בס"ד This is a blog for Jews who feel a sense of deep identification with HaYachad (Dead Sea Sect). This group is for Jews who feel nostalgia and longing for a Judaism that was, and a profound yearning for it to be again. Our way leads to the Self-realization and, on an even more deeply satisfying level, the Mutual-Realization of Mashi'ach. That is what differentiates us from HaPrushim. NO MATERIAL HERE IS TO BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

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Location: Tzfat, Israel

Sunday, April 18, 2004


Contentious Questions - A Fine Opportunity to Explicate

I was asked:

Rabbinic Judaism ordained 7 obligatory mitzvos in addition to the
Torah's 613 (to make a total of 620=gematria "keter" - crown):

1) the brochoh for each enjoyment; (2)washing hands before eating;
(3) lighting of the Shabbos candles (4) the Eruv, on preparation for
Shabbos transfer; (5) saying Hallel on Yom Tov (6) the Chanukkah
lights (7) the reading of Megillas Esther on Purim.

Being an Essene non-adherent of Rabbinic Judaism (an opponent even?),
do you or your family observe any of these commandments of "Rabbinic-
Perushi-Phariseic-Talmudic-Shulchan Aruch" Judaism?

I answered:

Do I?:

1) (say) the brochoh for each enjoyment;

Absolutely, every time, fore and aft. This is not a Rabbinic
enactment. We find blessings in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

(2)washing hands before eating;

Ditto - with a blessing. We learn that Elisha's merit is that he
poured water over the hands of Eliyah, may their memory be for a
blessing. You show your ignorance of basic matters if you think this
is a Rabbinic enactment.

(3) lighting of the Shabbos candles

Yes, of course and for the Chagim as well, with the appropriate

(4) the Eruv, on preparation for Shabbos

The Isi'im were stricter about Shabbat observance, in general, than
were the Prushim. For instance it is written:

"Let him not walk about outside his city more than a thousand
cubits." [Tzaddokite Fragments (Damascus Document) 10:21]

"No one shall walk after an animal to pasture it outside his city
more than two thousand cubits. Let him not raise his hand to strike
it with a fist. If it is stubborn let him not take it out of his
house." (ibid., 11:5-7).

"No one shall carry (anything) from the house to the outside, or from
the outside into (the) house. And if he is in a sukkah, let him not
carry (anything) out of or bring (anything) into it." (ibid., 11:7-9).

"The wet-nurse should not lift the baby to go out or come in on
Shabbat." (ibid., 11:11).

There are many other laws of Shabbat listed in this section of the
Tzaddokite Fragments. We see clearly that they allowed the going out
of the city on Shabbat for a distance of 1000 cubits and to pature
for a distance of 2000 cubits, this without any mention of an "eruv".

In all fairness, we do not have in our possession arguments against
the institution of the "eruv" and we do not know what the Isi'im
would have had to say about it. There are many logical and realistic
reasons for the use of an eruv, and I do rely on the eruv. However,
if we were to find a powerful argument against the use of an eruv
from Qumran I would stop considering it a valid chidush and would not
honor it.

(5) saying Hallel on Yom Tov

My husband says it.

(6) the Chanukkah lights

The family lights the Channukah lights with brakhot. I have the
menorot on Channukah, but I have mixed feelings about this holiday.
The Maccabim fought valiantly for the Temple. In that they were
correct. However, they took over the High Priesthood from the only
family who had the right to be High Priests according to Torah, and
they are the direct descendants of Tzaddok, HaCohen HaGadol during
the time of David HaMelekh. Even the Pharisaic tradition could not
deny the horrible excesses and outright avodah zarah that the
Maccabim introduced into the Temple, including the erection of statue
and prostitution in the Temple itself. Even fratricide was not
beneath them in their lust for power and wantonness. When my husband
and children light the candles of the menorah on Channukah I thank
God that the Temple was cleansed by the Maccabim, but I harbor no
illusions that it was made even more filthy soon afterward by them. I
will not bless them for that.

(7) the reading of Megillas Esther on Purim.

Yes; we do. The entire corpus of תנ"ך was found at Qumran except
Megillat Esther. I believe there does seem to be a reference to it in
one of the scrolls.

In closing I should like to add two important answers:

First, until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 just months before the creation of the modern state of Israel all we knew of was Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism. A copy of the Damascus Document (The Tzaddokite Fragments) had been found in the 19th C. by Solomon Schechter. From that we may assume that the Judaism of HaIsi'im was known of, at least in part, by Jews at least as late as the time of the Ramba"m. Evidently they wished to stash the last of the evidence of the truer way away. They succeeded, at least temporarily, until HaShem miraculously revealed the scrolls to us that were preserved partially at Qumran.

Secondly, I agree very strongly with what Rabbi Tzadok says in Avot 4:5 "Do not separate yourself from the community." Insofar as Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism allows me to live in accordance with the true way I do not diverge from it. For one instance what sh'chitah other than Landau or Bada"tz or HaRav Machpuz could I rely on? We simply do not know who HaIsi'im slaughtered their meat. There are remains of animals used as food at Qumran, but no record of their sh'chitah. Therefore, I have no recourse but to accept the Pharisaic/Rabbinic way which is the most careful, to wit: Landau, Bada"tz and Machpuz although I know that as a result of the decision of "otzar Beit Din" we are eating forbidden foods on Shmitta.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat