6

Before I really began to understand the profound nature of Orthodoxy, I was thinking to leave the forum because I tend to approach Scripture from a different perspective than Orthodox Jews do. I do not disregard Rabbinic writings. I find them helpful in gaining perspective, wisdom, and understanding, especially in areas that written Torah is unclear or in circumstances that may add a different element to be considered. But I do not take it as authoritative if or when it seems to contradict Torah, or is at variance with the Writings and the Prophets in the Tanakh, or when its premises are unclear.

I believe God provides teachers, and government and such to enable us to effectively apply His Laws in every generation and every situation and circumstance. By walking with the wise, we become wise.

I wondered if I might get more of the kinds of answers I was looking for among the Scripturalist Jews. And, I have greatly appreciated their writings. Many of my questions were promptly answered and put to rest in reading some of their writings. But so were some of my questions answered by the Rabbis in Orthodox Judaism. It seems I would benefit from both. And it seems there is at least one Karaite Jew on the forum.

I see that the general consensus seems to have landed that the forum is for those who base their lives on Torah and believe both written Torah, and tradition are binding:

A Karaite Judaic perspective, which does believe Torah is binding, bases life on Scripture and finds wisdom in tradition and the writings of tradition, but does not see tradition as binding, never really came into prior discussions. Lest I misrepresent them, I will let them speak for themselves:

"...while we don't out right reject the Oral traditions of the Rabbis we consider them as commentary and judge them in view of the Written Tanakh.

So I feel it appropriate to ask if the forum would consider welcoming answers from a Karaite tradition?

  • 4
  • 2
    Isn't this a duplicate of the first question @MonicaCellio linked to? – msh210 Jun 19 '16 at 22:44
  • 1
    If you are asking me, reading that was helpful to me to get to know the forum a bit better. But, that meta post addresses whether questions can be asked of non-orthodox traditions, not if a question asked may be answered from various Jewish traditions. Same with the Post she listed after that. – user2411 Jun 19 '16 at 23:00
  • This is helpful. I would want to know what is meant by tradition being binding and if an answer from a Karaite Jewish tradition is acceptable. Karaites would not believe the writings of their tradition are binding but they believe Torah is binding and they do pass somethings down through tradition. They certainly invest intense study and base their lives on Torah, as much as a professional photographer on photography. – user2411 Jun 19 '16 at 23:12
  • 1
    Lest I misrepresent them, here is a quote from a Karaite web site: "...while we don't out right reject the Oral traditions of the Rabbis we consider them as commentary and judge them in view of the Written Tanakh. – user2411 Jun 19 '16 at 23:21
  • 1
    Since the answer Monica pointed out does adequately address if the forum will accept answers from a Conservative tradition, I may just edit my question to ask if answers from a Karaite tradition are welcome. – user2411 Jun 19 '16 at 23:24
  • 2
    Re the edit abut Karaites, related: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3841/… (see links from there too), meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1531/karaites-in-scope (this asks about questions not answers but might still be helpful). – Monica Cellio Jun 19 '16 at 23:37
  • 3
    I think using "Orthodox" to mean based on rabbinic sources in contrast to Karaite Judaism is confusing, since Reform Judaism (inter alia) is based on rabbinic sources and generally part of the larger group contrasted with Karaite Judaism, which larger group is I think generally called "rabbinic Judaism". I recommend you remove the word "Orthodox" from your title and post unless you really mean it. – msh210 Jun 20 '16 at 0:09
  • Ah! right! I forgot to change the title. Thanks. – user2411 Jun 20 '16 at 0:56
  • @MonicaCellio, interesting; I did not know the Samaritans had a Pentatuch that was different than the Jewish one. All the related posts have been helpful to me; thank you. I am pretty sure that the Hebrew Scripture used by Karaites (Tanakh) is the same, as far as I know. I also want to note that there are some folks who adopt a Karaite approach to the Bible, but include the "NT." I do not mean these. I intended only to ask about Karaite Jewish perceptive which does not regard the "NT" as Scripture. – user2411 Jun 20 '16 at 1:07
  • 1
    @Sarah The Karaites use the same Bible as the Rabbinates. The Samaritans have a different Torah, and they reject most (if not all) the other prophetic books. Saying most of those prophetic books are propoganda from Judean prophets, and that they ignore the Samaritan (aka the 10 Northern Israelite Tribes) prophets. You can now purchase an English version of the Samaritan Torah on Amazon. It shows you where it differs with our traditional Bible – Aaron Jun 20 '16 at 23:45
  • 2
    Yet another link: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2178. – TRiG Jun 23 '16 at 14:56
  • I find kariaism to be on topic as many of the discussions/arguments with karaites had influence on Judaism. Also, many practices of what was typically part of Judaism is only being practiced by Karaism. If one wants to learn to prostrate, he is more likely to learn more studying a Karaite than a Yemenite at this point. – Aaron Jun 23 '16 at 20:04
  • 3
    The new karaite tag is likely to cause confusion, as karaite-judaism is already a tag-synonym of non-rabbinic-judaism. – Rish Jun 26 '16 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Rish I agree. Sarah, if you want karaite-judaism to be split off from non-rabbinic-judaism, you should ask the mods, presumably via a Meta post, to break the synonym status. Creating a new tag really just confuses matters. – Isaac Moses Jun 27 '16 at 16:34
11

IsaacMoses wrote an answer to a question about non-orthodox positions which has more-or-less become Mi Yodeya canon. I would like to extrapolate his answer to what I believe to be its correct application to this question.

The reason we generally limit questions and (in particular) answers of halakha to an Orthodox point of view is not because we consider Orthodox Judaism to be the only kind of Judaism worth talking about. It is because we want questions to be answerable and answers to actually address the question they're answering. If XYZ group doesn't believe that any kind of halakha is binding, it doesn't make much sense to answer the question "Is it ok to drive on Shabbat" with "Rabbi ABC of group XYZ holds that it's ok" because Rabbi ABC is approaching the question from a POV that avoids the question entirely ("Is it ok" implies according to halakha; Rabbi ABC doesn't hold by halakha).

Likewise, Isaac's example question "What are some fun and appropriate things to do on Shabbat for those who don't mind kindling flames on Shabbat?" is simply not an answerable question because it's completely unclear what kinds of answers the OP would find acceptable.

If a question is not about Orthodox Judaism, but it is asked from a well-defined point of view such that objectively correct answers can be provided within that point of view, I believe that is just fine. As far as I can tell, the community agrees with me on this point. We have upvoted questions that specifically ask about Karaite positions (e.g. Do Karaite Jews Celebrate Chanuka?, How do Karaites shecht?, and How Was the Karaite Biblical Canon Determined?). So as far as asking questions about non-Rabbinic Jewish groups goes, I say "go for it."

Answers are a bit trickier. Since the vast majority of Jews who care about halakha are Rabbinic Jews, it might be the case that such a POV is assumed unless the question specifically mentions otherwise. I'm not taking a position on whether this is true or not; however, if the community consensus is that this is the case, answers from the perspective of non-Rabbinic Judaism on a stam question (i.e. no mention of either Rabbinic or non-Rabbinic POV) might actually be eligible for deletion as not answering the question. Even if the consensus is that Rabbinic POV is not assumed non-Rabbinic answers on stam questions may still be downvoted by people who don't find those answers particularly useful.

  • Good answer. Thanks for posting. I'll follow it up now with an answer post of my own.... – msh210 Jun 23 '16 at 21:11
8

This answer post is here solely so people can up- or downvote the statement below. It's not clear to me that that statement is already site policy (though it may be); if not, votes on it may cause it to become site policy.


If a question is about Judaism in general and does not mention or imply any interest specifically in non-Rabbinic Judaism, then it shall be assumed to be asking according to Rabbinic Judaism. Therefore, any answer to it…

  1. …that is according to non-Rabbinic Judaism can be deleted by the community or any moderator.
  2. …that is partially according to non-Rabbinic Judaism can be edited by any user to remove that part, even against its author's will.
  • 1
    Should this be a separate meta post? – Daniel Jun 23 '16 at 22:48
  • @Daniel, the question here is whether Karaite-perspective answers are (or: could be) accepted ("if the forum would consider welcoming answers from a Karaite tradition?"). This answers that directly with one proposal. – msh210 Jun 23 '16 at 23:02
  • Fair enough! Agreed – Daniel Jun 23 '16 at 23:03

You must log in to answer this question.