Orthodox Judaism/Hebrew Religion


Hi. I am not a Jew, but I do like studying different religions. While reading the Torah I noticed some unusual verses that make it sound as if the Hebrew religion was very different in its early stages that what it became in the Second Temple and later Rabbinic periods. For example, there is the story of Zipporah who saved Moses from God. Some scholars believe the circumcision in that scene is a replacement child sacrifice.  There are also references to household gods that Rachel and Micah had. How do modern Jews interpret these verses?

Hi Charles

The most important things to do when studying the Torah is to make sure a) have a reliable translation and b) a reliable set of commentaries. Without these, it will be very difficult to get the real story from simply reading the text.

I have never heard a suggestion that Zipporah's circumcision of her son was related to child-sacrifice. The only time that we see Rachel having idols was when she stole them from her father, in a bid to get him to give up serving them.

Can you share what you've come across that makes it seem like the religion had changed?

Kind regards,

Rabbi Shishler

Orthodox Judaism

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Rabbi Ari Shishler


I am a rabbi who loves teaching, through writing and speaking. In 1999, my wife and I started our own Chabad House and it's grown exponentially. I'm also the learning director at Chabad House of Johannesburg, a high school teacher and the father of young children. As you can imagine, I get to answer lots of questions every day. I'd be glad to answer your questions on Judaism, Jewish spirituality and practice.


I have been a practicing Orthodox rabbi since 1997 and have headed my own community since 1999. I teach Talmud at a religious high school in Johannesburg and give daily lectures to adults on Jewish practice, spiritualty, Chassidic philosophy and Kabbalah. I'm the campus rabbi at our two major universities in Johannesburg.

Chabad-Lubavitch South African Rabbinical Association.

Monthly column in Jewish Life magazine, South Africa. Jewish Tradition, South Africa. Jewish Report, South Africa. South African Union of Jewish Students annual Holiday guide. Jewish Observer, South Africa. Nshei Chabad Newsletter, NY. Jewish Online Magazine. www.chabad.org

After completing high scool, I spent six years studying in Rabbinical seminaries in South Africa, Israel and New York.

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