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To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II
The Bible & The Talmud
Please note: Research into the Hebrew Roots & Messianic movements constitutes research into Judaism as well as the occult. We fully respect each persons right to believe or utilize what resources they choose. We however, see a clear distinction in believing the Messiah has come versus utilizing resources which still await His coming. That is how and why we must evaluate all to Christ and the New Testament as well as the Tenach. We do not wish to edit or criticize Judaism, but recognize it as distinct from our Christian beliefs, just as many in Judaism also see a distinction and separateness from our beliefs, and we jointly have mutual respect for our differences and each other.
A Personal Note: Although the research on Hebrew Roots issue has encompassed material that I have found disturbing, it in no way has changed my feelings about those involved, especially the Jewish people. I hold no anger, resentment or animosity toward any. However, I have felt a deep sense of grief because of many things. What I feel very strongly is that all the issues addressed were dealt with at the cross. Truly, His grace is sufficient. What I do have, is a strong sense or desire to see deceptions--regardless of who propagates them--exposed. This issue is very large and complex. Not all that is said about one group's views can necessarily be applied to all. However, an overview must be established and various thoughts and attitudes tested to Scripture. I do not necessarily agree with the theological positions of some sources I quote from. In fact, some I strongly disagree with. However, I have tried to establish all pertinent facts with at least one or more other sources, each saying the same or similar things and then have chosen which stated the issue with the most clarity.
This article explores the teaching of the Talmud in relation to the Bible. It evaluates the push for other transcripts other than the Received Greek Texts, and evaluates the teachings of , for example, Peter Michas and Jacob Prasch, and other advocates of Hebrew translations who postulate that the Greek manuscripts hold error.
It evaluates the need for Midrash, Mishnah, Haggadah, Halakah, and the use of the "Ancient Wisdom" versus the teaching of the New Testament and the sufficiency of Scripture with the teaching of the Holy Spirit. It shows who the scribes and Pharisees were, the Biblical view of oral traditions and the difference between New Testament beliefs versus Global Halacha and acceptance of the oral traditions.
2 Peter 1: 20-21:
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
What of the Bible? Is Scripture sufficient in itself and considered by the Hebrew Roots ministries to be the inerrant Word of God? Are the Old and New Testament the complete revelation of God's will for the salvation of man? Do they constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice? Or is it true as stated by Peter Michas that we must return to the Hebrew or Aramaic writings and the Oral traditions of Judaism for New Testament doctrine?
"Is The New Testament Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek? by Peter Michas"
" since existing New Testament manuscripts are Greek, written to express Hebraic concepts, why be limited to the Greek or English translations when we have Hebrew, The New Testament is in the pattern of the Jewish traditional work of Torah, Mishnah, Haggadah, Halakah, Talmud and Midrash, but inspired by God Himself for the common people."
"These Hebraic works as well as the Inspired Scriptures were quoted from by Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament to have full comprehension, we must read the scriptures in the proper Hebraic context the New Testament is Hebrew/Aramaic and not Greek or English in origin or thought Most all of the Judaic writings have been preserved for us and now translated into proper English directly from the Hebrew, as well as explained in true Hebraic manner " 1.
In an email dated1/19/99, James Trimm of the "Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism" responded to questions regarding the sources of manuscripts for the Semitic New Testament Project (SNTP), on which he is working.
" It is such a delight to spend so much time buried in the text in its original language... The SNTP is based on Hebrew and Aramaic rather than Greek manuscripts the Aramaic text makes much more sense than the Greek text This is just one example from this project which I believe will revolutionize New Testament understanding "
2 Peter 3:16:
" As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
Orthodox scholars agree that the New Testament was originally written in Greek.
"The New Testament writings were composed in Greek." 2.
Unger's Bible Dictionary states:
"Despite the critical claim that Matthew wrote the gospel in Aramaic, this contention has never been proved. If there was an Aramaic original it disappeared at a very early age. The Greek gospel, which is now the Church's heritage, was almost beyond doubt written in Matthew's lifetime." 3.
"By whom the gospel of Matthew was given in our present Greek form is unknown, but probably by himself. The consensus of critical scholars is that it is not a mere translation but an original composition." 4.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Hyam Maccoby, grandson to the famous Rabbi Haim Zundel Maccoby, the Polish Kamenitzer Maggid, [spirit guide], propounds the view of Peter Michas and other Hebrew Roots advocates that the Gospels were written in an era of extreme prejudice and hatred towards the Jews and that this anti-Semitism was reflected in the New Testament. Hyam Maccoby impugns the accounts of Mark and Luke:
" the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel in which the lines of policy were laid down by the Gentile-Christian Church; a policy of condemnations of the Jews as an accursed people."
" What had been the history of the Christian Church since the death of Jesus? The bulk of the New Testament which purports to give this history is The Acts of the Apostles; but this is a Gentile-Christian composition written about 100 A.D. by Luke, giving a Gentile-Christian slant to the events of those years. By reading between the lines of Acts, by following using a supplementary sources such as Josephus, the Talmud and early Christian historians, we can reconstruct the true history of the early church." 5.
Scripture tells us many times that God's Word is pure.
"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
Error in the Bible
Other HR and related groups make the excuse that there is error in the Bible, which must be eliminated. Promoting their NEW Translation called "The Book of Yahweh," the House of Yahweh stated this regarding the Scriptures,
" Many phrases have been deliberately mistranslated in order to hide their true meaning, so that Scripture would not bring to light the deceitful teaching of the established, and popular, religious organizations. The alteration of Yahwehs Scriptures, either by untranslating or mistranslating, has caused the True Work, which His Prophets spoke of, to be hidden in most translations of the Scriptures, and has been damaging to those who are searching the Scriptures for the way to Eternal Life."
"However, the most damaging error in all the Scriptures, was the error of removing YAHWEHS NAME from the very scriptures He inspired to be written, and writing in its place the pagan titles of GODS, and SATAN HIMSELF! Because of this grave error, those who are calling upon the names of gods and Satan, even though ignorantly, are actually worshiping the gods and Satanfor they are not calling upon, and with, The NAME of YAHWEH!" 6.
"Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
In his article, Explaining the Midrash, Jacob Prasch stated that we need the knowledge of the Midrash and Jewish thought to rightly understand the Bible.
" But Matthew appears to take the passage out of all reasonable context and twist it into talking about Jesus. We have to ask, is Matthew wrong? or is there something wrong with our Protestant way of interpreting the Bible? There is nothing wrong with Matthew, and there is nothing wrong with the New Testament. But there is something wrong with our Protestant mentality They were reading a Jewish book as if it were a Greek book The first step is going back to reading the Bible as a Jewish book, instead of as a Greek one." 7.
Referring to the Midrash, Mr. Prasch said:
" It takes the wisdom of the ancients to really understand these things." 8.
"Wisdom of the Ancients" bears an uneasy resemblance to Ancient Wisdom, which is the esoteric term used by occultists for Gnosis or Mysticism. William Kingsland wrote of this wisdom in his book, " THE GNOSIS OR ANCIENT WISDOM IN THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES: OR THE WISDOM IN A MYSTERY":
"...when I speak of the Gnosis, I do not refer specifically to the Greek or Coptic variety, but to that 'Ancient Wisdom' which can be discovered as a thread of gold running through allegories and myths and fables from the very earliest times of which we have any literary records, and which has more recently been somewhat more fully expounded to us by some of the existing Masters of that Wisdom." 9.
Are Christians unable to understand the Bibles teachings without this Ancient Wisdom?
Psalm 19: 7-11:
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping them there is great reward."
What about other sources of Jewish thought regarding the Messiah, the kingdom of God, sin and salvation? How do teachings expounded from the "Ancient Wisdom" compare with the New Testament teachings? What differences may be found between the inspired Old and New Testament and the "Mishnah, Haggadah, Halakah, Talmud and Midrash?" Has the Holy Spirit equally inspired these sources?
Perhaps Peter Michas is correct in saying that we need to understand the original concepts from history and as they are taught now particularly from these books and the Jewish people themselves. Obviously, they would hold the keys to the Hebrew Roots of Christianity as taught by the Jewish sages.
Avi ben Mordechai, an Orthodox Sephardic Jew, concurs with Hebrew Roots teachers that the ancient Jewish teachers of the Law hold the answers:
" Since Shaul followed Messiah Yshua, who also taught the Oral and Written Torah, I submit (at this time in my life) that we should be following in the footsteps of Judaisms great teachers of G-ds Law, I believe that Judaisms ancient scholars and sages were far more knowledgeable on the Oral Traditions than we could ever hope to be." 10.
For More on Avi ben Mordechai see: Avi ben Mordechai & Millennium 7000
In other words, the rabbinical scholars are saying much the same thing as the leaders of the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements. According to these eminent scholars, the Bible is in error and insufficient in itself, and therefore not easily or correctly understood without the aid of select knowledge and insight from the written and oral traditions of the Hebrew rabbis and scribes of old. Among the ancient Jewish writings which we are urged to study, the Talmud is regarded by the Jewish people as equal to the Scriptures and by some even more important than the Scriptures.
Many are teaching that one must also utilize "PaRDes as a tool for Torah study," with the qualifier, "that this would be within normative rabbinic Judaism (and should be in ours), not necessarily just Kaballah, that is why the rule for being 40 years of age and extensively schooled in Torah was the original prerequisite for understanding Sod." and in order to understand the meaning of the Scriptures. However, kabbalah will be discussed and it needs to be understood that Pardes is an acronym for the understanding of Scriptures via kabbalistic means.
“... students of the Kabbalah speak of Pardes ...which is an acronym derived from the initial letter of each of the four terms (p-r-d-s)....According to the late Professor Gershom Scholem, pioneer researcher in the field of Kabbalah, Moses ben Shem Tov of Leon was the first known writer to mention the acronym Pardes. He did so about 1290 in a composition called Sefer Pardes. Moses ben Shem Tov also wrote The Zohar, which became the most influential work of the Spanish Kabbalists...The Kabbalists were mystics par excellence, and they pursued vigorously Scripture's concealed meanings. They aspired to an elevated spiritual awareness by gaining access to concealed knowledge through scrutinizing each letter of the biblical text and through ecstatic ascents into heaven...Their longing for esoteric knowledge may be traced back in part to earlier Gnostic speculations. Such speculations left their imprints on the Kabbalah...The acronym Pardes belongs exclusively to the domain of the Kabbalah.”Quoted from an article titled:“Medieval Jargon on First-century Lips”
Author: David Bivin
July-September 1999 #56
A book published in 1984 by David Bivin (Director of the JSSR) and Roy Blizzard has formed the basis of much Hebrew Roots' doctrine. The following excerpts from Understanding The Difficult Words Of Jesus represent the JSSR viewpoint on the lack of originality of the Greek New Testament:
"...Our reasons for writing this book are not only to show that the original gospel was communicated in the Hebrew language; but to show that the entire New Testament can only be understood from a Hebrew perspective. 2.
"It cannot be overemphasised, that the key to an understanding of the New Testament is a fluent knowledge of Hebrew and an intimate acquaintance with Jewish history, culture, and Rabbinic Literature."
Jesus Christ is identified by the JSSR as being "like other Jewish sages of that time". Please see Jacob Prasch & The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research for more on the JSSR.
We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 2:5:
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Primacy of the Talmud
Author, Nesta Webster quotes Talmud translator, Michael Rodkinson's view of the importance of the Talmud in Jewish life:
" The modern Jew is the product of the Talmud."¹ 11a.
She goes on to mention the lesser importance of Scripture given by the Talmud:
" The Talmud itself accords to the Bible only a secondary place. Thus the Talmudic treatise Soferim says: 'The Bible is like water, the Mischna is like wine, and the Gemarah is like spiced wine.'" 11.
One can verify these statements in the Talmudic treatise Soferim, in the tract Sopherim XV, 7, fol.13b. This teaching regarding the inferior status of the Bible is echoed in the tract Babha Metsia, fol. 33a:
"Those who devote themselves to reading the Bible exercise a certain virtue, but not very much; those who study the Mischnah exercise virtue for which they will receive a reward; those, however, who take upon themselves to study the Gemarah exercise the highest virtue. " 12.
The author, Rev. I.B. Pranaitis, reiterates the high esteem with which the Talmud and its writers are held, either placing it on a level with Scripture or surpassing it:
"In the tract Erubhin, f.13b, where it is related that there was a difference of opinion between the two schools of Hillel and Schamai, it is concluded that:
"The words of both are the words of the living God."
In the book Mizbeach, cap. V, we find the following opinion:
"There is nothing superior to the Holy Talmud." "Contemporary defenders of the Talmud speak of it almost in the same way." 13.
" The following is a well-known and highly praised opinion in the writings of the Rabbis:
"My son, give heed to the words of the scribes rather than to the words of the law."
The reason for this is found in the tract Sanhedrin X, 3, f.88b:
"He who transgresses the words of the scribes sins more gravely than the transgressors of the words of the law." 14.
From the Babylonian Talmud we read that rabbis can debate God---and win:
Baba Mezia 59b. A rabbi debates God and defeats Him. God admits the rabbi
won the debate. 15.
Maimonides defines the various ways one would be considered a denier of the Law, meaning not the Bible, but the oral law as set down by the sages:
Rabbi Maimonides, in Hilkhoth Teschubhah (III, 8) gives the list of those who are considered as denying the Law: "There are three classes of people who deny the Law of the Torah: (1) Those who say that the Torah was not given by God, at least one verse or one word of it, and who say that it was all the work of Moses; (2) Those who reject the explanation of the Torah, namely, the Oral Law of the Mischnah, and do not recognize the authority of the Doctors of the Law, like the followers of Tsadok (Sadducees) and Baithos; (3) Those who say that God changed the Law for another New Law, and that the Torah no longer has any value, although they do not deny that it was given by God, as the Christians and the Turks believe. All of these deny the Law of the Torah." 16.
Scribes and Pharisees
Who are the scribes whose words or oral law must be listened to and obeyed above all the written law? Quoting again from Hyam Maccobys, Revolution in Judaea, is the following explanation of the terms Pharisee, Sadducee, scribes and rabbis, at the time of Christ.
"These [the Pharisees] were the members of the body of Comrades (Haverim) as they called themselves. Their leaders were called Wise Men (Hahamin), and they were later given the title Master" (Rabbi) before their names. These leaders were also sometimes known as the Scribes after the title of Ezra and his followers in late Biblical times. Pharisees, in fact, regarded Ezra as the founder of their movement, and they regarded themselves as the heirs of the Prophetic tradition." 17.
The term Pharisee was used at the time of Jesus, and eventually became replaced completely with rabbi, who was often a lay teacher. Rabbi Maccoby explains the differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Christ.
"The central religious distinction between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was on the question of the Oral Law. The Pharisees held that in addition to the revealed word of God in Scripture ( i.e. the Old Testament, as Christians later called, and especially the five books of Moses known as the Torah or Teaching) there was an oral tradition consisting of interpretations and enactments supplementing and developing the Written Law." 18.
" The Sadducees, on the other hand, held that the whole of Judaism lay in the Written Law which was a closed and final revelation with no need of interpretation or development. The Sadducees, ...wanted to keep Judaism simple. They wanted it to be centered around three great institutions, the Scripture, the Priesthood, and the Temple " 19.
Mr. Maccoby goes on to develop the Pharisaical view of the Torah as a dynamic document, subject to new interpretations by themselves, according to the Oral Law:
" To the Pharisees, however, this policy was, in their own graphic phrase, to put Torah into a corner. [B.Kiddushin, 66a.(Talmud)] The Torah was to them, a living thing which must continually encounter and grapple with new circumstances, thus, giving rise to new decisions which became part of the developing Oral Law. This does not mean the Pharisees regarded the Bible as imperfect. It was the Word of God, revealed to Moses and the Prophets. But new circumstances were continually drawing out of it new depths of meaning; its content was inexhaustible. This growing knowledge of the possibilities of the Torah, revealed through time in the processes of history, was the Oral Law. In other words, the place of the Torah was not in heaven, but in the hands of men; [B.B.Metz, 59b. (Talmud)] and the Oral Law was thus the working, human reality of the divine revelation." 20.
"The Pharisees, however, always claimed that the Oral Law, of which they were supporters and champions, went back to the origins of Judaism and that the Sadducees, in denying the Oral Law, were heretics who were attempting to abolish a fundamental religious principle. " 21.
In the volume, Josephus, the historian, also contrasts the views of the Pharisees and Sadducees regarding the Oral Law:
" the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses; and it is for this reason that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, and not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers. " 22.
In defense and support of the Pharisees, Hyam Maccoby adds this tribute to their preservation and multiplying of religious rituals and traditions:
"The Pharisees added new Festivals (Chanukah and Purim) to the Jewish religious year; they added to the canon of Scripture they added new doctrine to Judaism they added new rites to the Temple worship as well as being continual creators of new prayers and ceremonies in the synagogue." 23.
Indeed, the authority and respect attributed to rabbis is so great, that it is taught within the Babylonian Talmud, section Hagigah 27a., that no rabbi will go to hell.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were both believers in the word given by God to man, but the Pharisees added extra-Biblical oral teachings as authority over the written Word of God. They called the Sadducees heretics for not doing so. Those in the Hebrew Roots movement parallel the Pharisees in that they look to these extra-Biblical works for their guidance---and wish all to follow suit.
Jesus refuted the teachings of the Sadducees:
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?"
Exclusiveness of the Talmud
Why would the leaders of the Hebrew Roots, Nazarene movements want us to study the Talmud, and so on, when the Talmud itself teaches that it's precepts are only for the Jews??
P.L.B. Drach states in his " De l' Harmonie entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue,"
" the Talmud is not a law of righteousness for all mankind, but a meticulous code applying to the Jew alone ....In the Talmud and ... as Drach points out, "the precepts of justice, of equity, of charity towards ones neighbor, are not only not applicable with regard to the Christian, but constitute a crime in anyone who would act differently ... The Talmud expressly forbids one to save a non-Jew from death, ...to restore lost goods, etc., to him, to have pity on him." 24.
The exclusiveness of the Talmud is commonly understood among the Jews. In the footnote regarding these quotes it is noted that Drach was:
"Quoting the treatise Aboda-Zara, folio 13 verso, and folio 20 recto; also treatise Baba Kamna, folio 29 verso. Drach adds: "We could multiply these quotations to infinity"
It should be noted that Mr. Drachs knowledge comes firsthand. Accordingly,
" The Jewish Encyclopædia has an article on Drach in which it says he was brought up in a Talmudic school " 25.
Furthermore the Talmudic view of the Gospels and those who own them are as follows:
" In the Talmud those who possess books called the Gospels are heretics [Minim]. Thus in Schabbath (116a) it says: "Rabbi Meir calls the books of the Minim Aven Gilaion [iniquitous volumes] because they call them Gospels." 26.
What Scripture supports the idea that we must hold to Hebrew thought that the Gospels are iniquitous and those who believe them are heretics? Is this what Larry Rowland means by "understanding in order to grasp all that scripture has to offer"? Is this oral tradition committed to the writings of the Talmud, to be embraced as truth and supporting what Christ himself taught?
Or did Jesus say in Matthew 15:6:
"Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."
"But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as trangressors."
Considering the great importance of the Talmud in Hebrew thought and Hebrew Roots teachings, we need to understand exactly what the Talmud is and what it contains.
Many involved in Judaism and the Hebrew Roots movement embrace the idea that the Talmud is divinely inspired and of benefit to Christianity. In the past, not surprisingly, some Jews have viewed the Talmud as an obstacle, preventing reconciliation between the groups.
We know that many people, Jewish and non-Jewish, do not consider the New Testament to be of God.
However, Avi ben Mordechai redefines the gospel as the Oral Torah:
" When Paul says, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" you need to see the definition of Gospel in light of the Mishnah of Mark 1:1ff. It's a direct connection to the Torah of Moshe- Oral and Written " 27.
It has been established that the oral traditions of the Pharisees, which were committed to the Talmud, take authority and precedence over the Old Testament, as Judaism's holiest book. The Talmud contains material accumulated over several centuries. A complete collection consists of 63 books in 524 chapters. The main elements of the Talmud are the Mishna, the Gemara (Babylonian and Palestinian) and the Midrashim or Midrash. The Mishna and Gemara compose the Jerusalem Talmud, which was revised in the third to fifth century and later named the Babylonian Talmud, the one commonly used today. Credit is given to Rabbi Judah the Prince for the compilation of the Mishna around 200 A.D.
The Talmud itself confirms, again, the authority of the Talmud teachings in Erubin 21b (Soncino edition):
"My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah (Old Testament)." 28.
In Judaism on Trial, Hyam Maccoby quoted Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph, who insists that it is indispensable to understanding Scripture:
"Further, without the Talmud, we would not be able to understand passages in the Bible...God has handed this authority to the sages and tradition is a necessity as well as scripture. The Sages also made enactments of their own... anyone who does not study the Talmud cannot understand Scripture." 29.
From Fabre d' Olivet, author of La Langue He'braique, we learn not only the true source of the Hebrew Oral Tradition, which is Egypt, but its future transmission into the great body of Jewish mysticism called the Kabbalah:
" According to Fabre d'Olivet, Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, "drew from the Egyptian Mysteries a part of the oral tradition which was handed down through 'the leaders of the Isrealites."¹. That such an oral tradition, distinct from the written word embodied in the Pentateuch, did descend from Moses and that it was later committed in writing in the Talmud and the Cabala is the opinion of many Jewish writers." ². 30.
From the "Kabbalah in English", we may glean factual information about the Hebrew Sacred books, whose Gnostic (hidden) meanings were later developed into the Kabbalah:
" But the Scripture alone can not show the meanings within. Rabbinic hermeneutics could find a wealth of meaning in the subtlest details of the text, a characteristic that Kabbalistic writing took over The Talmud is actually two works in one The core work is the Mishnah, a codification of Jewish Law from the second century CE, together with transcriptions of debates, discussions, and teachings of various sages in the next two to three centuries, organized around the Mishnah, called the Gemara. The Talmud thus shares the same structure of the Mishnah--a tractate by tractate enunciation of Jewish law; but, being in form the record of oral teaching, the Gemara wanders far and wide. There are two versions of the Gemara, based on the work of the Academies of Babylonia (Babylonian Talmud/Talmud Bavli) and Palestine (called the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud of the Land of Israel; in Hebrew the title is Talmud Yerushalmi, or Jerusalem Talmud). Not every tractate of the Mishnah accumulated a Gemara, and some tractates have Gemara in one recension but not the other the standard complete translation of the Bavli is that of Soncino Press, originally done in the 1930s The Hebrew contains various commentaries normally printed with the Talmud, but these are not translated "31.
Regarding the Midrash, The Kabbalah in English, notes the legendary character of its content, and further explains the more important authors and their commentaries.
" The Midrash, stemming from the same period as the Talmud, but more concerned with supplying context and elaboration of the Biblical text. Much legendary material is archived here. Midrashim exist on the Torah, the books of Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs (together referred to as the five Megillot), and Psalms. Usually all but the last are grouped together as Midrash Rabbah, and an multivolume translation from the Soncino Press is available "32.
"Ancillary to this is Rashi and Rambam. Rashi is Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, author of the most important, because most widespread, commentary on the Bible and the Talmud; even the most uneducated of Jews in premodern times knew what Rashi said about a passage in the Bible, and his glosses are to be found on almost every page of the Talmud His commentary generally distills the Talmudic teaching, and draws on the Midrash heavily; and in turn lies at the foundation of many later commentators Rambam is Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (another acronym), usually called in English by his Greek name, Maimonides. He wrote the first definitive compilation of Jewish law since Talmudic times, the Mishneh Torah, but for the student of Kabbalah it is the Guide for the Perplexed, Moreh Nebuchim " 33.
Peter Michas, Jacob Prasch and others in the Hebrew Roots, also favour the Midrash. Hyam Maccoby notes that The Haggada of the Midrash is composed of Jewish fables:
"The Haggada (found mainly in the Midrash) is the poetical side of Pharisaism, and comprises folktales, parables, quaint fancies and metaphysical speculations." 34.
God issues this warning in the Scriptures found in Titus 1:14:
" Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."
Jewish Education and "Halacha"
Project Genesis, found at www.torah.org/info/genesis.html, is connected to such Hebrew Roots sites as Larry Rowlands, Messengers of Truth. Part of its purpose includes education about Jewish roots:
"Project Genesis promotes further Jewish education about our Jewish roots, as represented in Jewish sources "
According to their Facts,
"Our teachers are Orthodox, so they approach the tradition from a traditional perspective (which is logical, after all). But our program so carefully avoids labels and politics that Conservative and Reform Rabbis have actively expressed their support of the program to their congregants and colleagues." 35.
One of their online Torah projects is the Hypertext Halacha, which is a translation of selections of the Mishna. The Hypertext Halacha:
"is a translation of the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berurah as distributed by Project Genesis " 36. http://www.torah.org/
The term Halacha is used frequently when discussing the Midrash, Mishnah and Talmudic teachings, and needs to be defined. According to one authority,
"Halacha means "Way" or "Path". Halacha is the application of the Law (Torah) to everyday living. The traditional viewpoint is that Halacha should be decided by those who are most knowledgable in all aspects of Jewish law. Since the Halacha of each generation is decided by its greatest Torah scholars, and the Torah doesn't change, there is usually little change in the Halacha from one generation to the next. The development of Halacha is most evident when new situations arise for which rulings must be made, such as the destruction of the Temple, the development of electricity, and the increasing complexity of modern food processing technology. Since the non-traditional viewpoint is that the Torah itself was written by people, both the interpretation of the Law and its application are re-evaluated in each generation, using the interpretations of the past to serve primarily as non-binding guidance in how to continue this process. Both viewpoints encourages all Jews to study halacha, and apply it to their daily lives in order that they be brought closer to G-d." 37.
The Halacha List Home page cites that the teachings of the Mishna Berurah (like Project Genesis) are provided with the intended aim, " to familiarize the general public with various Halachic situations which are relevant to our everyday life." 38.
With that in mind we see from the Hypertext Halacha, distributed by Project Genesis , a list of topics from these Sacred Jewish books, relevant to everyday life. Just a small portion of these includes the following examples.
"Siman 11. The Laws of Tzitzis The Laws of the Tzitzis String, 12. Things that Invalidate Tzitzis [Fringes] Siman 20. Laws of Tzitzis in a Cemetary Siman 26. The Law for Someone Who Has Only One "Tifila" Siman 28. The Laws of taking off the Tefillin Siman 35. The Law Concerning the Number of Lines (in the Torah Passages of Tefilin) Siman 39. Which People are fit to write Tefilin and " Siman 43 The laws of tefilin when entering a bathroom(cont.) Siman 45 The Laws of Tefillin in a graveyard and bathhouse Siman 73 How one who sleeps with his wife and children should act Siman 75 One should be careful about [a woman's] uncovered hair and a woman's [singing] voice when reading the Shema, and also not to read it in the presence of nakedness Siman 76 To Be Careful of Excrement While Saying the Shema Siman 79 One who comes across excrement when reading the Shema (continued) Siman 89 The Laws of Prayer and Their Proper Time Siman 100 One must concentrate upon all of the blessings, and one can pray in any language [Shmoneh Esrei] Siman 103 Someone who needs to flatulate in the middle of praying . Siman 114 The law of mentioning wind, rain and dew." 39.
The Jewish writer, Solomon Maimon, wrote in 1792, to expose what he called "absurd questions" which are discussed with utmost seriousness and explicit detail in the Talmud.
". . .the oddest rabbinical conceits are elaborated through many volumes with the finest dialectic, and absurd questions are discussed with the highest efforts of intellectual power: for example, how many white hairs may a red cow have, and yet remain a red cow; what sort of scabs require this or that purification; whether a louse or a flea may be killed on the Sabbath-the first being allowed, while the second is a deadly sin; whether the slaughter of an animal ought to be executed at the neck or the tail; whether the high priest put on his shirt or his hose first; whether the Jabam, that is, the brother of a man who died childless, being required by law to marry the widow, is relieved from his obligation if he falls off a roof and sticks in the mire." 40.
Global Unity and the Halacha
Avi ben Mordechai, an Orthodox Sephardic Jew, indicates that we need to incorporate the Jewish "halacha" teachings in order for "believers" to be unified globally. His intention is that Jewish teachers and eventually a Jewish high court should be in place in order to teach us the truth.
" As I see it today Nazerean (Messianic) halacha should be in place to help us as a global community of believers in Yshua HaMashiach properly interpret the written code of Sinai for the community at-large. Not only is this good government (i.e., "the kingdom of G-d on earth") but this is also the commandment of Yshua. "
"The council in Acts Chapter 15 led by it Nasi (Prince) Yaacov HaTzadeq (James) and his Av Bet Din (Father of the House of Judgment) Kefa (Peter), was built on Yshuas Mishnah and Gemara and on the principle that biblical Jewish government must include the halachic jurisdiction of a Bet Din or high court ( Mattityahu 18). Consequently, I believe we have the responsibility and privilege to establish another authority like the one recorded in Acts 15, and ideally, it should be seated in Yrushalayim! "
" first century halacha is not what it used to be. Furthermore, since there is no official high court to represent the halachic interests of believers in Yshua, what are we to do with our own disputes, judgments, and need for legal rulings? Do we turn to the established traditions of the Sephardim? [Kabbalists] The Ashenazim? [Mystics] The Conservatives or some other body of Judaism? I believe that Judaisms ancient scholars and sages were far more knowledgeable on the Oral Traditions than we could ever hope to be. So, what do we do? Where do we stand today since we do not have our own high court and have not had one for nearly two millennia?" 41.
Both the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim are gnostic sects of Judaism. The Sephardim are credited with the dissemination of the Cabala throughout Europe after the Jews were expelled from Spain.
Since the Talmud is considered to be above the Bible, it behooves us to know what things it teaches about the very foundations of our Christian beliefs. Since we are admonished we are not able to understand the Word of God without it and we need to be taught by Jewish sages, that is to whom we will turn, to see what is believed and taught.
Psalm 119: 16:
"I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word."
I Corinthians 1:19:
"For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
All Scripture quotes from the Authorized King James Bible
To Embrace Hebrew Roots: III-- The Talmud & Jesus Christ
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