Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Single Greatest Problem in Orthodox Communities

Do you want to know why so many people leave their Orthodox communities?

It's because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in. It used to be that communities contained both ultra-Orthodox rabbis and people who drove to shul on shabbos. Talmud scholars and those who thought the whole Talmud was a bunch of nonsense. Those with OCD-levels of halakhic compliance and those who sometimes ate shellfish.

Now if you're different in any way, you're shunned. Orthodox Jews have gotten so terrified of exposing their children to anyone who they deem a bad role model that they just kick out everybody who's not perfect (by their standards.) And they do it to kids, too. In many right-wing communities, if you talk to girls on a Saturday night, you might as well be a crack dealer. They'll treat you the same way.

I have a friend who was suspended from a right-wing yeshiva for reading secular novels. Many friends in Israel were not allowed any secular magazines. A well-respected yeshiva allowed either a computer or a phone line, but not both. God-forbid a bochur accesses the internet.

Do you think it was like this in the shtetls of Europe? You think there weren't open apikorsim and people who worked on shabbos in the same communities as the greatest Torah scholars? There were. Talk to people who are old enough to remember.

My grandfather was from Lithuania. He was a rabbi from a long line of rabbis. He shook his head at this nonsense going on now with the know-nothing black-hatters who think everybody's got to be a certain way. He told one of them, a young up-and-comer more right-wing than most, "You know, it was never like this in Lithuania." The rabbi's answer? "This isn't Lithuania."

You want to keep kids from leaving? Let them have beliefs that aren't 100% Orthodox. Don't make them hide it, or be ashamed. Let adults voice their honest beliefs and questions and doubts. Even if Orthodoxy is correct, there's no way everybody in these communities believes the party line. Quit being the thought police. Show the kids that there are alternatives in life. You shouldn't have to be only one kind of person to live in your neighborhoods.

Want to keep kids off drugs? Don't dismiss the ones who don't fit in as "rejects" or "bad apples" and maybe they won't start hanging out with all the other "rejects" and "bad apples." Don't pretend marijuana's the same as heroin. Don't act like talking to girls leads to stealing cars. Don't denigrate women or girls who wear pants as if they are prostitutes.

You think halakha is the One True Way? Fine. Tell your kids that. Tell your neighbors. But you don't have to frantically hide your kids from everybody who thinks maybe God didn't write the Torah. You can disagree with homosexuality without kicking gay adults (even those with partners!) out of your neighborhoods and letting kids know that they'd better stay in the closet until they're old enough to get the hell out.

You guys are trying to create this ideal society where everybody does the right things and thinks the right things all the time, where "right" is defined so narrowly as to be impossible for at least 20-30% of your children. Grow the hell up and join the real world, where not everybody agrees with you and not everybody has to act exactly the same. I mean, the whole everybody wear black-and-white with the same kind of black hat is a parody of itself. This isn't a religion, it's a fantasy world.

This post inspired by G's post at Serandez.

40 comments:

Ezzie said...

Eh. By making sweeping generalizations which are as equally untrue about the way things were the other way you lose the whole post.

abandoning eden said...

100% agreed. As I was saying in that other thread, I didn't do drugs, didn't smoke cigarettes, didn't drink, didn't hang out on street corners, etc, and I was labeled the 'bad kid' and almost thrown out of school because I had a boyfriend (and yes, had sex at age 17, but I don't think anyone knew about that) and asked too many questions. Oh and I just remember another reason I was the "bad kid"- I listened to rock music! (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.)

In any normal world I would be a totally normal kid.

Holy Hyrax said...

I think you are making a bit over generalizations here. I mean, just come to LA and check out the MO community here. OJ is not monolithic. Posts like these do garner lots of comments, but you should know better

Anyways, regarding Europe, you would NOT find open apikorsim in the shtetles, IF you are talking about shtetls. Europe was very much divided between east and west and everything that is happening right now is a residue of that. So actually, I am not sure what your grandfather is taking about. Perhaps he is talking about the over cockiness of some young kid thinking he is a true yid by just donning a black hat. He is right. But Europe was probably worse than we have it now. Hirsch would not even allow his followers to be buried in the same cemetary as reformers. Though, he was chastised by bascially everyone for going to far there.

jewish philosopher said...

"You think there weren't open apikorsim and people who worked on shabbos in the same communities as the greatest Torah scholars?"

And 90% stopped being Frum and were killed by Hitler. We should really try to follow that example.

People leave because of Internet porn.

G said...

You got the inspiration for this post from that post?

::low whistle::

G said...

oh, and Eden -

yeah, you're right I simply cannot imagine what could have caused your "bad kid" status.

abandoning eden said...

G- I know exactly what did. Asking too many questions, having a boyfriend, and listening to that 'unkosher' music. :)

abandoning eden said...

Oh G- Were you being sarcastic? I honestly have no idea what you mean

Off the Derech said...

>It's because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in.
Fully agree, needless to say. Cults can't stand people thinking for themselves either.

Holy Hyrax said...

OTD

Curious. What kind of community did you grow up in?

Off the Derech said...

RW, why?

Holy Hyrax said...

RW what?

Off the Derech said...

RW, black hat, yeshivish, all that.

Holy Hyrax said...

ok

Ezzie said...

It's because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in.

I'm curious - do any of you honestly believe that you do not do this?

Wordverif: Bases

Margo said...

Hey, I agree, but I don't think that's the only reason. Many different causes contribute, IMO. :) I grew up in a similar community to OTD. I was a "bad kid" because I refused to fit in, asked too many questions and planned to go to college. That's my guess, anyway, but your guess is as good as mine, because I was pretty frum, didn't talk to guys, etc.

Mis-nagid said...

"Do you want to know why so many people leave their Orthodox communities? It's because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in.[...] You want to keep kids from leaving? Let them have beliefs that aren't 100% Orthodox."

So, um, where are these non-judgmental, non-shunning, diverse American Orthodox communities? I mean, if you're right and that is the more successfull method for keeping people in the Orthodox community, surely it would be thriving, at least a little, somewhere. As you say, it used to exist. And with its allegedly higher retension rate, it should be zooming up the charts.

But there isn't any, is there?

The reason is because you're wrong. Orthodox Judaism's increasing use of cult tactics (e.g. shunning, uniformity in dress, etc.) are neither a conspiracy nor an error. They're on the rise because they work. In the Darwinian sense, there's a pool of Orthodox communities with variant levels of "phenotypes" such as shunning. As it turns out, the communities that shunned more (not less, as you propose) have had more success and that's why Orthodoxy has become like that. It's not planned, it's evolved: survival of the fittest, where a crucial fitness function is the very metric you raised: retension rate.

You think that being "good" and not doing the things you rightly decry should necessarily translate into "better" results, but that's not so. Kiryat Yoel is bursting at the seams with growth that's the highest in NY State and among the highest in America--and they're probably the most extreme example of each and every technique you listed. Being good and getting results are not the same thing (would that they were!).

Orthodoxy in America is surrounded on all sides by an extremely attractive culture. Communities that have more links to it, whether by literature, classmates, etc., will lose more people to it. Communities that sever all ties with it, shave their kids' heads and don't teach them English will lose very few to it (and the ones that they do will often fall flat due to how effectively they were hobbled, serving as abject lessons to those still inside).

The real risk to these communites is not "because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in." That works--just ask the Amish, they too are growing rapidly. More realistic risks are the financial ones; unlike the self-sufficient Amish, the ultra-Orthodox world in America is extremely vulnerable there.

jewish philosopher said...

If one of my children would God forbid reject any part of Orthodox Judaism, I would immediately disown him or her.

"because I was pretty frum, didn't talk to guys, etc."

Because guys don't want talk to you?

G said...

Oh G- Were you being sarcastic?

--almost always

I honestly have no idea what you mean

--yeah, i know

jewish philosopher said...

"In any normal world I would be a totally normal kid."

And who decides what's normal? You do. So since you are like you, you are good. That's exciting.

Random said...

Not to disagree with mis-nagid's general point (that those denominations that make real demands of their followers are growing faster than the "let's all get along" liberal ones, which seems to be self-evident), but the Amish are arguably not a good example of the point. The reason is the remarkable Amish custom of Rumspringa - basically the period between adolescence and adulthood, when it is understood that to some extent "kids will be kids" and the usual rules of Amish life are relaxed somewhat, even to the extent of allowing teenagers to "go English" and live outside the Amish community altogether. At the end of Rumspringa however the young adults are expected to make a choice - either get baptised and live under the full weight of Amish rules and tradition, or leave the community altogether. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, after a year or two of Rumspringa the vast majority choose to return and accept baptism. I expect a lot of JA's problems with orthodox Jewry would be eased considerably if they had a custom like Rumspringa.

Mis-nagid said...

Random, The popular conception of Rumspringa is almost entirely mythical. The Amish keep their kids in line mostly the same way chassidim do: by crippling their ability to navigate the outside world. The high "return" rate is simply because they fail at leaving, and the reality is that they never went far in the first place. Often they're literally on their parent's lawn.

No high lifestyle-burden community that arms its kids with the tools to leave and then gives them the chance to do so is going to keep them for long.

Random said...

Mis-nagid, yes and no. The truth seems to be that the extent to which the conditions are relaxed during Rumspringa varies from community to community. I first heard about the practice from watching The Devil's Playground, which is at the very least documentary evidence that the practice, if not universal, is certainly far from mythical.

I have to say though that the use of language like "crippling" is rather bigoted and intolerant (somewhat ironically, as that is presumably what you are criticising the Amish for) - their kids are fully equipped to survive in the Amish world, and then given the opportunity to decide for themselves if that's what they want. The high retention rate at the very least implies that it seems to work well enough for them. Just because it presumably wouldn't for you or me is no reason to condemn it as misguided or evil. Tolerance and understanding should work in both directions after all.

Mis-nagid said...

I don't think "crippling their ability to navigate the outside world" is anything other than an accurate description of the practices. Saying that they're "equipped to survive in the Amish world" doesn't actually address what I said. If anything, adjusting your statement by prepending it with the honest word "only" shows it to support my point.

Garnel Ironheart said...

> Do you want to know why so many people leave their Orthodox communities?

Oh do tell us. And in the meantime, I'll get you some cheese to go with that whine of yours.

> It's because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn't fit in.

Right, and no one else does that. If you're in the liberal arts department at the your local university and announce you're a Republican, they throw flowers on you and give you a group hug.

If you work in environmental studies and question the gospel of St. Gore, you're treated with respect and given equal opportunity for funding.

So are you as anti-liberal arts and environmentalist as you are anti-Jewish?

> It used to be that communities contained both ultra-Orthodox rabbis and people who drove to shul on shabbos.

Yeah, and many places still do. Maybe the place you lived didn't but for you to generalize and say that Orthodox communities all over the place are exactly the same is small-minded and judgemental. Oh wait, that's what you think frum people are.

> Now if you're different in any way, you're shunned.

Funny, not where I've lived and I've lived in a few Orthodox communities. The one I'm currently in, the rabbi unlocks the parking lot on shul so the non-frum can park there just so they'll feel welcome. I know, we must be a figment of your imagination because all real Orthodox people are intolerant.

> Orthodox Jews have gotten so terrified of exposing their children to anyone who they deem a bad role model that they just kick out everybody who's not perfect

Funny thing is I can recite most Pink Floyd songs and several episodes of the original Star Trek off by heart. It's never gotten me kicked out of anywhere.

> In many right-wing communities, if you talk to girls on a Saturday night, you might as well be a crack dealer. They'll treat you the same way.

And are they your only option? No really, you pick the worst example, act like there's nothing else and then condemn the entire culture.

> I have a friend who was suspended from a right-wing yeshiva for reading secular novels.

Maybe they were bad novels.

> Many friends in Israel were not allowed any secular magazines.

So let them switch to an MO or Mizrachi community where that's allowed.

> Do you think it was like this in the shtetls of Europe?

No, they had no phone lines or internet. And yes, in some places it was and in some places it wasn't. The variety you refuse to see here was also there.

> You think there weren't open apikorsim and people who worked on shabbos in the same communities as the greatest Torah scholars?

Just like today? Sure.

> My grandfather was from Lithuania.

No one's perfect.

> Let adults voice their honest beliefs and questions and doubts. Even if Orthodoxy is correct, there's no way everybody in these communities believes the party line.

But there are many parties. Look around and learn about them before you judge and conclude.

> Want to keep kids off drugs?

What does this have to do with the start of your post? Or did it go on so long you forget how it started? Because once you're into thought police and drugs, once again these issues are not exclusive to the Jewish community and even many secular and different cultural communities handle these problems poorly.

> Don't pretend marijuana's the same as heroin.

Yeah, because one's okay?

> Don't act like talking to girls leads to stealing cars.

Sure it does. Because you steal the car to impress the girl.

> You guys are trying to create this ideal society

You guys. What a line. Now imagine if I wrote your post and changed all the references to the Orthodox to ultra-feminists or ecofascist activists? Would it still sound the same in your ears?

> Grow the hell up and join the real world,

You should listen to your own advice.

And turn off the violin music. It's hurting my ears.

Holy Hyrax said...

Well, the make or break question for Mis-nagid is which community has the higher attrition rate?

Also, how do you even measure this. This is not just MO vs Chassidim but a whole grey spectrum inbetween. And maybe some that have a tighter leash than others but still fail, while others have a tight leash on certain things but not on others and make it.

Jewish Atheist said...

mis-nagid:

You have an excellent point. Undoubtedly there would be many who would go OTD if it were easier for them to do so. (However, by not labeling those with theological concerns the same way they label those engaging in risky and/or criminal behavior, they might at least limit some of that stuff.) Maybe the real problem is assuming that going OTD is a problem. In a healthy society, people grow into their own unique d'rachim.

Mis-nagid said...

JA, Thanks. I thought it was interesting since you yourself obviously made your way out so much more successfully and easily than people of less-MO background. You're articulate in English, comfortable with American cultural norms and idioms, and I assume educated and employed--and look how easily you slipped the bonds! You're even engaged (congrats!). Your big issue is that you are sometimes made to wear a yarmulke. Meanwhile many of the ex-chassidim that I know struggle to get a GED, talk to a girl, and make friends in an alien culture.

Ezzie said...

Mis-Nagid (!) - Very much agreed on the concepts (see my comment above, which I think nobody got). However, I'll note that Charedi communities are suffering from equally high attrition rates as MO ones, and the higher growth rate is simply a net from having so many kids. The most successful educational systems seem to be the ones which educate on all sides *to an extent*, giving them the tools and showing *how* to understand the "other side", as you will. At the same time, they build a strong sense of family/community. The closed and lower educational systems only seem to work very short-term, because - as you alluded to above - they suffer economically. Long-term, it seems that the more middle-of-the-road type institutions allow for the most viable future balance of religion and survival.

Orthoprax said...

AE,

"I was labeled the 'bad kid' and almost thrown out of school because I had a boyfriend (and yes, had sex at age 17, but I don't think anyone knew about that)..."

Maybe these people are a little bit more on the game than you give them credit. When push comes to shove, you were in fact the bad influence that a community trying to prevent premarital relations would want to avoid.

Orthoprax said...

Ezzie,

"Long-term, it seems that the more middle-of-the-road type institutions allow for the most viable future balance of religion and survival."

Long-term it probably makes the most sense to have lots of variation and a pluralistic approach. A one-size fits all philosophy puts all of your eggs in one basket. This again makes full sense within the 'natural selection' analogy.

Holy Hyrax said...

Nu

So can someone confirm what Mis-nagid said?

Ezzie said...

OP - By MOTR I meant pretty much that... thanks, agreed. (I thought of adding but left out that to some extent there's a recognition by many that all "types" are needed to maintain religious life, including many who are not particularly religious. This was recognized even in the days of the Gemara - but to some degree, it seems like there was always a "let's try and keep everyone frum" approach with the knowledge that some would not be but have that connection.)

lost and not yet found said...

I was going to say something along the lines of Abandoning Eden. The more you try to fit kids in one box they more they try to get out. That's not the way it should be.

When I started asking questions in school and listening to non-Jewish music I got talked about for it. But compared to doing drugs (which I never did or will do), I'm pretty freakin' good... that's what a lot of people don't get I think. Things could be worse.

shalmo said...

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shed new light on the history of the Masoretic Text. Many texts found there, especially those from Masada, are quite similar to the Masoretic Text, suggesting that an ancestor of the Masoretic Text was indeed extant as early as the 2nd century BC. However, other texts, including many of those from Qumran, differ substantially, indicating that the Masoretic Text was but one of a diverse set of Biblical writings (Lane Fox 1991:99-106; Tov 1992:115).

What you will find, prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls is that the oldest manuscripts of the Torah dated from well into the Christian era (around the ninth century CE I think) matching up to the Masoretic text you use today. In addition to this there was Samaritan Torah, and the Greek Septuagint, both of which are fairly close to the Masoretic overall, but do have a number of clear differences (more than simple vowel changes). However, since then, there has been the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This dates the manuscript evidence back to around the second century BCE.

So, how do they match up? Like the other two I mentioned, close, but certainly not identical. In fact, in some cases the Dead Sea Scrolls versions confirm the alternate version as opposed to the Masoretic edition, or they differ from all of them. This indicates a fluidity to the text, though it's substantial form had it's shape by them. Again, some of the changes are minor, some aren't.

Before this time period archeology doesn't have much to say one way or the other. I did read tonight about the discovery about the discovery of some silver scrolls used as amulets containing the Priestly blessing from Numbers that may go back to around 600 BCE, so that is interesting, but not a complete manuscript as such.

Anyhow, the rabbis themselves in history have recognized that the current Torah has undergone alteration at the hands of the scribes. This is called tikkun Soferim. What they did is that in certain places they felt the text needed "correction" to avoid what they considered to be theological problems, so they'd substitute different words/expressions of their choosing.

-----------------------------------

But what do we do if there are discrepancies between all the Torah scrolls.

Here is rabbinical insight on the subject:

Maimonides (Rambam), Hilkhot Sefer Torah 8, 4:
Since I have seen great confusion in all the scrolls [of the Law] in these matters, and also the Masoretes who wrote [special works] to make known [which sections are] "open" and "closed" contradict each other, according to the books on which they based themselves, I took it upon myself to set down here all the sections of the Law, and the forms of the Songs [i.e. Ex.15, Deut.32], so as to correct the scrolls accordingly. The copy on which we based ourselves in these matters is the one known in Egypt, which contains the whole Bible, which was formerly in Jerusalem [serving to correct copies according to it]. Everybody accepted it as authoritative, for Ben Asher corrected it many times. And I used it as the basis for the copy of the Torah Scroll which I wrote according to the Halakha.


If you think Maimonides' testimony was grim, wait 'til you read the rest:

RaMaH (R. Meir Ben Todros HaLevi) in his introduction to Masoret Seyag LaTorah:
...All the more so now that due to our sins, the following verse has been fulfilled amongst us, "Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, Even a marvelous work and a wonder; And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid"(Is. 29:14). If we seek to rely on the proofread scrolls in our possession, they are also in great disaccord. Were it not for the Masorah which serves as a fence around the Torah, almost no one would find his way in the controversies between the scrolls. Even the Masorah is not free from dispute, and there are several instances disputed [among the Masorah manuscripts], but not as many as among the scrolls. If a man wishes to write a halakhically "kosher" scroll, he will stumble on the plene and defective spellings and grope like a blind man through a fog of controversy; he will not succeed. Even if he seeks the aid of someone knowledgeable, he will not find such a one. When I, R. Meir HaLevi Ben Todros of Spain, saw what had befallen the scrolls, the Masorah lists, and the plene and defective spelling traditions, due to the ravages of time, I felt the need to search after the most precise and proofread codices and the most reliable Masoretic traditions, to resolve the conflicts. The newly-produced scrolls should be abandoned in favor of older, more faithful ones and among these the majority of texts should be followed as commanded in the Torah to decide any controversy, as it is written: "After the multitude to do..."(Ex. 23:2).

It gets darker:

R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah:
Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter. Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings, a subject completely lost to our entire generation. In all these matters we have no choice [i.e. we are halakhically considered anusim]; but how to write the correct forms of the letters we do know and their laws are like that of tefillin. Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin].

Don't really think so. Who knows what Maimonides and the two other Rabbis didn't disclose to the general public. Maimonides, in fact, when writing to the Jews of Yemen, lied to them by saying that there exist no discrepancies at all between all the Torah scrolls of the world, not even in vowelization. Obviously, this was to keep their faith up. Disclosing what he knew to them could've really shaken their faith. Do you know why he said that there existed no differences even in vowelization? It is because the Yemenite Jews were exposed to the polemics of the Muslims regarding the Torah's authencity.

Shalmo said...

Since the earliest complete manuscript of the Masoretic edition of the Torah is very, very late (around the 9th century CE), there's no way at this point that it could be "proven" to be the authentic one. One might ask that were the extreme care and precision you mention that Jewish scribe have practiced in regards to writing the Torah in fact true, why the need them for the Masoretes to have come up with their own edition in the first place? And that as late as the post-Christian time period?

Anyhow, as I mentioned before, what we do mainly have from prior to the very late Masoretic texts are the LXX in Greek, the Dead Sea Scrolls material and the Samaritan Pentateuch. In comparing these to the current Masoretic, while substantially much of it is the same, there are notable differences. And if it can be shown that the earlier texts agree on something, that that agreement disagrees with the Masoretic, but that this alternate version makes more contextual sense, then it is a pretty good argument for demonstrating that in that instance the Masoretic is the one that has been changed. Now, does this "prove" the genuineness of the alternate sources? No, of course not. All it proves is that the alternate is what was common amongst Jews around the second century BCE. In terms of the actual Mosaic text itself, or a Torah version from before this late time period, other than possible short fragments you don't have any.

So, some comparisons then. Taken from here:

http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/dss.htm

MT = Masoretic Text
DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q referring to the fourth cave at Qumran)
LXX = Septuagint
SP = Samaritan Pentateuch


QUOTE
1&2 Samuel

For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).

In 1952 Roland De Vaux and Lankester Harding found manuscripts of Samuel under three feet of debris in Qumran Cave 4. 4QSama shows that the Old Greek Bible (LXX) was based on a Vorlage similar to 4QSama. Josephus agrees with 4QSama in 6 places against the MT and LXX. Josephus, 4QSama, and LXX share about three dozen readings against the MT (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.229).

Where the book of Chronicles parallels 1 Samuel, the readings of Chronicles follow 4QSama rather than the MT 42 times. Only one time does Chronicles agree with the MT. Over 100 times 4QSama does not agree with any ancient reading (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.230-31).

The Book of Samuel varies widely and frequently from the Masoretic Text. 4QSama preserves a number of superior readings that help correct errors in the Masoretic Text (DSS Bible, 213). Let's look at some of these.

One dramatic example is in I Samuel 11 where the MT and KJV left out the first paragraph. The Longer reading in the DSS explains what happens in this chapter. It says:

"Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and the Reubenites viciously. He put out the right eye of all of them and brought fear and trembling on Israel. Not one of the Israelites in the region beyond the Jordan remained whose right eye Nahash king of the Ammonites did not put out, except seven thousand men who escaped from the Ammonites and went to Jabesh-gilead" (The Dead Sea Scroll Bible translated by Abegg, Flint, and Ulrich page 225). Then verse one of I Samuel 11 starts.

1 Samuel 14:30

There is a mis-division of words here in the MT. The 4QSama divides it differently which makes better sense. The MT has hkm htbr rather than hkmh hbr in the 4QSama.

1 Samuel 14:47

There is a singular instead of a plural noun in 4QSama. 4QSama is the better reading.

1 Samuel 15:27

There is an omission of the subject in the MT. According to 4QSama Saul is the subject who grabbed the garment, not Samuel.

1 Samuel 17:4

How tall was Goliath? The MT says, "six cubits and a span" while 4QSama says, "four cubits and a span." People don't usually grow to be over 9 foot tall, so the "four cubits"(7 feet) seems the most reasonable height of Goliath.

1 Samuel 26:22

The MT preserves two variant readings by combining them while the 4QSama just records the one correct word. The MT has an ungrammatical reading.
Biblical Texts that need to be changed as a result of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Genesis 1:9

4QGenk has added "and dry land appeared" indicating that the longer reading of the LXX is from an ancient Hebrew text that the MT lost by haplography. The LXX addition says, "and the waters below heaven gathered into their gathering place and dry land appeared" (See Charlesworth, 2000, p.200).

Genesis 4:8

Genesis 4:8 leaves us with the unanswered question about What did Cain say to Abel? The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX have what Cain said. The LXX says, "Let us go out into the field." 4QGenb does not have this reading, but scholars think the sentence dropped out because of scribal error (Ibid., 15).

Exodus 1:3

4QExodb in Exodus 1:3 has "Joseph and Benjamin" while the MT, SP, and LXX have only "Benjamin." Frank Cross thinks 4QExodb reading should be preferred (Ibid., 201-203).

Deuteronomy 32:8

4QDeutj and the LXX say, "according to the number of the sons of God" while the MT and SP say, "according to the number of the sons of Israel." "Sons of Israel" does not make sense here. This is probably a theological change. The 4QDeutj and the LXX seem to preserve the older reading that implies a god, or guardian angel for each nation.

Joshua 8:34-35

4QJosha locates the paragraph about Joshua's construction of an altar (Joshua 8:30-35, MT) at the beginning of Joshua 5. The LXX locates this paragraph at Joshua 9:7-8. Josephus follows the 4QJosha tradition which is probably the earliest or original order of Joshua.

Judges 6:6-11

4QJudga is different from the MT and the LXX in that it lacks Judges 6:7-10. These missing verses are said to be a literary insertion added by an editor. Here is clear evidence of scribal expansion of the MT.
Psalms

There are a number of additional Psalms in the DSS than in our Bible. Psalms 1-89 are basically the same as ours in the DSS (Psalm 32, and 70 are absent). From Psalm 91 on there are radical differences in arrangement, and/or in different Psalms that have never been seen before (Psalm 90 is not preserved). There are a total of 15 different Psalms which are not included in our present Bible, nine of which were completely unknown. None of the Psalm scrolls found has our present day arrangement of the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 22

Psalm 22:17 in the MT "like a lion are my hands and feet" which does not make sense. The LXX and 5/6HevPs read "They have pierced my hands and feet."

Psalm 145 is an alphabetical psalm. Each verse begins with the next letter in the alphabet, but "N" verse is missing in the MT and KJV. In the DSS it is there, so somehow a scribe left this verse out.

Ezekiel

The oldest known texts of Ezekiel are from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible states, Small fragments from six manuscripts of Ezekiel were found at Qumran and another atop Masada. All of them and the traditional Masoretic Text fairly uniformly attest the same textual tradition. Only seven minor variants are clearly preserved, though reconstruction according to spatial requirements indicates that in two places (5:13 and 23:16) the scrolls may have had a shorter text than the Masoretic Text" (page 407).


Now regarding the earlier mentioned tikuune soferim:


QUOTE
Tikkune Soferim

Early rabbinic sources, from around 200 CE, mention several passages of Scripture in which the conclusion is inevitable that the ancient reading must have differed from that of the present text. The explanation of this phenomenon is given in the expression ("Scripture has used euphemistic language," i.e. to avoid anthropomorphism and anthropopathy).

Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue.

The term tikkun Soferim has been understood by different scholars in various ways. Some regard it as a correction of Biblical language authorized by the Soferim for homiletical purposes. Others take it to mean a mental change made by the original writers or redactors of Scripture; i.e. the latter shrank from putting in writing a thought which some of the readers might expect them to express.

The assumed emendations are of four general types:

* Removal of unseemly expressions used in reference to God; e.g., the substitution of ("to bless") for ("to curse") in certain passages.

* Safeguarding of the Tetragrammaton; e.g. substitution of "Elohim" for "YHVH" in some passages.

* Removal of application of the names of false gods to YHVH; e.g. the change of the name "Ishbaal" to "Ishbosheth."

* Safeguarding the unity of divine worship at Jerusalem.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic#Tikkune_Soferim

Shalmo said...

I also found this list, which gives substantially more cases of agreement between the LXX and the DSS in distinction to the Masoretic: http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spappendix.htm

there's around 200 or so instances listed on there where the LXX and the Masoretic disagree in the Torah, yet the DSS supports the LXX version. Your argument sounds like "The Torah tells us not to change the scripture, therefore, we never would have done it", even though the documentary evidence clearly shows that's exactly what happened, and your own past scholars have admitted as much ("Rabbi Simon ben Pazzi (third century) calls these readings "emendations of the Scribes" (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7), assuming that the Scribes actually made the changes. This view was adopted by the later Midrash and by the majority of Masoretes. In Masoretic works these changes are ascribed to Ezra; to Ezra and Nehemiah; to Ezra and the Soferim; or to Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Baruch. All these ascriptions mean one and the same thing: that the changes were assumed to have been made by the Men of the Great Synagogue..)

Shalmo said...

ALRIGHT GUYS MY LAST THREE POSTS SHOULD PROVE BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT THE TORAH HAS BEEN CORRUPTED, PROVING ITS NOT DIVINE.

NOW THERE IS NO LONGER (I HOPE) ANY RATIONAL REASON FOR ANY OF YOU TO REMAIN JEWISH

m00kie said...

it's interesting that all those agreeing with you are 'skeptics and atheists' and and all those arguing are 'believers'.
maybe instead of arguing and defending - we should listen and learn..

another thing..
jewish philosopher said... "If one of my children would God forbid reject any part of Orthodox Judaism, I would immediately disown him or her."

no sfardi parent/rabbi would ever speak this way. it's just not the way we do things. i think this is the greatest difference between the sfardi and ashkenaz orthodox world. sit at any sfardi family dinner and notice how many variations/shades/levels there are - and then notice the degree of acceptance.

it boggles my mind that someone can believe in the torah, with all its depth, intracacies, and still believe that there is only ONE way to do things- to me thats an absolute contradiction to what the torah is.

Shalmo said...

m00kie I hope you have the honesty to look at my posts where I provide rabbinical insight proving the corruption of the Torah.

Time for you to find a more authentic religion my friend