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Karaite Judaism (Pro) vs. Rabbinical Judaism (Con):

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,140 times Debate No: 88420
Debate Rounds (5)
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In this debate I will argue in favor of Karaite Judaism as opposed to the standard Rabbinical Judaism centered around Rabbis.


Before I even begin, I'd like to say that the entire idea of Karaism is utterly ridiculous. The first people who denied the Oral Law were the Sadducees, who appeared no longer than 2500 years ago. Up until then, nobody disbelieved in the Oral Torah. They died out, and many years later, a new group sprang up called the Karaites. As the years have gone by, the Karaites have gradually disappeared, until now, we have less than 50,000 of them in the world. Just as the Sadducees have ceased, so will the Karaites; for all of those who stray from the Torah (Oral Torah included) will not endure, as it says in Pirkei Avot: "Any dispute which is for the sake of heaven will endure, and every dispute which is not for the sake of heaven will not endure. What is a dispute which was for the sake of heaven? The dispute between Hillel and Shammai. What is a dispute that was not for the sake of heaven? The dispute of Korach and his following."

The Karaites claim that we do not hold the oral tradition which stemmed from Moses. To the best of my knowledge, Sifrei Torah were once written without any spaces or vowels. The words kindoflookedlikethis. It was nearly impossible to read, until the Sages came and added spaces to the words of the Torah in order to make it readable. You are literally only able to read from the Torah because the Sages made it so. And yet you deny their authority?

It is literally impossible to understand any of the Torah's laws without a... well... AN EXPLANATION? For example,
- We are commanded to circumcise our sons when they turn 8 days old. What if they are ill? Do we circumcise and kill, or not circumcise but transgress the commandment?
- We are commanded to abstain from all work on Shabbat. How do we know what work is? For some people, writing is a burden, and for others, writing can be fun. How do we know what work is? Is work entirely subjective, defined by each individual?
- Exodus 12:2 reads: "This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months". Which months?! Egyptian months? Chaldean months?
- Where in the Torah do we see a blueprint for the Holy Temple? How did Solomon know what to build if not for an oral tradition?
I can go on forever, but obviously you're not interested in reading all of my examples.

A perfect text cannot have ambiguities. The Torah is very ambiguous, and thus, any interpretations that Karaites come up with are entirely subjective and opinionated, open to debate. Whatever you interpret the law to be, I can do the same thing in the other direction, and there is nothing you can do to refute my claim. You need an official law, which we only find in rabbinic Judaism.

According to the oral law, a prophet has permission to temporarily annul any commandment of the Torah, other than the prohibition against idolatry. In the Written Torah, we have no source for this. In that case, can you please explain:
- How Elijah brought a sacrifice on Carmel, when it was forbidden to do so anywhere outside of Jerusalem?
- This is unrelated to the first issue, rather this has more to do with Pikuach Nefesh, but can you please explain how the Prophet Uriah ben Shmaya had permission to flee to Egypt?
- Solomon personally brought sacrifices in the Holy Temple (1 Kings 8:64). Isn't this service reserved for the priests? Where did Solomon find permission to do this?

When you read rabbinic literature, you see very clearly that it could not have been the result of human imagination, for the Sages had great knowledge that nobody could have known back then. For example,
- Knowledge of when a fetus is considered a person (this is important halachic knowledge. If a woman miscarries after 30 days of pregnancy, is she impure to a dead body?) The Oral Law (niddah 3:7) says that from day 40 and onward, the fetus is considered a person. Not aware of this mishnah, the scientist Professor David Lyrge said: "We do not know much about the development of the brain of the fetus... until about the fortieth day of life, at which point the basic structure of the brain is in place, and it becomes possible to discern slight electrical activity"
- Knowledge of the amount of stars in the sky. Berakhot 32 says that the amount of stars are over an 18 digit number. To a primitive man, this would have sounded absurd. But to a modern man, this is perfectly rational. When you look into the sky, you see maximum 6000-8000 stars, and so it was assumed that that is how many stars there were. Later, Galileo Galilei and his telescope came and corrected this error, with his claim that there are many stars which we cannot see (and he was actually put under house arrest for his claim, if I am not mistaken)
- Genesis 1:7 reads: "And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so." The Midrash (Bereshit Rabbah 4:2) comments that this water was literally above the firmament, and that it was frozen. In 4:5, it says that there is more water in space than there is on earth. To a primitive man, this would sound absurd. Water above the firmament? And there is more water up there than there is down here? How can that be (since there are so many oceans and lakes and rivers). And why would the water be frozen? Later we discovered that there are these things called comets which are made of ice. There are many comets, many of which are actually larger than the earth. How accurate were the Sages here? Too accurate to be ignored.
(these are only a few examples. There are plenty more.)
Debate Round No. 1


As we know, I am a Karaite Jew, this means that I do not believe in the rabbinical interpretations, rabbinical Commentaries, or the Oral Torah. Though I accept that they contain a certain level of wisdom, they are not part of the Tanakh, and never should be considered as such.
There are many reasons why I disapprove of and do not believe in the rabbinical interpretations and commentaries.
Reason #1; The Torah says not to add anything to it:
Deuteronomy 4:2:
In order to obey the mitzvot of ADONAI your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it.
Proverbs 30:6:
Don"t add anything to his words; or he will rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
These are verses that clearly indicate one thing:
You are never to add or subtract from the Tanakh, this goes in general, not just to add or subtract laws as is said in Deuteronomy 4:2, but is later clarified in Proverbs 30:6 that this applies to all of G-d"s words. Even if you are not altering his words, you are still adding to them.

Reason #2; The Tanakh is flawless, so rabbinical interpretations are obsolete:
G-d"s word is perfect, without flaw, so rabbinical interpretations and commentaries are obsolete, we don"t need them because G-d"s word can stand on its own.
2nd Samuel 22:31:
"As for God, his way is perfect: The L-RD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."
Proverbs 30:5:
"Every word of G-d"s is flawless; he shields those taking refuge in him."
Saying that G-d"s flawless Tanakh is somehow in need of rabbinical interpretation borders on blaspheme, because we know that G-d is perfect, and so is his Tanakh, it is not in need of any rabbinical interpretation. Rabbinical interpretations are obsolete because any purpose they claim to serve the Tanakh is not in need of, and neither are we.

Reason #3; G-d did not Give the Israelites the rabbinical interpretations:
As we all know, G-d gave Moshe the Tanakh from Mount Sinai in front of 6,000,000 Jews, only the Tanakh, not the rabbinical interpretations or commentaries, those came along later, and these were not given by G-d.
This means three things,
a.That we do not need the rabbinical interpretations/commentaries, otherwise G-d would have given us them also, so they are obsolete.
b.That the rabbinical interpretations/commentaries were not inspired by G-d, and hence should not be paired alongside that which WAS given by G-d.
c.That pairing the writings and wisdom of men alongside the writings and wisdom of G-d Almighty borders on Idol Worship, because you are placing men at the position of G-d.

First of all, I do not *deny* the Oral Torah, I only believe that oral laws are far less reliable than written law, for the following reason:
Say we had a written Torah, and it was copied down exactly for 5 generations. Say people were to question if their Torah was the same Torah as 5 generations ago. How can we verify? Well, you go and get a copy of the Torah from 5 generations ago, compare it to a recent copy, then we know that it is the same Torah. The same cannot be said about the Oral Torah, if there were a rabbi that memorized the oral Torah, it was passed down for 5 generations. If people begin to suspect that it might not be the same Torah as 5 generations ago, we cannot verify, by then, the original rabbi would be dead!

Karaite Hypocrisy?
Understanding that a language with no spaces would be virtually impossible to read does not make you automatically the highest law in the land in regards to G-d"s Tanakh, that would he G-d himself.

Oral Laws obvious existence:
First off, as you may have seen with my argument above, G-d"s Tanakh is perfect and does not need a rabbi to explain it.
-Things like this should be obvious to people, I"m sure that G-d would rather have a uncircumcised kid than a circumcised dead person.
-This again should be obvious, you don"t need a rabbi to explain what work is, it should be easy, work means something that someone would pay you to do.
-It is referring to the month that G-d spoke it on, and seeing as though they just came out of Egypt you would assume the Egyptian months.
-He was only supposed to build a temple, there is no definite design that only would have worked as a temple!
-I do have interest in reading your examples, the problem is that they are flawed.

Subjective interpretation?

I don"t know about you, but I for one believe that G-d, and hence his Tanakh, is 100% flawless, and hence no Ambiguities, these are all just misinterpretations. There is no verse in the Torah that says something not easily interpreted.
We are all running off of the same Tanakh here my friend!

Wisdom of the Sages:
Firstly, the sages were by no doubt wise, but this does not put their writings in the place of "Holy documents," at most this classifies them as "apocrypha."
This is not wisdom, this is scientific knowledge, there is a difference, as a matter of fact for this reason 1/3 of the fish in the Ocean are going to die because- why? Well our scientific knowledge advanced faster than our wisdom, so we had the scientific knowledge to drop two bombs on Japan and cause all this radiation poisoning, but we didn"t have the WISDOM to know NOT TO.
-Simple; they came from ancient Egypt, which had substantial scientific knowledge, including the wisdom not to kill babies- until the Exodus, but generally this was prohibited, at 2000 BC Egypt went downhill and regressed to Pharaoh"s like Akhenaten who wanted to be worshiped like G-d. Keep in mind, the Israelites were able to live in Egypt for 430 years before they had any issues.
-Last I checked, this was a revelation given to a prophet that was handed down orally rather than written.
-We know that Ancient Egypt had substantial astronomical knowledge, this is most likely where it originated, and there is always the interpretation that it was referring to the water in the atmosphere.

Regardless of their scientific knowledge, this does not make these sages the highest authority in regards to G-d"s Tanakh.


Nobody ever claimed that the Sages are a part of the Tanakh... You cannot understand the Biblical law without the explanation that Moses taught to Joshua, who taught to the Elders and Judges, who taught to the Prophets, who taught to Ezra's court, who taught to the tannaim, who taught to the amoraim.

2. We did not add to G-d's words. There is a clear distinction between rabbinic ordinances and explicit commandments in the Torah. As you yourself said, "You are never to add or subtract from the Tanakh". We have never added or subtracted even one word to or from the Tanakh. Also, here we have an example of subjective interpretation. "this goes in general" says who? You need to understand the difference between a rabbinic ordinance and a mitzvah de'oraita. Because according to your interpretation, all of the prophets were criminals for writing their books.

3. Of course the Tanakh is perfect and flawless, but why does that mean that it can stand on its own? Where is the connection? What does one thing have to do with another? Just because the Tanakh is perfect, that does not take from its ambiguity. You have a perfect new car, but you don't know how to drive. "The car can drive on its own" - utterly ridiculous.

4. First of all, 6,000,000 Jews? Where are you getting these numbers from? Learn your history. There were no more than 2,000,000 people around Mt. Sinai. Secondly, everything which you are about to say is a complete blob of hypotheses according to YOU, but with no evidence provided. Your arguments would only be valid, if, well... I was not claiming the exact opposite? We know what you believe. We know what I believe. It's our job to prove our points (which I have been doing, but you have done a terrible job doing so far). Simply stating our beliefs is a meaningless way of debating. Moses DID receive an oral law, and he DID pass it down to the Sages. And we have never given worshipped the Sages as G-d... You need to understand that the Oral Law was not invented over night. It came with Moses, who gave it on to the Sages, who simply expounded it. They ARE teaching G-d's word, just verbally and not through letters. And also, I'm not sure what you mean by rabbinic commentaries... Are you referring to Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, and so on? If so, you have no claim. While we respect them, their views, and their words, and many of us adhere to their pshat; we certainly do not worship them or compare their words to the words of the Tanakh. The Torah is not black and white. The commentators help understand the gray areas, unless you consider them your personal rabbi, then you go by their pshat. The mysteries of the Torah are innumerable.


1. Joshua taught the Oral Law to the 70 Elders, who in turn taught it to their students. When you have hundreds of rabbis who are all teaching the same thing, you can be sure that it has not been corrupted. Besides for this, we have a literal verse in the Tanakh which promises that the Oral Law will not be forgotten. See Isaiah 59, in the last verse, which reads:
And as for Me, this is My covenant with unto them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from and for ever Henceforth.

2. You just flabberghasted right there, didn't you.. By the way, did you know that the Tanakh as we know it today was canonized by the Sages? You only read from it because A. THEY canonized it and B. THEY made it possible to read. Obviously, when Moses wrote the Torah, there was no way for anyone to read it. However, thankfully, MOSES TAUGHT THEM ORALLY HOW TO READ IT. This is a simple proof for the oral law. Therefore we know that the Sages hold the rest of the oral laws, and thus have the authority. So yes, they do, of all people, hold the highest authority in the land. Not only for this, but also because a verse in the Torah literally gives them authority. See Deuteronomy 17:10-11, which reads: And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the LORD shall choose (Jerusalem); and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee. According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. Thus you can conclude that the Sages hold the authority not just with logic, but also because it is a literal G-d-given right.

You argued that G-d would prefer a living uncircumcised baby, and that the definition of work on Shabbat is anything that you are paid to do, and that you "assume" that it was referring to Egyptian months, and that Solomon was commanded to build the temple, but not with any specific design, because it is common sense and makes sense according to human logic.

- These are all SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS. It does not say that G-d prefers a living uncircumcised baby. It does not say that work is something that you are paid to do, nor does it say that we go by Egyptian months.

- No where in the Torah are we commanded to interpret according to our logic and common sense. If we were to go by our logic and common sense, then perhaps we shouldn't fulfill any of the commandments at all? Most of them don't make sense to us. Not so, for it is written: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your Ways My Ways, saith the LORD. For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your Ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) The creation does not have to understand the creator, he just has to do what He says, whether it makes sense to him or not.

- I'd like to stress one last time that this is entirely subjective interpretation. I can interpret it in the other direction.
- G-d commanded Abraham, an elderly man, to perform circumcision on himself. There was a risk of death due to his old age, yet He still commanded him to do it. From this we learn that we must circumcise even if there is a risk of death.
- Since it is very difficult to build a house, but very easy to sit and supervise the house be built while receiving money for doing so, you are forbidden from building a house on Shabbat, even if you don't receive wages, but are permitted to supervise the house, even if you do receive wages.
- Since the Egyptians we were leaving Egypt and going into Canaan, we should use Canaanite months. Egyptian months are now irrelevant to us.
You can see very clearly how ridiculous it is to make psak on your own from verses. You need an objective interpretation from the giver of the Torah himself (Moses) in order to know these things. Otherwise, however you interpret it, your friend can interpret it the exact opposite. There are an infinite amount of negatives, and thus an infinite amount of interpretations for each verse of the Torah.

I addressed this above, but let's argue on this once more. First, you just interpreted a whole bunch of things above, and even used the word "assume" when interpreting one of the things. That shows that it is ambiguous and you do not know. So please, if you want to be a hypocrite, the least you can do is have your hypocrisy a few lines a part. But right next to each other? Wow. And besides, you're wrong anyways about the Torah not being ambiguous. The first verse of the Torah, bereshit bara elokim et hashamayim ve'et haaretz can be translated either as "In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth" OR "In the beginning of G-d's creating the heavens and the earth." The first translation would imply half introduction and half creation, and perhaps even a summary of creation. The second one would imply complete introduction and nothing more. There are ambiguities. That does not take away from the Torah's perfection though, as I explained above.

5. Yes... By wisdom, I meant knowledge in fields of science, which were unaccessible to the Sages in those days because they did not have the tools necessary to discover certain things, which proves that they knew this only because of their supreme exegetical abilities and the tradition received from Moses.
- You completely missed the point... It has nothing to do with killing babies. The fact here is that a fetus is not considered a person until 40 days, which was unknown to everyone back in the day except for the Jewish sages.
- No, this was not from a prophet, this was from a sage named Resh Lakish. See Berakhot 32
- And no... The Egyptians did not have this knowledge at all... There was no way to know this. And it was certainly not referring to water in or on top of the atmosphere. The Sages say explicitly: "Had the Torah said: 'Let there be a division between the waters on the firmament' we would have understood that the waters are located on top of the firmament. But the Torah actually says 'the waters which are above the firmament.' This means that the upper waters are dependent upon [G-d's] spoken word. (i.e floating free in space as commanded by the Creator)

Before we conclude, I'd like to stress the fact one last time that NO civilization ever made claims like the Jewish sages did. Nobody said that there is water in space, or that there are trillions of stars, or that a fetus is a person at day 40. The Sages turned out to be right about these three things, but other civilizations' hypotheses turned out to have failed miserably. And one last thing, I would like to point out your SHEER HYPOCRISY.

You said that the Oral Law does not stem from Sinai nor do they have any connection to Moses in Egypt. Yet, you argued TWICE that the Jewish sages may have learned these things from the ancient Egyptians! Such a fail! Flabberghasted to the moon! If the Sages have mesora from Egypt, why can't they also have mesora from Moses?

Debate Round No. 2


Sorry, but there are far too many characters in my rebuttal to post here, so I posted my rebul on a google document, it can be viewed here:


This way that people debate - where you take something that I say and write a commentary on it; it is very annoying. You can't take my words and comment on them. You need to respond formally to what I said, as I have done with you. You can save plenty of time and characters by responding normally. Also, I find it strange that you would respond to me on Shabbat... That must mean that you are indeed a secret Shabbat-desecrator. Let's just assume that you live in a different timezone where it wasn't Shabbat yet.

(I apologize for not addressing every point, I was pressured due to my limited)

SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATIONInstead of deliberately wasting my time by challenging all of your interpretations for certain verses in the Torah, let's just sum it up quickly right here. I don't know how many times I have to stress this point before it crosses your mind that it is literally, without any exaggeration, impossible to understand even one law from the Torah without an actual explanation from the same one who wrote the Torah. Any explanation that you come up with is open to debate, whether you like it or not. Even your doctrine that the Torah is completely unambiguous (which I utterly refuted) is completely subjective. Whatever you, or your leaders come up with, is entirely subjective. You argued that there is no evidence for an oral law that came from Moses and that rabbinic interpretations were invented many years after Moses died. (which is a total lie, I provided evidence and you did a very shabby job refuting it.) We can argue all day long on whether that is true or not. It is, indeed, for the moment, an unfalsifiable hypothesis. However, we know with absolute certainty that the Sadducees did not exist any longer than 2500 years ago, and with absolute certainty, we know that you came up with your explanation for the commandments no longer than whenever it was that Karaism started. What makes sense to you can make sense differently to another person who lives in another community. Both you and him will say the same thing, that the Torah is perfectly clear and unambiguous, and yet you will come up with completely different interpretations, based upon your common sense. Whether you like it or not, the Torah is certainly up for interpretation. If you and your brother are locked in separate rooms, and asked to write pshat, you will have completely different pshatim.

You mentioned that my good friend harrytruman has given you an argument to post here. In that case, I am very disappointed with him. He sent me this same question privately, and I answered it. Apparently, he was satisfied with my answer. However, he must have, for whatever reason, kept it secret from me that he was not satisfied with my answer. And as such, he sent you this argument, almost as if he was siding with you. Whatever the case is, let's get down to it.

- First of all, if there was an oral law (which you seem to be implying), that means 3 things.

1. You cannot interpret the Torah according to pshat since there is an oral law (thus you have just been exposed as a hypocrite again)

2. If that oral law were forgotten, we have no way of interpreting the law at all.

3. G-d would do everything to preserve this law, just as He preserved the written law.

In regard to this third argument, I have something to add to it. In my previous argument, I cited a verse; the last verse in the 59th chapter of Isaiah which reads: And as for Me, this is My covenant with unto them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from and for ever Henceforth.

This is a clear reference to the oral law, which is was not written down, but was rather put into their mouths, and into their children's mouths, and into their grandchildren's mouths. Technically, that settles the argument. However, I have more to say on this matter.You need to consider the fact that unlike the game of broken telephone which consists of a few words, the Oral Torah was a large body of law. If a sage taught the oral law incorrectly (whether intentionally or unintentionally) as you seem to be implying, he would be going against the majority, and his view would be dismissed. There was not just one sage nor was there only one academy. There were many. When you have 20 rabbis all from different cities who all unanimously teach the same law, we can be sure that they all know this from the same source. If you disagree, then there should be 5 million different versions of the Mishnayot.
You have argued that rabbinic commentaries somehow fall under the prohibition of adding to the Torah. I'm not sure what you're referring to - whether to Midrash or perhaps medieval commentaries by Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Sforno, and their like, but either way, this is flawed. You clearly do not understand the meaning of do not add, most probably because you are interpreting that verse subjectively, as you do with all other verses. If we were to go by your interpretation, then, as I said before, (you completely ignored this argument), all of the prophets are criminals. There is a different between throwing out ideas in order to give you a greater outlook, and claiming that your writings are the literal words of G-d. Thus we have a Kal Vachomer eating your argument from all directions. If what the rabbis wrote is "adding" to the Torah, how much more does this apply to the works of the prophets, who claim that their writings are the literal words of G-d? Why do you believe the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah? In reality, the reason is because the rabbis canonized these books. However, there is another reason; because this does not classify as adding to the Torah.

We are not trying to fix the car at all, because we never claimed that the car has anything wrong with it. We are trying to learn how to use the car by means of another instruction other than the car's obvious and apparent steering wheel and gas pedal which calls for us to drive it. We now have a law to follow. The law itself does not give details of what to do in specific cases, but it, according to you, leaves us to decide what to do in such cases according to our logic and common sense. In that case, everything is completely subjective. That is ridiculous, for no merciful G-d would leave us to stumble in darkness for so many thousands of years. Obviously, the same G-d who gave us the car also taught us how to drive it.

1. Instead of deliberately wasting my time by challenging all of your interpretations for certain verses in the Tanakh, let's just sum it up quickly right here. I don't know how many times I have to stress this point before it crosses your mind that it is literally, without any exaggeration, impossible to understand even one law from the Torah without an actual explanation from the same one who wrote the Torah. Any explanation that you come up with is open to debate, whether you like it or not. Even your doctrine that the Torah is completely unambiguous (which I utterly refuted) is completely subjective. Whatever you come up with is entirely subjective. You argued that there is no evidence for an oral law that came from Moses and that rabbinic interpretations were invented many years after Moses died. (which is a total lie, I provided evidence and you did a very shabby job refuting it.) We can argue all day long on whether that is true or not. It is, indeed, for the moment, an unfalsifiable hypothesis. However, we know with absolute certainty that the Sadducees did not exist any longer than 2500 years ago, and with absolute certainty, we know that you came up with your explanation for the commandments no longer than whenever it was that Karaism started. What makes sense to you can make sense differently to another person who lives in another community. Both you and him will say the same thing, that the Torah is perfectly clear and unambiguous, and yet you will come up with completely different interpretations, based upon your common sense. Whether you like it or not, the Torah is certainly up for interpretation. If you and your brother are locked in separate rooms, and asked to write pshat, you will have completely different pshatim.

They came from Egypt! Is that really what you tell yourself? NOBODY knew these things about the stars until Galileo Galilei. NOBODY (egyptians included), up until the 20th century, knew that a fetus is considered a person at age 40; other than the Jewish Sages. There was no way to know such things. We did not have these great telescopes and x-ray photography like we have today. By the way, I am not exactly an Egyptologist, but from what I have read, the Egyptians were not proficient in astronomy as you claim. I believe you are confusing the Egyptians with the Greeks, who were more advanced in astronomy; and even they did not make claims like the Sages did. To the best of my knowledge, Egypt was more proficient with astrology, which is no longer considered a science anyways. As for the waters in space; I mistakenly believed that you were referring to the knowledge of the stars; but you did say that they knew this through a prophet. Now you say that it was through Biblical exegesis? (don't you deny their interpretations anyways? Hypocrisy!) Even so, you still have yet to explain how they knew that the waters were frozen, and that there is more water in space than there is on earth.

Debate Round No. 3


Sorry, I will respond formally for the rest of the debate.

No, the Tanakh is very clear on all of its meanings, but it seems to be that I will need to demonstrate this, let"s examine this very simple verse:
Genesis 1:1:
"In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth."
Subjective interpretation? Absolutely not, not one of us here will try and say that this verse means anything other than just that- G-d created the heavens and the earth, how more objective could it get? How much of us would sit around and say "no- G-d didn"t create the heavens and the earth! It was Lord Krishna!" I can do the same with any other verse, to me- your argument seems as nonsensical as the following;
Deuteronomy 14:18 says not to eat pork- hmm, what could this mean? This verse is so ambiguous! We need a bunch of rabbis to *properly* define what "don"t eat pork" means!
Also, Karaism is not *recent* it is the original form of Judaism, but regardless, there is many proofs that I can bring up that will disprove Rabbanism, I really wish I brought them up in the beginning of the debate, but here is hard evidence that there was no Oral Law that was pass" down through Moshe;

1, Moshe wrote down everything that G-d told him, which means that one of it was oral;
Exodus 24:4:
"Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said."
Joshua 8:34-35:
"After this, he read all the words of the Torah, the blessing and the curse, according to everything written in the book of the Torah. 35 There was not a word of everything Moshe had ordered that Y"hoshua did not read before all Isra"el assembled, including the women, the little ones and the foreigners living with them."
As you can see, everything that G-d told Moshe was written down, none of it Oral, and thus, there can be no Oral Torah!

2, If there was an Oral Torah, it would have been forgotten;
During the reign of King Josiah, the Jews forgot all of their tradition, and hence, if there was an Oral Torah, it would have been forgotten too. Judaism only survived because of the Written Torah.
Anyway, I could go on and onbut these two are the best points, let"s continue with rebuttals.

First off, I never implied that there was an Oral Law; I only said that IF there was an Oral Law, which there is not, it is IMPOSSIBLE that it is the same Oral Law as 2000 years ago, let alone 4000 years ago as you claim.
Next off, if there was no Oral Law, we would still be able to understand the Tanakh, the Tanakh isn"t a abstract art work that can be interpreted in many ways, it is a simple SUBJECTIVE book that is very easy to understand. A 3rd grader could do it! Anyone who can read could do it!
Thirdly, you assume that G-d would create a highly ambiguous book, which can only be understood correctly with an Oral Torah which we cannot verify would be highly nonsensical and G-d would not do such idiocy.
Fourthly, this verse has no relevance to the Oral Law, if you look at the actual word for words, the word is דָּבָר, da va, which could be more properly translate to an utterance. So this was actually referring to the Shema.
Fithly, the Oral Law is not something that you can pick up and compare to another copy, unlike the written law where you can inspect every symbol and word which could change the entire meaning of the Law. Rather, the Oral Law translates to idea and concepts, simplified like all human memories, and also like all human memories, they are extremely unreliable.
Furthermore, unless someone went to synagogues around the world and got all their rabbis to write the Oral Torah down then we compared notes, this statement is completely false.

I am referring to all of it; everything that rabbis decided should be added next to G-ds Tanakh.
Nextly, I am not "interpreting" anything; we aren"t in an art museum, let alone subjectively. When there is a verse that says that if you add to the words of G-d you will be found a liar, there is nothing else it could mean. DO NOT ADD= DO NOT ADD! Unless you can provide a different meaning to the passage that is as relevant as mine, your argument is purely claims
Thirdly, there is a significant difference between the prophet"s books and the rabbis books;
1.The Prophets never added to the Tanakh, they only wrote separate books that were compiled into the Nevi"im.
2.The Nevi"im never says anything that alters the meaning of any verses of the Tanakh.
3.The books of the prophets came from G-d and were given through prophets of G-d, the Oral Torah was given by some sages which probably didn"t exist until after the reign of king Josiah, and is passed on through rabbis.

Yes you were, you were arguing that the Tanakh was flawed, specifically that it had ambiguities. In any case, logic is not subjective, in fact it is by definition the antonym of subjective.

Number one, I have demonstrated that the Tanakh and ALL OF THE MITZVOT are completely objective and simple, provide one Mitzvot that is ambiguous.
Number two, we are reading out of the same Tanakh, we shouldn"t come up with anything different;
"G-d creates the earth, Adam and Eve sin, they get kicked out, the earth turns evil, there"s a flood, Noah and his families survive."
Subjective still? No, absolutely not, that"s what it says, there"s no question that this is what happened, there is no "interpret" here, that"s what it says. If I and my brother were put in separate rooms, we would come out whit the same story, the EXACT SAME STORY.

False, this was all known by the Egyptians, see here:
Also, you are mixing two things that I said together, the thing about trillions of start came from a prophet because it was derived from G-d talking to someone; I said that the knowledge of the water was just them knowing about the Tanakh"s incredible knowledge.
In regards to a baby being a human at 40 days of pregnancy, this was discovered by Aristotle, and there was no reference to this before, hence, it was integrated into the Oral Torah at the time of Aristotle:
Debate Round No. 4


Ketuvim forfeited this round.


Let's sum up all of my arguments in an abridged manner.

In the words of the historian Rabbi Yosef Eisen,

In the mid-700s, the Exilarch Shlomo died childless. Logically, the elder of his two nephews, Anan, should have inherited the position. However, the Geonim of the time had reason to doubt Anan's character and beliefs, and despite being intellectually superior to his younger brother, Anan was passed over. Anan then declared himself Exilarch, and the Muslim authorities, which had confirmed the Geonim's choice for Exilarch, imprisoned Anan for rebellion. Awaiting execution, Anan, by claiming to be a member of a breakaway Jewish sect, was able to convince the Caliph to release him. Upon release, Anan founded the Karaite movement, which was basically a resurrection of the Sadducean heresy.
Karaites argue that the Oral Law was invented by the Sages, but they cannot give us a date when this process started. You said that it was after Josiah's reign, and others say that they were invented after the destruction of the First Temple. You cannot tell us when the oral law sprang up, but we know exactly when Karaism sprang up. Furthermore, we have reason to believe that the oral law is from Moses because of archaeological discoveries, which have revealed tefillin and mikvehs, all of which accord to rabbinic tradition. Your movement is relatively new in comparison to the Oral Law that we have been following for thousands of years, and we should not abandon what we received from Moses because of your silly claims.

1. The Torah is very ambiguous. Therefore it cannot possibly be followed without an objective interpretation.
2. You will say that the Torah is not ambiguous and can be interpreted according to logic and common sense. However this is flawed. If you interpret the verses according to your logic, and someone from another community does the same; you may have two different Torahs. That is not objective. If you disagree, you are simultaneously agreeing with me, because if there is any manner of dispute, that shows that the Torah is ambiguous by default. This should be obvious and self-evident. You cannot squeeze an entire civil law which applies for all time into five books. There are plenty of things that the Torah does not address. You will say "Things like this should be obvious", and I will respond "Obvious to you, but not to your fellow."
3. This does not detract from the Torah's perfection. The fact that the Written Torah cannot and does not stand alone does not make it any less perfect. What is it like? Like a perfect children's picture book without actual words, making it nearly impossible to understand the message.

The Karaite has argued that the rabbis are guilty of adding to the Torah, thus violating the prohibition "Do not add or subtract" (Deut 4:2). I still do not know what this refers to, but let's go over all possibilities and answer them one by one:

1. The Karaite is referring to the Oral Law:
This is circular reasoning; a grievous logical fallacy. It's basically saying "Since I am right, you are wrong." I am arguing that the oral law was ALSO given at Mt. Sinai. Thus, you not believing in it would be violating the prohibition against "do not subtract" (ibid.) You cannot use the subject of debate as an argument in that very debate.
2. The Karaite is referring to rabbinical ordinances and fences around the Torah:
Either way, rabbis have permission to add ordinances, as it says, "You shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left." (Deut 17:11). But that aside, most rabbinic ordinances are not actually mitzvot in themselves, but "fences" around mitzvot. In other words, the Sages make things forbidden as a precaution so that nobody should transgress a Biblical commandment. For example: Deoraita, a person may fulfill his obligation to recite the nighttime Shema until the light of dawn arises. However, in order to prevent procrastination, the Sages declared that it may only be said until midnight. This is a protective fence around the Torah, and such ordinances have saved many from sin.
3. The Karaite is referring to rabbinic commentaries and expositions on the Tanakh:
I don't know why this should be considered adding at all. They are not editing the Torah scroll, all they are doing is adding notes and thoughts to help understand the ever-so ambiguous Torah.

Karaites only believe in the Tanakh and reject the oral Torah. However, this is very hypocritical for the following reasons:

1. It is only through the strict oral laws of writing Torah scrolls that we have preserved the original Torah manuscript.
2. It was the Jewish Sages who canonized the Tanakh.
3. The vowels were added to the Tanakh by Masoretes, all of whom did so using oral tradition.
4. (This last reason is connected to the above argument of "do not add") You say that we are liable for adding to the Torah. In that case, why do you believe in the Prophets and Writings? Those are not additions? And they are certainly far more authoritative than the medieval rabbinic commentaries.

You are only able to read from the Tanakh because of the oral tradition which preserved it, through its canonization, and through the Masorete vowels.

Throughout the course of our debate, you have displayed much hypocrisy. Let us be brief and list a mere 3 examples:

1. You have not yet made it clear if you believe that there was an oral law or not. On one hand you say perhaps, and on the other; there was no oral law.
2. You have said that it is impossible for the Sages to have received tradition from Moses, but remarkably you admitted that it was possible for them to have received tradition from both Egypt and Greece.
3. When I pointed out that the Sages had knowledge of frozen water in space (comets, thus displaying their divine knowledge), originally you said that this was knowledge not from the Sages, but from a prophet. That was debunked, and then you later said that they may have been talking about the water on top of the firmament, and not above it. That was debunked, and then you later said that they knew it from the Tanakh through exegesis. The Tanakh does not mention abundant frozen water in space, so therefore you have just been exposed as severely hypocritical; because you admitted to the Sages' supreme exegetical abilities.

Throughout the course of our debate, you displayed logical fallacies (mainly circular reasoning. In other words, blatant unsubstantiated claims). Let us list 3 examples:

1. One of your arguments against the Oral Torah was that "G-d did not give the Israelites an Oral Torah". This is circular reasoning. I am claiming the exact opposite. You cannot use the subject of debate as an argument to further your means.
2. You (according to one version of my understanding) argued that the Sages' oral law was an addition to the Torah, which violates the commandment against adding. Again, circular reasoning. Assuming that the laws did come from Moses (And are thus just as, if not more, authoritative), that is not adding at all. I can pull the same card and say that you are SUBTRACTING from the Oral Torah.
3. Last: Straw man. You said that I was using the King James version of the Bible, but this is a lie. I was using Mechon Mamre's translation, which is remarkably similar to the King James version on several occasions, but not the same. If you carefully compared the two versions, you would notice the difference. Since you were so eager to catch me making a mistake, you acted before you thought.

You have also shown to have very poor knowledge in basic Jewish history. Let's list three examples:
1. You said that there were 6,000,000 Jews around Mt Sinai. This is a lie, for there were only about 2,000,000 Jews there.
2. You implied that the Torah was given 4000 years ago. Again, a lie. The Torah was given no longer than 3400 years ago.
3. You said that the Egyptians knew that there are trillions of stars. Again, a lie. While the Egyptians may have been experts in astronomy, they certainly did not have that knowledge. (to the best of my knowledge) Nobody, other than the Jewish sages, knew of the concept of billions of stars until Galileo Galilei came with his telescope.

Why should we listen to a person who is prone to make so many mistakes - ranging from hypocrisy, to logical fallacies, to historical inaccuracies?

For the rest, see here:

Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mosc 1 month ago
To interpret the Written Torah requires a logic system. Why? Because no single generation makes a nation. All generations require the identical logic system - revealed at Sinai - which permits them to equally interpret the Written Torah. The Karaite movement denies the existence of the Oral Torah logic system. This places them on par with the Xtian church which also denies the existence of the Oral Torah logic system. Just as Xtians have no portion in Torah so too Karaites.
Posted by harrytruman 2 years ago
For the most part it was I made suggestions and he included some, we only teamed on round five because he was running out of time,
Posted by harrytruman 2 years ago
We didn't post on shabbat, it was FRIDAY, there's a difference, aside from that it was easter Sunday with me and he had other buisdness.
Posted by talmid 2 years ago
Really?! You posted your argument on Shabbat previously, in this very debate; now all of the sudden you care about Shabbat? And don't give me that nonsense that you didn't have time. I was up until 4am writing my response, and that basically ruined my whole week. From when I posted my argument, you had something like 3 days to write a response. And also, you guys were teaming?!
- Pathetic
- Pathetic
- Pathetic...
Posted by Ketuvim 2 years ago
We didn't have time to write, so we forfeited, thanks Talmid.
Posted by harrytruman 2 years ago
well, talmid, you played dirty posting right before shabbat, we ran out of time to finish our argument with only one day left.
Posted by talmid 2 years ago
Wow no votes so far?
Posted by Yavneh 2 years ago
This is pretty good.
Posted by talmid 2 years ago
NEVERMIND! Here you can view my document
Posted by talmid 2 years ago
@ketuvim I don't know how to make my docs visible to all. Please request access and I will grant it to you, and then you can reiterate my arguments in your own document.
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