[b-hebrew] Zech 6:8

Herman Meester crazymulgogi at gmail.com
Fri Dec 9 13:08:35 EST 2005


2005/12/9, Steve Miller <smille10 at sbcglobal.net>:
>
>
>  SM: Herman, thanks very much. I did not know any of this. I can only read
> English. I cannot read Hebrew, whether pointed or not, well enough to
> understand it without helps. I think this would be over my head. I do have
> the Stone Tanach with interesting footnotes, but they are often not
> Biblically supported. I have read all of David Baron's and Charles
> Feinberg's writing on Zechariah, and they had studied much Jewish writing.
> David Baron's writing on the Urim and Thummim from "The Ancient Scriptures
> and the Modern Jew" was very enlightening.
>

Dear Steve,

What you said, "I do have the Stone Tanach with interesting footnotes, but
they are often not Biblically supported", that's exactly a part of the
essence of Judaism you're touching upon here. You are right, of course, that
we find lots of things in the Stone Tanach that are, at first sight, not
"biblically supported". However, according to the Jewish tradition (already
mentioned extensively in the Mishnah) these notes, too, are part of Torah,
but they are part of the Oral Torah (Tora shebbe`al peh), whereas Tanach is
the Written Torah (Tora shebbikhtav). The former is considered to be
essential to a proper understanding of the latter, and both are one Torah.
Moses himself is said to have handed down both the Oral Torah and the
Written Torah.
This is an interesting point of view, and of course Christianity uses its
traditions for its exegesis as well; we cannot really say that there is any
religion based on the Bible that could deal with life based solely on the
literal text of the Old Testament. In a way, Jesus' great moral teachings
are part of the "Oral Torah" too.
Talking about the word Bible; the difference between contemporary
Christianity and Judaism is that (traditional and chasidic) Jews would not
really think the word "Bible" is useful, they'd say "Torah", and in that
case Torah may mean much more than a book. It is actually Divine Wisdom
itself, or it can be the activity of studying the Talmud.
I think there is so much to be told about this subject, that I think it is
wise I limit myself here. If you have any special questions regarding Jewish
exegesis of the Bible, do not hesitate to ask.

If you take a good look at the notes in your ArtScroll/Stone Tanach, you'll
see a great lot of them are found in midrashim. And even if they mention
Rashi, he found it in a midrash.
So you already have quite a treasury on midrashim at this very moment!
(ArtScroll represents traditional, non-Hassidic (and Ashkenazi, i.e.
"European") Judaism; sometimes their opinions are a little conservative, but
their books are quite good).


Best regards,
שלום
Herman


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