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December 11, 2012

Chabad's Hanukkah Heresy

Rambam menorah schematic drawingChabad's rabbis again show that ignorance is not only bliss in Crown Heights – it's the new halakha, too.

 

First, a little historical background.

All of the hundreds of ancient images of menorahs ever found look roughly like the menorah used by the Government of Israel on its seal. The branches are curved. Here are three examples.

1. Hasmonean coin minted while the Temple stood by people – the Hasmonean dynasty – who also served as High Priests, who personally lit the menorah, and who knew what it looked like:

Menorah Hasmonean Coin

2. Magdala synagogue. 1st Century CE. Built while the Temple stood. Kohanim, priests, from the area would have served in the Temple and seen the menorah first hand:

Three foot long engraved stone discovered in the Magdala synagogue, which dates to the 1st century

3. Arch of Titus. Located in Rome and made as a commemoration of the sacking of Jerusalem and the Temple by artists who saw the parade of Jewish captives carrying the Temple vessels:

Menorah arch of Titus

The only menorah that appears to differ from the curved/round branch variety is a menorah drawn by Maimonides late in the 12th Century CE. – 1100 years after the Temple's destruction. But this drawing, which was meant to explain aspects of the construction of the menorah, is really a schematic, not a literal representation. In fact, if you look closely you can see that the oil cup on the far right could not even hold oil, that the menorah would have burned unevenly, and that the penultimate oil cups on both right and left would probably not have been able to stay lit due to the angle of the cup. You'll also notice that the equivalent right branches' cups for the most part do not mach the left branches' cups in angle or in size:

Rambam menorah schematic drawing

Despite all this incontrovertible evidence, the late Chabad-Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson argued – without any evidence at all to support him – that the Rambam's schematic drawing was, in fact, a literal drawing of the Temple menorah. Chabad adopted the angular branched menorah as the "authentic" Temple menorah style and proliferated it across the world – again doing so without a shred of evidence to support it:

Chabad menorah steals electricity 5 12-10-2012

Now the Crown Heights Beis Din has taken this cultish insanity a giant step further by ruling that menorahs lit by Jews on Hanukkah must have angular branches – a claim that has no basis in history and no basis in halakha. In fact, despite the claim made by the Crown Heights Beit Din, Maimonides (the Rambam) never ruled that the Temple menorah must have angular branches, and he certainly never ruled that a Hanukkah menorah must – in fact, the opposite is clearly true. But this halakhic fact did not stop the Crown Heights Beis Din, as you can see here:

Screen shot 2012-12-11 at 1.28.54 PM

CrownHeights Beit Din Hanukkah 2012 annotated
That's right. The menorah Jews light for Hanukkah should not, "to make a separation between the holy and the profane," look like the menorah with curved branches shown on the Arch of Titus, which is impure.

[Hat Tip: Maskil.]

 

Comments

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i think rambam was sketching the shish-kababs for his nightly barbecue.

The Rebbe himself used an old fashioned Russian-Polish style menorah.
In deed there is no need to have a Menorah. There is no evidence of any Channukah Menroah as such exsiiting until the 16th century. The depictions of the Menroah we have are of the temple Mneorah. Jews lit on plates or just lit canles etc. In the 16th century we get the first sign of a Chaunkiah.
In Europe peopel used potato peels casings etc that were filled with all and lit.

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | December 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM


Surely you meant the shish-chabads.

Surely you meant the shish-chabads.

Posted by: Turd Degree


ha! of course....but please dont call me shirley.

Yeah, what does the Arch of Titus know? Damn Romans, can't trust them. And the antiquities shown are, of course, fossils put there by God and are not evidence of ancient times (not to mention evolution or an earth older than 6000 years.)

Chanukiot have always been angular, not rounded.
Also we are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.
(sorry Mr. Orwell)

First of all, the whole idea of lighting more than one candle per night is a "hiddur", which means the familiar 9-branched chanukia isn't even integral to the main mitzvah. So any connection to the Menorah in the Temple is really just incidental, and I'm not sure why it should enter at all in a discussion of hilchot Chanukah.

That said, here we have another case of "metziyut" (I.e. hard evidence) vs. tradition, like the size of a kezayit. And just like I wouldn't call a ridiculously large kezayit "heresy", I wouldn't say that about the (in all likelihood mistaken) tradition of a diagonally-branched Menorah.

Chabad does everything differently...this is nothing new. They have their own style Teffilin, Talit, Shulcha Aruch, way of doing Hagbah and gelila, prayer book the list goes on and on. Virtually everything that Chabad does is different than what the rest of traditional Jews do. The Menorah is just one more thing. All of this allows us to distinguish Chabad from the rest of tradition. This is good for Judaism. This way mistakes wont be made between traditional Jews and lehavdil Chabaniks.

Shmarya, now you are insulting the intelligence of all your readers.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe is universally considered an very great scholar. I find it quite astounding that you would dare challenge his understanding of the Rambam, upon which he wrote a plethora of commentary and no doubt spent countless hours studying. You are really getting ridiculous.

>

"The opposite is true." Do you mean to say that the Menorah is not allowed to be angular? What is the basis for that statement?

Menachem: I'm sorry. This is one area, at least, where we can trace the entire history of his logic (basically, the first editions of the Rambam with the original illustrations came out shortly before the Rebbe's decision), and we can safely judge that he was very, very wrong.

Shmarya: Another famous one- as you said, among hundreds- is the version carved in plaster in the house of a kohen from Second Temple era Jerusalem that you can see in the Israel Museum.

Of course, the Romans wouldn't risk the wrong image- a Jew could come up and say, "I saw the Menorah, and it doesn't look like that! The Romans are lying!" (They would take the Menorah and Shulchan out on the chagim to show all the people.)

It is just that Maimonides son, Rabbi Abraham wrote that his father specifically drew it with straight arms rather than angled ones.

Posted by: Nachum | December 11, 2012 at 04:39 PM

My main point is not the historical evidence, it is simply that a blogger with little or no Jewish education should not have the gall to argue with the Lubavitcher Rebbe's interpretation of the Rambam.

As to the historical evidence, the Rebbe explains that there many Menorah lamps in the temple (used simply for light) that were round, however, the golden one in the Heichal (which was rarely seen) was straight.

And rashi's commentary to the Torah also says that the branches extended b'alakson ie diagonal.

Posted by: Nachum | December 11, 2012 at 04:39 PM

My point is not about historical evidence, it is simply that a blogger with little or no Jewish education should not have the gall to argue with such a great scholar's interpretation of Maimonides (especially considering that there were many Jewish scholars who really did not like the Lubavitcher Rebbe and argued with him consistently, yet did not argue on this issue).

As to the historical evidence, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that there were many Menorahs (used for light) in the temple that may have been round, but the one in the Heichal (which was rarely seen) was straight.

(sorry for the double post, it didnt show initially)

Posted by: Menachem | December 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM

First of all, "Menachem," my Jewish education far surpasses yours.

Secondly, NO ONE of any merit holds the menorah had angled arms except the Rebbe, and his logic is faulty. He has no evidence, no proof – nothing.

And as usual, you don't either.

"NO ONE" except Rashi and the Rambam (as explained by his son and the Rebbe).

"NO ONE" except Rashi and the Rambam (as explained by his son and the Rebbe).

Posted by: Menachem | December 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM

Idiot.

SOME people (i.e., Chabad people and a handful of others) understand Rashi that way. The Rambam's son thought the arms were straight because of the drawing.

But none of these men ever saw a Hasmonean coin or a carved version of the menorah.

They lived hundreds of miles from Jerusalem more than a thousand years after the Temple was destroyed.

And the actual FACTS – as opposed to the Rebbe's BS – show that the menorah had curved arms.

But you, "Menachem," learn all your "Torah" from Chabad. And just like you couldn't pasken or learn your way out of paper bag, you couldn't think your way out of one, either.

You very dead, very late Rabbe was wrong.

With regards to my Jewish education. I was educated in a Judaic only elementary, high school and college, I am quite knowledgable. I read through the entire Chumash and commentaries several times, have thoroughly mastered several Talmudic tractates, I have read through the Rambam several times with some commentaries, as well as the Shuchan Aruch, Orach Chaim and commentaries as well as most of Yoreh Deah.

You cannot say the same as evidenced by your Hebrew illiteracy (shows multiple times on this site).

Posted by: Menachem | December 11, 2012 at 06:24 PM

For such a "well-educated" man, "Menachem," you're remarkably ignorant.

I sort of feel stupid arguing with an ignoramous such as yourself, but I feel compelled to point out that your ludicrous distinction between the Rambam and his son could of only been argued on FM.

And btw, if case you didn't know (because of your illiteracy) alachson means diagonal.

Menachem is not well educated, he is well brainwashed. Why is it so difficult to accept that his Rebbe erred. We all do, after all. In fact, the Rebbe was wont to err massively, as pointed out by someone called Rabbi Shach. And a perusal of Avi Ezri, in contrast to the often nonsensical ramblings of Likkutei Sichos, leads one to think that, at least in this area, Rabbi Shach hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Posted by: Menachem | December 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM

Sigh.

Like I said, you're remarkably ignorant for a man with your education.

The Rambam himself says his drawing is not meant to be literal.

And just so you can grasp this, what Rashi says is that they come off of the "trunk" diagonally. However all known depictions in Europe then had the menorah with curved arms, and Rashi was understood by many to mean that it comes off the "trunk" as a diagonal and then curves – i.e., like some ancient depictions of the menorah – NOT like the Rebbe.

Let me guess - the rebbe's son just happened to invest in a company that only makes angled menorahs. Next year they plan to retool to make squared off menorahs and guess what, the rebbe will have a conversation with God who wants us all to use squared off menorahs.

Let me get your logic straight: Rashi and the Rambam did not expect to be taken literally what they wrote/drew because it was common knowledge otherwise, however the Rambam's son misunderstood his father's drawing because he did not know otherwise. Logical indeed.

I will not lower myself to argue with you on your mistaken interpetation on learning grounds, as much as I am urged to.

It's interesting how you interpret Rashi in a way not consistent with the drawing of the Rambam or with your "proof".

All you who riducle and question the Rebbe's interpretation of the Rambam are playing with fire.it is well known that all the depictions of xurved menoraohs were not based on the actual shape of the menorah in the kodesh part of the temple. In fact that 7 branched straight Menorah was hidden away along with shulchan, mizbaech hazohov etc. There were other menorahs aside from the one lit by Aaron and subsequent cohanim.However,no such curved menorah existed and these depictions were a made up versions as later gnerations never got to see the original menorah that was hidden. It is also the case that aside from the straight menorah built by Betzalel, supported by Rambam, other styles were made. So to conclude, Rambam drawing is 100% correct and was the style ot the original Menorah. All the curved styles was adpated for asthetic reasons but was 100% not the one ised by the Cohen gadol.

Menachem -

rashi and rambam were known to err. there is substantial visual evidence thanks to artifacts which show what the menorah really looked like. case closed.
rashi believed in mermaids and mistakenly explained a certain gemara piece as referring to them, when it didnt. do you believe in mermaids too?

Atheodox is correct in that The Menorah in The Mishkan has no absolute correlation to the Chanuka Menorah.

Further to the point about the legitimacy of The Menorah design attributed to the Rambam, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rashi and other halachic authorities according to Artscroll's Rashi, the more important and typically neglected element here -- the part that needs further elucidation -- is whether or not the aformentioned teachers are describing the original Menorah that was confiscated by Shishak, or the replacement Menorah that was linked to the Hasmonean period -- after the alleged rediscovery of the Torah -- and confiscated by the roman assaulters.

ie.. They may all be correct.

My issue with Shmarya is not that he claims that the Menorah in the Heichal is curved according to historical evidence, it's that he argues with great scholars (including the Rambams son) as to what the Rambam (and Rashi) meant, using very far-fetched arguments.

@Theory
Rashi and Rambam was talking about the Menorah in the Mishkan and in the first temple. The Hasmonites' most probably designed their Menorah like the original.

@ahh-pee-chorus
Your name denotes the answer to the question. We, religious Jews, believe our sages over scientific "evidence", the same way we believe that the world is 5773 years old, that is the nature of a believer. Although I do not consider these scientific artifacts to be any sort of evidence at all.

Menachem wrote:Rashi and Rambam was talking about the Menorah in the Mishkan and in the first temple.

And your opponents are basing their opposition on pictorial evidence about The Second Menorah from The Second Temple.

There may not be a problem here.

Menachem wrote:The Hasmonites' most probably designed their Menorah like the original.

This is definitely worth looking into. :^)

…@ahh-pee-chorus
Your name denotes the answer to the question. We, religious Jews, believe our sages over scientific "evidence", the same way we believe that the world is 5773 years old, that is the nature of a believer. Although I do not consider these scientific artifacts to be any sort of evidence at all.

Posted by: Menachem | December 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM

The Rambam's son, who you quote to support your claim that the menorah was angular, wrote that according to his father, when scientific or other clear evidence contradicted the Torah, we had to find a new way to interpret the Torah to conform to that evidence (or, at least, not to be in opposition to it).

The Rambam despised people who thought like this and so did his son.

He would have considered you to be a shoteh, a fool – and that is surely and completely what you are.

Oy. So many mistakes:

"Alachson" means "diagonal" in *modern* Hebrew. To Rashi, it probably meant something more like "extending outward."

In any event, Rashi never saw the Menorah.

It is clear from R' Avraham b. HaRambam's statement that he is basing himself *entirely* on his father's drawing, i.e., he never actually spoke to his father about this.

In any event, neither he nor his father ever saw the Menorah.

The Menorah was never "hidden." As I wrote, it was taken out every chag to show to the people. The hamon am certainly knew what it looked like. And the kohanim *certainly* knew what it looked like- and the resident of the kohen's house in the Old City (drew a Menorah with round arms), Josephus (said the Menorah had round arms), and the Chashmonaim (made coins with a round-armed Menorah) were *all* kohanim.

Menachem, do you believe that God, rachmana litzlan, "planted" all these pictures the way he supposedly "planted" dinosaur bones? Why? To trick us? Not my God, sorry- maybe yours.

By the way, the Chashmonaim *originally* made a "Menorah" of sorts out of their spears. Obviously, there would be straight arms there, although it looked nothing like our Menorahs (but was still kosher). When they got richer, they made a silver one, and when they got richer yet (or maybe under Herod), they made one out of gold that, of course, had curved arms like the original.

By the way, the following is all you really need to read:

http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol12/v12n065.shtml#12

The piece stands on its own, but just so you know, R' Mandel is a great scholar and well-known talmid chacham.

…The piece stands on its own, but just so you know, R' Mandel is a great scholar and well-known talmid chacham.

Posted by: Nachum | December 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM

But Nachum, no one is as great a scholar as the Rebbe, and no one has the right to argue with the Rebbe! [/end riotous peals of derisive laughter]

As you well know, Nachum, and as "Menachem" demonstrates so well, Chabad is a cult, and no fact, no truth, no amount of evidence will stop Chabad cult members from promoting the gibberish of the very dead, very late, Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

chabad in cape towm are swallowing our shuls one after the other.Chabad is a cancer that spreads and spreads and cape town jewry seem paralysed about this process. soon we will be like melbourne.

Curved or angled, I never tire of seeing electric menorahs displayed in public.i am noticing far more than in years past.

We, religious Jews, believe our sages over scientific "evidence", the same way we believe that the world is 5773

- and all these years i thought of myself as a religious Jew. I guess i dont pass the "you must believe the world is 5K years old test", oh well back to the drawing board ....and as always Shmarya your a d-bag

Menachem is right Shmar--
You,most absurdly,and the other critics mentioned on this site can not hold a candle to the scholarship of the Rebbe--and ineluctably go off half-cocked.

[Cut and pasted by Mendel]
Rashi in his commentary to the Torah,[1] explicitly writes that the branches "extended upward in a diagonal." Indeed, the very Hebrew word which the Torah uses to describe the branches, ohbe, implies a straight line.
The design on that arch is obviously an artist's interpretation, and not an exact replica of the menorah of the Beis HaMikdash. This is reflected by the fact that certain elements of the menorah are omitted in this depiction. For example, the menorah had feet extending from its base,[10] and the menorah on the Arch of Titus has no feet. Similarly, the depiction contains additions, for on its shaft is the form of a sea-dragon, one of the false deities worshiped by the Romans.[11] Accordingly, it cannot be relied on as an accurate source regarding the design of the menorah, particularly in regard to points where it contradicts the views of our people's leading Torah authorities.

Herein, lies another significant point: As mentioned, the menorah is often employed as a Jewish symbol. This is indeed appropriate, for our Sages teach[12] that the menorah is "testimony to all the inhabitants of the world that the Divine Presence rests within Israel." How unfitting is it that instead of drawing that symbol according to its conception by Torah sages, the conception from the arch which proudly states "Judea is vanquished" is used instead!
In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Middos 3:7), the Rambam does state that his diagram of the menorah is not to be considered as an exact replica, but rather as a depiction of the general concept. This is obviously the case, for he draws the goblets as triangles although it appears that they were coneshaped. A cone is more difficult to draw than a triangle and it appears that the Rambam considered the more simple form as sufficient. In regard to the position of the goblets, by contrast, it is unlikely that his depiction of them as having been positioned upside down is an imprecision. For it would have been just as easy to depict them as positioned upright.
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/seek-out-the-welfare-of-jerusalem/12.htm

For your info, the classic, authoritative halachic giants are (almost) unanimous that the branches were not semi circular.

See here for a discussion on the matter

Also, Here is an video class on the subject

Happy Hanukkah to all!

We, religious Jews, believe our sages over scientific "evidence", the same way we believe that the world is 5773 years old, that is the nature of a believer. Although I do not consider these scientific artifacts to be any sort of evidence at all.

Posted by: Menachem |


so you believe in mermaids? werewolves? mud-mice? dragons? spontaneously generating lice? flat earth?

you poor thing...like a child grasping onto his belief in fairy tales.

as shmrya said, the rational rambam you cling to for support would have spit on you.

You,most absurdly,and the other critics mentioned on this site can not hold a candle to the scholarship of the Rebbe--and ineluctably go off half-cockedPosted by: mendel

you mean like his laughable essay defending the claim that the sun really does revolve around the earth?

you mean like his .. essay defending the claim that the sun really does revolve around the earth?
Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | December 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM

You may find some interest in this article…

Here are some letters from the Rebbe on the subject of Science and Torah


More articles on Torah and Science

The Torah Science Debates

The idea that a chanukah menorah should resemble the one in the temple is not a "halacha" in chabad. It is not even a "custom" of chabad. In a footnote of a talk edited by the rebbe it mentions that it "may" be a good idea to remind us of the temple menorah. Similar to the understanding of some regarding the use of olive oil that also reminds of the temple.

There is no question that the majority of ancient images of the menorah uncovered until now have had rounded branches
however there are some that have the shape as understood by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. In addition there were many menorahs in the temple of solomon. We also have no way of knowing how they made it in actuality in the 2nd temple. the debate is one of halacha not of history. Historicly they may not have done everything halachickly but here are interesting sources regarding what was found.
http://books.google.com/books?id=cKGpa-FJ3XsC&pg=PA312&dq=ancient+menorah&hl=en&sa=X&ei=y8bIUJmRJaPA0QGHmYDYBg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=ancient%20menorah&f=false

I think she wrote another book that used to be online that had pages of images of menorah from the land of israel...the menorah the ancient seven-armed candelabrum origin form and significance

Posted by: Nachum | December 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM

I am not aware of your level of scholarship, I am assuming that you are literate, so I will respond.

Firstly, thank you for pointing out from where illiterate Shmarya got his information from.

Secondly, besides for this Seth dude, none else interprets the Rambam the way that he does. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was aware of all the evidence that Seth points out, yet persisted with his understanding that Rambam expected the straight lines he drew to be interpreted like straight lines.

Seth's whole premise that the Rambam differed with his son's understanding of him because he had seen the artifacts while his son hadn't is very silly. If anything, the Rambam's drawing would have been explicitly to the contrary, if such a mistake could have been made.

And I must conclude that Artscroll (whose only agenda is to explain pshat) has interpreted Rashi as diagonal straight (yes Nochum, Rashi wrote in a Hebrew that was meant to convey to us the pshat in the posuk) and on one has differed, as well as many contemporary rabbis interpreted the Rambam that way too.

As to Shmarya's assertion that I am biased, look no further than yourself, you have no credentials at all with these matters, yet you choose to label the obvious way in understanding Rashi and the Rambam as heresy.

last point. most of the images are from afterthe 2nd temple period

last point. most of the images are from afterthe 2nd temple period

Posted by: Joseph | December 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

No, they are not.

Most of the images were made DURING the second Temple period.

Posted by: Menachem | December 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Please.

You won't address me, "Menachem," because you can't refute me.

As to your understanding of Rabbi Seth Mandel's work, to say it's flawed is an understatement.

Anyone who takes the time to READ what Mandel actually wrote to see that.

The problem, Mordy, is that you are profoundly ignorant of Judaism outside your cult. You're also intellectually dishonest.

The Ramabam clearly wrote that the menorah he drew was NOT meant be taken literally.

Only his son – based solely on that drawing – says the arms were angular.

Rashi can be understood several ways, and until the Rambam's drawing surfaced in Europe in the 19th century, the way Rashi was generally understood was the way I explained above – the arms came off the trunk straight at an angle and then curved, rather than beginning with a curve.

ALL – as in EVERY – ancient representation of the menorah we have from the time of the Second Temple and into the early Middle Ages have curved branches. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM.

But you – based on your demented rebbe – insist that the menorah had angular arms. You wrote that just as you ignore all physical evidence that the world is older than 5773 years, you ignore all the physical evidence that the menorah had curved branches.

You also ignore the hundreds if not thousands of sefarim printed (or scribed) over the centuries by the greatest rabbis which had menorahs with curved branches on their frontpiece and the absence of any sefarim printed (or scribed) with an angular menorah.

Nachum can easily defend himself against the likes of you.

What you don't realize, however, is that normal people look at what you write and what you believe and many realize that you are in a cult – a cult the very late, very dead Lubavitcher Rebbe fostered.

In other words, you aren't enhancing his memory, Mordy – you're disgracing it.

Welcome Menachem, shosh, A Yid and others to the rescue--and the more the better.
Shmarya and the other detractors on this blog wither away when even simple cut and pastes are posted. Their baseless pitiful and calumnious assertions are hardly worth the time to rebut--but keep up the good fight along with me anyway.
It's not easy to do this by my lonesome.
Yaasher Koach.
" A little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness."

Posted by: mendel | December 12, 2012 at 01:59 PM

In other words, mendel, you can't refute what APC, Nachum or I wrote – because what were wrote is fact – so all you can do is cite ridiculous ramblings by fellow cult members and attack us personally.

And don't for a minute think that normal people who are not part of your cult don't see that, because most certainly do.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think you even needed a menorah.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think you even needed a menorah.

Posted by: mimi | December 12, 2012 at 02:21 PM

You're correct.

This is my last post.

Ignorance is bliss.

You are an unlearned and ignorant. Because you hate all frum people, especially Chabad, your bias overshadows all rational thinking. You, in your ignorance, make baseless assumptions, such as, that the revelation of the Rambam's drawing somehow changed the accepted understanding of Rashi (such as artscroll Rashi) an exceedingly ludicrous claim, especially considering that no recorded authority (no, you and Nochum aren't authorities) not only did not understand Rashi that way, but no one has proposed that the branches began straight and then curved, this was hatched on FM and similar outlets, purely based on hatred.

As to the Rambam, you again show your vast ignorance, the general understanding of the Rambam today (by people such as Berel Wein, no friend of lubavitch) is that he wasn't kidding when he made straight branches, and to suggest that you understand the Rambam better than his son just underscores your ignoramous arrogance.

I'm done arguing this subject. I will no longer write about such an obvious conclusion to anyone who spends a few minutes researching subject.

Posted by: Menachem | December 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM

Please.

Again, you can't refute the facts and you don't understand how Rashi was understood.

Hundreds, thousands even, of menorah drawings in sefarim written by (and often published by) leading European rabbis, and not one of them has an angular menorah or makes any claim that the Temple menorah was anything but curved.

ALL extant replications of the menorah from the Second Temple period and afterward have curved branches.

The Rambam said his drawing was NOT literal (you can see that because one of the cups could not have even held oil) and was only meant to show the placement of the knobs and cups.

One and only one Rishon held the branches were angular, and he made that decision based on his father's drawing – NOT on anything his father told him.

Rashi was understood several ways. The way you understand him did not become prevalent until the Ramabam's drawing was circulated in Europe in the 19th century. And, as anyone who has learned Yoreh Datah knows, Ashkenazi and Sefardi halakha very rarely holds like Rashi. Even accepting your view of what Rashi said as correct means little. Like the Rambam, he lived a millennium after the Temple was destroyed. He never set foot in Israel and never saw the ancient coins and other artifacts that would have proved him wrong. And like Ramabam, Rashi was a man who accepted the facts as truth. He would never have insisted the facts – the coins, etc. – were wrong.

These are all facts, and attacking me, Nachum and APC personally does not change those facts.

Mendel, it's kind of odd that you admit that certain details of the Rambam's drawings only look that way because they were easier to draw, but won't admit that (as R' Mandel proves) it was easier to draw straight arms than round ones. QED.

Also, the Arch does not say "Judea is vanquished." The coins said that.

Shosh, you wrote: "For your info, the classic, authoritative halachic giants are (almost) unanimous that the branches were not semi circular."

This is simply untrue. False. A lie, even. Almost every authority is clear that they were round.

You then provide a half-dozen links to...Chabad sites. Very convincing.

"however there are some that have the shape as understood by the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

No, absolutely zero do. See here, for example: http://www.jewishgiftplace.com/Ancient-Menorahs.html The Israel Museum also once issued a volume with every single ancient image of menorot. None of them come close to the Lubavitch idea. Most are clearly round.

Menachem: First of all, have some respect. You have no idea who R' Mandel is, do you? He's a talmid of Rav Soloveitchik and has semikhah from him, has a PhD from Harvard, and speaks more languages (alive and extinct) than you can imagine. One of those languages, by the way, is Arabic, which, if you're keeping score, means he can read the Rambam in the original Judeo-Arabic, something the Rebbe could not do. I think he's got credentials. (He's high up in the kashrut department of the OU, which basically means your frumkeit relies on him.) So with your "Seth dude" talk, you're basically insulting one of our great talmidei chachamim, which happens to be a big aveirah. (It goes without saying he has a Hebrew name.)

"Artscroll (whose only agenda is to explain pshat)"

Ha! You have no idea what you're talking about. Have you ever read their Shir HaShirim?

"(yes Nochum, Rashi wrote in a Hebrew that was meant to convey to us the pshat in the posuk)"

First, my name is Nachum. Second, you clearly have no idea what Rashi *is*. See what Rashbam reports in Rashi's name. Of course, it doesn't matter, since it's *you* who has Rashi wrong.

"as well as many contemporary rabbis interpreted the Rambam that way too."

Another lie, no matter how you understand "contemporary."

"yet you choose to label the obvious way in understanding Rashi and the Rambam as heresy."

Well, it's not heresy- a straight-armed menorah is kosher, after all. It's just ignorant.

(Your reference to R' Wein, of course, merely cements the image of Chabad's "us and them" mentality.)

Shmarya - you repeatedly say that the Rambam says his drawing is not to be taken literally. What is your source for this?

If he did, indeed, say that then that's surely the end of the matter.

Shmarya - you repeatedly say that the Rambam says his drawing is not to be taken literally. What is your source for this?

If he did, indeed, say that then that's surely the end of the matter.

Posted by: Avi | December 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM “And now I will draw for you in this drawing the g'vi'im in
the shape of a triangle and the kaftorim as a circle and the perah as a
semicircle in order to make the drawing easier, since my intent in this
drawing is not that you should know the exact form of a gavia' [i.e., the menorah's form and the forms of each of its component parts], since I
have just explained it to you. Rather my intent is to show you the
number of the g'vi'im, the kaftorim and the p'rahim, and their
placement, and the length of places of the arms of the Menorah that are
empty and that of the places that have kaftorim and p'rahim, and its
general appearance.…” Rambam in his Perush HaMishnah, translation by Rabbi Seth Mandel.

lol, Chabad historical accuracy

Here you go again Scotty, in your usual very loud and very ignorant shitsquealing style. Rambams son, the famous Rabbi Avraham ben harambam writes very clearly that his fathers diagram was precise and NOT merely for demonstration of the cup-shapes (as some have argued). Rashi also writes that the arms were straight, so the Lubavitcher Rebbe is on quite solid ground with his argument. Same as his position (agreed to by any scholar) about the shape of the luchot - SQUARE. But a stupid crusader with a vendetta like yours can't handle that.
Bit lonely in the shitter Scotty, isn't it?

Posted by: RK | December 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Sigh.

Big stupid is out late tonight, I see.

1. The son of the Rambam says they are angular "as my father drew them," not as my father told me, and he nowhere makes the claim that his father told him the were angular. Generally, when Avraham ben HaRambam says something in his father's name that his father TOLD him, we accept it as accurate. But when he says something in his father's name because that is what his father wrote, his opinion is no better than any other Rishon commenting on the Ramabam. That's a clal you would have learned in yeshiva – if you could learn, that is.

2. The Ramabam himself wrote that the drawing is not an accurate representation of the menorah. I quoted him a few comments above.

3. Rashi was not uniformly understood as saying the arms were perfectly straight. His own grandchildren didn't hold that they were straight. No one else in all of Europe held they were straight.

4. Rashi and Rambam lived a millennium after the Temple was destroyed and Rashi never saw Israel. We have a huge amount of evidence they did not have. Both Rashi and Rambam would have followed the best evidence available and would not have held by a random old opinion that clearly was wrong.

Perhaps one day, you'll learn how to learn. Until then, you'll remain the lump that you are.

No Scotty, you stupid shit, my point was not to definitively conclude one way or the other, simply to point out that there is ample evidence to support the position that the menora was actually straight. It follows, ipso facto, that even a bitter and delusional shitface like you would pause before dismissing one of the (acknowledged) torah giants of the past hundred-or-so years, however you seem incapable....surprise!
Again, the diagram by Rambam is of significantly greater import than you seem prepared to admit, but your attempts to twist what Avraham ben haRambam writes are even worse. This is almost as stupid as your shitfaced attempt to dismantle the LR's ratinal rejection of evolution, where you tried the same stupid shit - keep spinning Scotty, but your shit still stinks, you sad misery. Nowhere is the bull you assert in your post cited in the Klallei haRambam - but you obviously never even saw a Yad Malachi - it was never printed in Ethiopian, I guess.....

"there is ample evidence to support the position that the menora was actually straight"

No, there is no such evidence. At. All. You can't just make things up.

there is ample evidence to support the position that the menora was actually straight"

No, there is no such evidence. At. All. You can't just make things up.

Posted by: Nachum | December 13, 2012 at 01:02 AM

Sadly, Chabad (and many other hasidic groups) make things up all the time.

For them, the end – in this case, making the Rebbe's craziness look sane, and attacking those of us they hate – is far more important than the truth.

They're the Scientologists of the Jewish world.

Several thanks for this piece and the fierce "discussion" that follows.

First, it has given me the opportunity to see the beautiful straight-arm menorah drawn by Maimonides. Lovely!

Second, the opportunity to experience and learn from the amazing strength (I can't say fairness or rightness) of the opinions / exchanges, and the unsparing ad hominems that precede or follow most of them, perhaps the most splendid example of which is RK's blow-off:
"Perhaps one day, you'll learn how to learn. Until then, you'll remain the lump that you are."
One must always strive against one's lumpness!

Third, you may have offered a strange clue to the puzzle of curvedness vs. straightness, in providing the image from the Magdala synagogue from the 1st Century CE. Or at least an opportunity for me to offer a non-Talmudic opinion:
On the top of the image, two trees, with straight arms; on the front, the menorah, with curved ones. I suggest that trees were the natural form --- rooted, rising, sturdy, strong, living, and abiding from earth toward heaven --- that inspired the more abstract menorah, with its emphatically curved branches. Trees have straight and curved limbs alike, trees were objects of worship by the abominated followers of Asherah, trees found their way into a festival in the calendar, and the branches were re-imagined, lovely and strong and exclusively curve-limbed, turning ever upward, into the menorah, and recast in metal.

There is one sad indisputable fact and that is you can't argue with Menachem or Mendel or any Lubavitcher because they believe the Rebbe was infallible, a prophet and the embodiment of G-d in a physical body. There is a minority of Lubavitchers like myself who understand the Rebbe was a human being and could make mistakes.

What the ultra-orthodox practice is not and has never been historical, normative Judaism. It's an OCD fantasy made up by control freaks and power-mongers. Why does this surprise anyone anymore? They just make up bologna and claim it's min har sinai. That's what they've been doing all along.

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