Spot the Error — or, Arutz Sheva Can’t Read the Bible

Crossposted to The Reform Shuckle.

Arurtz Sheva, the news service of the West Bank’s settlers says:

In a powerful echo of the Biblical story of the patriarch Abraham, a Mumbai doctor smashed his father’s idols and eventually decided to become a Jew in the Land of Israel.

Abraham was born Vagirds Frads to a Hindu cleric who worshipped idols, and a mother who prepared food for them.  As did the Biblical Abraham, young Vagirds could not understand how his father could honor a man-made statue, nor why his mother would cook for them. “Sometimes I eat it in secret,” he confided…

What’s wrong with this? Special Thanksgiving Turkey points to the first person who gets it right.

The full article is here. Hat-tip: Yid By Choice.

Filed under Bible, Conversion, Israel

18 Responses to “Spot the Error — or, Arutz Sheva Can’t Read the Bible”

  1. Um… the story of Abraham smashing the idols isn’t actually Biblical? :-)


    Rachel Barenblat · November 24th, 2009 at 8:20 pm
  2. Special Turkey points for Rachel!

    Wasn’t that easy, Arutz Sheva?


    David A.M. Wilensky · November 24th, 2009 at 8:44 pm
  3. Abraham smashed the idols in midrash, yo.


    Danya · November 24th, 2009 at 8:51 pm
  4. Oop, got there too late.


    Danya · November 24th, 2009 at 8:51 pm
  5. It’s not in the Bible (though it can be found in the Koran…)


    Joshua · November 24th, 2009 at 8:58 pm
  6. Joshua writes:
    It’s not in the Bible (though it can be found in the Koran…)

    Now Arutz Sheva shows its true colors!


    BZ · November 24th, 2009 at 9:11 pm
  7. Word, BZ and Joshua. They’re obviously covert Islamofascists!


    David A.M. Wilensky · November 24th, 2009 at 9:32 pm
  8. Hello

    I’m not an Aroutz7 fan but this “biblical story” is in the Midrash. It’s still a “Biblical story”

    You will understand everything by reading this:
    bit.ly/abrahamidrash


    Jeremie Berrebi · November 25th, 2009 at 3:31 am
  9. First source – Jubilees. A7 must be part of the Qumran sect (this explains alot).


    Amit · November 25th, 2009 at 7:31 am
  10. I’m no fan of Arutz Sheva but this isn’t the fairest criticism, inasmuch as it’s not a mistake on their part but rather a reflection of a different conception of pshat/drash than a liberal Jew might have.

    What many (not all) liberal Jews think of as “pshat” is the plain meaning of the Biblical text in its historical context- what it meant at the time, as it were. What many (not all) traditional Jews think of as “pshat” is often not in the text at all, but the “simple meaning” as explained in the tradition of oral Torah.

    That’s why Rashi can say something is “pshat” that looks an awful lot like drash.


    Neal · November 25th, 2009 at 1:21 pm
  11. Abram (before the name change) did not become an oved hashem in Israel or even Canaan. He did it back in Ur.

    Of course, under the new Rabinate rules it wouldnt have counted as a giyur unless he left a country that did not have a yeshivah and unless he agreed to wear Polish chlothing that had not yet been invented. At least he could have worn only black. And Sarai, you have to suspect a giyores who does not wear a sheitel (as lonf as it is not Indian). Probably a DL or Conservative conversion. Definitely a Rabbi Druckman style conversion that should be retroactively rejected. He didnt even know enough to have his name be Avrohom Ben Avrohom.


    Yerachmiel Lopin · November 25th, 2009 at 2:30 pm
  12. Avraham Fards, welcome to Klal yisroel. May we be enriched by your search for the truth. May we be graced by your Yidishkeit. May we learn from you as much as you learn with us. May we hear the truths you can see with fresh eyes as one for whom torah comes alive every day. May you share with us what you saw that may resemble what Avrohom glimpsed the first time he recognized the One G-d.

    Mazal Tov and our wishes for much hatzlachah.


    Yerachmiel Lopin · November 25th, 2009 at 2:41 pm
  13. Avraham Fards, welcome to Klal yisroel. You should know that your chances of being a good Jew are greatly diminished by living in Hebron or Kiryat Arba. You were a much better Jew living in India and healing people instead of living in the west bank actively detracting from other people’s civil and and human rights each and every day. May you share with us what you saw that may resemble what Avrohom glimpsed the first time he recognized the One G-d, so we can tell you there’s got to be something wrong with it if you moved to Hebron.


    Amit · November 25th, 2009 at 3:15 pm
  14. The merits (or demerits, in the case of life in Kiryat Arba) of the person in question notwithstanding, thanks to @Jeremy for that great link about the midrash!


    Simcha Daniel Burstyn · November 25th, 2009 at 4:40 pm
  15. Neal, what does pshat have to do with this? It’s a question of whether it’s in the the Torah or not. And it’s not. And, you’re right, it’s not a real criticism of A7, but I just thought it was funny.

    Yerachmiel, RIGHT ON!


    David A.M. Wilensky · November 30th, 2009 at 12:59 pm
  16. David- my point is that’s it’s unfair to criticize A7 for not knowing that something isn’t in the Torah when they’re using a fundamentally different definition of the word “Torah” than you probably are.

    If you believe in the Oral Torah, then there are things that are in “the Torah” just as much as “shma Yisrael” even though you will not find them in the printed Chumash. After all, the whole concept of “d’oraita” means that there are some laws, stories, and interpretations given at Sinai that were transmitted orally until they were put down in the time of Talmud.

    You might not believe that, and I don’t believe that (well, I sorta kinda believe it and don’t at the same time) but if somebody else does, then yes, for them, the story of Avraham smashing the idols might be very much part of the Torah given at Sinai, and it’s not a “mistake” for them to say so.


    Neal · December 1st, 2009 at 1:21 pm
  17. The original article doesn’t say “Torah”, it says “Biblical”, which means “Tanakh”. People talk about the “Oral Torah”, but not the “Oral Bible”.


    BZ · December 1st, 2009 at 1:35 pm
  18. Right, but if you’re the kind of person who believes in Oral Torah you probably believe that all of Tanach is Divinely revealed and is a harmonious message which requires the Oral Torah for correct understanding. After all, a huge amount of midrash – Oral Torah- explains the Written Torah (i.e, five books of Moses) by means of verses and words occurring in other part of the Bible.

    Please note: I’m not saying Arutz Sheva is correct that the story of Avraham smashing the idols is “Biblical,” nor do I know the authoritative status of that particular midrash. My point is merely that criticizing someone for saying something that’s a mistake according to one’s own perspective may be different than criticizing someone for making a mistake according their perspective.


    Neal · December 1st, 2009 at 1:51 pm

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik