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Subject: Again continuing... TN"K rss

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Moshe Callen
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A note for this thread wrote:
In spite of the initial attack by a flock/gaggle of trolls, I would consider the previous thread with an OP and generated questions a success. Here again this post is for a specific audience of people interested in being able to discuss Judaism and Christianity intelligently. The goal is to increase cross-cultural understanding and so trolls are kindly asked to please go elsewhere.

Just as when a person learns a new language, calculus, physics or certain other fields, when a person unlearned in Judaism begins to study the subject, that person will face an initial barrier until some breakthrough moment when the person has developed a new way of thinking. Virtually always, this level of Jewish learning requires immersion into a Jewish cultural environment where qualified people are teaching the material. One can nevertheless get a more basic level of understanding without such immersion so that one at least begins to recognize the differences even if one does not entirely understand them. Frankly that is what I'm aiming at with these discussions.

Note 2 wrote:
Mac and others complain about my use of the term TN"K for "Tanakh" but the latter just plain looks weird to me. It's an ANAGRAM, not a normal word or proper name.


My guess is that the Jewish approach to texts and sources is probably hardest among Christians for Protestants (of whatever stripe) to grasp because of their doctrine of Sola Scriptura. (N.B.: If any book, etc., one comes across refers to "Scripture" in non-ironic usage and not trying to put things into terms a Christian would be familiar with, the odds are extremely good that the book or whatever it is is not Jewish. I've seen exceptions but they're rare and typically sound weird to most Jews.)

Let's first talk about the three parts of the TN"K and their significance. As a whole, the TN"K has 24 books and these are arranged differently than the Christian order. The Christian versions also have additions even apart from their "translations", most noticeably in Esther and Tehillim ("Psalms").

1. Torah meaning the Chumash
Referring to the Written Torah in the strictest sense, the word Chumash (with the ch almost like the ch of the Scottish word "loch" but at the same time guttural) is basically a variant of the Hebrew word for the number "five", chamesh. These are the Written portion of the basic contract between G-d and the Jewish people. (Somebody should ask what type of contract it is.) All these books have equal status and all are inherently summaries of legal concepts with details left to the Oral Torah. All but the last one were recorded within the first year and a half of the period in the Wilderness at Sinai with G-d making a visible presence on the mountain for at least a year during that time. The voice of G-d was heard by the entire nation of 600,000 people talking first to the nation as a whole and then to Moshe Rebeinu. The last book was (apart from the account of Moshe's death) given as a speech by Moshe Rebeinu to the generation raised in the wilderness as their warriors were about to enter the Land.
As an overview, the Torah starts by defining the legal terminology to be used and identifying the parties to the contract. Then it gives other laws, often including a circumstance relevant to the meaning of the law.
The books included take their names from the first major word of each:
1. Bareshit ("Genesis")
2. Shemot ("Exodus")
3. Vayiqra ("Leviticus")
4. Bamidbar ("Numbers")
5. Debarim ("Deuteronomy")

2. Neviim: Prophets"

These have 8 books. While they do not have the legal status of the Torah and so do not include any more laws, they give case histories of how Torah law was or was not applied correctly.

1. Yehoshua ("Joshua"): This describes the basic re-settlement of the Land in the first generation after the period of the wilderness (midbar). It describes the allotment of the land, coming to terms with the inhabitants. (No, only a small portion were killed or even supposed to be.)
During this period Yehoshua bin-Nun acted as king, as had Moshe Rebeinu before him. The Sanhedrin existed but the Bayit was not yet built. The same mishkan (basically a tent) used by the kohanim and Leviim in the wilderness continued to function in Shiloh (in what is now called the "West Bank").

2. Shoftim ("Judges"): This describes the period after the initial settlement and before the mitzva to choose a king was implemented. The Sanhedrin was in session but no king was selected to implement its decisions. The mishkan continued functioning.
The judges were typically local leaders or leaders without the qualifications and/or general backing to be king.
More often than not the cases discussed show what happens when the Sanhedrin has no king or officers to enforce its ruling or to dictate that cases should be brought to it.

3. Shmuel ("Samuel"): This begins in the final period of the judges and goes through to the period of the stabilization of the kingship. Basic to it is the concept that except for Moshe Rebeinu, the kingship and service in the Bayit must be separate. So while well qualified otherwise and universally acceptable, Shmuel could not serve as king.
Issues dealt with include how a king is selected, the nature of a king and the function of a king in peace and war. It also deals with the establishment of or at least preparation for the building of a Bayit.

4. Malchim ("Kings"): This explains cases that arose in connection to the royalty during the era of kings and the political disunity of the people. It also deals with cases that arose in connection to the Bayit. While all the kings did things like keep kosher (so that for example Ovadia oversaw cooking for king Achav), the people during this time were a mixed population. So one opinion to which I incline is that some kings sought to decrease the power of the Sanhedrin and of the koanim/Leviim by also observing the customs of the non-Jewish population.

5. Yishayah ("Isaiah"): This deals with the issues surrounding the end of the monarchy and the destruction of the Bayit.

6. Yirmiyahu ("Jeremiah"): This deals with some of the same issues as the previous but with more a focus on establishing Jewish life in exile.

7. Yechezkel ("Ezekiel"): This deals with issues related to return to the Land and re-establishment of the Bayit.

8. The Twelve: These deal with a variety of issues.

3. Ketuvim "Writings"

These have the status of historical writings or allegories more often than not, but each requires more specific description. None of these is a legal text.

1. Tehillim ("Psalms"): These are songs sung by the leviim and kohanim at the Bauit.

2. Mishlei ("Proverbs"): These like Pirqie Avot deal with hashkafa (attitude/outlook) and where, when and how to go beyond the letter of the law in personal conduct.

3. Iyov ("Job"): This is an allegory about Divine Justice.

4. Shir Hashirim ("Song of Solomon"): This is a love allegory applied variously to G-d and the Jewish people and to discussing what is and is not important in choosing a wife and what the relationship should be between spouses.

5. Rut ("Ruth"): A history of the grandmother of David the king. It is used as a basis for laws of conversion but doesn't have the same status and the Neviim.

6. Eicha ("Lamentations"): A poem expressing grief over both the destruction of the Bayit and the suffering of the people during conquest.

7. Kohelet ("Ecclesiastes"): This addresses the issue of why an individual should live by Torah.

8. Esther: This is the basis of the laws of Purim but again has a lower legal status than the Neviim.

9. Daniyel ("Daniel"): Historical book on the period of exile in Bavel.

10. Ezra-Nechemiya ("Ezra/Nehemiah"): Historical book about the return from exile.

11. Divrei Yamim ("Chronicles"): Historical document on the period pf the kings.

Final note: N"K-- the last two sections-- is studied by Jews but typically it is taught similarly to midrash which are typically non-literal stories giving context or commentary on some point of the Torah. Traditionally those interested solely in the legal aspects of Judaism largely neglected N"K.
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Guido Van Horn
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I haven't been asking any questions but I've found these threads to very informative and interesting.
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Thank you Moshe, for providing this guide.
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What type of contract was/is it?
 
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rinelk wrote:
What type of contract was/is it?

A ketuba or marriage contract between G-d and the Jewish people.
 
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Bumping this post-BGGcon hoping it'll get more attention.
 
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whac3 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
What type of contract was/is it?

A ketuba or marriage contract between G-d and the Jewish people.


Is it reasonable to infer that there's precedent in Judaism for marriage contracts which aren't between one man and one woman?
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rinelk wrote:
whac3 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
What type of contract was/is it?

A ketuba or marriage contract between G-d and the Jewish people.


Is it reasonable to infer that there's precedent in Judaism for marriage contracts which aren't between one man and one woman?

As far as I know, no, but I'm not an expert on that issue. Polygamy is allowed in theory although not really practiced anymore but even then it's only one man with a separate marriage contract for each wife.

As I once discusses in a thread, because Judaism does accept the latest scientific understanding on issues, rabanim are debating what gay people in the Orthodox Jewish community are supposed to do. When the standard view scientifically was that gay people were mentally ill, well, saying that that illness sadly prevents them from marrying in many cases (since Jewish law says a man and wife have to be attracted to each other) was not viewed as unreasonable. Yet if gay people are normal, just different, then the issue becomes what they are supposed to do since marriage and family are a basic part of normal life, especially for Jews.

The key point is that the Torah only forbids male anal penetrative sex. Of course even then, a person could only be subject to the theoretical penalty for that act if the person has taken on full Torah Observance, was accustomed specifically not to do it (a mitzva no respectable rav would tell a gay person to try to take on) and did it at least a second time in public after being previously warned by two witnesses who were in no way involved and who warned the person who then must acknowledge the warning. Finally the person must in the second instance be warned again, acknowledge the warning but saying they don't care AND not be considered inflamed by passion. Really, it's just not going to happen, even if Jewish courts did theoretically still put people to death-- which they don't.

As far as I know, there's no clear consensus yet and a few fringe types are still hoping the science is wrong. The mainstream rabanim end towards 3 views to my knowledge:

1. Let the gay couple live together as a family without a ketuba. By Jewish law then, they are married. The problem with this view is that for Jews, marriage without a ketuba is forbidden.

2. Let them marry with what is in effect a marriage contract whether it's called a ketuba or not, don't use a chupa, and recommend that if they are willing to do so they avoid the one specific forbidden act.

3. Don't marry them in any way religiously but accept secular gay marriage de facto.

In all cases, rabanim are promoting the idea that gay Jews and gay couples need to be accepted in Jewish communities. I know the third opinion is why ironically many of the stricter rabanim here in Israel support legislation which allows for secular marriages. (Current law treats marriage as effectively a purely religious institution but really doesn't care what religion a couple gets to marry them.)
 
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Is the book Daniyel - along with some of the other books mentioned - believed to also contain valid prophetic statements for the future, or is it considered a purely historical account?

I ask because, at least from the time of the Fifth Monarchists in the modern era, within Christianity the corresponding book of Daniel, in particular, has factored very largely in determining prophetic fulfillments.
 
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Daniyel is historical primarily but it does record a couple of dreams which were G-d's response to the Babylonian king about his questions on the future. It's not prophetic in the proper sense that it does not deal with cases at law but in the looser English sense of the word I guess it would be.
 
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where does Judaism stand on the jewish role of many slave trades?
(religion, over powers common decency)

As Jewish historian Dale Rosengarten expresses it, quoting a Talmudic precept: “The law of the land is the law of the Jews.” From a modern perspective, it seems anomalous that a people whose history hinged on an epic escape from servitude would not have been deeply troubled by America’s “peculiar institution” — but few were.

Some Jews owned slaves, a few traded them, and the livelihoods of many, North and South, were inextricably bound to the slave system. Most southern Jews defended slavery, and some went further, advocating its expansion.
 
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Yours is obviously a troll post but I'm going to pretend it isn't.

Jewish law historically allowed two types of servitude commonly translated as slavery.

If the person was Jewish, then one bought the person's exclusive labor for a certain period of time not to exceed 6 years. The person could not be made to do demeaning tasks nor tasks without definite limits. In modern terminology this was a contracted worker. The person had to be supported in a lifestyle at least as good as his "master" or employer, The example given is that if the "master" and "slave" travel together and stay somewhere that only has one bed available, then the "slave" must get it, not the "master". Except if dealing with the relationship between a boss who owns the company and an employee where both are Jewish this area of law is no longer used and would not be allowed.

If the person was non-Jewish, what was permitted was slavery as practiced in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean but this stopped being done thousands of years ago so that effectively it cannot legally be done anymore as the relevant case law no longer exists. Even when it was, the law was clear that a person could not be kidnapped and enslaved and anyone caught kidnapping people to sell should be killed on sight.

So, yes, in North America many Jews sadly owned slaves. I have no idea how they justified it to themselves. EVERY rav I have ever heard speak of it has said that even by the understanding of Jewish law held at the time that slavery as practiced in America was strictly illegal by Jewish law. Yet various Jewish people did it anyway.

If every Jew strives to keep Jewish law strictly, I think the world would be a better place. Don't you agree, Dr. Hoohoo?
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whac3 wrote:


If every Jew strives to keep Jewish law strictly, I think the world would be a better place. Don't you agree, Dr. Hoohoo?


no, as you have not yet defined jewish law

as I just posted, your jewish law will reflect the law of the land, regardless of consequences

therefore, you have shown that your religion is really quite tolerant towards hate and oppression and won't dare stand their ground when it comes to human rights, and will pretty much sit in the back and not stand for much of anything

sad for your little cult
 
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DrWhoWho wrote:
whac3 wrote:


If every Jew strives to keep Jewish law strictly, I think the world would be a better place. Don't you agree, Dr. Hoohoo?


no, as you have not yet defined jewish law

as I just posted, your jewish law will reflect the law of the land,
yes
Quote:
regardless of consequences
no
Quote:
...

You should take a logic course.
 
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sorry buddy, but you just proved how unconvincing your little cult is


thanks for trying to come to terms with your belief systems, it's truly entertaining to see you trying to justify it
 
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whac3 wrote:
You should take a logic course.


As someone who used to teach logic and still has deep sympathy with those who do, I resent this suggestion.
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DrWhoWho wrote:
sorry buddy, but you just proved how unconvincing your little cult is


thanks for trying to come to terms with your belief systems, it's truly entertaining to see you trying to justify it


See, the thing is, is that statement is hardly axiomatic, which means you'd have to, I dunno, prove Moshe had unwittingly somehow completely destroyed one of the world's oldest established religions.

For your statement to have any validity whatsoever--any at all--you would at least have to produce at least one person who's faith in or conception of Judaism was shaken to its core merely by you and Moshe's exchange.

That person will likely be a long time coming.

Proved is a strong word.

Diis

PS: To head off your invevitable small-minded and dismissive speculation, no I am not Jewish.
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Re: Again continuing... TN"K & other stuff
OK So this thread has generated less questions than I'd hoped and so I'll move it along. Maybe no one cares but the feedback above seems to indicate otherwise.

For the first roughly two millennia of Jewish existence, the inyun (idea/principle) of keeping the Oral Torah genuinely Oral remained. It was grounded in a Written text and copious case law-- cases from every city and town where Jews lived for all that time-- and a large proportion of the male population were being trained as rabanim, potential candidates for the Sanhedrin or at least for lesser Sanhedrins that existed in any significant Jewish city. So there was no telephone effect because it was well grounded. Even so, Torah Law was and is supposed to evolve over time to deal with changes in Jewish society and attitudes.

Under the Romans, the keepers of the Oral Torah were systematically murdered. Therefore the Nasi or president of the Sanhedrin at the time ordered the Oral Torah to be written down for the first time lest it be lost entirely. The result was the Mishna.

The Mishna, which gives details of specific laws or mitzvot, has six major divisions based on the kind of mitzva being discussed. Within this are sub-categories and these each have chapters. The format is a question followed by a list of opinions about the answers. One opinion is listed as being the majority opinion of the rabanim.

Within a couple of generations, questions were asked on the Mishna itself. (Notably not all Mishnayot-- plural of mishna-- had questions asked about them and those others are called Breitot, plural of Breita.) One set of such questions was recorded in Jerusalem and the other in Babylon. Both are called Talmud but the word most often means the latter. The Jerusalem Talmud asks questions, lists answers and again indicates what the law is. What is unique about the Babylonian Talmud is that it does not state what the law is because its compilers were not sure they had the authority to do so. Instead it shows in detail the legal reasoning. Those questions and discussions of the answers in terms of legal reasoning are called Gemara so that the Babylonian Talmud consists of Mishna plus Gemara. In turn numerous people have discussed what the Gemara means and so forth. Study of the Gemara and commentaries on it forms the basis of Jewish legal training because it shows how Jewish law is reasoned and applied, as well as how it is not.

What the basic principles of that legal reasoning is was debated for centuries. The formulation that finally gained acceptance was that of R' Yishmael.

Example. Qal v'chomer: This applies when two strictly similar types of legal cases exist, one more lenient than the other, and restrictions are known to apply to the more lenient case. So clearly they also apply to the stricter case.
An example would be that it is ruled that one cannot perform a certain act on a yom tov (a Jewish holiday dictated by the Torah). Shabbat has stricter laws than a yom tov. So automatically if one could not do the act on yom tov, then qal v'chomer one cannot do the act on shabbat either.

etc etc.

If anyone is interested, we can go through them all.
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whac3 wrote:
OK So this thread has generated less questions than I'd hoped and so I'll move it along. Maybe no one cares but the feedback above seems to indicate otherwise.


As a Christian, of course, I am interested in exploring the points of similarity between the TN'K and the Christian "Old Testament". From the listing of the books of the TN'K, it appears they closely follow along the same lines - can you provide a link to an online English translation you would recommend I refer to in the event of future discussion?
 
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gamesterinns wrote:
whac3 wrote:
OK So this thread has generated less questions than I'd hoped and so I'll move it along. Maybe no one cares but the feedback above seems to indicate otherwise.


As a Christian, of course, I am interested in exploring the points of similarity between the TN'K and the Christian "Old Testament". From the listing of the books of the TN'K, it appears they closely follow along the same lines - can you provide a link to an online English translation you would recommend I refer to in the event of future discussion?

I could recommend a few but part of my point in this discussion is to explain why a mere translation is not enough. Christians and Jews tend to use the same words for very different things. So unless you understand those differences, I could give you a completely Jewish translation and you wouldn't understand it in a Jewish way.
 
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Thanks for the thread, I appreciate it.

I do have a question in regards to the statement that Joshua and Moses acted as kings. From a Jewish standpoint they were not viewed as acting on direction from God?
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just how much are you willing to show that the torah is just a copy of more ancient writings out of Sumeria/Babylon?

e.g.

Enuma Elish...The Epic of Creation...a story found on 7 tablets. The 7th tablet praises the god Marduk extensively, like we do on a Sunday in xtaindom. And who knows what you jews do, but that's besides the point.

But what is even more important, is that the 7 tablets match the '7 days of creation' in the bile and tora. And on the 7th day/tablet, praise is given, and god looked at his creation, and all was good.

Funny that? Or, something to be ignored but those of faith?

The blatant plagiarism found in the torah seems to be complete ignored by those of both faiths. Thus both are embracing similar fantasies.
 
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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lochmoigh wrote:
Thanks for the thread, I appreciate it.

I do have a question in regards to the statement that Joshua and Moses acted as kings. From a Jewish standpoint they were not viewed as acting on direction from God?

They did get directions from G-d but they also acted as kings at the same time.

To give an example, the most common phrase (often its own pasuq or verse) in the Torah is:
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר

This is not just excess verbiage. G-d tells Moshe Rebeinu to say something to either the Jewish people as a whole or to Aharon and his son the kohanim. Moshe then explains the details as instructed but he is very much giving the Law.
 
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Walker
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"The significance of a person's life is determined by the story they believe themselves to be in." - Wendell Berry "If nothing lies beyond the pale of death, then nothing of value lies before it." - SMBC
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Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song, the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue. Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last, has won my affection and bound my soul fast.
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whac3 wrote:
For the first roughly two millennia of Jewish existence, the inyun (idea/principle) of keeping the Oral Torah genuinely Oral remained.[...] Therefore the Nasi or president of the Sanhedrin at the time ordered the Oral Torah to be written down for the first time lest it be lost entirely. The result was the Mishna.


I assume that there have been new rulings on Jewish law since this was done. Have those been written down since, or do they remain oral?
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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DrWhoWho wrote:
just how much are you willing to show that the torah is just a copy of more ancient writings out of Sumeria/Babylon?

e.g.

Enuma Elish...The Epic of Creation...a story found on 7 tablets. The 7th tablet praises the god Marduk extensively, like we do on a Sunday in xtaindom. And who knows what you jews do, but that's besides the point.

But what is even more important, is that the 7 tablets match the '7 days of creation' in the bile and tora. And on the 7th day/tablet, praise is given, and god looked at his creation, and all was good.

Funny that? Or, something to be ignored but those of faith?

The blatant plagiarism found in the torah seems to be complete ignored by those of both faiths. Thus both are embracing similar fantasies.

Of course the Torah has much in common with Mesopotamian beliefs. How could it not? Avraham Avinu, founder of the Jewish people, was from Ur Chasdim in Mesopotamia. All of the matriarchs of the Jewish people grew up there and Yaakov Avinu, whose very name was changed to Yisrael lived there for 20 years.

The Torah took the Jewish people's laws and understanding of the world and set them apart. In the contract G-d made with the Jewish people, He only slightly changed what the Jewish people knew and sanctified it. That's one of the reasons the rabanim apply logic in reaching their conclusions and also take into account changes in Jewish society.
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