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Dunderman
05-15-2005, 10:46 AM
I once spent a night at an airport when I was approached by a young Jewish man who asked me if I would be willing to complete their minyan (a gathering of ten men needed for a congregation of prayer, which I knew). I immediately said that I was an atheist and wouldn't have a shadow of a clue what to say, if anything, during the service, but if that didn't bother them I'd be more than willing to help them out. He said there was no problem as long as I was sincere in my wish to help them. So I ended up standing in an airport in the middle of the night, wearing a yarmulke and holding hands with nine Jewish guys. It was kind of cool, actually.

Now, my question: I didn't have time to talk to them afterwards, as their plane was leaving. What kind of Judaism did they belong to? What sect would accept an atheist as the tenth man in a minyan, while at the same time taking the service seriously enough that they want to get it done before they leave? Is there some kind of emergency provision, like the rule that all the other rules are overturned in case of mortal danger?

Alessan
05-15-2005, 10:51 AM
1. Are you of Jewish ancestry? The rules don't care about what you do or don't believe in - what's important is what you are.

2. The holding hands sounds.... weird.

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 10:53 AM
1. Are you of Jewish ancestry? The rules don't care about what you do or don't believe in - what's important is what you are.
Nope, forgot to mention that. To my knowledge there's not a drop of Jewish blood in me, and I pointed that out to him as well.
2. The holding hands sounds.... weird.
It does? We stood in a ring holding hands for most of the service. Is that weird?

Alessan
05-15-2005, 11:04 AM
Nope, forgot to mention that. To my knowledge there's not a drop of Jewish blood in me, and I pointed that out to him as well.
Huh. The Jewishness of the participants is pretty much the basis of a minyan. Sort of the whole point.


It does? We stood in a ring holding hands for most of the service. Is that weird?

I don't know of any Jews who don't pray facing towards Jerusalem; usually while reading the prayer from a book.

This is all real nuts-and-bolts doctrine we're talking about here. These guys don't sound like any Jewish sect I've ever heard of.

friedo
05-15-2005, 11:06 AM
They might have been those Jews for Jesus dudes. They're pretty weird. And it's not like they give a rat's ass about Jewish doctrine. ;j

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 11:09 AM
They might have been those Jews for Jesus dudes. They're pretty weird. And it's not like they give a rat's ass about Jewish doctrine. ;j
But they still use minyans, and pray in Hebrew?

The memory of this experience is starting to feel very different to me. Who were those guys?

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:11 AM
I once spent a night at an airport when I was approached by a young Jewish man who asked me if I would be willing to complete their minyan (a gathering of ten men needed for a congregation of prayer, which I knew). I immediately said that I was an atheist and wouldn't have a shadow of a clue what to say, if anything, during the service, but if that didn't bother them I'd be more than willing to help them out. He said there was no problem as long as I was sincere in my wish to help them. So I ended up standing in an airport in the middle of the night, wearing a yarmulke and holding hands with nine Jewish guys. It was kind of cool, actually.

Now, my question: I didn't have time to talk to them afterwards, as their plane was leaving. What kind of Judaism did they belong to? What sect would accept an atheist as the tenth man in a minyan, while at the same time taking the service seriously enough that they want to get it done before they leave? Is there some kind of emergency provision, like the rule that all the other rules are overturned in case of mortal danger?

Minyan is a requirement for several types of prayers. In this case, I expect ma'ariv. Here is some information: http://www.askmoses.com/qa_detail.html?h=287&o=161 .

As regards to the flavor of the Jews, we need more info! Did they have four tassels or string bunches hanging out from the corners of the bottom of their shirt? Black hats? Yarmulke? Peyes (side curls)? Regular clothes or black/white only? Did they have wives with them? How ere they dressed? Where in the country was this?

Likely you ran into a group of general Orthodox Jews. However, they could have also been Chassidic, or, less likely, Conservative. But the grabbing of a stranger suggests orthodox.

Details! We need more clues!

Inkleberry the ;j

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:16 AM
I don't know of any Jews who don't pray facing towards Jerusalem; usually while reading the prayer from a book. .


That's MUSLIMS. ISLAMIC people. Not us Jews.

Please do not confuse.

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:17 AM
Nope, forgot to mention that. To my knowledge there's not a drop of Jewish blood in me, and I pointed that out to him as well.

It does? We stood in a ring holding hands for most of the service. Is that weird?


It was an emergency minyan, and was halachically OK. Normally not so OK, but hey, in a pinch you did just fine.

Holding hands is not odd at all, from minyans I have been involved in for ma'ariv.

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 11:21 AM
As regards to the flavor of the Jews, we need more info! Did they have four tassels or string bunches hanging out from the corners of the bottom of their shirt?
Not so I noticed.
Black hats? Yarmulke?
Yarmulke. Had one spare for me, too.
Peyes (side curls)?
Yep.
Regular clothes or black/white only?
Black/white, but not the really austere sort I saw in Jewish neighborhoods when I was in Antwerp.
Did they have wives with them?
No.
Where in the country was this?
I suppose you meant "world". Schiphol airport, Amsterdam. I'm pretty sure they weren't local, though. They were also either native English speakers or just very good at English.
Likely you ran into a group of general Orthodox Jews. However, they could have also been Chassidic, or, less likely, Conservative. But the grabbing of a stranger suggests orthodox.
Would Orthodox Jews grab a non-Jewish stranger? That was the last group I would have guessed at. Do Orthodox Jews routinely grab strangers when needed?
It was an emergency minyan, and was halachically OK. Normally not so OK, but hey, in a pinch you did just fine.
When do you hold an emergency minyan? Why did they need to hold one right then and there?

Alessan
05-15-2005, 11:25 AM
That's MUSLIMS. ISLAMIC people. Not us Jews.

Please do not confuse.

I said Jerusalem, not Mecca.

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:26 AM
I said Jerusalem, not Mecca.

Jews do not pray in the direction of anything.

Again, that is Muslims.

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:34 AM
Not so I noticed.

Yarmulke. Had one spare for me, too.
Black/white, but not the really austere sort I saw in Jewish neighborhoods when I was in Antwerp.
I suppose you meant "world". Schiphol airport, Amsterdam. I'm pretty sure they weren't local, though. They were also either native English speakers or just very good at English.
Would Orthodox Jews grab a non-Jewish stranger? That was the last group I would have guessed at. Do Orthodox Jews routinely grab strangers when needed?
When do you hold an emergency minyan? Why did they need to hold one right then and there?


Congratulations, you found a free-roaming pack of Chassidic Jews! This flavor of Jews, while sometimes appearing oddly dressed to non-Jews, are very friendly, and will happily chat up strangers. They do a lot of outreach (Hillell, Moses.com, etc). They do more hand-holding, singing, and dancing stuff with their prayer. They are a type of ecstatic Jew. Also, their cafe at UMASS Amherst makes a tasty vegetarian pizza.

They don't usually grab strangers, unless they have to in order to round out a minyan or some such. As for the emergency, when it's time for ma'ariv, it's time for ma'ariv.

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 11:40 AM
They do more hand-holding, singing, and dancing stuff with their prayer. They are a type of ecstatic Jew.
Well, these guys stood still, but they may have been quietly ecstatic, of course.
As for the emergency, when it's time for ma'ariv, it's time for ma'ariv.
Is it time for ma'ariv in the middle of the night? It was after midnight, maybe 1 or 2 am. In fact, they probably picked me because I was the first guy they found that was awake. Could it be the case that their plane wouldn't land until after time for ma'ariv, and they doubted they'd be able to do it on board (or maybe they weren't all going on the same plane), so they did a pre-emptive ma'ariv?

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 11:50 AM
Well, these guys stood still, but they may have been quietly ecstatic, of course.

Is it time for ma'ariv in the middle of the night? It was after midnight, maybe 1 or 2 am. In fact, they probably picked me because I was the first guy they found that was awake. Could it be the case that their plane wouldn't land until after time for ma'ariv, and they doubted they'd be able to do it on board (or maybe they weren't all going on the same plane), so they did a pre-emptive ma'ariv?

Ma'ariv is a night prayer, done 45 min after sundown (approx).

Did they tell you why they needed a minyan at that time or what prayer they were saying? I'm not sure what prayer they were saying then, or whether they were praying based on their home-land time, rather than local time, which might make a difference.

In any case, you were needed and you agreed, and that is a mitzvah. Good on you.

For more information about Jews, and Chassidic Jews especially, please see http://www.askmoses.com or look in your phone book for your local chabod house. They will be more than happy to help.

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 11:52 AM
Did they tell you why they needed a minyan at that time or what prayer they were saying?
No. They were in a bit of a hurry and since I'd already said I didn't have a clue what to do or say I guess they thought it was a waste of time to educate me then and there.

GilaB
05-15-2005, 12:28 PM
Jews do not pray in the direction of anything.

Again, that is Muslims.

Orthodox Jews, at least, pray in the direction of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, one prays in the direction of the Temple Mount.

Orthodox Jews would have also asked if you were Jewish first. The tenth guy doesn't have to pray, or know anything, but he definitely needs to be Jewish. I don't know who these guys were, but I doubt they were any sort of Orthodox, Hasidim included.

Ma'ariv can be prayed in the middle of the night. 45 minutes after sundown is the earliest possible time, but if one didn't get to it earlier, one can pray it until predawn hours. One or two AM should be fine pretty much anywhere. If a group knew they were going to get to their destination during a time when it was OK for ma'ariv, they probably would have waited to pray at the airport, when they can assemble, stand, orient towards Jerusalem, etc., rather than try to pray on the plane at the earliest possible time.

ouryL
05-15-2005, 12:41 PM
Nope, forgot to mention that. To my knowledge there's not a drop of Jewish blood in me, and I pointed that out to him as well.

It does? We stood in a ring holding hands for most of the service. Is that weird?

Obviously, you haven't been part of a prayer circle. :rolleyes:

Dunderman
05-15-2005, 12:46 PM
Obviously, you haven't been part of a prayer circle. :rolleyes:
Please roll your eyes at Alessan; I didn't think it was weird.

GilaB
05-15-2005, 12:49 PM
oury, It's not that he's asking if 'standing in a circle holding hands praying' is weird. He's asking if that's a weird thing for a group of Jews to be doing. I've never heard of an Orthodox group doing this - is this something Conservative or Reform Jews do? (I've never heard of it in that context either, but my experience there is much more limited.) Would Conservative/Reform people want a ma'ariv minyan at 1 am in an airport, for that matter?

inkleberry
05-15-2005, 12:58 PM
oury, It's not that he's asking if 'standing in a circle holding hands praying' is weird. He's asking if that's a weird thing for a group of Jews to be doing. I've never heard of an Orthodox group doing this - is this something Conservative or Reform Jews do? (I've never heard of it in that context either, but my experience there is much more limited.) Would Conservative/Reform people want a ma'ariv minyan at 1 am in an airport, for that matter?


I've seen the hand holding, but it may have been because everyone knew each other. Conservative wouldn't be dressed like that though, and likely not run around in the airport in such a manner.

Any Hasids in the audience? Don't make me bug a rabbi. I already fielded the "are lambskin condoms trieyfe, meat, or pareve?" question.*


*Since you hopefully don't swallow them, they aren't anything. But you shouldn't be using condoms anyway, you bad Jew. Please do not bug this Rabbi again, thank you.

DocCathode
05-15-2005, 06:39 PM
Jews do not pray in the direction of anything.

Again, that is Muslims.

So, Rabbi Klears, Rabbi Cove, Rabbi Greenberg and all those others I've seen lead services over the years were wrong?

And, what exactly do we say at the end of a seder?

BTW

A similar situation happened at a synagogue one day. Sid Mayer called in sick at the last minute. There were ten people present, but the tenth was the rabbi's wife and this was an orthodox synagogue. So, the rabbi told everybody to go outside and ask passersby if they would complete the minyan. Everybody rushes outside and splits up. The rabbi's wife sees a Jewish looking man and asks him "Will you be the tenth?". He looks at her and says "Lady, I wouldn't even want to be the first!"

hajario
05-15-2005, 08:53 PM
The same thing happened to me at LAX and I even posted (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=189729) about it. In my case they definitely asked if I was Jewish first. A guy was on his way to NYC for his mother's funeral and he wanted to say Kaddish (the memorial prayer) for her.

Haj

Manda JO
05-15-2005, 09:05 PM
Friendly note: inklberry, Alessan is an Israeli Jewish person. So while you can argue with him about nuances, you probably ought not give him a lecture on the differences between Islam and Judiaism.

DocCathode
05-15-2005, 09:14 PM
Friendly note: inklberry, Alessan is an Israeli Jewish person. So while you can argue with him about nuances, you probably ought not give him a lecture on the differences between Islam and Judiaism.

Nitpick- A stray remark about the Russian WW2 airforce 'That wasn't gasoline. Those planes were fueled by pure distilled fury' leads to me believe that Alessan(As well as his dad) were born and raised in Russia, then moved to Israel.

Hmm I wonder if it could be a Sephardic/ Ashkenazic difference? Inkleberry What branch of the bagel tree are you from?

Dunderman
05-16-2005, 01:00 AM
About the non-Jewish thing: Let's say they were going on separate and long flights. Could that be why they settled for having nine Jews and one non-Jew, rather than having to do an in-flight minyan with maybe five non-Jews, or not doing it at all?

GilaB
05-16-2005, 02:37 AM
A minyan's an all-or-nothing thing; either you've got the ten Jewish guys or you don't. If you don't, then you pray without one, and that's that. Nine Jewish guys plus one non-Jew is functionally the same as one Jewish guy by himself in terms of the prayers that can only be said with a minyan.

I'm pretty mystified by what happened to you, honestly.

inkleberry, I don't think there are any Hasidim on the boards, unless they lurk. I think there used to be a Lubavich poster back in the day, but I haven't seen him around for over a year. You're stuck with us misnagdish types.

Dunderman
05-16-2005, 02:56 AM
I'm pretty mystified by what happened to you, honestly.
Huh. I'm trying to remember more details to help clear this up, but it happened a few years ago so my memory isn't that sharp. I suppose they could have been from some tiny sect that has changed its concept of minyan, but in my experience tiny sects tend to be more stringent, rather than less.

Alessan
05-16-2005, 03:05 AM
Nitpick- A stray remark about the Russian WW2 airforce 'That wasn't gasoline. Those planes were fueled by pure distilled fury' leads to me believe that Alessan(As well as his dad) were born and raised in Russia, then moved to Israel.

Hmm I wonder if it could be a Sephardic/ Ashkenazic difference? Inkleberry What branch of the bagel tree are you from?

My Dad was born and raised in Teaneck, NJ; I was born in Israel, but I spent several years in the States as a young child. My comment on Russia probably comes from the fact that Israelis are more aware of the Russian contribution to WW2 than Americans tend to be - I'd say there are more Soviet WW2 vets in this country than there are from any other of the Allies.

I'm Ashkenazic, my wife's Sephardic, I'm a Conservative Jew in a largely Orthodox country. I've been exposed to a broad variety of Jewish communities, including Reform, and my observations pretty much apply to mainstream Judaism in all its variations.

OTOH, the OP may indeed be speaking of Chabad. Who knows what those weirdos are up to nowadays - I barely consider some of them Jewish aymore, what with their undead Rebbe and all.

zev_steinhardt
05-16-2005, 10:11 AM
If they were Orthodox Jews, they certainly should have asked you if you were Jewish - and they definitely would not have included you after you actively told them that you weren't Jewish. Conservative Jews would also require that you be Jewish. In addition, I'm 99% certain that Reform Jews would also require that you be Jewish before you join a minyan. There are no "emergency" provisions that would allow a non-Jew to be counted toward a minyan (and I can't imagine any life-threatening situation where one would be needed - "Help! Quick! Timmy fell down the well! Get the minyan!")

Ma'ariv, as others have pointed out, is recited at night and can be recited all night long.

I'm not aware of *any* Jewish prayer ritual that requires the participants to stand in circle and hold hands. (Note: On Simchas Torah, we dance (usually in circles) and hold the hands of the next person - but (a) that's not a prayer and (b) if it was Simchas Torah, those people should not have been travelling by plane - that's a major holiday).

In short, Priceguy, I have no idea who those people were. They definitely weren't Orthodox, nor Conservative, and I'd lay very good odds that they weren't Reform either.

Zev Steinhardt

vetbridge
05-16-2005, 10:34 AM
Don't make me bug a rabbi. I already fielded the "are lambskin condoms trieyfe, meat, or pareve?" question.*


*Since you hopefully don't swallow them, they aren't anything. But you shouldn't be using condoms anyway, you bad Jew. Please do not bug this Rabbi again, thank you.

Does inhalation count?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14870871&dopt=Abstract

Khadaji
05-16-2005, 10:35 AM
Not to highjack, but is minyan pronounces as I am guessing? Sorta like minion?

zev_steinhardt
05-16-2005, 10:37 AM
min-YON or min-YUN.

Zev Steinhardt

hajario
05-16-2005, 12:50 PM
In addition, I'm 99% certain that Reform Jews would also require that you be Jewish before you join a minyan.

You can crank that up to 100%. One twist to that is that Reform Jews are more liberal on who can be considered Jewish (having a Jewish father but not a Jewish mother counts) so a Reform minyan might contain people who are non-Jews by Orthodox standards.

Haj

Anne Neville
05-16-2005, 03:07 PM
a Reform minyan might contain people who are non-Jews by Orthodox standards.

A Reform or Conservative minyan could also include women as well as men.

DocCathode
05-16-2005, 07:52 PM
OTOH, the OP may indeed be speaking of Chabad. Who knows what those weirdos are up to nowadays - I barely consider some of them Jewish aymore, what with their undead Rebbe and all.

:confused: Are those the followers of Shmereson (almost certainly misspelled)? I thought that all but a tiny lunatic fringe had given up on the idea that he would rise again.

DrDeth
05-16-2005, 11:19 PM
I (and I can't imagine any life-threatening situation where one would be needed - "Help! Quick! Timmy fell down the well! Get the minyan!")

.

Zev Steinhardt

LO! I fell off my chair, and the cat is looking at me as if I am demented..... :) :) :)

But back to the question- any idea of who these dudes might be? I have a freind (well, an ex-freind) who is a member of a weird Xian cult that keeps Kosher and even AFAIK Passover, so could it be....?

WeRSauron
05-16-2005, 11:38 PM
DocCathode - I believe you mean Schneerson, as in Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (z'chur l'tov). Those who follow him are usually Lubavitcher Chassidic Orthodox Jews. There's a very small number of Lubavitcher Chassidic Orthodox Jews who believed he was the Messiah truly and really and that after his death he will rise again. Many other Lubavitchers (from what I can gather from the Internet and from speaking to a few) believe that R' Schneerson was a potential Messiah: they believe that every generation has a potential Messiah, who will become the real Messiah when 'Am Yisrael is ready. Since Jews weren't ready - or so they say - Schneerson did not become the Messiah.

Regarding the OP: I seriously doubt they were, in any halakhic sense, Jewish. If someone asked me to be in a minyan (since I know what it is and what rules apply to it), I would have refused. I am not Jewish, and I will not participate as if I were one. It makes a mockery of halakhah.

When Jews pray, they face Jerusalem. Jews in Israel also face Jerusalem. Jews in Jerusalem face the Temple. Jews at the Temple face of Holy of Holies. Every single book I have on Jewish prayer, including siddurim, states this. This also explains the elaborate "Mizrach" (meaning "East") hangings available at Jewish stores. I have never ever heard of any prayer done in a circle or holding hands. After all, one's hands must be free to hold the siddur (prayerbook).

Non-Jews can never be counted in a minyan, by all schools of Jewish halakhah it seems.

To summarize: they weren't real Jews. If they thought they were, their understanding of halakhah is seriously deficient.

WRS

DrDeth
05-17-2005, 12:12 AM
DocCathode - I believe you mean Schneerson, as in Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (z'chur l'tov). Those who follow him are usually Lubavitcher Chassidic Orthodox Jews. There's a very small number of Lubavitcher Chassidic Orthodox Jews who believed he was the Messiah truly and really and that after his death he will rise again.
WRS

Here is a side question. If these dudes still really believe that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson still is the messiah- are they still a Jewish Sect? I mean- there are some odd cults/sects that keep Kosher and all- but claim that Jesus is the messiah- are they Jewish sects or Xian sects? ;j

And, I thought there were still some Samaritians- those who still worhsip at other sacred mountains and didn't accept the Temple- would they be considered a Jewish sect?
:confused:

WeRSauron
05-17-2005, 12:30 AM
Here is a side question. If these dudes still really believe that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson still is the messiah- are they still a Jewish Sect? I mean- there are some odd cults/sects that keep Kosher and all- but claim that Jesus is the messiah- are they Jewish sects or Xian sects? ;j

And, I thought there were still some Samaritians- those who still worhsip at other sacred mountains and didn't accept the Temple- would they be considered a Jewish sect?
:confused:

Excellent questions. :-)

Those who accept R. Schneerson as the Messiah are, in some regards, still Jewish. More stringent Jews have said that their belief in Schneerson as the Messiah has made them apostates: this was said while the Rebbe was still alive. If not for this fact, they would certainly be considered Jewish. Lubavitcher Chassidic Jews are Orthodox Jews, if not very Orthodox. (Nonetheless, they warmly welcome Jews of all types and levels of observance to their synagogues, but this is in an attempt to convert more wayward Jews to more proper Jews.) Their acceptance of Schneerson as Messiah is in a very different category than Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah.

Jews for Schneerson, as it were, believe he was/is the Messiah. But this does not make him the Son of God, anything connected with the Godhead, or able to offer salvation. The only salvation the Messiah can bring is deliverance from exile, gathering in of the Jews, reestablishment of Israel, rebuilding of the Temple, and basically the wholescale restoration of Israel's glory and favor in and with the world and God.

Jews for Jesus, however, believe Jesus was/is the Son of God, a member of the Godhead (along with the Holy Spirit or Ruach ha-Qodesh). They basically put a very Jewish flavor to Christianity and, as such, are classified as Messianic Jews or Hebraic Christians; they properly belong in the religious category of Christianity rather than Judaism (as much as they may say they are Jews and not Christians).

Samaritans are a very old sect. They date back to the first exile. They, basically, were Jews who intermarried with pagans after the first exile. Halakhically, they are not Jews. Their Torah is different (and written in a different script), they reject the Oral Torah, they reject the authority of books other than the Torah (defined as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses), they had their own Temple (on Mt. Gerizim), they still offer a sacrifice (on Passover or Yom Kippur - I forgot which). They are not considered to be Jews by the Orthodox, and relations with Jews are still pretty frosty. Nevertheless, Israel has done much to help and support the Samaritans. The Samaritans are, however, dying out.

WRS

Alessan
05-17-2005, 04:04 AM
If the Lubavitch Rebbe loyalists are a tiny minority, they're also a very vocal minority with a huge advertising budget. Everywhere I go here in Tel Aviv, I see the old man's mug - plastered to walls, on billboards and on the sides of buses, all directly or indirectly calling him the Messiah, and often promoting some right-wing agenda (apparently, the Rebbe opposes Sharon's disengagement plan from beyond the grave). Like it or not, they're the public face of Chabad. Just check out the website (http://www.chabad.net/).

As a (moderately) observant Jew, the whole deal makes me mildly nauseous. In general, I object to the worship of dead rabbis - the fact neither Moses nor Elijah, the greatest religious figures in Jewish history, had marked tombs makes me believe that paying too much homage to the departed is inherently sacriligious. The Lubavitchers have taken this even further, and in my opinion they're edging into Shabbetai Tzvi territory.

Besides, I'm of Lituanian descent from my father's side, and thus genetically disposed to dislike Hassidim.




Incidentally - nice summery, WeRSauron

DocCathode
05-17-2005, 12:18 PM
As a (moderately) observant Jew, the whole deal makes me mildly nauseous. In general, I object to the worship of dead rabbis - the fact neither Moses nor Elijah, the greatest religious figures in Jewish history, had marked tombs makes me believe that paying too much homage to the departed is inherently sacriligious.

For nonJews following the thread, numerous Jewish sages have agreed that Moses' tomb is unknown for precisely that reason- to keep pilgrims from visiting and paying homage to Moses' rather than a certain somebody who spoke to him through a burning bush.

I thought Elijah had no tomb because he was taken up by a chariot of fire rather than dying in the usual fashion?

The Lubavitchers have taken this even further, and in my opinion they're edging into Shabbetai Tzvi territory.

(I usually see it spelled Zevi. Note that I'm not saying your wrong, just that there are variant spellings) Again for the gentiles reading, a bunch of folks believed Zevi was the messiah. He responded by declaring that he was. Then, he did things like marry a torah in a public ceremony, speak the ineffable name of G-d (sometimes called the tetragrammaton), declare that his followers could eat pork, etc. Zevi wandered into the territory of a Muslim ruler. He was given the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Zevi converted and took a Muslim name.

WeRSauron
05-17-2005, 12:54 PM
I thought Elijah had no tomb because he was taken up by a chariot of fire rather than dying in the usual fashion?

Indeed. :-) If I remember correctly, Jews believe that Elijah (Eliyahu haNavi) is still alive. There are numerous stories in the Talmud of Eliyahu haNavi appearing to resolve this or that issue. Jews believe that Eliyahu haNavi will come before the Redemption by the Messiah. It is for this reason that on Pesach the door is opened and he is invited, should he have arrived.

The sooner Eliyahu haNavi comes, the sooner the Redemption comes, which is why Jews pray at every meal: "Harachaman hi yishlach lanu et Elyahu hanavi zakhur latov, vivaser lanu b'sorot tovot y'shuot v'nechamot." This means, "The compassionate One! May He send us Elijah, the Prophet - he is remembered for good - to proclaim to us good tidings, salvations, and consolations." (From the fourth blessing of Birkhat haMazon, from The Complete ArtScroll Siddur (Siddur Ahavat Shalom) - nusach Ashkenaz.)

(I usually see it spelled Zevi. Note that I'm not saying your wrong, just that there are variant spellings)

Tzvi, Tzevi, Zvi, Zevi. But nothing like the variants for Chanukah!

Again for the gentiles reading, a bunch of folks believed Zevi was the messiah. He responded by declaring that he was. Then, he did things like marry a torah in a public ceremony, speak the ineffable name of G-d (sometimes called the tetragrammaton), declare that his followers could eat pork, etc. Zevi wandered into the territory of a Muslim ruler. He was given the choice of conversion to Islam or death. Zevi converted and took a Muslim name.

That didn't stop his followers, though! They believed that as the Messiah he had to descend to the lowest depths in order to redeem the divine sparks in all of creation. This he could only do by converting to Islam. Some of his followers followed him in converting to Islam: outwardly they were Muslim but inwardly they were Jews. His theology was quite complex and convoluted. But his movement was so popular and spread so fast and wide, that when things settled down, the rabbis were left in utter shock, dismay, and horror. This is one reason why rabbis are extremely cautious about anyone's claim to be the Messiah, and why often rabbis will even resort to declaring wayward Jews in this regard to be apostates: the potential for damage is so strong and severe that they attempt to stop any such movement before it gets out of hand. They do not want a repeat of Tz'vi.

If I remember correctly, Tz'vi was bipolar; not that this made him what he was, but it explains a lot of what he did.

WRS - This is fun!

Sampiro
05-18-2005, 10:58 PM
Pardon the hijack, but this is reminding me of an episode (http://home.comcast.net/~mcnotes/422.html) of Northern Exposure. Joel's uncle dies, he is unable to leave town and needs 9 other Jews to form a minyan, and the town begins advertising for them. A few are found (including a British oil engineer, a homeless drifter who happens to be Jewish, etc.) In a brilliant dream sequence Joel is in the Old West where a posse is being formed of Jews- men wearing Star of David badges while a western style theme plays in klezmer. In the end Joel, feeling no sense of connection to the nine strangers, forms a minyan of his friends.

edwino
05-19-2005, 12:22 AM
That's funny, Sampiro, I was thinking the same thing. I just remember when he interviews some giant, redhead, bearded oil rig worker, and to prove his Judaism, he asks him to recite the Sh'ma. In a very New York accent he responds "sh'ma yisroel hashem elokenu hashem echad" which convinces Joel. Haven't even thought about that show in years...

Pleonast
05-19-2005, 10:12 AM
When Jews pray, they face Jerusalem. Jews in Israel also face Jerusalem. Jews in Jerusalem face the Temple. Jews at the Temple face of Holy of Holies.And presumably when inside the Holy of Holies, they face the Ark?

[blasphemous gentile]
And when sitting on the Ark, which way does a Jew face when he prays?
[/blasphemous gentile]

Sorry, but as a physicist, singularities are extremely fascinating.

Sampiro
05-19-2005, 10:46 AM
[blasphemous gentile]
And when sitting on the Ark, which way does a Jew face when he prays?
[/blasphemous gentile]


It wouldn't much matter- they'd be dead in a matter of seconds.

elfbabe
05-19-2005, 12:25 PM
"Help! Quick! Timmy fell down the well! Get the minyan!"

*can't stop laughing*

adirondack_mike
05-19-2005, 12:34 PM
Indeed. :-) There are numerous stories in the Talmud of Eliyahu haNavi appearing to resolve this or that issue. Jews believe that Eliyahu haNavi will come before the Redemption by the Messiah. It is for this reason that on Pesach the door is opened and he is invited, should he have arrived.

IIRC it is not that Eliyahu resolved the issue but the issue was left unresolved and that when the messiah comes (Eliyahu) the issue could be resolved. Such is the debate if there should be four or five cups of wine at the seder. When Eliyahu shows up we'll ask him what to do (although there will probably be other things on our minds - but after awhile we'll get down to the small stuff). Apparently the Talmud didn't come up with the coin toss.

Kimstu
05-19-2005, 01:31 PM
Yeah, I'm going to go with the opinion that what the OP encountered was actually a group of "Messianic Jews" or "Jews for Jesus", people who self-identify as Jewish (a number of whom actually are Jewish by birth) and adopt a lot of the customs of modern Judaism, while also believing in the divinity of Jesus. The sidecurls/traditional clothing/praying in Hebrew part sounds a little unusual, but many of those folks take their version of Jewish observance very seriously, and it wouldn't surprise me if they extended it that far.

(If their prayers said anything about "Yeshua", the Messianic Jews' name for Jesus, you can be pretty sure that that's who they were.)