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The Badness of Good Stories

This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty

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(Collage Tablet Magazine; original illustration Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University)
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It’s notoriously hard to write a good story about a good person. Goodness and wholeness are static, they do not need to change; and since narrative is nothing but a record of changes, it is no wonder that stories are almost always set off by mistakes, vices, weaknesses, or bad decisions.

No one knew this principle better than the writers of the Bible. Whatever the patriarchs and kings of the Israelites may be, they are not role models. On the contrary, it’s easy to be surprised by how candidly the Bible describes the flaws and sins even of the patriarchs and the greatest kings. Abraham pretends that his wife Sarah is his sister; Jacob tricks his blind father into giving him Esau’s blessing; Judah patronizes a prostitute; David lusts after Bathsheba and sends her husband to be killed in battle; Solomon, the builder of the Temple, spent his old age worshipping strange gods.

The Bible displays extraordinarily little anxiety about portraying its heroes in an unflattering light. Jacob can be both a liar and thief, and the man who wrestles with an angel and wins the name of Israel; David can be both the anointed of God and an adulterer. But as this week’s Daf Yomi reading showed, the rabbis of the Talmud were by no means at ease with this kind of ambiguity. In a long discussion that begins in Shabbat 55b, they consider some of the most famous sinners in the Bible and argue passionately that in fact none of them did what the Bible expressly says they did.

To see how the Talmud moves easily from abstract, technical problems to the largest moral questions, it’s helpful to start following the discussion a few pages earlier. Chapter Five of tractate Shabbat is mostly concerned with the kinds of things animals can and cannot carry on Shabbat. As we have seen earlier, it is forbidden on Shabbat to take any item from a private domain, such as a house, into a public domain, such as a road, or vice versa. The same thing applies to animals, which cannot carry loads on Shabbat.

But, the Mishnah asks in Shabbat 51b, does this ban include an animal’s normal equipment? “With what may an animal go out and with what may it not go out?”  The answer, analyzed at length in the Gemara, is that animals are allowed to wear the kinds of things necessary for leading them, including collars, halters, and (for certain difficult species) nose rings; but they are not allowed to wear more elaborate gear. In the course of the discussion, the rabbis reveal a good deal about animal husbandry in Talmudic times, including the practice of tying up a ewe’s tail to facilitate breeding, and the use of certain kinds of wood as medicine for sheepworms.

One detail the Mishnah includes along the way is that “The cow of Elazar ben Azaryah used to go out with a strap between her horns, against the will of the Sages.” This raises two problems: first, why would a revered sage transgress Shabbat in this way; and second, why does the Mishnah say “the cow,” as if Elazar only had one, when in fact he was a very rich man who “used to tithe twelve thousand calves from his herd every year”? The answer, the Gemara reveals, is that it was not actually a cow belonging to Elazar that went out with a strap, but a cow that belonged to his neighbor. “However, because he did not protest against her, it was called his cow.”

Do human beings suffer and die for no reason, or is our suffering always a punishment for a sin?

From this minor episode, then, the rabbis deduce an important moral rule: the obligation to protest against transgressions committed by fellow Jews. “Whoever has the ability to protest against the members of his household but does not protest is punished for the transgressions of the members of his household”; and the same holds true for the transgressions of one’s town and of the entire world. All of us are responsible for one another, and we are judged not only as individuals but as members of a community. The Gemara goes on to analyze a passage from the Book of Ezekiel that suggests that God’s judgment will fall not just on the wicked but on righteous people who did not cry out against wickedness.

This naturally raises an even more ultimate question, perhaps the basic question of all theodicy. Do human beings suffer and die for no reason, or is our suffering always a punishment for some sin we have committed? Rav Ami has no doubt, stating sternly: “There is no death without transgression, and there is no suffering without sin.” It follows that, since all of us die, we have all committed at least some transgression; we are steeped in guilt and can no more avoid it than we can live forever.

It is perhaps to counter this harsh conclusion that other rabbis start to bring examples of men who were totally righteous, yet still had to die. Moses and Aaron, for instance: Did they not observe the entire Torah? No, the Gemara responds, even they sinned, when Moses impatiently struck the rock at Kadesh in order to make it produce water, thus failing to put his trust in God: “Had you believed in me,” God tells Moses, “your time to depart from the world would not have arrived.”

But according to a baraita, even if Moses and Aaron were justly punished, there were four men in the Bible who never sinned at all, but died solely “as a result of the serpent’s counsel”—that is, because Adam’s original sin introduced death into the world. These four are Benjamin the son of Jacob, Amram the father of Moses, Jesse the father of David, and Kilav the son of David. Their example, the Gemara decides, refutes Rav Ami: We can only conclude that “there is death without transgression and there is suffering without sin.”

It is now that the Talmud moves into the subject of biblical figures who are notorious sinners. Oddly, since even Moses and Aaron were said to be guilty in God’s eyes, the rabbis begin to argue that some of these much greater sinners were actually innocent of the deeds ascribed to them in the Bible. For instance, we read in Genesis 35:22, “While Israel [that is, Jacob] stayed in the land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Israel found out.” The punishment for this violation comes in Genesis 49:3, in Jacob’s final speech to his sons, where Reuben, the first-born, is harshly criticized and demoted from his proper place: “Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer;/ For when you mounted your father’s bed/ You brought disgrace.”

This seems plain enough. Yet “Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: Whoever says that Reuben sinned is simply mistaken.” Why? Because the end of Genesis 35:22 reads, “Now the sons of Jacob were 12 in number.” In this way, the rabbis argue, the Bible means to imply that Reuben was equal to his brothers, not their inferior. But then why does the Bible say, “Reuben went and lay with Bilhah?” Because this “teaches that Reuben disturbed his father’s bed, and Scripture regards him as if he lay with her.” And what did this “disturbing his father’s bed” consist of? Simply that Reuben moved his father’s bed out of Bilhah’s tent. Remember that Reuben was the son of Leah, Jacob’s unloved first wife, while Bilhah was the concubine given him by Rachel, his cherished second wife. By sleeping in Bilhah’s tent and avoiding Leah’s, Jacob was further insulting Leah; and it was to avenge this insult that Reuben, Leah’s son, moved Jacob’s bed into her tent.

This way of reading the Bible can’t help but appear highly unnatural. Effectively, the rabbis nullify what the Bible actually says—that Reuben slept with Bilhah—and replace it with a story entirely of their own invention. The questions I find myself struggling with are, first, why they wanted to read the Bible this way, and second, how they justified the unnaturalness to themselves. What is at stake in arguing that Reuben—and the other, greater figures who are the subjects of similar arguments, like David and Solomon—never committed a sin?

One possibility is that the rabbis cannot tolerate the Bible’s tolerance for sin and human frailty. They want to impose a standard of innocence and piety on the early Israelites that the Bible itself did not claim for them. This is perhaps related to the way the Talmud rewrites the martial feats of David’s soldiers by turning them into feats of Torah study. It as though the austere moral standards of rabbinic Judaism are being projected back onto an earlier phase of Jewish history, which did not share them.

As for the grounds the rabbis use to justify their rewriting of Reuben’s story, they seem quite frail. If the Bible wanted to say that Reuben did not commit a sin, why not say so, instead of encoding that message in the seemingly neutral phrase “the sons of Jacob were 12 in number?” It seems like bad hermeneutics to allow a speculative reading of the text to cancel out a plain reading. Yet it would be absurd to claim that the rabbis did not respect the text of the Torah when, in fact, they regarded it as the most important thing in the universe. Rather, it seems, they honored it by finding it in as many pious meanings as possible, even if that meant reading against the grain.

***

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Bad hermeneutics in the Talmud are hardly an anomaly. It is best to remember that Talmud was never meant to be written down. It is supposed to be an ongoing, open- ended conversation, and, like most conversations that are relatively unedited, much of what is said can be downright silly. Sadly a decision was made to publish the Talmud thereby closing the book as it were and turning into a canon which in our time has become not just a canon but an idol worshipped by wearers of black hats. Talmud should be savored, enjoyed, debated, engaged and treated for what it is, rathe than allow it to become a power trip for certain rabbis who virtually claim infallibility.

    Pip Power says:

    Shalom Jj Gross,

    Silly is not the word that comes to mind, when I hear of Talmud. Its more like PERVERSION:

    Second century Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, one of Judaism’s very greatest rabbis and a creator of Kabbalah, sanctioned pedophilia—permitting molestation of baby girls even younger than three! He proclaimed,

    “A proselyte who is under the age of three years and a day is permitted to marry a priest.” 1

    Yebamoth 60b,

    Subsequent rabbis refer to ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia as “halakah,” or binding Jewish law. 2 Yebamoth 60b

    Has Rabbi ben Yohai, child rape advocate, been disowned by modern Jews? Hardly. Today, in ben Yohai’s hometown of Meron, Israel, tens of thousands of
    orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews gather annually for days and nights of singing
    and dancing in his memory.

    References to pedophilia abound in the Talmud. They occupy considerable sections of Treatises Kethuboth and Yebamoth and are enthusiastically endorsed by the Talmud’s definitive legal work, Treatise Sanhedrin.

    The Pharisees Endorsed Child Sex

    The rabbis of the Talmud are notorious for their legal hairsplitting, and quibbling debates. But they share rare agreement about their right to molest three year old girls. In contrast to many hotly debated issues, hardly a hint of dissent rises against the prevailing opinion (expressed in many clear passages) that pedophilia is not only normal but scriptural as well! It’s as if the rabbis have found an exalted truth whose majesty silences debate.

    Because the Talmudic authorities who sanction pedophilia are so renowned, and because pedophilia as “halakah” is so explicitly emphasized, not even the translators of the Soncino edition of the Talmud (1936) dared insert a footnote suggesting the slightest criticism. They only comment: “Marriage, of course, was then at a far earlier age than now.” 3

    In fact, footnote 5 to Sanhedrin 60b rejects the right of a Talmudic rabbi to disagree with ben Yohai’s endorsement of pedophilia:

    “How could they [the rabbis], contrary to the opinion of R. Simeon ben Yohai, which has scriptural support, forbid the marriage of the young proselyte?” 4

    1 Yebamoth 60b, p. 402.

    2 Yebamoth 60b, p. 403.

    3 Sanhedrin 76a.

    4 In Yebamoth 60b, p. 404, Rabbi Zera disagrees that sex with girls under three
    years and one day should be endorsed as halakah.

    Out of Babylon

    It was in Babylon after the exile under Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC that Judaism’s leading sages probably began to indulge in pedophilia. Babylon was the staggeringly immoral capitol of the ancient world. For 1600 years, the world’s largest population of Jews flourished within it.

    As an example of their evil, Babylonian priests said a man’s religious duty
    included regular sex with temple prostitutes. Bestiality was widely tolerated.
    So Babylonians hardly cared whether a rabbi married a three year old girl.

    But with expulsion of the Jews in the 11th century AD, mostly to western
    Christian lands, Gentile tolerance of Jewish pedophilia abruptly ended.

    Still, a shocking contradiction lingers: If Jews want to revere the
    transcendent wisdom and moral guidance of the Pharisees and their Talmud, they must accept the right of their greatest ancient sages to violate children. To
    this hour, no synod of Judaism has repudiated their vile practice.

    Sex with a “Minor” Permitted

    What exactly did these sages say?

    The Pharisees justified child rape by explaining that a boy of nine years was
    not a “man” Thus they exempted him from God’s Mosaic Law:

    “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”
    (Leviticus. 18:22)

    One passage in the Talmud gives permission for a woman who molested her young son to marry a high priest. It concludes,

    “All agree that the (sexual) connection of a boy aged nine years and a day is a real connection; whilst that of one less than eight years is not.” Sanhedrin 69b 5

    Because a boy under 9 is sexually immature, he can’t “throw guilt” on the active offender, morally or legally. 6

    “…the intercourse of a small boy is not regarded as a sexual act.” 7

    The Talmud also says,

    “A male aged nine years and a day who cohabits with his deceased brother’s wife acquires her (as wife).”8

    Clearly, the Talmud teaches that a woman is permitted to marry and have sex with a nine year old boy.

    5 Sanhedrin 69b.

    6 Sanhedrin 55a.

    7 Footnote 1 to Kethuboth 11b.

    8 Sanhedrin 55b.

    Sex at Three Years and One Day

    In contrast to Simeon ben Yohai’s dictum that sex with a little girl is permitted under the age of three years, the general teaching of the Talmud is that the rabbi must wait until a day after her third birthday. She could be taken in marriage simply by the act of rape.

    R. Joseph said: Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabits with her, she becomes his. (Sanhedrin 55b)

    A girl who is three years of age and one day may be betrothed by cohabitation. . . .(. Yebamoth 57b)

    A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by
    coition, and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabited with her she becomes
    his. (Sanhedrin. 69a, 69b, also discussed in Yebamoth. 60b)

    It was taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai stated: A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is permitted to marry a priest, for it is said, But all the women children that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves, and Phineas (who was priest, the footnote says) surely was with them. (Yebamoth. 60b)

    [The Talmud says such three year and a day old girls are] . . . fit for cohabitation. . . But all women children, that have not known man by lying with him, it must be concluded that Scripture speaks of one who is fit for cohabitation. (Footnote to Yebamoth. 60b)

    The example of Phineas, a priest, himself marrying an underage virgin of three years is considered by the Talmud as proof that such infants are “fit for cohabitation.”

    The Talmud teaches that an adult woman’s molestation of a nine year old boy is “not a sexual act” and cannot “throw guilt” upon her because the little boy is not truly a “man.” 9 But they use opposite logic to sanction rape of little girls aged three years and one day: Such infants they count as “women,” sexually mature and fully responsible to comply with the requirements of marriage.

    The Talmud footnotes 3 and 4 to Sanhedrin 55a clearly tell us when the rabbis
    considered a boy and girl sexually mature and thus ready for marriage. “At
    nine years a male attains sexual matureness… The sexual matureness of woman is reached at the age of three.”

    9 Sanhedrin 55a.

    No Rights for Child Victims

    The Pharisees were hardly ignorant of the trauma felt by
    molested children. To complicate redress, the Talmud says a rape victim must
    wait until she was of age before there would be any possibility of restitution.
    She must prove that she lived and would live as a devoted Jewess, and she must protest the loss of her virginity on the very hour she comes of age. “As soon as she was of age one hour and did not protest she cannot protest any more.” 10

    The Talmud defends these strict measures as necessary to forestall the possibility of a Gentile child bride rebelling against Judaism and spending
    the damages awarded to her as a heathen – an unthinkable blasphemy! But the
    rights of the little girl were really of no great consequence, for,

    “When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing, for when the girl is less than this (three years and a day) it is as if one put the finger into the eye.” The footnote says that as “tears come to the eye again and again, so does virginity come back to the little girl under three years.” Kethuboth 11b.

    In most cases, the Talmud affirms the innocence of male
    and female victims of pedophilia. Defenders of the Talmud claim this proves the
    Talmud’s amazing moral advancement and benevolence toward children; they say it contrasts favorably with “primitive” societies where the child would have been stoned along with the adult perpetrator.

    Actually, the rabbis, from self-protection, were intent on proving the innocence of both parties involved in pedophilia: the child, but more importantly, the pedophile. They stripped a little boy of his right to “throw guilt” on his assailant and demanded complicity in sex from a little girl. By thus providing no significant moral or legal recourse for the child, the Talmud clearly reveals whose side it is on: the raping rabbi.

    Pedophilia Widespread

    Child rape was practiced in the highest circles of Judaism. This is illustrated from Yebamoth. 60b:

    There was a certain town in the land of Israel the legitimacy of whose inhabitants was disputed, and Rabbi sent R. Romanos who conducted an
    inquiry and found in it the daughter of a proselyte who was under the age of
    three years and one day, and Rabbi declared her eligible to live with a priest.

    The footnote says that she was “married to a priest” and the rabbi simply permitted her to live with her husband, thus upholding “halakah” as well as the dictum of Simeon ben Yohai,

    “A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is permitted to marry a priest.” 12

    These child brides were expected to submit willingly to sex. Yebamoth. 12b confirms that under eleven years and one day a little girl is not permitted to use a contraceptive but “must carry on her marital intercourse in the usual manner.”

    In Sanhedrin 76b a blessing is given to the man who marries off his children
    before they reach the age of puberty, with a contrasting curse on anyone who
    waits longer. In fact, failure to have married off one’s daughter by the time
    she is 12-1/2, the Talmud says, is as bad as one who “returns a lost article to
    a Cuthean” (Gentile) – a deed for which “the Lord will not spare him.” 13 This
    passage says:

    “… it is meritorious to marry off one’s children whilst minors.”

    The mind reels at the damage to the untold numbers of girls who were sexually abused within Judaism during the heyday of pedophilia. Such child abuse, definitely practiced in the second century, continued, at least in Babylon, for another 900 years.

    10 Kethuboth 11a.

    11 Kethuboth 11b.

    12 Yebamoth 60b.

    13 Sanhedrin 76b.

    A Fascination with Sex

    Perusing the Talmud, one is overwhelmed with the recurrent preoccupation with sex, especially by the most eminent rabbis. Dozens of illustrations could be presented to illustrate the delight of the Pharisees to discuss sex and quibble over its minutest details.

    The rabbis endorsing child sex undoubtedly practiced what they preached. Yet to this hour, their words are revered. Simeon ben Yohai is honored by Orthodox Jews as one of the very greatest sages and spiritual lights the world has ever known. A member of the earliest “Tannaim,” rabbis most influential in creating the Talmud, he carries more authority to observant Jews than Moses.

    Today, the Talmud’s outspoken pedophiles and child-rape advocates would doubtlessly spend hard time in prison for child molestation.

    The Oedipus complex was the invention of Sigmund Freud!

    Freud originally discovered, in the treatments partially conducted under hypnosis, that all his Jewish patients, both male and female, had been abused children and recounted their histories in the language of symptoms. After reporting his discovery in Jewish psychiatric circles, he found himself completely shunned because none of his fellow Jewish psychiatrists was prepared to share the findings with him. Freud could not bear the isolation for long. A few months later, in 1897, he described his patients’ reports on sexual abuse as sheer fantasies attributable to their instinctual wishes.

    Freud’s father was a pedophile! In a letter to his friend Wilhelm Fliess, he wrote:

    “Unfortunately, my own father was one of these perverts and is responsible for the hysteria of my brother (all of whose symptoms are identifications) and those of several younger sisters. The frequency of this circumstance often makes me wonder.”

    Fliess’s son, Robert Fliess exposed his own father as being another pedophile who had sexually abused him when he was a child.

      julis123 says:

      Have we taken our medication today?

      The above is filled with the sort of malicious lies, half-truths and distortions that typify antisemitism per se. Since it is a given that very few antisemites have any actual ability to read the Talmud at all, or to understand it in its own in-depth context, the often outright false nature of the assertions is manifest, and seems to reflect reliance on, and cut-and-pasting from, third-parties, namely antisemitic websites. E.g., the above wrongly cites passages in a way that shows this dependency, giving as do the antisemitic websites erroneous page references that do not deal with the actual subjects or statements given. All these sources falsify the material even if they cite it correctly by omitting the context within which it must be understood, e.g., failing to disclose, for instance, that the passages about three-years-old and nine-year-old boys mentioned above deal not with permissible sexual relations at all but with matters of legal culpability for forbidden acts, including dowry rights even of abused minors, who below a certain age must not in any way be regarded as tainted by the crimes committed against them. And pedophilia is regarded as a serious and punishable crime in Talmudic discussions. It is simply false that it is endorsed.

      Even more elementary mistakes are made. For example, the discussion above, and the misleading translation on which it is based, fails to distinguish between betrothal to a minor and marriage per se, as is done in halakhah. E.g., it is certainly possible to betroth a child, but it is not permitted to marry fully until the child comes of age and can give his or her personal consent. Furthermore, the unattributed quotations that pepper the above account should not be taken as true. Like the footnote citations (no source given), they cannot be relied on.

      Antisemitic distortions of the Talmud are quite stereotyped, and the ignorant accusers chiefly repeat each other’s incorrect assertions, quotations and what-not, so it is possible to deal with the specifics of the ones above by referring the interested reader to the website by Gil Student entitled “The Real Truth About The Talmud,” at http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud; apparently identical text is at http://talmud.faithweb.com. E.g., the falsehood that the Talmud endorses sex with three-year-old girls is dealt with under the rubric “The Talmud Does Not Permit Sex With A Three Year Old.”

    No one wears a black hat in my daf yomi group that meets daily at Alma Hebrew College, in Tel Aviv. We are a mix of secular and religiously observant Israeli men and women who share wide-ranging knowledge of Talmud, Torah, Jewish history, and rabbinic law; anthropology; education; computer science; music, management; culinary arts, community organizing; and Israel’s geography, ancient and modern history, agriculture, and customs. And more.

Brilliant! More evidence of the defective reasoning of our Talmudic sages. In this instance and many others, the Biblical authors are more honest.

    Pam Green says:

    You again! Ugh! Weren’t you banished from this site? What’s taking so long? TROLL ALERT! TROLL ALERT!

      What is your problem? Kiirch makes it clear that the rabbis are falsifying the Torah.

        Pam Green says:

        That’s not his position at all, and you know it.

          Reuben is cursed by his father. The rabbis stand on their head to deny it.
          Yes or no?

          And don’t call me names. I saw some of you offensive rants about Hillary Clinton.

          Pam Green says:

          Offensive? Hillary should have been forced to resign after her comment, “We came, we saw, he died.” And her visceral reaction to Gaddafi’s on-camera gang-rape and murder was an even worse embarrassment to this country – perversely sexual, complete with gutteral chuckles and sighs, and maybe a moan or two. At very least, Congress should have questioned her judgment for allowing herself to be filmed acting out like that. And if you want to see the international reaction, look it up on utube. There were thousands of threats against her, most extremely graphic.

          ALL SUNNI MUSLIMS ARE SODOMITES

          Islamic cleric confirms Muslim men really are sodomites

          You know how some people insult Muslims by calling them crude names that are the equivalents of sodomites and bestialists (butt- and goat-f**kers)? It turns out at least the sodomite insult is true! We have it straight from the mouth of none other than a Muslim
          cleric — a London-based Shiite cleric named Yasser Habib.

          In a broadcast on the UK’s Fadak TV on May 24, 2012, Habib calmly and dispassionately asserts that all non-Shiite males — especially
          the Shiites’ Muslim rivals, the Sunnis — are sodomized at birth by the devil, and grow up to become “passive homosexuals”, i.e., the “bottom” of a homosexual pair who is penetrated in anal sex.

          TRANSCRIPTION OF YASSER HABIB:

          “Anyone who consents to being called ‘Emir of the Believers’ is a passive homosexual. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, for example, who willingly assumed this title, was, without a doubt, a passive homosexual. The
          same goes for the caliphs Othman Ibn Affan, Muawiyya, Yazid, and the rules and sultans of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, as well as some of the rulers and sultans of our day and age.

          For example, the king of Morocco bears this ti. This is how you know that he is a passive homosexual. This is in addition to the evidence revealed by Western media, which showed that the current king of Morocco is indeed a passive homosexual who belongs to the homosexual community. This was leaked from his palace by his assistants, his servants, and his ‘boys,’ whom he would penetrate and who would penetrate him. They fled to Europe, sought asylum, and exposed all this.

          It is told (in the hadith) that Omar Ibn Al-Khattab had an anal disease, which could be cured only by semen. One should know that this is a well-known medical condition, which is also mentioned in
          sacred texts. Someone who, God forbid, has been penetrated in the anus, a worm grows within him, due to the semen discharged in him…

          A disease develops in his anus, and as a result, he cannot calm down, unless…

          He cannot calm down unless he is penetrated again and again.

          The Shiites are undoubtedly protected from this disease, and from committing this abominable and hideous act. As for the Nasibis (who hated the prophet Muhammad’s family), they are definitely afflicted
          with this homosexuality.

          One of the devils is present at the birth of every human being. If Allah knows that the newborn is one of our Shiites, He fends off that devil, who cannot harm the newborn. But if the newborn is not one of our Shiites, the devil inserts his index finger into the anus of the newborn, who thus becomes a passive homosexual. If the newborn is not a Shiite, the devil inserts his index finger into this newborn’s anus, and when he grows up, he becomes a passive homosexual.

          If the newborn is a female, the devil inserts his index finger into her vagina, and she becomes a whore. At that moment, the newborn cries loudly, as he comes out of his mother’s womb. Note that some
          children cry normally at birth, while others cry loudly and incessantly. You should know that this is the work of that devil, according to this narration.”

          Islam is NOT a religion, but an insane political system and sex cult populated by the severely mentally impaired.”

          When cleric Yasser Habib “says ‘passive homosexual’, he is
          referring to the receptive, submissive, female-equivalent partner. Dominant, inserting male homosexual activity is universally accepted in Islam. He has no problem with that. It’s grown men ‘catching’ that he has a problem with.”

          Hey, all you gays-lesbians-bisexuals-trannies and “liberated”
          women of the “Progressive” Left!According to a cleric of the religion you so vehemently defend, you had all been butt-f* *ked by the devil at birth!

          YESHUA & THE SCRIBES & PHARISEES

          Matthew 15

          1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 But he answered them, saying, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or his mother, “Whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So you have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, when he said:8 ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

          10 And he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

          12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard what you said?” 13 And he answered, saying, “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be rooted up. 14 Leave them be! They are blind guides. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

          15 Then Peter answered him, saying, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you without understanding even now? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes through the stomach and is expelled into the latrine? 18 But the things that go out of the mouth come from the heart, and these defile the person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.20 These are the things that defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a person.”

I applaud the comment of my old friend JJ Gross. Stand by for insights and outcomes now that women are joining the ever-evolving conversation.

    While women have been joining in increasingly greater numbers over the generations, the Talmud records, too, comments of the sage Bruria. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruriah. About Yalta, who broke four hundred jugs of wine when slighted by a guest whose barbs were directed at her and all womankind, see BT Berakhot 51b.

      Shalom Tamar,

      Just what you would expect from a woman!

      Women hate truth & if men want a happy life, NEVER tell her that her BUM is big or that she is getting old. Just treat her like mushrooms – plenty of BS & keep her in the dark (about the size of her bum etc).

        This post raises very big questions about you, “Larry,” if that is really your name. There is another poster on this page that seems to be much more to your liking. Neither of you belong here.

Pip Power says:

Shalom,

I have a BAD story about a BAD person & a GOOD story about a GOOD person:

MUHAMMAD: Allah hates those who don’t accept Islam.

(Qur’an 30:4, 3:32, 22:38)

JESUS: God loves everyone.

(John 3:16)

MUHAMMAD: “I have been commanded to fight against
people till they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is
the messenger of Allah”

(Muslim 1:33)

JESUS: “He who lives by the sword will die by the
sword.”

(Matthew 26:52)

MUHAMMAD: Stoned women for adultery.

(Muslim 4206)

JESUS: “Let he who is without sin cast the first
stone.”

(John 8:7)

MUHAMMAD: Permitted stealing from unbelievers.

(Bukhari 44:668, Ibn Ishaq 764)

JESUS:

“Thou shalt not steal.”

(Matthew 19:18)

MUHAMMAD: Permitted lying.

(Sahih Muslim 6303, Bukhari 49:857)

JESUS: “Thou
shalt not bear false witness.”

(Matthew 19:18)

MUHAMMAD: Owned and
traded slaves.

(Sahih Muslim 3901)

JESUS: Neither owned nor traded slaves.

MUHAMMAD: Beheaded 800 Jewish men and boys.

(Sahih Muslim 4390)

JESUS: Beheaded no one.

MUHAMMAD: Murdered those who insulted him.

(Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)

JESUS: Preached
forgiveness.

(Matthew 18:21-22, 5:38)

MUHAMMAD: “If then anyone transgresses against you,

Transgress ye likewise against him”

(Qur’an 2:194)

JESUS: “If someone strikes you on the right cheek,
turn other cheek.”

(Matthew 5:39)

MUHAMMAD:

Jihad in the way of Allah elevates one’s position in Paradise by a 100 fold.

(Muslim 4645)

JESUS:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God”

(Matthew 5:9)

MUHAMMAD: Married 13
wives and kept sex slaves.

(Bukhari 5:268,
Qur’an 33:50)

JESUS: Was celibate.

MUHAMMAD: Slept with
a 9-year-old child.

(Sahih Muslim 3309,
Bukhari 58:236)

JESUS: Did not have
sex with children.

MUHAMMAD: Ordered the
murder of women.

(Ibn Ishaq 819, 995) Never harmed a woman.

“O you who
believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

(Qur’an 9:123)

JESUS: “Blessed
are the meek, for they shall inherit the
earth.”

(Matthew 5:5)

MUHAMMAD: Ordered 65 military campaigns and raids in his last 10 years.

(Ibn Ishaq )

JESUS: Ordered no military campaigns, nor offered any approval of war or violence.

MUHAMMAD: Killed captives taken in battle.

(Ibn Ishaq 451)

JESUS: Never took captives. Never killed anyone.

MUHAMMAD: Encouraged his men to rape enslaved women.

(Abu Dawood 2150, Qur’an 4:24)

JESUS: Never encouraged rape. Never enslaved women.

MUHAMMAD: Demanded captured slaves and a fifth of all other
loot taken in war.

(Qur’an 8:41)

JESUS: “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.”

(Matthew 20:28)

MUHAMMAD: Was never tortured, but tortured others.

(Muslim 4131, Ibn Ishaq 436, 595, 734, 764)

JESUS: Suffered torture, but never tortured anyone.

MUHAMMAD: “And fight them until there is no more
persecution and religion is only for Allah”

(Qur’an 8:39)

JESUS: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

(Matthew 5:44)

MUHAMMAD: Blessed the
brutal murder of a half-blind man (al-Tabari 1440)

JESUS: Healed a blind
man (Mark 8:28)

Ordered a slave to
build the very pulpit from which he preached Islam.

(Bukhari 47:743)

JESUS: Washed his
disciples feet.

(John 13:5)

Muhammad’s Greatest
Commandments?

“Belief in Allah
and Jihad in His cause”

(Muslim 1:149)

Jesus’ Greatest
Commandments?

“Love God and
love thy neighbor as thyself.”

(Matthew 22:34-40)

MUHAMMAD: Demanded the protection of armed bodyguards, even
in a house of worship

(Qur’an 4:102)

JESUS: Chastised anyone attempting to defend him with force.

(John 18:10-12)

MUHAMMAD: Advocated crucifying others.

(Qur’an 5:33, Muslim 16:4131)

JESUS: Was crucified himself.

MUHAMMAD: According to his followers:

Had others give their lives for him.

(Sahih Muslim 4413)

JESUS: According to his followers:

Gave his life for others.

(John 18:11 and elsewhere)

    Most of those Matthew quotes are lifted straight out of Tanakh

      The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible.

      MediaDude is telling us that the Gospel of Yeshua is lifted straight out of Tanakh.

      Well done, MediaDude!

      Yeshua’s disciples have been trying to get that Message across to Jews for 2000 years.

      So I take it, MediaDude is a disciple of Yeshua?

        By that logic, I’m also a disciple of the westboro baptist church. The fact that I recognize scripture doesn’t mean that I worship a dead Jew.

Moshe Gelberman says:

some would suggest that the rabbis had these interpretations by way of tradition, which claimed itself to go back to perhaps even the time of the event itself, and therefore struggled simply to find the biblical source, however weak, and a reinterpretation of the otherwise blatantly obvious verses.

This is what Kirsch wrote:
“This way of reading the Bible can’t help but appear highly unnatural. Effectively, the rabbis nullify what the Bible actually says—that Reuben slept with Bilhah—and replace it with a story entirely of their own invention.”
The rabbis are clearly guitly on intellectual dishonesty.

    Every human who has ever lived has tried to justify the harmful things they do. This is normal. The Talmud simply reflects the human condition back onto its readers. This is its value.

      Shalom MediaDude,

      What is the Talmud teaching here:

      “When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is
      nothing, for when the girl is less than this (three years and a day) it is as
      if one put the finger into the eye.” The footnote says that as “tears come
      to the eye again and again, so does virginity come back to the little girl
      under three years.” Kethuboth 11b.

        I think you are trying to discredit the Talmud by citing an uncomfortable passage that offends our modern minds. I’m no scholar so I can’t defend that passage. But the Talmud frequently presents absurd laws which were never practiced in society in order to prove a point of law. Must I then throw out the baby with the bathwater?

        In Chicago, for example, it was once forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe’s neck. Does this mean I should not follow any of the city’s laws because at one time they mandated this silly practice?

        The Ketubot passage does not say what you think it does, Larry. It is given in the context of a lengthy discussion of the dowry rights of women. So, in a case where a woman was criminally assaulted as a very young girl, should she lose the rights to claim the full dowry of a virgin in later years? The answer given by the Talmudic Sages is, No. The evil done to her in early childhood should not be allowed to taint the rest of her life; she is not responsible for it in any way, certainly not legally, and probably has no recollection of it either.

It’s notoriously hard to write a good story about a good person

Lincoln excepted.

2000

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The Badness of Good Stories

This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty