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Karaites

Aaron ben Joseph: A Karaite Poet and Commentator

Reading Aaron ben Joseph’s introductory poem on the final Torah portion, Vezot HaBerachah, in conjunction with his prose commentary, Sēfer ha-miḇḥār, allows us to uncover the meaning of many of its obscure references, including some places where he adopted rabbinic interpretation, such as Moses’ death by God’s kiss.

Dr.

Joachim Yeshaya

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Which Relatives Are You Prohibited from Marrying?

Leviticus’ list of conjugally-forbidden relations was extensive for its time. While the Karaites expanded the list greatly, the rabbis did so only slightly, leaving modern-day rabbinic Judaism with more relatives permitted for marriage than most western societies.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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The Historical Uniqueness and Centrality of Yom Kippur

Prof.

Isaac Kalimi

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Tisha B'Av: On What Day Were the Jerusalem Temples Destroyed?

The First Temple was destroyed either on the 10th of Av (Jeremiah 52:12) or the 7th (2 Kings 25:8). The Second Temple, according to Josephus, was destroyed on the 10th. How did Rabbinic Jews come to commemorate the destruction of both Temples on the 9th of Av?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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A Shofar-less "Rosh Hashanah": A Karaite's Experience of Yom Teru'ah

Shawn Joe Lichaa

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Comparing Purims

Karaite Jews question Mordechai’s authority to create an obligatory new holiday. Nevertheless, they join their Rabbinic Jewish brethren in celebrating the two days of Purim, in keeping with their understanding of Mordechai’s instructions.

Shawn Joe Lichaa

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When Does Counting the Omer Begin?

The omer or “sheaf” offering takes place ממחרת השבת, “after the Shabbat” (Leviticus 23:15). Jewish interpreters have debated the exact meaning of this phrase for two millennia, resulting in all four possible dates being adopted by one Jewish sect or another.

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Origins and Use of the 613 Mitzvot

The development of the idea that the Torah has 613 mitzvot: From Talmudic aggada, to geonic liturgy, to medieval enumerations.

Dr.

Marc Herman

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Lamenting with Job: The Karaite Version of the Fasts for Jerusalem

In keeping with the verses, Karaite Jews fast on the 9th of Tammuz, beginning the five weeks of mourning, which culminates with the dual fasts on the 7th and 10th of Av.[1]

Tomer Rami Mangoubi

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The Torah Is Not an Allegory

In a polemical response to Christian and Jewish allegorical interpretation of the Torah’s laws, Bekhor Shor writes that just as God speaks to Moses “clearly and without riddles” (Num 12:8), so too the Torah is clear and means what it says, and should not be interpreted allegorically.[1]

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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The Parturient's “Days of Purity”: From Torah to Halacha

In reference to the parturient, the Torah speaks of a 33 or 66 day period of דמי טהרה “blood of her purity” as distinguished from a 7 or 14 day period “like menstruation.” What is the difference between these two periods according to Leviticus and how did later groups such as rabbinic Jews, Karaites, Samaritans, and Beta Israel understand it?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Sukkot's Unshaken Four Species

Building materials or trail mix? How Karaite Jews read Leviticus 23:40, which describes the mitzvah of taking (ולקחתם) the four species, in light of Nehemiah 8:15.

Shawn Joe Lichaa

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Biblical Exegesis as a Source of Jewish Pluralism: The Case of the Karaites

Karaism is often characterized by its rejection of the Talmud in favor of a super-literalist interpretation of the Torah. But Karaism is better understood as an alternate, parallel form of Judaism based on the Bible.

Prof.

Daniel J. Lasker

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