Identity, Religion

Samsonblinded Blinded By Ignorance

Thank you Nikol for ruining my day.
Well, maybe not for ruining it but certainly for injecting a sour note.
In a response to my post earlier today about Yidcore’s new “shteller” (position) you wrote; “That’s all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher’s criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as a holiday that has nothing to do with New Year?
Nikol, Nikol, Nikol. I’m not really sure what your comment has to do with my post other than the fact that the topic is Rosh haShanah. But think. Do we really need to spend our time paying attention to what far right doomsday prophets are saying about Rosh haShanah? I think not but I sensed that you were upset and followed your link despite myself and that’s where the sour note entered my day.
Obadiah Shoher’s post about Rosh haShanah is so offensively ignorant that if he didn’t seem to be a radical supporter of Israel I would think he was an Anti-Semite. His post even includes the prerequisite Anti-Semitic cartoon! But you’d be proud of me Nikol. I made up my mind not to let this get to me and I’ve decided instead to have some fun with his post!
I propose a little game. I put together a list of 9 quotes from his post that are blatant and completely ignorant errors. The rules are as follows: Read his post. As you’re reading come up with a mental list of errors. Then compare your list to mine and if we agree then you win! 😉
Now, on your mark get set, GO! (READ POST)
Here’s my list:

1. “Jewish new year is commanded in the spring month of Nissan to commemorate Exodus.” FALSE – the Torah says that Nissan is the first with regards to counting the months – it says nothing about there being any sort of Holiday or Celebration. (As a matter of fact Jews are too busy cleaning their houses of crumbs and baking matzos to even consider an additional Holiday on Rosh Chodesh Nissan – not to mention still hung over from Purim)
2. “Rabbis moved Rosh ha-Shanah to autumn for no theological reason.” FALSE – there was no Rosh haShanah to move and the reasons in fact for choosing Tishrei over Nissan are clearly discussed in the Talmud with important underlying themes of theological import quite evident. (And don’t you think that the Rabbi’s would’ve argued a bunch about this and then we’d have some people celebrating Rosh haShanah in Nissan to this day!?)
3. “Hasidim are traveling to Medzhibozh to honor Ball Shem Tov, a founder of their religion considerably removed from other branches of Judaism.” FALSE – In fact they are traveling to Uman. (And which branches of Judaism are Chassidim considerably removed from any more than any other Orthodox Jew?)
4. “Besht introduced many doctrinal innovations, and some of them, like God abiding in each human being, are Gnostic.” FALSE – To the best of my knowledge the Baal Shem Tov did not introduce this concept into Judaism. (I’d guess – if there is a similar concept in Gnostic thought that perhaps they stole it from us?)
5. “The Gaon had a good sense of preventing Jewish community from another split, and accepted Hasidim as proper adherents of Judaism.” FALSE – Ummm… No. He did not accept them. (And they’ve never forgiven him for that either!)
6. “Praying at one’s grave is the ultimate pagan rite.” FALSE – assuming he means that it is the ultimate form of avoda zara – that is not the case. (Unless he means that in the Pagan world this is the Ultimate form of worship. That might explain centuries of grave defilement in Jewish cemeteries – they were just overzealous pagans…)
7. “Theoretically, Hasidim pray at the grave. In practice, many pray to the late Besht (still more pray in New York to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe).” FALSE – I hope. (In any case how does he KNOW what’s going on in their minds?)
8. “As the New Year draws near, Hasidim will engage in equally pagan rite of shaking their tzitzit at seashore.” FALSE – and this is my absolute favorite! (Chassidim in fact shake their tzitzit every chance they get!)
9. “Modern Jews who deem themselves religious sacrifice roosters just anywhere.” FALSE (First they make sure to alert PETA so they can come shoot video)
Isn’t this fun!?

11 thoughts on “Samsonblinded Blinded By Ignorance

  1. Nikol has been spamming multiple blogs (including mine) with comments that have little connection to the actual post, promoting various posts on Samsonblinded.

  2. Can’t say I agree with Shoher, but neither you are right.
    1. Start of the first month logically corresponds to the new year.
    2. Where does Mishna state a reason for transferring the new year into autumn? I’m not aware of any such discussion.
    3. Uman is R.Nahman. Medzhibozh is for BeShT.
    4. You are incorrect on that point
    5. The Gaon of Vilna accept BeShT followers as Jews rather than anathemized them, as his followers expected him to do.
    6. I’m not an expert in the area, but Shoher refers to Saul and the witch account which clearly condemns communication with dead.
    7. You hope, but do you know the facts?
    8. False – what? There is such rite, it is not prescribed in the Torah, and I agree that it is no different from pagans transferring their sins into pigs.

  3. Rabbis moved Rosh ha-Shanah to autumn for no theological reason.” FALSE – there was no Rosh haShanah to move and the reasons in fact for choosing Tishrei over Nissan are clearly discussed in the Talmud with important underlying themes of theological import quite evident
    Actually, it’s thought that ROsh Hashanah is actually based on a national non-Jewish holiday on which the king’s reign is reaffirmed. The Jewish genius was to make this holiday a religious one, in which The Only King is affirmed. IMO, that’s cool, not anti-RH.
    But regarding the LUb. rabbi -well, evidence is that there are lots – possibly upwards of half- of lub’ers who pray to him and regard him as not only not deceased, but possibly as something God-like. Is that pagan? yes, but that’s not really problem for Judaism, except insofar as trusting their kashrut supervision, since where it’s the case that they do worship their rebbe in this way, it simply isn’t Judaism. It’s Christianity. The problem being of course, how to tell the ones who do, from the also large number who don’t.I do hear that this problem is somewhat more pronounced in the FSU where the descendants of Jews are more used to CHristianty and where proselytization is more pronounced and anti-semitism still quite strong, so that Jews with no knowledge fo Judaism find that kind of religious er, idea, very familiar, and so it’s harder to shake them off the idea that it’s okay to think thusly and still call yourself Jewish.
    Re; The New Year, well, we have a right lot of them. Four in fact. Just like secularly, we have a tax year, a school year, and
    a calendar year. Which is the “real” new year? Why don’t we move them all to coincide with January first? Because it wouldn’t be convenient to the way we actually, live, that’s why.

  4. Sorry, he’s not right about a lot, but you’re also not right about a lot.
    As others have commented, there are a number of paganistic practices that have gotten into Judaism in the past few hundred years – not just Kaparot, which clearly has no Jewish pedigree as a ritual and has been contested ever since it started, but since when does Tashlich (a prayer said at a body of water, quoting a pasuk where God promises to toss our sins into the deeps) involve actually throwing objects away as if they are sins? When I was little they’d give the kids bread to feed the ducks with while the adult said Tashlich. Now it seems like every RH afternoon is designated for gluten pollution in the local watershed.
    Praying to/at the graves of the dead is also a custom of doubtful Yiddishkeit and likely arose in the Middle Ages under Christian/Muslim influence (like upsherin, and going to Meron). The whole Tum’ah-Taharah structure leans against it. In fact, what are chassidish Kohanim supposed to do, who can’t enter cemetaries?
    At the same time, he does have many dumb statement…like the whole railing against Rosh Hashana. It’s in the Torah as Yom Hazikaron (which in context most likely means “Day of Sovereignty”). What more does he want?

  5. To clarify for Alex who wrote that 1.”Start of the first month logically corresponds to the new year” and 2.”where does Mishna state a reason for transferring the new year into autumn? I’m not aware of any such discussion.”
    OK I’ll clarify for you. Let’s start with point 1.
    Sure. Logically for you. The Talmud however has a very different logic than we do which is to be expected of course in a document written in a different time and place. The Talmud on the one hand has a teaching from the oral tradition that there is a “Rosh haShanah” for years (alongside several other Rosh haShanahs) and on the other hand the fact that the written Torah makes no mention of a holiday called Rosh haShanah. There is only a Yom haZikaron or a Yom Teruah. The concept of Rosh haShanah for years was inextricably linked to the concept of Judgement – “din” which is not at all tied in to when we count the first month of the year.
    Just to give you a glimpse at the underlying issues here: The hebrew word ‘chodesh’ (month) has the implication of ‘chadash’ (new) as opposed to ‘shanah’ (year) which has the additional implication of ‘shinui’ (change). The two can go together but they are very different and when you view it from this perspective it is not a logical necessity that they are one and the same.
    As for point 2. Should you be interested – see the discussion regarding all of this is in TB Rosh Hashanah 8a,8b for starters…

    Also – am I missing something here? Are people actually going to Medzhibozh for Rosh haShanah? I am not aware that this is done…
    Now, with regards to error #4 about whether the Besht introduced the concept of God inside of us – I indicated that I was vague on this point and I still am. One thing I do know is that this idea is taught in Both the Tanya and Nefesh haChayim so clearly this is one idea that the Besht and the Gra were in agreement about…
    And finally, thanks, Kol Ra’ash Gadol, for your insight regarding the various secular “Rosh haShanah’s we have and why they need to be at different times.

  6. chillul Who?:
    “The whole Tum’ah-Taharah structure leans against it. In fact, what are chassidish Kohanim supposed to do, who can’t enter cemetaries?”
    Nu???? Since when can Torah be m’kabel tumah??? The Rebbe and the Rebbe Nachman were/are pure Torah!!! No different from a kosher scroll!!! Down to the last worm-feeding molecule of their… ummm… decomposing, rotting… ehr….

  7. He’s a spammer – He spammed my food blog, which doesn’t discuss anything political or particularly religious. In particular, he spammed my post of a Honey Cake recipe. With the same exact words he spammed you with, including the “That’s all fine…” So pay him no mind.

  8. He posted the same comment on my blog — in response to my post about my Second Annual Vegan Jewish-Foods Mega-Potluck for Rosh Hashanah. Eh, at least it seemed SLIGHTLY more relevant than a honey cake recipe! 🙂

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