Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Karaite Passover

Tradition teaches that on Passover, all Jews must embody the experience of Exodus, feeling as if we ourselves have gone through it. For the Karaite Jews from Egypt — a community that rejected rabbinic law from the start — no imagination is required, reported JTA News last Passover (Acknowledgements:JIMENA).

“Every year at Passover,” says Sara Moussa, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, home to the largest Karaite community in the United States, “we tell the guests at our table that our ancestors were kicked out of Egypt thousands of years ago, then we were kicked out one more time just a few decades ago. We never forget that.”

The Karaites observe a form of Judaism that its adherents claim is based entirely on the Bible. The group, which traces its origins to the eighth century, considers the Talmud and other oral law, upon which much of rabbinic Judaism is based, to have no authority.

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1 comment:

KJU said...

I reject the notion that "Tradition teaches that on Passover, all jews must embody the experience of the Exodus..." This is not taught by tradition but directly by Torah: ""...when your children shall say to you, What mean ye by this service? And you shall say, It is the sacrifice of YHWH's passover".Ex 12,26-27 and Exd 13:8 And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of what YHWH did FOR ME when I came forth out of Egypt."

The statement that "The Karaites observe a form of Judaism that its adherents claim is based entirely on the Bible..." is also inaccurate and is particularly ironic coming after quoting Sara Moussa, the wife of the current President of Congregation B'nai Israel which represents the Karaite Jews of America. Egyptian Karaite Judaism has "sevel hayerusah" which recognizes "Tradition" and "Custom". But the difference is that Karaite Jews do not turn tradition into Torah from Har Sinai for this would be a prohibited addition to the law.

Lastly, we view the Talmud has having the same authority as that of the Karaite Jewish sages who wrote commentaries, i.e. some of it accurately describe the meaning of Torah and some of it does not. There is not uniformity of opinion amongst the sages be they Karaite or Rabbinite. However, Karaite Judasim does not promote the errant belief that when sages differ, "both these and those are the words " from the creator.