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How do kids learn about “adult” stories in the Torah?

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I remember the first time I learned of Noah and his sons, I must have been in grade school and we were taught that the sons uncovered his nakedness, Sure we all giggled, imagining that his sons were walking through the freshly planted vineyards one day and one said to other – “Dude let’s pants him” – what else could uncovering his nakedness mean anyway. Logical if you ask me, we were of the age where we would probably have done the same thing and than laughed at our friend with his pants around his ankles. It was totally understandable for God to be angry with them because you don’t pull down your old mans pants – that was just wrong.

Years later, I learned that it was more like a gang bang, but how exactly do you teach about these so called great ancestors of ours having a drunken gay incestuous gang bang? I mean, you could probably say something like, the Noah family rode in steerage during their voyage and it was hard on them, they just needed to let loose and their evil inclination took over. Couldn’t imagine the little midrash says saying something like that, I wonder if 613 Torah avenue ever had the scandalous stories in the subliminal messaging that was hidden inside their tapes.

Come to think of it, I always knew about Lot’s wife becoming a pillar of salt, but they mentioned anything about the drunken incestuous “could have been a gang bang, but everyone waited their turn” event with Lot and his daughters. The story did prove that the first thing on people’s minds, even thousands of years ago, after seeing the hand of God and worlds destroyed was always sex. Coincidentally, this means that the Rebbe could never be moshiach since everyone worth their weight in salt in chabad needs some Gezhe and it’s quite obvious that Lot’s daughters didn’t have gezhe (chabad’s way of saying yichus) but would the Rebbe admit to being from such a relationship, but if he wasn’t a descendant, how could he be moshiach? Either way, we didn’t have Stone Chumashim back in the 80’s so I never learnt of Lot and his daughters.

I got thinking about all of this, because I was sitting at the shabbos table last week and the 8 year old daughter of folks I was staying by got up to give a devar torah about the story of pinchas and I almost choked on the marinated mushrooms I was eating. I knew that this was the Bay Area and people are very open to their children about sex, but the story of Pinchas is pretty extreme, whoever could pull off teaching an 8 year old girl about this was a wizard.She basically spoke about how one of the leaders married a non-Jew and everyone knew about it, hence the reason he was killed, I wondered if she and her classmates had those coloring book pictures of Pinchas and his spear.

For all of you heretics who don’t realize that the Torah is full of some awesome stories like Pinchas, Pinchas basically stabbed a dude and his one night stand with a long spear while they were in the conjugal act and held them up as a specimen for all of Klal Yisroel to see. It must have been pretty cool and I can’t imagine him finding a heter to hold up a naked chick on a spear for everyone to see, when people start riots over sitting in the front of a bus, but things were different back then.

How did they teach you “adult” stories when you were kids, or how do you teach them to yours kids?

  • Puzzled

    Forget about teaching adult stories to children – I’m still dealing with the idea of sitting at a meal and hearing an 8 year old explain the logic of killing a man for marrying a non-Jew. What does a child trained that way grow into?

    • A. Nuran

      A fanatic who burns and kills with a smile on his face because whatever he does, God is on his side.

      • learn something

        “a fanatic”
        nice to know that pinchas was a fanatic. i always thought g-d praised him for his act. oh well i guess if you have 3000 years worth of jewish learning tradition and ethics vs. nuran, nuran would win because he/she gets to discredit the other side simply by using the word fanatic.

        • A. Nuran

          Learn something? Gladly. Let’s start with you taking a good hard look at your own beliefs. Learn what they say. Learn what they mean. Learn just how close they bring you to all the monsters you rail against from Pharaoh to the Czars to Hitler or Hamas.

          Here are the “ethics” of your brutalized perverted vision of Judaism:

          Never question.
          The world exists for our benefit and nobody else’s.
          Obey the Great Ones no matter what evil they tell you to do.
          Ignore the tears of the little ones molested by religious leaders. Shun and slander the families who cry out for justice when their babies come to them bleeding and traumatized.
          Kill everyone who steps out of line.
          Kill everyone who violates ancient superstitions.
          The Goyim don’t have souls. They have no spiritual worth (Tanya).
          A Goy who kills one of us by accident dies.
          If one of us kills a Goy on purpose it’s no crime.
          Burn girls with acid if they wear the wrong color clothes.
          Kill the race mixers.
          Kill girls who talk to boys.
          Blessed are those who take babies and smash their heads against the rocks.
          Kill the men. Kill them women. Kill the children. Take the prettiest virgins home to violate until you’re tired of them.

          Indoctrinating innocent children with this sort of filth will turn them into fanatics. Tallitbani. Grinning monsters who murder on command without remorse. If I believed for a moment that was God’s will I’d become an atheist out of disgust at my Creator or apologize to Satan for not following more of his suggestions. Fortunately, the source of good does not demand that we accept the evil you so eagerly embrace.

        • A. Nuran

          My reply was caught by the spam filter and will show up sometime soon. I suggest you read it. And think for a minute exactly how much blood your “ethics” demand you shed.

          • the other shim

            Ok A Nuran

            It’s not like I don’t get uneasy hearing about slaughtering Amalek and the whole Pinchas story but you are really exaggerating here. Tova often talks like this as well and I need to respectfully disagree with both of you.

            Yes we Jews have our problems but nobody is killing anybody! What the hell are you talking about! Times were different in the times of the Torah and no one advocates that we act as a warring people today. Jews are the most peaceful, nonviolent people outside of Quakers. And please don’t mention Boruch Goldstein, he was an isolated case. Name me 10 people besides him that acted the same way in the last 50 years and maybe you’d have a point.

            In the times of the Torah, burning your kid alive as a sacrifice to the Molech was a matter of course. The nations were barbaric and amoral. The high priests and priestesses were prostitutes. Chaos ruled. There were no “politicians” it was kill or be killed in the ancient world.

            As a new and fragile people/religion the Jews had to take drastic measures to ensure their survival. Those days are long gone and no one advocates killing anybody.

            When was the last time you heard of a Jewish girl being honor killed or having her genitals mutilated to keep her pure? Throwing bleach on someone wearing red pales in comparison to what’s normal in Muslim quarters (no offense Mahla).

            Yes we have our fanatics. We have our injustice. I myself am often treated like total crap by those who deem themselves frummer than me including family. But who the hell says that’s halachically ok? Who says the Torah advocates this? NOBODY.

            And why focus ONLY on the negative when there is so much good? Where but the frum world do you see so much chesed and so much tzedaka? When I told a non Jewish friend of mine about what a gemach is, she was stunned. “Wouldn’t people steal?” she asked.

            We as a people have our fights, our disagreements. But we are ultimately one bonded in a way no other nation or religion can ever be.

            A while ago I got sick for an extended period of time and guess what. A half a dozen members of the community made me and my family meals till I got better, no questions asked.

            • A. Nuran

              The point I’m making is that our religion has an astonishing amount of brutality built into it like pretty much everyone else’s. We absolutely have the potential to breed smiling murderers who consider their atrocities a blessing. Recognizing it is one of the few things that keeps it from happening. But the fanatic refuses to see or doesn’t care. No matter what he does he’s carrying out God’s will.

              Our ancestors 3000 years ago were very, very different from us. If we haven’t learned anything in 3000 years except how to regurgitate their primitive taboos and rationalize their atrocities then it’s been 3000 wasted years.

              Fortunately the Jewish people have mostly done better. A lot better. What I see is a religion which is rejecting most of its richness and progress. The only permissible Judaism is a romantic-reactionary adoration of the ghetto. Unauthorized thought is forbidden. Deviation of any sort is forbidden. Private conscience is forbidden. Blind obedience to religious authorities is required. There is no end to the new restrictions placed on people in the name of piety. Contact with outsiders and their ideas is anathema.

              This is exactly the sort of soil in which the seeds of murderous fanaticism sprout. It’s the world of the Salafists, the Cultural Revolution or the Ku Klux Klan.

              It’s a very short progression from “Anyone who thinks or does this is going against halacha” and “We must obey the will of the Gedolim” to “Anyone who doesn’t is an oppressor of Jews” to “We pray for their deaths at God’s hands” to “We are the instruments of God” to “Kill them all. The Lord will know his own.”

              The sad thing is I didn’t used to believe any of the examples. It was all the lies of anti-Semites. Then I started to learn and was disgusted by how much of that was a part of normative, Orthodox Judaism and how much the racist, exclusive parts were re-emphasized.

              The part about the world being created for the benefit of Jews? Absolutely.

              Complete obedience to the interpreters of the Law? Deny it and you’re an apostate.

              Death for just about every offense against tradition? Still on the books. That’s why the truly fanatic stone rescue workers and Shabbos drivers in Israel.

              The horrible treatment of abused children and their families in order to protect the religious authorities who commit the crimes? We aren’t as bad as the Catholics, but we’re certainly getting points for effort.

              Burning girls with acid and trying to murder them with deadly weapons for wearing red, talking to boys or not being “modest” enough? Undeniable.

              The treatment of prisoners? No ambiguity at all. Sure, Moses ben Maimon says the victim should make herself hideous so her abuser will only do it once “out of concession for the Evil Impulse”. Still, we must either jettison this evil relic of a bygone age or admit that our religion is vile.

              The spiritual worthlessness of Gentiles? Tanya was the first piece of non-scriptural Jewish material to which I was introduced. It’s very explicit. Their treatment in Jewish Courts? It’s right there.

              • Mahla

                About Salafism, and then also what has happened with Judaism & for that matter with the rise of vocally right-wing Evangelical Christianity … I feel like so many of the world’s religious faiths have taken this hard right turn over the past few decades. :^(

                Not just the Abrahamic faiths, either. I used to basically feel it was the Abrahamic faiths, but the re-emergence of things like honor killing within the Brahmin caste was recently brought to my attention. :^(

                • A. Nuran

                  It’s a depressingly common disease of the human spirit.

              • the other shim

                Do you honestly think fanatacism within Judaism is anything new? In our history have we ever killed anyone for not being religious enough? They didn’t kill Boruch Spinoza if you recall. They put him in Cherem. It’s a big jump from stoning cars on Shabbos, which no one on earth says is mutar to actually killing somebody.

                • A. Nuran

                  It’s certainly nothing new, but the markers for a more disturbing and deadly form of fanaticism are clear. There’s a world of difference between casting one dissenter out of the community and deep structural changes within the body of Judaism.

                  Increased polarization in a time of – or because of – decreasing economic opportunities is always a warning sign for destructive and violent mass movements.

                  When one pole represents a radical rejection of economic and civil life it’s worse. When it rejects things like science and communication with outsiders that is very bad. When economic survival depends on loyalty to leaders I get worried. If it’s accompanied by ever-increasing restrictions on dress, diet, relations between the genders and access to information a student of history sees big flashing hazard signs with alarm sirens. Ditto forcible reduction in the status of women and a generation which is aware that it will have less than its parents and grandparents.

                  That’s the clear historical pattern. And if I seem a little shrill about it it’s from being right more often than wrong watching the lines run together at the side of the graph. Most of the time people say “It can’t possibly happen. Someone will do something about it.”

                  One thing which really disturbs me is your casual dismissal of the custom of stoning.

                  Stoning is a method of execution. It is absolutely assault with deadly weapons in a manner that can reasonably be expected to cause death or grave bodily harm.

                  It may not be officially mutar, but it happens, and the community leaders don’t stop it. They could by applying the same sanctions that they do against unkosher cell phones, newspapers with women’s faces or using elevators on Shabbos. In fact, a number have helped by giving legal outs that permit the fanatics to set aside weapons for use on Shabbos. It has been rising steadily for two decades. And it is applied more often and for more supposed offenses.

                  Now rioting and arson normalized. Everyone jokes about the dumpsters and ignores the forest fires. Yes that happened in a couple of riots a month or two back.

                  This is serious stuff. And I don’t see any indication that the problems are being effectively addressed.

                  • the other shim

                    These hareidi fanatics are definitely scary but they will never be mainstream. There are lunatics in every religion.

                    I’m actually more worried about rabbanim that look outwardly normal but say ridiculous stuff that is going to be considered halacha in 5 years. Ever hear of Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk? He wrote a 500 page book on tznius called Oz Vehadar Levusha in which he forbade eye shadow and lingerie for married women amongst other things like the color fuschia (didn’t that color become extinct in 1989?). Yes I actually read through the whole thing!! No one ever said I wasn’t a masochist:)

                    • A. Nuran

                      The first chapter of “An Adornment for Living” was all I could stand. You’re a better Jew than I am, Gunga Din.

            • A. Nuran

              Psychotherapy has many uses. The good sort doesn’t make people deny reality. The reality is Judaism is increasingly drifting into two camps. The first are the non-affiliated secular for whom it’s just an ethnic identity. The second follow an increasingly narrow religion which demands absolute obedience and increasing separation from the real world.

              Neither alternative appeals to me. But the alternatives are being pretty effectively eliminated.

            • Mahla

              I’m definitely not offended, thanks for thinking of me though :^) — however it might have been better to write “in ~some~ Muslim quarters.” If you had qualified what you wrote in that way I would be in agreement with you here. :^)

              • the other shim

                Forgive my ignorance, Mahla, but isn’t honor killing and FGM pretty normal in the most of the Middle East? Please correct me if I’m wrong, because you obviously know more about these things than I do.

                Did you hear that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating “nicking” of girls’ privates to accomodate these people? I’m not making this up.

                Check out the link: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-academy-of-pediatrics-aap-is-advocating-for-us-pediatricians-to-perform-certain-types-of-female-genital-mutilation-fgm-92871624.html

                I’m also curious, how accurate and mainstream is that ask the imam site? I’ve been getting a lot of my info on Islam from that site which is basically people asking the imams questions and getting their questions answered. It’s called askimam.org.

                • Mahla

                  FGM is a much more serious problem in Africa than the Middle East, and the practice pre-dates Islam by quite a bit. That’s why Type III FGM, which is the most barbaric type, is called Pharonic (sp?) circumcision. However, Type I & Type II FGM is sometimes called Sunna circumcision because the Muslim tradition is that the Prophet did not command doing this, but gave his blessing to it.

                  Yes, I have heard about the ‘nicking.’ If a family comes to a pediatrician hell-bent for cultural or religious reasons on something being done to their young daughter’s genitals, I can see the point of ‘nicking’ to draw blood if that will satisfy the family’s desire to keep with tradition and the pediatrician would rather do this than have some type of home butchery practiced on the girl. However, I can understand the other side of the issue too.

                  There is also a lot of debate in the OB/GYN community about re-infibulating women who have had the Type III mutilation done to them (for example, Sudanese women who have come to the United States) and have had to be cut open to give birth. It can cause enormous social / ‘shalom bayis’ (if you will) problems for the women if they are not sewn back up in the same manner, but many OB/GYNs are uncomfortable with the implications of doing so.

                  As for the honor killings, yes, honor killing is a huge problem in many Middle Eastern countries, particularly the Arab ones. While the problem is chiefly Muslim it is also cultural; for example it’s a problem in conservative Christian communities in Jordan. Honor killings of women are also on the rise worldwide in conservative cultures that are not Muslim, for example, in India.

                  I think the askimam.org site is great to get a ‘frum’ by which I mean observant, Muslim take on questions. The reader questions submitted are also terribly interesting.

                  However, always keep in mind there are many, many Muslims who are not observant or are only nominally observant (they drink alcohol, they don’t cover or cover only because of a desire not to piss their parents off, etc.).

                  They would not give a darn in their everyday lives as to what such a site bids them do. :^)

                  • the other shim

                    Hey Mahla,

                    What I found the most fascinating about the ask the imam site is how similar sharia is to halacha. I also noticed that as much as people on this site love to bitch about how hard it is to be frum, it is much harder to be a frum Muslim.

                    So the FGM is not religious, but cultural? Still horrifying. The Hindus honor kill their daughters too? I thought they were like Gandi and were pacifists. But what do I know?:)

                    • the other shim

                      Oh and thanks for clarifying all that for me, Mahla:). It’s good to hear from someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

                  • hebrewgirl

                    Mahla and the other shim: The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in the AAP News on June 01, 2010 with this headline: “Academy clarifies position denouncing all forms of female genital cutting.”

                • A. Nuran

                  In another life I researched different things and took an excursion into FGM. It was unpleasant, and I’ll spare you the details. Mahla’s information is very useful and worth checking out further.

                  It is a custom in many parts of Africa where it is practiced by Christians, Muslims and traditional Animists. It is vanishingly rare in most of the Arab world except for Egypt where it has been customary since well before Biblical times.

                  The AAP suffered a fecal hurricane from women’s groups, the general public and its own members and came around so quickly it bumped into itself. The problem with a symbolic nick is that it isn’t about symbolism. A lot of it is about controlling women’s chastity. The symbolic cut turns into full blown clitoridectomy, labiectomy and infibulation as soon as the girl can be subjected to them.

                  The only Sunnah or Hadith which mention it do not encourage the custom and are considered unreliable at best and frauds at worst by Islamic scholars.

                  Honor killings are a serious problem from the Mahgreb to the sub-continent and in unassimilated Muslim communities in Europe, particularly in the UK.

                  The answer to all of these seems to be less traditional religion, not more. An increase in the education, economic independence and status of women, not stricter enforcement of gender roles. More women’s voices raised in public, not fewer. Militant reactionary/romantic fundamentalism is the real problem here whether it’s Charedism, Salafism, BJP Hindu nationalism or Full Quiver Christianity.

                  • Mahla

                    A. Nuran, you and I would get on so well in real life. ;^D I wish I could hang out with you sometime and talk. Full Quiver Christianity!

                    You are the ONLY person I have ever heard mention this ‘in real internet life.’ DAMN that’s interesting stuff! I think that you too must have a keen interest in comparative religion! :^D My partner thinks that I am FRIGGIN’ INSANE for being interested in topics like Salafism and Full Quiver Christianity.

                    I get various newsletters sent to our home from fairly extremist groups and he gets really upset about it. He calls it “religious spam.” Nor will he let me invite the Mormons or Witnesses over for a chat and pizza. ;^D

                    • the other shim

                      Ok, what on earth is Full Quiver Christianity? My personal favorite Christians are the pro Zionist Baptists/Evangelicals as well as the black Christians who put so much life and love into their services.

                      One of my close friends is a ger who has a degree in Christian theology.

                    • A. Nuran

                      The Other Shim,

                      Full Quiver/Quiverfull Christianity isn’t a formal church. It’s a movement within fundamentalist Christianity that takes its name from Tehillim:

                      Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
                      and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
                      As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
                      so are children of the youth.
                      Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
                      they shall not be ashamed,
                      but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate

                      To make a long story short, they believe that children are weapons in spiritual warfare against the rest of the world. Women must have as many children as possible, never use birth control, submit utterly to their husbands and not work outside the home unless absolutely necessary. The fringes of the group movement believe that births should be solitary – no doctor, no midwife, no friends helping – and without medical care of any sort.

                    • A. Nuran

                      Mahla and TOS, if you’re ever in the Northwest drop me a line. We’d be happy to have you over.

            • Puzzled

              Ok, I’ve thought about what you’ve said here. I didn’t respond immediately because I wanted to chew it over. It’s hard to argue with what you say – heck, it’s pretty close to what I believe. But I think it’s an inappropriate response to what’s being said here, and here’s why. It’s one thing to acknowledge “yep, our ancestors committed various cruel acts, and even respected the most cruel for their manhood.” If that’s what happened, that’s what happened. But yeshivas do not teach the kids “here are some things our ancestors did because that’s the way things were in that age, and we’d never behave that way today.” No, our children are subjected to speeches from their teachers (and adults are subjected to speeches from some rabbis) about how great Pinchas was, and the evil of the leaders who didn’t kill everyone at first, and how bad Saul was before he ‘went crazy’ because he didn’t kill everyone. The child in this story learned that a man married a non-Jew and so was killed, not ‘in the past, our ancestors had this crazy idea about intermarriage…’ Heck, we teach them that the killings will resume with Moshiach, and we teach them to pray for Moshiach…

              • A. Nuran

                And it’s always a tiny step between praying for the death of the unbeliever and carrying out God’s will personally.

        • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

          > nice to know that pinchas was a fanatic. i always thought g-d praised him for his act.

          Since when are being a religous fanatic and claiming that God approves of your actions mutually exclusive? I thought those usually go hand-in-hand.

          • learn something

            they can go hand in hand g*3.
            nuran, your not even laying down a viable argument. your spewing, generalizing and discrediting instead of disproving.
            i dont even know where to begin because half of your claims are totally false and the other half are total misunderstandings (deliberate ones at that).
            my point was plain and simple. assume g-d had something to do with the torah meaning he wrote it or it was divinely inspired through moses or wtvr else you want to claim but still assuming its divine. once you have this basis , all you have to do is look to what g-d says about pinchas. tada…he praises him. you somehow decided that since g-d praises pinchas, we are now allowed to rape virgins? (huh? didnt pinchas kill a dude for having relations with someone, do we even need to mention rape?!) so you evidently have alot to deal with and i dont think this is the proper place. i would recommend a good pschotherapist.

            • Puzzled

              If a man rapes an unmarried woman, he is punished by…marrying her. Admittedly, that’ll teach him, but still…

              • A. Nuran

                Yes, she marries him. And her only hope is in the grave, because she can never be free of him as long as they’re both alive.

                That’s only if she can convince the Court that she screamed – remembering that her testimony is worth nothing. If she didn’t, then she is put to death.

                Some later commentators did their best to work around the clear language of the Torah, talking about how the rapist can be fined for injury and all the ways a woman can refuse. It’s a nice try, but it’s very clearly a later attempt at backfilling. A woman’s only real value back then was in an unbroken hymen.

                • Mahla

                  “A woman’s only real value back then was in an unbroken hymen.”

                  They have surgeries for that now. Or if you can’t afford to have your hymen reconstructed surgically there’s always this:

                  http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-10/artificial-hymen-makes-women-virgins-again

                  :^(

                • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

                  Yes…rapists are rewarded with sex slaves. It’s one of my least favorite parts of TaNaCh.

                • learn something

                  nuran…she can decide not to marry him. once again your lack of knowledge in halacha, torah, or even plain judaism is just sad. its like you get all your informations from blogs. hence my user name which was created just for you.

                  • A. Nuran

                    Once again, I mentioned that as well as the fines. It’s a nice try on the part of later commentators to mitigate the really bad stuff. But it still leaves her dead if she can’t convince a Court that she screamed, married with no chance of divorce or “damaged goods”. The rapist gets off pretty much scot-free if he can come up with the dowry money.

                    • G*3

                      > It’s a nice try on the part of later commentators to mitigate the really bad stuff.

                      Remember that it’s all regarded as TMS. The “later commentators” are assumed to be explaining what the pesukim really mean, an explanation which is only necessary becuase as the generations declined what was once common knowledge (and therefore not even woth mentioning by the earlier comentators) was lost to the masses.

                      How can you be such an am ha’aretz as to think that you can read a pasuk and assume it means what it says? For shame!

                • Anon

                  She doesn’t have to marry him. She has the choice. However if she wishes to marry him, he has to marry her. It is a punishment for him, if he did not wish to marry her.

  • Mahla

    I have a great book called “The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Stories of the Bible” by Jonathan Kirsch. It doesn’t mention the Pinchas story, though. That one sounds pretty crazy! :^O

  • Gershon

    “It must have been pretty cool and I can’t imagine him finding a heter to hold up a naked chick on a spear for everyone to see, when people start riots over sitting in the front of a bus, but things were different back then.”

    Heshy, this is why you are universally beloved.

  • Shilton HaSechel

    Lol we skipped the naked Noah story in grade school.

    The truth is if you want 8 year old boys to really be interested in Tanakh you should really be stressing these parts not skipping them ;)

    What kids raised on these gory bits of the Tanakh will grow up to be like well that’s a different story. I guess TV is probably worse though.

    • Puzzled

      Yes, tv can be more violent, if parents don’t control what they watch. But tv characters are not taught to children as heroes. The violent ones are as often as not villains.

  • Anonymous

    It’s even more graphic than you’re saying. Apparently, he actually slammed the spear through the guy’s back, impaling his penis while it was inside the woman. That speared the two of them together, to prove beyond all doubt that they were having sex.

    And yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to kill the guy because he married a non-Jew. That’s senseless. The problem was he was the head of a whole tribe and he was committing the act very publicly as a big, waiving middle finger to Moshe and the Torah. That encouraged other people to do it too (which is why the public act of spearing him stopped others from doing it, and why it took so much guts). This guy was the head of a whole TRIBE. That’s like spearing the Speaker of the House for committing adultery on the Capitol steps in the middle of a giant 60’s style love fest/orgy.

    A ton of frum people just learn chumash in gan, think they know it, and never learn it seriously enough later. So they end up with a ton of distortions about what’s really happening.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      Talk about a pornographic shish-kabob

      • Dari

        We just finished learning that in school this year, and that’s how it’s been dubbed.
        The shish kebab story.

      • Esther

        Hahahaha! ROFL!!!! I feel bad laughing having just read A. Nuran’s whole thread above (A. Nuran – you may be exaggerating but you make alot of sense. Young kids are impressionable and if such extreme stuff is taught to them as a matter of fact, that is how they’ll see it), but this is just too funny. Love it!

    • Puzzled

      You might make these distinctions, but the child who repeated the story did not, and had not been taught them.

  • lola

    i think u suck and shud burn in hell

    • Shaul

      That’s some mighty fine constructive criticism you’ve got going there.

  • Israelit

    Yup, I still remember the first time I read that Noah story and actually noticed what the words meant. I must have been about 11, and I was horribly shocked that something like that was in the Bible. I mean, what else had I missed?! Why hadn’t my parents taught me that one in grade school?! I never worked up the courage to ask them about that story. I remember one of my high school teachers always used to say, “If the Bible was a movie, it would be X-rated.”

  • Avrumy

    Bereshis is full of stories of lust, betrayal, mass murder, polygamy, concubines, chicanery, homosexual acts, incest, and other sexcapades. And that’s just what we learn in first grade!

    • Hersh

      Why does the yeshiva world skip Bereishis and Noach and start teaching first graders Lech Licha?

      • Puzzled

        Because only Jews matter. As Rashi says, the earlier parts are just there to establish Jewish claims to Israel…

  • Conservative Scifi

    If you want a really disturbing story, read the man and his concubine story in the book of Judges, which led to the tribes battling the Benjaminites.

    • Chris_B

      Yeah that one is pretty disturbing.

  • Sam

    I think most of us just end up finding it out for ourselves when we learn the Chumash on our own. Yeah it was very suprising finding out what Noah’s son Cham actually did (gangbang – what are you thinking?) You didn’t mention that the main opinion is that he castrated his father which is even worse.

  • Anonymous

    I think most of us just end up finding it out for ourselves when we learn the Chumash on our own. Yeah it was very suprising finding out what Noah’s son Cham actually did (gangbang? – what are you thinking?) You didn’t mention that the main opinion is that he castrated his father which is even worse.

    • tesyaa

      but that’s not in the chumash

      • A. Nuran

        According to LDS friends it’s from the Book of Mormon.

        • Mahla

          Really? It’s in the Book of Mormon?

          • A. Nuran

            According to Mormon friends. I’ve never had any interest in reading their scriptures.

  • yankel

    the book of mormon is pretty wild, although I would agree with conserativescifi that the story of the pilegesh in judges: chap. 19 is very gruesome, our class read that when we were 10 and one girl actually burst out crying… I still laugh about that one today none of those frummie little kids could imagine the idea of sex, they all thought tatte bought their 13 brothers and sisters from mendy’s delicatessen in crown heights

  • guyinla

    they didn’t pants him; he took off his clothing on his own. also like on commenter mentioned cham castrated his father(rashi)- i never even heard of the gang bang version.

  • the other shim

    I don’t always agree with sanitizing Tanach the way it has been but using a little common sense with young kids is pretty obvious. Why traumatize them? On a different thread I talked about how they dumbed down the Amnon and Tamar thing but I was in 7th grade at that point. That’s different.

    All in all a translator Chumash with Rashi (non Artscroll) is your best friend when it comes to wading through these things.

    • Puzzled

      Yes, you are WAY too stupid to understand it yourself.

  • the other shim

    Puzzled
    Are you trying to say that meforshim are irrelevant and we don’t need them to understand Tanach and Gemora? Correct me if I misunderstood you.

    • Puzzled

      No, I don’t think they’re irrelevant. I think each commentator brings a different light to the text, illuminating it in the context of his time, his philosophical school, and his own mind. I don’t think they have any particular claim to being what the text ‘really’ means, though. They have a take on the text, and they filter it accordingly. For example, a nationalist like Rashi understands the stories before Abraham as being there for nationalist reasons. The idea that you simply can’t make sense of the Torah without Rashi, though, does bother me. There are other takes, and none of them are likely to be the original meaning. The original meaning is likely to be more like what it says. For instance, I believe that when it says ‘an eye for an eye’ it means to take out an eye for an eye(yes, to a fundamentalist this sounds shocking, to the rest of us it’s common sense.) I also believe that the reason they wrote that is because the common practice was 2 eyes for an eye, or death for an eye, or death if the person whose eye you took out was of a higher class, and he gets killed if he was a lower class, or whatever. So the Torah is being as compassionate as would be accepted at that time. The rabbis understood this, and saw that at their time, people could be pushed further, so they pushed them further. Then they said ‘it always meant monetary payments’ meaning – it always meant to be as compassionate as is possible at a given time, not forever and ever take an eye for an eye. That puts the obligation on us to ask how compassionate we can push people to be today rather than, in the Karite tradition, blindly following the text we received.

  • the other shim

    So I guess you don’t follow the whole, Rashi wrote with ruach hakodesh thing, do you?

    I don’t think Torah could possibly make any sense without meforshim and that’s what separates us from say, Christians who think the Torah is literal. The meforshim are basically Torah SheBaal Peh and are supposed to be taken as such.

    • G*3

      > I don’t think Torah could possibly make any sense without meforshim

      The Koran has the same problem. It only took about a century for Muslim commentators to produce a tradition of “meforshim” to smooth it out.

      > The meforshim are basically Torah SheBaal Peh

      Sure, but why assume that TSBP isn’t just commentators smoothing out the problems with the chumash?

    • Puzzled

      No, I don’t believe that Rashi wrote with ruach hakodesh. That particular claim is not even widespread in the orthodox world, from what I understand. Why would Ibn Ezra be so silly as to argue with a prophet? Anyway, I usually hear that kind of thing from Chabad, but don’t hear it much in MO circles, or even yeshivish/Litvash.

      I’m not surprised that you think your holiest book is unintelligible without help. I’m not surprised in two ways. First, I went to yeshiva and was taught the same thing. Second, this is (contrary to what you claim) a common belief in religions that want to attain social control. In order to establish a hierarchy, you need people to believe that they are incapable of understanding, or even reading (hence only training the clergy to read in past times) the holy texts. This is a particularly insidious technique, but quite popular.

      To rationalize such teachings, Judaism has to teach that what the commentators say was actually known and taught from the beginning, and even makes up stories to illustrate it. Other religions haven’t gone through those hoops to justify what they do rationally.

      By the way, I do agree with you that commentators are basically TSBP. I look at the Talmud as commentary by committee, and like all commentaries, it comes from a certain world-view. However, the Talmud actually illustrates this better by letting you trace the worldview of each particular sage. It’s harder, but can be done, with individual commentators. TSBP is, in my opinion, the discussions about the text through the ages, not some memorized doctrine handed down as the Rambam describes. The Rambam had a worldview also, one that required TSBP to be described that way.

      • the other shim

        Believing in meforshim isn’t a form a mind control! They all differ from one another and all have their origins in the Gemara or Medrashim. And yes the Torah is a garbled up mess without meforshim to help you. The written Torah is written in a kind of shorthand and is pretty esoteric. That’s why we need the oral Torah to expand on what’s written.

        There is no comparison with other religions. Jews were always literate and weren’t dependent on clergy to interpret stuff for them. Everyone can learn, not just the privileged.

        • Puzzled

          Right, if by learn you mean think about it what the authorities say to think about it. How exactly does ‘having an origin in the Gemara or Medrashim’ impact your point at all? I like how you’re telling me that this system doesn’t control what you think, immediately after telling me that it’s crazy to understand the text on your own.

          • the other shim

            The gemara and the medrashim are specific tools for understanding tanach. You can use them on your own without the “authorities” breathing down your neck. So how is that connected to brainwashing? You’re really confusing me.

            Think of it as Cliff Notes for the Torah if you will.

            • Puzzled

              No one is talking about brainwashing, we’re talking about thought control. We’re talking about self-censoring ourselves into ignoring the multiple ways of reading a text (one of them often painfully obvious) in favor of the various apologetics and meaning-twisting in various times. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it is appropriate for commentators in their own time to comment from their own understanding. That is precisely what one ought to learn from the commentators – to follow their example. Instead, you are pulling a Karite move and insisting that the plain meaning is no good, commentary is good – but also that people today may not comment except to repeat the commentaries of the past, or to make up a silly textual issue and ‘resolve’ it in a silly way.

    • Yochanan

      What did Jews do before Rashi? Didn’t the Geonim write commentaries?

      • the other shim

        Who the hell knows…? I don’t want to imagine a world without Rashi.

        • Puzzled

          I’m beginning to wonder if shim is purposely creating a caricature of a certain style of thinking.

  • Future Druggie

    Adam was still alive when Noach was born; Noach was still alive when Abraham was born; We have a tradition that predates the giving of the Torah.

    • A. Nuran

      Except that in the real world there was no Adam. There was no flood. There was no Noah. And most of the rest of the fairy tales in Genesis never happened. What you have are self-congratulatory stories that tell you what you want to hear about your own superiority.

      • Mahla

        A. Nuran, what do you think about the whole speculation on a near-universal Flood myth? It truly makes me wonder, was there ever any worldwide Flood? :^O

        Aside, I mean, from all religions implications. Or maybe there were many Floods and different people made different stories up about these events.

        It’s kind of crazy, how all these cultures incorporate this particular tale. The Flood myth seems even more widespread and universal than the whole ‘messiah born of a virgin’ thing. :^O