[b-hebrew] A question about the word "oral" with respect to sources scientifically

Ethel Jean (Kowan) Saltz macnietspingal at airmail.net
Fri Nov 17 11:20:01 EST 2006

I usually get what I consider "crude" responses from people who claim the 
"oral" law.

Scientifically speaking, is there such a place for "oral" anything on this 

Eg. Midrash is not "oral" law any more in the 21st century.  It's written 
data.  So to use the word "oral" seems rather unscientific.

It would be more courteous to the brain if people who think my sources are 
"crude" would simply strike out the word "oral" and simply quote the 
document exactly like we do the Bible in the Torah Scrolls in my Trope 
Trainer DVD and every Bible I own in English, Hebrew, Spanish and the 
English version of the Koran.  The English all in searchable and easily 
formatted to the clipboard software and very cheap too.

So if it's the Midrash, simply respond as a source the exact Midrash and the 
exact words.  Or an encylopedia's quotation.  But if you respond by "the 
oral law says", it simply means that it's YOU, AT/ah, that are saying it. 
It's not scientific at all.  It doesn't matter if you are quoting your 
favorite teacher.  It's the source of your favorite teacher's quote that is 
the evidence.  I was shocked recently to find out that one of my favorite 
Rabbi's interpretations of the Bible that was totally modern for me and I 
took for granted was Reform, turned out I really READ his biography and he's 
Orthodox.  Which shows how we can be blinded by our own bias, even though 
it's documented.  That way personalites might not come between the 
scientific education presented and politics.

Another example of "oral" law personally and scientifically.  All my life 
I've blamed the depression for my mom being on welfare.  This inspite of the 
fact that my dad was kicked out of the house when I was 6, son of an 
Orthodox Rabbi, probably cantor-trained, and died in his middle thirties 
from hospital neglect.  The scientific facts: my dad had a great dairy truck 
route.  He fed the slot machines instead of his family.  Now, after 3/4 of a 
century, I realize "orally" that it was the depression that gave me an 
economic advantage.

I am forever grateful to this site for giving me an opportunity to learn a 
new subject in linguistics , "matres lectiones".   I never knew that my 
puzzlement about translating Hebrew was actually of normal concern:) 

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