Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Karaite Judaism: A Path That Can Unite Am Yisrael

Posted by challahbackgirl on June 19, 2007

In America we have Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Humanistic Judaism. If you go onto Frumster (a Jewish singles site dedicated to marriage oriented dating) and choose Orthodox, you get seven Orthodox subgroups to choose from. And I’m not even going into the partitions in the rest of the world. Religiously it seems like we have never been more divided. I propose that Karaite Judaism can bring us all back together.

The Karaite approach to Judaism is that the Tanak (the Hebrew Bible) is the word of God. Now you’re probably asking how is that any different than Orthodox Judaism? The difference is that in Orthodox Judaism the oral tradition of Judaism (i.e. the Mishna and the Talmud) is considered to be the Oral Law, passed down orally from Mount Sinai when God gave us the Torah through Moses. In the Orthodox approach, the Torah consists of two parts: the written Torah and the Oral Torah. The Written Torah can only be correctly interpreted by using the Oral Torah.

The Karaites believe that only the Tanak is the word of God. It is complete on its own. The oral tradition is considered to be a collection of human wisdom, not a binding component of Jewish Law. I plan on going into the reasons why in a future post. There’s a lot that I want to say about Karaite Judaism, but the nature of blogging is to keep things short and sweet. So I won’t cover everything here.

One important observation is that it is a lot easier to be Torah observant without all of the additional rules of the oral tradition. It’s a shame that people often associate being Torah observant with being Orthodox. They assume it’s too much for them; or those additional rules don’t mesh with their own intrinsic feeling of how to connect to God. But either way, I think the mistaken assumption that one has to follow the oral tradition to observe the Torah, often causes people to not even try.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying easier is better or easier is right. The real appeal is that Karaite interpretation of Torah depends on the plain meaning of the text, the context of a particular passage within the Tanak as a whole, and the historical context in which the Torah was given. In other words, common sense plays a large role. Rabbinic interpretation of Torah is a more complicated endeavor that is often inconsistent with the plain meaning of the text.

The Karaite community has a new booklet out, “As It is Written” that makes the case for Karaism in more detail. It’s a great read and even includes a section of responses to often cited arguments in favor of an Oral Torah (for example kosher slaughter and tefillin).

You can also learn more about Karaite Judaism at the following websites:

46 Responses to “Karaite Judaism: A Path That Can Unite Am Yisrael”

  1. Shawn Lichaa said

    Great blog; it’s about time that this issue be brought to the forefront. There are too many divisions as is, and Karaite Judaism can bridge the gap between our communities. More importantly, it can bridge the gap between our observance and the Torah.

  2. EBEHK said

    Wonderful post. However, I am not as optimistic that until the coming of the Messiah that it is possible to unite theology unite the branches of Judaism in anything other than our overwhelming support for the continuation of the State of Israel. The good news is that in 2007 it is totally inconceivable that any two groups of Jews would engage in violence against each other. We recognize all Jews as our brethern with the right to worship within the context of Judaism as they see fit.

    One of the important differences amongst Jews has to do with the word Abib and its impact on the calendar. One orthodox translation states “This day you are going out in the MONTH of the SPRINGTIME.” (Ex 13:4) This is indeed an inventive translation because nowhere else in Chumash are the seasons mentioned. Professor Fox in the Schocken Bible translation correctly points out that Abib is barley grain. Two Karaite Jewish Scholars have written:

    (From: )

    The story of the Exodus relates “This day you are going out in the the month of the Abib.” (Ex 13,4).

    To commemorate that we left Egypt in the month of the Abib, we are instructed to bring the Passover sacrifice and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot) at this time of year. In Dt 16,1 we are commanded:

    “Keep the month of the Abib and make the Passover (sacrifice) to YHWH your God at night, because in the month of the Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt”.

    Similarly, we are commanded in Ex 23,15:

    “You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the time of the month of the Abib, because in it you went out of Egypt.”

    The same is commanded in Ex 34,18:

    “You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of the Abib, because in the month of the Abib you went out of Egypt.”

    What is Abib?

    Abib indicates a stage in the development of the barley crops. This is clear from Ex 9,31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail:

    “And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Abib and the flax was Giv’ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).”

    The above passage relates that the barley crops were destroyed by the hail while the wheat and spelt were not damaged. To understand the reason for this we must look at how grain develops. When grains are early in their development they are flexible and have a dark green color. As they become ripe they take on a light yellowish hue and become more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Abib and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. The description of the wheat and spelt as “dark” (Afilot) indicates that they were still in the stage when they were deep green and had not yet begun to lighten into the light yellowish hue which characterizes ripe grains. In contrast, the barley had reached the stage of Abib at which time it was no longer “dark” and at this point it probably had begun to develop golden streaks.

    Parched Abib

    We know from several passages that barley which is in the state of Abib has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten parched in fire. Parched barley was a commonly eaten food in ancient Israel and is mentioned in numerous passages in the Hebrew Bible as either “Abib parched (Kalui) in fire” (Lev 2,14) or in the abbreviated form “parched (Kalui/ Kali)” (Lev 23,14; Jos 5,11; 1Sam 17,17; 1Sam 25,18; 2Sam 17,28; Ruth 2,14).

    While still early in its development, barley has not yet produced large enough and firm enough seeds to produce food through parching. This early in its development, when the “head” has just come out of the shaft, the seeds are not substantial enough to produce any food. At a later stage, the seeds have grown in size and have filled with liquid. At this point the seeds will shrivel up when parched and will only produce empty skins. Over time the liquid is replaced with dry material and when enough dry material has amassed the seeds will be able to yield “barley parched in fire”.

    Abib and the Harvest

    The month of the Abib is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Abib. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Abib and is ready to be brought as the “wave-sheaf offering” (Hanafat HaOmer). The “wave-sheaf offering” is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the Sunday which falls out during Passover (Hag HaMatzot). This is described in Lev 23,10-11:

    “When you come to the land which I give you, and harvest its harvest, you will bring the sheaf of the beginning of your harvest to the priest. And he will wave the sheaf before YHWH so you will be accepted; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest will wave it.”

    From this it is clear that the barley, which was Abib at the beginning of the month, has become harvest-ready 15-21 days later (i.e by the Sunday during Passover). Therefore, the month of the Abib can not begin unless the barley has reached a stage where it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.

    That the barley must be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks into the month of the Abib is also clear from Dt 16,9 which states:

    “From when the sickle commences on the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks.”

    From Lev 23,15 we know that the seven weeks between Passover (Hag Hamatzot) and Pentecost (Shavuot) begin on the day when the wave-sheaf offering is brought (i.e. the Sunday which falls out during Passover):

    “And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the sheaf of waving; they will be seven complete Sabbaths.”

    Therefore, the “sickle commences on the standing grain” on the Sunday during Passover, i.e. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month of the Abib. If the barley is not developed enough so that it will be ready for the sickle 2-3 weeks later, then the month of the Abib can not begin and we must wait till the following month.

    It should be noted that not all the barley ripens in the Land of Israel at the same time. The wave-sheaf offering is a national sacrifice brought from the first fields to become harvest-ready. However, the first-fruit offerings brought by individual farmers can vary in ripeness anywhere from “Abib parched in fire” to fully ripe grain which may be brought “crushed” or “coarsely ground”. This is what is meant in Lev 2,14:

    “And when you bring a first-fruit offering to YHWH; you shall bring your first-fruit offering as Abib parched in fire or crushed Carmel” (Carmel is grain which has hardened beyond Abib to the point where it can be “crushed” or “coarsely ground”).

    All of the above passages have been translated directly from the Hebrew and it is worth noting that the King James translators seem to have only understood the various Hebrew agricultural terms very poorly. In Lev 2,14 they translated Carmel as “full ears” and “Abib” as “green ears” whereas in Lev 23,14 they translated Carmel as “green ears”!

    In summation, barley which is in the state of Abib has 3 characteristics:

    1. It is brittle enough to be destroyed by hail and has begun to lighten in color (it is not “dark”).

    2. The seeds have produced enough dry material so it can be eaten parched.

    3. It has developed enough so that it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.


    When all Israel returns to the biblical calendar we will have made substantial progress toward’s unity.

  3. Ish Tov said

    EBEHK, thank you for the kind words. Your detailed analysis of the Abib has helped me to understand the Karaite position on the Hebrew calendar. Having read “As It Is Written”, I understood and agreed with the Karaite interpretation of when to start counting the Omer and when to observe Shavuot. In fact, I hope to do a future post on that.

    However, in regards to the Hebew calendar being linked to the ripening of the barley, something was missing. Defining “Abib” this way sounded like speculation to me or an unsubstantiated theory, until you quoted and explained Exodus 9:31-32. In fact this one passage would make a helpful addition to the Hebrew calendar section of “As It Is Written” if an update is done in the future.

    One last request. In the interest of unity, would it be possible for you to refer to God’s name without actually writing it? I want Orthodox people to feel free to participate in this discussion, and I have a feeling this would make them uncomfortable. Some alternatives would be the Lord, Hashem, or YKVK.

  4. Oyster said

    First off, you’re very brave for taking on this topic, for in your
    community there can be consequences…

    Secondly, high-five to Shawn Lichaa! He was a great leader in my high
    school Jewish youth group. Little did I know that he was really just
    an agent for the Vast Karaite Conspiracy. :-p It was cool seeing him
    in the Karaite Judaism booth at Israel in the Gardens.

    One point that I’d like to raise: moving Judaism to a more Karaite
    form or interpretation would be more than just “removing all the
    halakha” from Rabbinic Judaism. It would also mean accepting all of
    the Torah commandments that were negated or softened by the Oral Law!
    The price of rocks would sky-rocket as we started stoning Jews for
    disrespecting their parents, and the Jewesses would be pretty peeved
    as we set up blood huts for them at the edge of our encampment.

    On that note, the Ethiopian Jews also lacked the Rabbinic laws, and at
    the time of their leaving their lands in Ethiopia still practiced laws
    like that of the ‘blood huts’. So is their theology close to that of
    the Karaites?

    It would be an interesting comparison to contrast Karaite, Ethiopian,
    and Samaritan practices.

    Lastly, what’s with this kvetchin’ about the use of the Tetragrammaton? So he uses a “W”, and you use two “K”s. Fancy-shmancy! Whatever, IshTov. It’s in English anyways, not the Lashon HaKoidesh…

  5. EBEHK said

    One last request. In the interest of unity, would it be possible for you to refer to God’s name without actually writing it? I want Orthodox people to feel free to participate in this discussion, and I have a feeling this would make them uncomfortable. Some alternatives would be the Lord, Hashem, or YKVK.

    Yes. Many Karaites use HaShem HaMeforash in dialogue with our
    fellow Jews to make them feel more comfortable. However, I remind them that this practice is contra to Shemot 3:15 and here is the Judaica Press translation:

    Exodus 3:15. And God said further to Moses, “So shall you say to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is how I should be mentioned in every generation.

    Amongst non-orthodox Jews I will frequently use the name in fullfillment of this mitzvah.

  6. Another Karaite said

    Dear Ish Tov,

    Sorry, I know EBEHK and he’s not a scholar in his own
    right. In fact, he culled most of his first post verbatim from starting with the words “The story of
    the Exodus relates”. The author of that webpage is Karaite scholar Nehemia
    Gordon. I believe Mr. Gordon should have been credited. To not acknowledge the
    author is akin to stealing someone else’s intellectual property and this isn’t
    becoming of a Karaite Jew.

    Dear Oyster,

    You said, “The price of rocks would sky-rocket as we started stoning Jews for
    disrespecting their parents, and the Jewesses would be pretty peeved as we set
    up blood huts for them at the edge of our encampment.”

    Don’t know if you were just tossing these remarks sarcastically, but Karaites
    will NOT and do not take the law into their own hands so as to apply the death
    penalty to Karaite Jewish offenders. We respect the rule of law in the countries
    we live in, so relax.

    The observant among the Karaites set up a bed, chair and a number of necessary
    vessels in one of their residences’ homes for separated girls and women during
    their monthly flow and the separation period lasts only one week per Torah (not
    two weeks as in Orthodox Judaism).

    The Samaritans and Ethiopian Jews (at the time) perform the commands entailed by
    the 1-week female separation period with extra and unnecessary strictness not
    ordained by the Torah.
    Quite frankly, Ethiopian Jewish theology is much stricter than Karaite Jewish
    theology. The Falashas added many customs and obligations unspecified in the

  7. Another Karaite said

    Shalom again.

    Let me further underscore why EBEHK is no scholar through two of his
    own claims.

    1. Despite that ultra-Orthodox Jews
    in Israel have initiated countless violent confrontations with other groups of
    Jews on religious pretexts, haKohen seemed totally ignorant of that, otherwise
    he wouldn’t have stated “The good news is that in 2007 it is *totally
    inconceivable* [my asterisks] that any two groups of Jews would engage in
    violence against each other.”

    2. Mr. EBEHK stated “…nowhere else [expect the supposed reference in Ex
    13:4] in Chumash are the seasons mentioned” despite the reference to summer and
    winter (“qayitz wa-horef”) in Gen 8:22.
    I for one am hardly a Karaite scholar but I do know a fair amount of biblical
    and modern Hebrew vocabulary.

  8. ishtov said

    Another Karaite, thanks for your participation. I don’t think he meant any harm. He made it clear in his post that this material was from two Karaite scholars, clearly implying that it wasn’t his own work. But just to be on the safe side, I’ve added the website link to his post.

  9. ishtov said

    Oyster, I don’t think I’m that brave. Maybe I’ll miss out on some Shabbat dinner invites. But bringing a fresh, practical perspective to observant Judaism is more important to me than a few nice meals.

    I want to add to what Another Karaite said. It’s pretty clear in the Karaite literature that I’ve seen that they don’t take the Torah literally. I think this is the most common misconception that people have about Karaite Judaism. For example, Karaite’s interpret the Tefillin passages of the Torah figuratively. They translate tefillin as jewelry, and so we should treat the Torah as jewelry worn around our necks.

    And also by being protective about God’s name, I learned something. I got a halachic opinion from an orthodox rabbi that there is no issue with having an electronic representation of it. In fact having a screen saver with the actual Hebrew letters is considered to be a good way to keep God in your thoughts. Now I don’t have to feel hesitant when referring Orthodox people to this blog. I was worried before that I might get complaints from them about that.

    And Eli’ezer ben Ephraim haKohen responded with a great reply about how to observe Exodus 3:15. So it was a good learning experience.

  10. ishtov said

    EBEHK, thank you for your consideration in this matter. I think it’s important to break people in gradually to a new way of thinking.

    I have a question for your. In response to your statement:

    “Amongst non-orthodox Jews I will frequently use the name in fullfillment of this mitzvah.”

    (Exodus 3:15 for those keeping score at home.)

    If you are referring to actual speech, how do you know how to correctly pronounce God’s name? My understanding is that the vowelization / pronounciation was lost at some point in our history when a Kohen Gadol died before passing that knowledge onto his son.

  11. Oyster said

    Another Karaite:

    First off, I was extrapolating on what streams of rabbinic Judaism would look like if we just did away with the Oral Law. I was not expounding on Karaite Judaism, of which I am woefully ill-educated. The point was that the Oral Law doesn’t just add strictures to laws, but also softens or nullifies many of the commandments that can be found in the Torah. That is a common misconception, that the Oral Law just makes Judaism “harsher”.

    The point being, in the absence of some Oral Law, or at least some set of norms, tradition, history, precedence, etc. to modify the literal and plain meaning of the verses in the Torah, we’ll be running short on stones, and blood huts will be all the rage. If Karaite Judaism has some sort of ‘code’ of such normative teachings that modify the plain-meaning of the Torah’s commandments, I’d love to hear more about it.

  12. Another Karaite said

    Oyster, your sort of humor was duly noticed the first time round. I’m done commenting on your point.



    Even knowing this is your personal blog, I resent how you’ve tampered with my comments. For shame. Stalin would be proud of you.

    This is the last time I’m dropping by. Don’t expect further comments on any topic.

  13. Oyster said

    Another Karaite:

    My sincerest apologies that you take yourself so seriously. I gave you an opening to teach me (and others) about how Karaite Judaism uses tradition and norms to modify the plain-meaning of the Torah, but you seem content on brushing off such pesky questions. Look man, if you don’t know the answer, there’s no shame in just saying so. Perhaps we could enroll in a class on Karaite Judaism together?

  14. EBEHK said

    I don’t think that is quite accurate. The Karaite Korner website is an undertaking of the WKM (World Karaite Movement) which is a joint effort of Hakham Gordon and Hakham Rekhavi both of whom are now on staff at KJU.

  15. EBEHK said

    Istov stated:

    If you are referring to actual speech, how do you know how to correctly pronounce God’s name? My understanding is that the vowelization / pronounciation was lost at some point in our history when a Kohen Gadol died before passing that knowledge onto his son.

    Response: Amongst Karaite Scholars there is a disagreement of opinion as to the pronunciation. Hakham Gordon has written a dissertation advocating pronouncing the name YeHoVaH. Hakham Rekhavi and others I know pronounce the name YiHweh. Until Messiah comes we will have this doubt in which reasonable minds could differ. The fact that there is some confusion does not IMHO authorize us to make up a name that could not conceivably be the correct name and on this point both Hakhamin Gordon and Rekhavi agree.

  16. ishtov said

    Another Karaite, the only thing I took out of your post was the personal attack on another poster. I was hoping you would get the point without me having to mention it publically.

    You can compare me to Stalin all you want, but you might want to brush up on constitutional law. The first ammendment doesn’t give you the right to slander people. In every moderated forum I’ve been in, personal attacks are not allowed.

    Look, in real life you might be 100 times the person that he is, and I admit that I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt over you. But he is posting under his name, while you are posting anonymously.

    When you stay on the topic, you’re adding to the discussion. Please continue to post here. Just leave out the personal stuff.

  17. The karaite's friend said

    Hey ishtov,

    I’m Another Karaite’s friend. He and I have seen this webpage’s cache and it’s obvious you’re not telling the truth when you claim my friend actually slandered HaKohen. For one to reveal that he knows HaKohen and that HaKohen is not a scholar as you believed subsequent to his first few posts above is NOT slander. If you had tampered only with my friend’s *second* post (which, I concede, is a bit obnoxious), that would’ve been a somewhat different story. But you’ve altered both of his posts.

    My friend has already made up his mind not to post at this site anymore and I regret to see it’s hard for you to accept his wish. As far as we’re concerned you can’t have it both ways and that’s all there is to it. You know, HaKohen could’ve sued for slander and he might’ve won if his case were sound enough. Sorry you believe it’s up to you to be his “keeper”.

    As to person calling him or herself “Oyster”, I don’t get what he/ she is really after except for ongoing derision of Karaite Judaism. If his/her question were bonafide, HaKohen would’ve answered it in all probability. I suppose this person would do some research and learn some more about that form of Judaism if he/she had been sincere about learning. Not everything has to be spoonfed to him/her.

  18. Ish Tov said

    The Karaite’s Friend / Another Karaite:

    Please learn to give people the benefit of the doubt. In your posts on this blog, you have assumed the worst intentions in everyone else.

    There’s a teaching in Judaism that if you give people the benefit of the doubt in life, than God will give you the benefit of the doubt when He judges you. And if you judge people harshly, then God may judge you harshly.

    Food for thought.

  19. The karaite's friend said


    Look Ish Tov… you should be more trusting of people’s own identity that they disclose. I’m not Another Karaite but his friend. If you don’t want to believe me, I could care less.

  20. Oyster said

    *sigh*, I guess one must spoon-feed simple requests, otherwise they are patronized or ignored:

    Will someone learned in the was of the
    Karaite Jews please explain their system for moderating the plain-meaning of Torah commandments?

  21. ishtov said

    After consulting with Squad Leader, I’ve restored Another Karaite’s original posts. (Although the formatting got messed up.)

    Nevertheless, I hope people will refrain from personal attacks in the future.

  22. EBEHK said

    I write to address Oyster’s request for clarification as to Karaite Judaism’s application of the plain meaning principle. In “As it is Written: the brief case for Karaism” by co-authors, Lichaa, Gordon and Rekhavi the following appears:”It is a great tragedy most Jews are told that the Torah is an incomplete document and must be supplemented with this Oral accompaniment. This is contrary to the clear teaching in the Tanach itself that “The Torah of YHWH is perfect” (Psalms 19:8 [7]). As a result, those students who are genuinely interested in reaching the true meaning of a passage become psychologically dependent on an “Oral Law.” They feel the answers are not contained within the Tanach itself and therefore do not undertake the necessary steps to find them within the Tanach. The need for an Oral Law to interpret the commandments thus becomes self-reinforcing, never allowing one to search the Bible itself for the answers. Be assured, however, that most of the meaning of the commandments and principles can be determined from an honest and thorough investigation of the text. That which cannot be determined is the result of our inability to recover the plain meaning of the text, which would have been available to the average Israelite receiving the Torah….every word of the Torah (and even the entire Hebrew Bible) is subject to interpretation. This interpretation however must be consistent with the rest of the Bible and must also be consistent with the plain meaning of the text, which would have been available to the average ancient Israelite receiving the Torah. In fact there are examples where it is the Rabbis who look for a “literal” interpretation of the commandments in places that Karaites have always understood a “metaphorical” meaning (see Karaite Exegesis: A Practical Example above).
    We learn in Deuteronomy 31:12–13 that the Torah was to be read every seventh year before the entire congregation of Israel – men, women, and children. In an era in which written books were rare, this public reading was a primary source for learning the Torah. Therefore, we must assume that any interpretation that would not have been readily apparent to an ancient Israelite at this public reading cannot be what was intended. This requires us to bridge the gap of 3500 years in language and culture. To do this we must thoroughly study the Tanach by employing scientific methods of Hebrew linguistics and contextual exegesis.”

    P.S. I would not even have the slightest idea how to sue anyone on this posting board. Internet posters are for the most part anonyomus and secondly if I spent my days suing anyone who made the slightest insult to me, I’d be doing nothing but attending to litigation all day and quite frankly I have better things to do. Plus I’m not even sure what the nature of this “alleged” slander (i.e. – it is more probably libel because slander is spoken) consists of.

  23. EBEHK said

    Another Anonomyus Karaite wrote:

    1. Mr. haKohen “…nowhere else [expect the supposed reference in Ex 13:4 -] in Chumash are the seasons mentioned” despite the reference to summer and winter (”qayitz wa-horef”) in Gen 8:22.

    2. I am not Mr. HaKohen – a knowledgeable Jew, of any status should know that this refers to the status of a Kohen and not a last name. Furthermore Shemot 13:4 is not a reference to the “Season of the Springtime” as Rabbi Stone purports but a reference to the Abib. Beresheet 8:22 does not reference “the seasons”. It states starting with the ending of verse 21..”I will never again strike down all living things as I have done; (never) again, all the days of the earth, shall
    sowing and harvest,
    cold and heat,
    summer and winter,
    day and night
    ever cease!

    (Schocken Bible Translation)

    The reference to summer and winter while omitting Springtime and Autumn cannot be reasonably taken as a reference to the four seasons of the year.

    As to Shemot in 13:3-4 Professor Fox in the Schocken bible translates this as “Moshe said to the people: Remember this day, on which you went out from Egypt, from a house of Serfs, for by strength of the hand of YHWH brought you out from here: no fermentation is to be eaten. Today you are going out, in the New-Mood of Ripe-Grain.” In footnote 4 he states: “Ripe-Grain: Heb. Aviv. The month later took on a Babylonian name (Nisan), as did all the months of the Jewish Calendar.”

    In contrast Rabbi Stone’s translation is “You shall observe the month of Springtime and perform the Pesach offering for HaShem, your God, for in the month of Springtime HaShem your God, took you out of Egypt at night.” Devarim 16:1

    Professor Stone translates as follows:”Keep the New-Moon of Aviv/Ripe-Grain. You are to observe the Passover to YHWH your God, for in the New-Moon of Aviv YHWH your God took you out of Egypt at Night.” Devarim 16:1

  24. EBEHK said

    # The karaite’s friend Says:
    June 28th, 2007 at 1:22 pm


    Look Ish Tov… you should be more trusting of people’s own identity that they disclose. I’m not Another Karaite but his friend. If you don’t want to believe me, I could care less.

    [Editors Note: E-mail of commenter removed at their request]

  25. The karaite's friend said

    Hi EBEHK, it’s nice to get acquainted with you a bit, but I’m not interested in the KJU’s offerings and don’t care if you believe me or not. If you want to talk privately email me at

  26. EBEHK said

    Why don’t you care Jay? Are you not interested in maintaining your credibility? In any event, I have emailed you and hope to open up a dialog. In the meantime make a good sabbath. Shabbat Shalom.

  27. EBEHK said


    On the last paragraph of post 25, I should have written:

    Professor FOX translates as follows:”Keep the New-Moon of Aviv/Ripe-Grain. You are to observe the Passover to YHWH your God, for in the New-Moon of Aviv YHWH your God took you out of Egypt at Night.” Devarim 16:1

  28. The karaite's friend said

    Mr. HaKohen,

    You asked: “Why don’t you care Jay? Are you not interested in maintaining your credibility?”

    The real question that should be asked is whether you had credibility from the outset. Scroll up to my friend’s first two posts here and find out which of your claims were refuted.

    FYI, post 25 is mine, not one of yours.

    Hope you “made” a good Shabbath as well.

  29. Another Karaite said

    EBEHK writes: “I am not Mr. HaKohen – a knowledgeable Jew, of any status should know that this refers to the status of a Kohen and not a last name.”

    This unfortunate statement betrays an additional thing you’re unaware of – this time regarding Jewish family names.
    “HaKohen” could also be a Jewish family name and its male bearers may or may not be kohanim.
    You occasionally travel to Israel, right? On your next visit there why don’t you open a Yellow Pages and thumb through the letter Heh until you see “haKohen”? I happen to know a young Israeli Jewish woman whose *family name* is “HaKohen”.

    I assumed your family name was “haKohen”, so thanks for correcting that.

    Given your mistake, I don’t think you’re in a position to define what a “knowledgeable Jew” should know. I mean, come on.

  30. EBEHK said

    Question for you Jay. Did this young Israeli women have a name that began with the formula Name bat Fathers name “HaKohen”, or was it Name HaKohen. That should give you a clue whether or not HaKohen is a last name. In any event for someone who represented to this posting board that they purport to “know me” that was an interesting error to make. I mean “come on.”

  31. Another Karaite said

    To answer your question, this young Israeli woman name’s formula is “Name HaKohen”. Ofra (with an ‘Ayin at the beginning) HaKohen to be precise. In fact, a few hits of this particular name are readily found via a Google search in Hebrew.

    I admit I wasn’t aware of your family name. But by comparison to your errors I’d say my mistake is quite minor.

    I hope you intend to read my friend’s last email instead of running away when things heat up.

    Let it be known to Ish Tov for the record that you’ve imposed on me a confrontation that I wasn’t seeking. And I’m sorry to realize Ish Tov has given both my friend’s and my email addresses to you without seeking our permission. How else could you have found out our addresses? I thought the differences between Ish Tov and myself were mended when he restored my original comments. I guess I’m through posting at this website for good. This exchange has become pointless and counterproductive, let alone that I’ve made my point anyway. It gives Karaism a bad image. I’m moving on to meaningful pursuits.

  32. ishtov said

    Okay, I think I’ve figured out what’s going on here. AK, when you first started posting here with a personal attack, I quickly looked at your “whois” info. Your IP is registered in Amsterdam, so I assumed that you were just a troll who wanted to start a flame war.

    When KF posted his email address publically, it didn’t match his original hidden email address. And he is also registered in Amsterdam. So I basically warned Eli’ezer privately about this, sending these email addresses to him.

    However, I’ve dug a little deeper on the IP info, and it looks like you are both posting from Israel. So now it’s apparent to me that you are not some random troll from Amsterdam, but just an obnoxious Israeli. 🙂

    So I apologize to you and your friend for not giving you the benefit of the doubt. I should practice what I preach.

    What we have here is just a typical American / Israeli culture clash. I think we can all still get along if we accept the fact that sometimes some Israelis tend to be a little rude and Americans probably get too easily offended at times.

    I’m actually quite happy that my little post made it all the way to Israel and welcome your participation and other Israelis as well.

  33. cbdyag said

    Everyone participating in this thread, please take a moment to read our blog policy.

  34. Oyster said

    CBDYAG: the link is broken.

  35. cbdyag said

    Thanks Oyster. The link works now. You can also find a link to the Policy on our About Page.

  36. How is Kabbalah looked upon by Karaites?

  37. ishtov said

    Avraham, thanks for your question. I’m not a Karaite, but from what I read in one of their newsletters, they don’t believe in it. Karaites focus on the plain meaning of the Torah. Kabbalah is thought of as the hidden wisdom of the Torah.

    So the funny thing for me is that I agree with the Karaite approach that the laws of the Torah should be understood by their plain meaning within the context of the Tanak as a whole, but I also believe that there is hidden wisdom in the Torah. So I guess I’m pro-Karaite and pro-Kabbalah. 🙂

  38. Oyster said

    IshTov, you’re a flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaming Kabbalite! :-p

  39. Jennifer said

    We are looking for Karaites, or “Tanach only believers” for fellowship. Are there any in Illinois?

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