Two completely unrelated items – one serious, one humorous – about people getting their facts wrong.
For quite a while, the key narrative in the parsha (Torah reading) we just finished has been the locus classicus for “proving” Documentary Hypothesis. If you have some curiosity about the central tenet of older Biblical Criticism, and only limited knowledge about it, you will be doing yourself a favor by reading Gil Student’s excellent treatment. In the first, he puts forth the standard “evidence” for multiple authorship, and then shows that the accepted critical solution is shot full of more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. While patches to the theory are available, they are hardly simpler than the approaches available to Jews who accept G-d as the Torah’s Author. In two follow-up essays, Gil presents some of these approaches – classical and very modern – that address the same questions, and provide answers that may be more satisfying.
You’ll find all of them on his blog Hirhurim. On the right, scroll down to the section entitled “Jewish Thought” and find the entry for “Flood Narrative” where you will be able to link to all three of his essays.
On to the lighter side. I present this without the vaguest idea of the moral of the story. There may be none.
I met Pat Boone on Friday. I made a point of acknowledging his decades of support for Jews and Israel. I told him that many, many Jews were aware of his friendship. He was moved by the thanks, and reacted by reaching inside his shirt to pull out a magen david. “I don’t keep all that many things that close to my heart,” he said.
Then came the story. He was in Miami, doing a show with Arthur Godfrey. On the beach with his wife, he was approached by an older Jewish woman.
“Missster – are you really Pat Bloom?”
Not wanting to burst the bubble, he answered that he indeed was.
“And you are related to Daniel Bloom?” (Pat is a direct descendent of the frontiersman Daniel Boone).
Again, he answered in the affirmative.
“Vonderful! Ve are landsleit. I am also related to Daniel Bloom!”
Come to think of it, the error of the little old Jewish lady is far less pernicious than that of the Bible critics.