Wednesday, August 04, 2010
[a set of the Talmud]
I was watching a movie a few days ago, and one of the characters in the movie was a member of a Christian sect which prohibits blood transfusions. The character died because of her refusal to accept a transfusion. The Torah says "And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people." Leviticus 17:10 These people believe that this prohibits any consumption of blood, even intravenously and even on pain of death.
It reminded me: who knows what type of impractical and cruel rules a person could fabricate by reading the Torah literally without the benefit of the Oral Law in the Talmud.
I recall myself as a teenager, before my conversion, puzzling over verses about tying a fringe on the four corners of your garment. Where are the corners and what are these fringes?
Groups which have attempted to practice the Torah without the Talmud have failed. The Sadducees disappeared about 1900 years ago. The Karaites and the Samaritans are virtually dead. Neither community, to the best of my knowledge, has an independent school system raising children to practice their beliefs. I would therefore seriously question whether anyone today is actually fully practicing either system. Rabbinical Judaism however numbers in the millions and always has.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:06 PM