Friday, August 23, 2013


Fact-checking Torah, like fact-checking any other urban legend, means going back to the source.  That’s why, in the last blog, I told you that when you want to QUESTION ME!!, I wanted you to tell me the source of your information.

If I don’t know the source, I’m going by YOUR urban legend about what that source said.  This blog thread is all about stopping the urban legends.

After we both look at the same source, we can discuss what it said. 

But your source may be in a library somewhere that I can’t get at it.

Or it may not be in a library.  It might be something somebody said based on urban legends back through time and I can’t ever talk to the person who originally said it.

That is why I want you to get the book and read it yourself.

Then we will start from the same source, which happens to also be the source all the urban legends are based on, and then I can show you how what you heard might have come from quoting out of context.

It’s not that I think you are lying, or the person you heard it from is lying, or anything. 

It’s that I know people don’t have infinite memory or total recall. 

When they pass things along, they always forget the exact words used by the person who passed the information to them, so they substitute something that seems right to them.  So does the next person.  So does the next person.  And that’s how urban legends are born.

You quote out of context.

What I’m going to tell you over and over again when I give you the answers used on the discussion group, is that the person asking the question didn’t read the source.  I’ll point out what the source said that would have answered the question, if the person had read it.

But reading isn’t just running your eyes over the page, and I’ll discuss that in the next post.  By the time I’m done, you’ll understand what I say when I get to the real fact-checking, and why I say it.

If you don't have a Bible and don't read Hebrew, you can go here and get a copy in English.

You can learn about fallacies and how to find them here.

Hebrew language: (two parts)

Aramaic language (for Talmud):

Jewish Bible read out loud (mostly in Hebrew):

Babylonian Talmud audio and text

Jerusalem Talmud audio

Tannakh, Talmuds, Midrash Halakhah 
Midrash Aggadah                             
Talmud in PDF                                                   

There are audio lectures at the following sites which use a medieval commentary, famous among Jews, by Rabbi Shelomo ben Yitschaq, AKA Rashi.
 – find Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon’s Torah video lessons
 – find R. David Grossman’s Torah audio lessons

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