Response to Daat Emet Issue Kislev 5760-Kislev 5761
- These responsa have not been reviewed by the Sanhedrin and may or may not reflect the official position of the Sanhedrin, they are the work of the esteemed Rabbi Dov Stein, and are included here to indicate the kind of questions being handled by the Sanhedrin - Webmaster.
SHEET ( Kislev 5760 yellow color): Words of the Lebovitzer Rabbi
Argument Faith depends on the soul. Therefore a person can be a non-believer.
Answer A. There is a solid basis to believe that within the soul of each person there is belief in the Creator who watches over him. Questionnaires that were submitted on this topic to all the members of the Knesset revealed that there are only a few individuals who claim to be exceptions to this rule. In particular, it is true that the soul of every Jew believes in God, even if he claims otherwise. Moreover, a Jew at the root of his soul wants to do the will of God. This is the opinion of the Ari and the Rambam. From experience from the wars of Israel, the soldiers while facing death, exhibited belief in God in one way or other. Those soldiers that were exceptions were probably not Jewish.
B. There is no proof in the pamphlet of Daat Emet that there are Jews who do not believe in God. In contrast, there is much evidence that God exists and that he continuously supervises what happens.
Argument Non-religious Jews also have a concience.
Answer One approach to this topic is from a philosophical aspect. Much has been written from this point of view on this topic, but we will not here specify these conclusions. Another approach is to measure the conscience from a scientific viewpoint. This involves a statistical analysis of the reaction of non-religious persons versus religious persons during a test of their ethical standards. Measurements such as these have been done many times. The city of Bnei Brak offers a good example. This ultra-religious city is very populated. Nevertheless, despite a weak socio-economic situation, there is no police station there because there is no need for one. Only in the Pardes Katz neighborhood, which is a non-religious area on the outskirts of the city, is there a police station. Similarly, in the diamond business there is a high percentage of religious workers. As a result the people in this business are considered trustworthy, and the diamond business thrives.
Argument A non-religious person has a conscience since he professes democratic equality, which is in contrast to the Lebovitzer Rabbi who ignores this topic.
Answer A. The concept of conscience is not related to the concepts of equality. It is related to what happens in a place hidden from the eyes of humans, namely in the soul of man. In the Bible the concept is related to the fear and love of the Creator and to the intent hidden in the heart of man. Even if there is someone that wants to change the meaning of the Biblical concept he cannot escape from the simple meaning that it is something hidden and not something that you profess, since professing is an item that is visible and not hidden. Therefore, the fact that someone professes democratic equality does not have any connection to conscience. A person can openly profess the values of equality and democracy, and secretly be a disgusting murderer without any conscience.
B. The values of religion, democracy and equality appear to be wonderful values, but only in the eyes of a person who believes that these values are right. Many religions during the history of man were followed by very large populations. However, this did not especially impress the Jewish culture. The religions of equality and democracy have not been accepted by the Jewish people from generation to generation. This idea in our culture only applies to those people who accept upon themselves certain fundamental values. In our opinion a person who does not accept fundamental values such as these is likely in certain circumstances to be very much more dangerous than animals of prey. There is no lack of historical examples of such cases. In recent generations Hitler, who became leader by democratic means, and Stalin acted as atheists and spilled the blood of tens of millions of people. Even in our days, many democratic countries in practice, in the guise of piety, support the disgusting murder by Arabs of innocent children, women and bystanders by means of continuing acts of terror.
Argument The Jewish religion is not egalitarian nor democratic.
Answer According to the concepts of equality and democracy it would be worthwhile to conduct a survey of all the people, or at least the people in the middle east, concerning the justification for the existence of the State of Israel. A survey based on sovereignty does not reflect equality but only the strength of the sovereign. Is there any connection between strength and justice? Our attitude to the nations is based not only on conscience, but also on mutuality. We assume that in general other nations do not relate to us in accordance with principles of honesty. This assumption has been proved many times. The votes in the United Nations prove this even today. Also the agreements with Arab countries in recent years reflect a false covering as to the true feeling.
Argument The attitude to a non-Jew is the attitude to a second class person.
Answer This statement is not exact. The attitude to a non-Jew is not to a second class person, but even more severe, as if to a different type of person. This attitude does not arise from biological, genetic or racial reasons, since this non-Jew can change his status completely by accepting the 7 commandments of Bnei Noah; and if he accepts the observance of the 613 commandments he can again change his status completely so as to be considered as a Jew. This viewpoint that evaluates people according to their opinions and social connections, for good or bad, is much better than the approach that ignores this aspect, and considers equality based only on genetic make-up. A good example of this is the difference between a dog and a wolf. From a genetic viewpoint the dogs are a species of wolves, that can be hybridized together. Nevertheless, despite the identity of the biological, genetic and racial backgrounds they are considered as two different types, since in general the dog is considered as useful, and the wolf as dangerous and harmful.
As a distant and coarse analogy, the Jew is considered in the eyes of God as dogs in the eyes of people, and the non-Jews are considered in the eyes of God as wolves in the eyes of people. This analogy will be shown to be very correct upon learning a little of the history of the relationship between Jews and non-Jews.
Argument Why is it not necessary to return a lost object to a non-Jew?
Answer A lost object is money that has left the possession of the loser. The Torah has a specific requirement concerning Jews that they should return a lost object, even though from basic logic the lost object has left the possession of the loser. Nevertheless, it is permissible, and from certain aspects it is a requirement for reasons of sanctification of God to return a lost object also to a non-Jew. Therefore, if there is a group of non-Jews that adopts for itself a reliable leadership for return of lost objects to Jews, then we may assume that it is required to return to this group their lost objects. Moreover, any court will surely impose on its congregation to return lost objects to such a group that is formed, and the Jews will be the first to carry out such a behavior.
Argument Why does a Jew lend to a non-Jew on interest, while he does not take interest from a fellow Jew.
Answer Lending without interest to a fellow Jew is an act of brotherhood. From basic logic the lender should benefit from his wealth that he invests. It can be assumed that the spiritual closeness between non-Jews of the same family is less than that between Jews that are not of the same family. However, in certain circumstances non-Jews that want to act nobly do not take interest from their close family. Since the spiritual dimension for Jews is greater than the material dimension, our spiritual brotherhood is more important than the family closeness among ordinary people. We do not have fellowship with non-Jews , not material-wise and surely not spiritually, therefore there is no reason to lend non-Jews without taking interest.
Argument Saving the life of a non-Jew does not override the Sabbath laws.
Answer Our culture considers the observance of the Sabbath as having very deep meaning. A person who observes the Sabbath indicates that he is part of the group of people that accept the idea that God has created the world and supervises it. Judaism cannot exist without this concept. A person who publicly desecrates the Sabbath is considered as an apostate until the time when he repents. In the book “The Jewish Wars” by Josephus, the Jews at first refrained from fighting on the Sabbath to defend themselves until the Jewish wise men permitted desecrating the Sabbath to save lives. Many precious Jewish lives were lost before this permission was granted. Refraining from desecrating the Sabbath to save the life of a non-Jew is not because of hatred of the non-Jew, but because of the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Rabbis decided that it is permissible to desecrate the Sabbath to save the life of a fellow Jew so that he may observe many more days of Sabbath. Nevertheless, in the case of a group of non-Jews who will reciprocate our good will, we may save the life of the non-Jew on Sabbath or return a lost object, etc. This is the legal decision in our times. We have an interest to have true reciprocity with non-Jews especially because of our love of the Sabbath.
Argument The Bible was not preserved by us in its original form since the names of the months were changed to Persian and Babylonian names.
Answer It is entirely unclear why the change of the name of the month from the first month to the month of Nisan proves that the Bible was not preserved by us. To this day we use both systems of names, namely the Babylonian names and the number of the Hebrew month.
Argument Our culture was influenced by other cultures and their languages.
Answer Is there anyone who holds otherwise. The culture of the Torah is sufficiently stable so that it can absorb concepts from other cultures and use them to advantage.
Argument The Torah cannot be a witness for itself.
Answer This is an incorrect statement. Does the Torah testify on its own correctness? It is not the Torah that testifies but rather the multitude who support it, and even those who oppose it, for generation after generation. Even the critic himself who holds in his hand a Bible, with the version that he wants to undermine, does not rush to print a corrected version, or to claim that he has a different version. If he would do so, he knows he would be found to be a liar. He uses historical proofs based on very doubtful archaeological artifacts. If we would find the helmet and skeleton of Hannibal, we would not learn anything from them. The deeds of Hannibal are known mainly from the historical human tradition.
Argument The Israelites were not in Egypt since there is no external evidence to verify such a story.
Answer There are numerous references that disprove this argument. For example see: Dr. Elihu A. Schatz, “Proof of the Accuracy of the Bible”, Jonathan David Pub., 1973, pp.46-57.
Argument It should be prohibited to kill kinim (lice) on the Sabbath, and even the eggs of lice.
Answer A. See Prefaces A and E.
B. There should be no problem in destroying lice eggs on the Sabbath, because it is remote that the eggs will hatch while the eggs are being destroyed. The word lice (kinim) refers to a large group of creatures that can cause annoyance to man. For example, in Baba Metziah 107: is mentioned kinim (lice) in the intestines, which indicates that kinim are a type of tapeworm. In the Sifri on Deut. 40 is mentioned kinim as a type of plant pest. In Eliyahu Rabba 8 is mentioned that there are 14 types of kinim. Since we only know of head lice, clothes lice and the pubic louse, the passage must be referring to other species than the louse. In Nidah 8: is mentioned Kinim as if they are ticks. In Pesahim 112: is mentioned kinim as if they refer to mites.
The Tosefta on Shabbat 16 21-22 states: Bet Shamai prohibits the killing of the wood-worm on the Sabbath; Bet Hillel permits. In Shabbat 107: Rabbi Eliezer states that the killing of the kinah on the Sabbath is the same as killing a camel on the Sabbath. This is in accordance with the approach of Bet Shamai. It also seems that Rabbi Eliezer holds that kinim multiply and are fruitful. We can say that Bet Hillel goes according to the subjective truth that kinim because of their smallness are not considered as being fruitful, while Bet Shamai goes according to the objective truth that kinim are fruitful, and are considered as living creatures, and therefore it is not permissible to kill them on the Sabbath. The law on this subject goes according to Bet Hillel, but possibly in the future may go according to Bet Shamai. It should be pointed out that we now know that there are microscopic living organisms everywhere. If we would prohibit killing living organisms that cannot be seen by the naked eye, it would be impossible to eat or drink on the Sabbath. C. One who follows the decision of the sages is not subject to punishment, even if the decision of the sages is incorrect. However, the Sanhedrin should review the decision as soon as possible.
SHEET CONCERNING PROPHECY (Color Beige, First Adar 5760)
Before we discuss the existence or non-existence of prophecy, we will bring a collection of prophecies and miracles that have occurred, for which there is no contradictory historical tradition. There are many prophecies for which there is no doubt that that they have been fulfilled. Moreover, many of the prophecies refer to long range routine events.
The fulfillment of each such prophecy seemed unrealistic when stated. These prophecies include: the 10 plagues, splitting of the Red Sea, sweetening of the bitter waters, feeding the Israelites with manna in the desert, the ground that swallowed Korach, the blossoming of the rod of Aaron, the copper snake that saved the lives of those bitten by snakes, the splitting of the Jordan river, the collapse of the walls of Jericho, the large hailstones that fell in Beth Horon, the extended day of the sun at Gibeon, the death of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers at the time of King Hezekiah, the survival overnight of Daniel in the Lion’s den, the survival of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the fiery furnace, the destruction of the second temple, the spread of the Israelites over the world during the exile, the return to Israel after the first exile, and that the nation of Israel will continue to exist. In Lev. 25 1-21 God promises that the agricultural yield for the year before the Sabbatical year will be extremely abundant. So it happened in recent years when the village Komemiyot observed the Sabbatical year, and then in the sixth year had a very abundant yield, much more than the neighboring communities.
Argument There are many prophecies that have not been fulfilled.
Answer A. Daat Emet himself has answered this problem by bringing sources showing that a prophecy of destruction may not be carried out if the people repent, and a prophecy of good may not be carried out if the person sins.
B. The cases that Daat Emet brings to show that prophecies were not fulfilled are the opposite of the truth. For example, Daat Emet claims that Babylonia was not destroyed, but it is a known historical fact that Babylonia was destroyed by the Persians, and the city is desolate even to this day.
Argument It is not possible to identify a prophet because he can always explain that the prophecy did not occur because of the actions of people. If the prophet predicted that bad would happen and it did not occur he could say that the people improved their ways, and if he prophecied good and it did not occur he could say that the people worsened their ways.
Answer This argument wants to base the possibility of deceit by the prophet on the assumption that there are only two types of prophecies, good and bad. Then it apparently would not be possible to test the prophecy. However, prophecy can be of at least 5 types. 1) A prophecy of destruction, such as the prophecy of Jonah to the citizens of Ninveh. 2) A good prophecy, such as the prediction by Moshe that manna would descend from the sky. 3) A prophecy of destruction accompanied by a conditional clause, such as the prophecy by Moshe that the earth would swallow Korach and his followers. There (Num. 16 28) Moshe says: “By this you shall know that it was the Lord who sent me to do all these things; that they are not my own devising , if these men die as all men do, if their lot be the common fate of all mankind, it was not the Lord who sent me”. 4) A good prophecy with a conditional clause, similar to the previous case. 5) A prophecy about an item that is neutral, such as the blossoming of the rod of Aaron (Num. 17 20), or the cut wool for Gideon (Judg, 6), or the shadow on the steps of Ahaz (II Kings 20 9-10).
Even these types of prophecies can be further subdivided. A prophecy can be to a private person, whereby the person can modify his good or bad ways, or the prophecy can be a public statement. It is true that legitimate prophecies of type 1 or prophecies to private persons may not be fulfilled. However, in general, the test of the validity of a prophecy is done in the Bible by different deeds, such as types 3-5 in public. Also according to types 1 and 2 it is possible to test the prophecy, for if the prophet predicts something for good or bad that would not be predicted by logic, such as the prophecy by Jonah to the people of Ninveh, and his prophecy is fulfilled, this would verify that he is a true prophet .However, if Ninveh is not destroyed we can say that the people repented, as happened in the Bible. Therefore, the possibility of testing a prophet still exists. Moreover, a prophecy is usually given when there is a Sanhedrin. We do not worry that a person would undertake to prophecy things that are likely to not be fulfilled. The Sanhedrin may conclude that the prophet is a liar and he would be subject to the death penalty. If however the prophecy is fulfilled the prophet would be recognized as a true prophet and he would remain alive.
LETTER SENT TO DAAT EMET (17 Sivan 5760) To Daat Emet:
In response to your letter: The pamphlets that you distribute are done with excellent graphical taste. Much thoughtful work has been invested in their preparation. It is readily understood that the preparation, printing and distribution of these pamphlets costs much money. What interests me very much are the financial sources required for their publication since it could not have been done for 20 shekels. Upon examination of the topic it appears that the financiers made as their goal the criticism of the Torah. Under such circumstances it is apparent that these pamphlets no longer are seeking the truth. They are obviously a propaganda tool in the hands of the financiers. Daat Emat is evaluated by its ability to admit mistakes and errors, but we have not seen examples of this. Since your efforts to publish the pamphlets has become a source of livelihood, the pamphlets lack objective truth. In contrast, there are many pamphlets that are published by Jewish religious groups. It can be said that they are biased,.but it is impossible to say that the publishers pretend to be non-religious. There is no hypocrisy in the publication of these religious pamphlets. Such is not the case with the Daat Emet pamphlets. If you were seekers of truth it would have been necessary to give a free platform for the answers that you receive for the arguments that cause you difficulties. You would have to publish in your pamphlets the letters to the editor written by those you intend to attack. In addition, you would have to admit to the errors you made, such as with the topic of the rabbit and the hare, which you claim that they do not chew their cuds. The disregard of this challenge lets us know of your hypocrisy. It is hard to claim in your pamphlets that the exodus from Egypt never occurred, and afterwards to bless your readers with a Happy Holiday. You are not consistent and you are not seekers of truth. I myself am faithful to the Jewish tradition. The topics that you raised are very interesting, and the confrontation with them, perhaps to your surprise, strengthened my faith in the Torah. From this aspect, it appears that the pamphlets have brought and will bring a great blessing to the Jewish religion. Perhaps at the first stage they achieve their goal, which is putting doubts in the minds of the readers. However, in the long run, they will strengthen the faith in the truth of the Torah and will strengthen the recognition of the wisdom of our sages. Sincerely yours, `Rabbi Dov Meyer Stein.
PAMPHLET CONCERNING FISH (Color Blue , Ab 5761)
Argument There are those who claim that since our sages have determined that all fish that have scales also have fins, this proves the existence of God. However, there is a fish that has scales and does not have fins.
Answer A. Daat Emet wanted to find fault, but instead has supported the saying of our sages. The fish involved is called Monopterus cuchia of the swamp-eels family and the class of ray-finned fishes. It has a rudimentary dorsal fin. Daat Emet made a mistake and thought that the fish did not have a fin. It should be pointed out that the Torah requires at least one fin, and not necessarily two fins.
B. The name of the fish testifies that it has a single fin, since the word ptero means wing, and the word mono means one.
C. Also see Preface A.
Argument The concept that the fin existed on certain fish and was later shed, or that the fin will grow later, is nonsense.
Answer Just as there are fish that grow scales for a limited time so it is possible that fins grow for a limited time. There is nothing wrong in trying to test out possibilities that are different than those expected by Daat Emet.
Argument The Torah specified both fins and scales unnecessarily because the Gemara Hulin 66: specifies that every fish that has scales also has fins. Therefore the only reason that the Torah specified fins was to glorify and enlarge the Torah.
Answer There is room for saying that Daat Emet did not understand the Gemara. The two signs for the fish were given so that it would be understood that there are two important factors, namely the scales for protecting the fish, and the fins for propelling the fish in the water.
Argument The sages erred in that they believed that only animals that are pure have horns.
Answer It seems that Daat Emet did not understand the subject. The Tosefot explains that the above opinion is that of only one Tana, Rabbi Dusah. All the tests in the citations that Daat Emet brought are to locate the signs for impure horns.
Argument Our sages were not consistent with respect to the maturing of women.
Answer Daat Emet himself mentions that there are different opinions on the subject, and therefore the Poskim work on the principle, that an uncertainty involving a Torah precept is decided in a severer sense. Daat Emet did not bring any scientific evidence to contradict the evaluation of this matter by the sages. Using his approach you can claim that any conflicting opinions between the wise men of Israel reflect foolishness and ignorance.
Argument Our sages did not know how to differentiate correctly between kosher fish and non-kosher fish, since they defined a fish whose head was wide as kosher, and a fish whose head is narrow as non-kosher. Fish experts denied that such a distinction was correct.
Answer A. The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 40:) states clearly that there are kosher fish whose heads are similar to non-kosher fish. Therefore the argument of Daat Emet is not valid.
B. Most of the cartilage fishes have a pointed head. This occurs especially in sharks. In the kosher fish the mouth is usually found in the front of the head.
Argument Our sages erred when they stated that a fish with a head and a backbone is a kosher fish.
Answer The signs of a kosher fish, namely a head and a backbone, are found only in bony fish. In contrast, nearly all the cartilage fish are non-kosher fish. Apparently, fish that have cartilage bones were not considered by our sages as having a backbone. Naturally, there is a semantic question as to what extent can we consider a cartilage backbone as a real backbone. There is here no contradiction to the findings of modern ichthyologists because this involves a semantic question as to the extent of hardness required of the backbone. For this reason our sages were correct in using the signs of a kosher fish which apply for the majority of the fish that are recognized as food fish. Nevertheless these signs are not absolutely correct.
Argument Our sages stated incorrectly that barbut fish are kosher.
Answer The name barbut (or barbur) refers to many entirely different types of fish. It possibly includes the kosher polynemidaer fish. The discussions of our wise leaders on this topic revolved about the rhombus maximus fish which is of the Moshe Rabbeinu series of fish. There were serious discussions as to whether this fish was kosher. In fact this fish does not have scales, but it is otherwise almost identical to another fish, the rhombus laevis, which was without doubt a kosher fish that has clearly visible scales. Even expert ichthyologists would have difficulty to distinguish between these fish if the scales were concealed.
The question is whether they are or are not two different species. In fact in modern taxonomy they are considered as two different species, but in certain respects they behave as one specie because they crossbreed in nature with each other and then obtain fish with scales. If they are of the same species the question arises is a fish considered kosher based on its own scales or (what is not accepted from a legal viewpoint) is it sufficient that there are scales on the other fishes of its species. Nowadays it is accepted that this fish is not kosher.
Argument Our sages believed that there were 700 species of fish, but we know nowadays that there are 25000 species. Therefore our wise leaders fabricated the number of species.
Answer The Talmud Yerushalmy (Taanith chap. 4) refers to 700 species of kosher fish, and not to the total number of species. Nevertheless, even if the 700 species refer to all the species of fish, the argument of Daat Emet is without basis. The differentiation between different species varies even nowadays among scientists. For example, are the different types of bears to be considered as different species or are they one species of bear? It is unfortunate that the hatred by Daat Emet of anything Jewish causes him to think illogically.
Argument Our sages did not evaluate correctly the methods of reproduction by fishes.
Answer Most of the cartilage fish give birth to live offspring. In contrast, the backboned fish, with few exceptions, lay eggs. There are also kosher fish that give birth to live offspring such as the gambozim fish. However, there are apparently no food fish that give birth to live offspring. In the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 40:) we find different opinions that arise from objective zoological facts. However, we also found there the statement, “the intestines of fish and their embryos are only taken from experts”. >From this we learn that there is no generalization with respect to the method of multiplication of fish. Thus the argument by Daat Emet is without a basis.
Argument In Talmud Yerushalmy (Taanit Chap.4, 69:) there is an illogical legend.
Answer There are many legends in the Talmud. This is not the only legend that is difficult to understand. It is well accepted that the legends in the Talmud are not simple stories, but rather hints to many deep ideas. We have already written in Preface B that it is permissible to interpret statements by the leaders of Israel that do not involve legal applications, in any way that we want, and this does not involve heresy.
THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE JEWISH RELIGION (Pamphlet Color Pink, Elul 5761)
The legal distinctions between men and women are background facts for the consideration of the status of the woman in Judaism. These facts can be explained in two ways, but it is a matter of philosophy as to which of these two ways one wants to select. In any case it is not stated in any place, not in the Torah and not in the words of the sages, that the spiritual value of one of the sexes is preferable. One way is that taken by Daat Emet. which claims that the status of the man is preferable over that of the woman, and that there is discrimination. We have no intention to claim that these words are not correct. This claim does not bother the religious person. To the same extent one can find decisive proof that the status of the man is much inferior. Nevertheless, it can definitely be said that there is inequality in Judaism. The priests are of higher status than the Levites, and these are preferable to the Israelites. The Israeli men are better than the Israeli women, and the women are better than the slaves, and the slaves are better than the non-Jews. From this aspect, since the Torah is a living Torah and not a Torah of equality, there is a difference in the status of men versus women because of the simple fact that they are different. This difference is expressed in many fields such as those that Daat Emet mentions. We who observe the Torah accept the commands of the Creator not only when they oppose equality but also when they oppose our right to live. We love God and are ready to carry out with a good heart all of his teachings. Whoever wants to claim that Judaism is racist, we will not reprove him on this because we believe that opposition to racism leads to hypocrisy. It is a fact that in his private life a person is racist. Is there a person that does not take into account racist facts in selection of his mate? Does it not bother a person to select a mate that will have hemophilic offspring or mentally defective children? Is there a community that will not take these facts into account when deciding whether to admit a particular family into its midst? Since we are seeking the truth and not seeking accepted lies, we do not believe that people are equal. Moreover, even in a place where the people are apparently equal it is not sufficient that the majority will establish norms of behavior since the Torah takes precedent over any such decision. We will not agree that the majority will decide to cut off the ears of all red heads for scientific research, even if great benefits will be obtained from the research. However, by democratic means, where there is no basic constitution, such a decision can be attained. On the other hand, there is no need to reach the conclusions of Daat Emet. The answers given below will show that the conclusions he reaches that the Jewish woman is deprived, is not necessarily correct. It is possible that the opposite is true.
Argument The liberation of the woman is one of the important achievements of the society.
Answer Woman’s liberation is not an exact topic, but rather a qualitative subject. There is room to judge if liberation has actually occurred. Perhaps it is now a strangulation ring for the woman, and perhaps the new situation is enslavement for the man.
Argument The Jewish woman is deprived and is considered as a lower class citizen. For example, the man inherits and the woman does not.
Answer The present law is a collection of laws from the Torah and from Rabbinic edicts. At the present time the woman at the time of her marriage is entitled to one-tenth of her father’s wealth, which is not so for the man (Shulchan Aruch, Eben Haezer, 57 1). It is a commandment on the father to ensure that his daughters marry, more so than for his sons. In the case of a wealthy father, the son will inherit more than the daughter. However, for a poor father the son will be left with no inheritance while his sister has received more. Similarly, the woman obtains one-tenth of the father’s wealth when she is young, while the man receives the remaining wealth upon the death of the father. The timing of obtaining the father’s wealth has a significant financial importance. From this viewpoint, the order of receipt of his wealth has a functional value. It is for the benefit of the daughters so that they may easily marry, which will increase the birth rate, since the birth rate depends greatly on taking advantage of the fruitful period of the women. It is also for the benefit of the sons so that they will have the funds to finance the maintenance of the family during the formation period (later on).
Argument The status of the Jewish woman is similar to the status of the woman slave.
Answer The status of the woman in Judaism is not detached from the living norms in which the Rabbis functioned over the generations. These norms were based also on the basic living conditions. The men would rise early to their work and return after a hard work day in manual operations in agriculture. The truth is that the women worked even longer work hours, but the work of the men was more back-breaking. The man when he came back from the field justly expected the help of his wife to help him regain his strength and satisfy his basic needs. We nowadays do not understand this because the agricultural work in the field is now done using mechanical tools that are shaded from the sun, and allow the farmer to sit. This way of life is not a commandment from the Torah but rather a life style. It is therefore no wonder that the joint life style between the Jewish religious couple changed with the changes that occurred in the way of life. The truth is that without a Sanhedrin to establish new norms for the couple, there has arisen an anachronistic situation. Let us assume that these norms will change and will reflect in the future easing in the fields that Daat Emet selected to point out, and which will increase the responsibilities of the woman in other fields, such as finances.
Argument The legal defense of women’s rights in the secular laws is preferable to the Torah laws.
Answer It is good that Daat Emet only mentioned legal defense. The purpose of the Torah laws, which emphasizes carrying out the will of God, is different. Religious Jews believe that carrying out this purpose brings greater happiness to men and women. This can be tested out easily in accordance with the investment that is practiced by those who follow these purposes, in legal disputes and in divorces.
One of the terrible evils of the modern society is the necessity for legal norms and for deliberations in the courts that are praised by Daat Emet. This terrible evil decreases the national wealth and the economic growth in a very sharp manner. Almost all the money that is paid to lawyers today could in a Torah regime be used for investing in economic growth which would have been of great benefit for the people. The legal system in the country is bad and harmful. In a Torah regime the cost would be less than one-tenth. Also there are often delays of years in reaching a verdict, which eliminates the benefits from the court decision.
Argument The woman in Jewish law is discriminated against in that her testimony is not accepted.
Answer A. The woman because of her feminism is likely to have excessive influence on the judges. It is known that women have a greater chance to win in a court of law. In particular in cases of divorce the women win the case in about 9 out of 10 times.
B. The woman is busy with her family. This is the more important goal because it is related to raising the future generation. The annoyance to the woman in the appearance in court will interfere with the management of the household. The management of the household is her main goal, which arises from the first commandment in The Torah to be fruitful and multiply.
C. Placing a woman under cross-examination may shame her and affect her modesty. Such a result could affect her bearing of children and affect the demographic balance of the country.
D. The freeing of the woman from testifying is discrimination to her benefit, because a witness may be found to be lying or to be a rebutting witness, even if he testified correctly. The punishment is very severe for such offenses.
E. Even if the woman is clever she is likely to be light hearted. Also her spacial perception of the facts may be poorer than for a man.
Argument The woman in Jewish law is discriminated against because she cannot be a judge.
Answer It may be assumed that the reasons for preventing the appointment of a woman as a judge are similar to those for not accepting a woman’s testimony..
Argument The woman in Jewish law is discriminated against because she cannot be appointed to a ruling position.
Answer It may be assumed that the reasons for not appointing a woman to a ruling position are similar to those for not accepting a woman’s testimony.
Argument The woman in Jewish law is dicriminated against since her father can marry her to a man against her will, and he can also sell her to be a maid servant. She has no rights and she lacks status.
Answer Surprisingly, there is no defect in this arrangement. Those who are skeptic at these words should go to poor countries and see what happens to daughters of vary poor fathers if the girls cannot be married early. The conditions of these daughters deteriorate to the point where they become prostitutes and end up in the street. According to the Torah, selling the daughter as a maid servant is a way of marrying her at an early age. In any case her conditions are not worse than those for a Hebrew slave, who according to the Torah has conditions better than those for a hired worker. The solution of the Torah is designed for a high natural expansion of the population even under difficult economic conditions, where high fertility is an important aspect. Under the conditions of the exile, which was the situation for the Jewish people until recently, where the non-Jews would harass the Jewish girls, their early marriage was a way of rescuing them from a difficult situation.
Nevertheless, the Torah gave to the courts in Israel the right to intervene, by setting additional rules. Therefore the Rabbis in the course of time declared that a father cannot sell his daughter as a maid servant. In this way the Torah law was adapted to the economic and social conditions of the times.
Argument The woman is the possession of the husband.
Answer Marriage creates mutual obligations between the couple. The fact that the husband buys the woman, and therefore she is his possession, is an exaggeration. The husband does acquire rights, but the woman to no lesser extent also acquires rights. The fact that in the Torah the marrying of a woman is called acquisition, is perhaps to the detriment of the husband. Thus, if after the marriage there occurred a deformity in the woman, the husband cannot on this basis request to divorce her, and he is obligated to pay the amount specified in the marriage contract (ketubah). In contrast, the woman can make such a claim because he is not her acquisition. Under any circumstances the body of the woman is not acquired by the husband. For example, if the body was acquired by him, he would be responsible for the damages to the body, but this is not the law.
Daat Emet states that according to the Torah (in the opinion of the Ramban) the husband is only responsible for marital relationships. Daat Emet does not state what are the responsibilities of the woman towards the husband. Other than faithfulness she has no responsibility to him. If that is the case, what fault does Daat Emet find in the Torah.
Argument The married woman is deprived financially.
Answer Daat Emet admits that in exchange for these monetary responsibilities, the wife also obtains monetary rights. Who can say which is preferable. Daat Emet decided that the balance that was decided by the Rabbis is not good, but brings no evidence. Nevertheless. the woman can make financial agreements as a condition for marriage, and these conditions are valid. Nothing prevents the woman from making these financial agreements.
Argument The woman is required to perform personal work for the husband, and it is permissible for the husband to hit her with a whip to force her to do them.
Answer See the introduction to this pamphlet for the personal services of the wife. In each society there are different opinions regarding the mutual life style of the couple. It is the Rambam who permits the hitting of the wife, but his decision was not accepted. Hitting the wife is considered by some as a prohibition of the Torah. It should be noted that the Rambam lived in Moslem countries which were then considered as lands of culture. In these countries it was an accepted practice to hit the wife. The Rambam however limited the permission to hit the wife to a level much less than that accepted among the Moslems.
Argument The woman is required to have sexual relations whenever the husband desires, but it is not required of the husband when the wife so desires.
Answer This statement by Daat Emet is not correct. Under any circumstances sexual relations are not permitted for 12 days during the woman’s period. The requirement for sexual relations during the remainder of the month is dependent on the following problems:
A) The man may transgress the prohibition of ejecting semen unnecessarily if the wife is not available. This does not apply to the wife.
B) Our sages considered that the need of the man for sexual relations, physiologically and emotionally, is greater for the man than for the woman.
C) The man is commanded to be fruitful, and not the woman. If the woman does not agree to have sexual relations this will damage the capability of the couple to bear children.
Argument The woman, after marrying, no longer has to respect her father and mother.
Answer In general, it is necessary to arrange an order of respect so as to maintain domestic peace. Most married women usually continue to show respect for their parents. However, they have to first of all show respect for their husbands, who are usually older than them, learn the Torah, and can decide in cases of disagreements. From this point of view the wife is not discriminated against. Moreover, the wives of her brothers are required to respct her parents, in place of her resposibility from which she has been freed upon her marriage. This order of respect imposes the responsibility on the people that have the means to carry it out.
Argument The husband has the right to nullify the vows of his wife.
Answer This is a beneficial discrimination, because the husband does not have anyone to nullify his vows.
Argument The woman in Jewish law is deprived and is of lower status then the man. This is evidenced by the fact that a man can divorce his wife agaist her will, but the woman cannot divorce her husband against his will.
Answer There is hypocrisy in this argument. Does anyone prevent the woman from leaving her house when she wants to? The problem of the status of the woman is found mainly in the minds of those who do not respect the Torah and its commandments. The halacha is a collection of laws based on the Torah and Rabbinic decisions. The present halacha for the relationships between men and women is that the man cannot divorce his wife against her will. In contrast the wife can request from the court to receive a divorce from her husband based on the claim that “he is repulsive to me”. The husband can not do the same. The deprivation of the wife regarding her divorce in court arises from the fact that the court, just as for enlightened countries, does not have the authority to impose the punishment of flogging to force the husband to give the divorce. The country limits the ability of the court to act efficiently. The criticism should be turned towards the governments that claim to be enlightened. It should be pointed out that the punishment of flogging has the following clear advantages: 1) After the flogging, the person is considered as anyone else in the society. 2) The society does not have to spend enormous funds to build and maintain prisons. 3) The person is not influenced negatively in the prison by other inmates who help him to perfect his wickedness. 4) A person in prison is not creative, and years of work are lost. 5) The idleness of the prisoner leads him to sin.
Argument The woman in Judaism is deprived because a man can marry several women (polygamy) but the woman cannot marry several men (polyandry).
Answer A. The main purpose of marriage is to have children. The number of children that a woman can have does not increase in a polyandry marriage. She can be pregnant with a child only once at a time. Not so with polygamy marriages. The man can father more than one child at the same time. The government under the influence of non-religious groups instituted monogamy, which prevents religious Jews from having more than one wife. B. In polyandry, the men will not want children because they will not be sure who the father is. If children are born, the men will try to escape the responsibility of raising him since they will not be sure if the child is theirs. C. Having many wives is a natural phenomenom which is common among many animals. D. There are more women than men in the child-bearing ages because of fewer natural deaths at a young age among women, and because more men die from accidents, during wars, and from suicides. In addition, the child-bearing age among women starts at a younger age, and therefore more women are interested in marriage. . Comment: The government prohibits men from forming two or more families (polygamy) by religious marriages. It does not however prohibit this for non legal marriages, even if this causes the destruction of another family, and a bad name for the woman’s children. As a result there is pressure on religious women to realize their rights to motherhood in the framework of their beliefs. The non-religious groups bring religious pressure in this aspect and exhibit open hypocrisy by claiming that there is religious pressure from observant Jews.
Argument The woman is not obligated by Jewish law to bear children, and therefore cannot free herself from the marriage bond.
Answer The woman has a simple method to escape from the marriage bond by claiming that she despises her husband. However, the “enlightened” non-religious government does not give permission to the courts to whip the recalcitrant husband until he agrees to give a divorce.
Argument The woman is exempt from the resposibility to educate her children.
Answer If so, the husband is deprived since he is the one who has to dedicate his time and money for educating his children.
Argument The husband inherits from his wife, and not the opposite.
Answer This is part of the mutual conditions. In contrast, the wife has the right to the money and alimony from the Ketubah if her husband should die, which is not the case for the husband..
Argument The wife does not inherit from her son and daughter.
Answer Why should she inherit? If the son or daughter have children of their own then their children inherit, and if not their father inherits since he guarantees for their mother special monetary rights.
Argument The work in the temple is only for the males.
Answer Apparently this is disrimination against the male priests who have to take off time from their work for more than two weeks each year to serve in the temple. According to the literature this work involved a great loss to these priests. The priest was liable to be punished by whipping if he did not work as required, and frequently he suffered form intestinal sickness. He had to walk barefoot on the floor of the temple even during the cold winter. Moreover, the priests did not receive an inheritable estate.
Argument The male priest is entitled to eat from the Terumah, but an ordinary woman is not entitled to do so.
Answer The discrimination mentioned by Daat Emet is also in reverse. Thus, when an Israelite woman marries a priest she can eat from the Terumah, which is not the case when an Israelite man marries the daughter of a priest. Similarly there is always the possibility that the sons of an Israelite woman will become priests, but an Israelite man can never have priests as sons.
Argument It is not permissible for a priest to defile himself by coming in contact with a dead person who is not a close relative.
Answer This is in accord with the philosophy of Daat Emet which finds discrimination against the man since he can not participate in the mitzvah of burial.
Argument A priest cannot marry a prostitute or a divorced woman.
Answer This is apparently discrimination against the male priest. It is clear that this is connected to the holy functions that are performed by the priests as specified in the Torah. These restrictions are necessary so that the bringing of sacrifices and the work in the temple will function properly.
Argument It is the accepted practice not to let a woman slaughter animals or perform a circumcision.
Answer Justly so. These are tasks that require courage that women usually do not have. It is worthwhile to compare the percent of women surgeons among the medical doctors with the percent of women among the medical doctors.
Argument A woman does not put on Tefillin.
Answer A. According to the Rabbis the responsibility to wear Tefillin falls only on the male and not on the female because the wearing of Tefillin is a positive commandment that is dependent on time. Since women are preoccupied with managing the household and bringing up the children the Torah freed the woman from certain commandments because of these special responsibilities. B. Because the wearing of Tefillin is designated for men, there is the opinion that the wearing of Tefillin will involve transgressing the prohibition for a woman to wear men’s clothing, similar to the prohibition of men to wear women’s clothing.
Argument A woman does not read the Torah out loud in public.
Answer A. It is accepted that a woman does not read the Torah out loud, in consideration of the dignity of the public. It is possible that the change in the status of women in the modern society might allow the Sanhedrin to modify this prohibition. B. Since the Torah is read according to singing notes, there is a Halachic problem in that men are not supposed to listen to a woman singing.
Argument A woman is not included among three adults necessary to say the blessing together after eating a meal.
Answer The basis for this is the lesser responsibility of the woman to bless God after eating. This is a discrimination in favor of the woman, because she is often free from this responsibility for which men are required.
Argument The woman in Judaism is discriminated against and is considered on a lower mental level, as indicated by the statement that she is fickle minded.
Answer It is true that the woman is considered to be fickle minded, but on the other hand she is considered more intelligent than men. Therefore it can be said that our sages diagnosed the mental capabilities of the woman from a functional viewpoint and not in a discriminatory manner. Moreover it is known that there are lesser differences in the standard deviation in the measurement of the intelligence quotient of women than for men.
Argument The woman in Judaism is discriminated against and is considered on a lower status. Thus, there is a lower priority for saving a woman from death than for saving a man as stated in Mishnah Horiot 13., “The man has priority over the woman with respect to saving the life and returning a lost object”.
Answer In the same Mishnah it is said, “The woman has priority over the man regarding being clothed and being freed from captivity”. Apparently death is more severe than captivity. However the Gemarah (Baba Bathra 8.) considers captivity more severe than anything else, justly so according to the conditions at that time. Therefore, we again have here a biased partial quote by Daat Emet.
Argument Do not teach women Torah because they are sexually unrestained.
Answer Daat Emet did not check the truth of this statement. No one checked whether this statement is correct. This is a statement that is not acceptable in the democratic hypocritical culture. Did Daat Emet determine whether women are more interested in sex than men? People do not always like to hear the truth. Nevertheless the words of Daat Emet are distorted as stated below:
Argument It is better to burn the words of the Torah rather than to teach them to women.
Answer Indeed there is such a statement. However, the Shulchan Aruch in the laws of Learning the Torah has stated that women do get Divine reward for learning the Torah.
Argument The sexual desire of the woman makes her subservient to her husband.
Answer We would be happy and surprised to see a study that would refute this statement.
Argument I find the wiles of a woman to be more bitter than death (Kohelet 7 26).
Answer There is also the opposite statement: “The one who finds a wife, finds good”. Both statements are correct, depending on the circumstances.
Argument The prohibition to talk at length with a woman.
Answer This saying is very correct. It guarantees much more security for a married couple, who can then depend on each other.
Argument It is not nice for a woman to be important.
Answer Daat Emet ignores the reason why it is not nice. The answer is that we do not like the situation in which women are found in a place that draws attention to �their surroundings, for reasons previously mentioned.
Argument Males are always preferable to females.
Answer This is not correct. There are many examples that we have previously mentioned. For example, a woman is to be freed from captivity before a man. Similarly, when there are boy and girl orphans, and there is not enough money to support them all, the boys should go out to collect charity while the girls should be left to be fed in the house. From the point of view of the father there is reason for the worries indicated by the quoted saying. Nevertheless we have found the opposite statement. For example (Erechin 19.), “An elderly woman is a treasure in the house while an elderly man is an obstacle”. We also found that when a girl is born to a man we bless him (Gitin, Chap. Nezikin), “Fruitfulness has come to the world”, and we do not use this blessing for the father of a baby boy.
Argument It is easy to entice a woman.
Answer Does Daat Emet know of a study that proves the opposite.
Argument A woman is a chatterbox.
Answer Daat Emet has selected the word chatterbox. In the literature we found the saying, “Ten measures of speech came down to the world, and nine of them were taken by women”. Daat Emet selected its phrasing in order to defame the Torah and Judaism in the minds of women. Nevertheless, there is no sympathy in our literature for excess talking. For example it is said in Pirkei Aboth, “A fence for wisdom is silence”. From an objective point of view it is correct that women talk much more than men.
Argument The woman in Judaism is discriminated against and is considered on a lower status. Thus she says in the morning blessings “that God made me according to His will”.
Answer Apparently this is the case. However, the term “His will” which the woman uses in the blessing indicates glorification of God. From this point of view the positive blessing of the woman is more lofty that that of the man who makes a blessing from a negative approach.
Argument The man respects his wife, and she in exchange works for him. This is an example of inequality.
Answer We have already discussed the issue of inequality, which Daat Emet cries over. We will again emphasize that we are not for equality but rather for maximum efficiency and happiness. The presentation of this topic by Daat Emet is biased because Daat Emet forgot to state the many responsibilities of the husband, such as to support his wife and children financially. Also what he claims that her work goes to the husband is incorrect. The wife can leave the profits from her work to herself in exchange for the corresponding rights of support by her husband.
In a society where the goals involve worship of the Creator and not self realization or equality as practiced in a modern democratic society. there is possible inequality in the person’s status, but definitely not in spiritual reward, for it is possible that a high priest will end up in hell and a woman will earn paradise. There are certain items for which the man is deprived, and there are items for which the woman is deprived. The realization of the modern democratic ideas will lead to the concept that children are a bother. For example, a high percentage of women in the United States have no children. In contrast, a community that has a long range Godly mission with national responsibility behaves differently. In a community that lives for enjoyment the intelligence quotient tends to decrease because the most capable men and women have few children. In a God fearing community the intelligence quotient tends to increase, because the more capable people marry early and have more children. Moreover, in a community that lives for enjoyment the population tends to decrease, while in a God fearing community the population tends to increase.
PAMPHLET DAAT EMET (Kislev 5761)
Herein is presented a condensation of an article by Professor Mordechai Kislev which appeared in the periodical “Sinai”. This article will serve as an introduction to the answers to Daat Emet.
Identification According to Taxonomy of the Ten Animals that Chew their Cuds and are Permitted to be Eaten
Three domestic animals and seven wild animals are enumerated in the Torah among the animals that are permitted to be eaten. Thus in Deut. 14 4-6 is stated, “These are the animals that you may eat: the ox (shor), the sheep (seh) and the goat (ez); the deer (ayal), the gazelle (tzvi), the roebuck (yachmur), the ibex (akko), the addax (dishone), the antelope (tao), the giraffe (zemer), and any other animal that has hoofs which are cleft in two and brings up the cud, these may be eaten”. Nowadays we lack a tradition as to which animals are meant by the names of some of these animals. Many of the identifications of these animals are not agreed upon by the commentaries. Even though the domesticated animals ox, sheep and goat, and the wild animals ayal, tzvi and akko are known, the other four identifications are open to question.
It should be emphasized before we try to identify the Hebrew names, that the name given in the Torah does not necessarily indicate one type of animal, or a type indicated by modern taxonomy. It is true that the shor is identified with the ox or cow (Bos taurus), seh with the sheep (Ovis aries), and ez with the house goat (Capra aegagrus), but the tzvi in the Torah refers to three types of deer, namely gazella, dorcas aand gazella subgutturosa. There is also the opposite type of example, where two names are identified with different types of the same species, one a wild animal and one a domesticated animal. The akko which is identified with the Capra ibex nubiana, is included in the species ez, Capra, which is the domesticated goat. The purpose of this work is not to find new identifications, but rather semantic expansion, based upon sub-series of animals that chew their cuds (Ruminantia), into families and sub-families of the different identifications that have already been proposed, to include all the forms of the kosher edible animals in the world. Every name in the Torah is an example or archetype for animals that chew their cuds who resemble it on the surface of the earth. This is in accord with the Rambam who claims that there are no other kosher animals outside the ten types of kosher animals mentioned in the Torah.
The majority of kosher edible animals have a pair of horns on their head, which is very rare for non-kosher animals. The horns are divided into two main categories, antlers for deer, and horns for oxen, sheep and goats. Only the horns are suitable for preparation of a shofer, except for those of the ox. Horns of another type that are not arranged in pairs placed side by side, are the horns of the rhinoceros, which are hard horny material, and are placed one after the other on the head, and the front one is longer. The sages bring the pair of horns as a sign of a kosher animal, even though they are not always present. They are temporarily absent from the young animals, and are completely absent from the female of many species, and are absent from the male deer during the period of shedding. Therefore the Torah does not bring the presence of horns as a sign that the animal is kosher. There are ruminant animals that do not have horns at all. These are the seven types of deer and two types of sheep.
Our sages also mention another sign for kosher animals, the lack of incisor teeth and fangs in the upper jaw. This characteristic is found in most ruminants except for the deer. Thus there are apparently several types of ruminants that are kosher from the Torah but prohibited from Rabbinic law.
Nowadays people raise several ruminants from the deer family, such as Rangifer tarandus, Dama dama, Cervus elaphus; and raise ruminants from the oxen family such as the Bison bison, as partially domesticated animals. It is necessary to consider if these animals are no longer considered as wild animals, and are now in the category between wild animals and domesticated animals.
We have to limit the region in which we are identifying animals as ruminants. The appropriate term should be the Biblical lands, which would include not only Israel but also neighboring countries such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Syria. Therefore, those who try to exclude the giraffe as a kosher animal because it is not found in Israel, do not have a valid argument.
Based on the above discussion, it is preferable to be flexible and to realize that at least in certain cases the Hebrew name refers to more than one species. Nowadays there are 72 types and 179 species of ruminants. The smallest is the Tragulidae whose shoulders are about 20 cm high and its weight is about 2.5 kg, while the biggest is the giraffe who is more than six meters high, or the oxen whose weight is more than 1000 kg. In general the males are bigger than the females. The taxonomy classification helps to classify each one of the ruminants in one of the ten Hebrew names in the Torah. Even if we find an animal that was not known until now, such as the Pseudoryx nghetinhensi, that was revealed recently in the forests of Vietnam-Laos, it can be coumted as a member of the ibex family, and in this case be considered to belong to the akko family.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RUMINANTS (Those that chew their cuds)
Those species that are counted in the sub-series of ruminants are characterized by a thin and long body, a long large head, wide teeth suitable for eating plants, a long neck, and thin high feet that end with two toes. The axis, upon which the weight of the body leans, passes between the third and fourth toes. The ends of the toes are wrapped with a split hoof upon which they step. The hoofs as well as the nails grow the entire lifetime, and their rubbing against the ground maintains their desired thickness and shape. The stomach is dvided into four chambers (except for the tragulidae which have 3 chambers in the stomach). The order of the chambers from the mouth backwards is: rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum. The first three parts apparently developed from the esophagus, but the abomasum corresponds to the stomachs of the other mammals. The food that was ground in the mouth descends to the rumen where bacteria break up the cellulose. From there the food reaches the reticulum, where it is mixed. In the reticulum is formed a partially processed food mass that rises to the mouth for regrinding, which is called chewing the cud. After grinding, the food descends to the omasum, and continues down the digestive pipe. This is the largest and most developed sub-series among all the large-hooved animals. The ruminants are divided into five families:
- Tragulidae, without horns. The upper fangs are used for defense. There are three chambers in the stomach. This category has seven species of two types.
- Cervidae, the second largest family in this sub-series, which has 17 types and 53 species. The outstanding sign of this family are bony horns made only of bone. Another sign for most of the males are large fangs in the upper jaw.
- Antilocapridae, with only one type and one species. The male has branched bony horns in the shape of a fork.
- Giraffe: The male has 2 bony horns on his forehead. There are two types in this family, the giraffe and the okapia, and one species.
- Bovidae, the largest family of the ruminants. They have four compartments in their stomachs, and usually both the male and the female have horns. The family has 50 types and 116 species which are grouped in five sub-families.
In principle,all the ruminants here mentioned are kosher animals according to the Torah and according to the Rabbis, except perhaps the Tragulidae. In Table 1 are listed the names of the ten ruminants in the Torah, and the related animals.
TABLE 1. LISTING OF THE RUMINANTS ACCORDING TO THE 10 KOSHER ANIMALS LISTED IN THE TORAH
|Name in the Torah||Identification||Related Animal||Distant Animal|
|Seh (sheep)||Ovis aries||Ovis|
|Ez (goat)||Capra aegagrus|
|Akko (ibex)||Capra ibex||Caprini||Caprinae|
|Shor (Ox)||Bos taurus||Bos|
|Tzvi (Gazella)||Gazella gazella||Antilopinae||Cephalophinae|
End of the article by Professor Mordechai Kislev
A widespread error is the belief that modern science is the source of absolute truth concerning taxonomy.. There are two errors in this attitude: A. Modern science itself continually changes its taxonomy definitions. Accordingly there is a continual change in the definition of types and species, etc.
B. Modern science has a philosophical approach that is the basis of the taxonomy method which we use. This is because Jewish spiritual values, for example, do not serve as a measuring stick to evaluate the taxonomy. In contrast, cultural values of denial of the existence of the Creator are a fixed part of modern science. This is of course without any connection to the facts themselves. For example, the general taxonomic division of the world according to science is inanimate, plant and living organisms. In this division the human being is placed together with the large monkeys, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutang. From the Torah point of view reality is divided into inanimate, plant, living organisms, animals that can speak, and perhaps the Jew as a separate type. This is because the Torah sees the “will” of God as a criterion for consideration of reality.
C. Modern science does indeed evaluate the human being as the most developed species (in certain respects). but in general the usefulness of man does not influence the taxonomy arrangement. The wordly attitude of the faithful is different. The human being is considered as the crown and purpose of creation. The relative usefulness of animals for man significantly changes the hierarchy of their classification. For example cattle in the eyes of modern science are one type. In contrast, according to the concept that sees man as the crown of creation, cattle because of their usefulness to man, and their importance as a sacrifice in the Temple, take a more central position, and represent a more important group according to their types, species and kind.
In summary, the argumeents of Daat Emet are essentially arguments of someone who relies on his worldly outlook when he comes to destroy another person’s wordly outlook whose basic approaches are different and sometimes even the exact opposite. Among other things the author of Daat Emet pamphlets has of course not considered the behavioral implications of his outlooks. Thus if the person is only a developed monkey, what is the reason to believe a person who thinks along these lines will not behave in the ethical aspect like an animal. Why for example when he is by himself should he restrain from stealing, robbing and even committing murder? Indeed our sages clearly warned against the danger from such people to the entire mankind. There is no difference between such people and those who are devout worshippers of idols. Such people brought unbelievable disaster on the entire mankind, as did Hitler and Stalin.
- Response to Daat Emet publications
- Response to Daat Emet Issue 1-2
- Response to Daat Emet Issue 3-9
- Response to Daat Emet Issue Kislev 5760-Kislev 5761
- Response to Daat Emet Issue Cheshvan 5762-Tamuz 5762