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Subject: The Hebrews and their God rss

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In Hebrew class we were given this list of feelings, assumptions and expectations Israel had when dealing with God.

1. God created Israel with what was essentially a marriage covenant.

2. Idolatry was equated to adultery.

3. The "silence of God" was always a problem for Israel.

4. They held that God wanted to be motivated to change. Basically God's will is not a straight line but a path with some room to negotiate.

5. The pain of Israel was the pain of God. God could and did grieve.

6. Questioning God could be the greatest act of faith.

7. Sin was a secondary concern. Relationship with God was of primary importance.

8. When Israel prayed the "Laments" they were not certain how God would answer, but as a faithful lover He would answer.

9. Israel viewed their relationship with God as one of community.

I wanted to present this list for critique, so have at it. Bear in mind that this is an attempt to address ancient Israel's basic beliefs/assumptions concerning God and not modern Jewish thinking. That said, I am interested to know how this list compares to today.
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I will simply comment that the idea that ancient Israel is somehow distinct from the modern Jewish people and that the beliefs are fundamentally different is one of the many historically baseless grounds that Christians have used for attacking Jews throughout the last couple of millenia. The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.
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whac3 wrote:
The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.


Welcome to RSP.
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whac3 wrote:
I will simply comment that the idea that ancient Israel is somehow distinct from the modern Jewish people and that the beliefs are fundamentally different is one of the many historically baseless grounds that Christians have used for attacking Jews throughout the last couple of millenia. The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.


My premise for the thread is that I received information and wanted a critique on it. I didn't say that there was a fundamental difference between ancient Israel and modern Jews. In fact I invited the assessment because I wasn't sure if there was a difference.

You however, have provided no assessment and just laid a blanket charge at the feet of Christians. Is it an attack to say what Jewish people believe? Is it even an attack to say that Jewish practice has changed over time? Anyway, you have not addressed my premise by looking at what has been stated about the Jewish religion (at whatever time in history you want) to see if it fits.

I think if you can feel free to scrutinize the Christian religion and assert that there was no Jesus, you have to be willing to deal with questions about your own religion. If it is historically baseless, show me how. I know you won't because you never do, but I'll still throw the challenge out there because your constant assertions about your religion should be defended in some way.
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Benjro wrote:
I know you won't because you never do


Welcome to RSP.
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whac3 wrote:
I will simply comment that the idea that ancient Israel is somehow distinct from the modern Jewish people and that the beliefs are fundamentally different is one of the many historically baseless grounds that Christians have used for attacking Jews throughout the last couple of millenia. The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.


I think historically, there's a lot of evidence that both the Jewish and the Christian faiths have changed over time. I don't think acknowledging that should be insulting.

After all, if we want to attack someone, we're gonna find a reason.
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For the record, the reason I never provide details to you backing up what Jews believe is because there is a specific halakha that forbids doing so. The reason you fall under that halakha is that you anything I tell you will (a) be used to bolster your attitudes which do very much include a surprising level of animosity toward Jews and our Law and (b) almost certainly will not lead to any good but only to pointless quarrels. This result would invite you to preach at me but would not realistic open up any genuine two-way dialogue.

I'm sorry if you do not like the deep-rooted suspicion we have of Christians but they have been murdering us for two thousands years. That warrants a little distrust, don't you think?

Besides you state clearly in the OP that you are not talking about modern Jewish thinking but ancient-- clearly implying you see the two as distinct. Time and again we have we murdered and tortured by sanctimonious people with crosses telling us they are the "true" successors of our people and that our people have no continuous Law and history from the most ancient times.

My beliefs do not require you do anything, but yours claim much about my people-- and none of good. You distort Our Law, revile our people and claim you know better than us how to honor our G-d. You're damned straight I want no part of that.
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Benjro wrote:
I didn't say that there was a fundamental difference between ancient Israel and modern Jews.


Benjro wrote:
Bear in mind that this is an attempt to address ancient Israel's basic beliefs/assumptions concerning God and not modern Jewish thinking.


I cannot resolve these two thoughts without contradiction,
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whac3 wrote:
I'm sorry if you do not like the deep-rooted suspicion we have of Christians but they have been murdering us for two thousands years. That warrants a little distrust, don't you think?


I don't know, that leaves 10 years murder free. Must be worth something.
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Geosphere wrote:
Benjro wrote:
I didn't say that there was a fundamental difference between ancient Israel and modern Jews.


Benjro wrote:
Bear in mind that this is an attempt to address ancient Israel's basic beliefs/assumptions concerning God and not modern Jewish thinking.


I cannot resolve these two thoughts without contradiction,


"Fundamental" would seem to be the key turn here.
 
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dysjunct wrote:
"Fundamental" would seem to be the key turn here.


I'm fairly sure the list IS the fundamentals.
 
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whac3 wrote:
For the record, the reason I never provide details to you backing up what Jews believe is because there is a specific halakha that forbids doing so. The reason you fall under that halakha is that you anything I tell you will (a) be used to bolster your attitudes which do very much include a surprising level of animosity toward Jews and our Law and (b) almost certainly will not lead to any good but only to pointless quarrels. This result would invite you to preach at me but would not realistic open up any genuine two-way dialogue.

I'm sorry if you do not like the deep-rooted suspicion we have of Christians but they have been murdering us for two thousands years. That warrants a little distrust, don't you think?

Besides you state clearly in the OP that you are not talking about modern Jewish thinking but ancient-- clearly implying you see the two as distinct. Time and again we have we murdered and tortured by sanctimonious people with crosses telling us they are the "true" successors of our people and that our people have no continuous Law and history from the most ancient times.

My beliefs do not require you do anything, but yours claim much about my people-- and none of good. You distort Our Law, revile our people and claim you know better than us how to honor our G-d. You're damned straight I want no part of that.


The animosity that I see in this discussion comes from you.

The post above, for instance, is a doozy. You demand respect for your faith while showing contempt for that of others -- it's not a persuasive or thoughtful approach to take, in my eyes.
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corross wrote:

The post above, for instance, is a doozy. You demand respect for your faith while showing contempt for that of others -- it's not a persuasive or thoughtful approach to take, in my eyes.


I have a true question.

Ignoring Moshe's use / non-use of tact.

Is he right?
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whac3 wrote:
... anything I tell you will (a) be used to bolster your attitudes which do very much include a surprising level of animosity toward Jews and our Law ...


Has there been animosity in the past from Benjro? Because I don't see any animosity in this post.
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whac3 wrote:
I will simply comment that the idea that ancient Israel is somehow distinct from the modern Jewish people and that the beliefs are fundamentally different is one of the many historically baseless grounds that Christians have used for attacking Jews throughout the last couple of millenia. The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.


I'd be interested to know what your basis is for thinking that the beliefs of the ancient Israelites and the beliefs of the modern Jewish people are the same.

I don't think they are, and it has nothing to do with my Christianity -- the distinction (or lack of distinction) between ancient and modern Jews is not something that my church has ever focused on . . . or, if it did, I was busy doodling on my bulletin rather than paying attention or something.

It's based on my understanding of history. For instance, there appear to me to be plentiful reasons to believe that polytheism and polylatry were common back in the day for the Jewish people and everyone else who lived in that place and time. (I recently read The Evolution of God, which I found quite interesting and which includes much discussion of this point . . . that had been my understanding before reading this book, in any event.)

For those who believe otherwise -- who believe that there's a full body of beliefs and practices that have continued unaltered from the Abrahamic era (or some other long-ago point) onwards, I'd be very interested in hearing the basis for that.
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Geosphere wrote:
Benjro wrote:
I didn't say that there was a fundamental difference between ancient Israel and modern Jews.


Benjro wrote:
Bear in mind that this is an attempt to address ancient Israel's basic beliefs/assumptions concerning God and not modern Jewish thinking.


I cannot resolve these two thoughts without contradiction,


Actually, they aren't difficult to resolve at all unless you make a (reasonable but not automatic) inference.

If I say I'm interested in discussing the beliefs of X rather than Y, I'm not actually saying that Y's beliefs are different from X but rather that they might be -- and that IF they are, I'm interested in the beliefs of X rather than Y.

It's reasonable to infer more -- that the beliefs of X and Y are known to be different -- but it's not a contradiction.
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Geosphere wrote:
corross wrote:

The post above, for instance, is a doozy. You demand respect for your faith while showing contempt for that of others -- it's not a persuasive or thoughtful approach to take, in my eyes.


I have a true question.

Ignoring Moshe's use / non-use of tact.

Is he right?


Right about being contemptuous of Christianity while demanding respect for Judaism?

I don't think that emotions like revulsion or contempt are "right" or "wrong" per se. There can be a more or less substantial basis for their being triggered, and one can have different personal responses to feeling them. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I think that this presentation, which comes across to me like a knee-jerk angry response that is harsh in its treatment of others without including supporting information, is not persuasive, so in that sense I don't find it "right", because it's certainly not making me think, "Ah, yes! That's so true!"

I posted in the first place because I think that on this issue, Moshe uses a double standard and reacts in ways that are sometimes too harsh and unreasonable. This has the effect, for me, of reducing his credibility (because of the unreasonableness) and causing him to seem unkind.

If I were in his shoes, I'd want to know that this was how I was coming across, so that I could consider the issue and whether or not I wanted to evaluate and consider changing my approach.

In other words, my intention is to provide constructive criticism.
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corross wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I will simply comment that the idea that ancient Israel is somehow distinct from the modern Jewish people and that the beliefs are fundamentally different is one of the many historically baseless grounds that Christians have used for attacking Jews throughout the last couple of millenia. The premise on which you are basing your thread is both non-sensical and insulting.


I'd be interested to know what your basis is for thinking that the beliefs of the ancient Israelites and the beliefs of the modern Jewish people are the same.

I don't think they are, and it has nothing to do with my Christianity -- the distinction (or lack of distinction) between ancient and modern Jews is not something that my church has ever focused on . . . or, if it did, I was busy doodling on my bulletin rather than paying attention or something.

It's based on my understanding of history. For instance, there appear to me to be plentiful reasons to believe that polytheism and polylatry were common back in the day for the Jewish people and everyone else who lived in that place and time. (I recently read The Evolution of God, which I found quite interesting and which includes much discussion of this point . . . that had been my understanding before reading this book, in any event.)

For those who believe otherwise -- who believe that there's a full body of beliefs and practices that have continued unaltered from the Abrahamic era (or some other long-ago point) onwards, I'd be very interested in hearing the basis for that.


1) I am fairly new to RSP but I would tend to agree that opening up and discussing ones beliefs would bring more ... non-sensical insults than honest 2 way discussion.

2) As to the OP original post about the Hebrews/ancient Israel, I don't really have an answer.

3) From the last part of this post I think it's a matter of faith and understanding/definition of God. I believe there is an overal plan of God for us, his children, and that plan has been the same since Adam through Abraham to Moses to Jesus, and on to us. Maybe the most apparent change would be that of animal sacrifices which was done away (in christianity) after the sacrifice of Jesus and reimplemented as the sacrament (bread and wine/water in remembrance of his body/blood). So there have been changes but God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Mankind just has many different understandings and views of him.
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When you're thinking of Judaism, their are a few things to keep in mind. Feel free Whac3 to rap my knuckles if you feel like I'm off base...

First - it is not a universal religion like Christianity or Islam, and does not claim to have universal answers for all people on Earth. Its an old old old time religion - focused on one nations relationship with one deity.

Second - that bible, the so called "old" testament, was never intended as a universal document. People may use it that way, but there are only 7 rules in it that can be said to be "universal" in scope. The rest, ten commandments included, are only intended for one group of people.

Third - Judaism forms a continuum of practices for about 3000 years now (give or take half a millenium). But the beliefs are all set down in the core books from its foundation... so in that sense its hard to argue in a change of belief.
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corross wrote:
If I were in his shoes, I'd want to know that this was how I was coming across, so that I could consider the issue and whether or not I wanted to evaluate and consider changing my approach.


Well, OK.

To me, your posts often come across extremely preachy and focusing on the presentor of the facts rather than what is being said. You seem clinically disinclined to allow someone a passionate response and immediately use that and a higher ground stance to dismiss the topic.

I can't place my finger on exact moments (and I hate the search feature), but your posts tend to carry a "holier than thou" feel and are fairly dismissive of those who do not precisely agree with you. It's almost as if you go out of the way (perhaps subconsciously) to nudgingly belittle the poster while going over the points made.

It becomes uncomfortable to read in an odd passive-aggressive feeling way.

But again, that's just how your approach seems to come across to me.
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If a thread based on the Blood Libel is posted but the OP is polite, should I just demur? Yes, the premise of this thread is very comparable because it takes for granted an attitude based on which untold numbers of people have been murdered in the last two millennia.

I am not saying Benjro is antisemitic; consciously he probably is not but he accepts some antisemitic attitudes which are endemic to Christianity.
 
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dtolman wrote:
Judaism forms a continuum of practices for about 3000 years now (give or take half a millenium). But the beliefs are all set down in the core books from its foundation... so in that sense its hard to argue in a change of belief.


I'd like to understand this better. When you say that the beliefs were set down at the foundation, could you be a bit more specific -- when, and in what context, did that happen?

Is that another way of describing the creation of the written Torah at the time of the exodus? (As a side question, in traditional Judaism, what came before the written Torah, law-wise? Was there oral Torah first, or did that accompany/follow the written version?)

Is there room in what you're saying for alternative versions of how the core books came together? For instance, my conclusion, based on not a whole lot but not nothing, has been that the "foundation moment" was the assembly of books and theology during the Babylonian captivity period. Is that consistent with what you're presenting?

I'd love to know more.
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Geosphere wrote:
But again, that's just how your approach seems to come across to me.


Good to know -- thanks! Now, I can keep that information in mind.

I always prefer more information . . . that's the only way to learn.

Geosphere wrote:
It becomes uncomfortable to read in an odd passive-aggressive feeling way.


Out of curiosity, are you saying that I'm coming across as passive-aggressive, or that reading my posts makes you feel that way? That one was a little unclear to me.
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Oral Torah and Written Torah came together, as clearly described in The Written Torah itself. For example, H` says to Moshe Rebeinu that animals should be killed in the way H` had shown Moshe but in the Written Torah alone, that manner is never stated. Also the repeated phrase "vaydaber H` el Moshe l'emor..." literally means H` told Moshe to explain at length something summarized afterward.

There is One Torah and always has been.
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whac3 wrote:
If a thread based on the Blood Libel is posted but the OP is polite, should I just demur? Yes, the premise of this thread is very comparable because it takes for granted an attitude based on which untold numbers of people have been murdered in the last two millennia.

I am not saying Benjro is antisemitic; consciously he probably is not but he accepts some antisemitic attitudes which are endemic to Christianity.


Moshe, I think the rest of us need a lot of help in understanding why you feel this way. Would you care to explain or do we all need to tiptoe around you?
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