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India, Israel and the Jewish People

  1. David Shulman, “Preface,” in Between Jerusalem and Benares, Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism, edited by Hananya Goodman, New York, State University of New York Press, 1994.
  2. Hananya Goodman, “Introduction: Judaism and Hinduism: Cultural Resonances,” in Between Jerusalem and Benares, op.cit., 3-6.
  3. Dorothy M. Figueira, “Voltaire and the Search for Authority”, in Aryans, Jews, Brahmins – Theorizing Authority through Myths of Identity, New York, State University of New York Press, 2002.
  4. The German original is Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte.
  5. Karl Jaspers, Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte, Frankfurt am Main-Hamburg:, Fischer, 1955, 14 ff, translation by the author.
  6. Words on Water – India and Israel in Conversation, A Meeting between Indian and Israeli Writers in Mishkenoth Shaananim, Jerusalem, on May 12, 2011. A similar event took place in 2012 in the context of the “Celebrating India in Israel” festival.
  7. The etymological references of this section are taken from the classical lexicon of Biblical Hebrew by Koehler and Baumgartner, see later footnotes. In addition, all references to Indian languages, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu have been reviewed and if necessary, corrected by Dr. Alexander Cherniak, Lecturer in Sanskrit, Dept. of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv Univ. and Lecturer in Hindi, Dept. of Asian Studies, Univ. of Haifa. Dr.Cherniak’s general comments, e.g. on ancient Egyptian, are included in the text. We express thanks for his critical help.
  8. Gen. 4:21.
  9. Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, ed. Ludwig Koehler-Walter Baumgartner, Adjectum est Supplementum, Leiden, E.J.Brill, 1985, 443. Also Hebraeisches und Aramaeisches Lexicon zum Alten Testament, ed., Ludwig Koehler-Walter Baumgartner, Dritte Aufl., 1974, Leiden, E.J.Brill,.
  10. Lexicon, op. cit., 664. Śanipriya means “dear to Shani “ or Saturn. Indian astrology identified lapis lazuli with the planet Saturn.
  11. Exodus 24:10, 28:18; Isaiah 54:11; Ezekiel 1:26; Job 28:6, 28:16; and others.
  12. Brian Weinstein, “Biblical Evidence of Spice Trade between India and the Land of Israel: A Historical Analysis”, The Indian Historical Review Vol. XXVII, Jan. 2000, 13.
  13. Lexicon, op,cit., 17.
  14. Lexicon, op.cit., 635.
  15. Ranabir Chakravarti, “Reaching out to Distant Shores: Indo-Judaic Trade Contacts (Up to CE 1300)”, Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century – A View from the Margin, edited by Nathan Katz et al., New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 29.
  16. I Kings 10:22. These details are repeated in II Chronicles 9:10-11.
  17. Tuki (which in modern Hebrew is parrot) has been identified with various birds, but today a majority of scholars agree that it is peacock, see Chaim Rabin, “Lexical Borrowings in Biblical Hebrew from Indian Languages”, Between Jerusalem and Benares, op. cit., 29.
  18. Lexicon, op.cit.,833.
  19. Lexicon, op.cit.,1028.
  20. Lexicon, op.cit., 997.
  21. See Chaim Rabin in The Anchor Yale Bible Vol. 7c – Song of Songs, trans. and ed. Marvin H.Pope, New Haven-London, Yale University Press, 1977, 27 ff.
  22. For Flavius Josephus it was obvious that King Solomon’s fleet went to India. See “Jewish Antiquities” 8. Ch./164, The New Complete Works of Josephus, transl. William Whiston, Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999, 281.
  23. Weinstein, op. cit., 25.
  24. Judges 4:3, 4:12 ff., 5:20. Rabin searched for the origin of the non-Semitic name Sissera, the enemy general defeated by Israel’s judges. He found that śiśira is a Sanskrit name meaning “cool” or “chill.” Rabin also linked the Hebrew term daharoth, galloping, to the Sanskrit dhor and ressen, bridle, also from the Deborah story to the Sanskrit raśanā. Rabin conceded that these language transfers could have occurred during the assumed Indo-Aryan migrations from Central Asia (ca. 1800 BCE), when small groups separated from the main stream and moved into the Near East. But this cannot be constructed as an influence from “India” to “Israel”. See Rabin, Lexical…, op.cit., 26 ff.
  25. Rabin, Anchor Bible, op.cit., 32.
  26. Oral communication by Prof. David Shulman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  27. Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, ed. Menahem Stern, Jerusalem, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities,1974, Vol.One, 46.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Louis Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1993, 5.
  30. Philo, Every Good Man is Free, London, The Loeb Classical Library, 1962, Vol.IX, 75 ff.
  31. Philo, op.cit., Vol.IX, 74.
  32. Philo, op.cit., Vol.IX, 96.
  33. Ranabir Chakravarti, “Reaching out to Distant Shores: Indo-Judaic Trade Contacts (Up to CE 1300)”, Indo-Judaic Studies in the Twenty-First Century – A View from the Margin, ed. Nathan Katz, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, 28 ff.
  34. Flavius Josephus, op. cit., “The Jewish War,” Book 7, Chapter 8, 338, page 930.
  35. Josephus, op.cit., Book 7, Chapter 8, 351 ff., pages 930 ff.
  36. Stern, op.cit., Vol.Two, 657-659.
  37. Stern, op.cit., Vol.Two, 659, Note on line 357.
  38. BT Megillah 2b, 11a.
  39. BT Yoma 34b.
  40. BT Kareitot 6a.
  41. BT Shabbath 63a.
  42. Rabin, Lexical, op.cit., p. 30.
  43. BT Eruvin 28b.
  44. BT Chagiga 10a.
  45. BT Brachoth 36b.
  46. BT Yoma 81b
  47. Rabin, Lexical, op.cit., 30 ff.
  48. BT Brachoth 37a, 37b.
  49. BT Avodah Zarah 16a.
  50. BT Baba Batra 74b.
  51. BT Kiddushin 22b-23a.
  52. David Flusser, “Abraham and the Upanishads”, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity, Jerusalem, Magnes Press, 1988, 649.
  53. David Flusser, “Abraham and the Upanishads”, Between Jerusalem and Benares, op. cit.. 38.
  54. Raphael Patai, The Jewish Mind, New York, Hatherleigh Press, 2007 (1st ed. 1977), 46.
  55. Shlomo Gotein, Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1973,
  56. India Traders of the Middle Ages: Documents from the Cairo Geniza (“India Book”), ed. S.D.Goitein and Mordechai A. Friedman, Leiden-Boston, Brill, 2008.
  57. India Traders, op.cit.,16.
  58. The name Ben Yiju survives to this day in the well-known North-African Jewish name Benichou.
  59. Amitav Gosh, In an Antique Land, London, Granta Books, 1998, first publ. 1992.
  60. Ibid
  61. India Traders, op.cit., 477.
  62. Jonathan Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism 1550-1750, 3rd ed., London-Portland, The Littman9 Library of Jewish Civilization, 1998, 146 ff.
  63. Noda bi Yehudah, Sheeloth uTeshuvoth, Yoreh De’ah 18, Jerusalem, no year, transl. Avraham Yaacov Finkel, The Responsa Anthology, Northvale, NJ, Jason Aronson Inc., 1990, 117.
  64. Abraham Melamed, “The Image of India in Medieval Jewish Culture: Between Adoration and Rejection”, Jewish History, Vol. 20, No. 3/4, 2006, 299-314.
  65. Richard G. Marks, “Hindus and Hinduism in Medieval Jewish Literature”, Indo-Judaic Studies, op.cit., 58..
  66. Saadia Gaon, The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, trans. S.Rosenblatt, New Haven and London, Yale Judaica Series, 1948, 26.
  67. Ibid, 16.
  68. Ibid, 172.
  69. Brian Weinstein, “Traders and Ideas: Indians and Jews”, Indo-Judaic Studies, op.cit.,50.
  70. This hypothesis is discussed, but not endorsed by David Shulman, “Is There an Indian Connection to the Sefer Yesirah?” in Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism, Number 2: 2002, edited by Gad Freudenthal, Indiana University Press.
  71. Hillel Halkin, Yehuda Halevi, New York, Schocken, 2010.
  72. Judah Halevi, The Kuzari, revised Engl. Translation, Jerusalem, Sefer ve-Sefel Publishing, 2003, I;19-22, pp. 32 f. Later on one of the “friends” of the King travels to India where great honours are bestowed on him. He is advised to”continue in obedience to the King of India”.Op.cit. I:109, 61f.
  73. Judah Halevi, op.cit., II :66,106.
  74. Judah Halevi, op.cit., I:60-61, 38f.
  75. India Book IV/A. Halfon and Judah Ha-Levi, The Lives of a Merchant Scholar and a Poet Laureate according to the Cairo Geniza Documents (Hebrew), by Mordechai A. Friedman, and India Book IV/B. Halfon the travelling Merchant Scholar – Cairo Genizah Documents (Hebrew) by S.D.Goitein, Mordechai A.Friedman and Amir Ashur, Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute and the Rosen Foundation, 2013.
  76. India Traders of the Middle Ages: Documents from the Cairo Geniza (“India Book”), edited by S.D.Goitein and Mordechai A. Friedman, Leiden and Boston, Brill Academic Publishers, 2008, 90.
  77. Abraham Melamed, op.cit., 307 ff.
  78. Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans, M.Friedlaender, 1st ed. 1904, New York, Dover, 1956, III:29, 315.
  79. Ibid, III:46, 359.
  80. Richard G. Marks, op.cit., 62f.
  81. Sefer Yosifon (Hebrew), ed. David Flusser, Jerusalem, Mosad Bialik,1979, Vol. I 474 ff., Vol.II 26 ff.
  82. Sefer Yosifon I, 474, para.5. Translation by the author.
  83. Richard G. Marks, op.cit., 63, 65, 71.
  84. Mendele Mocher Sforim The Travels of Benjamin III. (Yiddish), New York: Hebrew Publishing Company,1920, 47 f.