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.

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