What do you think of Karaite Judaism

Does the Torah address the issue of circumcision on the Sabbath?

The written Torah does not deal with the question of circumcision on the Sabbath. Gen. 17 and Levite. 12: 3 only mention the requirement of the 8th day as far as the plaintext is concerned.

In the Talmud, Tractate Shabbos, 131b (at the end of the page) and afterwards there is an argument about the indication of the scriptures. Some say that circumcision overrides the Sabbath because we have an oral tradition of Moses at Sinai from G ‐ d himself that actually overrides it. Another opinion is that the word "and on the 8th day" has extra stress due to the added letters that make up the phrase "and on". (Leviticus 12: 3). This emphasis suggests that it must be the 8th, even if it is the Sabbath.

Therefore, if doubts arise as to the baby's true birthday (if the baby was born on Friday evening and we don't know whether it was the Sabbath or just before the Sabbath), the circumcision will be postponed until the following Sunday as it is doubtful that the 8th Day does not override a specific Sabbath.

The Talmud also learns that verse 3 (8th day) only applies to a birth delivered through the same channel that it received, since verse (Leviticus 12: 2) says that a mother "receives and." gives birth ". For a caesarean baby, circumcision would not override the Sabbath.

Orthodox Jews do not accept the Sadducee or Karaite forms of Judaism as valid.

The Sadducees are now extinct. They lost their power base when the 2nd Temple was destroyed. When you find someone who claims to be a Sadducee, they are either a resuscitation artist or, at best, a modern day karait. Hence, historically little is known about how they would deal with a particular legal issue.

However, Karaites have small and scattered modern communities with traditions and history that sometimes go back centuries. Rabbi David Nieto authored a book called "The Rod of Judgment" (written in London, England in the early 1700s) that describes the work of a Karaite scholar named Eliyahu ben Moshe. This Karaite scholar makes a three-way argument among Karaites about circumcision on the Sabbath. 1) It absolutely overrides the Sabbath. 2) It doesn't override the Sabbath. 3) You should do it in the late afternoon after twilight on the Sabbath as it is still the 8th day but no longer a time when the Sabbath breaks the guilt.

The History of the Karaite Jews by William Harris Rule (London 1870) suggests that the Karaites believe that a baby should be circumcised on the Sabbath, as the law of circumcision is mentioned earlier in history (Abraham) than that Law of the Sabbath.

Yefet ben Eli, a Karaite scholar from the mid-tenth century AD, describes (quoted) Anan ben David (the founder of Karaism) as having invented the answer to the question of the circumcision of the Sabbath by following it on late Saturday afternoon the sabbath (8th day), but without the applicable Sabbath restrictions.

Rav Saadiah Gaon (Orthodox), who lived at this time (c. 882-942), addresses this idea and rejects it.

It is common for different Karaite communities to argue about such situations and to respect each other's right to argue and interpret. A common expression used by Karaites is "... this is the opinion of the majority (of our Karaite) sages ...".

In general, Karaites also consider a baby born late in the evening after sunset to be doubtful. You decide to count his birthday as if it were the next morning as this will surely result in the circumcision being performed on the 8th - 9th day (rather than the 7th - 8th).

I hope this helps you.


As far as the Karaites argue with the correct opinion, it is reminiscent of a play in the Kuzari in which the rabbi told the king that since the Karaites do not believe in Mesorah, if one finds two Karaites with the same opinion, they are hypocrites.


More precisely, Rasag was a rabbanite.

elika kohen

A.) This is very helpful indeed. B.) The references from the Talmud - together with the Karaitic tradition which advocates circumcision on late Saturday evening - both appear to be evidence that even very different, oppositional Jewish traditions concluded that the written Torah was not clear on this matter;C.) If possible I could use the help to find the original Karaitic reference (which is only indirectly quoted here by Eliyahu ben Moshe). D.) However, I feel that this answers the question well - (assuming the Karaite position is well represented here).