Poll: Do you consider patrilineal Jews to be Jewish?

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Thread: Do you consider patrilineal Jews to be Jewish?

  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I know nothing of Halakhah, but I want to mention something that I find somewhat baffling about the idea of matrilineal descent as a requirement in Judaism.

    Here it is. Anyone who has read the Old Testament, as I have, more than once (but in English translation, not in the original languages), instantly recognizes that ancient Israel was a distinctly patriarchal, pastoral culture. The central and constant references are to the ancient fathers, the "patriarchs", Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so on. There are heroic female figures, as well, but they are nowhere near as prominent in the narrative as the fathers are.

    So, a matrilineal requirement seems a discordant note in the Jewish tradition. Just my impression.

    Note: I just noticed that Tz85 kind of beat me to the mention of this up in post #104. Great minds run together, I guess.
    Great question; typical of Christians who are familiar with Written Torah (translated) but are not familiar with Oral Torah. Judaism is based on the traditional received wisdom of the dual Torah, Written and Oral. When Moshe Rabenu (Moses Our Teacher) received the Torah on Sinai, tradition says he received this dual system of the written scriptures on the one hand,and an orally-transmitted system to decode and implement the Torah on the other. Written Torah, right out of the blocks, lacks certain explanations. Two classic examples (thanks to R' Sa'adiah Gaon Iraq 9th century): 1) Torah says kosher slaughter ' as I will show you" but written Torah never revisits subject of how-to. Nevertheless; all Jews, from Yemen to Spain to Poland followed same rules and understand kosher slaughter, from the same Oral Torah tradition 2) "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth etc." so horrifying to well-meaning Christians. Lol It never meant physical mutilation! Oral Torah from ancient times always understood that it was monetary compensation: the value of an eye for the value of an eye, the value of a tooth for the value of a tooth etc. Another example is chicken treated as meat; that is not clear from written Torah but is clarified in Oral Torah; so Jews don't eat chicken parmesan just like they don't eat a cheeseburger. Jews fast to commemorate the translation of the Written Torah, feeling it led to misuse of a Written Torah which, without the Oral Torah given exclusively to the Jews, cannot be understood. It is the Oral Torah which dictates proper action for a Jew, as in matrilineal descent or kosher food, and not written Torah.

    https://www.aish.com/jl/b/ol/48943186.html
    Last edited by Targum; 08-07-2019 at 03:33 PM.

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  3. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I know nothing of Halakhah, but I want to mention something that I find somewhat baffling about the idea of matrilineal descent as a requirement in Judaism.

    Here it is. Anyone who has read the Old Testament, as I have, more than once (but in English translation, not in the original languages), instantly recognizes that ancient Israel was a distinctly patriarchal, pastoral culture. The central and constant references are to the ancient fathers, the "patriarchs", Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so on. There are heroic female figures, as well, but they are nowhere near as prominent in the narrative as the fathers are.

    So, a matrilineal requirement seems a discordant note in the Jewish tradition. Just my impression.

    Note: I just noticed that Tz85 kind of beat me to the mention of this up in post #104. Great minds run together, I guess.
    Just to further illustrate Targum's point, the Mosaic communities that do not follow Torah shebe'al peh (Oral law) and rely on the TaNaKH (Biblical scripture) only define Israelite status patrilineally as ancient Israelite society did. This is why the Karaites and the Samaritans both follow patrilineal descent, to quote Eli'ezer ben Ephraim haKohen (one of the founding board members of Karaite Jewish University):

    "A child of a Jewish father is born Jewish and a child of a Jewish mother is not. We learn this from Vayikra 24:10 which states: "And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;" The passage does not treat a child whose father was Egyptian as part of the "Children of Israel." Reform also requires specific acts of "Jewish identification" for a child born a Jew, whereas Karaite Judaism does not."

    This is the exact opposite of normative Rabbinical Halakhah, and would sound completely heretical to any frum/practicing Jew. As I said earlier, while the Orthodox will usually maintain that matrilineal descent is a Biblical precept, the shift from patrilineal descent (which was very much the norm all the way until the 1st Jewish-Roman War at the very least) to matrilineal descent seems to have taken root during Tannaitic times and was probably loosely followed until the Middle Ages (which seems to be supported by the genetic results of numerous Jewish sub-ethnic groups which paint a picture where the Judean component was mostly paternal).

    EDIT: So to give a personal anecdote, you have this strange situation where an Orthodox rabbi would exclude me from Shabbat services (I've seen many exceptions to this though, in fact the Orthodox are often more welcoming than Reform Jews if you can believe that but keep in mind I'm not talking about America here) while I've had several experiences where Samaritan Kohanim would not only acknowledge me as an Israelite (which I find really amazing) but even took my Kohanic status seriously even though I do not qualify as a Kohen in any way, shape or form and therefore insisted on me reading passages from their Torah (yes, I know Samaritan Hebrew).
    Last edited by Agamemnon; 08-07-2019 at 10:42 PM.
    ᾽Άλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
    κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
    νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.


    -Αγαμέμνων; H Οδύσσεια, Ραψωδία λ

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  5. #113
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    Not my place to judge, of course, but it does strike me as kind of an odd development, given the otherwise pretty obvious patriarchal character of Hebrew history, i.e., Twelve Tribes all named for founding patriarchs, the central rite of initiation being male circumcision, the exclusively male Levitical priesthood, etc., etc., etc.

    But, hey, you all know better than I do.
     


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  7. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
    Just to further illustrate Targum's point, the Mosaic communities that do not follow Torah shebe'al peh (Oral law) and rely on the TaNaKh (Biblical scripture) only define Israelite status patrilineally as ancient Israelite society did. This is why the Karaites and the Samaritans both follow patrilineal descent, to quote Eli'ezer ben Ephraim haKohen (one of the founding board members of Karaite Jewish University):

    "A child of a Jewish father is born Jewish and a child of a Jewish mother is not. We learn this from Vayikra 24:10 which states: "And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;" The passage does not treat a child whose father was Egyptian as part of the "Children of Israel." Reform also requires specific acts of "Jewish identification" for a child born a Jew, whereas Karaite Judaism does not."

    This is the exact opposite of normative Rabbinical Halakhah, and would sound completely heretical to any frum/practicing Jew. As I said earlier, while the Orthodox will usually maintain that matrilineal descent is a Biblical precept, the shift from patrilineal descent (which was very much the norm all the way until the 1st Jewish-Roman War at the very least) to matrilineal descent seems to have taken root during Tannaitic times and was probably loosely followed until the Middle Ages (which seems to be supported by the genetic results of numerous Jewish sub-ethnic groups which paint a picture where the Judean component was mostly paternal).

    EDIT: So to give a personal anecdote, you have this strange situation where an Orthodox rabbi would exclude me from Shabbat services (I've seen many exceptions to this though, in fact the Orthodox are often more welcoming than Reform Jews if you can believe that but keep in mind I'm not talking about America here) while I've had several experiences where Samaritan Kohanim would not only acknowledge me as an Israelite (which I find really amazing) but even took my Kohanic status seriously even though I do not qualify as a Kohen in any way, shape or form and therefore insisted on me reading passages from their Torah (yes, I know Samaritan Hebrew).
    One day I'll have a billion dollar stock tip for you, communicated by my Rothschild cousins, but your inbox will be full.
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    Jeremiah 31

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  9. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agamemnon View Post
    Just to further illustrate Targum's point, the Mosaic communities that do not follow Torah shebe'al peh (Oral law) and rely on the TaNaKh (Biblical scripture) only define Israelite status patrilineally as ancient Israelite society did. This is why the Karaites and the Samaritans both follow patrilineal descent, to quote Eli'ezer ben Ephraim haKohen (one of the founding board members of Karaite Jewish University):

    "A child of a Jewish father is born Jewish and a child of a Jewish mother is not. We learn this from Vayikra 24:10 which states: "And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;" The passage does not treat a child whose father was Egyptian as part of the "Children of Israel." Reform also requires specific acts of "Jewish identification" for a child born a Jew, whereas Karaite Judaism does not."

    This is the exact opposite of normative Rabbinical Halakhah, and would sound completely heretical to any frum/practicing Jew. As I said earlier, while the Orthodox will usually maintain that matrilineal descent is a Biblical precept, the shift from patrilineal descent (which was very much the norm all the way until the 1st Jewish-Roman War at the very least) to matrilineal descent seems to have taken root during Tannaitic times and was probably loosely followed until the Middle Ages (which seems to be supported by the genetic results of numerous Jewish sub-ethnic groups which paint a picture where the Judean component was mostly paternal).

    EDIT: So to give a personal anecdote, you have this strange situation where an Orthodox rabbi would exclude me from Shabbat services (I've seen many exceptions to this though, in fact the Orthodox are often more welcoming than Reform Jews if you can believe that but keep in mind I'm not talking about America here) while I've had several experiences where Samaritan Kohanim would not only acknowledge me as an Israelite (which I find really amazing) but even took my Kohanic status seriously even though I do not qualify as a Kohen in any way, shape or form and therefore insisted on me reading passages from their Torah (yes, I know Samaritan Hebrew).
    Also, little do many know that Beta Israel, or Ethiopian Jews, which were disconnected from the rest of the Jewish world for more than a millennia (at least), also followed patrilineal descent, just like Karaites and Samaritans:

    Descent among the Ethiopians is entirely patrilineal. Perhaps this stems from the influence of the patriarchal society (in which the status of the father is dominant); however it might originate from an ancient halakhah predating the giving of the Torah or Ezra’s regulations.
    https://www1.biu.ac.il/indexE.php?id...74,14420,14583
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  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Targum View Post
    Great question; typical of Christians who are familiar with Written Torah (translated) but are not familiar with Oral Torah. Judaism is based on the traditional received wisdom of the dual Torah, Written and Oral. When Moshe Rabenu (Moses Our Teacher) received the Torah on Sinai, tradition says he received this dual system of the written scriptures on the one hand,and an orally-transmitted system to decode and implement the Torah on the other. Written Torah, right out of the blocks, lacks certain explanations. Two classic examples (thanks to R' Sa'adiah Gaon Iraq 9th century): 1) Torah says kosher slaughter ' as I will show you" but written Torah never revisits subject of how-to. Nevertheless; all Jews, from Yemen to Spain to Poland followed same rules and understand kosher slaughter, from the same Oral Torah tradition 2) "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth etc." so horrifying to well-meaning Christians. Lol It never meant physical mutilation! Oral Torah from ancient times always understood that it was monetary compensation: the value of an eye for the value of an eye, the value of a tooth for the value of a tooth etc. Another example is chicken treated as meat; that is not clear from written Torah but is clarified in Oral Torah; so Jews don't eat chicken parmesan just like they don't eat a cheeseburger. Jews fast to commemorate the translation of the Written Torah, feeling it led to misuse of a Written Torah which, without the Oral Torah given exclusively to the Jews, cannot be understood. It is the Oral Torah which dictates proper action for a Jew, as in matrilineal descent or kosher food, and not written Torah.

    https://www.aish.com/jl/b/ol/48943186.html
    The problem is, that post-tannaic Rabbinic Judaism also changed specific element of Pharisee Judaism, and that is something that should be accepted as a fact even by Orthodox Rabbinic Jews which believe in the narrative that the Oral Law was received in Mt. Sinai alongside written Law, which is that Pharisee Judaism was always partisan, represented by two זוגות - zugot - the last ones being Hillel and Shamai. Members of different sects within Pharisee Judaism argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations of Oral Law (Halakha) vis-a-vis Written Law (the Tanakh).

    After the destruction of the Second Temple and relocation of the Sanhedrin to Yavne (Jamnia), this partisan system was abandoned, and Hillel's method was almost universally accepted. Birkat HaMinim, added and composed in the end of the 1st century CE by Gamliel HaKatan, marks the final rejection of sectarians and sectarianism within Judaism, even between the different Pharisee sects, and marks the transition to debates between Rabbis that now after the Oral Law was being written down (in Mishnah and later Talmud) based their future decisions on the Hillel school of thoughts.

    And just to understand how drastically the change was, before the destruction of the Temple, Bet Shamai was actually much more popular among Pharisees, and usually in inter-Pharisee debates, Bet Shamai's interpretations would get the upper hand rather than Hillel's.

    However, the position of Bet Hillel improved after the destruction of the Temple, and Pharisee leaders no longer had an appetite for war. Under Raban Gamliel Dayavne (Gamaliel II), the Sanhedrin, now that the Sadducee Jews were virtually gone included almost only Pharisee Jews, reviewed all the points disputed by Bet Hillel, and this time it was their opinions which won the Sanhedrin's support; on most issues, it was said that whenever Bet Shamai had disputed the opinion of Beit Hillel, Beit Shammai's opinion was now null and void.
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  13. #117
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    They are genetically half Jewish but they're not Jewish halachically. They could call themselves Jewish if they have connections to Judaism and Jewish people.

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