Sunday, July 22, 2007

Question on "problematic" mitzvot

Question from Youtube viewer
Hi Rabbi,

I hope all is well.

I read today the majority of the 613 mitzvot for the first time.

I was hoping you could elaborate on some:

199 To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46) (affirmative).

That does not sound good.

There was also about a rapist victim marrying a rapist.

302 That one who has raped a damsel and has then (in accordance with the law) married her, may not divorce her (Deut. 22:29) (negative).

I was hoping you can comment.

I understand thousands of years ago the system was slightly different (sort of hence why conservative Jews and reformists reinterpret Jewish law every generation), however are these mitzvot still "valid"? You mentioned yourself that there are 613 we should live by.

There are a couple of others but I do not have the time at the moment to go through the list again. I remember others also being about animal sacrifice in the temple (which I know many Jews hope to recreate 'when the time comes') which to me, especially as a vegetarian, sounds like a bad way of "connecting" with god with an out of date practise.

My reply: great question.
1.Of the 613, hundreds do no apply for those not in israel and since the temple was destroyed
2. The rabbis in the talmud defined and limited some of the "problematic" mitzvot in such a way that they were no longer issues-such as the ones you mentioned. Example-execute a stubborn and rebellious child (never was and never will be such a case) , or allowing a husband to anul a vow (only if the bride is 11-12 years old).
We are not a religion based on a literal reading of the Torah, that was the Karaites. Wew are a religion based on what our Sages said and say the Torah means.
See my video on sacrifices which explains that. Hope that helps a bit

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