Character Analysis: The Chosen By Chaim Potok

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Character Analysis: The Chosen By Chaim Potok

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Kohanim and Leviim have specific religious rights, duties, and in the case of Kohanim restrictions. The daughter of a Kohen a bat-Kohen also has specific rights and restrictions, but does not pass on the status of Kohen to her offspring unless their father is also a Kohen. Judaism recognizes no other forms of priesthood. Rabbis are not necessarily Kohanim ; rather they are Jews who are particularly learned in Jewish law and practice. Although not required, it is typical for a congregation to have at least one rabbi. While it is typical for rabbis to act similarly to spiritual leaders in other religions—delivering a weekly sermon, visiting the sick, officiating at weddings and other life events, and so on—a rabbi's most important function in his or her congregation is interpreting and teaching Jewish law.

Training to become a rabbi includes extensive education in Jewish law and practice, and may also include education in Jewish history and philosophy. In general, a congregation will hire a rabbi after reviewing applications and interviewing several candidates—there is no central body that assigns a rabbi to a congregation. Orthodox Judaism accepts only male rabbis.

Reform Judaism ordained its first woman rabbi in , Reconstructionist Judaism in , and Conservative Judaism in The Reform and Reconstructionist movements also accept openly gay and lesbian rabbis. See Doctrine and Covenants, Section The orders of the priesthood are the Aaronic , modeled after the priesthood of Aaron the Levite, the first high priest of the Hebrews, and his descendants Kohen ; and the Melchizedek priesthood , modeled after the authority of the prophet Melchizedek. The LDS Church does not recognize a patriarchal order of priesthood separate from the Melchizedek priesthood, and considers that both the Patriarchal and Aaronic priesthoods are subsets of the Melchizedek. Members of the Tribe of Levi are said to have held the Levitical priesthood by right of birth before Jesus, whereas after Jesus, holders of the Aaronic priesthood have received it "by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands ".

The Aaronic priesthood is now typically given at the age of twelve. Just as the priest's and the high priest's lines were subsets of the tribe of Levi, parallels may be drawn between levels of authority within the offices of the Latter-day Saint Aaronic priesthood and offices under the Law: deacons , corresponding to Levites; teachers , corresponding to Kohathites; priests , corresponding to the priestly line; and bishops, corresponding to the Aaronic High Priest's descendants not to be confused with the High Priesthood of Melchizedek.

The LDS Church propagates an all-male priesthood. At age eighteen, worthy members of the Aaronic priesthood are usually ordained as elders in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Depending on the needs of a church, an elder may be ordained a high priest , patriarch , seventy , or apostle of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Black people were prohibited from receiving the priesthood until , at which time the LDS Church announced that its leaders had received a revelation permitting all worthy males to receive the priesthood. Some Mormon fundamentalist sects reject this revelation.

The laws of kashrut "keeping kosher" are the Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha Jewish law is termed kosher, and food not in accord with Jewish law is termed treifah or treif. Kosher laws address what kinds of animals can be eaten, and requires separation of milk and meat disputed , that vegetables be thoroughly inspected for insects, that animals be ritually slaughtered by certified persons, and that many food products be produced under rabbinical supervision.

Produce of the Land of Israel has further restrictions. Jews are expected or required to drink wine on certain occasions. Wine is typically consumed at Sabbath evening meal, after a special blessing. In addition, the drinking of wine is an important part of the observation of two major Jewish holidays— Passover and Purim. Mormons believe the Word of Wisdom to be modern revelation similar to the laws of kashrut.

Among the substances which the revelation indicates should not be used, the first is "wine or strong drink", which the revelation says should not be drunk except for wine, which may be used as part of the sacrament the Mormon communion. The revelation gives the further precaution that if wine is used, it should be pure wine and "of your own make" or made by fellow church members. The LDS Church has done away with wine altogether, with water replacing wine in the sacrament, according to a revelation on the subject, section 27 , Members are instructed to not drink any alcoholic beverages. The revelation also advises against the use of tobacco and "hot drinks" which was explained by Joseph Smith and his associates as meaning coffee and tea.

Tobacco is believed to be "not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill. The list of foods and substances which the revelation encourages includes wholesome herbs, fruit, and meat; however, meat is to be eaten sparingly, if at all, and ideally only in winter, famine , or "excess hunger". Other references 1 Timothy —4 and Section —19,21 expand on meat and flesh. The revelation also encourages the use of grains, particularly wheat. Barley is also encouraged for use in making "mild drinks. Shabbat , lasting from sunset Friday night to the appearance of three stars on Saturday night, celebrates God's creation with a day of rest that commemorates God's day of rest upon the completion of creation.

It plays an important role in Jewish practice and is the subject of a large body of religious law. The most notable law with regard to observation of Jewish Sabbath is the requirement to abstain from creative work of any kind the most widely known implication of this being the prohibition against kindling a fire. Observant Jews will prepare food ahead of time to avoid having to cook on Sabbath, and observant Orthodox Jews will avoid turning on electric lights which "creates" an electric circuit or driving.

While almost all work is forbidden on Sabbath, acts of leisure and pleasure are appropriate, as long as they do not violate any proscription with regard to doing work. A special meal is eaten including wine and meat, if possible, even if the household cannot afford these luxuries the rest of the week. Married couples are encouraged to engage in sexual relations. The Sabbath for Latter-day Saints is Sunday. This is explained in the LDS Bible Dictionary as: "After the ascension of Christ, the members of the Church, whether Jews or gentiles, kept holy the first day of the week the Lord's day as a weekly commemoration of our Lord's resurrection Acts 7; 1 Cor.

The focus of Sabbath for Latter-day Saints is as a day of rest from worldly concerns and endeavors and to concentrate on spiritual matters such as attending church meetings, scripture study, visiting the sick and infirm, and family activities. Members are further encouraged not to make any purchases on the Sabbath, unless an emergency demands otherwise. Members are also to fast on the first Sabbath of the month from the night before Sabbath until the evening of Sabbath. This period of fasting is used to pray and reflect on their own relationship with God.

The money that would have been spent on the two missed meals is usually donated as a fast offering to the church. These fast offerings are dedicated to feed the poor and the needy. Judaism's most holy book is the Torah. Virtually all Jewish congregations own at least one sefer Torah copy of the Torah, hand-calligraphed on parchment of which a portion is read aloud every week. The Tanakh is explained and supplemented by the Talmud , which is made up of two parts: the Mishnah Oral Torah and the Gemara rabbinic commentaries and analysis. More recent work explaining Jewish law includes the Shulkhan Arukh , which was written in the 16th century. Scrolls of the Torah are copied by hand by specially trained scribes.

Joseph Smith said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. The eighth Article of Faith states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. According to Mormon doctrine, the Book of Mormon was originally written in reformed Egyptian by a group of the House of Israel who had migrated from the area of Jerusalem. The book was translated by Joseph Smith "by the gift and power of God".

Jewish beliefs with regard to an afterlife are highly variable. Physical resurrection of the dead at the time of the Mashiach is a traditional belief with some European Jews being buried facing Jerusalem, so they would be ready on that day. Other Jewish sages promoted the idea of a purely spiritual resurrection. Adherents of Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism are more likely to believe in a general Messianic Age than in a physical Moshiach, with or without resurrection.

There is also the possibility of reincarnation in some cases. In general, religious Jews believe that the soul undergoes a period of reflection and penance after death, before moving on to whatever comes next. This period does not exceed 12 months, and Jewish mourners will say special prayers for the dead during this time, to ease the departed soul's passage. See Kaddish. Heaven and Hell as they are understood in Christian theology are roughly analogous to the Jewish Olam habah and Gehenna , with certain major differences. Jewish faiths generally agree that reward in the afterlife or world to come , whatever its form, is not exclusive to Jews, and that punishment in the afterlife is not eternal but corrective.

Mormonism teaches of a physical resurrection for some beginning with the resurrection of Christ. At the time of the second coming of Christ there will be a general resurrection of the dead. It is held by the LDS Church that between the time of an individual's death and resurrection, the individual inhabits an intermediary afterlife in the Spirit world , corresponding to Tartarus. The nature of this afterlife depends on the individual. Deceased persons who lived good lives and repented during their life of any major sins they had committed are said to inhabit Paradise. However, spirits inhabiting spirit paradise may also receive an assignment to do "missionary work" to other souls in paradise or to the souls in spirit prison , the condition in which Mormons believe the spirits of the "rebellious and ungodly" reside.

The term "spirit prison" is sometimes used to describe the condition of any spirit who is awaiting being taught the gospel or having the opportunity to accept ordinances that allow them to progress in gaining further knowledge during their time in the spirit world. Mormons hold that missionary work in the spirit world was started by Christ during the days between his death and resurrection Doctrine and Covenants As Smith's personal writings and Mormon scriptures indicate, it is also possible that if one follows the commandments, then one may be worthy of becoming a literal god and assist the Father in "bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" Moses Following that example, Latter-day Saints hope to attain same godhood status, while eternally worshiping the Father and the Son Gospel Principles, chapter In , church president Spencer W.

Kimball said, concerning this doctrine of exaltation : "We remember the numerous scriptures which, concentrated in a single line, were said by a former prophet, Lorenzo Snow: 'As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become. How limited we are now! We have no power to force the grass to grow, the plants to emerge, the seeds to develop. Mormonism teaches the existence of three "degrees of glory. Outer darkness is considered to be the second death or spiritual death, for those few souls who know a fullness of truth and openly rebel and fight against God.

The other three degrees of glory have been labeled the telestial kingdom , the terrestrial kingdom , and the celestial kingdom , with the celestial kingdom itself consisting of "three heavens or degrees" see Doctrine and Covenants This afterlife is what Mormons believe comes after an individual's resurrection and judgment. Some individuals will be resurrected before or at the second coming of Jesus, while others will be resurrected years later.

The LDS faith believes that all three kingdoms, celestial, terrestrial and telestial, are kingdoms of glory. They are all places of glory suitable to the individuals that will reside in them, based on the desires of their hearts. Mormonism teaches that baptism performed by the proper authority is required to enter the celestial kingdom. As a general rule, Jews refrain from active proselytizing , and some denominations discourage conversion. In Judaism, conversion is not a requirement or prerequisite to goodness or salvation, and if a person truly wishes to convert, they will seek out a community and rabbi they feel comfortable with and begin the process there.

Conversion to Judaism involves extensive instruction in Jewish law, renouncing of other religious affiliations, immersion in a mikveh , and, for males, circumcision. If the potential convert is already circumcised, a procedure known as hatafat dam brit is performed, in which blood is drawn from the penis. Orthodox Judaism also requires acceptance of the entire code of Jewish Law.

The LDS Church has a widespread proselytizing program, with its missionaries encouraged to invite others to repent and be baptized. Baptism carries with it not only membership in the church, but also, according to Mormon belief, the blessings of the covenants given to the House of Israel. In order to be baptized, individuals must agree to abide by the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity , agree to pay tithes, attend church meetings, and declare that they have repented of their sins.

Like most Christian churches, Mormonism does not require circumcision as circumcision was done away when Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses. By being baptized, members are covenanting with God to be "circumcised of heart" meaning they are covenanting to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit in living the gospel. To achieve a state of ritual purification, observant Jews immerse in a Mikveh. Certain kinds of utensils and other objects are also immersed this practice should not be confused with the physical cleaning required for kashrut. The most common use of the Mikveh is the practice of immersion after menstruation , miscarriage , or childbirth. This immersion marks the end of a period of sexual separation, and the woman's rejoining with her husband.

It is also required that a woman immerse before her wedding. Some men use the Mikvah regularly, either daily, weekly, or before Yom Kippur. This is especially true in Hasidic circles. It is also required for Conversion into Orthodox Judaism for both sexes. Jewish laws with regard to Mikveh are extensive. The most notable aspect of these laws is that a Mikveh must be filled with "living water," namely, water that has come directly from the earth in the form of caught rainwater or spring water water flowing in a river or stream is also acceptable in some cases. Once water has been carried in a vessel or run through a pipe, it is no longer considered "living. The common practice is to wash thoroughly before immersion to remove any dirt or dead skin on the body , and to enter the Mikveh while still wet to avoid any air bubbles that might be trapped on the skin or in the hair.

Unlike baptism, immersion is a private event—unless a physical handicap makes it impossible, the person undergoing immersion enters the Mikveh alone, and says any appropriate prayers themselves. Jews do not practice or recognize any kind of "Proxy" immersion, where one person immerses in the place of another person living or dead. Baptism is a water purification ritual where one is immersed in water. The practice of purification via immersion exists in many cultures. Mormon belief holds that baptisms were performed in Adam and Eve's day. Baptism is a required ordinance and ritual cleansing process when joining the LDS Church, and is considered to be a purification process in one's conversion.

In the event of one's excommunication or adoption of another faith, individuals are required to be rebaptized when returning to the church. After the one being baptized is determined to be worthy through an interview with their priesthood leader, he is dressed in white clothing, symbolizing the purification of the baptism. The ordinance is performed by a priest of the Aaronic priesthood or any holder of the Melchizedek priesthood.

Mormon children are not baptized until they turn eight years old, which is considered to be the age of accountability. In the past, it was common for Mormons to be re-baptized for health, or as a re-affirmation of belief. This practice slowly diminished, and is no longer practiced by any of the mainstream denominations. In Mormonism, washing and anointing is an ordinance that symbolizes ritual cleansing and anointing to be a king or queen in heaven. In the LDS Church, the ritual is performed in temples. The ordinance of washing and anointing symbolizes the ritual cleansing of priests that took place at Israel's Tabernacle, the temple of Solomon , and later temples in Jerusalem see Exod. The Hebrew Bible recounts several cases of polygamy among the ancient Hebrews.

One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage , wherein a man was required to marry and support his brother's widow. Ashkenazi Jewry has not practiced polygamy since Rabbenu Gershom 's ban in the 11th century "except in exceptional circumstances requiring obtaining in advance the permission of rabbis. When these groups immigrated to the State of Israel after its creation, existing polygamous families were "grandfathered" in. Polygamous marriage is banned in the State of Israel, however, and no new polygamous marriages are permitted among those groups.

The practice was introduced by Joseph Smith and was canonized in scripture as being from "the Lord thy God It was publicly acknowledged by the church in The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , now known as the Community of Christ, rejected polygamy and declared themselves an independent church in under the leadership of Joseph Smith III , the eldest son of the founding leader.

The practice of polygamy led to opposition to the LDS Church and the enacting of anti-polygamy laws in the United States. The U. Congress made the practice illegal in U. Many members of the church fled to Canada or Mexico in an attempt to set up communities free from prosecution. Although Latter-day Saints believed that plural marriage was protected by the United States Constitution as a religious practice, opponents used it to delay Utah statehood until Increasingly harsh anti-polygamy legislation stripped church members of their rights as citizens, revoked the right to vote for LDS women, disincorporated the Church, and permitted the seizure of church property until the church formally discontinued the practice with the Manifesto.

National attention in the United States focused on polygamy in the church in the earlyth century during the House hearings on Representative-elect B. This caused church president Joseph F. Smith to issue the " Second Manifesto " against polygamy in Since that time, it has been church policy to excommunicate any member either practicing or openly advocating the practice of polygamy. The ban on polygamy resulted in a schism within the LDS Church, with various Mormon fundamentalist groups leaving the church to continue the practice of polygamy. Collectively, such groups now comprise less than three tenths of one percent of the total membership in the Latter Day Saint movement.

Polygamy among these groups persists today in Utah and neighboring states, as well as among isolated individuals with no organized church affiliation. The largest church supporting polygamy is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , believed to have about 10, members. According to one source there are as many as 37, fundamentalist Mormons, with less than half of them living in polygamous households. Further divisions exist within the divisions. Approximately 98 percent of Latter Day Saint adherents are members of the LDS Church; however, there are several other groups, such as the Community of Christ and numerous smaller churches within Mormon fundamentalism.

The second largest group, the Community of Christ, refer to themselves as Latter Day Saints but not as Mormons, though they do continue to use the Book of Mormon as scripture. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. I'm a fan of Robert Alter and just finished reading Genesis cover-to-cover. It was very delightful to see the repeated themes and echoed story lines pointed out throughout the book.

Alter's introduction and the commentary are great training in learning how to mull over stories and what the manner of telling it teaches you. For example, the first quotation of each character's direct speech tells you a lot about him and is not randomly chosen. Some negative reviews of Alter's works complain that he isn't really a believer or that he dismisses theology and prophecy. That misses the point of what he is trying to do. He looks at the scripture primarily through the lenses of literature, story telling and linguistics. His commentary helps the reader see what great story telling is going on, and to appreciate the motifs of story line, keywords and Hebrew literary devices involved. It's up to the reader to decide what to do with it in terms of faith.

There are plenty of Bible commentaries out there with a theological or devotional agenda. This is one of the few translators who takes us into the literary dimensions of the scriptures and I thank the Lord for Dr. Alter's gifts of translation and commentary. I have been reading Alter's Old Testament translations; I especially like his discussions in the footnotes. These give me insight not only into the complexities of translation, but of the richness and the gaps and interpretive cruxes in the text.

I especially enjoy his side trips and analogies to later literature my field is 18th century prose fiction and his early work in Fielding is, to my mind, some of the best I have read. However intellectually interesting his Old Testament work is, it is also spiritually enlightening. It is a pleasure to read such a great scholar engage a great text. I really like this book. Lots of revealing information about the Hebrew and appropriate translation of bible text. Yes, this is an entire book based on Genesis. He wanted to retain some of the poetic nuance that was involved with the original Hebrew, and it definitely reads different than the more modern translations that I'm used to.

If you're an amateur or professional theologian, or historian, it's fun to read through his translated content, and then the commentary in the footnotes. He puts so much into a historical and artistic context to better understand the original Hebrew text. I got this book for an Ancient Literature class, and it was enjoyable to see similar themes, but in no way does it mess with my faith. If anything, it's bolstered. Used this version for a 'Bible as Literature' course, and it was excellent. The author endeavors to select words in his translation that respect the original poetic constructions and capture the sense of the original writings.

Ample footnotes discuss how the original word choices and structures are significant in revealing the meanings and intent of the writers, in a historical and anthropological sense. Tried several other sources for Genesis, and liked Alter's best by far. I hope more Bible study groups will tap this source, for there is so much richness to be had. I'm not a religious person, but very respectful of the truth that goes behind the writings, and the importance of these stories in our culture even today. This volume arrived quickly and in new condition. I found the introduction informative. I was impressed that Alter was a skilled literary critic as well as a translator. His translation gives me the chance to get closer to the experience of reading the original Hebrew without becoming a Hebrew language scholar which I'm not!

This is a good investment for anyone who wants to take their Bible study to a new level. I'll take Alter's translation and commentary of Genesis over any other commentary yet produced. Alter's translation has forced me to shake my head time and again in disappointment over major translations like the NASB or NIV simply because they force the ancient text to read like a modern writing - and as a result lead the reader to miss so many interesting, important and wonderful features of Genesis. Alter's footnotes are gold. It's not going to give you a full commentary on every part of the text - but he will capture the power of the narrative and the insights offered are priceless.

Having read through Alter, when I pick up a commentary like that of Wenham's or Waltke's - both excellent commentaries I find myself bored and slightly disappointed. Alter does not deal extensively with the ancient cosmology of Genesis one and the extensive cultural and literary background to that text John Walton's recent book on this is an important contribution to this. I'd have liked to have seen more on this from him. However, this is a bit peripheral to the literary and narrative intent of Alter. This "gap," if you will, doesn't really take away from the value of the book. It still must come with a 5-star recommendation.

I'm afraid that those who have rated this book lower on the scale just don't get Genesis or the value of this translation. And Robert Alter is my favorite university instructor of theology. One of the best references for an incredible book of beginnings. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. Paperback edition. I wanted to use a translation different from the version I usually read, the King James Version. I am not suggesting that the KJV is lacking, only that reading another version might confront me in a way a familiar translation might be less likely to do. Alter's is a modern translation of the Hebrew and the commentary on the text comes in the form of footnotes on each page.

The translation reads fluently and the critical support of the commentary offers insights into the original text. Alter explains some of the nuances that are present in the Hebrew original and the points out the decisions facing the translator where there are ambiguities in Ancient Hebrew usage. Along with such technical points run analysis of the text and I found these often expanded my understanding of both the context and the content of Genesis. Alter's commentary is concise but rich. The volume is well made and. The quality of the paper is good and the typeface clear, although I did find the slight embellishment of the first letter of each chapter a small nuisance. The first letter is considerably larger and printed in a lighter ink than the main type and its size means it is printed over some of the letters of the words comprising the first three lines of left hand text.

Sometimes it can hinder comprehension. Overall an excellent addition to the KJV and I'd be happy to recommend on the footnotes alone. One person found this helpful. Good to get another angle - arrived in good order. I think that my appreciation of prosody is not sufficient to understand this version of translation of Genesis. While I fully understand and appreciate the concern of the author to remain faithful to the original Hebrew, I am much less convinced of the result. I have read only a few chapters of the translation.

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