Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Did Moses Do?

This is just an example of many questions that can be answered by comparative analysis of the text of the Pentateuch.

Let's take a look at verses of Exodus 2:11-14 (also see my NIP here for SP and DSS variants, very interesting ones too):

11 ‏וַיְהִ֣י׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם וַיִּגְדַּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֵּצֵ֣א אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיַּ֖רְא בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיַּרְא֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י מַכֶּ֥ה אִישׁ־עִבְרִ֖י מֵאֶחָֽיו׃ 
‎12 ‏וַיִּ֤פֶן כֹּה֙ וָכֹ֔ה וַיַּ֖רְא כִּ֣י אֵ֣ין אִ֑ישׁ וַיַּךְ֙ אֶת־הַמִּצְרִ֔י וַֽיִּטְמְנֵ֖הוּ בַּחֽוֹל׃ 
‎13 ‏וַיֵּצֵא֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשֵּׁנִ֔י וְהִנֵּ֛ה שְׁנֵֽי־אֲנָשִׁ֥ים עִבְרִ֖ים נִצִּ֑ים וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לָֽרָשָׁ֔ע לָ֥מָּה תַכֶּ֖ה רֵעֶֽךָ׃ 
‎14 ‏וַ֠יֹּאמֶר מִ֣י שָֽׂמְךָ֞ לְאִ֨ישׁ שַׂ֤ר וְשֹׁפֵט֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ הַלְהָרְגֵ֙נִי֙ אַתָּ֣ה אֹמֵ֔ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הָרַ֖גְתָּ אֶת־הַמִּצְרִ֑י וַיִּירָ֤א מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר אָכֵ֖ן נוֹדַ֥ע הַדָּבָֽר׃ 
11 And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

So was Moses a murderer? As far as I can tell - only by proxy at best. As you can see KJV translation above in verse 12 says "slew" but in reality the Hebrew text says "smite". Thus, it seems that Moses most likely "knocked out" the Egyptian and "hid or "burried him in the sand" (for God to decide his fate). As we well know from the following verses, Egyptian died, but not because of Moses but because of the sand. He was still alive before he was "hid" or "buried".

What do you think?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Samaritan Tabernacle Drawings Article

Here is a very similar article that I've published in this post. It is called "Samaritan Tabernacle Drawings" by Reinhard Pummer. It has finally become available online here or you can read a backup copy here.

Here is an abstract: 

"Drawings of the Israelite tent sanctuary, the Tabernacle, and its implements are the main expression of representional art among the Samaritans. They are based on the descriptions in Exodus and are expressions of central tenets of the Samaritan faith—belief in the special status of Moses, in the Tabernacle as the only legitimate sanctuary in the history of Israel, and in the end times for which the restoration of the Tabernacle is expected. The paper is an attempt to probe the question of the age of the Samaritan tradition of depicting the Tabernacle in different media.

Archaeological excavations have revealed synagogue mosaics and clay lamps from the Byzantine period that represent various elements of this artistic tradition. However, the main specimens date from the early sixteenth to the early twentieth century. It is these representations, executed on metal, cloth, parchment and paper, which are the focus of this article. The discussion is based on an examination of all extant and publicly accessible samples (see the Inventory at the end of this article).
A great chronological and artistic gap separates the representations on the mosaics and oil lamps of the Byzantine period from the drawings of modern times. No continuous line exists between the two groups. The parchment in Moscow that allegedly dates from 32 A.H., i.e., 652/653 C.E., must be assigned to a much later period.
There are obvious similarities of the Samaritan drawings with Jewish representations of the Tabernacle/Temple, yet it is impossible to identify a time or place where cross-fertilization may have taken place.
At the present state of our knowledge, therefore, neither the mosaics from the Byzantine period nor the similarities with Jewish representations enable us to determine the time at which the Samaritan tradition of making Tabernacle drawings may have originated. It is probable, though, that the tradition had its beginnings well before the oldest extant samples from the early sixteenth century."

Have a happy Passover! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You shall not cook a kid in the milk of its mother

I originally wanted to create a separate blog where I would express my thoughts about subjects that are not directly related to the Tabernacle. However, after a lot of thinking I have realized that it would be beneficial to post it here, as the Tabernacle covers almost all subjects in the Pentateuch, and is, in a way, a microcosm of the creation. Therefore, I have created a separate label called "My Torah Thoughts" where you can read my thoughts on these subjects. Posts will not follow any particular order, as this way I can write with an inspiration instead of  mundanely going from verse to verse.

In my first post I would like to discuss the issue of "milk and meat" as it is presented in verses of Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21. I'm sure you have heard about this issue. If not you can read this wikipedia article here

First and foremost, I would like to say that it most certainly NOT forbidden to eat meat and milk together, as in Genesis 18:7-8. Abraham was a prophet so he most certainly was aware of the laws of clean foods (kashrut) and three mortals whom he had feed also were messengers of God so they were also aware of what can be eaten and what could not be eaten, and thus if they ate milk and meat together we can come to the conclusion that eating meat and milk is not forbidden. 

However, verses dealing with the issue of meat and milk are still obscure, so I would like to direct your attention to the article called “A Young Goat in Its Mother’s Milk”? Understanding an Ancient Prohibition by  Stefan Schorch, published in Vetus Testamentum Journal, Volume 60, Issue 1, pages 116 – 130. You can read the original here (or here) (or backup copy - here). Here is what he writes:

"The passage אמו בחלב גדי תבשל לא should be understood as “you shall not cook (for eating purposes) a sucking kid”. This is not only the meaning of the passage in the Covenant Code (Exod 23:19) and in the so-called “Privilegrecht” (Exod 34:26), but it was the way as well in which this passage was understood by the authors of Deuteronomy (Deut 14:21). Amos 6:4 seems to contain an early reference to the prohibition of the sucking kid."
I do not agree completely with this statement or this article, because it is not very coherent and the logic is not very sound. However, this article is the best that I've seen so far that discusses the issue more or less without a bias, as well as the comprehensiveness of this article.

After taking this article in the consideration, and after checking my Normalized Interlinear Pentateuch, I can safely say that Exodus 23:19 (also see it my NIP), Exodus 34:26 (also see it my NIP), Deuteronomy 14:21  (also see it my NIP) are pretty much identical between MT and SP and there are no surviving DSS fragments for any of these verses. Except of'course Exodus 23:19, where in SP it adds "כי עשה זאת כזבח שכח ועברה היא לאלהי יעקב" which roughly translates "that one doing this as sacrifice forgets and enrages God of Jacob".

So, my opinion on the matter is that the prohibition must refer to what is described in Exodus 22:29-30. In other words, it is not acceptable to bring the kid boiled in its mother's milk as a firstborn sacrifice (or any sacrifice for that matter), until the kid reaches at least 8 days of age.

I think this is as close as I can come to understand these passages at the moment.

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