Sunday, July 10, 2011

What 'Oral Torah' did Yahusha follow?

What 'Oral Torah' did Yahusha follow?

By OvadYah
I quote extracts from Rabbi Feld’s book soon to be published, “The Halachic foundations of the NT”
Y’SHUAH conformed with Halachic Rabbinic Oral Torah in the following regards:
1. Circumcision – “According to the NT record, the Nazarene child not only conformed to the traditional Jewish obligations of Circumcision, but all else that go with it. Chapter 2 from the book of Luke in the NT, carries with it a boat load of evidence of compliance to Oral Torah which is such an intrinsic and inseparable part of Judaism. In scrutinizing this extract, please consider the evidence to Oral Torah inherent in the dedication of the witnesses mentioned in this portion, viz. Jews who were totally dedicated and who spent all their time, "eating and sleeping," Oral Torah!
Luke 2:
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Miriam took him (the Nazarene chil) to Jerusalem to present him to the L-rd 23(as it is written in the Law of the L-rd (Torah), “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the L-rd” (Exodus 13:2,12) 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the L-rd: 'a pair of doves or two young pigeons.'
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the comforting of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. … 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised G-d, …
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to G-d and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Miriam had done everything required by the Law of the L-rd, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth."
All these ceremonies performed on the Nazarene child were more specifically and broader defined by the Oral Torah, undoubtedly more so in this case because of the dedication of the role players here!
2. Tzit Tzit - The Book of Numbers 15:38 tells the Israelites that they should “put fringes” on their four-cornered garments (Deut. 15:38). The scores of details necessary for the fulfilment of the above, once again, were dependant on the Oral Torah. Archaeological digs have found fringes of years gone by, which correspond with the same fringes that Jews wear today. There has never been a debate amongst Jews as to what those fringes are all about, e.g. how to make them, where to put them, what blessings to make, who has to wear them, etc., etc. For all these topics, the Written Torah offers no indications whatsoever.
We read in Matthew 9:2 “… a woman came from behind him (the Nazarene) and touched his garment” and further on in Matthew 14:35, 36 “… that they might only touch the hem of his garment.” The word hem refers to the tzit-tzit, tassels or fringes which we are required by Torah to wear on the “corners of our garments”. The Greek word used in the NT is “kraspedon”, meaning fringes. The Septuagint and Strong’s Dictionary interprets “kraspedon” to refer to the Biblical Command for the fringes on the hem corners of a 4-cornered garment.
3. Phylacteries
In the Gospels, Math 23:5, the Nazarene chastises people who flaunt their religiosity, “by all their works they do to be seen of men. They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders on their garments (fringes).”
First, the Gospels accept the traditional, historic Rabbinic explanation of the commandments as accurate and worthy of fulfilment. The Nazarene did not reject this concept but criticized their intentions for wearing them.
The same applies to phylacteries – the NT simply accepts this physical tradition as applied by the Jews of the time. This assumes and accepts the hundreds of detailed stipulations which are only available through the Oral traditions of Judaism. Just the inscriptions on the parchment, which is contained within the phylacteries in order to be accepted as sacred and acceptable to G-d (kosher), involves hundreds of detailed directives – none of which are specified in the Written Torah (Bible). The same applies to the procurement of the leather used in the manufacture, etc. The Written Torah only gives the instruction to “lay phylacteries”. The comprehensive and necessary details come from the Oral Torah, throughout the Jewish generations right back to Moses.
Christian and Messianic interpretation in some groups may hold that the Nazarene, with his statements regarding the length of the fringes on their garments (tzit tzit), actually condemned the wearing thereof. But if we go a step further and deeper into his criticism of the ‘length’ of the tassels, we will see that he was involved in a famous historic intellectual debate between two schools of legitimate Rabbinic thought and rule about the required length of tassels, i.e. the School of Shamai versus Hillel, which debated a specific variation of 3 vs. 4 threads and their required lengths.
Whose side was the Nazarene on with his criticism of the excessive length of these tassels? Rather than a rejection of the entire tradition, a closer analysis of the Shamai / Hillel dispute will prove that he was in fact siding with Hillel and normative Orthodox position in terms of length and modesty. Shamai would dispute the ‘showing off’ by claiming that they really try and understand and follow the original intent of the Scriptures. The Gospels, like all Rabbinic literature, were concerned with the possibility of flaunting religiosity through the ritual “but all their works they do to be seen of men”. This was not in the literal sense that everybody was running around showing of their fringes, but as a corrective instruction not to fall into such a trap of exhibitionism. All Rabbinical literature preached against religious arrogance and vanity, as Hillel forewarned, “Do not make a worldly use for personal interest or social status of the Crown of the Torah.” (Ethics of our fathers, Mishnah 1/13; Talmud menachot 41).
4. Divorce – incompatibility vs. adultery
According to Matthew Ch. 19, a man may not divorce his wife unless he has found something unseemly in her. Where did this idea come from? It was born out of the orthodox Torah studies on this topic that predated the Gospels by many many years. Shamai rules that the word in question implies unchastity. Apparently, the Gospels here side with the ancient school of Shamai, since in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 the Nazarene said, “Whosever shall put away his wife saving for the case of fornication, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries her, then commits adultery.” Here again, the Gospels likewise agree with Shamai when it comes to rules of evidence. Shamai held that a woman cannot remarry without rigorous evidence of the death of her first husband. Hillel was more lenient with these rules of evidence.
Matt 19:3 criticises divorce “for every (any) cause”, and the Greek translation of the Hebrew verse is ‘pornia’ (fornication, i.e. adultery). So, the debate was not against good guys and bad guys, nor against conservatives and liberals, but merely how to relate to a verse in G-d’s Word and how to interface a legal contingency in real time.
This entire debate reflects Jewish in-house, Oral Torah debate.
5. Sabbath Observance - If you read through the entire Sermon on the Mount, you will find that the Gospels did not advocate disobedience to the Jewish law, but in fact confirmed the Rabbinic Oral interpretation of what is often derogatorily referred to as “the Rabbinic man-made Oral laws.”
Thus, the Nazarene’s statements waxed symbolic and philosophical along the same lines as defined within the Oral Torah, e.g. adultery is symbolically committed by simply lusting sexually; murder by simply embarrassing someone. These statements by the Nazarene are virtual quotes from Talmudic discussions.
When the Nazarene was accused of violating the Sabbath, Mark 12:23-27, we read:
23 “One Sabbath the Nazarene was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?' 25 He answered, 'Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of G-d and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.' 27 Then he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”
Christian interpretation joins the Pharisees in accusing the Nazarene and his followers as rejecters of the ‘Jewish Sabbath,’ or, at best, that he relaxed ‘the strict letter of the Law’ regarding Sabbath observance. The Nazarene’s defensive and corrective response to the accusation of the Pharisees was not a quotation from the Torah or from the Word of G-d, but a direct quotation from the Talmud, which states, “Man was not given to the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was given to man.” He did not say that one no longer must keep the Sabbath; he did not propose to relax the Sabbath law as Christians would like to believe. He did not challenge them on the grounds that they were expecting. Instead, by quoting a Talmudic principle, he confirmed that his behaviour was consistent with Rabbinic law interpretation. The famous Talmudic dictum that underlies this statement validates that the possibility of saving of a life pushes aside the Sabbath prohibitions, e.g., not reaping from your fields. In this incidence under discussion, his disciples were hungry (as confirmed in Matt. 12:1). To eat raw grain indicates that they must have been truly ravishingly hungry, as was David, who entered the sacred Tabernacle and ate consecrated food.
The proof in this NT-related incidence is in the text: his accusers were silent at his response; they understood and accepted his response, namely that his students were extremely hungry and thus within the parameters of Rabbinic Judaism, allowing them to pick the corn on the Sabbath because of the emergency situation.
Another accusation that could be raised against them is that of invading private property and stealing off the lands. The legal response to this comes straight from Biblical and Rabbinic interpretation, namely, that in the 7th Sabbatical year anyone is allowed to freely take of the left-over produce on the fields (Exodus 28:10; Lev. 25; Nehemiah 10:32). Furthermore, the Torah makes allowance for the poor to take from the corners of the fields and left-overs after reaping. (Mishnah Peah).
6. Swearing by G-d’s Name - Christians maintain that the Nazarene contradicted this mitzvah by saying that we should not swear an oath at all.
Matthew 5: 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to Hashem.’ 34 But I tell you, ‘Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is G-d’s throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
The Nazarene though, was not changing Torah. He was simply standing behind the Oral traditions that were also based on Biblical verses.
The Talmudic Sages had long discussions about this Mitzvah and determined that we could swear by Hashem's Name, but in so doing we might swear falsely, and then we would have misused the Name. Then, we would have broken two Mitzvot - one of which demanded the death penalty.
7. Love your enemy as yourself - Love your enemies’ is considered the apogee of the Sermon on the Mount. This concept is heralded as an example of the new faith of Christianity’s superiority over ‘old’ Judaism. In fact, when understood within the correct philosophical categories, this line fits in comfortably with Pharisaic Orthodox Judaism. First, in Lev. 19:18 we read: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and in Proverbs 25:21 it says: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat and if e is thirsty, give him water to drink.” In Psalms we read: "Those who love good, hate evil. Hate evil and not the evildoer." The Talmud proclaims: “Who is strong? – he who can make an enemy into a friend.”
The Gospels likewise reflect these trends in openness or closedness as regarding the Gentiles who lived within the greater Jewish community. An appreciation of this division will also bring a better understanding of the background underlying the NT recorded statements of the Nazarene to the Samaritan woman in John 4, and his referral to ‘dogs’ in Matthew 15, when talking with a Canaanite woman. These comments are normally contorted by NT interpreters to indicate Jewish exclusiveness. What sounds to the non-Jewish outsider as an almost racist remark should be understood as concern for Jewish survival. In its correct historic and Jewish Halachic contexts this understanding serves to further confirm the Halachic influence of the New Testament.
8. Yud or Tittle - Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill them.” Christian theology generally interprets this as meaning that he abolished the Law because “he has fulfilled it all and therefore the Law has been done away with”. In Hebrew, the word ‘fulfill’ (Greek: plerosai as used in the Gospels) does not mean that now you have done that Commandment and you don’t have to do it anymore. It means that you complied with and satisfied the legal requirements of Torah for that specific requirement, at that specific time, in that specific circumstance and that you are entitled to the eternal reward associated with that Commandment. That means you bring down G-dly light into this lower world, thereby elevating it to a higher plane. It means you did an act or had a thought that allows you to participate with the covenantal faith community’s destiny. It does not mean that you are exempted from fulfilling that commandment again - such as observing the Passover Commandments, the Festivals, Tithing, agricultural laws, civil, criminal, etc. The very sentence in that Gospel statement says that the Commandments are NOT to be abolished or destroyed.
So whatever interpretation you want to give for the word ‘fulfill’, it cannot have as its bottom line the nullification of those said laws. Many times in the Gospel text it speaks about preserving, protecting, sustaining and living up to the righteousness of the law-abiding community.
Further proof is in the very next sentence, where the Gospels say: “Not a dot or a tittle will ever pass away.” This refers to the ‘yud’ which is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It looks like the shape of a single inverted comma. (Prof. David Biven). Do you know what the ‘tittle’ represents? Well, first of all, in Greek it was called the ‘keraia’ meaning ‘horn’, based on the Hebrew ‘kots’, meaning thorn. It was translated into English as ‘tittle’. In brief, it was a decorative barb or spur added to various letters in the original Torah scrolls by the traditions received through the generations of Rabbinic Sages. These little decorative attachments were laden with secret, mystical, and legal vitality or meaning. For example, Rabbi Akiva drew out nuances of the Law from these signs on the holy letters of the Torah. This entire department as well as the shapes and sizes of the regular letters in the written texts, are under the exclusive authority of the Sages of the Oral tradition.
This is an amazing confirmation of the Nazarene’s qualifications. Anyone using this insight must of necessity have had an in-depth knowledge and recognition of Oral Torah and tradition. Here we have an example par excellence, a confirmation of faith by the Gospels to the authority of the Oral Torah’s transmission of the true form of the Written Torah.
9. Oral Torah inherent in the New Testament refutes anti-Rabbinic interpretation of the Gospels
Under Roman influence, every single passage in the Gospels was read and twisted to remove or excise the Jews out of the Bible – to reduce the influence of Judaism – to disengage the Gospel from its Hebraic roots – simply, to discredit Jews and Judaism. The divine intent underlying the return to Torah of the re-identifying Ten Lost Tribes in “the End Time” and their peaceful Reconciliation with the House of Judah will therefore entail the reversal of this process of demonizing Judaism, Jews and the Torah.
Again, the purpose of this book is to reveal the Oral Torah which lies inherent and concealed in the New Testament, in order to bless and encourage this process of Reconciliation. Consequently, it could serve as a reminder to the Hebraic Restorer in this wonderful re-enlightening age, of the importance and necessity of sober minded Rabbinic Oral interpretation of the Torah and of G-d’s requirements for would-be citizens of His Eternal Kingdom.
These are merely short extracts from this Book. The entire book serves to confirm the Oral Torah Halachic foundations of the NT.
What makes this all the more extraordinary, is that the author, an orthodox rabbi, does NOT accept the Nazarene as Messiah, neither does he regard the NT as authoritative. He simply interprets the NT contents from a Jewish Halachic perspective.

The Torah and the oral law

Orthodox Judaism holds that the Torah has been transmitted in parallel with an oral tradition. They point to texts of the Torah, where many words and concepts are left undefined and many procedures mentioned without explanation or instructions; the reader is required to seek out the missing details from the oral sources. For example, many times in the Torah it says that/as you are/were shown on the mountain in reference of how to do a commandment (Exodus 25:40).

This parallel set of material was originally transmitted to Moses at Mount Sinai and from Moses to Israel. Ergo, the oral law. Since that time it was forbidden to write and publish the Oral Law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse. However, after horrific persecution and exile, this restriction was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved.

Around 200 CE, Rabbi Judah haNasi took up the compilation of a nominally written version of the Oral Law, the Mishnah. Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as "Baraitot" (external teaching), and the Tosefta. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim. Over the next four centuries this small, ingenius record of laws and ethical teachings provided the necessary signals and codes to allow the continuity of the same Mosaic Oral traditions to be taught and passed on in Jewish communities scattered across both of the world's major Jewish communities, (from Israel to Babylon).

After continued persecution more of the Oral Law had to be committed to writing. A great many more lessons, lectures and traditions only alluded to in the few hundred pages of Mishnah, became the thousands of pages now called the Gemara. Gemara is Aramaic (see also: Aramaic of Jesus), having been compiled in Babylon. The Hebrew word for it is Talmud. The Rabbis in Israel also collected their traditions and compiled them into the Jerusalem Talmud. Since the greater number of Rabbis lived in Babylon, the Babylonian Talmud has precedency should the two be in conflict.
Torah observant Jews follow the traditional explication of these texts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Star of David or Star of Satan?

The Secret Behind The Star of David (70 Sec.)

Magen David: From mystical talisman to Zionist symbol

In a book by Prof. Gershom Scholem published 27 years after Jewish scholar's death, Scholem maintains that the Star of David was not an ancient Jewish symbol but rather a magical emblem that was only adopted by Jews in the 19th century
Moshe Ronen

Few books are published 60 years after being written. One such book is Prof. Gershom Scholem's "Magen David – History of a Symbol", which is being released only now, 27 years after the author's death.
Prof. Scholem, one of the greatest Jewish scholars of our time, a researcher of Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism and one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, conducted a 50-year study of the history of the Star of David. He published a short summary of the study in 1949, shortly after the symbol was chosen to appear on the new state's national flag.
In his article Prof. Scholem stated that, "The Magen David is not a Jewish symbol, and therefore not the 'symbol of Judaism'."
The study has recently been edited into a book by Prof. Avraham Shapira. The new book looks into the religious, mystical, national and political aspects of the Star of David.

Magical protection from danger

According to Scholem, the hexagram symbol was once known as Solomon's Seal and was used both as a decorative pattern and a symbol to which magical powers were attributed. It was first documented on the seal of Yehosua Ben Assiyahu during the period of the late kingdom, 2,700 years ago.
It appeared once again as a relief at a synagogue in Capernaum built during the third century AD, alongside another symbol, a swastika. No one asserts that these two graphic symbols have been more than mere decorations.
During the Second Temple period, the seven-arm menorah, rather than the Star of David, was considered a Jewish symbol. According to Scholem, the Seal of Solomon first appeared in Jewish mysticism during the sixth century AD on a talisman containing two lions and a Star of David in the middle.
Over the generations, the Solomon Seal appeared in two versions: A pentagon (five-sided polygon) and a hexagon (six-sided polygon).

Jewish flag in Prague

Until the beginning of the 19th century the symbol was used as a magical means against danger, and appeared mainly on and inside mezuzot. The first book that referred to the symbol as "Magen David" was written by Maimonides' grandson, Rabbi David Ben Yehuda HaHasid, in the 14th century.
The official usage of the Star of David as a Jewish symbol began in Prague. Prof. Scholem writes that it was either chosen by the local Jewish community or by the Christian rule as a means of branding the Jews, who later adopted and embraced it. In 1354 Emperor Charles IV granted the Jews the privilege of raising a flag of their own, and this flag contained the Magen David. One of these flags can still be found in Prague's Old-New Synagogue.
From Prague, where the Magen David was printed on book covers and engraved on cemetery headstones, the symbol spread to the rest of Europe and gradually became known as the symbol of Judaism.
During the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 the Zionist flag, which bears a blue Star of David, was chosen.
But Prof. Scholem claims that the symbol only became truly meaningful during the Holocaust, after the Nazis used it to mark the Jews, and thus sanctified it. According to Scholem, this gave the graphic symbol a spiritual sense of sacredness it never had before.

Tapping signs

Many brewer emblems and symbols contain in addition to the classic tools like malt scoop, mash fork and beer tumbler also the hexagram (six pointed star), the so called beer or brewing star, which in literature is often referred to as oldest guild emblem of brewers [66] .
Abb. 19: Faßboden mit Hexagramm
und Zunftwappen,
Internetbildsuche, Google
Abb. 20: Handwerker-Epithapie,
Brauer und Mälzer, St. Johannis Friedhof, Nürnberg, eigene Photographie
Furthermore the hexagram can be found as tapping sign for taverns.
Abb. 21: Gastwirtschaftsausleger mit Brauerstern,
Ursula Pfistermeister, S. 34
Abb. 22: Wirtshaus in Nürnberg, Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts,
Der Davidstern, S. 105
Abb. 23: Wirtshaus auf dem Weg von Oaria nach Mailand,
in Der Davidstern, S. 104
The right to tap beer was in the middle age often combined with the brewing right [67] . Nürnberg had a very strict rule: Only breweries were allowed to tap beer or sell in barrels directly to customers. Brew taps as regular taverns did not exist until 1540 [68] . A similar regulation was applied in Cologne (Köln) [69] .
To indicate to (potential) customers where food and drink was available, houses needed to be marked with distinct symbols - as will be shown later, not only the hexagram was used. Before discussing these symbols in detail, the origin of commercial hospitality must be looked at.

4.1 History of gastronomy

Having a selection of hotels and taverns in a city is today self-evident. Both are regarded as services which have to payed for. Looking back in history reveals, that this used to be different.
The old german tribes did not know commercial gastronomy. Private (free) hospitality was an upmost duty within the community [70] . In this context one has to realize however, that travelling in those times was quite uncommon and scarce. With the conquest by the Roman Empire and the hence introduced extensive and safe road network, the amount of travellers increased. Christian believe - the last heritage of the Romans Emperors - brought new reasons for travelling: Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. (Free) catering and accomodation of palmers would have overwhelmed the people who lived at the main roads [71], and hence from the 5th century onwards monasteries and other churchly institutions took over this duty: The religious hospitality [72] . The resolutions of the 4th council of Carthago in 398 A.D. bound bishops to provide hospices at churches [73] .
With the rise of the cities, the crusades in the 11th century and the newly formed long distance trade yet more change came about Europe [74] . Settlements had increasing demand for catering and accomodation of (trade) travellers. This could neither be rendered by monasteries nor private households: Hence the commercial hospitality was formed [75] . One of the oldest tavern concession can be found in the Pax Bavaria from 1244 A.D. [76].
The transition from private to commercial hospitality went probably fluently - the two forms coexisted most likely for a long time parallel. The cities provided every citizen originally with a general right for brewing and tapping beer and wine. As they soon realized, that money could be made with this, the amount of private taps increased quickly. Both commercial brewers and city leaders obviously could not tolerate this development - the former lost customers, the latter lost taxes. Hence from the 14th century on many city councils issued laws which limited or even forbade private tapping and private brewing.
Marking of houses in todays sense is relatively new: Streetnames and house numbers were introduced in large parts of Europe only be the end of the 18th century [77] . The usage of symbols to indicate hospices and taverns is however older: Tap signs were already implented by the Greeks [78] . As many people could not read in those times, easy to interpret symbols were the obvious choice. The following chapter will give an overview on these various signs.

4.2 Overview of various tapping signs

The earliest symbols had reference to the tapped beverage. Wine taverns used vine branches and beer taverns grian spikes. With some interpretation one could imagine such a spike in the hexagram of the Herttel Pyrprew picture. In the course of time, these beverage-specific branches became general branches or bunches and bushes, which were mounted on a pole over the entrace of the tavern [79] . Todays german expression "Straußenwirtschaft" (bunch tavern) probably derives from this developement.
Abb. 24: Nüssel Weinschenk,
Mendel (1425-1436), 21v
Above Nüssel a bunch or branch respectively is mounted on a pole as sign for wine tapping. Below an emblem, which probably indicated the origin of the wine. In general it is interesting to note, that within the house book of the Mendel endowment tapping signs can be found with wine tappers and brewers, but not with innkepers. The following picture of a wheat beer innkeper may serve as example:
Abb. 25: Konrad Haußner, Weizenbierwirt,
Mendel, Band II, 181v
This phenomenon might be explained with the fact, that all other profession, i.e. the weavers [80] , did not bear any symbols either. Only wine tappers, brewers and doctors have insignia - maybe because all these were relevant for the health of citizens and hence underwent stronger control by the city council. The symbolic might not indicate the pride of the craft, but rather a special observation by the city. In image 26 can be seen, that however in much later years, the star can also be found with innkepers.
Abb. 26: Zunftzeichen der Wirte,
in Alfred Grenser, Tafel 28
Similar to branch and bunch is the wreath from image 27, which mostly indicated wine tappings [81] , but sometims also beer tappings [82] . A very special rule can be found in Landshut: There the beer price determined whether to use birch or circlet as tapping sign [83] . Birch, or trees in general were not only used in Landshut, but quite common as tapping sign [84] .
Abb. 27: Weinschänke, Ausschnitt eines Bildes des Behaim-Codex,
Friedrich Winkler, ca. 15. Jahrhundert, Krakau
The wreath developed over time into the circlet from image 28 as standard sign of hospitality (not only wine tapping). The first circlet might have been formed by the fading of such a wreath.
Abb. 28: Gastwirt empfängt seine Gäste,
1467, Karl-S. Kramer S. 104
A simplification of above described signs can be found in England: The ale-pole[85] . As rudimentary leftover only the pole remains without sign. A smiliar institution exist in Germany: The so called "Besenwirtschaft" (broom tavern).
Abb. 29: Ale-pole aus England,
aus dem Internet von Brian A. Nummer
Another custom has been passed on from Straßburg: To indicate the tapping of beer a chair was put in front of the house [86] , and in addition there were barkers [87] .
A special tapping sign comes from Nürnberg: Ouch sol ein iclich pierprew, waz er piers preut, selber mit offem hause und mit auzzgestossem gattern verschenken [88] . This grid (or gate) can be seen in image 8 above Jorg Premaister on a pole. Next to it a ausgeregeter, sichtiger zeiger […], daran verständig gemacht, wie tewer das pier geschenkt [89] (visible beer indicator). Martin Engelbrecht draws this indicator in his copper engraving from 1730 as a hexagram.
Abb. 30: Ein Bierpreü, Augsburg 1730,
Martin Engelbrecht, in Bier in Nürnberg-Fürth, S. 12
An early mentioning, yet however no depiction, of this "Bierzeiger" (beer indicator) stems from Regensburg at the beginning of the 14th century in a court protocol between city and clerus on the matter of beer taxation: […] die reichsstiftischen Bierbrauer fingen schon an, Bierzeigl (das Schenkzeichen) anzustecken [..] [90] . This proves, that not only civic brewers, but also churchly brewers were using the Bierzeiger as symbol. As in later depictions this Bierzeiger is always drawn as hexagram, it is safe to say, that the clerus also used the six pointed star as beer indicator. However, the final proof in form of a depiction was unfortunately not found in the course of research for this thesis.
The term Bierzeiger lives on until today: In the Oberpfalz (mid eastern part of Bavaria) there is the tradition of Zoiglbeer, a form of municipal brewing right, in which every house owner is allowed to brew and indicated this with a "Bierzoigl" (local dialect expression for Bierzeiger) [91] .
Abb. 31: Bierzoigl aus der Oberpfalz,
aus dem Internet, Zoigl-Heimat
A similar tradition survived in the area around Pegnitz (near Nürnberg): The "Flindern". Here a branch is used as symbol for beer tapping [92] .
The brewing star in Nürnberg was either red or white, to indicate the tapping of red or white beer [93] . Image 9 of Distler Albrecht displays in the background a red hexagram and a branch. This double indication is quite unusual, as mixed tapping (beer and wine) was normally not allowed. In rare single cases the city council granted wine tappers the permissions to serve beer from outside town (in this case red beer) [94] . This assumption is supported for one by text above the image: Hans Albrecht sonst Distler genannt ain preumaister des pierpreu handels […]. (Hans Albrecht Distler, a brewmaster and beer trader ...) and for the other by the fact, that no brewing tools are shown for Distler. In addition, the background of the image appears to be rural, so maybe outside the Nürnberg city wall.
The matter becomes somewhat unclear, as the first official ruling of the city council on non-Nürnberg beers is from 1561, but Distler had died in 1560. However it is quite concieveable that "alien beer" was tapped before that time, i.e. in the time of summer, when the Nürnberg breweries could not supply enough beer for the higher demand of the citizens.
Most of above described symbols have vanished and are no longer part of modern tavern anchors. The brewing star is a different issue, as it can be found today in many places in southern Germany [95] . Hence the following chapter will have a closer look on this development.

4.3 A mystery: The hexagram

The brewing star - a six pointed hexagram - is today perceived not as beer symbol, but as jewish sign. Like the crucifix for Christians, the Star of David or Magen David (Shield of David) is today the symbol for an entire religion. How could one symbol in the course of history get two so different meanings? Might there even be a connection between both form, e.g. do they have the same origin, or is the similarity merely coincidental?

4.3.1 History of the Star of David

The history of Judaism has been very well covered in research and literature and much material can be found. The origin of the star and its first "pure jewish" usage is hereby subject to a quite controversial debate. It has been confirmed, that the jewish community of Prague did have a hexagram as symbol in mid 14th century. The reason can be found in mideval city structure: Citizens had to defend their settlement against aggressors from outside. Every quarter would have its own militia and had to defend "its" city gate and Jews often had their own gate - the "Jewgate" [96] . Prague had a similar situation and hence there was a jewish militia. Emperor Karl IV, who was in favor of Jews (quite uncommon in these days), granted this milita the right to bear their own flag - the first one was probably donated by himself. Diese Fahne ist der erste Beleg der von der magischen Überlieferung genährten Verwendung des Hexagramms als politisches Zeichen einer jüdischen Gemeinde (This flag is the first proof of [...] usage of the hexagram a s a political symbol) [97] .
Abb. 32: Historische Fahne der jüdischen Gemeinde in Prag,
Gerbern S. Oegema, in Der Davidstern, S. 72
In addition, Prague was a center of hebrew letterpress. As symbol and signet the hexgram can first be found in 1492 [98] .
Abb. 33: Druckerzeichen von Mordechai Sopher,
Prag 1512, in Der Davidstern, S. 74
Bohemia was at the time the only region in Europe, where Jews were not forced to wear any insignia or special clothing, which set them apart from the rest of the (christian) population [99] . Maybe this relativly high tolerance and freedom for the Jews and the hence well developed jewish self confidence added to the later spreading of the hexgram as jewish symbol all over the world. The europe wide connections of the Prague printers and the distribution of Prague hebrew books probably had their share in this development, too. The "breakthrough" for the hexagram as jewish symbol was the zionistic movement in the late 19th century. The holocaust in WWII finally gave the star of david its religious and unifying properties and hence it has replaced in this respect the Menora (seven armed candleholder from old testament). [100] .

4.3.2 Origin and antique meaning of the hexagram [101]

The history of the hexagram begisn long before the 14th century. There are two basic senses to it:
One the one hand it symbolises like the chinese Ying and Yang the opposites of nature, for instance god and evil or fire and water in alchemy. On the other hand the hexagram had relevance as protection symbol and talisman on amulets or houses.
It can be found on a signet from 7th century B.C. in Sidon and with the Templar [102] . One of the oldest depictions was in Beth-El (image 34) near todays Ramallah (now world wide well know through the palestine conflict). Whether is was regarded as jewish symbol in those days, can not quite be determined today, however, as many other symbols are found in the vicinity, it is obvious that the hexagram was not THE representing symbol for Judaism in that epoche [103] . The function as protection symbol dominates in those early findings.
Abb. 34: Zeichen an einem Gebäude in Beth-El,
ca. 3. Jahrhundert v.Chr., in Asher Eder, S. 10
In indian Hinduism, in the tantric legends from 8th century B.C. to be exact, depictions of the hexgram can found symbolising the antagonism, but also connection between man and woman [104] .
The Egyptians used the symbol for communicating with the dead and from these rites the catholic church later derived a protection from demons. The builder of the pyramids were also the first to use the hexagram - as well as the five pointed pentagram - as safeguard symbol for house and stove (image 35).
Abb. 35: Silberne Amulette als Glücksbringer,
in Der Davistern, S. 23
Later the hexagram can be found in the arabic world. It is ornament in art and alchemistic symbol [105] . Alchemy is predecessor of todays chemistry. It had developed from various teachings of Greeks and Egyptians and was adapted from the 4th century A.D. on by the Arabs [106] . The brought it in 711 in the course of their conquests to Spain and hence to Europe. From there the mideval alchemy spread over the continent, with its goal of turning basic into precious metals (i.e. iron to gold). For alchemy the two superimposed triangles of the hexagram stood for fire and water.
The jewish Kabbala at the end of the first millenium is based and the arabic alchemy and it turn has itself a big influence on christian alchemy, which lead to a synonymous usage of both terms in the 16th century.
In this context it is often argued, that brewers and alchemists were very much alike as both would "stir in kettles" and work with fire and water and produce a brew and hence it would be obvious, that brewers would adapt the alchemistic hexagram as their symbol [107] . Whether this is the only and true explanation for the six pointed star as brewing star will be analysed further in the next chapter.
The jewish kabbala very likey contributed to the distribution of the hexagram into and in Europe. Jews in early Islam very well regarded and had an extensive network between the orient and the occident through trade, historic roots and families [108] . One of the earliest depictions of the six pointed star can be found in the Pentateuch-Codex of Leningrad from 1009 [109] .
In the middle age both hexagram and pentagram were used as mystic symbols, like in egyptian times, as protection against demons, weapons, fire or bad luck in general [110] . The symbols were edged in door frames or door steps. The early associations of chiselers (in german: Loge) used the hexagram as their symbol [111] , continued in modern times by the freemasons [112] . The symbol can also be found on various jewish institutions, for instance on a column of the first synagoge in Nürnberg (built 1296) [113] .
The simultaneous and synomymous usage - sometimes by mistake, sometimes on purpose - of five and six pointed star can be found all throughout history[114] . Even the modern internet is not immune to these errors: Entering "hexagram" in a picture search engine, such as Google [115] will result in almost as many five as six pointed stars.
There is an intriguing connection between hexagram and military fortification and defense techniques. A line in form of a sexangle, i.e. a city wall, is most effective in battle and hence has been and is being used often in past and present [116] - maybe one of the reasons for the use of the hexagram as protection symbol.

4.3.3 Why the hexagram as brewing sign?

As mentioned earlier, literature often describes the brewing star as alchemistic symbol, which symbolises the for brewing necessary elements [117] . However it seems unlikely that at the general low level of education in mideval times [118] brewers would have known about the alchemistic significance of the hexagram. In addition, brewing used to be a duty of women and were then adapted by monks and later tradesmen in the city. As described earlier, the clerus had used the beersign in Regensburg as tapping sign. It is highly unlikely that monks would use alchemistic symbols for anything, especially so as Pope Johannes XXII condemned alchemy in 1317 [119] .
Moreover, alchemy existed all over Germany, while the brewing star can in this form only be found in franconia and nothern bavaria. Furthermore the question arises, how the not very well regarded and by the church pursuited alchemists suddenly could have become accepted brewers in cities and even council members. Last but not least the comparison between brewing beer (turn water into beer) and alchemists (turn crude metal into precious metal) is somewhat strange from a mideval point of view: Beer was - other than wine - not a precious drink, but everyday nuritment for commoners.
All combined, the theories on the connection between alchemy and brewing seem to based largely on superficial, modern assumptions. But what other reasons could have lead to the usage of the hexagram as brewing symbol?
A possible answer to this question could be found in the second meaning of the hexagram: Its usage as protection symbol [120] . As described earlier, the hexagram in mideval times a sign against bad luck, demons, weapons and fire. The shielding of demons was - because of the in chapter 2.1 described misconseption - quite important for brewers, and also the need to avert combustion. Hazardous fires are reported frequently in malt houses and breweries [121] . The sexangle can hence also be found in the emblems of other crafts which were confronted with fire, such as chimney sweepers[122] . In addition, the Jews were also familiar with the hexagram as fire protection symbol [123] .
Abb. 36: Zunftzeichen der Schornsteinfeger aus Dresden,
in Alfred Grenser, Tafel 11
The interpretation of the hexagram as fire protection symbol can be further confirmed in Nürnberg: At the end of day the closing of taverns was indicated by ringing the fire bell. In other cities this happend trough barkers and beer bells (much like the "last orders bell" in England today) [124] .
Moreover, in image 8 of Jorg Prewmaister we see the grid as tapping sign. Other than between branches and wine, there is no obvious connection between grid and beer. If we look at the patron of the franconian brewers, the holy Laurentius, who also should protect them from fire [125] , a possible connection can be postulated: Laurentius was a christian martyr, who was roasted to death on a grill (hence grid) by Emperor Valerian in 258 A.D., as he would not give away the location of the church treasure of Pope Sixtus. Maybe the grid is a symbol for Laurentius and hence a protection against fire.
All this would also explain, why star and grid, different from other guild symbols like mash fork, malt scoop and beer tumbler, did not became commen all across Germany: Fire safety was handled differently in every city and Laurentius was not everywhere the patron of brewers [126] .
In conclusion there are quite some indications, that the hexagram might not have been an alchemistic symbol, but rather a protection symbol against fire and demons.

4.3.4 Jewish star and brewing star, an independet development?

The question of a possible connection between Jew- and Brewstar has been dealt with by Peter Freimark in „Davidschild und Brauerstern, Zur Synonomie eines Symbols“. He arrives at the conclusion that die einzige Gemeinsamkeit des Symbols […] die Herkunft aus dem böhmisch / mährisch / fränkischen Raum [127] (the only commonalty is the origin in franconia / bohemia) and that anything further was separate and independet.
The previous chapter of this thesis revealed, that the hexagram came from the orient to Europe and Jews have had significant part in this development. Furthermore it has been shown that the hexagram
  1. was used for the first time as explicitly jewish sign in Prague in 1350 on the flag of the jewish milita
  2. appears as brewing sign for the first time in Nürnberg in 1425
Apart from the spacial there is also a timely proximity of the first origin. Moreover both symbols derive from a common base in the orient. Might there be a connection between the two, despite of the remarks of Peter Freimark?
Nürnberg, as a free city, was subordinated directly to the Emperor. It wasn't until 1806 that Nürnberg became a part of Bavaria and lost its independence. Relevant for Nürnberg was hence only the will of the Emperor, and he reigned from 14th century on in Prague. The Jews as "Kammerknecht" were also direct subjects of the Emperor and were (at least on paper) protected by him. For this they payed a Judensteuer (jew tax) to him. The Emperor in turn often lend this tax to dukes or city councils, and this was the case in Nürnberg. The city payed a fix sum of 400 gulden to the Emperor [128] . From the family Mendel, the founders of the twelve brother's endowment, it has been passed on, that they brought this fee on several occasions to Prague [129] .
So there were strong relations between Prague and Nürnberg. It is conceivable that this also influenced everyday life and culture of both cities. Even today Prague is in regards to architecture much more similar to Regenbsurg, Bamberg or pre-war Nürnberg, than north german or slawik cities. As there was a Jew pogrom in the middle of 14th century, it is likely, that jewish residents of Nürnberg would have fled to their fellow believers in Prague, and in turn brought their habits and customs with them, and hence influenced the jewish community in Prague.
In conclusion it appears possible that on the basis of above stated facts the hexagram was in those days in Franconia and northern Bavaria widely used symbol for protection and in this form used by everyone including both jews and brewers [130] . The exiled jews of Nürnberg brought the star with them to Prague, where it became symbol of the jewish community and was then spread all over the world through letterpress. The brewing star remained however in south Germany and developed into a tapping sign.