Tag Archives: Judaism vs. Christianity

Can a Virgin Get Pregnant?

Kohanim and Kohen Gadol

At the beginning of this week’s parasha, Emor, we learn of the various requirements and obligations placed upon the priestly class of kohanim. For the high priest in particular, he must marry only a virgin (Leviticus 21:13). The Talmud asks a perplexing question on this law: is a kohen gadol allowed to marry a virgin who is pregnant? (Chagigah 14b-15a) At first glance, the question seems silly and irrelevant, for how could a virgin ever be pregnant? However, when placed in context, the question has major theological significance.

The question of the pregnant virgin appears in the Talmud (Chagigah 14b-15a) immediately after the story of the four Sages who ascended to the Heavenly realms, Pardes. It was posed specifically to Shimon ben Zoma, one of those four mystics, upon his return. To understand it, we must remember that the Pardes event took place some time in the first third of the second century CE. This was an era when Christianity was already spreading rapidly and, as discussed in depth before, one of Ben Zoma’s contemporaries that went to Pardes with him, Elisha ben Avuya, subsequently became a Christian! Of the four that went up, Shimon ben Azzai never came back, Elisha ben Avuya became a Christian, while Rabbi Akiva became fiercely anti-Christian (as explored in the Apocrypha series of classes). So, the question of the pregnant virgin fittingly went to the neutral Ben Zoma—what did he think about the possibility of an “immaculate” conception? Continue reading

Understanding Mashiach ben Yosef, Part 2

What does the Talmud really mean when it mentions a dying messiah? Why did Maimonides completely ignore this Talmud when codifying Jewish law? And did the death of Jesus have anything to do with the subsequent destruction of the Jerusalem Temple? Find out in this class as we continue to explore the ancient sources about Mashiach ben Yosef. Plus: who are the 15 ancient souls that return to help Mashiach? What did King Solomon say about the Torah of Mashiach? And who is the mysterious Rabbi Dosa?

For Part 1 of the series, see here.
For more on Judaism vs. Christianity, see here.
This class is based on a set of essays in the recently-published third volume of ‘Garments of Light’, available on Amazon and here.

Understanding Mashiach ben Yosef

Who is Mashiach ben Yosef? What is the true origin of the Mashiach ben Yosef idea, and where can it be found in the Torah? What are the four prophesied stages in the era of Mashiach ben Yosef at the End of Days? And what does it have to do with recent events in the Holy Land? Find out in this class where we embark on an in-depth exploration of Mashiach ben Yosef from Tanakh through the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Arizal, and the mysterious Kol haTor. 

This class is based on a set of essays in the recently-published third volume of ‘Garments of Light’, available on Amazon and here.