Category Archives: Tefillin

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz has a Fundamental Problem

I know. I know. You’re worried, “Here we go again. This is gonna be another variation of the Thinker post. And Shawn is going to make his name taking down those who speak ill of Karaites.” Don’t worry – it’s not and I won’t.

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Filed under Abib, ibn Ezra, Israel Maghribi, Karaite Fact Cards, Mikveh, Milk and Meat, New Moon, Royal Attire, Shabbat Candles, Tefillin, Yisrael HaMa'aravi

Monday Morning Karaite: Breaking Down My Judaism Unbound Appearance

Image Credit: David Wilensky, J: the Jewish News of Northern California

Yes. I know it’s Wednesday. But what is time anymore? Today, I Monday-morning-quarterback my performance during my Judaism Unbound podcast interview. This is super meta for a Karaite. It’s like my gemara on the mishna that was the podcast.

Before I get started – HUGE shout out to Judaism Unbound for surpassing a million downloads recently!

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Filed under Abib, Calendar, Judaism Unbound, Mezuzot, Milk and Meat, Mishawites, Rabbanite Privilege, Tefillin

God is no Accident; But Your Tefillin Might Be

Boy did I mess this up.

Or: “How I whiffed in that extremely popular Tefillin video.”

Today, on the week when we read some of the “tefillin passages” in Parashat Bo,  I do a massive mea culpa on a relatively minor part of the Tefillin video I posted almost two years ago. And in the process of this correction, I will (hope to) elucidate yet again, why we need more Karaite literature available in English. And why we all need to study more philosophy. Or at least I do.

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Filed under Jacob ben Reuben, Tefillin

Exciting News: Web Courses and Educational Donations

Please join me for an online course. Thursday 6:30 Pacific time. Register here.

My fellow Threaders,

First, do we like being called Threaders? (Let me know at the end of the post.)

As you know, I have been blogging less than I had originally planned. And indeed, I am blogging less than I want to. There is a simple reason for this. I have been working on several other initiatives that I hope will create long term sustainability for the Karaite movement. Blogging is a great short term investment, but we need something more substantive if we are going to exist in 100 years.

So today, I want to announce two exciting initiatives.

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Filed under courses, Tefillin, Uncategorized

Karaites are Really Bad Literalists

Babylonian TalmudSomeone recently told me that he found the Karaite Jewish approach to halakha rather nonintellectual, because Karaites only follow what the Torah says and do not search for the deeper meaning.

Oy! Karaites do not follow what the Torah “says;” we seek to follow what the Torah “means.” These two things are not always the same. Today, let’s look at some of my favorite non-literal Karaite interpretations.

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Filed under Marriages, Shechita, Tefillin

Tefillin the Blanks

Kara the Karaite and Robby the Rabbanite  sure have their differences.

Kara the Karaite and Robby the Rabbanite
sure have their differences.

When I was nine or ten, the rabbi at the conservative synagogue where I received my Jewish education asked me a simple question: “Shawn, do Karaites wear tefillin?

I knew that I had never seen a set of tefillin anywhere near my Karaite community. But instead of saying “no,” I lied and told him that Karaites did wear tefillin. (Sorry, Rabbi!)

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Filed under Kara, Kara & Robby, Robby, Tefillin