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Religious Studies
RELS 218

RABBI • is simply a teacher, a person formally educated in halakhah (Jewish law) • He instructs the community, answers questions and settles disputes regarding the Jewish law. When a person has completed the necessary course of study, he is given a written document known as a semikhah, which confirms his authority to make such decisions. • Rabbis are the spiritual leaders of the Jewish community. They must minister to the community, lead community religious services and deal with many of the administrative matters related to the synagogue. It is important to note that the rabbi's status does not give him the authority to conduct religious services. Any Jew sufficiently educated to know what he is doing can lead a religious service. A service led by such a Jew is just as valid as a service led by a rabbi. It is not unusual for a community to be without a rabbi, or for Jewish services to be conducted without a rabbi. • a person qualified by academic studies of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud • A teacher, specifically in Roman times an expert on the interpretation of Torah. In 2 millennia since priestly sacrifices ceased with the destruction of the temple, the rabbi has been the scholarly and spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation, while the cantor is the liturgical specialist leading the musical chants in a synagogue service. • They wanted a unified community to practice their law. • Rabbinic Judaism:- collapse of Jerusalem in 70 marks a turning point nd in history of Judaism; temple was destroyed the 2 time; institutions and practices (such as animal sacrifice) disappeared from Jewish life; Pharisaic traditions refurbished for a new national purpose, gave birth to the institutions of rabbinic Judaism; no priests but rabbis; Rabbinic movement was not hereditary priesthood. Rather, it handed the interpretation of law to an educated class open to
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