So here we are at the beginning again.
good! perhaps we can actually look at the issue now.
I wonder how many people can read the following and not come to the conclusion that lending money at interest (usury) was forbidden by G!D? And if you read it differently please explain what you think these two verses say. Don’t use “experts” to guide us. Use your own reasoning and ability to read plain words.
what you are asking for is, from my perspective, meaningless and gives no real insight. it's the equivalent of saying "here's a paragraph from a technical manual for [say] heart transplants. you're not a doctor. tell me what it means - but you're not allowed to use any medical terminology, nor are you allowed to mention christian barnard or any of the pioneers who developed techniques in this field." i mean, obviously one can attempt to understand it from one's native intelligence, but an insightful comment would be far more likely to come from someone who had a general knowledge of medicine, surgical procedure and so on. why do you assume that lack of expertise in reading translations of ancient sacred texts and, moreover, prohibiting the use of information that comes from within the cultural context of the texts in question? it suggests, to me, the arrogance of imperialism.
Like a lawyer who doesn’t like the law there are those who will twist and turn these two plainly stated verses until you will swear that they don’t mean what they appear to mean.
your determination to preclude any reading that is not literal (and the translation issue is hardly absent here, either) seems as much of a "twisting" of the text as you seem to be accusing me of.
But just why would you allow a lawyer (or other “expert”) to sway you from the plain meaning? Actually, in law, as well as in other fields, there is a principle called the “plain meaning” principle! Imagine that!
we have a principle called "pshat" which is also translated as "the plain meaning". astonishingly enough, people, seem to be able to find nuances even within this - so much so that volumes have been written over the centuries on the subject. naturally you'd know all about that, though. other operating principles, however, also apply. one of these is "the Torah speaks in the language of humans" and another is "it is not in Heaven" - these principles establish that - surprise surprise - when a Divine text is hard to understand or cannot be directly applied, human interpretation is valid. in fact there's a famous Talmudic dispute on the subject where the rabbis argue a point with G!D - and they win; to which G!D Responds, *laughing*: "My children have defeated Me". but - as i have said elsewhere - this is all information which you cannot be expected to posess if you are not engaged with the Oral Law as well as the Written Law of the Torah.
As you see, G!D Made it quite clear, You SHALL NOT LEND upon interest to “your brother” (another Hebrew). It was clearly forbidden to lend “upon interest.” I don’t see an ambiguity here. G!D goes on to make it quite clear with a few more examples so no one would be tempted to get around the law by using something besides money. You SHALL NOT lend upon interest on money, interest on victuals (food) or ANYTHING that is LENT for INTEREST.
so, then if it's all so "clear" as you seem to think, we've all just been wasting our time looking at this text for the last couple of thousand years? doesn't it depend at all on what "you", "shall not", "lend", "interest" and "your brother" all mean individually or together? your opinion on that is just that - your opinion. it may be "quite clear" to you, but to deny that there is considerable scope for interpretation under different circumstances would be both fatuous and blinkered.
UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES!
Is it possible that G!D Was really saying that one Hebrew could charge interest to another Hebrew? Or is it more likely that G!D Was forbidding the charging of any kind of interest from Hebrews to other Hebrews?
how hard is that to understand? how do you *apply* this to different manifestations of this problem? to maintain that it can only occur one way quite simply beggars belief.
Then comes the really good part where G!D discriminates against non-Hebrews! Shocked? Don’t be. Gentiles were looked at as sub-humans throughout the Old Testament
are we looking at money, or are we looking at relationships between different national and ethnic groups here? now you're the one going off-subject. but since you ask, it was decided in Talmudic times that the groups referred to in unflattering terms in the Tanakh were no longer identifiable as distinct national and ethnic entities, so the rules about them could not be applied. you may also want to think about how we are supposed to "blot out the memory of amalek" at the same time as we are supposed to "remember what amalek did to you".
G!D Okays the charging of interest to non-Hebrews. “To a FOREIGNER you may lend UPON INTEREST, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest…”
btw: do *you* charge members of your family interest when you lend them things, pilgram?
the starting point here for us is not to contrast "foreigner" and brother (the C21st subtext being "aren't you a bunch of racists") but to understand what the word nochri
, translated as foreigner, means in context. it's a fairly loaded word and implies unfriendliness and alienness. in other words, it's someone you don't know, there's a risk and there's no guarantee of good faith. in that situation one is surely entitled to charge interest within an ethical framework - the bible is not anti-commerce, after all. what it *doesn't* translate into - and i've said this before - is general support for swindling non-jews.
Nowhere does Deut 23: 19-20 speak of "money gained by immoral means" so what does this have to do with anything? Rashi "clarifies" something, all right. He clarifies that he is a typical lawyer that does not like what G!D has plainly said. He then goes on to talk about "cheating" and "charitible purposes." Is Rashi talking about the same two verses? There is no mention of cheating or charity!
the focus on cheating is, according to the Oral Tradition, which rashi is familiar with and you are not, *implied* by our understanding of the word "nochri" which is explained above. in other words: "if you thought that this commandment was a general licence to swindle, think again - money gained by swindling can't be given to charity, so you would be forced to break the positive commandment to give to charity". "typical lawyer", forsooth. you seem to be out to attack judaism, pilgram.
I don't know folks, maybe Rashi is recieving email from God. Who is he to "clarify" these two simple verses to make them go from "You shall not lend upon interest... " to "it's OK to make a business out of lending money"? Of course, Rashi means that it's okay to charge interest otherwise how could you make a business out of lending money?
so are you attacking rashi's authority to clarify or are you attacking his interpretation? his authority was established by the achievement of his completing commentaries on the entire Torah and the entire Talmud, which were of such quality that they became the "standards" for the following generations. he wasn't a money-lender, as it happens, he was a wine-merchant, by the way, so he had commercial dealings with everyone, not just jews. loans were therefore not his "core business", as it were. anyway, his knowledge was encyclopaedic, drawing together stuff from all across the canon. jewish texts are hypertextual, referring to each other constantly, so it's not ever a question of just one text.
it's funny, you know, but you seem to be the only one interested in attacking jewish texts so violently. why are you so angry with the Torah?
susma rio sep said:
but I wanted to find out once whether Banana was a member of something like a kind of Jewish Defense League.
hmmm. are you perhaps implying that i have to be paid to defend my sacred texts, religion and culture from vitriolic, tendentious and unwarranted attacks? wouldn't that be just typical? "imagine that, these jews, they have to pay people to argue their case".