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Judaism

To choose one of the figures examined each of which has been representative of a particular theme or revolution in Jewish tradition: Maimonides, the Kabbalists, Spinoza, Sabbatai Zvi, Moses Mendelssohn, and the Baal Shem Tov. The goal of the assignment is to get you to think "Torah" and its early traditions, and is at once a radical transformation of( or a break away from) early Judaism. Consider the following story:

Frandor said in the name of CMU: when Moses ascended on high he found the Holy one, blessed be He, sitting and affixing crowns to the letters of the Torah, and filling its words with secrets. Moses said, What Ho! Why are you, Holy one, blessed be He, affixing crowns to the letters and filling words with secrets? God answered, There will arise a teacher, at the end of many generations,_______(fill in the blank with: Spinoza, Mr. Kabbalist, Spinoza, S.Z, Mendelssohn, or Baal Shem Tov) by name, who will expound on every mark on the letters heaps of teachings, and will reveal to the world the great secrets hidden in these words. Moses said, Lord of the Universe, show this teacher to me. God replied, Shazam! Moses found himself in the classroom, with_____ as teacher. Moses didn’t understand what they were saying, but when they arrived at a certain point and the students asked the teacher, where do you know this from?, the teacher answered, it is a teaching given to Moses on Sinai. Upon hearing this, Moses scratched his head, raised his hand, and when called on, said, I never received any teaching like this on Mt. Sinai!

Paying especially close attention to the way in which your chosen "teacher" interprets passages of Torah, or understands Torah as a whole, describe the conversation that ensues between the teacher and Moses himself. How does your teacher make a case for how his teaching is indeed the true message of the Torah? What arguments can he use? What passages from can he bring as support? How, on the other hand, might Moses argue against his teacher? What is it about the new account of Torah which Moses could claim marks a radical break from what Torah was originally? Do your best to provide each of the disputants in your dialogue with the strongest possible arguments. The best paper will make it possible for readers to see the merit of both sides of the discussion

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