Category Archives: Karaite Studies: The State of the Field

“Get” with the Program

Were any Karaite Divorce Documents were Found in the Cairo Geniza?

Were any Karaite Divorce Documents Found in the Cairo Geniza?

I’ll start by expressing the same shock that most of the Jewish community felt last week upon learning of the arrests of three NY Orthodox rabbis. According to sources in the linked article, these rabbis, ran a ring in which “Orthodox wives seeking divorce ma[de] payments to the rabbis—-in some cases up to $100,000.” Apparently, the rabbis “then facilitated the divorce, often through violent means, with the rabbis hiring thugs to beat the Orthodox Jewish husbands into” agreeing to grant their wives a religious divorce document, commonly called a “get.”

The Karaite halakha actually makes an occurrence like this virtually impossible.

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Filed under Divorce & Get, Karaite Studies: The State of the Field, Moshe Firrouz

Dead Sea Scrolls Go Live

“And we have heard from our teachers that the heretic Anan and his friends used to write down heresies and lies and hide them in the ground.
Then they would take them out and say:  This is what we found in ancient books.” – Rabbi Moses Taku*

Dead Sea Scroll Excerpts of the Book of Psalms Source: Library of Congress

Dead Sea Scroll Excerpts of the Book of Psalms
Source: Library of Congress

To much fanfare, Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced this week that they have made the Dead Sea Scrolls accessible online. The Dead Sea Scrolls have some implications for research into the origins and theology of Karaite Judaism. The first modern discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls occurred in late 1940s; but, by all appearances, some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the ninth century. [Editor’s Note 12:49 p.m. (pacific): See the first comment below for a reference to an even earlier discovery.]

What is interesting, from a Karaite perspective, is the clear connection between some of the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls and some of the writings of medieval Karaites. This similarity is what prompted Rabbi Moses Taku, a thirteenth century rabbi, to relate a Rabbinic view that Karaites of the eighth century wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and buried them for the sole purpose of later supporting the antiquity of the Karaite movement. (Of course, history has proven this view to be nonsense.)
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Filed under Daniel Lasker, Dead Sea Scrolls, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Karaite Studies: The State of the Field

Karaite Studies: The State of the Field (Part I)

One of my professed goals for starting A Blue Thread is to promote the study of Karaite Judaism at secular and religious institutions. This is the first in a series of posts related to a workshop, entitled Karaite Studies: The State of Field, that was held in Israel from February 27, 2012 – March 1, 2012.*

For today, I’ve created cliff notes and commentary (not to be confused with an oral law) for the first half of a question-and-answer session between Rabbi Moshe Firrouz, the Chief Rabbi of the Karaite Council of Sages (Hebrew: Moetzet HaHachamim), and various researchers and academics in attendance at the workshop. The topics covered in this post range from women in Karaite Judaism; Karaite Torah scrolls; rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem; and efforts of the Karaite community to maintain its halakha (religious interpretations), culture and traditions.

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Filed under Conferences & Workshops, Divorce & Get, Karaite Beit Din, Karaite Jews of America, Karaite Prayers & Melody, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Karaite Scribes, Karaite Studies: The State of the Field, Moetzet Hachamim (Council of Sages), The Temple, What is Karaite Judaism, Women in Karaism