, you must recognize the consequences should you choose to deny it. What is left?

Since I have seen many Jewish people seemingly taking the covenant for granted, I decided to look into the signs YHWH has appointed in effort to determine whether or not you are part of YHWH's chosen people. The effort will begin from Exodus Chapter 31 Verse 17 where the Torah says Shabbat will be a sign between Himself and the Children of Israel. The word used for sign in this verse is the hebrew word אוֹת.

The noun אוֹת ('owth) means sign, signal, token, standard, or proof taken from the root word אוֹת ('uwth), a verb meaning to consent or agree. Rather fitting for the subject at hand.

Exodus Chapter 31
15 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to YHWH; whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign (אוֹת) between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.'

Don't ignore the signs!

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Posted by: Benjamin
Avram Yehoshua and the people and organizations quoted on seedofabraham.net are in no way associated with peshat.com and views expressed here.

Kosher: Jewish vs. Biblical
by Avram Yehoshua


To abstain from all unclean animals (food), is Torah (the first five books of the Bible: Genesis through Deuteronomy). To 'keep kosher' the Jewish way, is both Torah and rabbinic. There is a big difference. God requires that we eat only clean meat (Torah: Lev. 11 and Deut. 14), and so do the Rabbis. But the Rabbis go further. Keeping kosher means that one doesn't eat any dairy products with meat. The Rabbis say that one cannot have cheese with clean meat, or even use a plate for meat, that once had cheese on it.

The separation of dairy and meat, with the rabbinic injunction that it's sin if one violates it, is based on the Scripture about not boiling a kid in its mother's milk. The rabbinic view is that one should not eat meat and dairy together thereby avoiding the possibility of breaking the Commandment.1 Of course, God never says in this Commandment that one can't eat meat and dairy together, but this is how the Rabbis have interpreted it.

Exodus Chapter 23
19 The choicest first-fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of YHWH thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.

Exodus Chapter 34
26 The choicest first-fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of YHWH thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.'

Deuteronomy Chapter 14
21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself; thou mayest give it unto the stranger that is within thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto a foreigner; for thou art a holy people unto YHWH thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.

This rabbinic rule came about through a perverse interpretation of Exodus 23:19 (the same verse being repeated in Ex. 34:26 and Deut. 14:21). The proper understanding of this verse deals with the ancient Egyptian and Canaanite idolatrous fertility rite.2 The liquid (milk), was sprinkled over the fields by the pagans, after the fall harvest, 'to ensure' a bountiful harvest from their god or goddess, for next year. Exodus 23:19 reads:

'The first of the first fruits of your Land you must bring into the House of Yahveh your God. You must not boil a kid in his mother's milk.'

From Manners and Customs of the Bible

As this injunction is put in connection with sacrifices and festivals, it seems to have referred to some idolatrous practices of the heathen. Cudworth says, on the authority of an ancient Karaite Comment on the Pentateuch, that it was an ancient heathen custom to boil a kid in the dam's milk, and then besprinkle with it all the trees, fields, gardens, and orchards. This was done at the close of their harvests for the purpose of making trees and fields more fruitful the following year. It will be noticed that the injunction of the text is given in connection with the feast of harvest.

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Posted by: Benjamin
Yaaqov Ben Yisrael & Jodell Onstott are in no way associated with peshat.com and views expressed here.

Is the Pronunciation of the Name YHWH Lost?
האם ההגוּי שׁל השׁם יהוה אבוּד
By: Yaaqov Ben Yisrael
Edited by Jodell Onstott


In the book of Exodus, we are introduced to the name of the Creator. This is not to say that His name was not used prior; yet we are given a more personal introduction to His name.

The author states that zeker means "mention" and the JPS translates it to be "memorial". Perhaps, a more direct translation might be "remembrance". wiktionary.com defines "remembrance" as that which serves to keep in or bring to mind; a memorial; a token; a memento; a souvenir; a memorandum or note of something to be remembered. In this case, the name by which God is to be remembered.

Exodus Chapter 3
15 And God said moreover unto Moses: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.

Micah Chapter 4
5 For let all the peoples walk each one in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of YHWH our God for ever and ever.

From Exodus 3:15
וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶל מֹשֶׁה כֹּה תֹאמַר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם | זֶה שְּׁמִי לְעֹלָם וְזֶה זִכְרִי לְדֹר דֹּר

Elohiym (God) again spoke to Moshe (Moses), thus you shall speak to the sons of Yisrael (Israel), Y'HWaH God of your fathers God of Avraham (Abraham) God of Yitshaq (Isaac) God of Yaaqov (Jacob) sent me to you; this is My name from everlasting, and this is my mention generation to generation. (YBY Translation) Exodus 3:15

Joel Chapter 3
5 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of YHWH shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as YHWH hath said, and among the remnant those whom YHWH shall call.

We are further told in Joel 3:5:
וְהָיָה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה יִמָּלֵט | כִּי בְּהַר צִיּוֹן וּבִירוּשָׁלִַם תִּהְיֶה פְלֵיטָה כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה וּבַשְּׂרִידִים אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה קֹרֵא

And it shall be, all who call upon the name Y'HWaH shall be delivered; for in mount Tsiyyon (Zion) and in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) shall be deliverance, like Y'HWaH said, and in the remnants who shall be called. (YBY Translation)1

Seeing that YHWH's name and mention has been given, and He tells us to use his name throughout our generations, even commanding us to call upon his name for deliverance, you would think we would know how to pronounce His name.

According to many Biblical scholars, among all religious affiliations, there exists a consensus of opinion that the true pronunciation of this name has been lost. That there is no way to know for certain the true pronunciation of the Creator's name.

In this paper, we will examine the Biblical evidence for this pronunciation. We will investigate the vowels and accents left to us by the Masoretes2, as well as many compound usages. We will discover the reason that the traditional Masoretic Text (MT) has left us in a state of ignorance regarding the pronunciation of the Creator's name. By using simple rules of Hebrew grammar, we will try to reproduce possible pronunciations.

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06/01/09: Who is born a Jew?

Posted by: Benjamin
Beta-Gershom.org (i.e. half-Jewish.org), and the people and organizations quoted on Beta-Gershom.org (i.e. half-Jewish.org), are in no way associated with peshat.com and views expressed here.

Some commentary at the end of the article has been added for further clarification. Anyone having additional information - please add a comment.

Who is born a Jew?


The question of who is born a Jew has been much debated. We consider first the views of Orthodox Rabbinical Judaism and Karaite Judaism.

Orthodox Rabbinical Judaism considers that according to the Torah a person is born a Jew only if that person's Mother is Jewish. On the other hand, Karaite Judaism considers that according to the Torah a person is born a Jew only if that person's Father is Jewish.

We will examine the two readings in the Pentateuch that imply a status of the child of Israelite intermarriage to a non-Israelite. We will examine these two readings in light of the Rabbinical position as well as in light of the Karaite position. The two readings are: from Deuteronomy 7:3-4, and Leviticus 24:10-16.

Deuteronomy Chapter 7
1 When YHWH thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 and when YHWH thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them;
3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of YHWH be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly.

First, from Deuteronomy 7:3-4 "Neither shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give unto his son, nor his daughter shall you take unto your son. For he will turn away your son from following Me, that you may serve other gods."

The first interpretation of this is as follows (we have added in brackets the interpretation of the text):
";Neither shall you make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give unto his son ["he" being the Canaanite man, and "his son" being the son of that Canaanite man], nor his daughter [again "he" being the Canaanite man, and "his daughter" being the daughter of that Canaanite man] shall you take unto your son ["you" being the Israelite to whom the Torah speaks to, and "your son" being the son of that Israelite]. For he ["he" being the Canaanite man] will turn away your son ["your son" being the son of the Israelite] from following Me, that you may serve other gods. " In this interpretation, the concern expressed in the Torah is that the Israelite's son is given in marriage to a pagan woman and the pagan woman's father will teach paganism. In this interpretation there is no implication being made on the status of any possible offspring between the mixed couple.

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Posted by: Benjamin
Karaite Jewish University, and the people and organizations quoted on kjuonline.com, are in no way associated with peshat.com and views expressed here.

Thanks Zvi for corrections to Hebrew grammar -- see comments...


On the relationship between Tahor and Qadosh
by Benjamin ben Daniel
(with Tanakh references from JPS 1917)



The children of Israel are instructed to be both Tahor (clean) and Qadosh (holy). While Tahor and Qadosh have different requirements and seem to have different goals, they can appear equally important to the reader of the Tanakh. Teaching the differences between the Tahor (clean) and the Tamei (unclean/defiled) as well as between the Qodesh (holiness) and the Chol (common/profane) is commanded; but this essay is not about those differences. This essay will explore the relationship between Qadosh and Tahor. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater understanding of their goals and how each is applied.

Leviticus Chapter 10
8 And YHWH spoke unto Aaron, saying:
9 'Drink no wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tent of meeting, that ye die not; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
10 And that ye may put difference between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean;
11 and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which YHWH hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.'

Ezekiel Chapter 22
26 Her priests have done violence to My law, and have profaned My holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and the common, neither have they taught difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel Chapter 44
23 And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

» Read More

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