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A Talmudic Journey Begins

Our book critic dives into Daf Yomi’s daily regimen expecting a law code, but instead finds a chain of questions

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(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photo Shutterstock)

To get a sense of how the Talmud moves, look at just one of the dozen paths leading out from the Mishnaic text. Rabbi Eliezer says that you can say the evening Shema until the end of the first watch of the night. But how do you define a watch, and how many are there during the night—are there four three-hour shifts or three four-hour shifts? (The curt phrasing of these questions—even more curt in the original, since the English translation usefully expands on the compressed Aramaic phrasing—gives a delightful sense of frankness and impatience, as though the rabbis were talking face-to-face, rather than separated by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles.)

To clarify the point, the rabbis turn to a baraita—a part of the Oral Law not included in the Mishna—which declares that there are three four-hour watches in a night. You can identify them according to signs: At the first watch, donkeys bray; at the second watch, dogs howl; at the third, infants wake up to suckle and women begin to talk to their husbands. These are totally concrete signs that give an intimate sense of Jewish life at the time and bring it close to the present day: Infants wake up to feed now just as they did in Babylonia.

But then comes a step that, while it seems utterly logical to the rabbis, looked quite irrational to me, at least at first. They quote a verse from Jeremiah that describes how God will “roar” from the heavens, in which forms of the word “roar” are used three times. This corresponds, they say, to the three watches of the night, suggesting that God roars three times a night. Why does He do this? Because, according to another sage, He is saying, “Woe to the children because of whose sins I destroyed my Temple and burned my sanctuary and exiled them among the nations of the world.” This kind of inference, in which similarity of number—three watches, three roars, a three-part lament of God—is made to indicate an essential relationship, is one of the Talmudic strategies that seems most foreign to contemporary reason.

But the chain of questions doesn’t end there. We’ve been given the signs of the three watches, but do these signs—the donkey braying, the dog howling, etc.—happen at the beginning of each watch, or at the end? If at the beginning, why do we need to know the first sign, since the first watch obviously begins when the sun sets? If at the end, why do we need to know the last sign, since the last watch obviously ends when the sun rises?

To which the Gemara gives a really ingenious answer. The signs mark the end of the watches, and the third one—an infant waking up to feed, a woman beginning to talk to her husband—is given so that, if you wake up in a room with no windows, you will still have a way of determining whether the morning has begun and it’s time to say the Shema. This is yet another kind of unexpected logic, but unlike the Talmud’s numerical logic, it does not seem contorted; rather, it seems unexpectedly brilliant, as if someone had just solved a mystery with no clues.

It’s only been four days, and I already have a sense of getting acquainted with a foreign, at times frustrating, but genuinely exhilarating way of thinking. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

***

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b’hatzlacha. it will change you forever.

yisraelf says:

Adam, this is a truly wonderful and brilliant idea which fills me with energy. I look forward to reading your columns.

ginzy1 says:

I wish you well on your journey. There are however, some caveats you should keep in mind:

a) You don’t “read” the Talmud, you study it. And it can and should be studied at various depths. Because of its very nature (a page (2 sides) a day, in about an hour), Daf Hayomi is the most superficial way to study Talmud and arguably the worst way to begin.

By way of contrast, for many years now I have been attending a morning Talmud class taught by a very knowledgeable and gifted rabbi who more often than not, goes into great depth. We study a single tractate over a period of several years (or more). In other words, not Daf Hayomi (although he teaches that too in the evenings). Our running joke is that the class is in Shura Yomi or the line of the day (actually we usually do several lines but there are times where it does average out to a line a day).

b) Studying Talmud with only a Hebrew school education (and I say this as someone who taught Hebrew school for several years to supplement my graduate school assistantships; and my wife is a product of Conservative Hebrew school education) is sort of like trying to teach yourself calculus without having a good grasp of basic algebra. At least if you did it with a regular instructor or a knowledgeable study partner, he / she would be able to fill in the missing parts and provide some context.

c) For all its praiseworthyness, the Artscroll Talmud is but one interpretation and translation. Indeed the Hebrew edition of the Artscroll is not a translation of the English edition but was written independently by a separate staff of rabbis and often takes a different approach to explain various passages.

d) Although the Talmud is the core basis for Jewish law, it is not the last word and I am speaking from an Orthodox perspective. Indeed it is exceedingly rare for any possek since the 16th Century to decide any open question by solely relying on the Talmud.

e) The Talmud is not literature, at least in the sense that a literary editor is used to dealing with.

hg

J’lem / Efrata

Kol hakavod!! Just maintain awareness that you are reading Talmud through a lens when you read Schottenstein. Artscroll – like ANY translator – has a “reader” who helps you read the Talmud, and he – yes it is he – has a specific view on the text. Strongly recommend that you occasionally attend a shiur taught by different sorts of teachers lest you get too Artscrolled along the way.

I shall be interested in reading about your experience. Especially in light of the facts that you don’t read Hebrew and that you’ll be on your own.Ginzy1′s reply certainly indicates how formidable the challenge will be.

At least check out Daf Yomi Advancement Forum …

At least check out Daf Yomi Advancement Forum …

Adam, are you interested in learning in chavruta from time to time?

Hershl says:

Yes, yes and yes.

We study not read Gemoro (Talmud).
It is done in the original Aramaic and Hebrew. There is not other way to really have the experience that is called “learning gemoro”.
You don’t need to be religious or even believe in god. You do need to understand that this is not literature, not law, not anything that you can imagine until you have been personally guided by someone who is coming from this world.

The main aspect of learning is asking questions, understanding why each question and response is provided, what is the whole point of each piece, how does it all tie together, what do the m’forshim ( commentators – mainly rashi and his grandkids, tosfos) have to say and why do they say it.

It is nice to use Artscroll but you will never penetrate below the surface in this way.

I was in a yeshivo in Israel and later in the US when I was in my twenties in 1969. I came from a non-religious background. I was immersed in Torah and the attendant lifestyle for years.

I no longer consider myself a religious Jew because I cannot accept this religion.

However, I still learn gemoro.

In my estimation, it is the real gift of the Jewish people to the world, more so than the Bible itself.

Nothing compares to it in terms of brilliance, sharpening of your mind, educating you in what it really means to be a person with a brain.

The gemoro experience is the most central part of Jewish education, in my estimation.

It cannot be acquired on one’s own and without the essential tools ( Hebrew, Aramaic, a rebbe – maybe you can use skype,) and a real desire and motivation to sit and learn.

I truly pray that you are blessed by hashem to realize true gemoro learning.

It will utterly change your life, literally.

Best of luck and hatslokho and brokho in your learning!!

PS – consider distance learning from Yeshivo Bircas Hatorh in Jerusalem. YOu will get a real rebbe who will personally tutor you in learning gemoro.
http://www.bircas.org/index.php?page=60

irvingdog says:

Having finished reading through the Bavli in the cycle just completed, I concur with everyone, but don’t let the immensity of the Talmud itself or the difficulty get you down. Just try to keep your head above water. AND, don’t allow yourself to fall behind.
Gey gezunterheyt!

Though thoroughly a-thesistic/magical thinking, the old books are fascinating windows into how our brains work and how ideologies/sales strategies work. The mind and behavior hasn’t changed in millenia – perhaps 40k yrs.

Objectively, however, written/verbal reports are little more than socially acceptable ideological marketing stories — or stories designed to get power and sell interests to others. But as some of the longest lived and most successful marketing campaigns — religious texts are preeminent.

But the Hebrew bible is one of the oldest and certainly one of the first in Western cultures.

Also cautionary, brain research is proving that conscious-verbal thought/words appear to have little relations to behavior. Words, apparently, don’t really matter in terms of predicting behavior. But the old texts trigger all sorts of warm-fuzzy emotions (feel good brain chemicals) so that’s (usually) a plus. lol

Samuel Goldring says:

After the noise of the day stops. In the quiet of the night G-d roars his concern and I remain asleep. But others wake at midnight to mourn the Temple’s destruction and their own.

judahdan says:

Did you use the word “lest” before you began learning the Talmud? : )

judahdan says:

You need to study some Talmud/Torah then in one year come back and write a comment that rests on experience.

Carol Ungar says:

Great. I’m very impressed and best of luck!

Pam Green says:

I agree! And I wish everyone here would stop lecturing him about the limitations of his plan!

Adam, I was enthralled by what you wrote and will read your posts daily! As an American Jew who fits your target audience (i.e. no religious training and no knowledge of Hebrew), I am very grateful that you will be sharing your first impressions and explaining the basics from a perspective I can understand.

yisraelf says:

Pam, I couldn’t have said it better. What is this Jewish thing? everyone lecturing! I have spent my whole life in the precincts of the Talmud and to a beginning student one says just one word: “bravo”

Plus, your comment lacks unity. I’m not sure what you meant.

41953 says:

Talmudic law is mostly arcane, tedious or obnoxious. Occassionally there is a nugget of wisdom, especially in the non-legal portions (agada).

Nu, so what kind of ruined buildings are inhabited by demons? Inquiring minds want to know!

“This is not the approach of a text that wants to promulgate a single, simple rule for everyone to follow. And if the Mishna is already giving multiple answers, the Gemara seems to offer multiple dimensions of response.”

If the author is implying that the nature and character of Talmud isn’t typical of absolute subservience to Halakha in which “one size fits all”, I would vehemently beg to differ. Specifically the Talmud which is a platform for so many varying opinions, contains many rules regarding how one should deduce the final Halakhic decision. Just one such example: the rule that the Halakah like the unspecified (nameless) opinion presented in any given Mishnah (see Menachos 52b). See also Brachos 27b (in the Talmudic text). Niddah Chapter 1, Mishna 3 (in the Mishnaic text).

THE
SUFFERING OF THE JEWISH INNOCENTS

In Exodus 32:7-11 we
learn that the G-d of Israel
wanted to destroy the Israelites! WHY? The Jewish scribes have attempted to
hide the dastardly deed, but Amos 5:25-27 gives us a hint. The Prophets of
Israel
speak about offering sacrifices to Moloch and we read that Solomon did this in
1 Kings 11:1-11, but we must go to the Babylonian Talmud to get the facts to
the case:

MISHNAH.
HE WHO GIVES OF HIS SEED TO MOLECH INCURS NO PUNISHMENT UNLESS HE DELIVERS IT
TO MOLECH AND CAUSES IT TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE. IF HE GAVE IT TO MOLECH BUT
DID NOT CAUSE IT TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE, OR THE REVERSE, HE INCURS NO
PENALTY, UNLESS HE DOES BOTH.

Babylonian
Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 64a

Soncino
1961 Edition, page 437

Following
the Mishnah is a discussion among the sages. One of the Talmud Sages, Rabbi
Ashi, comments as follows:

GEMARA. R. Ashi propounded: What if one caused his blind or
sleeping son to pass through, (3) or if he caused his grandson by his son or
daughter to pass through? — One at least of these you may solve. For it has
been taught: [Any men … that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall he
put to death … And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off
from among his people;] because he hath given of his seed unto Molech. Why is
this stated? — Because it is said, there shall not be found among you any one
that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. From this I know
it only of his son or daughter. Whence do I know that it applies to his son’s
son or daughter’s son too? From the verse, [And if the people of the land do
any ways hide their eyes from the man] when he giveth of his seed unto Molech
[and kill him not: Then I will … cut him off.]


Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 64b

Soncino
1961 Edition, page 439

There
it is for ALL to see. The Golden Calf, that Hollywood pretended was a statue of a calf,
was in fact Moloch. This idol had indeed a calf’s head, but its body was a
FURNACE into which the HUMAN SACRIFICES were put. The Israelites created the
FIRST HOLOCAUST and there were no Nazis in sight. Jews have been abusing THEIR
children for thousands of years. If it’s not offering them as HUMAN SACRIFICES
to Moloch, then its SEXUALLY RAPING & BUGGERING THEM:

THE HOLY BABYLONIAN
TALMUD?

The Talmud is Judaism’s
holiest book (actually a collection of books). Its authority takes precedence
over the Old Testament in Judaism. Evidence of this may be found in the Talmud
itself, Erubin 21b (Soncino edition):

“My son, be more careful
in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah
(Old Testament).”

Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, in “Judaism on Trial,” quotes Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph:

“Further, without the Talmud, we
would not be able to understand passages in the Bible … God has handed this
authority to the sages and tradition is a necessity as well as scripture. The
Sages also made enactments of their own … anyone who does not study the
Talmud cannot understand Scripture.”

Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of
Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned
pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He
proclaimed,

“A proselyte who is under
the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1

Yebamoth 60b,

Subsequent rabbis refer to
ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as “halakah,” or binding Jewish
law. 2 Yebamoth 60b

Has Rabbi ben Yohai, child
rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s
hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of
orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing
and dancing in his memory.

References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy
considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are
enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise
Sanhedrin.

The Pharisees Endorsed Child Sex

The rabbis of the Talmud are notorious for their legal
hairsplitting, and quibbling debates. But they share rare agreement about their
right to molest three year old girls. In contrast to many hotly debated issues,
hardly a hint of dissent rises against the prevailing opinion (expressed in
many clear passages) that pedophilia is not only normal but scriptural as well!
It’s as if the rabbis have found an exalted truth whose majesty silences
debate.

Because the Talmudic authorities who sanction pedophilia
are so renowned, and because pedophilia as “halakah” is so explicitly
emphasized, not even the translators of the Soncino edition of the Talmud
(1936) dared insert a footnote suggesting the slightest criticism. They only
comment: “Marriage, of course, was then at a far earlier age than now.” 3

In fact, footnote 5 to Sanhedrin 60b rejects the right of
a Talmudic rabbi to disagree with ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia:

“How could they [the rabbis], contrary to the opinion of R.
Simeon ben Yohai, which has scriptural support, forbid the marriage of the
young proselyte?” 4

1 Yebamoth 60b, p. 402.

2 Yebamoth 60b, p. 403.

3 Sanhedrin 76a.

4 In Yebamoth 60b, p. 404, Rabbi Zera disagrees that sex with girls under three
years and one day should be endorsed as halakah.

Out of Babylon

It was in Babylon
after the exile under Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC that Judaism’s leading sages
probably began to indulge in pedophilia. Babylon
was the staggeringly immoral capitol of the ancient world. For 1600 years, the
world’s largest population of Jews flourished within it.

As an example of their evil, Babylonian priests said a man’s religious duty
included regular sex with temple prostitutes. Bestiality was widely tolerated.
So Babylonians hardly cared whether a rabbi married a three year old girl.

But with expulsion of the Jews in the 11th century AD, mostly to western
Christian lands, Gentile tolerance of Jewish pedophilia abruptly ended.

Still, a shocking contradiction lingers: If Jews want to revere the
transcendent wisdom and moral guidance of the Pharisees and their Talmud, they
must accept the right of their greatest ancient sages to violate children. To
this hour, no synod of Judaism has repudiated their vile practice.

Sex with a “Minor” Permitted

What exactly did these sages say?

The Pharisees justified child rape by explaining that a boy of nine years was
not a “man” Thus they exempted him from God’s Mosaic Law:

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”
(Leviticus. 18:22)

One passage in the Talmud gives permission for a woman who molested her young
son to marry a high priest. It concludes,

“All agree that the (sexual) connection of a boy aged nine years and
a day is a real connection; whilst that of one less than eight years is
not.” Sanhedrin
69b 5

Because a boy under 9 is sexually immature, he can’t
“throw guilt” on the active offender, morally or legally. 6

“…the intercourse of a small boy is not regarded as a sexual
act.” 7

The Talmud also says,

“A male aged nine years and a day who cohabits with his
deceased brother’s wife acquires her (as wife).”8

Clearly, the Talmud teaches that a woman is permitted to
marry and have sex with a nine year old boy.

5 Sanhedrin 69b.

6 Sanhedrin 55a.

7 Footnote 1 to Kethuboth 11b.

8 Sanhedrin 55b.

Sex at Three Years and One Day

In contrast to Simeon ben Yohai’s dictum that sex with a
little girl is permitted under the age of three years, the general teaching of
the Talmud is that the rabbi must wait until a day after her third birthday.
She could be taken in marriage simply by the act of rape.

R. Joseph said: Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day
may be acquired in marriage by coition and if her deceased husband’s brother
cohabits with her, she becomes his. (Sanhedrin 55b)

A girl who is three years of age and one day may be betrothed by
cohabitation. . . .(. Yebamoth 57b)

A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by
coition, and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabited with her she becomes
his. (Sanhedrin. 69a, 69b, also discussed in Yebamoth. 60b)

It was taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai stated: A proselyte who is under
the age of three years and one day is permitted to marry a priest, for it is
said, But all the women children that have not known man by lying with him,
keep alive for yourselves, and Phineas (who was priest, the footnote says)
surely was with them. (Yebamoth. 60b)

[The Talmud says such three year and a day old girls are] . . . fit
for cohabitation. . . But all women children, that have not known man by lying
with him, it must be concluded that Scripture speaks of one who is fit for
cohabitation. (Footnote to Yebamoth. 60b)

The example of Phineas, a priest, himself marrying an
underage virgin of three years is considered by the Talmud as proof that such
infants are “fit for cohabitation.”

The Talmud teaches that an adult woman’s molestation of a
nine year old boy is “not a sexual act” and cannot “throw
guilt” upon her because the little boy is not truly a “man.” 9 But
they use opposite logic to sanction rape of little girls aged three years and
one day: Such infants they count as “women,” sexually mature and fully
responsible to comply with the requirements of marriage.

The Talmud footnotes 3 and 4 to Sanhedrin 55a clearly tell us when the rabbis
considered a boy and girl sexually mature and thus ready for marriage. “At
nine years a male attains sexual matureness… The sexual matureness of woman is
reached at the age of three.”

9 Sanhedrin 55a.

No Rights for Child Victims

The Pharisees were hardly ignorant of the trauma felt by
molested children. To complicate redress, the Talmud says a rape victim must
wait until she was of age before there would be any possibility of restitution.
She must prove that she lived and would live as a devoted Jewess, and she must
protest the loss of her virginity on the very hour she comes of age. “As soon
as she was of age one hour and did not protest she cannot protest any more.” 10

The Talmud defends these strict measures as necessary to
forestall the possibility of a Gentile child bride rebelling against Judaism
and spending the damages awarded to her as a heathen – an unthinkable
blasphemy! But the rights of the little girl were really of no great
consequence, for,

“When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is
nothing, for when the girl is less than this (three years and a day) it is as
if one put the finger into the eye.” The footnote says that as “tears come
to the eye again and again, so does virginity come back to the little girl
under three years.” Kethuboth
11b.

In most cases, the Talmud affirms the innocence of male
and female victims of pedophilia. Defenders of the Talmud claim this proves the
Talmud’s amazing moral advancement and benevolence toward children; they say it
contrasts favorably with “primitive” societies where the child would
have been stoned along with the adult perpetrator.

Actually, the rabbis, from self-protection, were intent on
proving the innocence of both parties involved in pedophilia: the child, but
more importantly, the pedophile. They stripped a little boy of his right to
“throw guilt” on his assailant and demanded complicity in sex from a
little girl. By thus providing no significant moral or legal recourse for the
child, the Talmud clearly reveals whose side it is on: the raping rabbi.

Pedophilia Widespread

Child rape was practiced in the highest circles of
Judaism. This is illustrated from Yebamoth. 60b:

There was a certain town in the land of Israel the legitimacy of
whose inhabitants was disputed, and Rabbi sent R. Romanos who conducted an
inquiry and found in it the daughter of a proselyte who was under the age of three
years and one day, and Rabbi declared her eligible to live with a priest.

The footnote says that she was “married to a priest” and
the rabbi simply permitted her to live with her husband, thus upholding
“halakah” as well as the dictum of Simeon ben Yohai,

“A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is
permitted to marry a priest.” 12

These child brides were expected to submit willingly to
sex. Yebamoth. 12b confirms that under eleven years and one day a little girl
is not permitted to use a contraceptive but “must carry on her marital
intercourse in the usual manner.”

In Sanhedrin 76b a blessing is given to the man who marries off his children
before they reach the age of puberty, with a contrasting curse on anyone who
waits longer. In fact, failure to have married off one’s daughter by the time
she is 12-1/2, the Talmud says, is as bad as one who “returns a lost article to
a Cuthean” (Gentile) – a deed for which “the Lord will not spare him.” 13 This
passage says:

“… it is meritorious to marry off one’s children whilst minors.”

The mind reels at the damage to the untold numbers of
girls who were sexually abused within Judaism during the heyday of pedophilia.
Such child abuse, definitely practiced in the second century, continued, at least
in Babylon, for another 900 years.

10 Kethuboth 11a.

11 Kethuboth 11b.

12 Yebamoth 60b.

13 Sanhedrin 76b.

A Fascination with Sex

Perusing the Talmud, one is overwhelmed with the recurrent
preoccupation with sex, especially by the most eminent rabbis. Dozens of
illustrations could be presented to illustrate the delight of the Pharisees to
discuss sex and quibble over its minutest details.

The rabbis endorsing child sex undoubtedly practiced what
they preached. Yet to this hour, their words are revered. Simeon ben Yohai is
honored by Orthodox Jews as one of the very greatest sages and spiritual lights
the world has ever known. A member of the earliest “Tannaim,” rabbis
most influential in creating the Talmud, he carries more authority to observant
Jews than Moses.

Today, the
Talmud’s outspoken pedophiles and child-rape advocates would doubtlessly spend
hard time in prison for child molestation.

The Oedipus complex was the invention of Sigmund
Freud!

Freud originally discovered, in the treatments partially
conducted under hypnosis, that all his Jewish patients, both male and female,
had been abused children and recounted their histories in the language of
symptoms. After reporting his discovery in Jewish psychiatric circles, he found
himself completely shunned because none of his fellow Jewish psychiatrists was
prepared to share the findings with him. Freud could not bear the isolation for
long. A few months later, in 1897, he described his patients’ reports on sexual
abuse as sheer fantasies attributable to their instinctual wishes.

Freud’s father was a pedophile! In a letter to his
friend Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote:

“Unfortunately, my own father was one of these
perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose
symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters. The
frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.”

Fliess’s son, Robert Fliess
exposed his own father as being another pedophile who had sexually abused him
when he was a child.

Pedophilia Widespread

Child rape was practiced in the highest circles of
Judaism. This is illustrated from Yebamoth. 60b:

There was a certain town in the land of Israel the legitimacy of
whose inhabitants was disputed, and Rabbi sent R. Romanos who conducted an
inquiry and found in it the daughter of a proselyte who was under the age of three
years and one day, and Rabbi declared her eligible to live with a priest.

The footnote says that she was “married to a priest” and
the rabbi simply permitted her to live with her husband, thus upholding
“halakah” as well as the dictum of Simeon ben Yohai,

“A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is
permitted to marry a priest.” 12

These child brides were expected to submit willingly to
sex. Yebamoth. 12b confirms that under eleven years and one day a little girl
is not permitted to use a contraceptive but “must carry on her marital
intercourse in the usual manner.”

In Sanhedrin 76b a blessing is given to the man who marries off his children
before they reach the age of puberty, with a contrasting curse on anyone who
waits longer. In fact, failure to have married off one’s daughter by the time
she is 12-1/2, the Talmud says, is as bad as one who “returns a lost article to
a Cuthean” (Gentile) – a deed for which “the Lord will not spare him.” 13 This
passage says:

“… it is meritorious to marry off one’s children whilst minors.”

The mind reels at the damage to the untold numbers of
girls who were sexually abused within Judaism during the heyday of pedophilia.
Such child abuse, definitely practiced in the second century, continued, at least
in Babylon, for another 900 years.

10 Kethuboth 11a.

11 Kethuboth 11b.

12 Yebamoth 60b.

13 Sanhedrin 76b.

A Fascination with Sex

Perusing the Talmud, one is overwhelmed with the recurrent
preoccupation with sex, especially by the most eminent rabbis. Dozens of
illustrations could be presented to illustrate the delight of the Pharisees to
discuss sex and quibble over its minutest details.

The rabbis endorsing child sex undoubtedly practiced what
they preached. Yet to this hour, their words are revered. Simeon ben Yohai is
honored by Orthodox Jews as one of the very greatest sages and spiritual lights
the world has ever known. A member of the earliest “Tannaim,” rabbis
most influential in creating the Talmud, he carries more authority to observant
Jews than Moses.

Today, the
Talmud’s outspoken pedophiles and child-rape advocates would doubtlessly spend
hard time in prison for child molestation.

The Oedipus complex was the invention of Sigmund
Freud!

Freud originally discovered, in the treatments partially
conducted under hypnosis, that all his Jewish patients, both male and female,
had been abused children and recounted their histories in the language of
symptoms. After reporting his discovery in Jewish psychiatric circles, he found
himself completely shunned because none of his fellow Jewish psychiatrists was
prepared to share the findings with him. Freud could not bear the isolation for
long. A few months later, in 1897, he described his patients’ reports on sexual
abuse as sheer fantasies attributable to their instinctual wishes.

Freud’s father was a pedophile! In a letter to his
friend Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote:

“Unfortunately, my own father was one of these
perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose
symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters. The
frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.”

Fliess’s son, Robert Fliess
exposed his own father as being another pedophile who had sexually abused him
when he was a child.

THESE ARE SOME WHO STUDIED TALMUD & PUT IT INTO PRACTICE:

1.
Case of Rabbi Yoram
Aberjil (Netivot, Israel) (Accused of cult like practices and sexual
harassment of young women and treatening the lives of the survivors and those
who support them.)

2.
Case of Rabbi
Shlomo Aviner (Beit El, Israel) (Two women accused the rabbi of
creating emotionally intimate relationships with them. These relationships
included his expressions of his love for them during regular late-night phone
conversations, extracting details from them of their sexuality and promoting an
unhealthy emotional dependence on him).

3.
Case of Rabbi Aryeh
Blaut (AKA: Louis Blaut, Louis Steven Blaut, Louis A. Blaut, Louis S. Blaut)
(Seattle, WA) (Convicted
sex offender on federal charges of possession of child pornography.
According to the United States Department of Probation, Louis Blaut is
not allowed contact with anyone under the age of eighteen on the internet or in
person).

4.
Case of Rabbi Jerry
Brauner (Boro Park, Brooklyn, NY) (Convicted on the charges of Sexual
Abuse-1st Degree and Sexual Abuse-3rd:Subject Another Person to Sex Contact
Without Consent. He was sentenced to 11 years probation, with the condition he
must participate in a sex offender treatment program. Brauner has been on
probation since 2002 for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy. On
December 27, 2006, Jerry Brauner was arrested on charges of stealing a
half-million-dollar home from a cancer-stricken woman, using a forged power of
attorney to sell it and pocket the profits. Brauner is being held in lieu of
$85,000 bail for lying about prior sex-abuse convictions when he applied for
his notary’s license.)

5.
Case of Rabbi Lewis
Brenner (AKA: Lippa Brenner) (Brooklyn, NY) (Convicted of child molestation.
The original charges included 14 counts of sodomy, sexual abuse and
endangering the welfare of a child. He agreed to plead guilty to one
count of sodomy in the third degree, a Class E felony, in exchange for a
sentence of five years’ probation.)

6.
Case of Rabbi
Yaakov Yitzhak Brizel (Jerusalem, Israel) (Accused of child molestation)

7.
Case of Rabbi
Ephraim Bryks (Winnipeg, Canada, New York, NY) (There
is a Call for Action on this case. Accusations about sexual
inappropriate behavior with children started surfacing in the 1980′s. Rabbi
Bryks is currently a member of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. The
Vaad is a Rabbinical committee that makes important decisions within an
orthodox community.)

8.
Case of Rabbi
Shlomo Carlebach (There is a Call for Action on this
case. Accused of several cases of child
molestation, and sexual assault of young adult women)

9.
Case Rabbi Perry Ian
Cohen – Montreal and Toronto Canada
(Accused of sexual
abuse of a seventeen year old. Fired for sexual impropriety with congregants)

10. Case of Rabbi
Yitzchak Cohen (Israel) (Accused of sexually harassing students at Bar-Ilan University)

11. Case
of Rabbi Asher Dahan, Be’er Sheva, Israel (Arrested
after being accused of raping and sexually abusing two 17-year-old girls after
he offered “to redeem them of sin and evil inclinations.”)

12. Case
of Rabbi Anthony Dee (Blackpool England; Portsmouth, England) (Former
synagogue minister Reverend Anthony Dee found guilty of sexually abusing two
boys and a girl in Blackpool and Portsmouth,
England. This
is the first set of convictions, there was a second set of convictions in
1997.)

13. Case of Rabbi Moshe
Eisemann (AKA: Moshe Eiseman) – Mashgiach Ruchni Ner Israel Rabbinical College
(Baltimore, MD) (There is a Call for Action on this case – Accused of child sexual
abuse)

14. Case of Rabbi Elior
Chen (Jerusalem, Israel) (Accused
of cultic type practices)

15. Case
of Rabbi Arnold Fink – Beth El Hebrew Congregation – Alexandria, VA (Accused
of Professional Rabbinic Sexual Misconduct)

16. Case of Rabbi
Benyamin Yaakov Fleischman (AKA Benyamin Fleischman, Ben Fleischman)-
Photographer (Baltimore, MD) (Convicted of sexually assaulting a minor.)

17. Case of Rabbi
Gershon Freidlin (Colonia, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; Washington, PA) (Rabbi
Gershon Freidlin pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment , saying he
had touched the youth’s penis and buttocks while applying tanning lotion on the
boy on July 10, 1995 Under the terms of a plea agreement, the rabbi will
not be jailed for the crime, but faces up to five years probation.)

18. Case of Yehudah
Friedlander – Rabbi ‘s Assistant (Brooklyn, NY) (Accused of
molesting a 15 year old on a 1995 plane flight from Australia to LA. Friedlander was
the assistant to the chief rabbi of an Hungarian Hasidic congregation in
Brooklyn, known as the Pupas)

19. Case of Cantor
Stuart Friedman (Halifax,Canada-Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles,
Baltimore) (Convicted and sentanced to 15 months in
federal prison on one count of distributing child pornography).

20. Case of Cantor
Philip Friedman (Albany, NY, Queens, NY, Long Island, NY) (Temple
Israel fired its longtime cantor for “inappropriate behavior” toward
a member of the congregation, and the Albany County district attorney’s office
confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating the matter.)

21. Case
of Rabbi Jacob Frank (AKA: Yaakov Frank) and the Frankist Movement (Convicted
of cultic type practices and sexual offenses.)

22. Case
of Rabbi Lewis Furman of Ohr Somayach, Johannesburg, South Africa (Prominent South African rabbi who was
allegedly caught having an affair with a married woman. He is also accused of
being “serial philanderer” — was forced to resign his position in South Africa
and will not practise as a rabbi in this country again.)

23. Rabbi Tobias
Gabriel (Toronto, Canada) (There is a Call for Action on this
case. Accused by more then one woman of clergy sexual abuse /
professional sexual misconduct).

24. Case of Rabbi
Mordechai Gafni (aka: Marc Gafni, Mordechai Winiarz, Marc Winiarz) (There
is a Call for Action on this case. Accused sexually abusing
teenage girls, attempted sexual assault of a young adult, and also accused of
cult like practices).

25. Case of Rabbi
Shimon Gerlick (Nahariya, Israel) (Arrest for allegedly committing indecent sexual acts with a
two minors and and adult woman)

26. Case of Rabbi
Jonathan Ginsburg (St. Paul, MN) (There is a Call for Action on this
case. Resigned as senior rabbi at Temple of Aaron,
shortly after reaching an out-of-court settlement with a former congregation
member who accused him of sexual misconduct. A criminal investigation into the
case also is being closed, with no charges forthcoming).

27. Case of Rabbi
Ephraim Goldberg (Boca Raton, FL) (Pled
guilty to one misdemeanor count of exposure of sexual organs in a washroom at a
Palm Beach Mall.)

28. Case of
Rabbi/Cantor Sidney Goldenberg (Levittown,NY; Seaford, NY; Bayshore, NY;
Petaluma, CA; Coney Island, NY) (Convicted of molesting children. The first
complaints came in 1971. He was finally convicted in 1997.)

29. Case
of Cantor Joel Gordon (Buffalo Grove, IL) (Convicted of
having keeping a house of prostitution and involvement in a prostitution ring.)

30. Case
of Rabbi Mark A. Golub – Mental Health Counselor (Newport, Virginia)
(Had professional
counseling license revolked for having sex with a female client, according to a
state disciplinary order).

31. Case of Rabbi
Sidney Greenbaum (AKA: Rabbi Zalman Greenbaum, Professor Zalman Greenbaum)
(Pleaded guilty at Hendon
magistrates’ court to three charges of indecent assault on young boys)

32. Case
of Rabbi Yisrael Menachem Grunwald (AKA: Israel Grunwald) (Borough
Park/Brooklyn NY) (In a plea bargin agreement Rabbi Israel Grunwald agreed to 500
hours of community service and counseling after being accused of fondling a
15-year-old on a 1995 plane flight from Australia. The
charges against him were then dropped.)

33. Case of Rabbi
Solomon Hafner (Borough Park/Brooklyn, NY) (Accused
of sexually abusing a developmentally disabled boy)

34. Case of Cantor Mark
Horowitz, Temple Beth Am in Amherst (Getzville, NY) (Charged
with committing lewd acts on an undercover police officer.)

35. Case
of Rabbi (Alan J.) Shneur Horowitz (Hagerstown, MD; Israel; Schenectady,
NY; California; Iowa) (Convicted and sentenced to 10 – 20 years in prison for sodomizing
a nine-year-old psychiatric patient. Allegedly, he has assaulted a string of
children from California to Israel to New
York in the past twenty years. Alan J. Horowitz is an
Orthodox rabbi, magna cum laude, M.D., Ph.D. A graduate of Duke University,
and was a writer for NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association).

36. Case of Rabbi
Steven J. Kaplan (Saskatoon, Canada) (Allegations, detailed in court documents,
that he lacked proper ordination, sexually harassed female congregants and
committed adultery with one of them).

37. Case
of Rabbi David Kaye (Potomac, MD; Rockville, MD; San Antonio, TX) (There is a Call for Action on
this case. Featured on “Dateline NBC” for
seeking a sexual encounter with an underage boy in a chat room. NBC News
conducted a sting in August, (2005) working with a group called “Perverted
Justice.” Members of the group, posing as underage boys and girls, entered
Internet chat rooms and waited for adults to engage them in conversations)

38. Case of Rabbi David
Kedmi – Certified Mohel (New Hempstead, NY; Spring Valley, NY) (Accused of Battery
and Breach of Contract.)

39. Case of Case of
Rabbanit Bruria Keren (AKA: Burka Wearing Mother) (Beit Shemish, Israel)
(Arrested on charges of child
sexual abuse and physical abuse of her twelve children. She has also been
accused of cult like practices)

40. Case of Rabbi
Israel Kestenbaum (New York, NY) (Convicted of child pornography on the internet)

41. Case
of Rabbi Robert Kirschner (San Francisco, CA) (Confessed to sexually exploited
or harassing three congregants and a synagogue employee)

42. Case of Rabbi
Yisucher Kohn (AKA: Barry Kohn) (New Square, NY) (Convicted of Sexual Abuse 1st: Sexual
Contact With Individual Less Than 11Years Old.)

43. Case
of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko (AKA: Joel Kolko, Yudi Kolko) – Yeshiva Torah
Temimah (New York, NY) (Arrested in New York City
on December 7, 2006 following a long-term police investigation. He was
charged with four counts of sexual abuse, including two felony counts, and
endangering the welfare of a child. The most recent sexual abuse was
allegedly against an 8-year-old boy, who says he was abused while he was in the
first grade during the 2002-03 school year.Rabbi Yudi Kolko and Yeshiva Torah
Temimah were hit with a $20 million civil lawsuit on May 5, 2006, accusing him
of molesting two students more than 25 years ago. One of the alleged
victims said Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, 60, sexually assaulted him when he was a
seventh-grade student).

44. Case of Rabbi
Ze’ev Kopolevitch (Jerusalem, Israel) (Convicted of molesting students
at Rosh Yeshiva, Netiv Meir yeshiva high school)

45. Case of Rabbi
Mahluf Aminadav Krispin – Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Bialik (suspected and chared with the sexual
assault of two women)

46. Case of Rabbi
Baruch Lanner (New York, NY) (Convicted – child molestation. Sentancing still
pending after 2 years)

47. Case of
Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz (AKA: Avraham Mordecai Lazerewitz) -
Geres Misivta Bais Yisroel School, (Borough Park Brooklyn) – (A civil suit was filed against Rabbi
Avraham Mordecai Leiverowitz of the Gerrer Mesivta High School in Borough Park
Brooklyn. The charges include improperly touching a boy during a one-on-one
help session in the rabbi’s office in the Borough Park
secondary school. Three other older boys have also come forward making
similar allegations.)

48. Case
of Cantor Steven Joel Levin (AKA: Steven Levin, Steve Levin, Steven J. Levin) (Allegations
were made against Cantor Steven Joel Levin of child molestation. There was also
a seperate allegation of professional sexual misconduct by another party.)’

49. Case of Rabbi
Stanley Z. Levitt (Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD) (Several adults who have accused Rabbi
Stanley Levitt of child molestation over the last forty years.)

50. Case
of Rabbi Jerrold Martin Levy (Boca Raton, FL) (Convicted
of two counts of soliciting sex through the Internet and two counts of child
pornography. He was sentenced to six years and sex in prison. He
was caught in the “Candyman” year-long sting operation by the US
government.)

Welcome to the voyage, my friend. May it be as surprising, meaningful, and transformative for you as it has been for me! http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/talmud_the_seven-year_cycle_20120808/

Natan79 says:

Leonardo de la Paor, fucked-in-the-head anti-Semite, go fuck yourself and your mother and your donkey too. All you do is troll the internet with anti-Semitic comments.

Natan79 says:

“Nothing compares to it in terms of brilliance, sharpening of your mind, educating you in what it really means to be a person with a brain.”

Try mathematics.

Natan79 says:

Ah ginzy, same old cantankerous fellow from TNR, speaking yeshivish to the world in the oh-so-self-righteous way that made him a TNR star. Occasionally you say something intelligent, but your tone is invariably nasty.

As for most American Jews, the last thing they want is to listen to a possek – and with good reason. The idea of having some foul-mouthed Ovadia type rule our lives is repellent and unacceptable.

Natan79 says:

Yes!

Natan79 says:

You are a pedophile, Leonardo de la Paor – and you know it. Next time we’ll hear from you is form the newspapers with your mugshot on the front page.

Natan79 says:

Just because you habitually fuck your young son, Leonardo de la Paor, you don’t have to come and shit here. Go where you belong, you anti-Semitic shit, at least until the police catches you.

Someone needs to monitor these comments. The postings by
Leonardo de la Paor should be removed.

There is a nasty tone to this comment which undercuts its accusations and turns them back on the accuser. The equation of all posseks with “some foul-mouthed Ovadia type” slanders Chief Rabbi Ovadia and through him all the most learned and authoritative Torah sages through the generations. This is repellent and unacceptable.

To each their own. There are benefits of learning Talmud that are not found with learning mathematics, and vice versa. It need not be an either-or proposition, especially since to understand some Talmudic passages you need to know mathematics but to understand mathematics you do not need to know Talmud (so Talmudic learning is more all-inclusive and multi-leveled). In fact, one of the things that Talmudic study especially teaches is that things are seldom either-or. There are even several different ways of things being both-and. In a multidimensional world there are few annihilatory truths or “laws” either of practice or even of nature that displace all others. Mathematics does not teach this.

As for whether or not one needs to study the Talmud in the original Aramaic and Hebrew to understand it, this seems to me to have a certain degree of truth, but not a final degree, for with the excellent aid of the Schottenstein edition and adequate attention and concentration, and hopefully with the help of a knowledgeable study partner or guide, one can work one’s way down to the inner core of arguments and issues and come away with a deep admiration for the humanity and profundity of the Sages. I am a bit more sceptical that all this can be done in solitude on an iPad.

Here I am with you, Natan79, although your language is a bit obscene. But one can best use an obvious antisemite like this as an occasion to make some pertinent positive points that are strong reasons for Jewish pride. Naturally, these responses are not with any intention to dialogue with the antisemite him- or herself: such hateful people are beyond dialogue and are not interested in truth. But Jews, and for that matter well-disposed non-Jews, might gain from learning the truth if they do not know too much about these things to begin with. To be effective, however, the points must be well documented and supported, although again this is not to influence the obsessed antisemite but simply to make the points firmly, so that fair-minded persons will accept them.

E.g., as many governmental, academic, scientific and statistical studies show (as cited by the Encyclopaedia Judaica’s article on “Crime”), Jews down through the centuries and in different lands consistently have had much lower crime rates, especially for physically aggressive and violent crimes, than almost any other ethnic group. Their whole culture devalues such crimes, and this devaluation is echoed in all aspects of their religion: they also devalue hunting and the arts of war, unlike almost all other cultures. Peace and mercy are basic values. They also have lower alcoholism rates, which helps in this regard and in regard to other matters relating to personal ethics. Their family life is justly famous for its warmth and closeness, their faithfulness between spouses and low rates of divorce, their willingness to sacrifice to provide for their children’s education and future welfare, their very high levels of charitable giving and stress on community involvement and volunteering, and their general industriousness and high achievement, all of which contribute to a markedly lower crime rate. A chief cause for this is their traditionally strong religious adherence which underpinned everything else.

The more however that Jews assimilated into the surrounding non-Jewish culture, the more their behaviour, criminal and otherwise, has tended to approach the non-Jewish norm. But even here the Jewish rates, especially for physical assault, sexual offenses, robbery, and other violent and serious crimes, the sort that usually get prison sentences, are usually much lower than in the general population. And murderers were even rarer amongst Jews than that. As just one instance from the aforementioned article on “Crime” in the Encyclopaedia Judaica (I use the 1972 edition), in the period 1920-29, for which comparative statistics are available, only 1.74% of the U.S. prison population was Jewish, although the overall Jewish percentage in the U.S. at that time was 3.5%. And that is a period of relatively high Jewish crime rates; as the article shows, elsewhere and at other periods in the U.S. Jewish criminals were a still lower percentage of the overall crime figures. Figures are also given for crime statistics in other countries that are consistent with this.

Interestingly, in South Korea all high school students are required to study Talmud to some degree, in order to sharpen their minds and enlarge their humanity. The South Korean education experts consider that the Talmudic regime of education is one of the chief reasons for the outstanding record of Jews in all cultural fields. See on this the very long article, with links to leading Israeli newspapers, “Jewish Talmudic Study today is Mandatory in South Korean Education and Kids Love it!” at

http://destination-yisrael.biblesearchers.com/destination-yisrael/2011/07/jewish-talmudic-study-today-is-mandatory-in-south-korean-education-and-kids-love-it.html The website is Christian-oriented, but the article is a good one, and as mentioned there are lots of links to other articles on this. The South Koreans recently sent a TV documentary team to Israel to film yeshivah study and discuss Talmud study with leading rabbis and academics, for showing on national television.

I very much admire your desire to delve deeply into the sea of Talmud on your own.
Undoubtedly you may need help dechiphering Aggada in the text, but surely you can find resources besides limiting yourself to one rabbinical source. I would recommend finding at least 3 such sources- one Conservative, Modox and yeshivis to compare objectively without limiting yourself to one ideology and interpretation.

It is certain that you will grow personally without laboring over outdated Aramaic and unused ancient Hebrew vocabulary. Those who advocate reading this text only in the original language have a point because there is much Tosafos commentary that draws connections between one page and several others that you will not get from an ArtScroll translation. For your purposes however, it may also make sense to reference other versions such as Rodkinson, which can be found online.

Nevertheless, as precisely the opening pages of Berachot indicate (and Adam Kisch points out) there is in the Talmudic view a wide range of ways of applying agreed principles and rules, allowing for leniency and broad tolerance on most points of debate. That is why the Tanna’itic Sages retained the views of the Beit Shammai rigorous interpretors, to honour them and respect their outlook, but instead followed the views of Beit Hillel which were far more inclusive and which allowed for more consideration of varying circumstances in applying the halakha. This became the foundation for later Rabbinic practice. It also allowed for the variation in regional practices, which as minhag took on authoritative status within particular groups. The “Two Jews, three opinions” culture outlook reflects the way Talmud was taught in Rabbinic yeshivot down through the ages. Diversity within unity was the paradigm approach, and it is the chief reason that there have been very few lasting schisms in Rabbinic Judaism over the past 2,000 years.

It is a pity, however, that a more Shammai-ite outlook has taken over in certain Haredi circles in the last century or so, in which sometimes radically new stringencies are preferred in principle and in practice to the leniencies of the past, concerning which, see Michael K. Silber, “The Emergence of Ultra-Orthodoxy: The Invention of a Tradition,” in The Uses of Tradition: Jewish Continuity in The Modern Era, ed. Jack Wertheimer (1992), pp. 23-84, and Jacob Katz, “Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective,” in Studies in Contemporary Jewry, ed. Peter Meddings (1986), vol. 2, pp. 3-17, and Katz again in “Toward a Biography of the Hatam Sofer,” in From East and West: Jews in a Changing Eurrope, 1750-1870, eds. Francis Malino and David Sorkin (1990), pp. 223-266.

Humanity of the Sages is characteristically reserved for people of one religion, and not necessarily its women practitioners nor its slaves and gentile neighbors. Sigh.

Hey Ginzy,

Just saw your post in the Tablet article on the Talmud. How would you compare the Steinsaltz and Koren editions (Hebrew and English) against the Shottenstein?

Also, if a general ‘afternoon Hebrew School’ education isn’t the best platform to start from, what sort of ‘pre-Talmud’ study would you recommend?

The South Korean education experts consider that the Talmudic regime of education is one of the chief reasons for the outstanding record of Jews in all cultural fields.

Interesting theory. Especially since most Jews who have made important contributions to Western secular culture never studied the Talmud. A better explanation, courtesy of Darwin, is that outstanding Talmud scholars of the past left more descendants behind.

Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after
going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

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