The Shulhan Aruch

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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Never worry about the spelling of a Talmudic word. As though promoting a program of confusion, as soon as you have identified one spelling, you find another. The above happens to be the spelling in the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, although the name on the book itself is spelled: "Schulchan Aruch" ("Code of Jewish Law," translated by Hyman E. Goldin; Hebrew Publishing Co., 779 Delancey St., N.Y., copyright 1927).

The Schulchan Aruch, says the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, is the "standard authoritative source for Judaism. It is a compendium of the religious practices of the Jews." A "Kitzur" or condensed compilation of this work is on sale at Jewish bookstores (Rabbi Solomon Ganzfried, Hebrew Publishing Co., 79 Delancey St., N.Y.).

It was compiled by Joseph Caro (1488-1575). He died in Safed, Palestine, seat of Jewish voodoo mysticism. He was one of those ousted from Spain in 1492 when Spain tired of facilitating "the golden age" for Talmudists.

Since Caro was accused of neglecting some of the customs of Eastern "Ashkenazi," Polish-Russian-German Jews in favor of Spanish or Sephardic customs, additions were made to this boiled down compilation of the laws of the Talmud by Moses Isserles. It was first published in Venice in 1565, and, to quote: "It became practically canonical." The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia complains, however, that ever since 1700, due to the exposures of Eisenmenger, the Shulhan Aruch caused anti-Semites to accuse the Jews of being "hostile to humanity . "

The Kitzur, or abbreviated edition of the Shulhan Aruch, boils down the Talmud laws or Mishnaim, to expedite knowing such things as which shoe to put on in the morning to keep the demons in line, etc. It requires three chapters, for example, to tell the modern Jew how to behave in that beloved Talmudic subject — the privy.

Says Rabbi Trachtenberg: "In Talmudic times it was customary to rattle nuts in a jar to scare away the demons that frequent privies . ." and he cites other devices.

Sections VXXII to CXXV give directions for such petty observances as not bathing, or paring nails during the Tammuz fast. At its termination: "In the evening all enter the synagogue and take off their boots . . All should be seated on the ground, and only a few lights are lit just sufficient to enable them to say Lamentations and the special lamentations. Lamentations and the special lamentations are likewise said in a low tone with a weeping intonation." (CXXIV, page 60)

"On the Sabbath during the nine days of Ab, it is the custom to call up to Maftir the Rabbi who knows how to lament." (CXXII, page 59)

The excuse for keeping up this typical pagan Babylonian custom is that one must mourn for the loss of the Jerusalem Temple.

There are three obscene and senseless chapters on how to behave in a privy, much about excreta, and about demon-preventing handwashing from morning to night, against which Christ declaimed. Just the chapters on rules of the sabbath would wear out a piece of stone. For example, "One should not wash his hand upon the ground ... because an evil spirit rests upon this water." (Chapter XLIV, Volume 1, on handwashing at the end of a meal) The right hand and then the left has to be immersed before a meal: "and he should not dry them with his shirt, because it is harmful to the memory." (Chapter XL)

"Wisdom of the Sages" for today: "When a man is asleep the holy soul departs from his body, and the unclean spirit comes down upon him. When he rises from his sleep the evil spirit departs from his entire body excepting his fingers. From there the unclean spirit does not depart unless he spills water on them three times alternately. One is not permitted to walk four cubits without having his hands washed." (Chapter II) A cubit is about 18 inches — so watch your step! This so-called "handwashing" is not for cleanliness, as previously noted, but a ritual in connection with dislodging demons the "Orthodox" or "pious" Jew may well spend the rest of the time invoking or inviting in.

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