Blood of Life

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6 Responses

  1. Ahron says:

    “In rabbinic literature, houses are symbols of the feminine,”

    Do you have any sources for this? It’s an interesting connection in light of the Talmud’s note about “nashim tzidkaniyot” (righteous women) saving Am Yisrael from Egypt.

    “…the book’s author, Professor Ariel Toaff, based his speculation on confessions extracted from victims of torture.”

    The publication of “confessions” extracted under medieval torture into chic “non-fiction” book form is so intellectually laughable (and deceptive) that it suggests little other than venality on Mr. Toaff’s part.

  2. Loberstein says:

    The anti-semites hate us, they don’t need any reason . Jews were killed because we were Commuists, because we were capitalists, whatever. Toaff is now saying he was misunderstood and is trying to re-write the paragraph in his book that caused all the trouble. It is only in Italian, so far. If millions of Arabs still belive in every conspiracy theory, no matter how absurd, I don’t think logic plays a role. However, Toaff made a stuoid assertion without understanding the consequences and it was at the least, irresponsible. He certainly knows the line in Pirkei Avot, “Chachamim, hizaharu b’divreichem” “Scholars, be careful with your words’.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    The other professors ought to complain that their title has been cheapened by the likes of Toaff.

  4. Rabbi Avi Shafran says:

    Dear Ahron,

    Thanks for your comments. References to “bayis” as a symbol of “isha” abound in the Gemara and Midrash. The first amud of Massechta Yoma includes a drasha of the word “baiso” to refer to “his wife”; another instance of calling a wife a bayis is in Shabbos 118b; another in Sota 44a. And then, of course, we have the famous characterization, Midrashic but brought by Rashi in the Chumash, that “Beis Yaakov” refers to the women of Klal Yisrael.

    And, indeed, women play a pivotal role in Yetzias Mitzrayim, indicated both by the Chazal you reference and other things too, including Miriam’s taking issue with her father’s separation from his wife.

    It’s not too early to wish you, and all of CC’s readers, a chag kasher visame’ach!

  5. Calev says:

    Perhaps a little off-topic – but doesn’t the fact that Mr Toaff’s baseless book has been quite rightly refuted also inform the current moral-political debate over the use of torture against terrorism suspects? Even if one accepts that, on occasions, and in a highly regulated way, it may be necessary to apply physical and/or psychological ‘pressure’ on suspects in order to extract information that is expected to save lives – how dependable can that information be? Is it just that the methods nowadays are that much more sophisticated that such pressure can be considered a reasonable option in the effort to gain trustworthy information?

  6. Catherine Johnstone says:

    I am a teacher of scripture in our local church. I am not Hebrew but I have always wondered why the “Christian” sector have separated The Old Covenant from oral Hebrew laws and customs. Seems to me one must study all to have a more complete understanding of G_d. My last lesson concerned Abram sending his servant to find Issac a wife. I wondered why “the girl ran to her mother’s houshold”. In light of comments I’ve just read, I may have the answer. I also study the New Covenant. I am currently trying to understand the meaning of wine in relation to blood both symbolically and naturally. I heard about “Bloody Passover” through the news media. It is distressing to realize extreme hate is still being perpetuated.

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