Yahadut Qara’it
Origins and Ideology

by Yohanan bin-Dawidh
27 January 2008

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This paper will briefly examine the reasons behind the existence of Yahadut Qara’it 1 in contrast to Yahudut Rabanit. 2 It will discuss various possibilities concerning when Yahadut Qara’it came into existence. It will describe the differences in thought between the two movements of Yahadut 3 where Torah is concerned. It will also briefly discuss differences of opinion over certain matters of Torah observance.

Aviv (almost ripe) springtime barley, Jerusalem, Israel | © Melech ben Ya'aqov, Karaite Insights
Aviv (almost ripe) springtime barley, Jerusalem, Israel

The standard claim 4 within Yahudut Rabanit is that the foundations of Yahadut Qara’it, i.e. the beginning of HaYuhudhim HaQara’im, lies with ‘Anan bin-Dawidh 5 who lived in about 760 of the Common Era. All HaYuhudhim HaQara’im have heard this story countless times. In the Rabbinical tale of the birth of Yahadut Qara’it, ‘Anan bin-Dawidh is a member of the ruling / governing family of the Reish Galutha 6, i.e. the Exilarch. ‘Anan lived in Babylonia around 130 years before the birth of Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Ga’on. 7 Anan’s uncle, in their story, who was the Exilarch, died without child to inherit his position. ‘Anan was next in line to inherit the position of Exilarch, but because he did not stand in awe of God, in the eyes of the Ga’onim, as such a position demands, the Ga’onim and most of the Jews of Babylonia refused to recognize him as their Exilarch. In their story ‘Anan was passed over for a younger heir who the Ga’onim elected, Rav Sholomo bin-Hadassi. 8 Thus, ‘Anan rebelled against the authority of the Ga’onim and of the Jewish traditions as taught and transmitted by the Hakhamim of the Mishnah and Talmudh. This is the event they claim gave birth to Yahadut Qara’it.

This is an utterly foolish explanation, especially since HaYuhudhim HaQara’im 9 had communities throughout the Middle East long before ‘Anan ever was born, including one in Cairo, Egypt, where 'Abdallâh ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As, the first Islamic Caliph of Egypt, stamped a legal document ordering the HaYahadhut HaRabanit 10 community not to interfere in the way of life of HaYuhudhim HaQara’im 11 in Cairo in the year 20 A.H., which equates to 641 of the Common Era. This document remained in hands of the HaYahadhut HaQara’it 12 community in Cairo until sometime between the end of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century, when these Qara’im began making their way to Erets Yisra’el 13 and the United States of America due to tensions between Jews and Muslims. 14

So if HaYuhudhim HaQara’im were already in existence in 641 of the Common Era, and ‘Anan bin-Dawidh did not appear among us until around 760 of the Common Era, almost one-hundred and twenty years later, then we must conclude that ‘Anan did not give birth to Yahadut Qara’it. So we must turn to another direction to determine the origins of Yahadut Qara’it. We must look at other explanations besides the standard claim made within Yahadut Rabanit concerning the origins of Yahadut Qara’it. With this in mind, we now turn to various polemics against Yahadut Qara’it written by the Rabbanim 15, as well as to the writings of Hakhamim 16 among HaYuhudhim HaQara’im themselves, in search of our answer.

Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Ga’on, 17 who was an advocate of the standard claim of Yahadut Rabanit, added to this claim the idea that ‘Anan established the movement of Yahadut Qara’it with the assistance of “all manner of evil and worthless men from the remnants of Zadok and Boethos.” 18 Avraham bin-Dawidh ha-Lewi 19 also relates a similar idea in his book Sefer ha-Qabbalah, 20 writing, “after the destruction of the Temple, the Sadducees dwindled almost down to nothing until ‘Anan appeared and strengthened them.” 21 And Mosheh bin-Maimon 22, often referred to as Rambam in the world of Yahadut Rabanit, in his text Mishneh Torah, commenting on Pirqei Avoth, states concerning Zadok and Boethus, “In Egypt they are called Karaites, while in the Talmud they are named Sadducees and Boethusians.” 23

Yahadut Rabanit claims that a man named Antigonus of Soko 24 succeeded Shimon ha-Saddiq 25, who was one of the last men of the Great Assembly. He taught, “Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of a reward, but be rather like those who serve without thought of receiving a reward.” From this teaching, Yahadut Rabanit claims that two of his students, Saddoq 26 and Baytusi 27, misunderstanding his teaching, arrived at the conclusion that there was no future judgment, saying, “What servant would work all day without obtaining his due reward in the evening?” They claim that Saddoq and Baytusi instantly broke away from the Torah and lived in luxury, using many silver and gold vessels at their banquets, and established schools where they declared that the enjoyment of this life should be the paramount desire of man. These two schools, according to Yahadut Rabanit, named after their founders, were called the Sadducees and Boethusians, i.e. Sadduqim and Baytusim. 28

Ya’aqov bin-Yosef al-Qirqisani 29 was the first person among Yahadut Qara’it known to record an account of Jewish history that existed outside of the Jewish scriptures. In his text Sefer ha-Me’orot, or Sefer ‘Orot, he states “It was Saddoq that first exposed the Rabbanim and openly disagreed with them. He discovered a part of the truth; he also composed a book in which he strongly reproved and attacked them.” He then goes on to write, “But he set forth no proof for any of his assertions, but merely set forth in the manner of an assertion, except for one topic, namely, the prohibition against marrying one’s niece, which he deduced through the analogy of her being related to paternal and maternal aunts.” Then speaking on Baytusi he writes, “Concerning Baytusi, he was of the opinion that Shavu’oth can only fall on the first day of the week, which is also the view of the followers of ‘Anan and all HaYuhudhim HaQara’im.” 30 He does not directly refer to Saddoq and Baytusi as the beginning of Yahadut Qara’it in his text, and he even offers up condemnation of Saddoq for not offering proof for his assertions; however, he does present to us that there was a connection between the beliefs and practices of these groups.

After al-Qirqisani, another scholar of Yahadut Rabanit named Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi 31, born in Tudela, Spain, in 1075 of the Common Era, in commentary on Pirqei Avoth from the Mishnah, claimed that the rise of doctrine of Yahadut Qara’it, came as a result of a disagreement that took place about twenty years Before the Common Era, between the governor of ‘Erets Yisra’el, named Alexander Yannai, who was a Sadducee, and the Rabbanim. Yannai was both a governor over ‘Erets Yisra’el, and a Kohen. 32 In this disagreement the Rabbanim tell Yannai to “be satisfied with the royal crown, but leave the priestly crown to the seeds of Aharon” after questioning his mother’s Jewish origins. His friend, Yuhudha bin-Tabbai, came to his aid, suggesting that he scatter and destroy the Rabbanim, but Yannai said to him, “If I destory the Rabbanim, what will become of the Torah.” So Yuhudha replies, “There is always the written Torah, those who wish to study it may come and do so; take no heed of the oral Torah.” He did as Yuhudha suggested, and the Rabbanim were laid low for a while, until Shimon bin-Shetah who was among the exiled Rabbanim, brought back the exiles from Alexandria where they had fled, and restored tradition to the Jewish people; but, the doctrine of Yahadut Qara’it had already taken root among the Jewish people. 33 According to Josephus this story really concerns Hyrcanus who was the father of Alexander Yannai and not Alexander Yannai 34, but even with this discrepancy we understand the point being made by Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi.

Mosheh bin-Menakhem Bashyatsi, 35 in his text ‘Addereth Eliyahu 36, who was a scholar among Yahadut Qara’it, later builds upon the idea presented by Yuhudha, but with a twist that claims that Shimon bin-Shetah wished to ban the test of the written Torah; whereas, Yuhudha bin-Tabbai on the other hand stood strong, and caused the truth to be strengthened. This is presented to us within a portion of ‘Addereth Eliyahu that gives us a chain of transmission of the written text of the Torah from the time of Mosheh bin-Amram at Mount Sin’ai and during the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness before entering into the land of Kena’an that was to become ‘Erets Yisra’el until it was given to Sholomo bin-Dawidh bin-Hisdai, a governor within Yahadut Qara’it. After it presents the idea that Yuhudha bin-Tabbai kept the written Torah from being banned, it goes on to state that he passed the Torah on to Shemayah, who in turn passed it on to Rav Shammai and Rav Hillel, who both lived between fifty and thirty years Before the Common Era. Then the text goes on to state, “Rav Shammai, the elder, the honourable, the righteous, transmitted it to HaYuhudhim HaQara’im, may the Rock of Ages protect them, and be their aid, destroying their enemies, those who hate them and the students of their faith, amen.” This throws a unique spin on the history of Yahadut Qara’it, because Rav Shammai within the pages of the Mishnah, and later Talmudh Bavli, is presented as a staunch opponent of Rav Hillel, but he is still considered as being within the context of Yahadut Rabanit by HaYuhudhim HaRabanim.

In light of the words of Jewish scholars listed above, we must now examine the doctrine of Yahadut Qara’it spoken of by Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi, which Ya’aqov bin-Yosef al-Qirqisani referred to as the truth. This doctrine would cause Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Ga’on, Avraham bin-Dawidh ha-Lewi, and Mosheh bin-Maimon, to connect HaYuhudhim HaQara’im to Saddoq and Baytusi.

It is obvious that with any group of people there has to be a reason for their existence. We could have merely looked at Yahadut Qara’it in a vacuum, and attempted to pinpoint a time and a date when it came into existence, as we have done above, but this would not answer the question of why it exists in the first place. When discussing Yahadut Qara’it and its origins, I find that it must be done in relation to Yahadut Rabanit, and the differences that lie within the thoughts between them. Only through these differences can we come to truly comprehend the reasons for the existence of Yahadut Qara’it.

The same Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi mentioned above, in his work titled Sefer ha-Kuzari, 37 noted that Yahadut Qara’it, in essence, shares the same fundamentals with Yahudut Rabanit. 38 These fundamentals were elaborated upon between 1140 and 1150 of the Common Era by Turkish Jewish theologian and philosopher Yuhudha Hadassi 39 within his text entitled Eshkol Ha-Kofer 40, in ten principles 41 that he established which have become the creed of Yahadut Qara’it. Likewise, between 1170 and 1180 of the Common Era, almost thirty years after Yuhudha Haddassi had written Eshkol Ha-Kofer and established his ten principles of faith, Mosheh bin-Maimon, in his text Mishneh Torah, coined what he called Shloshah-Asar Ikkarim, or, the Thirteen Principles of Faith 42 43, that have become the creed of Yahudut Rabanit. The only apparent difference between these two creeds is that Hadassi felt it a necessity to add that it is a religious duty for a Jew to know the language of the Jewish scriptures, i.e. Hebrew. The significance of learning Hebrew as a religious duty on the part of the HaYuhudhim HaQara’im is a consequence of the fact that Aramaic instead of Hebrew had become at that time the written and spoken language of Yahudut Rabanit, as well as the language of its legal declarations and contracts, whereas HaYuhudhim HaQara’im believed that any binding contract should be written in Hebrew.

Though Yahadut Qara’it and Yahudut Rabanit might share the same fundamental principles, there must be some differences between the two in ideology, or there would not exist a division between the two, and we would be left with only one movement of Yahadut. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, what are these differences? The main difference between Yahudut Rabanit and Yahadut Qara’it is hidden within the creeds of Rambam and Hadassi, though clearly visible to those who understand the different mindsets of these two movements. Both movements agree that the Torah is of divine origin, is truth and is changeless, but the exact definition of Torah is the essence of this division.

Yahudut Rabanit has long held the notion that there is a co-existent oral law that has been passed down simultaneously along with the Torah as it was written by Mosheh. This is referred to as Torah sh’b’al Peh 44; whereas, the Torah written down by Mosheh is referred to as Torah sh'biktav . 45 It has been claimed that there are many words and concepts within Torah sh’biktav that are left undefined, along with many procedures left without explanation or instructions. 46

Therefore, Yahudut Rabanit has, for many centuries, claimed that there is a Torah sh’b’al peh that clarifies these undefined words and concepts, along with instructions on how to perform procedures which it feels Torah sh’biktav lacks in explaining. Although it could be argued that the classical Yahadut Rabanit text of Pirqei Avoth only speaks of Torah sh’biktav when it says, “Mosheh received the Torah from Sin’ai who transmitted it to Yohoshu’a; and Yohoshu’a transmitted to the elders; and the elders to the prophets; and the prophets handed it down to the men of great assembly” 47, Yahudut Rabanit claims that this refers to both Torah sh’biktav and Torah sh’b’al peh, thus linking Torah sh’b’al peh back to Mosheh.

It is not that Yahudut Rabanit necessarily claims that every single conjecture within Torah sh’b’al peh dates back to the time of Mosheh, but instead that Torah sh’biktav places the Rabbis in the position to exclusively rule upon and establish what is referred to as Halakha. 48

The word Halakha 49 is derived from the Hebrew verb halakh which means “to walk” or “to go”; thus Halakha means "the path that a person should follow to properly walk with the Most High". In the mindset of Yahudut Rabanit, Halakha constitutes the practical application of the commandments found within the Torah sh’biktav, i.e. Halakha is the essence of Torah sh’b’al peh, giving definition and understanding to those areas of Torah sh’biktav that Yahudut Rabanit feels are lacking. It has come to be a comprehensive guide to all aspects of Jewish life that covers a vast range of situations and principles. This Halakha has been developed throughout the centuries by means of discussion and debate. This discussion and debate, claim Yahudut Rabanit, is given authority on the level of the Jewish scriptures through the words of Sefer D’varim 50 17:8-12. 51

Further, this Halakha, according to Yahudut Rabanit¸ initially was not written down, but passed down to us orally, to keep from violating the scriptural words recorded in Sefer D’varim 13:1. But, in approximately 200 CE, Rav Yuhudha Hanasi’ 52 wrote down the first redaction of Halakha in the text of the Mishnah. 53 Mishnah is Hebrew for “repetition”, and signifies the way in which Torah sh’b’al peh was thought to have been passed down throughout the generations. 54 The Mishnah is given to us in the form of concluded legal opinions with little dialogue as to how these opinions are derived. The form is similar to that of the notes of a court reporter after a court case. Within each of these "court cases" there is the makshan, i.e. “the person who raises a difficulty” and the tartzan, i.e. “the person who sets straight”. 55 With this style, the Mishnah attempts to promote itself as a body of decisions upon "the matters too difficult to judge" mentioned in Sefer D’varim 17. The Mishnah breaks these matters down into six orders 56 that Yahudut Rabanit believe to be too difficult for the common person to properly judge on behalf of themselves.

During the next four centuries, the material within the Mishnah underwent extensive analysis and debate from those called the Amora’im. Amora’im is Hebrew for “the sayers”, and is the title given to the sages of the Gemara 57. Gemara is Aramaic for “the study”, and is thought to be the clarification of positions, words and views given in the Mishnah. 58

There were two primary schools of Yahadut Rabaint during the four centuries that the Mishnah underwent extensive debate. One of these schools was in Jerusalem, and the other was in Babylonia. The existence of two schools brought forth two sets of Amora’im. Therefore, during this time period there devloped two extensive sets of analysis and debate. This means that there was more than one version of the Gemara among Yahudut Rabanit.

Eventually the Mishnah and the Gemara were edited together as the Talmudh. But since there was more than one version of the Gemara, this led to more than one Talmudh. One of these versions of the Talmudh is Talmudh Yerushalmi, and the other version of the Talmudh is Talmudh Bavli. Within these two we find the essence of Torah sh’b’al peh. 59

Now, having established the interpretation that Yahudut Rabanit has concerning the nature of Torah, we need to look at how Yahadut Qara’it views the Torah. HaYuhudhim HaQara’im, in general, believe that the Torah sh’biktav is the only version of Torah passed down to us from Mosheh. They understand Sefer D’varim 13:1, along with Sefer Yohoshu’a 60 8:35 61, as proof that the whole compass of the Torah was written down by the hand of Mosheh, and that no Torah exists beyond this.

Unlike Yahudut Rabanit, the scriptural passages found in Sefer D’varim 17:8-12 are not seen as proof of the establishment of another Torah. HaYuhudhim HaQara’im understand these verses as speaking primarily about civil matters in which two people cannot resolve a dispute, so they bring their case before a court of law made up of priests, Levites, and judges, who then “in accordance with the Torah” produce a judgment in the matter. It could be argued that these judgments are forms of Halakha, and I do not think anyone who practices Yahadut Qara’it would argue against such an argument; however, most Yuhudhim Qara’im would argue against the idea that the decisions to these arguments found their way into the text of the Mishnah.

In reference to the notion that all decisions of Halakha made at any time can be linked back to Mosheh, medieval Yuhudhit Qara’it theologian and philosopher Sahl bin Matsliakh wrote, “Know that he who justifies himself by saying, ‘I have walked in the ways of my ancestors,’ will gain nothing from it, for did not our God say, ‘Be you not as your fathers’ (Zechariah 1:14), and again ‘And might not be as their father, a stubborn and rebellious generation’ (Psalms 78:8)? This shows us that there is not duty upon us to follow after our ancestors unconditionally; rather it is our duty to scrutinize their ways and to set up their deeds and judgments over against the words of the Law. If we find them identical, and without deviation, we must accept them and obey them without change and follow them. But if their words contradict the Law, we must reject them and ourselves search and investigate, using the method of analogy, because the precepts and other things written in the Law of Moses are in no need of any sign or witness to testify whether they are true or not, whereas the words of our ancestors require a sign of trustworthy witness, that you may know whether or not they are true.” 62

Sahl’s words, which are the thoughts of ancient Yuhudhim Qara’im, are a polemic against the idea that the Halakhot 63 of the Mishnah and the words of either Talmudh hold weight with our people due to the link that Yahadut Rabanit attempts to give them to the text of the Torah. He notes that we are obligated to walk according to Torah, but that we are not obligated or bound to walk according to the ways of our ancestors.

As a person might notice reading Sahl’s words, just because HaYuhudhim HaQara’im do not hold to the notion that the Jewish people are bound to the Halakha of the Rabbanim, this does not necessarily mean that they should refrain from its study. Instead, he states clearly that they should scrutinize it, placing it against the text of the Torah. As scholars, we understand that to properly scrutinize something, one must have knowledge of it. Through this scrutiny, HaYuhudhim HaQara’im have often shaken HaYuhudhim HaRabanim out of their complacency.

HaYuhudhim HaQara’im have often referred to these Halakhot as the “commandments of learned men”. We find this in the words of Sahl, when he states that it is the obligation of HaYuhudhim HaQara’im, “to awaken the hearts of His people of Israel” and “to turn them back to the Law of the Lord” and “to warn them not to rely upon commandments of learned men and laws promulgated by two wicked women,” which, he notes, “cannot redeem a person from the punishment of the Day of Judgment.” 64

Another medieval Yuhudhit Qara’it theologian and philosopher, Daniyyel al-Qumisi, in reference to these “commandments of learned men” states, “Investigate the matter according to your own wisdom, lest you should do according to my wisdom, in reliance upon my opinion. He who relies upon one of the teachers of the Exile, without investigating thoroughly according to his own wisdom, is the same as if he had engaged in idol worship. For anyone who follows a commandment of learned men, and not the Torah of YHWH, is likened to one engaged in idol worship.” 65

Therefore, HaYuhudhim HaQara’im have been very diligent, in the course of their history, to verify and find proof of their understandings within the Jewish scriptures, either through direct quotes from within the text, or through analogy. This means that they, as a movement, base all of their beliefs, ultimately, upon the Jewish scriptures alone. In this quest, they often have come to different conclusions from Yahudut Rabanit. Thus, besides their basic understanding of what Torah is, and is not, the understandings derived from their quest have distinguished their movement.

For example, we find that Yahadut Qara’it and Yahudut Rabanit find differences in the issues of one’s Jewish heritage 66, when Shavu’oth 67 is, and rules concerning the pronunciation of the Name of the Most High 68. And Yahadut Qara’it shares most of these opinions with the Sadducees and Boethusians, who Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Ga’on, Avraham bin-Dawidh ha-Lewi, and Mosheh bin-Maimon, all connect them to in origin.

In conclusion, despite the standard claim made by Yahadut Rabanit that Yahadut Qara’it was established by the disgruntled ‘Anan bin-Dawidh, Yahadut Qara’it is actually an ideology that existed prior to the Common Era, during Second Temple times, and that transformed into an actual community of Jewish people separate from HaYuhudhim HaRabanim through the course of time. This community consisted of people such as Saddoq and Baytusi, Yuhudha bin-Tabbai, possibly Rav Shammai, and even ‘Anan bin-Dawidh.

Although Yahadut Qara’it and Yahadut Rabanit share the same fundamentals, there is a vast difference in ideology between the two that separates them into two different movements. The primary difference between HaYuhudhim HaRabbanim and HaYuhudhim HaQara’im concerned the issue of what is, and what is not, Torah, with the Yahadut Qara’it rejecting the notion that the Torah sh’b’al-peh of Yahadut Rabanit is Torah, and claiming that only the Torah as written down by the hand of Mosheh is Torah. This ideology is the same ideology of Saddoq and Baytusi; thus, in essence Saddoq and Baytusi practiced the ideology of Yahadut Qara’it.

1יהדות קראית = Karaite Judaism.
2יהדות רבנית = Rabbinical Judaism.
3יהדות = Judaism.
4de Harkavy, Abraham. "ANAN BEN DAVID". Jewish Encyclopedia. 2002 ed.
5ענן בן דוד = ‘Anan bin-Dawidh.
6ריש גלותא = “Head of the Exile.”
7יוסף בן סעדיה הגאון = Sa’adia Ga’on.
8רב שלמה בן הדסי = Rav Sholomo bin-Hadassi.
9קראים = Karaites.
10היהודים הרבנים = Rabbinical Jewish.
11היהודים הקראים = Karaite Jews.
12היהדות הקראית = Karaite Jewish.
13ארץ ישראל = Land of Israel.
14Mourad El-Kodsi, The Karaite Jews of Egypt 1882-1986, Lyons, N.Y.: Wilprint, 1987, p.2.
15הרבנים = Rabbanites.
16חכמים = Literally “wise ones” or “sages”.
17The following information is based upon M. Friedländer, The Jewish Quartlerly Review, Vol 5, No. 2 (Jan. 1893), 177-199: Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Gaon was a prominent scholar among Yahadut Rabinit. He was born in Fayyum (referred to as Pithom among biblical scholars), Egypt, in 892 of the Common Era. He came to be known as al-Fayyumi. He left Fayyum to study in Tiberias and later was named Ga’on of the Yahadut Rabanit college in Sura, Babylonia. He eventually was forced to leave Sura, Babylonia, due to a disagreement he had with the Reish Galutha, but he was not forgotten in Sura, and was eventually allowed to return, and he acted as a judge in civil matters. He died in 942 of the Common Era. He seems to be the first among Yahadut Rabanit to take up the cause against Yahadut Qara’it, writing polemics against them. He spoke quite negatively against ‘Anan bin-Dawidh and Aharon bin-Mosheh bin-Asher in his lifetime. But based upon the Hebrew text included within G. Margoliouth, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 9, No. 3. (Apr. 1897), 429-443: Sa’adyah bin-Yosef Ha-Ga’on was initially a student of HaYahudit HaQara’it Hakham Salmon bin-Yeroham, even attending Salmon’s funeral out of respect.
18S. Poznanski, The Anti-Karaite Writings of Saadiah Gaon, in J. Q. R. x. 238-276
19The following was taken from Milton Arfa, “Abraham ibn Daud and the Beginnings of Medieval Jewish Aristotelianism.” Ph.D. diss., (Columbia University, 1954): Avraham bin-Dawidh ha-Lewi was born in Toledo, Spain, in 1110 of the Common Era. He is often referred to by the acronym RaBaD. He was a Spanish astronomer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for his literary text Sefer ha-Qabbalh.
20ספר הקבלה = The Book of Traditions.
21J.S. Reggio, אגרות יש"ר, I (Wien 1834), 42 ff.
22The following information is based upon Solomon Zeitlin, “Maimonides: A Biography.” (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1935), xi+234: Mosheh bin-Maimon was born in Cordoba, Spain, on March 30, in 1135 of the Common Era. During his life he lived in Andalusia, Morroco, and Egypt. He was a rabbi, physician and philosopher, who influenced both the Jewish world and the non-Jewish world. He eventually takes up the cause against Yahadut Qara’it, writing polemical writings against them; however, he gave great praise to Aharon bin-Mosheh bin-Asher, stating that his masorah of the Jewish scriptures was the most accurate. This Hebrew text is still used today by all Jews as the official masoret of the Jewish scriptures thanks to the words of Rambam.
23Benard Revel, The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Ser., Vol. 2, No. 4. (Apr. 1912), 517-544.
24אנטיגנוס איש סוכו = Antigonus of Soko.
25שמעון הצדיק = Shimon ha-Saddiq (Simon the Just). He is recorded in Pirqei Avoth 1:2 as having said, “The world exists through three things: the Torah, worship, and acts of loving-kindness.” He was a Kohan HaGgadhol, i.e. High Priest, among the Jewish people. Yahadut Rabanit claims in Yoma 30b of the Talmudh Bavli that after his death, men ceased to pronounce the Tetragrammaton aloud.
26צדוק = Saddoq; Zadok.
27בתוסי = Baytusi; Boethus.
28Jacob Neusner, The Mishnah: A New Translation (Yale University, 1988), Avoth 1:3.
29יעקוב בן יוסף הקירקיסאני = Ya’aqov bin-Yosef al-Qirqisani.
30Based upon Ya’aqov bin-Yosef al-Qirqisani, ספר אורות. (accessed August 4, 2007), http://www.karaim.net/DATA/Books/Orot_Ve_Migdalim/Orot_Ve_Migdalim_Chap_53.pdf
31יהודה בן שמואל הלוי = Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi.
32כהן = Priest.
33Yuhudha bin-Shemu’el ha-Lewi, Al-Kitcib al-Khazari, ed. David H. Baneth, prepared for publication by Haggai Ben-Shammai (Jerusalem, 1977), p. 42.
34Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 13:13, 461.
35משה בן מנכם בשיאצ'י = Mosheh bin-Menakhem Bashyatsi.
36Mosheh bin-Menakhem Bashyatsi, אדרת אליהו. (accessed August 4, 2007). http://www.karaim.net/DATA/Books/Aderet_Eliyahoo/ADERETH_ELIYAHOO_3_ISSUES.pdf
37ספר הקוזרי = Sefer ha-Kuzari.
38Daniel J. Lasker, “Karaism in Twelfth-Century Spain”, Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, 1 (1992): 179-195.
39יהודה הדסי = Yuhudha Hadassi.
40Yuhudha Hadassi, אשכול הכופר, (accessed July 4, 2007), http://karaim.net/DATA/Books/Eshkol-Hakofer/ESHKOL_HAKOPHER.pdf.
411) God is the Creator of all beings; 2) God existed before creation and has no equal or co-worker; 3) the whole universe is created; 4) God called Mosheh and the other Prophets of the Miq’ra; 5) the Torah of Mosheh alone is truth; 6) to know the language of the Miq’ra is a religious duty; 7) the Temple at Jerusalem is the palace of the world’s Ruler; 8) belief in resurrection contemporaneous with the advent of the Messiah; 9) belief in the Final Judgment; 10) and belief in divine reward and retribution.
42Isaac Husik, “A History of Jewish Philosophy,” (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication of America, 1941), 236-311.
431) Belief in the existence of the Creator; 2) belief in God’s absolute unity; 3) belief in God’s non-corporeality; 4) belief in God’s eternal existence; 5) the obligation to solely worship Him and no alien gods; 6) belief that God communicates with humanity through prophecy; 7) belief that the prophecy of Mosheh our teacher takes precedence; 8) belief in the divine origin of the Torah; 9) belief in the changelessness of the Torah; 10) belief in divine omniscience and providence; 11) belief in divine reward and retribution; 12) belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the Messianic Era; 13) and belief in the resurrection of the dead.
44תורה שבעל פה = Torah sh’b’al-Peh.
45תורה שבכתב = Torah sh’biktav.
46Rabbi Naftali Silberberg, “What Exactly is the Oral Torah,” (accessed July 4, 2007), http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=417&o=2807.
47Jacob Neusner, The Mishnah: A New Translation, (Yale University, 1988), 672.
48Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, “Torah and Politics: The King’s Second Torah Scroll” (accessed July 4, 2007), http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/shiur.asp?id=729&q=politics.
49הלכה = Halakha.
50Book of Deuteronomy.
51Sefer D’varim 17:8-12: “If a matter arises amongst you that is too difficult for you to judge, between blood and blood, between dispute and dispute, between blow and blow, matters of controversy within your gates – then you shall rise up and go to the place that Yohowah, your deity, shall select; and you shall come to the priests, and the Levites, and to the judge that shall be in those days; you will consult them and they will expound to you words of judgment, and you shall observe in accordance with the words that they expound to you, from the place selected by Yohowah; and you shall observe all that they instruct you. In accordance with the Torah they shall instruct you, and according to the judgment they shall speak to you, you shall observe; you shall not turn to the side from their words, to the right, nor to the left. And the man that will act insolent, and not listen to the priest who stands to minister there before Yohowah your God, or unto the judge, even death to that man; and you burn away the evil from Israel.”
52יהודה הנשיא = Yuhudha Hanasi’.
53משנה = Mishnah.
54Rabbi Boruch Clinton, “What is the Oral Torah?” (accessed July 4, 2007), http://www.torah.org/learning/basics/primer/torah/oraltorah.html.
55Avraham J. Karp, “From the Ends of the Earth: Judaic Treasures from the Library of Congress,” (accessed July 4, 2007), http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/loc/Talmud.html.
561) Zera’im (Eng. “seeds”), which deals with agricultural laws and prayers. 2) Mo’edim (Eng. “appointed times”), which deals with laws pertaining to the Sabbath and other appointed times. 3) Nashim (Eng. “women”), which deals with laws pertaining to marriage and divorce. 4) Nezikim (Eng. “damages”), which deals with civil and criminal law. 5) Qodashim (Eng. “holy things”), which deals with sacrificial rites, the Temple, and the dietary laws. 6) Tohoroth (Eng. “purity”), which deals with the laws of purity and impurity
57גמרא = Gemara.
58David Weiss Halivni, "Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara: The Jewish Predilection for Justified Law," (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1986), 164.
59Mitchell Schwarzer, "The Architecture of the Talmud", The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 60, No. 4. (December 2001): 474-487.
60Book of Joshua.
61Sefer Yohoshu’a 8:35: “There was not a word from all that Mosheh commanded that Yohoshu’a did not read before the assembly of Yisra’el, and the women, and the children, and the foreigners sojourning amongst them.”
62Nemoy, Leon, “Karaite Anthology, Excerpts from the Early Literature.” (Yale Judaica series, v. 7. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952.) 118-119
63Plural of “Halakha”.
64Nemoy, 114-115.
65Daniyyel al-Qumisi. Iggeret Hayyakhud. Translated by Nehemiah Gordon. (accessed July 4, 2007), http://www.karaite-korner.org/downloads/oneness_epistle_kumisi.pdf.
66Yahadut Rabanit claims that a person’s mother must be Jewish for him to be Jewish, and it matters not if the father is Jewish, whereas Yahadut Qara’it takes the opposite approach and requires that a person’s father be Jewish for him to be Jewish, and it matters not if his mother is Jewish.
67Yahadut Rabanit, through its interpretation of Torah, believes that Shavu’oth, ("Pentacost") can fall on any day of the week, depending on what day Pesakh/Passover falls, but Yahadut Qara’it, through its interpretation of Torah, believes that Shavu’oth can only fall on the first day of the week (Sunday).
68As we noted earlier, Yahadut Rabanit claims that the Tetragrammaton stopped being spoken with the death of Shim’on ha-Saddiq. At this time they began replacing it with descriptive titles such as ‘adonai, which means “lord”, or with ha’shem, which means “the name”, and prohibits the use of the actual name, even offering support from the Jewish scriptures for this prohibition, while, due to influence from Yahadut Rabanit, some Yuhudhim Qara’im do not pronounce the Tetragrammaton, most freely use it.

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Yahadut haqaraim
MK, Lisbon