Letters February 2005



Reader: Considering, Jews celebrate Chanukkah, which is derived from the Books of the Macabees, why donít Jews accept it as part of the Tanach?

Mesora: The Jews do not celebrate Channukah based on Macabees...but rather, based on the Rabbiís teachings in the Talmud Sabbath.



Reader: Is it true that Judaism rejected the Septuagint because the Christians adopted it? The Christian New Testament citations of what we refer to as the Old Testament come from the LXX, not the Hebrew. Also, why does Judaism reject the authority of the books of the Macabees and other books of the Septuagint canon? For example, the Book of Sirach has been found in Hebrew among the Dead Sea scrolls. As I understand it, the Ethiopian Jews include books that Ashkenazim and Sephardim reject that are found in the LXX among their canon of accepted books.
Mesora: Judaism has always possessed Godís divine word since Sinai. As time unfolded and more prophets arose with Godís words, they too wrote down their divinely inspired words in the form of Prophets and Writings. In the end, Godís Torah or Bible is comprised of the Five Books of Moses, Prophets and Writings.

The Septuagint was a translation into Greek of the Five Books and nothing else. See Talmud Megilla 9a. Even though we find Suptagints today including more, this was done erroneously and does not accurately reflect what the Rabbis translated.

The New Testament is not authorized by God or His prophets, so we reject Macabees, and other books, such as Luke, Matthew, Mark. etc.




Reader: How do we celebrate the Purim today and does anyone in the family play a particular role?
Mesora: No one has a distinct role. Roles do not apply to Purim. Purim is celebrated by reading or hearing the Megilla scroll once at night and once during the day. We also make a festive meal and indulge in wine, more than what we are accustomed. Some explain the reason being to evoke gladness in the heart which mimics the unbridled joy felt by the Jews back then. We are obligated to send food to our friends and give gifts to at least 2 poor people. All this serves to remind us of the events in which God orchestrated our salvation from annihilation, and to create harmony between all Jews.