[Avodah] Waiting Six Hours for Dairy- A Rabbanite Response to Qaraism

Prof. Levine via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Wed Aug 12 06:19:18 PDT 2015


Qaraites are a Jewish group that began around 760 CE. They rejected 
the Talmud and rabbinic Judaism and insisted that Jews only observe 
halacha as expressed in the literal text of the Torah. "Qaraite" 
means "Scriptualist". The movement started in Iraq and Persia by Jews 
who objected to the authority of the leaders of the Babylonian Talmud 
Academies, the Gaonim. The Gaonim and their successors, the rishonim, 
are called Rabbanites because of their stance in defending the Talmud 
and rabbinic laws.

Scholars have noted that many minhagim began as a response to the 
Qaraite movement. For example, the recital of Bameh Madlikim on 
Friday evening  after davening [1] was started in the times of the 
Gaonim to reinforce the rabbinic stance on having fire prepared 
before Shabbos, in opposition to the Qaraite view that no fire may be 
present in one's home on Shabbos [2]. There is evidence that the 
reading of Pirkei Avos [3] on Shabbos afternoon, which began in 
Gaonic times, was to emphasize to the Jewish masses that the Oral Law 
was passed down since Moshe Rabbeinu as stated in the first mishna of 
Pirkei Avos.

Professor Haym Soloveitchik [4] has argued convincingly that the 
unique arrangement of Hilchos Shabbos in Rambam's Mishna Torah was 
organized specifically with anti-Qaraite intent. Briefly, Rambam's 
formulation of the Shabbos laws does not follow a chronological order 
or any other expected logical order.

See the above URL for more.  YL

llevine at stevens.edu
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