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כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Kofer Video Series In English

With great pleasure I announce that we translated part 1 of the great video series by Science Reason Israel called "Torah from Sinai: True or False?"

Let me know what you think and we may continue translating and captioning the other parts of the series:



With special thanks to Ephraim, Pinny, Shira, Benjamin and Science Reason Israel for making this happen!

62 comments:

  1. Just nonsense. Other than Judaism no religion is based on a mass revelation of an almighty creator. This makes Judaism more credible than any other religion.

    Regarding the Sioux myth, see here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Buffalo_Calf_Woman

    Regarding the Aztec myth see here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huitzilopochtli#Tenochtitlan_mythic_origins

    Regarding the Hindu myth see here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parashurama#Extermination_of_the_Haihaya-kshatriya_caste

    These are stories regarding superheroes, not revelations of the Creator.

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  2. If that's what your belief is after your conversion, that means you are still a dumb gullible goy

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  3. Excellent translation!

    JP, regarding the Sinai myth, see here.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=sinai+myth

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  4. And regarding the evolution myth, see here.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=evolution+myth

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  5. Keep 'em coming.

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  7. For people interested in learning more about how the Aztec/Mexica myth (which some scholars say, similar to the Torah, is a composite of different myths), I had a blog post awhile back where I show how the alleged unique qualities of Sinai are fulfilled by the Mexica migration myth. Check it out, the parallels are fascinating :)
    http://bpelta.blogspot.com/2010/12/kuzari-principle-proof-from-mass.html

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  8. Baruch,

    It's a good piece, but I have to disagree with you regarding the book of Nehemia. If you are going to quote the book, you have to quote it under its own assumptions and story. The book IS about them remembering what they were supposed to do as a Jewish nation. You can't just use their words of "remmebering" and "forgeting", put those words in quotes as if they aren't part of the story, than deliver a totally different conclusion — "Clearly, the Jewish people in the time of Ezra were encountering a new text with a new message" — in contradiction to what the narrative is telling you. Either you use the story, or you don't.

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    3. Holy Hyrax:

      Thanks, but I think you're misunderstanding to the text, perhaps even injecting later traditions into it. Nehemiah 8:17 says they dwelt in sukkas "for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so."

      You could hypothetically understand that to mean perhaps that since the days of Joshua, every parent had taught his children Torah, but each generation had forgotten to build a Sukkah before Sukkos. I think that would be quite the stretch of a reading. Rather, I think what it means is that after the generation of Joshua, the Jew s hadn't seen this stuff about a Sukkah, so as I wrote, "the Jewish people in the time of Ezra were encountering a new text with a new message."

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    4. I think that HH is emphasizing the acknowledgement of the text that this custom WAS done hundreds of years earlier (or by one count almost a millenium!). So either the custom was completely made up at the time or there was some oral tradition of same. The apologist's reading that focuses on כָל-הַקָּהָל can also be justified: that this was the first time since Joshua in which the ENTIRE nation celebrated the festival.

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    5. I think that HH is emphasizing the acknowledgement of the text that this custom WAS done hundreds of years earlier (or by one count almost a millenium!).
      I see my post was misunderstood and that's what lead me to possibly misunderstand Hyrax's question: I was just saying that it was a new message for the Jewish people in the time of Ezra!

      But in any event, I disagree with the idea that if we take a semi-historical document seriously, we have to accept all it's claims. We can only speculate, but some claims are more extraordinary than others. It's true that if we think Ezra-Nehemiah is a semi-historical document, we could hypothetically argue that this was an ancient tradition which was forgotten and then revived by Ezra once he revealed the Torah to the Jewish people. But I think that argument is so far-fetched as to be unreasonable.

      The apologist's reading that focuses on כָל-הַקָּהָל can also be justified: that this was the first time since Joshua in which the ENTIRE nation celebrated the festival.
      Yeah, I find the phrase וַיִּמְצְאוּ, כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה, "and they found written in the Law" to be far more telling.

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    6. >I disagree with the idea that if we take a semi-historical document seriously, we have to accept all it's claims.

      Well you don't, obviously, but where do you draw the line? The idea of God's relationship to Israel and his convenient with them is not something introduced in Nehemia. It is scattered everywhere. Of course, everyone will find something unreasonable or reasonable depending on their own opinion, but I don't think it IS unreasonable to think that he did revive this old tradition that their forefathers forsook. So you will disagree and say it was a brand new message. Ok. But frankly, that is not the message of that book. I'm not even saying that this shows that the Torah we have today would be the Torah that was Revealed. But some sort of national history of these things seem to have existed....at least to me.

      >Yeah, I find the phrase וַיִּמְצְאוּ, כָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה, "and they found written in the Law" to be far more telling.

      Why? Sounds like you are reading something into it the author did not imply. Since the same author that wrote that also wrote of them people accepted it upon remembering their history and forsaking the sins of their fathers.

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    9. My problem is: If Ezra invented Judaism, then what happened to whatever the Jews believed prior to that? There should have been thunderous battles against this new heresy, until the Ezra camp prevailed. Additionally, why did the Samaritans, who don't respect Ezra at all, accept his innovations? This implies that Ezra had some implausibly total control over human thought and behavior, similar to what Holocaust denialists attribute to Jews.

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    10. I agree that there's a national myth, after all at this point there's a Jewish people. But I also think it's far more likely that Ezra's introducing new elements than to say that he suddenly discovered old ones...so much more likely that I don't really take the latter possibility seriously. I certainly don't take the idea that there was a Torah revealed seriously. I do think that's really off the wall, and I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

      On thinking about what you and Zach wrote some more, I'll concede to you the possibility that Ezra might have taken a custom that some Jews were doing, and made it a national tradition, that's truly possible. I don't find that to be a compelling reading of what Nehemiah's saying (that's all I was trying to say), but it's possible that's what happened. I really don't find it compelling to say that there's any reason to think that maybe that custom was possibly as ancient as Joshua. I don't take that claim seriously because it's made up, it's based on nothing.

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    12. The above was directed at Holy Hyrax, JP's comment just showed up. I know the Anchor Bible Dictionary talks about when Samaritans might have accepted the Samaritan Pentateuch, but I haven't seen it inside...Someone else brought it up after I wrote my posts. I think it's a compelling question, and possibly a knock-down argument against taking Ezra-Nehemiah seriously as a semi-historical text. I'm not so sure now that Ezra-Nehemia is as historical as I used to think it was. I'm just arguing that if we do accept the text, the Jews are accepting something new to them. It's far more likely than to say there was an ancient Revelation they're getting this from.

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    13. "It's far more likely than to say there was an ancient Revelation they're getting this from."

      How so? The Mount Sinai revelation is very likely.

      Based upon the Watchmaker Analogy, we know that God created us.

      Since He created us, it's seems very likely that at some point in history He would reveal to us why.

      Since a revelation to an individual could easily be dismissed as a delusion, the revelation would have to be public to be plausible to mankind in general.

      The only occasion in recorded history where a public revelation of the Creator's will to mankind has occurred is the revelation at Mount Sinai.

      It's historical factuality is attested to by the tradition of two separate nations, the Jews and Samaritans, since time immemorial.

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    14. I don't believe that ANY of the books of Tanach would satisfy today's criteria for an historical text. The ultimate purpose was theological, and even purely descriptive events had this underlying intention. It almost seems to me that Nehemiah is saying, "Wow, you should have checked out the Sukkot holiday - we never partied so hard since Joshua's time!"

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    15. The dominating historical discourse in its current state was essentially crafted in the 16th century from a rather contradictory jumble of sources such as innumerable copies of ancient Latin and Greek manuscripts whose originals had vanished in the Dark Ages.

      Henry Ford famously said “History is more or less bunk. It's tradition.”

      If one is willing to accept that Aristotle was a real person, there is no reason to doubt the existence of Abraham and if one can believe that the Peloponnesian War happened, there is no reason he cannot believe that the Mount Sinai revelation happened.

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    16. >I'm just arguing that if we do accept the text, the Jews are accepting something new to them. It's far more likely than to say there was an ancient Revelation they're getting this from.

      I can't prove there was a revelation, obviously. Nor can I surmise from this text alone that there was a Revelation. But the text does cap off a pattern found in the rest of the books that predate Ezra that Israelites were part of a covenant from God. Whether that covenant translated to the Sefer Torah exactly is immaterial to me. What I want to know is whether Ezra's message is brand new, sprinkled with some myth, or it's part of long (yet maculate) chain.


      >but I haven't seen it inside...Someone else brought it up after I wrote my posts. I think it's a compelling question, and possibly a knock-down argument against taking Ezra-Nehemiah seriously as a semi-historical text

      Not sure what you mean, but the Samaritans were obviously there. And I don't think there was such close ties to the Jews of that time for them to learn, let alone accept a Torah from them. One has to ask from when did the Samaritans get their Torah...which I believe predate the arrival of Ezra. And don't forget about the Jews in Babylon....who were the majority. Did they get a new message from Ezra as well? Or did the Jews in babylon already accept this brand new tale while in Diaspora, and Ezra just reiterates it to them on their return?

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  9. I'm not hearing a translation...

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    1. They are subtitles: you may have to click the CC button to see them.

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    2. Cool, just watched it. Very cogently presented.

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  10. The point of this youtube clip seems to: Judaism is just the same as any other traditional religion, therefore the sensible think to do is embrace atheism.

    I completely refute that concept here.

    http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

    Judaism is completely unique and atheism is nonsense.

    Regarding the idea that Ezra invented Judaism, I refute that also.

    http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/01/does-ezra-jesus.html

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    1. "I completely refute that concept here."

      I'd say that says enough about your open-mindedness. But the Holocaust proving Orthodox Judaism was really the joke of the day :P

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    2. As usual, facts are refuted by the appeal to ridicule, a logical fallacy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ridicule

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  11. I can't wait until after May 20th when JP has to get his internet filter installed as per the instructions of his Lithuanian School Gedoylim all gathered together in some goy sports stadium. He does listen to them......right?!

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  12. It's interesting how atheists make so much effort to try and silence anyone dissenting with, how they can't bear to hear other points of view, how afraid they are.

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  13. I'm not trying to silence anyone...I'm just concerned about your neshama and worried about the aveirah you will be committing by not listening to the words of the Holy G-doylim. I fear for your soul.

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  14. You're afraid of the buzzkill.

    http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/05/buzzkill.html

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  15. You're concerned you may still be a goy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goy

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  16. I'm more concerned that you're insane.

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  17. Thanks for the link - and the translation!

    It's a good start towards articulating the points that 1) other religions and national mythologies are believed as historical truth with no less certainty than frum Jews believe in Matan Torah, and 2) such claims of historicity, including Matan Torah, are patently absurd to anyone outside the group.

    To me this is already clear as day. What interests me more is something else. What I want to know is what's the THEREFORE in this equation? Meaning, ok - Matan Torah is a myth. No God or gods appeared to anyone. Therefore what? Therefore we drop Judaism like a ton of bricks? Therefore we join a Reform Temple? What's the "therefore"?

    For me, it means a Judaism that is practiced purely out of volition - to the extent that we find it meaningful, valuable, stimulating, enjoyable, challenging in a growth-oriented way, etc. It's a Judaism that we practice as mature adults - not because a "father figure" deity tells us to or threatens us if we don't. To me, that's the "therefore" here.

    But I'd like to know what other people think.

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    1. Therefore: Orthodox Judaism is a fraud just like any other religion. As soon as we know that, we can all strive towards a more liberal form of religion / respect those who believe otherwise.

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    2. "such claims of historicity, including Matan Torah, are patently absurd to anyone outside the group"

      I was outside the group. I'm a convert.

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    3. UK - I definitely agree about being more respectful/liberal toward others. And while the word "fraud" might apply to certain aspects, there's a whole lot more to Judaism, including Orthodox Judaism, that has nothing whatsoever to do with belief in myths or dogma, and where the term fraudulent doesn't apply.

      JP - You're very right. I should have said patently absurd to "most people". There are after all converts to every religion who adopt belief systems they would otherwise consider to be unreasonable.

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    4. Like Jews who convert to atheism and start believing that worms turned into people.

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    5. JP - You're simplifying a reasonably substantiated theory about a process encompassing billions of years, into a ridiculous soundbyte.

      In any case, I didn't mean that belief in a Creator is patently absurd. It's reasonable to think there is some Intelligence behind the universe, and also reasonable to think that there isn't (since no "proof" exists for this per se). I'm referring to taking the Torah's narrative as 100% historical/literal, which is far beyond common-sense reasonability on many levels.

      I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't be able to believe in unreasonable things if they want to, but better to be honest/modest about it and call it "a leap of faith".

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    6. The Torah is blindingly obvious the truth while evolution is clearly an evil fairy tale. For details, see www.torahphilosophy.com

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    7. "The Torah is blindingly obvious the truth" - I love how you added 'blindingly' to 'obvious the truth' ;)

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    8. It's a fact because JP believes so. Uhm...

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  18. I think God giving the Torah at Mount Sinai makes a lot more sense than the idea that muddy water can turn into people or that people are soulless, robot-like zombies who have no free will and no moral responsibility.

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    1. I think it makes most sense to say that we don't know how the universe works than to believe in a God handing down a primitive scroll on a mountain in the desert.

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    2. What's so primitive about it?


      Monotheism greatly simplifies our understanding of the universe and originated in the Torah.

      Altruism, the idea of caring for other people without getting anything in return, is something which brings great happiness to the world and originated in the Torah.

      The concept of the weekend brings a welcome periodic respite from work and originated in the Torah.

      Pleasure is psychologically necessary, however it's easy to slip into dangerous addictions. The Torah teaches us how to live a balanced life.

      To help us to observe all the above, Judaism includes a total educational system.

      The Torah is also the oldest book written using an alphabet.

      I think "inconvenient" may be the word your looking for.

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  19. "Since He created us, it's seems very likely that at some point in history He would reveal to us why."

    I love this one. Does not make sense one iota.

    What makes sense is that in ancient times, we did not know the earth was round, or why thunder would rumble, or what lightning was, or rain, or rainbows or why anything in the physical world happened. There was very little advancement in terms of science, and education and educational resources were either zero or extremely limited.

    So people made shit up...and now we find ourselves, STILL BELIEVING IT. its truly mindboggling. we KNOW about thunder. we KNOW the earth is not flat....yet many (hopefully diminishing with education) still believe in this narishkeit.

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  20. My comment totally makes sense, while your confusing Judaism and Greek paganism.

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  21. "My comment totally makes sense"

    oh, then never mind.

    lol

    "totally"

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    1. Ksil, once you get past the porn sites, you're way over your head intellectually.

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    2. man, you are obssessed with porn sites. projecting.

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    3. Just like narcotics agents are obsessed with drugs. Projecting.

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    4. And that Unorthodox Jew blogger. Why is he ONLY writing about pedophiles. Must be he's an abuser himself.

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  22. His very holy mission is to save childrens lives and remove dangerous predators from the community.

    Your mission is to yell and scream that OTHER PEOPLE (wink wink) are obssessed with porn. Uh huh, yea, right, sure, whatever. Why thats a subject in your head that you care about only you know (and the rest of us! Lol)

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    1. No, Ksil, I think you're on to something with this "projection" business. Everytime I criticize atheists for watching porn, which isn't very often, you start telling me I'm a porn addict.

      UOJ is obsessed with pedophilia from beginning to end.

      http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/

      Obviously the guy's a huge pervert and just projecting his crimes onto other people. God know's how many little boys he's had sex. With guy's like him around, in another 40 years we'll have a homosexual society and laws banning straight marriage. A guy marrying a girl? Disgusting!

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    2. boy oh boy.

      you are one sick puppy.

      i feel bad for your poor kids

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    3. ksil, just go back to the porn. That's more on your mental level.

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    4. again with the porn. as usual.

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    5. If I'm a porn user, then Unorthodox Jew must be a pedophile. You can't use this "projection" nonsense only on monotheists and not atheists.

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