Modern Commentary

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Q: What is Karaism?

A: See: What is Karaism?


Q: Why do the Karaites reject the Oral Torah?

A: 1. Nowhere in the text of the Torah does it say that there is an additional "oral law", quite to the contrary it states that YHWH instructed Moses to write all that which He commanded.
2. In the text of the Torah it says (twice: Devarim [Deuteronomy] 4:2 and 13:1) that it is forbidden to add to or subtract from it.
3. In the Torah itself, it says: "Wayehi KeKhallot Mosheh LiKhtov Et-Divrei HaTorah-HaZot `Al-Sefer `Ad Tummam" [And it came to pass , when Moses had finished writing the words of this Law in a book, completely] (Devarim [Deuteronomy] 31:24).
4. In Yehoshu'a` [Joshua] it states clearly: "WeAharei-Khen Qara' Et-Kol-Divrei HaTorah HaBerakhah WeHaQelalah KeKhol-HaKatuv BeSefer HaTorah. Lo'-Hayah Davar MiKol Asher-Siwwah Mosheh Asher Lo'-Qara' Yehoshu'a` Neghed Kol-Qehal Yisra'el WeHaNashim WeHaTaf WeHaGer HaHolekh BeQirbam" [And after that he read ALL the words of the Law, the blessing, and the Curse, according to all that is WRITTEN in the book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not READ before all of the congregation of Israel, the women, the children, and the resident alien that walked in their midst.] (Yehoshu'a` [Joshua] 8:34-35).
5. In all of the Mishnah, Gemara, etc. that comprise the Rabbanite "oral law" not once does it say "and God commanded . . ." or "and God said . . .", but, rather it always says "Rabbi so-and-so said . . ." or "others said...".


Q: Are the Karaites descendants of the Khazars?

A: Avraham Firkovitch, a leader of the Karaite community of Eastern Europe, developed a theory that the Karaites were not actually descendants of Jews, but rather the descendants of a people known as the Khazars, who as a nation converted to Judaism (purportedly). Firkovitch did this in an attempt to alleviate the Karaite community from the taxation and conscription laid upon the Rabbanite community in Tsarist Russia. Firkovitch's claims were taken seriously by the Tsarist government, and - as a consequence of his efforts, along with other prominent Karaite leaders - Karaites were granted equal status with Moslems in Russia (which was a step up from the status of Rabbanites). No one, however, in the academic community today takes Firkovitch's claims seriously.


Q: Do Karaites believe in Jesus or Mohammad?

A: Contrary to many claims, Karaites emphatically do not believe in Jesus or Mohammad.