Following the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 AD, the Jewish people were exiled and came under the influence of the nations among which they lived. This way, two strands were created, the Karaite strand and the Rabbinic strand.
The Karaites maintain that the People of Israel received only the Written Torah on Mount Sinai and claim that the literature concerning the Oral Torah - the Mishnah and the Talmud - is not a Torah received by God but comprised of the words of the wise. They however accept a few parts of it which do not contradict the Written Torah.
Karaite tradition is based on three foundations: The Written Torah, Analogy and the Continuation of Tradition (Burden of Inheritance). The Written Torah is the Tanakh, the Old Testament. Analogy refers to gleaning logical information from the written text.
The Continuation of Tradition concerns the traditions and customs transferred from father to son for which there are indications in the Torah but no instructions as to how implement them.
For example, it is written in the Torah that boys must be circumcised but it is not written how to carry out this commandment. The same applies to ritual slaughter – it is not written exactly how to slaughter. The details of these commandments are learned through carrying on the tradition by transferring it from father to son.
The Synagogue and Prayers
The synagogue has no chairs and no tables . Shoes are taken off, as Moses was told to do in front of the Burning Bush and Joshua at Jericho. There are two prayers per day, with one prayer replacing sacrifices, as it is written, “Forgive all our sins and we will sacrifice the fruit of our lips. (Hosea 14:3).
There are a number of rules to be observed during prayer, among them standing upright, bowing, kneeling and blessing. For all of these, there are corresponding verses in the Bible. The wording of the prayers is made up by verses and psalms written by the wise men of the Karaites along the generations. Both genders must cover their heads only at the synagogue, and this applies to all ages.
Visits to the Site:
The Karaite synagogue is on Joseph Klausner Street
Tel.: For coordination, call 08-924 9104 (ask for Shlomo, the director of the center).
הרב הראשי הקראי