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1 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Aug 9, 2012 4:57:27pm

Already posted here.

This "delicious" letter is in no way an "Orthodox Jewish" perspective.

James M. Kauffman has said he did not compose this Internet essay, he does not know how his name was attached to it.

This essay has been floating around Teh Intertubez since like forever. I saw it on Usenet over 10 years ago.

Here is my response from an Orthodox Jewish perspective:

This "letter" which is a pretty good example of what is known as a "Straw Man Argument". This is when the person making the argument co-opts his opponent's position and then proceeds to argue against that position, even if his opponent does not hold that position.

Firstly, no one who believes in scripture, not Orthodox Jews and not evangelical Christians, performs any of the scriptural segments quoted here in the way they are described. The Straw Man is then, "Well, you're not doing it right!" Who decides what is "doing it right," people who have been following the Scriptures for thousands of years, or somebody who picks out random verses (the more horrible the better) and then decides that "doing it right" means actually performing what it says literally word for word.

The Christian rebuttal to this straw man "letter" might be, "Well, Jesus abolished those laws." I can't speak for how Christians should respond to this "letter" because I am not one but that seems to be what they would answer.

Jews have what is called Torah Shel Ba'al Peh, which means the Oral Law, and it's the "User's Manual" to the Hebrew scriptures. The tradition is that the Oral Law was given to Moses at the same time as the Torah and contains all the interpretations and the instructions of how to perform the commandments given in Scripture. The Oral Law has been written down in subsequent generations and is contained in the Midrash, the Mishnah, the Talmud and all the commentaries that have been written about it for the past 2,000 years.

Short explanation, we don't follow scripture literally word for word, never have. The death penalty can only be handed down by a Sanhedrin of 72 elders, under such extremely constrained circumstances such that it was virtually impossible to convict unless a person had committed a particularly brutal and egregious crime in public in front of witnesses. Even if someone committed the Aurora massacre, they could still not be convicted if they did not receive "hasra'ah" (warning) from at least two separate witnesses, kind of like a biblical "Miranda rights."

Anyway, the purpose of this "letter," whoever wrote it and signed another person's name, was only to ridicule and mock, not to ask any sincere questions about how these segments of scripture are supposed to be interpreted.

2 aagcobb  Thu, Aug 9, 2012 5:23:18pm

re: #1 Learned Mother of Zion

I'm pretty sure I saw Martin Sheen deliver those lines to a Dr. Laura like character on The West Wing.

3 Vicious Babushka  Thu, Aug 9, 2012 5:27:13pm

And now I will answer this letter in the same spirit in which it was written.

1. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
A. Because Canadians will kick your ass.

2. What do you think would be a fair price for her?
A. eBay or Craigslist?

3. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
A. They should.

4. Should I smite them?
A. No. The cops will smite you.

5. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
A. The police will not kill someone for you. The mob might, for a price.

6.Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
A. This stupid Internet meme is one of them.

7. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
A. Jesus said, If thine right eye offend thee, pluck it out.

8. How should they die?
A. Old age.

9. may I still play football if I wear gloves?
A. Refer to the NFL handbook, this is not a biblical issue.

10. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
A. No.

4 sffilk  Fri, Aug 10, 2012 5:09:18am

Part of this showed up on an episode if "The West Wing" where the "Dr. Laura clone" did not stand up when the President entered the room. He took her apart.

5 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Aug 10, 2012 8:39:59am

re: #2 aagcobb

I'm pretty sure I saw Martin Sheen deliver those lines to a Dr. Laura like character on The West Wing.

Yes, he did. It was adapted from this piece. It was still off, for the reasons Alouette outlines above, but it was cool to see President Bartlet kick that woman's butt.

6 Destro  Fri, Aug 10, 2012 9:49:16am

re: #1 Learned Mother of Zion

Goes to show the best kind of religious people are the kind that ignore or find ways around acting on the decrees of their so called holy books.


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