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4 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 10:20AM #61
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057

Bevo is totally on-target with this answer.  The rabbis certainly found authorization for Mikvah in the Tanakh and elucidated this in Talmud.


Converts to Judaism, Jews re-affirming their faith, Jews undertaking intense study of Torah & Mishna, etc., underwent Mikvah.  JtB, in effect, castigated the Jews of his time and place as a "brood of vipers" who required mikvah to re-affirm and re-new their commitment to their faith.  I'd be very cautious about retrojecting the Christian concept of baptism, with its theology, upon mikvah.


www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=608&letter=M


Jul 3, 2010 -- 9:45PM, Bevo wrote:


The mikvah is described in numerous portions of the Torah.  If I had my notes handy, I could certainly cite chapter and verse, but I don't.  The mikyah had evolved at the time of Christ to also have a meaning of baptism.  Gentiles converting  to Judaism were "baptized" in a mikyah. The Jews John the Baptist baptized in the Jordan river were not seeing anything new.  It was a ceremony quite familiar to them.  One of the rules pertaining to mikyah was the water used had to be from either a flowing stream or river, or the sea.  It could not come from a standing body of water.  Hence, John baptized in a river, observing the mikyah rules.





The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 5:26PM #62
Bevo
Posts: 561

Miracles do happen...Dutch and I agree on something!


(a)     No leper or unclean person of the seed of Aaron could eat of holy flesh until he had washed his whole body in water (Lev. xxii. 4-6).

(b) When a leper was healed of his leprosy, he shaved off his hair, offered up the prescribed sacrifices, washed his clothing, bathed his person in water, and became clean (Lev. xiv. 8, 9).

(c) Any person who came into contact with the body of, or with articles of furniture used by, a person having an unclean issue (), or with any article used by him, was obliged to wash both his body and his garments, and was unclean for a whole day (Lev. xv. 5-10).


(d) On the Day of Atonement the high priest, after sending off the scapegoat (seeAzazel), was obliged to wash his whole body in water in a holy place. The same duty devolved upon the man who took away the goat and upon him who burned the ox and the goat of the sin-offering; and they were also required to wash their garments (Lev. xvi. 24, 26, 28).



According to the Talmud, on the Day of Atonement the high priest immersed his whole person five times and washed his hands and feet ten times (Mishnah, Yoma, iii. 3).

A sufferer from an unclean issue to be clean required immersion of the whole person (Lev. xv. 16, 18).

Whoever touched a menstruous woman, or any article used by her, required immersion of the whole person (Lev. xv. 19-27).

(g) A native Israelite or a proselyte eating unclean flesh of a beast which had died of itself, or had been torn, became thereby unclean for a day, and was obliged to wash his whole body (Lev. xvii. 15).

The priest who tended the red heifer, itself intended as a rite of purification, became unclean for a day and was obliged to wash his whole body (Num. xix. 7, 8).

Whoever came into contact with a corpse or a grave was unclean for seven days. On the third and seventh days he was sprinkled with water in which ashes from the burnt carcass of the red heifer had been dissolved. On the seventh day he washed his whole body and his garments in water and became clean (Num. xix. 19).


Among the ceremonies at the installation of priests was the washing of the whole body (Ex. xxix. 4, xl. 12).

The Levites were purified by having water of the sin-offering sprinkled upon them (Num. viii. 15).

A menstruous woman requires immersion, as is shown by II Sam. xi. 2, 4, and the rabbinical interpretation of Num. xxxi. 23.

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 9:42PM #63
Kimball
Posts: 984

Jul 4, 2010 -- 10:20AM, Dutch777 wrote:


Bevo is totally on-target with this answer.  The rabbis certainly found authorization for Mikvah in the Tanakh and elucidated this in Talmud.


Kimball comments:  Talmud maybe. Torah no.  I don't know of one verse which prescribes a mikvah as it relates to a baptismal pool.


Converts to Judaism, Jews re-affirming their faith, Jews undertaking intense study of Torah & Mishna, etc., underwent Mikvah.  JtB, in effect, castigated the Jews of his time and place as a "brood of vipers" who required mikvah to re-affirm and re-new their commitment to their faith.  I'd be very cautious about retrojecting the Christian concept of baptism, with its theology, upon mikvah.


Again, Dutch, I don't dispute that.  I am just saying that it is tradition and not Torah.


www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=608&letter=M


Jul 3, 2010 -- 9:45PM, Bevo wrote:


The mikvah is described in numerous portions of the Torah.  If I had my notes handy, I could certainly cite chapter and verse, but I don't.  The mikyah had evolved at the time of Christ to also have a meaning of baptism.  Gentiles converting  to Judaism were "baptized" in a mikyah. The Jews John the Baptist baptized in the Jordan river were not seeing anything new.  It was a ceremony quite familiar to them.  One of the rules pertaining to mikyah was the water used had to be from either a flowing stream or river, or the sea.  It could not come from a standing body of water.  Hence, John baptized in a river, observing the mikyah rules.









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4 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2010 - 10:22PM #64
Kimball
Posts: 984

Jul 4, 2010 -- 5:26PM, Bevo wrote:


Miracles do happen...Dutch and I agree on something!


Kimball coments:  He is a good guy but I have to admit that he and I are often on different wavelengths, too.  I really have to ramp up to the challenge of both of you.  Ha Ha


(a)     No leper or unclean person of the seed of Aaron could eat of holy flesh until he had washed his whole body in water (Lev. xxii. 4-6).


I still cannot see the mikvah here.  I don't know what your translation says but the I will use the A.V. which probably is not that much different than any of the other serious translations. The word "whole" does not appear.  It simply says, "...and shall not eat of the holy things, unelss he wash his flesh with water."  If the guy were in the desert during the 40 years, I think it might be hard to get enough to immerse himself, but in any case, the text does not speak of immersion but only washing.

(b) When a leper was healed of his leprosy, he shaved off his hair, offered up the prescribed sacrifices, washed his clothing, bathed his person in water, and became clean (Lev. xiv. 8, 9).


"and wash himself in water..."    same as above


 


(c) Any person who came into contact with the body of, or with articles of furniture used by, a person having an unclean issue (), or with any article used by him, was obliged to wash both his body and his garments, and was unclean for a whole day (Lev. xv. 5-10).


"...bathe himself in water...."  used approx. 5 times


(d) On the Day of Atonement the high priest, after sending off the scapegoat (seeAzazel), was obliged to wash his whole body in water in a holy place. The same duty devolved upon the man who took away the goat and upon him who burned the ox and the goat of the sin-offering; and they were also required to wash their garments (Lev. xvi. 24, 26, 28).


"...and he shall wash his flesh with water..."  "...bathe his flesh in water..." "bathe his flesh in water.."    The word "whole" does not appear.



According to the Talmud, on the Day of Atonement the high priest immersed his whole person five times and washed his hands and feet ten times (Mishnah, Yoma, iii. 3).


Bevo,  I won't dispute you here.  But see Mark 7:7,8 for a commentary on many of these traditions. 



A sufferer from an unclean issue to be clean required immersion of the whole person (Lev. xv. 16, 18).
Again I am not disputing you that a thorough washing is prescribed.  But do you not think that you are retrofitting a mikvah which developed later in Tradition?


 Whoever touched a menstruous woman, or any article used by her, required immersion of the whole person (Lev. xv. 19-27).


Bathing and washing are indeed called for, but where is the word "immersion"?  Again, it was in the desert where much of this was to be initially done.

(g) A native Israelite or a proselyte eating unclean flesh of a beast which had died of itself, or had been torn, became thereby unclean for a day, and was obliged to wash his whole body (Lev. xvii. 15).


I don't see the world "whole" here.  What translation are you using?




The priest who tended the red heifer, itself intended as a rite of purification, became unclean for a day and was obliged to wash his whole body (Num. xix. 7, 8).


 



..."shall bath his flesh in water..."


 
Whoever came into contact with a corpse or a grave was unclean for seven days. On the third and seventh days he was sprinkled with water in which ashes from the burnt carcass of the red heifer had been dissolved. On the seventh day he washed his whole body and his garments in water and became clean (Num. xix. 19).


Where is the word "whole?"


Among the ceremonies at the installation of priests was the washing of the whole body (Ex. xxix. 4, xl. 12).
 "..shall wash them with water..."
The Levites were purified by having water of the sin-offering sprinkled upon them (Num. viii. 15).


True but there is not an immersion here either



A menstruous woman requires immersion, as is shown by II Sam. xi. 2, 4, and the rabbinical interpretation of Num. xxxi. 23.


   I agree that Bathsheeba was following the levitical hygenic laws but still we don't see immesion directly here.  That would be totally speculative on the part of a commentator. She was going through the ritual cleaning.  The text does not give us details on how she did that.


Bevo, I hope you do not think I am splitting hairs here but let me summarize my point.  The Torah gives plenty of ceremonial cleansing practices and rituals.  The initial application of these was in Sinai where there was not a lot of running water or an abundance of water of any sort.  The point was that they were  to ritually clean themselves after various events in their lives.  I have no problem with that but to stretch it to immersion is going beyond the text.  I still contend that the mikvah was a traditional rather than a scriptural practice.


Have you ever noticed an Anglican priest wash his hands before he begins the actual communion service?  It is done very ritualistically with a towell and water.  Or have you watched all of the rituals in a modern synagogue service or at a mosque?  For example, muslims ritually wash their feet before going into the mosque but all of the actual grime does not get removed.  It is symbolic.   


I am not saying that Moses wanted to have dirty, unhygenic people but the purpose of these ceremonies was as much ritual as practical.  It was designed to teach a larger point about sin and separation and dedication to God. But in summary, I still cannot find immersion in the old Testament.  As I said befoe, a Baptist can make a good point of it from the New Testament but Chritian baptism is not the same as Old Testament Ritual Purity Law and besides that, are any of us baptists?  ha ho ho




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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 3:26AM #65
Bevo
Posts: 561

The prescribed rules of the mikvah were such that the WHOLE body would be covered (see Dutch's comments, or look it up for yourself).  The mikvah had to be of such size that the whole body would be cleansed by its waters.  But obviously, what you see is the evolution of the Jewish law of cleansing the outer in order that it may be clean, to the Christian tradition of cleansing both the outer and the inward body through the waters of mikvah, later to be understood as the waters of baptism.


You are free to disagree, but clearly, the Christian tradition of baptism have their Genesis in the ritual cleansing of the mikvah. 

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 7:15AM #66
Kimball
Posts: 984

Jul 5, 2010 -- 3:26AM, Bevo wrote:


Good Morning, Bevo:


The prescribed rules of the mikvah were such that the WHOLE body would be covered (see Dutch's comments, or look it up for yourself).  The mikvah had to be of such size that the whole body would be cleansed by its waters.


 I won't dispute the fact that the mikvah is today a tub or pool of some sort.  I am simply saying that this practice reflects an accretion of many years and is not mandated by the Torah or even by subsequent canonical Hebrew writing.  Again, if we were to go back to the desert wanderings of Moses and the people, it would be very difficult to find a mikvah as it exits today.  But that principle holds true for a lot of things in Jewish tradition.


But obviously, what you see is the evolution of the Jewish law of cleansing the outer in order that it may be clean, to the Christian tradition of cleansing both the outer and the inward body through the waters of mikvah, later to be understood as the waters of baptism.


We all agree that Jewish Tradition has evolved but I cannot see "...an evolution of the Jewish law..."  The Torah or Law was fixed.  If the application of it has developed in some areas, this development may or may not be reflective of the New Testament view.


You are free to disagree, but clearly, the Christian tradition of baptism have their Genesis in the ritual cleansing of the mikvah. 


Again, Bevo, that may be the case. I have several Jewish friends whom I will ask and it will be interesting to get their take on it.  Nonetheless, the fact that the mikvah reflects Traditional development rather actual Torah seems to be the case.


 





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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 12:54PM #67
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057

b

Jul 5, 2010 -- 3:26AM, Bevo wrote:


The prescribed rules of the mikvah were such that the WHOLE body would be covered (see Dutch's comments, or look it up for yourself).  The mikvah had to be of such size that the whole body would be cleansed by its waters.  But obviously, what you see is the evolution of the Jewish law of cleansing the outer in order that it may be clean, to the Christian tradition of cleansing both the outer and the inward body through the waters of mikvah, later to be understood as the waters of baptism.


You are free to disagree, but clearly, the Christian tradition of baptism have their Genesis in the ritual cleansing of the mikvah. 





Once again I fully agree with Bevo's clear and concise answer.  As for the biblical OT references to mikvah, the rabbinic  authorities commenting on the texts certainly understand these as refering to mikvah; they and Judaic exegesis see no ambiguity in said texts.  Text and exegesis are not, in practice, separatable.


Rather than speculate, just read the relevant sections in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 4:10PM #68
Kimball
Posts: 984

Jul 5, 2010 -- 12:54PM, Dutch777 wrote:


b

Jul 5, 2010 -- 3:26AM, Bevo wrote:


The prescribed rules of the mikvah were such that the WHOLE body would be covered (see Dutch's comments, or look it up for yourself).  The mikvah had to be of such size that the whole body would be cleansed by its waters.  But obviously, what you see is the evolution of the Jewish law of cleansing the outer in order that it may be clean, to the Christian tradition of cleansing both the outer and the inward body through the waters of mikvah, later to be understood as the waters of baptism.


You are free to disagree, but clearly, the Christian tradition of baptism have their Genesis in the ritual cleansing of the mikvah. 





Once again I fully agree with Bevo's clear and concise answer.  As for the biblical OT references to mikvah, the rabbinic  authorities commenting on the texts certainly understand these as refering to mikvah; they and Judaic exegesis see no ambiguity in said texts.  Text and exegesis are not, in practice, separatable.


Rather than speculate, just read the relevant sections in the Jewish Encyclopedia.


Dutch:  Maybe we are just not reading the passages which Bevo quoted from the same translation.  I cannot find any mention of immersion in any reputable English translation fo the Torah.


I will look at the Jewish encyclopedia but I doubt that they exegete these passages in such a way that immersion (akin to Baptist or Mikvah practice) is mandated.  When you say that there is no ambiguity in the texts, I am surprised, Dutch.  I have never know any handfull of serious rabbinic authorities to walk in lockstep on these sorts of secondary issues.  Traditional practices in a yeshiva encourage exploring several interpretations. if you and Bevo are not careful, you are going to lift a baptistry out of First Baptist Church in Anytown, Georgia and place it in Sinai, albeit on wheels minus the painted scene of the Jordan River behind it.





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4 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2010 - 6:27PM #69
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057

Kimball:


Your last observation is correct re: the diversity of opinion in Judaism.  Two Jews; three opinions.  BTW --- two Anglicans; four opinions.


My point is that Torah-observant, Orthodox Jews have been practicing mikvah for thousands of years and so interpret scripture in such a way that full immersion is their faithful interpretation and practice of it.  That's just a fact of Orthodox life and exegesis.


You may not see how they derive such an interpretation, but they certainly do.

The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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4 years ago  ::  Jul 06, 2010 - 7:53AM #70
Kimball
Posts: 984

Jul 5, 2010 -- 6:27PM, Dutch777 wrote:


 


Good Morning, Dutch:


 


Your last observation is correct re: the diversity of opinion in Judaism.  Two Jews; three opinions.  BTW --- two Anglicans; four opinions.


That is something upon which we strongly agree.  Can we possibly apply Acts 26:24 this this one? "And as he [Paul] thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad."   Ha Ha


My point is that Torah-observant, Orthodox Jews have been practicing mikvah for thousands of years and so interpret scripture in such a way that full immersion is their faithful interpretation and practice of it.  That's just a fact of Orthodox life and exegesis.


Well, it may be true that Torah-observant Jews have practiced mikvah for quite some time, but it is not as clear that all of them have agreed upon all of the specifics. I did some very quick checking and there are various opinions and practices with Judaism. For example, some groups will allow that Lev 15:11 calls only for hand-washing.  See Psalm 26:6 for further commentary.  Other rabbinic authorities require mikvah for those in the disapora whereas there are apparently a core of very orthodox who believe that the ritual purity washing was required when the Temple was standing and will resume when the Temple is rebuilt.  Other groups have required mikvah for bridegrooms and for fathers prior to the circumcision of a son. Others have required it for all members before Yom Kippur and even before the weekly Sabbath.  Some modern conservative authorities have interestingly added the practice for women after divorce or rape. Then there is the whole matter of the type of water to be used and even the type of piping and delivery systems for the water. 


As Bevo has mentioned, the requirement was also for converts to Judaism.  Of course, this is without direct scriptural precedent.  Then the baptism of John the Baptist, who was certainly orthodox, was a baptism unto repentance for Israel.  Was this a part of John's view of mikvah or was it something totally new in John's mind?  As we know, Christian scholars are all over the map on the issue of baptism.  My point is that even orthodox Judaism reflects a variety of opinons on ritual washing. The issue of tevilah and netilah yadayim or full washing and hand washing is even today debated among Jews. 


It was very interesting for me to do a quick study of this subject.  There are even some groups who ritually wash vessels and utensils purchased from gentiles.


Hebrews 9:10 and Ez 36:25 seem speak of the symbolic value of the practice for orthodox Jews, but as you said, we have to go to Tradition and history to see how this has been applied over the centuries. 


 


You may not see how they derive such an interpretation, but they certainly do.


I am not sure we can prove that one beyond the shadow of a doubt. 


In any case, thanks to you and Bevo for some fascinating insights.  Prov. 27:17.


 





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