Impact of Exile

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I would like to know about the reforms in Jewish culture during the period of the Babylonian Exile. I have read that it was the time when the Hebrews compiled and revised the text of what became the Tanakh. In particular what brought about the rise to prominence of the Rabbis (or Sages) as determinants of Jewish belief and practice. I look forward to the answer.
Yours sincerely,
Gabriel

Hi Gabriel
In general, the Babylonian Exile represents the transition from Prophetic to Rabbinic Judaism. The Oral Torah became dominant in guiding and defining Jewish practice and culture (to use your term). Our tradition does not accept the notion of revising the biblical literature, known as the Written Torah, but rather canonising it. (There may have been an element of editing or redacting, but the complexity of this subject takes us beyond the confines of this Ask the Rabbi forum.) The rise to prominence of the rabbis—custodians and interpreters of the Oral Torah–as determinants of Jewish practice and belief was a natural development, as the phenomenon of prophecy was becoming obsolete.
This is part of the reason that the rabbis rejected the claims advanced on behalf of Jesus of Nazareth. He claimed divine imprimatur (or more), while opposing the teachings, traditions and methodology of the rabbis.
I hope this is helpful.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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