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orion Clarification (fwd)

From: David Goldman <davic@pop.erols.com>
Subject: Clarification

I was misunderstood again... I didn't mean looking at the texts in a
vacuum, on the contrary, I meant to look at them to understand their
Judaism. All I was trying to do was say that it is a little boring trying
to know whether they were Essenes at Qumran or at Eilat or Saduccees in
Haifa or Tel Aviv. These historical speculations bound by a devotion to
calling the texts the writings of a Dead Sea Sect living at Qumran. Since a
reading of the documents indicates they were not all the products of a
single sect, again, what difference does it make, and why argue whether we
can prove they were Essenes living at Qumran or not? If you look at the
documents without preconceived notions, they may or may not be the work of
sectarians, but measuring them against the Pharisee/Rabbinic system would
shed light on what the writers believed, which is more important than their
club membership or where they lived.

As an Orthodox Jew I believe it would be much more interesting for the
scrolls to be analyzed in relation to rabbinic Judaism because rabbinic
Judaism is the system used since the time of Moshe Rabenu. The system and
codification of law was put to writing in the Mishnah by R. Yehudah Hanasi
and its commentaries in the gemara later.

Part of Judaism is the fact that Torah was always oral from the time of
Abraham. G-d decided to put a portion into writing at Sinai. Part of the
oral system was the system of exegesis, historical traditions (midrash) and
the empowerment of the Sages to interpret the law using the method. "Lo
bashamayim hi" means that G-d deferred to the decisions of Sanhedrins and
Sages who follow the system....
---David Goldman