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#1 of 67 Old 09-14-2003, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think I know the answer so I thought I would ask here.

Where does the Messiah fit into the jewish traditions/scriptures?

Do you believe there is a Messiah coming? And how will we know it is him?

does that make sense?

thanks in advance
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#2 of 67 Old 09-14-2003, 04:17 PM
 
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Historically...
The messiah concept was a mediterranean idea that someone as a male of a virgin birth, who is executed and resurrects are common themes. He would be born of a certain tribe and save the world from itself and make it a perfect place for all to live. Sorry, but it all has roots throughout the entire region. I have students in my Greek Orthodox class who are Palestinian and claim to be related to Jesus.

I am sure more Torah observant Jews can give you more religious and better answers, but it does have its roots in the Mediterranean Cultures.
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#3 of 67 Old 09-14-2003, 11:06 PM
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I'm not Jewish but my sociology elective in college was Judaic Studies, then I develpoed a secret crush on my professor and became engrossed in the history so I took two more classes after that. I have my text books here.

Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, in his text "To Be a Jew" states this:

Wherever we find any mention of God's blessings upon Israel in the religious literature or any version of the "end days" which speaks of the coming of the Messiah* and the Messaniac period for all the world, it also refers to Israel's return to the land of Israel and to its dwelling safely and securely therein.

then the * note says:

The word Messiah is derived fro mthe Hebrew word mashiach which means "anointed" (with oil). The Messiah in Jewish thought was never coneived of as a Divine Being. As God's anointed representative, the Mesiah would be aperson who would bring about the political and spiritual redemption ofthe people of Israel through the ingathering of Jews to their ancestral home of Eretz Yisrael and the restoration of Jerusalem to its spiritual glory. He would bring about an era marked by the moral perfection of all mankind and the harmonious coexistence of all peoples free of war, fear, hatred and intolerance. (see Isaiah 2 and 11 and Micah 4)

Claimants to the Messianic title arose at various times throughout Jewish history. The criterion by which each was judged was: Did he succeed in accomplishing what the Mesiah was supposed to accomplish? By this criterion, none qualified. the mesianic era is still ahead of us. ....
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#4 of 67 Old 09-14-2003, 11:39 PM
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Here's Isaiah 2:

In the last days
the mountain of the Lord's temple willbe established as chief amng the mountains. It will be raised above the hills and all nations will stream to it:
Many peoples will come and say:

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
to the house of God and Jacob
He will teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths
the law will go out form Zion
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem
he will judge between the nations
and he will settle disputes for many peoples
they will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks
Mation will not take up sword against nation
nor will they train for war anymore
come O house of Jacob
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:

A shoot will come up form the stump of Jesse
from is roots a Branch will bear fruit
The spirit of the Lord will rest on him
the spirit of wisdom and of understanding.
the Spirit of counsel and of power
the Spirit of knowledge and of the lord

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears
but with righteousness he will judge the needy
with justice he will give decisiona
for the poor of the earth
he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

the woldwill live with the lamb
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together
and a little child will lead them
the cow will feed with the bear
their young will lie down together
and the lion will eat straw like the ox
The infant will play near the whole of the cobra
andthe young child put his hand into the viper's nest
They will neither harm or destroy on all my holy mountain
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

....

In tht day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant taht is left from (a whole bunch of places)

He will rise a banner for the nations and gather theexiles of Israel;
He will assemble the scattered people of Judah
from the four quarters ofthe earth
Ephraim's jealousy will vanish and Judah's enemies will be cut off...

Michah echoes everything in Isaiah

Sorry abut type-os I don't have time to go back and correct my shoddy typping!

I kind of get that this Mesiah is a political figure more than anything for the Jews. Where he is anointed by god of course, he is mostly carrying out a unification of peoples on earth, restoration of the Jews, etc.

Also, I don't see anywhere where they say he born of vigin birth in the scripture of the old testatment - the Torah.
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#5 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 01:22 AM
 
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The "Virgin " birth is the Mediterranean cultural interpretation of the "Messiah".

The Torah does speak of a "Maiden" giving birth to the Messiah, so "virgin birth" is actually a mistranslation, but an idea that more closely follows the mediterranean myths of the time.


Many rabbinical scholars feel that the messianic age may just be that - an epoch in Jewish history without one person ushering it in, but just a wonderful time for the world - a PAX ROMANA for the Jews if you want.
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#6 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 01:32 AM
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Not to go bang off topic here - but it reminds me of the fabled "Age of Aquarius" people speak of and prophesy about. worldwide healing and transformation, enlightenment - etc.
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#7 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 01:47 AM
 
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"Age of Aquarius"? ... Okay, I'll take it.

As a total side-injection, my rebbe z'l insisted that Mashiakh would be a couple (male&female). Going by the kabbalistic idea that one soul is not complete without its mate, and that Mashiakh would assuredly be ... well, complete ...



miriam, trying to understand the point of the related-to-Jesus thing.

He was a Jew from the tribe of Judah. So are most Jews (nonconverts, anyway) around today, except for the Levi'im and Kohanim ... so I'd guess most of us are related to him. And including the married-outs ... well, I'd guess lots of nonJews are related to him, too.

What your students said ... well, Yasser Arafat y'sh did call Jesus "the first Palestinian." :LOL Though sure'n his yiddishe mama would've been surprised at that ... :LOL
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#8 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 07:55 AM
 
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How will we know it is him?
Hmmm. I think the answer is, we'll notice the results.

The Klezmatics do a rendition of this old Yiddish song, Schnirele Perele. It's a great version of a 19th century Hasidic folksong.

Here's how they translated the song:

Quote:
A string of pearls, a golden banner
The messiah, son of David, sits on high
Holding a goblet in his right hand
Making a blessing on the whole land.

Amen and amen, this is sure
Moshiach will come this year

If he comes by chariot,
there will be good years.
If he comes on horseback,
There will be good times,
If he comes on foot,
The Jews will live in erets yisroyl.
In other words, they weren't picky about how he came, just as long as he came...

Me, I didn't grow up with heavy messianism. It was definitely a major theme in 2nd Temple/Early Rabbinic Judaism. But so was the afterlife, and the Reform movement didn't "do" that one, either! We mainly talked about a "messianic age."

Right now we are in the "messy-antic" age...

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#9 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 09:40 AM
 
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MERPK:

I am only quoting the Lebanese and Syrian students I have in my third grade class. They all claim to be related to each other (which may explain some things!), call each other cousins, and claim to be related to Jesus.

I do not believe this at all; I am simply relating the thinking of a present-day Mediterranean culture with the ancient cultural concept of a "messiah".

I teach in a Christian Orthodox School, but I am not the only Jewish teacher there. The education the students receive is otherwise superb and excellent quality. The idea that they are related to "Jesus" the messiah in their minds, comes from their parents and families, not my teaching.

I do not teach religion.

Sorry that I did not make that clear in the first place.
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#10 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 01:51 PM
 
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trabot, this thread started out far off base, in being an answer from the traditional jewish perspective.*edited because I am not allowed to say stuff like that*

Anyway, Moshiach is to be a leader, much like moshe rabeinu (moses) who will lead the jewish people, and the world out of this exile. Moshiach will help everyone know Hashem.
Fit in to the jewish tradition? It is one of the thirteen "articles of faith" (of Manonides) that moshiach will come. We believe, we wait each day.
We will know that moshiach is truly here when we see the results that moshiach is supposed to accomplish (world peace, the jews all united in eretz yisrael, etc)

HTH

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#11 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
it does have its roots in the Mediterranean Cultures.
This bothers me. It is your belief that its root is in another culture and not from Torah. All torah observant/ orthodox jews believe otherwise. To us it isn't a matter of belief or opion, it is a fact. But on a thread asking for the "anthropological basis" (by way of example) for the messiah I STILL would not state my belief as fact, as you have done here, I would be honest enough to acknowledge that my belief is foregn to what it seems the OP is looking for ("basis in JEWISH tradition and scripture" in this thread).


-BelovedBird

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#12 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 05:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by trabot
Where does the Messiah fit into the jewish traditions/scriptures?
you weren't really expecting one answer, were you?

more or less traditional view...

http://www.jewfaq.org/moshiach.htm

conservative view...

Since no one can say for certain what will happen in the Messianic era each of us is free to fashion personal speculation. Some of us accept these speculations are literally true, while others understand them as elaborate metaphors....

reform and reconstructionist take the abstraction of moshiach even further, many eliminating the concept alltogether.

and any moment now DaryLLL should be coming along to document how widely-spread the idea of moshiach/messiah was in those days among Jews and non-Jews alike.
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#13 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 05:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by BelovedBird
It is your belief that its root is in another culture and not from Torah.
that wasn't how i read her post: she seemed to be saying that many mediterannean cultures of "those times" had messiahnic beliefs, which is true.
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#14 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. Thanks you guys. This is all interesting to me.
I'm sorry if my original posting threw you guys off at all but I really was coming from a place way in the dark.

I have always head about the messiah...but I have so many jewish friends and in talking about religion and various things with them I don't think any of them believe that there is a actual messiah coming. which got me wondering 'where does messiah fit?"

And now having read the replies... I guess some believe he will come and it will be clear. And others think it is something more broad than an actual person coming in....right?

and does it change among the different groups, Hassidic versus Ashkenazi?

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#15 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 06:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by dado
you weren't really expecting one answer, were you?

Since no one can say for certain what will happen in the Messianic era each of us is free to fashion personal speculation. Some of us accept these speculations are literally true, while others understand them as elaborate metaphors....
and any moment now DaryLLL should be coming along to document how widely-spread the idea of moshiach/messiah was in those days among Jews and non-Jews alike.
OK, you sucked me in dado!!!

If this is OT, my apologies.

Literalist believers of any religion will look for a literal savior. Mystics or gnostics find it to be an archetype or psychological symbol. The myth cycle includes a fall into physicality (genesis) and a return to the primal parent (exodus), with the help of a redeemer figure.

Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, Christ, King and Annointed are all synonyms.

(even more OT, chrysm means oil in Greek. When I leaned this I thought it gave a whole new meaning to the product name Crisco! Yikes!)

Yes, it was a common idea in the Mediterranean region for a while before and after the turn of the new millenium (BCE--CE).

As far as I know, Osiris was one of the first. I believe the idea got started when sun/mountain/war male gods got going around 4000 BCE or so. Even so, the Goddess was often the eternal great god, the dying and ressurecting god somewhat lesser. Eventually this Goddess was suppressed.

We had Osiris, Adonis, Dionysus, Attis, Tammuz, Damuzi, Mithras, Bacchus. And of course, Jesus/Yeshua. The Jewish Lord (YHVH) was himself called a Redeemer. YVSVH is the spelling for Yeshua, Joshua and Jesus, all the same person. Just adding an S to the first (unpronouncable) name. Many early Xtians (Paul included)thought of Moses/Yeshua together as a Christ.

Many many human men were also thought to be redeemers/saviors. Often they were thought be be offspring of a god and a human female. Pythagorous was thought to be in this category. Many Roman emperors had monuments and inscriptions in this theme. "Ushering in a new ago of peace and prosperity" and so on.


He is born! He is born! O come and adore him!
Life-giving mothers, the mothers who bore him,
Stars of the heavens the daybreak adorning.
Ancestors, ye, of the Star of the Morning.
Women and men, O come and adore him,
Child who is born in the night.

He is born! He is born! O come and adore him!
Dwellers in Afterworld, be joyful before him,
Gods of the heavens come near and behold him,
People of earth, O come and adore him!
Bow down before him, kneel down before him,
King who is born in the night.

He is born! He is born! O come and adore him!
Young like the moon in its shining and setting,
Over the heavens his footsteps are ranging.
Starts never resting and stars never setting,
Worship the child of God's own begetting!
Heaven and earth, O come and adore him!
Bow down befire him, keel down before him!
Worship, adore him, fall down before him!
God who is born in the night.

--hymn to Osiris
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#16 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 07:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by dado
that wasn't how i read her post: she seemed to be saying that many mediterannean cultures of "those times" had messiahnic beliefs, which is true.
Really?
Well, I guess it is up to Miriam to say. But I have never heard the expression "It's roots are" to mean that something happened to have something in common with something else, rather that the thing is a direct result of the other thing- that it "came out of" it.

Quote:
and does it change among the different groups, Hassidic versus Ashkenazi
Chassidim are a kind of ashkenazim. (for further info on the differences between the various group names are look at jewfaq- the link provided by dado)
Pretty much (have never heard of otherwise) all torah observant jews believe there will be an actual moshiach and the world will change in some way after he shows up- at some point. The details are not that important to most of us.
And none of us believe that he will be in any way a god, or divine. Just a person, holy, knowledgable, righteous and a leader. Definitely not god.

I have no idea where Daryl is getting what she wrote or whose beliefs those are. Definately not judaism.

Christ (christos in greek) is the translation (more or less) for moshiach- annointed.

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#17 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 09:00 PM
 
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Anyway, where it fits in today is another question. You know that Maimonides (medieval legal authority from the Sephardi tradition) placed belief in the coming of the messiah in his 13 principles of faith he thought all Jews should believe. But as I wrote, the Reform movement and other reform (lower case R) movements have soft-pedaled the whole messiah thing. I think it's a combination between wanting to distance themselves from Christianity and finding the whole thing kind of embarassingly irrational.

Though we did learn to sing "Ani Ma'amin" (I believe) a song about believing in the Messiah. I guess they thought we wouldn't understand it? Too bad for them, I did and do understand what I'm singing when you hand me a random Hebrew song or prayer...

But in fact it's a core part of rabbinic Judaism, just like a lot of other stuff that I grew up thinking was decoration.

There are Chasidim (yes, they are Ashkenazi Jews) today who are expecting the moshiach any minute now. A pop music version of "Ani Ma'amin" was a worldwide hit about ten years ago. I've been to weddings where they danced to it.

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#18 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by BelovedBird
And none of us believe that he will be in any way a god, or divine. Just a person, holy, knowledgable, righteous and a leader. Definitely not god.
you make a very important point and one very few Jews would disagree with, whatever their feelings about the coming of, etc.
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#19 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 10:18 PM
 
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Well, BB, I said it was OT.

But a little bit of it was correct, Jewish-wise wasn't it?

I learned some of it from you.

Then I took off and read some books.

My most bestest favorite is The Jesus Mysteries, a book about non-literalist, mystic interpretations of the Jesus/Sophia myth cycle. Aka gnosticism.

Jesus and the Lost Goddess is its sequel. In it, I found some info on how the story of Jesus was a midrash designed by the Essenes, Greek speaking Jewish hermits from around 100BCE (they had left Jerusalem, disgusted with the quisling priests and the 2nd Temple Roman funny business), who created a new story for Jews, syncretizing the myth of the pagan dying and rising godmen I spoke of above, with the idea of the messiah, and the underlying esoteric meanings of the first 2 books of the Torah. I am not making this up. There is historical evidence for it. Ie: Dead Sea Scrolls and other sources.

If you read the NT, which I know you won't BB, but some might, you will see Jesus is not considered to be God in the godspells. He is considered to be Son of Man, a term for Messiah, perhaps? Raised by God after he died. Sure, some Jews believed he was the Messiah. Some still do.

(Some folks today think this gentleman is The One.)

http://www.worldandihomeschool.com/p...r/wis12726.asp

It wasn't until centuries later that the "church fathers" voted that, yes, Jesus was actually part of the triune God.

Of course, Unitarians don't believe this. Hence their name.

Of course, to the Jews, as I understand it, it would be heresy for G-d to be made flesh, then a human sacrifice.

I apologize if I have confused anyone. I love to compare myths and find similarities between cultures. It's just what I do. I certainly do not claim to speak for Orthodox Jewry! Ignore if it is too OT or not relevant to your spiritual life.
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#20 of 67 Old 09-15-2003, 11:57 PM
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hey cool to everyone. just wanted to say I didn't feel miriam's points were didactic at all. She was just reporting stuff she heard and did not state it as an iron clad fact. I'm sure she meant no offense.

peace out
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#21 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 01:17 AM
 
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DaryLLL, in re you're not speaking for Orthodox Jewry ... thanks.

:LOL



And in re some Jews felt Jesus was the messiah ... yes, they were the apostles. The first Christians were quite Jewish Jews. Almost certainly wore tefillin (phylacteries).

And in re those who "still do" ... those who still do are not practicing Judaism, they're believing Christians. No matter what their mother may have been ...

BB put everything rather clearly, didn't she.

And we wouldn't worry about the "heresy" of human sacrifice. G-d is not even remotely anthropomorphable ... the "made flesh" part is not Jewish. Nothing Jewish about it. Purely Christian.

And those concepts are not unique to Orthodox Jewry. They are universal, amongst all Jews.








c'o, the origins of Reform are in trying to get closer to Christianity, visibly, to become more a part of the host society, which happened to be Christian, without necessarily having to deal with Christian theology.

Remembering that the original Reform movement made the Seventh Day suddenly Sunday, instead of the up-to-that-time Jewish counting of seven to Saturday ...

I remember learning a long time ago (long before I was observant ... & would have to dig around to find the source for you) that the reason the messianist ideal was tossed by the early Reformers was because it involved the gathering of the dispersed in Zion, and the fathers of the Reform movement were tired of being separated in that way from their host countrymen ... meaning the dual loyalty charge ... so that they could say they were never intending or expecting or praying to leave the Fatherland ... recalling, of course, that they were German. More German than the Germans, as they'd say.

Lotta good it did them.
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Regarding the Hasidim and the Messiah:

(Q.V.: THE CHOSEN, , by Chaim Potok)

It is my reading and understanding of the Hasidic sects that the creation of the State of Israel in our time is an affront to G-d since only the coming of the Messiah would bring about the Jewish Nation State, not man.

There was a movie starring Rod Steiger as the Rebbe about this idea.
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#23 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 11:08 AM
 
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I think both the Hasidic and the Reform movements are more complex and diverse than you give them credit for, Miriam and Amy. Several courts or schools of Hasidic thought currently support Zionism and the state of Israel, including the largest, Lubavitch. I believe that several sects also supported it earlier, as well. (Somehow I think that if you get your history only from novels or movies, you can wind up with a less complex idea of a group of people. The Chosen really makes everything such a neat package.)

The Reform movement wasn't necessarily about becoming more Christian, either. Now, if I had a really good memory I would know the title of the documentary history of the Reform movement...but there is at least one document in the anthology The Jew in the Modern World (Reinharz and Mendes-Flohr, eds.) from the early 19th century German Reform movement--translated from HEBREW, please--from a Maskil defender of the Reformers who insisted that the movement would result in more Jews coming to synagogue and praying with more kavanah in the vernacular. So I wouldn't attribute strictly assimilationist motivations to the early Reformers.

Though when I used to read documents from The Jew in the Modern World with my students, they all wound up agreeing with the founder of Orthodoxy, the Hatam Sofer, when he suggested that a better way to get people to have kavanah would be for them to learn Hebrew. Funny to me because most of them didn't know Hebrew well enough to have kavanah, but it shows the force of the argument!

(T I would love to become more consistent in my transliterations, but I just can't bring myself to use kh where everyone else uses ch, khas v'khalileh)

Even on the issue of when to observe (or in the Reform movement, celebrate!) Shabbat, it seems there was some controversy among the Reformers.

But I did grow up in one of the congregations that historically had done their main service on Sunday. They didn't call it Shabbat, they just had their main service on Sunday...so that everyone could come to hear the famous orator rabbi preach...about the need for a state of Israel. You see, the Reform movement also had some Zionists in it, some very early as well.

We Jews are very interesting, it's impossible to characterize, to pin down any movement much less any individual. The place of women, Zionism, messianism, the use of the vernacular, kashrut--name an issue and you can find a surprise about it in Jewish history.

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#24 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 11:57 AM
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by merpk
BB put everything rather clearly, didn't she.

not really. if she had said "orthodox" it would have been clear, but the choice of "torah-observant" is not only unclear, it's bordering on antagonistic. that phrase means very different things to different people.

Judaism is a wonderful colorful tapestry of differences, that is its strength, and imo that strength should be respected.
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#25 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 12:26 PM
 
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not really. if she had said "orthodox" it would have been clear, but the choice of "torah-observant" is not only unclear, it's bordering on antagonistic. that phrase means very different things to different people.
OOH. Excuse me. I didn't mean to be antagonistic. I am not "orthodox". I am not part of a "movement". I try to observe the torah. Most people you wouls lable as "orthodox" try to observe the torah as well. In addition to some people you might label as "conservative" or "reconstructionist" or "unaffliliated".
Whatever. I do lables as infrequently as possible. Lables cause division. Division will definately not bring moshiach. Something that me and the rest of torah observant jews want.

Have a good day.

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#26 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 12:32 PM
 
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Oh, and Dado, seeing as you are not a very regular poster n this forum mabey you don't realize that to most of the regulars the meaning of "torah observant" is very clear. That is the term that I always use to describe "us".
Do a search.

-BelovedBird

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#27 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 01:05 PM
 
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it is clear from the tone of your posts that i have offended you. my apologies.
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#28 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 02:08 PM
 
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It is easy to offend BB. I am used to doing it almost weekly!

Just a little aside. Orthodox is a greek word. It means straight thinking. The early Roman Catholics claimed to be orthodox Christians. Me, I am heterodox, bordering on heretical.

What does "praying with more kavanah" mean, Captain?

Words, words, words. I am glad we are striving for unity. We are all part of the All.
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#29 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 02:35 PM
 
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c'o, agreed that of course there are plenty of Reform Zionists now, as there are plenty of Orthodox Zionists.

My point was that when Reform began, its original incarnation, there was absolutely no room for a return to Zion. Just as there was no room for kashrut ... :LOL which is where Conservative Judaism comes in ...

Okay, that last was a joke, lighten up everybody ... :LOL

As the years went by the original Reform orthodoxy, if you will, was mellowed, and of course, there are Reform Zionists now.

I was not putting all of modern-day Reform into one box. I was specifically talking about the reason that the framers of German Reform (the original Reform) ditched the concept of Mashiakh and a return to Zion.



dado in standard parlance, being "Torah observant" is usually along the same lines as being "shomer Torah u'mitzvos." Which is usually not how the "progressive denominations" refer to themselves.

And many of the folks that the "progressive denominations" refer to as "Orthodox" would prefer not to use that term to describe themselves. Most don't.


Just for clarification ... and in furtherance of ...




Wow, are we OT or what?
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#30 of 67 Old 09-16-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by DaryLLL
It is easy to offend BB. I am used to doing it almost weekly!
[QUOTE]

Where did I say I was offended? Please share the weekly instances where I said that with us.
Own your words, be honest.

I am far from offended. This is an internet bb. Say whatever you want about me.
Insulting others only speaks volumes of you. You don't know me in any real way so there is no way what you say about me can mean anything .

Daryl, kavanah means intention, midfulness. Prayer not just saying the words but thinking about what you are saying.

Dado, I am not sure what you are apologizing for. If calling someone's posts antagonistic ( or bordering on it, whatever)is seems appropriate to you, then go for it. I disagree with your assesment that a term that I have been using on this board for a year and a half is unclear. Torah observant would clearly mean those that attempt to observe torah law. The term is often shortened to "observant". As in "she is observant and I am not so when we go out it is usually to a kosher place".
Just because it isn't a term you use doesn't mean that a large number of jews don't. They do.

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