Daniel al-Kumisi

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Daniel al-Kumisi (? in Damagan, Tabaristan 946, in Jerusalem) was one of the most prominent early scholars of Karaite Judaism. He flourished at the end of the ninth or at the beginning of the tenth century. He was a native of Damagan, the capital of the province of Qumis, in the former state of Tabaristan, (present-day Semnan province of Iran), as is shown by his two surnames, the latter of which is found only in Qirqisani . His attitude to Anan ben David and his violent opposition to the Ananites (i.e., the first Karaites, Anan's followers and immediate successors) are characteristic of his place in Karaism. At first he esteemed Anan highly, calling him rosh hamaskilim ("chief of the scholars"); but later he despised him and called him rosh ha-kesilim ("chief of the fools"). Nevertheless, Daniel's opinions were respected by the Karaites.

Damghan City in Semnan, Iran

Damghan is the capital of Damghan County, Semnan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 57,331, in 15,849 families. It is situated 342 kilometres (213 mi) east of Tehran on the high-road to Mashad, at an elevation of 1,250 m (4,101 ft). It is one of the oldest cities on the Iranian plateau, stretching back 7000 years, and boasts many sites of historic interest. The oldest of these is Tappeh Hessar, lying to the southeast of the city, which holds the ruins of a castle dating from the Sassanid period.


Tabaristan, also known as Tapuria, was the name applied to Mazandaran, a province in northern Iran. Although the natives of the region knew it as Mazandaran, the region was called Tabaristan from the Arab conquests to the Seljuk period.

Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish religious movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme authority in Halakha and theology. It is distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral Torah, as codified in the Talmud and subsequent works, to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation. As a result, Karaite Jews do not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Midrash or Talmud.


Daniel later immigrated to Jerusalem, and founded the order of the "Mourners of Zion." He may have built the oldest Karaite Synagogue, which is located in Jerusalem. Espousing proto-Zionist views, he urged his fellow Karaites to return to Israel, and called those who opposed doing so "fools who draw the Lord's wrath" in his Epistle to the Diaspora.

Synagogue Jewish or Samaritan house of prayer

A synagogue, is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.

Jerusalem City in the Middle East

Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

Zionism Movement that supports the creation of a Jewish homeland

Zionism is the nationalist movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel. Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in Central and Eastern Europe as a national revival movement, both in reaction to newer waves of antisemitism and as an imitative response to other nationalist movements. Soon after this, most leaders of the movement associated the main goal with creating the desired state in Palestine, then an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

As regards Daniel's theories, he denied that speculation could be regarded as a source of knowledge, and, probably in accordance with this tenet, he maintained, in opposition to Anan, the principle that the Biblical laws must not be interpreted allegorically, nor explained contrary to the simple text (see below). He evinces little regard for science, as, for instance, when he asserts that it is forbidden to determine the beginning of the new moon by calculation, after the manner of the Rabbis, because such calculations are condemned like astrology, and the practise of them is threatened with severe punishment, according to Isaiah xlvii. 13-14. Yet Daniel himself, in his commentary to Leviticus xxvi., indulges in long reflections on the theodicy and on the suffering of the pious. His conception of the angels, also, is most extraordinary. He says that wherever "mal'akhim" (angels) are mentioned in the Bible, the designation does not refer to living, speaking beings who act as messengers, but to forces of nature, as fire, fog, winds, etc., by means of which God performs His works (compare Maimonides, "Moreh," ii. 6). This may be due to the influence of the Sadducees (who also denied the existence of angels; compare Acts xxiii. 8), in view of the fact that works circulated among the earlier Karaites named after Zadok and containing Sadducee opinions.

Science systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Hebrew calendar lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances

The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits, and daily Psalm readings, among many ceremonial uses. In Israel, it is used for religious purposes, provides a time frame for agriculture and is an official calendar for civil purposes, although the latter usage has been steadily declining in favor of the Gregorian calendar.

In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. The first sage for whom the Mishnah uses the title of rabbi was Yohanan ben Zakkai, active in the early-to-mid first century CE. In more recent centuries, the duties of a rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis", and in 19th-century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.

Daniel favored a rigorous interpretation of the Torah. The following decisions of his have been preserved: It is forbidden to do any work whatever on the Shabbat (Sabbath)—even to clean the hands with powder—or to have any work done on the Sabbath by a non-Jew, whether gratuitously, or for wages or any other compensation. The burning of lights is forbidden not only on Friday evenings, but also on the evenings of the festivals. In the description in Lev. xxiii. 40 of the trees which, according to Daniel, were used in erecting the sukkah, the phrase "periez hadar" (the fruit of goodly trees) is more definitely explained by "kappot temarim" (branches of palms), the palm being distinguished for its beauty (Cant. vii. 8).

Torah Jewish religious text

Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch) of the 24 books of the Tanakh, and it is usually printed with the rabbinic commentaries. It can mean the continued narrative from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh (Malachi), and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or later rabbinic writings. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws.

Shabbat Jewish day of rest; Jewish Sabbath

Shabbat or Shabbos, or the Sabbath is Judaism's day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which religious Jews, Samaritans and certain Christians remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews, and look forward to a future Messianic Age. Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities, often with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day. Judaism's traditional position is that unbroken seventh-day Shabbat originated among the Jewish people, as their first and most sacred institution, though some suggest other origins. Variations upon Shabbat are widespread in Judaism and, with adaptations, throughout the Abrahamic and many other religions.


A sukkah or succah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches and often well decorated with autumnal, harvest or Judaic themes. The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is common for Jews to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the sukkah. In Judaism, Sukkot is considered a joyous occasion and is referred to in Hebrew as Yom Simchateinu or Z'man Simchateinu, and the sukkah itself symbolizes the frailty and transience of life and its dependence on God.

Like Anan, Benjamin al-Nahawandi, and Ishmael al-Ukbari, Daniel forbade in the Diaspora the eating of those animals that were used for sacrifice, adding to the proofs of his predecessors others drawn from Hosea ix. 4 and Isa. lxvi. 3. The prohibition contained in Exodus xxiii. 19 ("Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk") must not be interpreted allegorically, as Anan interpreted it, but literally. The priest carried out the injunction to "wring [pinch] off the head" of the bird ("meliqah," Lev. i. 15) by cutting the head off entirely, after the slaughtering. The clean birds are not recognizable by certain signs, as the Rabbinites assert, but the names of the birds as found in the Pentateuch are decisive (and as these can not always be identified, the Karaites make the class of forbidden birds very large). Among the locusts only the four species expressly named in Lev. xi. 22 are permitted as food. It is forbidden to eat eggs because they must be considered as living things that can not be slaughtered, as is proved by Deut. xxii. 6-7, where it is permitted to take the young, but not the eggs. Of fish the eggs only are permitted; the blood is forbidden. The leper must still be considered as unclean (this, too, is directed against Anan, who had held that the laws regarding the clean and the unclean were not applicable in the Diaspora). The carcass of an animal, however, ceases to be unclean after use has been made of it in any way, as is proved by Lev. vii. 24.

Diaspora dispersion of ethnic communities

A diaspora (/daɪˈæspərə/) is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. In particular, diaspora has come to refer to involuntary mass dispersions of a population from its indigenous territories, most notably the expulsion of Jews from the Land of Israel and the fleeing of Greeks after the fall of Constantinople. Other examples are the African transatlantic slave trade, the southern Chinese or Indians during the coolie trade, the Irish during and after the Irish Famine, the Romani from India, the Italian diaspora, the exile and deportation of Circassians, and the emigration of Anglo-Saxon warriors and their families after the Norman Conquest of England.

Hosea biblical character

In the Hebrew Bible, Hosea, son of Beeri, was an 8th-century BC prophet in Israel who authored the book of prophecies bearing his name. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise of restoration. The Talmud claims that he was the greatest prophet of his generation. The period of Hosea's ministry extended to some sixty years and he was the only prophet of Israel of his time who left any written prophecy.

Book of Exodus second book of the Bible

The Book of Exodus or Exodus is the second book of the Torah and the Hebrew Bible immediately following Genesis.

Influence of Islam and Talmud

In regard to the levirate marriage Daniel agrees with Anan that "ahim," in Deut. xxv. 5, does not mean "brothers," which would violate the prohibition contained in Lev. xviii. 16, but "relations." The story of Judah and his sons (Genesis xxxviii. 8) proves nothing, because at that time the prohibition against marrying a brother's wife did not exist. The prohibition contained in Lev. xviii. 18 can not be taken literally (as the Rabbinites take it), for the wife's sister is forbidden under any circumstance, just as is the husband's brother (there is here an example of the method of analogy, "heqqesh"); it is rather the stepsister of the wife that is meant in the passage in question; e.g., the daughter of the father-in-law's wife whom the last named had by her first husband. In this case the prohibition ends with the wife's death. The daughter is not excluded from the heritage, as the Rabbinites say, although her portion is less than that of the son, being only one-third; for in the law of valuation in connection with vows (Lev. xxvii.) women were valued less than men. In conformity with this law, the mother also receives one-third. Daniel was possibly influenced here by the shariah (see Quran, sura iv. 12, 175). In other respects Daniel follows the Talmud in holding that the descendants of one entitled to a portion succeed to his entire rights; the children of the son—i.e., grandchildren—taking precedence over the daughter, their aunt. Finally, Daniel holds that responsibility for the observance of the commandments must begin not with the thirteenth, but with the twentieth year; that the New-Year begins on the tenth of Tishri, as follows from Ezek. xl. 1; and that Muslims also may act as witnesses of the new moon's appearance.

Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow. The term levirate is itself a derivative of the Latin word levir meaning "husband's brother".

Tamar (Genesis) biblical character; wife of Er and Onan (Genesis 38)

In the Book of Genesis, Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah (twice), as well as the mother of two of his children: the twins Perez and Zerah.

Book of Genesis The first book of the Christian, and Hebrew Bibles

The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament. It is divisible into two parts, the Primeval history and the Ancestral history. The primeval history sets out the author's concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God. The Ancestral History tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people. At God's command Noah's descendant Abraham journeys from his home into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind to a special relationship with one people alone.

Daniel wrote several works in the Hebrew language, all of which, save for a few quotations and fragments, have been lost. There is undeniable evidence that he compiled a legal code (Sefer ha-Mitzvot or "Book of Commandments"), and a work on the rights of inheritance. The latter, against which Saadia directed his polemics, was perhaps merely a part of the code just mentioned. He also wrote commentaries to the Pentateuch, to Joshua, and to Judges, and probably to other Biblical books. They were not running commentaries, but explanations to certain passages, and contained also digressions. Words were often explained in Arabic. These commentaries, especially that to the Pentateuch, probably contained many of the decisions enumerated above.


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