Tuesday, November 25, 2008

do christians do it better?

My new coworker, the one with the sad story, has recently found herself at her church. She goes at least once a week, helps out with the youth services (i guess churches also have separate minyans!) and is endeavoring to read the entire bible in 90 days.

I think it's awesome that she's been able to find something that makes her happy and that allows her to get in touch with her spirituality. I'm not saying I think christianity is the way to go, but we can't all be Jews, can we?

She's always asking me questions about Judaism and Israel. One day she told me that she wishes she knew more about the bible, and so to educate herself she is taking on the 90-day bible read.

I don't think I've ever read the entire Torah. I barely remember reading past Shmuel Bet, and I know there were whole prakim that I slept through in Chumash class. (the sacrifice stuff just isn't that entertaining).

As for all the torah she'baal peh stuff - I'm the first to admit I need a refresher course, ok maybe a 101 course, on Halachos. (we do not cut our toilet paper for shabbos in my house!)

But I'm supposed to be frum, right? That should mean that I'm supposed to know more than the average person about all things Torah, right?

So why is it that my j.c.-loving coworker can quote Genesis 32:9 and I don't even know what that means?


Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...

because jewish schools are a big scam. all that $ and not much to show for it in return.

(although the difference between you and your friend is that when you learned תנך in school you it wasn't by choice. she is a mature adult doing it because she wants to.

cool yiddishe mama said...

Jews, for all of our Torah observant talk, really focus on rabbinic laws and codes.

For Christians, they prefer to go back to the sources.

Unfortunately, that's where the messianic groups can even get kids from black hat yeshivot. A messianic can dress the part and quote something from Yishayahu proving Yashke's existence. However, since the kid may only know Gemara (or if a girl, some Kitzur) there's no knowledge to stop the missionaries.

Maidel said...

you both make some very good points!

Menashe said...

If you want to see what kind of religion you could have without torah she baal pe you don't need to look further than the goyim. We focus on it because that teaches us exactly what the Torah wants us to do.

There's nothing wrong with quoting pshat of a posuk but that's nothing compared to remez (ie. gematria, gemara) drush (ie. halacha) sod (ie. kabala) and chasidic meanings of the posuk. Not to mention that without rashi (which is also TSBP) or something even pshat usually doesn't make any sense.

The Babysitter said...

It actually doesn't take that long to read the Bible. I had to summarize the whole Bereishis and give a presentation on it. So that's 1/24 of the Bible, and I did that in one day. Many of the neviim and kesuvim are short also, so would take less than 24 days.

Also, the thing is that by Christians they stop at the Bible, by Jews there's the Talmud that comes next.

Also, everyone agrees that the Bible on it's own can't be taken literally, there are many apparent contradictions. So there are many commenters that try to figure out what it's talking about. And it's important to learn it with Rashi to get a better understanding. Also, Jews because of their faith believe in the way the Rabbi's interpret it, the Rabbi's goal is the same as the Jews. While by Christians they will interpret it their own way that fits their agenda. In either way it's based on interpretation.

BB said...

I've learned through the Torah a few times and last year decided to go through ALL of neviim and ketuvim in the zechus of my grandmother a"h. I divided the whole thing into chapters that I would read each day. I have to say that it was hard at busy times of year like Pesach, to remember to sit down and learn it. It was however very rewarding to be able to say that I had finished nach bkiyus. I definately recommend it.

nameless, faceless said...

As someone who grew up steeped/soaked/drowning in Christian education, I can tell you that the bulk of my Torah knowledge didn't come from my conversion period. In fact, it seemed like a secondary-text sometimes, as all my time was spent focusing on (like yiddishe mama said) "rabbinic laws and codes" - this was fine with me, but only because I already knew what was up with תנך. What I liked about the comprehensive codes and laws was the unity they provide among Orthodox Jews and that was a major reason I decided to convert. I always thought, though, about other converts who maybe weren't coming from such a bible-intensive background.

Maidel said...

thanks for the input Nameless.... finally someone who's actually been on the 'other' side!

maybe we should get reading - get to really know more about the parsha! isn't that the reason we read the torah every week?