The gift that keeps on giving.
A few years back, I met a young Jewish college student at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. He was fascinated by the concept of Karaism. And although he has certain Karaite affinities, he proudly declares, “At no point did I consider myself a Karaite” and at no point did he consider becoming a Karaite.
Among the reasons he is interested in Karaism, is because, as he put it, once you accept that Karaism is an option, “then, everything is on the table.” I’ve thought about this statement from time time. And I realized, there is no point to being a Karaite if everything is not on the table.
So here are some views that I think are supported by the plain meaning of the text – but clearly would put me outside the normative bounds of Karaism (and Rabbanism).
The Barden Bellas or Zelophechad’s Daughters?
In case you have not heard the bad news: Pitch Perfect 3’s release date was moved back from Summer 2017 to December 2017 (amid reports of squabbling amongst the movie’s stars). Pitch Perfect is centered around the all girls A Capella group, The Barden Bellas.
And this bad news comes just as Jews throughout the world read the story of the five daughters of Zelophechad who petitioned Moses for their rights to inherit from their deceased father. [1.] This is probably a good time to explain how the Karaite sages generally interpreted the laws of inheritance.
And at the end, you can vote for your favorite Karaite position and can tell me which Pitch Perfect was better: PP1 or PP2.
Filed under Benjamin Nahawendi, Elijah Baschyatchi, Eshkol Hakofer, Inheritance, Judah Hadassi, Levi ben Yefet, Mikdash Me'at, Pitch Perfect, Yefet ben 'Ali, Yosef Ha-roeh, Zelophechad
Farag Menashe (still living in Cairo at the time) with the Cairo Codex.
In 1979, Hadassah Magazine visited the last remaining Karaite Jews of Cairo, Egypt. The magazine provides this tidbit regarding the shochet of the community, Farag Murad Yehuda Menashe:
[H]e will read a Haggada based on biblical texts, free of all Talmudic references. He will have no seder plate, no four questions, and no four cups of wine. His Shavuot will always fall on Sunday, and instead of fasting on the Ninth of Av, he will fast on the seventh and tenth. He has never heard the shofar blown, never put on tefillin, and never affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of his home, and never lit a hanukkiya. (Indeed, Hanukkah is totally absent from his calendar.)
Look at those blue fringes! But why aren’t the women wearing them?
A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Azriel Kowtek shared her passion for blue fringes and tying tzitzit with several of us who attended the KJA’s shavuot gathering. Last week, I wrote about the importance of reviving Karaite literature. And this past Shabbat, Rabbanite Jews read the Torah portion related to the commandment to wear blue fringes. [1.]
In the Rabbinic tradition, women are not required to wear blue fringes. Let’s see what the early Karaite literature says on the topic.
The Karaite Jews of America wants to revolutionize the Karaite experience. This app is just one of its latest projects.
The Karaite Jews of America has brought a two-thousand-year-old debate to the center of the digital world. Over the past few weeks, the KJA has published – for free – its KJA Omer App (for both iPhone and Android), helping Jews count the omer in accordance with the biblical timing and the Karaite tradition. Today, I explain why the KJA’s app is far more important than the omer.
Not enough time in the day to bring Karaites Back to the Future.
I feel like I owe A Blue Thread’s readers an explanation. The number of views for A Blue Thread continues to exceed my expectations, even though I am not posting as regularly as I used to – let alone, as often as I would like.
I just received an email from someone encouraged me to “keep blogging.” So, let me tell you what I’m working on when I’m not blogging. And I promise to blog more regularly, when things slow down. Continue reading