Category Archives: Maimonides

Even this Karaite Got Swindled by Firkovich

I want my two dollars!

What has two thumbs and got deceived by Firkovich? This guy! Okay. To be honest, I can’t fully or even partially blame R. Abraham ben Shemuel Firkovich, the greatest collector of manuscripts in Karaite Jewish history, for the set of events that cost me $150. But he sure is a convenient target.
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Filed under Abraham Firkovich, Maimonides, Rambam

Why I Choose to Eat “Ashkenazi” Karaite Meat

End of Shechita LoCBreaking News: Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court of the State of Israel
ruled in favor of the Karaites in a court case against the State’s religious authorities, who had tried to prevent Karaites from slaughtering in independent slaughterhouses that were under the Rabbanut’s supervision. I dedicate this post to everyone who worked so hard on that case.

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In the Rabbinic community, there are famous debates concerning the minhagim (and halakha) of Ashkenazi and Sefardi Jews. Everyone is familiar with the Passover/kitniyot debate. And historically it was the case that if you were from an Ashkenazi family, you followed your own minhag; and your Sefardi friends followed their own.

Geographic divisions like this, tend not to exist in the Karaite community. But historically there was one debate that divided the Karaites on theological lines, and caused a rift among geographical lines that somewhat reflects the Ashkenazi/Sefardi divide in the Rabbinic community.

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Filed under Aharon ben Eliyahu, Kashrut, Maimonides, Passover, Shechita, Turkey, Yisrael HaMa'aravi

Rambam’s Revenge: Rationalism & the Karaite Renaissance

Make no mistake about it, Rambam was bad for Karaism. And despite the whisperings of some Karaites, Rambam was not a closet Karaite. He just wasn’t.

But the Rabbinic community’s growing return to Rambam-based principles is undeniably good for Karaites and Karaism. Today we look at Rambam’s impact on Karaism both historically and today.

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Filed under Maimonides, Rationalism, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

The Religious Standing of Karaite Jewish Women (New Video)

From my talk on the role of women in Karaite Judaism.

From my talk on the role of women in Karaite Judaism.

I did not plan for this post to coincide with Women’s History Month; that’s just how the timing worked out. On February 24, 2014, I gave a talk to the Karaite Jews of America. The talk was called “She Speaks with Authority: The Religious Standing of Karaite Jewish Women from the Middle Ages through Today.”

The video appears after the jump with some notes on the talk.

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Filed under Maimonides, Women in Karaism

Did a Karaite Invent the Concept of Principles of Faith?

Professor Lasker provides direct translations of many classical Karaite works.

Professor Lasker provides direct translations of many classical Karaite works.

Most religious Jews are aware of Maimonides’ 13 principles of faith. But Maimonides himself was not even the first person of his era to compose principles of faith.

It turns out that Maimonides was beat to the punch by the 12th Century Karaite Sage Judah Hadassi. Today, we’ll examine whether Hadassi was the first to create such a list and we provide a video by Eli Shmuel discussing Haddassi’s principles of faith.

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Filed under Daniel Lasker, Eli Shmuel, Judah Hadassi, Maimonides