Someone wrote "Hello, I ran into an article on William Lane Craigs website. It's about Rabbi Singer. The author raises some interesting points. Would you mind reviewing it?
I won't provide a link to a missionary site, but I will respond.
In the link you provided Craig actually has some "Jewish" friend respond. Whoever that person is he is woefully ignorant (not terribly surprising).
He says "[Rabbi] Singer... challenges interpretations of the Bible that Christians often assume to be self-evidently true. These other insights into biblical interpretation force us to read the Bible much more carefully. For example, the ending of Psalm 2 can be translated as "kiss the son" or "yearn for purity" depending on how much Aramaic influence one thinks that the author had."
There is NO ARAMAIC in the Psalms!
The T'nach (Jewish bible) is primarily written in Hebrew, but there are a few parts where it is written in Aramaic. The first few words of Daniel 2 are in Hebrew, but with the middle of line four it shifts to Aramaic and continues in Aramaic until the end of chapter seven when it reverts to Hebrew for the rest of the book of Daniel.
There are also two Aramaic passages in the book known as Ezra-N'ḥemyah (Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:12-26), as well as one isolated verse in Yirm'yahu / Jeremiah (10:11) and the two words יְגַר שָׂהֲדוּתָא y'gar sahaduta (“evidentiary cairn”) in B'réshіt / Genesis 31:47, which is a direct translation into Aramaic of the Hebrew word גַּלְעֵד gal'éd.
NONE IN THE PSALMS.
Yet that person goes on to say "Unlike Greek, Ancient Hebrew is a language where a small vocabulary had to express a wide range of meaning. This means that Hebrew words and phrases can be interpreted numerous ways. The rabbis tried to find all the ways that one can interpret a passage, which is why Rabbinics is such a fun discipline."
This isn't a question of interpreting a word! This is an issue of saying a word in Hebrew is actually a word from a completely different language that is not part of the poem!
The Hebrew word for "son of" is בן (ben). בן (ben) is the noun and its smichut case is בן. Ben not bar...
For the sake of argument, let's say that this one word, out of ALL the Psalms was Aramaic. Does it mean "the son"?
The Christian translation is grammatically incorrect for Aramaic. There is no way it can be properly translated as "kiss the son" (or "do homage to the son") because the Aramaic for "the" is not in the text!
In Aramaic the word for "the son" is בְּרָא (b'ra) which is the noun and its smichut case is בר (bar).
The Christians translate the word בַר in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 as if it were the Aramaic noun for "the son."
The Aramaic בַר / bar is not "the son" that would be בְּרָא / b'ra. It isn't found in the psalm...
The א suffix in Aramaic often represents the definite article "the."
It is impossible to translate the phrase נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר as “kiss the son” because there is no definite article or accusative particle present!
Even if we bought that בַּר / bar in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 denotes “son” it would still have to be translated “kiss a son.”....
To be “kiss the son” it would have to be נַשְּׁקוּ אֶת הַבַּר or, using the Aramaic grammatical structure, נַשְּׁקוּ יַת בְּרָא.
But this is all silly because there are no Aramaic words at all in T'hillim / Psalm —not even loan-words.
If it were "the son" and was Aramaic, which it isn't, it would have to be בְּרָא (b'ra)-- and the word בַר / bar in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 does not have an א (alef) at the end, thus giving us the definitive article "the."
Just as in Hebrew the definitive article (meaning "the") is הַ (heh), in Aramaic the definitive article (meaning "the") is א (alef).
And remember T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 is בַר (bar) not בְּרָא (b'ra).
So IF this word (the ONLY one in the entire 150 psalms) was Aramaic it would not be "the son" it would simply be "a son" -- "kiss a son." That doesn't do much for the idea that this "fits" Jesus and thus the translators deceitfully translate it as "kiss THE son."
“Kiss the son” (again, remembering it would have to be Aramaic, not Hebrew) would have be either the phrase נַשְּׁקוּ אֶת הַבַּר or, using the Aramaic grammatical structure, נַשְּׁקוּ יַת בְּרָא.
But we know for a fact that even "kiss a son" is wrong because there are no Aramaic words at all in T'hillim / Psalms.
Why waste your time with such ignorant people?
Why would one word and only one word in T'hillim / Psalm 2 be in Aramaic?
Since it is not Aramaic and does not mean "son" what does בַר mean in this Psalm? It is part of a hyphenated word, נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר.
The verb נַשְּׁקוּ is the masculine plural imperative inflection in the pi'él paradigm of the root נשׁק.
The verb נשׁק has two possible meanings, one of which is to kiss and the other means to arm [with weapons].
The word בַר in Hebrew can refer to grain (B'reshit / Genesis 41:35) or clean / pure (Iyov / Job 11:4). See Uri's article Psalms 2:12 "Kiss the Son? Where is that Son of a Gun?"
The Stone T'nach translates נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 as “Yearn for purity” while the Judaica Press has “Arm yourselves with purity." Both are correct "kiss for purity" not making much sense -- context, context!
Someone wrote the following to me on my blog that my comments regarding Jesus are lashon hara / evil speech. She quoted a post of mine where I stated that Jesus showed "disrespect, petulance and even theft [which are] are the opposite of the messiah's. [behaviors]"
She wrote: "When did Jesus ever steal? Be bad tempered? Or be disrespectful? Before submitting a public article online you should be able to reference your claims. What about Ahavas Yisroel? To love our fellow Jew. What about Lashon Hora? Aren't your claims Lashon Hora? Were you there? Isn't this the same baseless hatred that Hashem allowed us to be exiled out of the land over, and have our temple destroyed? Maybe the Mashiach won't come until we mourn over the way we have treated Jesus, still treat him, a Jewish brother. Our religious leaders of the day handed him over to a goy governement who have no respect for Torah, and were one of, if not the most in-humane government of that time. Stick to presenting your case for your reasons why you think he is not the Messiah. You don't need to go further and insult a fellow Jew's character. How can you insult someone so easily that you have never met? Do you not read Chofetz Chaim?”
Ahavat Yisrael means "love for one's fellow Jews" and is a Torah commandment: “Love your fellow like yourself / וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ” (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:18). Indeed. We are also commanded a mere two lines before this mitzvah "You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account. / תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ, וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא." (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:16).
We are commanded to speak against missionaries and against those who not only do wrong, but worse yet encourage others to do wrong.
She mentions the Chofetz Chaim (19th century Poland) at the end of her remarks. He was a great believer in ethical speech – Jews are not to gossip or speak ill of fellow Jews. This is called lashon hara – evil speech.
She is misusing his teachings. It is not lashon hara if the intention is to correct a negative situation, and there is nothing more negative than Jews being enticed to leave G-d.
She needs to read the last chapter of the section Hilchot Lashon Hara in Sefer Chofetz Chaim. In it he has 17 numbered paragraphs discussing situations when speaking lashon hara for a constructive purpose is permitted. The first of these is speaking lashon hara to help others. The intention must for constructive intentions (numbers four and thirteen)… It is critical that we educate our fellow Jews who are led astray by missionaries.
Let's address her individual claims. She asked "When did Jesus ever steal?" Matthew 8:30-33, Jesus killed a drove of pigs who were privately owned. He did not repay the owner for their cost. Then there is Matthew 21:1-7 where Jesus tells his followers to steal a donkey without notifying the owner. That is theft. He didn’t buy the donkey, he didn’t even rent it – he stole it. “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me." Matthew 21:1. Just take them. Don't find out who owns them. Don't pay for them. Take them.
That is theft.
Then she asked "When was he bad tempered?" When wasn’t he? Matthew 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” How about Matthew 15:26 where he calls a woman who asked him for help a dog? Jesus was bad tempered quite often! He even cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit OUT OF SEASON (Matthew 21:18-21, Mark 11:13-14). This is anger, theft and violence.
Jesus was also disrespectful to his parents (what happened to honor your parents?). Luke 2:48-49, Jesus ran away and didn’t tell his parents. . . .”His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” To honor your parents is a Torah commandment -- and one that Jesus often disregarded.
Jesus also showed disrespect to his mother in Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 3:30-34 “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. "Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50.
He encouraged others to disrespect their parents, too. Luke 9:59-60 has a tale of a man who wants to stay to bury his father and Jesus tells him to leave! Jews bury their dead within 24 hours. There was no reason other than disrespect that Jesus either couldn't wait for the man or say to him "follow the mitzvah and honor your father.” It is clear that Jesus told the man to not respect his father, but to leave the dead to "bury their own dead."
Far from being baseless hatred, we are commanded to hate the missionary and not be swayed by him. Quite a few of these 613 mitzvot are all found in the Torah, and here is the Rambam's listing of them in his Mishneh Torah:
The woman who wrote the comment to me should spend more time in studying Torah with a good rabbi. To equate countering attempts to lure Jews from Judaism with "evil speech" is the height of ignorance. It also shows a woeful lack of understanding Jewish law.
She also wrote “Our religious leaders of the day handed him over to a goy government.”
Highly unlikely. She is again showing complete ignorance of history -- both secular and Jewish.
The anti-Jewish Christian bible claims that Jewish religious leaders of the day handed Jesus over to the Romans who were unwilling to kill him.
This is patently false and anyone familiar with both Roman and Jewish histories of the time would know that.
The Christian bible was primarily a marketing tool to gain non-Jewish converts.
The so-called trial of Jesus (with its varying conflicting stories) found in the Christian bible is full of errors, not the least of which is that the Jews had lost the right to try anyone to a death penalty. It has the wrong person as the leader of the court and it has the court meeting on Passover Eve – something that would have never happened!
The high priest is said to be the head of the trial in the Christian bible.
The high priest never headed the Sanhedrin -- that role fell to Nasi (president) and the Av Beit Din (head of the Sanhedrin) -- both of whom were rabbis.
The Christian bible doesn't mention either one.
These pairs are all listed in the "Ethics of the Fathers" (Pirkei Avot). Gamaliel (who is mentioned in the Christian bible in Acts 5 is not mentioned at all in relation to Jesus' trial). Gamaliel was the Nasi of the Sanhedrin at the time.
Perhaps most telling of all is that while the Christian bible puts the blame on the high priest it ignores the fact that the Romans had selected the Jewish high priest!
The high priest Caiaphas was really a servant, or lackey of Rome, appointed by the legate or procurator to ensure local control of malcontents.
Most of the priests were hellenized -- and sided with the Romans. So far from the “Jews” turning Jesus over to the Romans you have a Roman puppet doing the Romans bidding – but let’s blame the Jews because we’re trying to convert the Romans to our new religion!
Something tells me that this woman says “our religious leaders” is not a Jew at all. She writes as if she is a Christian. Perhaps she was born a Jew but through a lack of Jewish education believes the falsehoods she wrote about in her comments to me.
The prophet Hosea wrote "My people has been eliminated for lack of knowledge; for you have spurned knowledge and I will spurn you from serving Me; and as you have forgotten the Torah of your G-d, I too, will forget your children." Hoshea / Hosea 4:6.
Since the person who made the comments to me found her way to this blog perhaps she will read a few of the posts and learn about Judaism. If she was born a Jew I can only hope that she does so, that she repents and returns to G-d. Soon it will be the High Holy Days -- a perfect time to repent and turn to G-d.
Someone asked: "I understand that for Jesus to be Mashiach Ben David, he has to be the son of Yosef. Many people have tried to explain to me the the genealogy from Luke is his legal lineage through Natan via yibum and they quote from anarticle written by Chabad website to verify this claim."
A link to the article "Is the Messiah a Descendant of King Solomon?"
Yibbum aka "levirate" (in Latin) is a mitzvah whereby an older brother may marry the widow of a younger brother if there was no male heir conceived in the deceased brother's marriage. This is done to allow inheritance to go to the deceased brother's widow's son while staying in the same tribe / family since the biological father is an elder brother to the deceased.
Does the article support the idea that King Solomon married his younger brother Nathan's widow and had a son by him who could be an ancestor to Joseph, Mary's husband (but not Jesus' actual biological father)?
Missionaries are distorting the article which itself states: G‑d singles out King Solomon (I Chronicles 22:9–10): Behold, a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace (shalom) from all his enemies around about, for Solomon (Shlomo) will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house in My name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
And later on, David states:
And of all my sons—for the L‑rd gave me many sons—He chose my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the L‑rd over Israel . . . (Ibid. 28:5)
When King David reaffirms that Solomon will reign after him, he is saluted with the expression, “Let my lord King David live forever” (I Kings 1:31), indicating that the eternal monarchy continues through Solomon.
In light of the above, the fact that Moshiach will be a descendant of both David and Solomon is part of the twelfth (of the thirteen) Jewish fundamental beliefs as outlined by Maimonides.
The article makes it clear that the messiah will be a descendant of Solomon, not Nathan or one of King David's other nine sons.
The missionaries attempt to find an excuse for Luke's bypassing Solomon and including Nathan's son in the lineage he gives for Joseph, Mary's husband (this even though Joseph was supposedly NOT Jesus father!).
They come up with the excuse that Nathan must have died childless (the only way a yibbum is permitted) and Solomon must have married Nathan's widow and fathered a son with her that eventually became the ancestor to the Joseph of the Christian bible.
Even though none of this is supported by either the Hebrew Bible or the Christian bible this is the excuse they try to use.
Let's not forget either that the messiah must not only be born from a line including David and Solomon, he must also fulfill the actual messianic prophecies (which Jesus never did) or he would not be the messiah no matter if he was descended from both men or not!
Ignoring the virgin birth -- which makes Joseph's lineage immaterial since tribal status is only passed down by a biological father of a given tribe married to a Jewish woman fathering children with her -- let's assume that Joseph actually got Mary pregnant and so his lineage has some value. Big assumption, but for the sake of this argument let's say that Joseph fathered Jesus...
Both of Joseph's lineages in the Christian bible disqualify him from being a messiah, including any of his children. One line goes through Jeconiah and the other through Nathan, not Solomon.
Matthew includes King Jeconiah in his lineage for Jesus and Joseph. Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 22:30 states that none of Jeconiah's heirs will ever be kings of the Jews. Thus by including Jeconiah in Jesus (and Joseph)'s lineages Matthew has just eliminated Jesus from the possibility of ever being an anointed (messiah) king of the Jews.
Luke has a completely different lineage for Joseph and says he was descended from King David's son Nathan, not Solomon, thus eliminating Joseph and his heirs from the kingly line.
Nathan is not the son G-d promises in Shmuel 2 / 2 Samuel 7 will build G-d’s house (the Temple) and through whom the throne will be established. This person was David’s son Solomon, not his son Nathan.
The Jewish bible is clear that the messiah must be a physical offspring of both David and Solomon on their father's side (paternally).
That throws Jesus out completely if one believes Luke's lineage since it bypasses Solomon.
What of the information on theChabad website regarding Nathan and a yibbum marriage?
Missionaries are misusing a Jewish source.
The Chabad makes it clear that in Kabbalah (which is mystical, not literal) there is the possibility that the messiah will have descended not from Nathan, but from Nathan's wife via a yibbum. Remember: to marry under the law of yibbum the widow must be of childbearing age and not have had an heir with her husband. This would seem to support the missionary argument -- but the Chabad article also made it clear that the messiah must be descended from Solomon, meaning he must be of the legal line of Solomon.
The Chabad article brings up a comment in the Zohar (Kabbalah) that Nathan, one of King David's youngest sons, died without a male heir and Solomon took her as one of his 700 wives (he also had 300 concubines). There is no biblical support for this idea, so it seems that the Zohar is using drash (non-literal story telling) to make a point. Here is a link to the Chabad which restates that the messiah must be descended from Solomon, not one of David's other sons.
The concept of yibbum / ייבום, sometimes called levirate (by non-Jews as it comes from Latin), speaks of a brother marrying his dead brother's wife. Same tribe, It is very important to note that in a yibbum (levirate marriage) both brothers must have the same FATHER. If there are two brothers who have the same mother but not the same father then it is not a yibbum marriage.
Any older brother of a deceased man may offer yibbum although most often it was the eldest brother. FYI, Solomon was NOT the eldest son of David. That honor belonged to Amnon, son of Jezreel. The second son was Chileab, son of Abigail... --
The fact is that it is ILLEGAL for a Jewish king to take part in a yibbun marriage so this Christian idea of a loophole to explain Luke's lineage bypassing Solomon and going through Nathan can be excused. The fact is that it is ILLEGAL for a Jewish king to take part in a yibbun marriage so this Christian idea of a loophole to explain Luke's lineage bypassing Solomon and going through Nathan can be excused.
The Talmud, Sanhedrin 2:2 -- this is the Mishna so this is not mere "opinion" -- it is Jewish law -- says a king is forbidden from marrying under yibbum:
"The mishna continues, enumerating the Jewish law pertaining to the king in similar matters: The king does not judge others as a member of a court and others do not judge him, he does not testify and others do not testify concerning him, he does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife, and he does not consummate yibbum marriage with his brother’s widow and his brother does not consummate yibbum marriage with his wife, as all these actions are not fitting to the honor of his office."
This is repeated twice again in the Talmud Sanhedrin 18a:5-10 "he (the king) does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife, and he does not consummate yibbum marriage with his brother’s widow and his brother does not consummate yibbum marriage with his wife, as all these actions are not fitting to the honor of his office."
It is repeated again in Sanhedrin 19b:1 - 2 repeats this "The mishna teaches that the king does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife."
R' Y'huda disagreed with chazal, but they told him: "The Sages said to him: They do not listen to him if he desires to do so, as this affects not only his own honor but that of the kingdom. " The Talmud, Sanhedrin 2:2.
Commentary agrees: "No one hears him, that it is not only the honor itself but the honor of the kingdom." Steinsaltz Commentary and "because it is forbidden to marry." Rashi.
What is cḥalitza?
This is when a widow refuses a brother of her husband's offer of yibbum. This absolves a brother from having to marry a widow of a younger brother.
Likewise, if one brother receives chalitza from a widow of a younger brother all the brothers are absolved of any obligation to marry her.
The Rambam in his Mishneh Torah repeats what the Talmud has told us -- a king was forbidden from marrying via yibbum.
"Since he (the king) is not allowed to perform chalitzah, he is not eligible to participate in yibbum. Similarly, in the event of his death, since it is forbidden to initiate yibbum with his wife, chalitzah is also not performed for her. Rather, she must remain in her state of attachment forever." Mishneh Torah M'lachim uMilchamot - Chapter 2.
So much for the missionary thought that Luke's bypassing Solomon in favor of Nathan (which disqualifies the line from being a messiah) was because it was REALLY Solomon who had married Nathan's widow via yibbum.
Kabbalah is not literal and it most certainly does not "trump" the written or oral Torah.
Kings are forbidden from a yibbum marriage. This far reach to excuse Luke's mistake is, itself, a mistake.
Is it possible that King Solomon's younger brother, Nathan, died before having any sons? Sure. Is it possible that out of the eight brothers (Nathan was the 2nd to last son) older than Nathan didn't offer yibbum, but King Solomon did even though it went against Jewish law? Possible.
Is any of it likely?
Is any of it supported by anything in the Bible?
Luke goes on to name sons of Nathan in his lineage who are not named in the Bible as sons of Solomon so even the Christian bible does not support this far reach by missionaries to explain why Luke would bypass the REQUIREMENT that the messiah be a son of Solomon.
Just more attempts by missionaries to make excuses while completely ignoring both the Hebrew Bible and Jewish law.
Someone pointed out that Jews for Judaism remarked that over 500,000 Jews had converted to Christianity.
The entire reason that Jews for Judaism and this blog exist is because of the ongoing onslaught by Christians to convert uneducated Jews. Sadly far too many Jews are raised with little to no Jewish education. Many are raised entirely secular, with no religion at all. A major problem in America (in particular) is that so many of these people wind up marrying non-Jews. Since the majority of Americans are Christian they usually marry a Christian and in turn "convert" to Christianity as they raise their children. As to how many are actually religious compared to just converting to make a spouse happy or to "fit in" with mainstream America, it is hard to say...
It seems this person's point was that somehow conversions by Jews to Christianity "proved" that Christianity is viable or "more true" than Judaism. That leap in logic is ridiculous. Consider the following Pew Research information which shows Americans are leaving Christianity in droves.
Read "In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace"
"65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009."
Regarding Jews Pew Research reports: "Judaism is the largest faith group in America after Christianity, and its relative size in America has grown slightly since 2007, from 1.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 to 1.9 percent in 2014... When it comes to religious retention rates, American Jews come in third, retaining 75 percent of those raised Jewish...Sixty-five percent of American Jews who are married or living with a partner are with a Jew and 35 percent are with a non-Jew....But 17 percent of us have found Judaism: Seventeen percent of American Jews say they were raised in another religion. Six percent say they were raised unaffiliated, 4 percent as mainline Protestant, 3 percent as Catholic, and 2 percent each as evangelical and in some other religion."
While the Jewish statistics are depressing, the decline is primarily attributed to secular and less observant Jews, not to observant Jews. This is why the work we do here is so critical.
Converts to Christianity for reasons other than marriage or simply to "fit in" tend to be swayed by emotions -- either the "Christian love" they are shown by the missionaries trying to convert them, or sometimes a "personal revelation" that sways them emotionally to believe in Jesus. They only tend to try to support their conversion with "proof texts" after the fact, but I have yet to meet even one who converted based on studying Christianity and making an intellectual choice.
The Torah warns us to not be swayed by personal visions and revelations -- all religions except for Judaism are based on personal revelations. From the followers of Jesus reporting "third hand" on him being a god, to Mohammad to Joseph Smith of Mormon fame, all other religions are based on one or two people (or anonymous groups) having visions which they relay to followers. The Torah warns us against these personal experiences and tells us that G-d is testing our faith in Him. Judaism is the only religion based not on personal revelations, but on national revelation. G-d spoke to the entire nation (3 million people) and made a contract with us Jews -- warning us that any other religious experience we did not know at Sinai was false and not to be fooled by them.
D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:32-33: "You might inquire about times long past, from the day that G-d created man on earth, [exploring] one end of heaven to the other. Has there ever been anything like this great thing or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of G-d speaking from the midst of the fires as you have heard, and survived?"
Converts to Judaism from Christianity tend to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. They were often religious Christians or Muslims who begin to see the inconsistencies and errors in the Koran and Christian bible. They begin to research and search for G-d -- and they usually find him.
While fighting missionaries who spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try to convert Jews to Christianity is an ongoing battle, there is good news. Observant Jews are growing in numbers and thanks to kiruv (Jewish outreach) many Jews who were raised secular or with limited education are returning to Judaism. From "Will Your Grandchildren be Jewish?
Someone wrote: "I have a question please.
In Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 7:20 it says that there is no one without a sin, however the Gemara mentioned some people never committed a sin like Benjamin, Jesse, son of David and one more person which I forgot who he was. And it some interpretation chazal mention 11 people in total.
How can I understand this? Thank you ☺"
Jesse (Yishai) was David's father, not his son.
The Talmud, Bava Batra 17a says: "The Sages taught in a baraita: There were four people who died only because of the counsel of the primordial snake, in the wake of which all of humanity became mortal, and not on account of any personal sin. And they are: Benjamin, son of Jacob; Amram, father of Moses; Yishai, father of David and Kil’av, the son of David and Chileab, son of David. ."
A ברייתא / baraita recorded teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishna. The word ברייתא / baraita means "outside." They include teachings by the tanna’im not found in the Mishna. The Tanna'im were the authors of the Mishna.
The Gemara records conversations with all kinds of opinions. There are two basic types of conversation: midrash halacha (discussions around Jewish law) and midrash aggadah which are not meant to be taken literally -- they are there to teach a moral lesson through stories, sayings and jokes. You are trying to take something literally that is not literal.
Did these four men never sin? It seems highly unlikely since we all make mistakes and some sins fall under that category. So the Gemara here is trying to teach us something.
What is it trying to teach us?
Stop and think.
Who are these four men?
Were they anyone important in their own lives? Sure, Yishai fathered David and Amram father Moses -- but what did either accomplish other than fathering an important son?
The people who we're told didn't sin are NOT great Jewish leaders. It isn't Abraham. It isn't Moses. It isn't King David.
Rabbi Zevulun Charlap asked the question: "why are each of these four mentioned by stating who they are related to? Yishai (Jessie) is father to David, Binyamin is son of Jacob... "
By pointing out these relatively unknown people by comparing them to well known Biblical figures we can contrast them.
Do you honestly think that Binyamin was greater than his father Jacob?
Was Yishai greater than his son David?
Of course not.
Yet we know David sinned. Jacob sinned.
So the point may be that it is important to sin.
Now before you go crazy with that thought, stop and think -- David, Jacob -- these are some of the most important men in Jewish history -- in all of history. Moses himself was the greatest prophet to ever live!
So is it better to be Amram or Moses?
Binyamin or Jacob?
Should you live your life in a bubble and never sin, or should you take risks and do the best you can?
Who is the holier person in the end?
The Orthodox Union states: "Clearly, the Talmud wants us to compare each of these four individuals to a more well-known relative. When we do so, a striking truth emerges. Each of the four figures identified in the Talmud as having died “without sin” pales in comparison to a close relative who cannot make that claim. While some Midrashic traditions maintain otherwise [As we have noted before (see Unlocking the Torah Text on B'reishit), a spectrum of opinion exists within rabbinic thought concerning the potential fallibility of biblical heroes, some sages refusing to see any possible failing on the part of the heroes of the Torah and Tanach.], the straightforward reading of events indicates that Yaakov, Moshe and David certainly sinned, and that their sins are recorded for posterity in the Tanach and rabbinic literature. Nonetheless, their place in Jewish history is unsurpassed. In spite of faults and human failings, Yaakov remains the greatest of our patriarchs, (Midrash Sechel Tov Bereishit 33) Moshe the greatest of our prophets, (Devarim 34:10) David the greatest of our kings. (Midrash Tehillim Mizmor 1)
Is it preferable to be Binyamin or Yaakov, Amram or Moshe, Yishai or David, Kil’av or David? While all of these personalities were righteous men deserving of emulation, the Talmud’s answer is clear: Better to risk sin and rise to leadership than to remain unblemished in the shadows. (Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Vayikra,’ co published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers).
You asked about Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20. It says "there is no righteous person who never sins."
Righteous people sin. Sin is part of G-d's plan. G-d does not expect perfection -- He expects us to try, to fail, to pick ourselves up and to try again.
What does it mean?
Solomon, the author, is telling us how to be a wise person. One of his pieces of advice is to do everything in moderation. Solomon says that he spent his life pondering the meaning of everything and learned:
"I have seen everything in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in his wickedness. Be not overly righteous, and be not overly wise; why should you bring desolation upon yourself? Be not overly wicked, and be not a fool; why should you die before your time?" Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:15 - 17.
Solomon tries to make sense of the reality that wise / righteous people may not live longer than foolish / wicked people. He concludes that no one is perfect -- and this is the meaning of "there is no righteous person who never sins."
Since sin is just a normal part of living, so too must be t'shuvah (turning to G-d with repentance).
R' Moshe Chaim Luzzatto 1707 – 16 May 1746 (26 Iyar 5506), the RaMCHaL wrote:
“it is impossible for a person not to have shortcomings, regardless of whatever level of personal development he has otherwise attained. Whether these failings are a result of his nature, or his immediate or extended family, or whatever circumstances shaped him, or his choices in life. There is no righteous person on earth who does good and does not sin (Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20). These flaws prevent a person from self-aggrandizement, even if he is a person of great accomplishments, for the flaws are large enough to obscure them.”
Listen to the Talmud: don't spend your life in the shadows, never doing anything -- no sin but nothing great either. Take a risk or two, or three. You will stumble, but get up and try again -- and repent when you do something wrong. That is living -- not just existing!
Be aware of your actions -- and don't listen to what people may say about you for good or ill... When you do something wrong, fix it -- repent, make amends. Solomon goes on to say that he tested these thought in an attempt to become wise, but that it was beyond his reach. If it was beyond the reach of one of the wisest men to ever live, no doubt it is beyond mine as well...
Someone wrote "Shalom. I have a question regarding Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 98a. I have heard missionaries and other Christians states that the passage from that Tractate states that Mashiach can come on one of two ways. If the Jewish people merit redemption, he will come with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13) whereas if the Jewish people do not merit redemption, he will come humble on a donkey (Zech 9:9).
These Christians claim that 2000 years ago, the Jewish people did not merit redemption and therefore, Mashiach has to come as a humble man on a donkey. What is the response to this?"
Do you suppose the missionaries making that claim realize that this part of the Talmud was written hundreds of years AFTER the death of Jesus? For nearly 200 years the sages worked together to write down Jewish law so that it would not be forgotten. This Herculean effort, the מִשְׁנָה / Mishna, was finalized around 190 CE.
Jews being Jews, no sooner was the מִשְׁנָה / Mishna complete then the discussions began. These discussions were never about core matters of Judaism. Each and every single debate in the history of Jewish Law has been about a minor detail of the Torah. These discussions came to be written down and called the Gemara.
The passage in question is found in the Gemara.
The Babylonian Talmud was completed 500 years after Jesus -- including the Mishna and the Gemara. It was edited for the next 200 years...
So this discussion took place long after Jesus died and they were still discussing just "who" this messiah might be!
So much for this passage pointing to Jesus, he'd been dead for around 500 years!
The מִשְׁנָה / Mishna was created to be a "cheat sheet" for a learned person -- the writing was kept to a minimum and meant only to serve as a aid to faltering memories who were taught to memorize the oral mitzvot. It was necessary because Jews were living throughout the known world with a very large community in Babylon. These rules had been maintained in courts of law from generation to generation, but for fear that some would be lost they were written down.
There were details and discussions around the Mishna. These discussions may discuss the finer points of Jewish law (מִדְךְשׁי הֲלָכָה / Midrash Halacha), but there are also stories and humor as well.
These stories, humor and more are all part of מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah. מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah is not prophecy or meant to be taken literally. . . a word or sentence is lifted from the bible to make a moral point. However, prophecy is NEVER based on these flights of fancy.
The missionaries are taking story telling -- humor -- and trying to present it as if the messiah will either come from the clouds (which is ridiculous since this was a VISION in Daniel and the messiah will be a normal human) or lowly and humbly...
This is wrong, and it is deceitful. Whether or not the missionaries misusing this passage realize they are distorting it is open to question. Most of them probably do not know anything about the Talmud or Judaism let alone מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah.
The modern resource The Encyclopedia Judaica says this about :אַגָּדָה / aggadah: "The aggadah comprehends a great variety of forms and content. It includes narrative, legends, doctrines, admonitions to ethical conduct and good behavior, words of encouragement and comfort, and expressions of hope for future redemption. Its forms and modes of expression are as rich and colorful as its content. Parables and allegories, metaphors and terse maxims; lyrics, dirges, and prayers, biting satire and fierce polemic, idyllic tales and tense dramatic dialogues, hyperboles and plays on words, permutations of letters, calculations of their arithmetical values (gematria) or their employment as initials of other words (notarikon) – all are found in the aggadah."
The point of this passage is that no one knows who the messiah will be or when he will come -- he could be rich, he could be poor... in every generation lives a man who could be the messiah if we warrant him...
Yet again missionaries are distorting Jewish teachings. Big surprise! Isn't it interesting how they ignore the parts that refute Christianity? Also in Sanhedrin 98a is the passage "Ze’eiri says that Rabbi Ḥanina says: The son of David will not come until the arrogant will cease to exist from among the Jewish people, as it is stated: “For then I will remove from your midst your proudly exulting ones” (Zephaniah 3:11)."
This discussion of "when will the messiah comes" is recorded hundreds of years after Jesus died.
The criteria mentioned by R' Ze'eiri is the opposite of the time of Jesus when there were many different divisions among the Jewish people who arrogantly fought each other -- leading to the eventual destruction of the Temple in 68 CE due to baseless hatred of Jew against Jew.
Thus Jesus could not be the messiah just based on this one sentence in Sanhedrin 98a if the missionaries were to seriously accept any of it!
Who will be the messiah? No one knows.
How long will the messianic era last? No one knows:
The point of the discussion in Sanhedrin 98 (a and b) is not to waste your time endlessly speculating as to when the messiah will come, or who he might be, or even how long it may last. He will come when he comes -- whether by our merit or by G-d's timeline...
For a shiur on the daf (Sanhedrin 98a) visit Yeshiva University Torah Online.
For a point by point outline of the daf visit Daf Yomi.
Someone asked "what is Holy Water?"
A Christian myth. Christians think that a priest (or minister) "blessing" water for baptism makes it holy. As if.
Water is used in Judaism for ritual cleansing, but there is no such thing as "holy water."
There is the מַיִם קְדֹשִׁים / mayim kodeshim -- waters of holiness or sanctified waters -- water which was used by the priests in the Temple to wash their hands and feet. It was also used to test a woman who had committed adultery if she wanted to return to her husband.
In the case of adultery a husband divorces his wife. She is then free to re-marry. When a divorced woman remarries her status as a divorcee does not affect in any way how she is to be treated by her new husband.
If she wants to return to her husband then she must "drink the bitter waters" (Bamidbar / Numbers 5) from the washstand in the Temple (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:17). This is done by her to declare that she was wrongfully accused of adultery.
The washstand containing this water was made of the mirrors of the righteous women (Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8: "He made the copper washstand and its copper base out of the mirrors of the dedicated women who congregated at the entrance of the Communion Tent.").
This washstand in the Temple was used by the priests for ritual bathing of their hands and feet (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:18 - 21). The washstand / kiyyor / כִּיּוֹר resembled a large kettle with two spigots for washing. Later it had 12 spigots... (no doubt to accommodate more priests at one time).
In Bamidbar / Numbers 5:17 we are told these are: מים קדשים / waters of holiness. A bitter substance was added to the water to test the woman -- she had to declare that she had not committed adultery and drink the "bitter waters" as a test of her honesty.
From Torah.org: "Adultery - Sotah If a woman is deliberately unfaithful to her husband she becomes forbidden to him and he must divorce her, as it says "Her first husband... cannot take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled"1,a; and she is also forbidden to marry the man with whom she was unfaithful. If a man tells his wife before witnesses that she must not be alone with someone and she disobeys, she also becomes forbidden to both of them. When the Temple exists she can (if they wish) return to her husband by performing the ceremony of drinking the "bitter waters", as it says "If a man's wife strays... he shall bring his wife to the priest and bring her sacrifice with her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour; he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it... and [the priest] shall make the woman drink the bitter water...".2,b It is a man's duty to be particular about the habits of the members of his household and to warn them against sin, as it says "And you shall know that your tent is at peace and you shall examine your habitation and not sin."
The water used for this purpose is called מים קדשים / waters of holiness.
Rashi wrote מים קדשים water of holiness -- water that has become holy through being in the washstand / kiyyor / כִּיּוֹר — because that washstand was made of the copper mirrors of the [holy] women who had gathered (Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8) [at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting] and this woman [accused of adultery] deviated from her chaste ways. Because the [holy] women [who donated their finery to make this washstand] had cherished their husbands’ love in Egypt (Rashi, Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8), while this woman [accused of adultery] gave herself over to another in depravity, the [suspected adulteress] was to be examined through [the test of bitter waters] (Bamidbar / Numbers Rabbah 9 :14).
Someone asked "Good morning Sophie just want to ask for a certain debate question with an atheist he ask for a scenario like this what if comes a person who is good and has not been a violent person then comes to a situation where a person created a huge lie for him and then with that lie the good person didn't reacted immediately he waited for several year and has decided to act for it not knowing that it was a lie and has committed a sin for it will the person who once innocent and now became a sinner be punish for that act he did or will it be to the person who created that lies and fooled the innocent person not knowing the exact truth."
The definition of sin in the Hebrew Bible is a חֵטְא / cheit. It means a mistake -- a missing of the mark. You tried to do the right thing and "missed." The word itself comes from the concept of an archer who aims his arrow at a target, and misses.
So a person who is lied to and as a result makes a mistake -- they do not intentionally do anything wrong -- is (in a sense) the very definition of the word.
In Judaism we believe that when we sin against another person the responsibility to make things right lays with the person we wronged. In your example he should seek the person who was wronged and try to make things right. There needs to be sincerity -- which in this instance should certainly be present.
If the person refuses to forgive then he should try at least 3 times, and if the person still does not forgive him the onus is now on that person (the sin).
If the sin was to G-d (he broke a mitzvah that would be classified as a sin, such as not taking a ritual bath at the right time or not eating from a kosher dish if he is Jewish) then he should correct the mistake (make sure dishes in the future are kosher and ensure he immerses in a mikvah as appropriate) and he should repent (seek forgiveness from G-d sincerely, intending to not repeat the sin)...
Now "sin" is a mistake, an unintentional error. There are intentional wrongdoings (these are not "sin") some of which are minor and some of which are not. The worst of these (when it comes to G-d) would be not only intentional -- so there is no way your supposed example fits -- but they must be done in defiance of G-d Himself. This is called a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע.
Even in the case of something as serious as a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע (which could include willfully murdering someone in defiance of G-d, knowing that G-d forbids taking a life needlessly) there are human ramifications (courts of law, penalties) and heavenly judgments.
Are there some evils that are so horrible G-d won't forgive a person, even one who sincerely repents? Well, some can only be truly forgiven by death itself (by G-d). We believe the immortal soul is without evil or what you might term "sin", and it is the human condition -- the physical needs -- that result in us doing bad things when we over indulge human requirements (the need for shelter becomes the need to have the fanciest house you can get)...
A person who has been evil in life may feel tormented when faced with what they did in this world, but that is self-inflicted pain by the recognition... There is no hell, no eternal damnation even for someone who has been truly evil. The truly evil might have their eternal soul removed from their individuality.
The Christian bible seems to think that you need blood for your sins to be forgiven. At the Last Supper Jesus says: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins," Matthew 26:28. See also Luke 22:20 and John 6:54.
This is not true.
Blood is not the sole means of atonement. There is atonement through repentance (Shmuel II / II Samuel 12:13-14, Yonah / Jonah 3:10, Vayikra / Leviticus 26:40-42, Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32, 33:11-16), kindness (Mishlei / Proverbs; 16:6, Daniel 4:24), prayer (Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3, Melachim I / I Kings 8:46-50, Daniel 9:19), removal of idolatry (Yeshayahu / Isaiah. 27:9), punishment (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1, Eichah / Lam. 4:22), death (Is. 22:14), flour offerings (Vayikra / Leviticus 5:11-13), money (Sh'mot / Exodus. 30:15), jewelry (Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50), and incense (Bamidbar / Numbers 17:11-12).
Someone asked: "Someone asked "In Shoftim 14:6, 14:19, 15:14, speaks about ruach HaShem coming over Samson , what is the difference between that and the ruach HaKodesh (spirit of holiness)? "I understand it is God and not a separate entity or anything christian life but why the difference, I see one giving the person strength and the other one being used for prophecy in visions...
In Shmuel 10:6 it says: "And they came there to the hill, and behold, a band of prophets (came) toward him, and the spirit of God passed upon him, and he prophesied in their midst. "If the ruach HaShem is not for prophesying wouldn't that go against this statement?"
The term RU'ah ha-kodesh includes the word "the" (which רוּחַ יְיָ RU'ah hashem does not). רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶש / RU'ah HaKodesh should be translated as "a spirit of [the] holiness" or "a spirit of [the] sanctity." Christians often mistranslate it as "holy spirit" but in literal translation it is "spirit [of] the holiness."
The term רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶש / RU'ah HaKodesh does not appear in the Hebrew bible.
The other term you mentioned, רוּחַ יְיָ / RU'ah Hashem means a spirit of G-d, which is similar in meaning to the term שְׁכִינָה Sh'chinah, or "Holy Presence."
So one term is a spirit of holiness the other is a spirit of G-d...
The prophets, judges, and Samson were endowed with the "spirit of G-d", that is often referred to in translations as "a spirit of the Divine Presence."
This aspect of רוּחַ (RU'ah) relates to inspiration - the endowment of "spirit" from G-d to a person confers extraordinary gifts (prophecy, wisdom, strength, etc.) on such a person. Y'shayahu / Isaiah 63:10-11 and T'hillim / Psalms 51:13 are relevant examples.
Being connected to G-d and inspired by Him is lower than prophecy. Prophecy is G-d communicating directly with a human. For prophecy to happen you need both, where with only a spirit of holiness that direct communication is not present.
The T'nach (Hebrew Bible) is broken into 3 major divisions, each one with a lesser level of connectednesss to G-d. In Torah Moses communicated directly with G-d as we might have a conversation one on one.
In Nevi'im (Prophets) G-d communicated with the prophets directly, but not "one on one" (face to face), but through dreams and visions -- a step away from the prophecy of Moses.
Prophecy (remember) is direct communication with G-d with a message the prophet is to relay to the then living generation... The communication to their own generation is a key part of prophecy...
Then there is the third part of the T'nach: Ketuvim (Writings). This is not prophecy. These were all written by humans in their own words, but inspired and connected to G-d. Very holy people wrote those works, many of whom were prophets (but were not prophesying here)...
For prophecy to exist you must be a very holy person. In his Mishneh Torah the Rambam (Maimonides) wrote
"Prophecy is bestowed only upon a very wise sage of a strong character, who is never overcome by his natural inclinations in any regard. Instead, with his mind, he overcomes his natural inclinations at all times. He must [also] possess a very broad and accurate mental capacity...if he possesses an accurate mental capacity to comprehend and grasp [them], he will become holy.
"When a prophet is informed of a message in a vision, it is granted to him in metaphoric imagery. Immediately, the interpretation of the imagery is imprinted upon his heart, and he knows its meaning." Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Seven.
Prophecy itself is direct communication from G-d with a message for the then living generation... You may be very holy, you may be of strong character and all the rest -- you may be connected even to the spirit of His Presence... and still prophecy may or may not be present...
Having an ability is not the same as something actually happening.
It's a bit like saying a female between the ages of 15 and 35 can become pregnant. It doesn't mean she is pregnant... It simply means that the environment is correct for pregnancy to happen.
With someone imbued with a spirit of connectedness to G-d you have the right environment for prophecy. This doesn't ensure that G-d will actually communicate with that person directly which is the very definition of prophecy.
Being inspired by the spirit of G-d simply means that the environment is correct for prophecy to happen...
The Rambam describes the nature of prophecy, follow the link.
No, a mamzer cannot become a kohein (priest). The child of adultery between a kohein (or incest) falls under forbidden sexual acts and any resulting children would be considered ממצרים / mamzerim. Jewish priests have many prohibitions on whom they may marry (more on that momentarily)...
A mamzer / ממזר is the result of a couple whose sexual relationship is forbidden by the Torah and punishable by kareit or death. The term "bastard" is an inaccurate translation as "bastard" has to do with a child born out of wedlock. There is no such term in Judaism.
The word mamzer / ממזר comes from mum / מוּם = defect, and זָר = alien, stranger. (Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin).
What relationships are forbidden? The Torah forbids sexual relations between:
Most issues with being a mamzer relate to whom he or she may marry. A mamzer may only marry converts to Judaism, eved (servants / slaves) fellow mamzerim, and their descendants who are also mamzerim.
Of course mamzers are not damned -- in fact in some ways their souls are considered holier than those of ordinary Jews. The Talmud tells us: "a mamzer, who, notwithstanding his status, is considered a brother." Yevamot 22b. Yet it is also true that the mamzer has no genealogy, hence is called mamzer, thus there is no right to inherit any tribal status.
Although כֺּהֵן (kohein) is used to speak of the descendants of Aaron and is often translated as "priest" it can refer to others as well.
Although כֺּהֵן (kohein) is often translated as "priest" it is closer in meaning to a minister -- and is used in the T'nach to speak of government ministers (rulers): "And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of the famine set in, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti phera, the governor / כֹּהֵן / kohein of On, bore to him." B'reshit / Genesis 41:50.
Most Christian translations erroneously have "priest of On" -- but the Hebrew word אוֹן on is not a place “force” or “power” and was used by Jacob when he blessed his son Reuven in B'reshit / Genesis 49:3, "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the first of my might. [You should have been] superior in rank and superior in power.").
"And Benayahu the son of Yehoyada [was over] the archers and the slingers; and David's sons were chief officers / כֹּהֲנִ֥ים / kohanim." Shmuel Beit / 2 Samuel 8:18.
Speaking specifically of the "priests" (the descendants of Aaron who ministered the Temple) they have many marriage prohibitions. They can't marry a divorcee, a prostitute, a convert, or a dishonored woman (חֲלָלָה / chalalah) See Vayikra / Leviticus 21:7.
If a kohein married a disqualified person (including a mamzer) he would lose his priestly duties and could not serve. It is permitted for a convert to marry the daughter of a priest, since women with a priestly father were not prohibited from marrying those disqualified for the priesthood.
The term mamzer does not refer to the child of two unmarried individuals who could theoretically marry -- hence it does NOT mean "bastard."
Someone wrote “I wrote on some YouTube video that God is not a man. Some Christian lady told me explain how come God comes many times as angels / bush or other shapes.
"I explain that an angel is not a man but she of course doesn't like answers that make sense. She finished with the following: Jesus is your Messiah. The New Testament is part of the Jewish bible written by Jews for Jews and gentiles. Jesus is one with the father. Explain to me who is the angel of the Lord. Why did Hagar say what she said and why did the angel say what he said. Why non of.the regular angels speak as.this angel of the lord speaks. Who is this angel that appears to Moses in the burning bush. Explain to me this, otherwise this is the evidence that God and Jesus are one."
You get a call on your cellphone. It’s FaceTime so you can see the person as you talk to them. Does that mean your phone is really a human?
How about watching television. Is the television a human?
Of course not, it is ridiculous, right? A phone isn’t a person and neither is a television.
And G-d may communicate with humans, getting our attention with a cloud (for example) but the cloud is no more G-d than is a cellphone call or a television show.
An angel isn’t G-d.
A burning bush isn’t G-d.
Humans (a man) isn’t G-d.
Only G-d is G-d.
The Hebrew Bible tells us time and time again that G-d is not a man, G-d has no form at all.
"G-d is not a man." Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19;
"I HaShem do not change ." Malachi 3:6;
"Remember the first things of old, that I am G-d and there is no other; I am G-d and there is none like Me." Isaiah 46:9.
There are many more such statements that tell us G-d is one (not a trinity), G-d is unique, no one can see G-d and live, there is nothing like G-d…
Let’s address her arguments.
She says G-d comes “many times” as an angel. This is 100% false. G-d never appears as an angel.
The very word for angel in Hebrew means messenger. The word is מַלְאָך / "mal'ach” which translates to “messenger.” In the Hebrew Bible there are HUMAN "angels" (messengers) as well as heavenly -- somehow the Christian translations don't call the human ones angels -- they translate the word there as messenger.
"Jacob sent messengers / מַלְאָכִים / m'lachim ahead of him to his brother Esau, to Edom's Field in the Seir area." B'reshit / Genesis 32:4.
Why do suppose that the King James Version and other Christian translations choose the word "messenger" here and not "angels"? A bit self serving, wouldn't you agree?
Somehow when it applies to humans it is translated as "messenger" and when it refers to a heavenly messenger the word is suddenly translated as "angel"!
Do you see why translations are traitors?
Heavenly messengers are servants of G-d. None are G-d Himself. A heavenly messenger simply relays a message from G-d -- telling a person of G-d's will.
Since when is one entity its own messenger? That is an oxymoron – not possible. A messenger delivers a message for SOMEONE ELSE. Thus the word itself refutes her assertion that G-d is His own messenger!
G-d never appears as anything – including angels or burning bushes or anything else.
Speaking of the burning bush – she said G-d “came many times as an angel/bush”… (ridiculous)…
In Sh'mot / Exodus 3:2 Moses did not "see" G-d at all in the bush — it was an "angel" (messenger) not G-d. The angel did not take on the form of a burning bush either -- "G-d's angel appeared to [Moses] in the heart (or flame) of a fire."
She asked “who is the angel in the burning bush?” That is totally unimportant (or the Torah would tell us). An angel is JUST a messenger. That angel was relaying a message to Moses, nothing more.
She asked “who is the angel of the Lord?” Her first problem is a mistranslation. The Hebrew Bible never says “the” angel of the L-rd. Nope. Not once. It says “מַלְאַךְ יְיָ / mal'ach hashem”, which translates to “a messenger of the L-rd”—note the indefinite article "an" (no “the”). Christian translations also capitalize it "the angel of the LORD" to make it seem unique, although Hebrew does not have capital letters.
The phrase “an angel of the L-rd” appears 58 times in the Hebrew bible and Christians often translate it as “the angel of the L-RD” instead of the correct “an angel of the L-rd.”
There is absolutely nothing in the text that suggests the same entity is meant on every occasion let alone that it is a “holier” angel or (heaven forbid) G-d Himself!
Which brings us to Hagar (Abraham’s concubine who ran away and nearly died in the process). She must think this speaks of “the angel of the L-rd” but it is a perfect example that it says no such thing. It has “מַלְאַךְ יְיָ / mal'ach hashem” – AN angel of the L-rd… Look it up! “וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַלְאַךְ "", שׁוּבִי אֶל-גְּבִרְתֵּךְ, וְהִתְעַנִּי, תַּחַת יָדֶיהָ”
Three different angels spoke to Hagar – but G-d did not. She asked "Why did Hagar say what she said and why did the angel say what he said."
The exchange takes place in B'reshit / Genesis chapter 16 after Hagar has run away from Sarah... "And an angel / מַלְאַ֧ךְ / mal'ach of the L-rd found her by a water fountain in the desert, by the fountain on the road to Shur." B'reshit / Genesis 16:7.
Verse 10 even says 'And an angel of G-d said to her / "" וַיֹּאמֶר לָהּ מַלְאַךְ' -- so this is an angel, not "the" angel and not G-d. Again we see the word for angel / messenger but no "the." In Hebrew "the" would be a heh / ה as a prefix to the word... It isn't there.
The messenger tells her that she will have a child and that he will father many nations.
This is why the angels (plural, there are three of them in this chapter -- each angel has one specific mission. Refer back to the story of Sodom for proof of this) visited her and told her what they did...
Nothing to do with "the angel" let alone with an angel being G-d. Hagar then prayed to G-d who had communicated with her (through those three angels)...
You may notice that even Jewish translations may say "the angel of G-d" in this chapter, and the only explanation I can give (since the word "the" is not present) is that many translators try to stay close to the familiar in order to sell their translations... If you check the Hebrew and search this chapter for מַלְאַךְ you will see that not one of them has the heh / ה as a prefix which would make it "the angel."
The Torah tells us G-d is incorporeal (has no physicality) time and time again.
"You did not see any image on the day that G‑d spoke to you at Horeb [Sinai]."-- D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:15.
G-d has no physical manifestation -- He is not a bush, a cloud, or a man. (D'varim) Deuteronomy 4:15 clearly tells us that the Israelites did not see G-d in any form. Ergo G-d was NOT the pillar or the cloud. "You cannot see My Face, for man cannot see Me and live." (Sh'mot / Exodus 33:20).
There plainly G-d says no man can see Him and live – yet this woman disagrees with G-d Himself?
There is zero evidence that Jesus ever existed, let alone that he was a messiah and most definitely NOT G-d. Even if everything she had claimed were true (that G-d was an angel or a bush or a frog for that matter) it would not be evidence that Jesus was anything at all. She is simply wearing Jesus colored glasses and doesn’t see that her argument is no argument at all!
We’ve spent enough space here refuting her, but the fact is that Jesus (if he lived at all) was never a messiah – an anointed king of Israel. He didn’t have any right to be one either. The messiah must be born of human Jewish parents. The father must not only be Jewish, he must be of the tribe of Judah and descended from Kings David and Solomon. (see B'reshit / Genesis 49:10, Y'shayahu / Isaiah 11:1, Y’rmiyahu / Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Y’chezkel / Ezekiel 34:23-24).
If the virgin birth story was true, and Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus then Jesus did not even have the most basic right to even try to be the messiah.
Finally her point seems to be that because Jews were the original followers of Jesus this MUST make him the messiah.
Did she forget all those Jews who worshiped the false gods of Ba’al and Moloch?
How about the Jews who thought Bar Kochba was the messiah (and were wrong)?
How about the Jews who thought Shabbatai Zvi was the messiah (and were wrong)?
If Jesus existed and if he had early Jewish followers “so what”?
Sadly there have always been Jews who turned away from G-d and into idolatry.
Christianity is primarily the religion of Rome, not of Jews and it bears scant resemblance to Judaism. It has far more in common with pagan religions where gods as men was common (not to mention gods with a human mother!).
Her claim “The new testament is part of the Jewish bible written by Jews for Jews and gentiles” is most likely false as well. No one knows who wrote the Christian bible but very unlikely any were Jewish. They get too many basic facts wrong (Paul certainly did!). There were Ebionites who claimed that Paul was a non-Jew who converted to Judaism simply to marry a priest’s daughter and when he was refused, he became anti-Jewish. Given his views this wouldn’t surprise me!
Epiphanius (4th century CE) wrote: "They declare that he (Paul) was a Greek (not a Jew)...He went up to Jerusalem, they say, and when he had spent some time there, he was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the (Jewish) priest. For this reason he became a proselyte (convert) and was circumcised. Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the sabbath and the Torah (bible / Five Books of Moses)" (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16. 6- 9).
But again “so what” if Jews did write the Christian bible?
Christians wrote the Book of Mormon – does she think that gives credence to the Mormons? If so she should immediately convert and become a Mormon!
Did you notice that she threw out numerous arguments? This is typical of a missionary – they flood you with arguments hoping one will “stick.” It takes time and effort to show the ignorance (“the angel of the L-rd being a perfect example).
These missionaries don’t know a word of Hebrew and read their “bibles” in mistranslations. They believe the third party translation (usually translated from other translations) and are bullheaded in their insistence even though they are clueless as to what the Hebrew Bible really might say…
In closing, it isn’t worth your time (or mine) to argue with dyed in the wool missionaries who will simply change the argument when you refute them with proof. I went to all this trouble not for her, but for you. I hope you found this response helpful.
Of course not!
Some Jews never left at all!
Jews were often forbidden to live in Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) although some managed to survive forced exile and murder...
In 131, Emperor Hadrian banned Jews from Jerusalem. He killed about 580,000 Jews in the process. In 136 CE R' Akiva was murdered by the Romans who killed him by flaying him alive with hot combs. Jewish leadership moved to Yavneh Israel (Palestine) after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolution, and continued to work on the Talmud (Mishna). Hadrian renames the province of Judea to Syria Palaestina.
Jerusalem became a Christian city in the 4th century and Jews were still banned from living there. Later in the 4th century Jews were allowed to return, and thousands did return.
Jews lived in at least forty-three Jewish communities in Palestine: twelve towns on the coast, in the Negev, and east of the Jordan, and thirty-one villages in Galilee and in the Jordan valley. History of the Jews and Judaism in the Land of Israel, Wikipedia.
In the early 7th century the Byzantines won the land and banned the Jews from the Byzantine Empire including Israel, thousands of Jewish refugees fled to Egypt.
They returned later that century and historical sources say 300,000 and 400,000 Jews lived in Jerusalem.
This story continued -- being banned, being allowed to live there under one ruler or another. Muslim dynasties, the Crusaders, more Muslim overlords until the Ottoman Empire conquered Israel (Palestine). The Ottoman Empire survived some 600 years (it amazes me how many people never heard of the Ottoman Empire!). The Ottomans ruled Palestine for 401 years.
During this time, a full thousand years after the fall of the Jewish state, there were Jewish communities all over the country. Jewish communities included Jerusalem, Tiberius, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza.
The Jews almost alone defended Haifa, Israel against the crusaders holding out for a month (June–July 1099).
The first Crusade was 1096-1099. In 1099 the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and nearby coastal areas, losing and recapturing it for almost 200 years until their final ouster from Acre in 1291.
The Crusaders murdered most of the Jews in Jerusalem, rounding them up and burning them to death in the Synagogue... According to the Muslim chronicle of Ibn al-Qalanisi, "The Jews assembled in their synagogue, and the (Christians) burned it over their heads."
Survivors were sold into slavery, some were beheaded and others thrown alive into the sea...
Then the Muslims took over again. Ayyubid Sultan Saladin allowed Jews to return (late 12th century). At times the Muslims forbid Jews from living in the land, and at others they could live there but not have Synagogues...
The second Crusades (1147-1149) found many vibrant Jewish communities in Israel. From the Jewish Virtual Library
"Benjamin of Tudela and Pethahiah of Regensburg , who visited the crusading kingdom around 1160 and 1180 respectively, found well-established Jewish communities in Ashkelon , Ramleh , Caesarea , Tiberias , Acre , among other localities, with scattered individuals living elsewhere: it seems that the Jewish settlement of Jerusalem was restricted to a handful of individuals." The Crusades, Jewish Virtual Library.
The third Crusade was 1189-1192. Judah Alḥarizi (1216) found a prosperous Jewish community living in Jerusalem. In 1211 300 rabbis from Western Europe went to Israel. This was during the third Crusade.
Around 1220 Al-Mu'azzam Isa ordered much of Jerusalem burnt -- and many Jews left yet again. The Rambam (Maimonides, Moshe ben Maimon) arrived as an exile on May 23, 1165... But the land was very desolate, very few people lived there.
Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed (Tzfat), Jerusalem and throughout Israel during the next 300 years.
The Ramban, Nachmanides, the 13th-century, worked to resettle Jerusalem with Jews. Many Jews from Egypt and other countries would come for holidays...
In 1517 the Ottoman Empire conquered it. They held it until the British took control in 1917.
By the early 19th century-years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement-more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel. When Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, and the majority of them had arrived in recent decades. If memory serves about 20% of the population was Christian...
The famous novelist Mark Twain wrote of the land of Israel in 1867: “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country....Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village...A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one understand how small it is...Palestine is desolate and unlovely.” Chapters 45-56 of Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
By the time Mark Twain visited my family lived there. Some lived in Jerusalem and some in the countryside.
The Jerusalem estimated population the year Twain wrote the above? 14,000.
The first mass return of European Jews (and some from Yemen) began with the first aliyah from 1882 - 1903. The Ottomans wouldn't allow Jews to purchase land, but as soon as Jews were allowed to do so they began buying land.
Jews bought about 907 kilometres of land as of 1945. Jewish land purchase in Palestine, Wikipedia.
At this time there were also about 800,000 Jews living in Arab lands (some had lived in Babylon since the exile there).
In July, 1922 Britain gave 77% of "Palestine" to the Arabs, most of which today is modern Jordan. Jews had purchased land in parts of this land, and they lost the rights to that land. Today 70% of Jordan's population is Arab Palestinian... British Palestine Mandate: History & Overview, (1922 - 1948), Jewish Virtual Library.
After the United Nations authorized two states: one Arab and one Jewish many of the Jews who had lived thousands of years in Arab lands were exiled -- some 800,000. Most fled to Israel, although about 200,000 fled to Europe or America. Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, Virtual Jewish Library.
Jewish Virtual Library: "After the Arabs rejected the United Nations decision to partition Palestine ...the Jews of the Arab lands became targets of their own governments’ anti-Zionist fervor. As Egypt’s delegate to the UN in 1947 chillingly told the General Assembly: “The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries will be jeopardized by partition.
"Throughout 1947 and 1948, Jews in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen (Aden) were persecuted, their property and belongings were confiscated, and they were subjected to severe anti-Jewish riots instigated by the governments. In Iraq, Zionism was made a capital crime. In Syria, anti-Jewish pogroms erupted in Aleppo and the government froze all Jewish bank accounts. In Egypt, bombs were detonated in the Jewish quarter, killing dozens. In Algeria, anti-Jewish decrees were swiftly instituted and in Yemen, bloody pogroms led to the death of nearly 100 Jews.” Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, Virtual Jewish Library.
In the 2000 years since Jerusalem was burned in 68 CE it remained a small, depressing place -- through Crusades, Ottoman Empire and other wars. . . until the Jews began returning to the land en-mass and revitalized the city. Today it is a vibrant, growing city with a population of 857,800.
Israel itself has a population of 8,655,535. 76% of the population is Jewish. 1.9 million are Arabs (there are Arabs in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament). A Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People, Israel Science and Technology Directory.
Someone asked "What is the poppycock about Jewish people having horns or some association with the Christian assigned devil 👿? I read something the other day and was shocked that this is an actually belief people have ????? "
Believe it or not, this happened to me! When I was in college a friend from Iowa discovered that I was Jewish and fled the room in tears! It turns out she thought all Jews had horns and was suddenly terrified of me.
This is what ignorance and hatred can foment...
The error first showed up in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of Exodus 34:29 has “et ignorabat quod cornuta esset facies sua” which translated is, “did not know his face had become horned.”
How can a face be horned in the first place? It would have to be the skull or head, not the face! But what can you do with mistranslations?
Sir Thomas Browne wrote in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: "The ground of this absurdity, was surely a mistake of the Hebrew Text, in the history of Moses when he descended from the Mount;3 upon the affinity of Kæren and Karan, that is, an horn, and to shine, which is one quality of horn: The Vulgar Translation conforming unto the former. Ignorabat quod cornuta esset facies ejus. Qui videbant faciem Moses esse cornutam. But the Chaldee paraphrase, translated by Paulus Fagius, hath otherwise expressed it. Moses nesciebat quod multus esset splendor gloriæ vultus ejus. Et viderunt filii Israel quod multa esset claritas gloriæ faciei Moses. The expression of the Septuagint is as large, δεδόξασται ἡ ὄψις τοῦ χρώματος τοῦ προσώπου, Glorificatus est aspectus cutis, seu coloris faciei."
Then Michelangelo carved his famous statue of Moses which included horns.
The word mistranslated is קָרַן / karan which means shone...
Some sources (including the infamous Strong's Concordance) say that קָרַן / karan can mean to shoot out horns, but also rays. Well, yes and no. קָרַן / karan is a verb and if it meant horn here the word in the context of the sentence would be different. It might be מְקוּרְנָן not just קָרַן .
Let's revisit the applicable passages in the Torah which speak of Moses' face shining:
"(Moses) descended from the mountain and Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while He (G-d) had spoken with him. . .all the children of Israel saw Moses and behold! the skin of his face had become radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the princes of the community returned to him, and Moses would speak to them." Sh'mot / Exodus 34:29 - 31.
BTW, some Christians will say that Jews have a "veil" over their hearts and this is why they can't "see" that Jesus was the messiah / god.
This is partially based on Paul's lies about this very verse.
To explain away Jews 2000 year refusal to “accept” Jesus as a god (let alone a messiah) many missionaries blithely say that “Jews are blind – a “veil” has been put before your eyes so you can’t see the “truth” that Jesus is the messiah.” This outrageous slander is straight from the Christian bible:
"We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in (Jesus) is it taken away." 2 Corinthians 3:13-14.
When Moses entered his tent to speak with G-d he did not wear a veil.
Moses never wore a veil when speaking to G-d or when giving G-d’s words to the people.
Paul is 100% wrong -- whether because he did not know the truth or because he lied to his followers. Paul was not above lying to gain his purpose:
"Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances G-d’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Romans 3:7.
"But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless being crafty, I caught you with guile." 2 Corinthians 12:16.
Moses' face is NOT COVERED. The people came forward and Moses spoke to them (no veil / hood).
"the children of Israel would draw near, and he would command them everything that the L-rd had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he placed a covering over his face." Sh'mot / Exodus 34:32 - 33.
The words of the Torah are the OPPOSITE of what Paul claims. Moses only covered his face when he was finished speaking to the Jews.
When the words of G-d are communicated to the Jews there is NO VEIL. (hood).
And WHAT was supposedly “passing away”? The eternal promises G-d made to the Jews which He repeatedly tells us ARE eternal?
And WHAT was supposedly “passing away”? The eternal promises G-d made to the Jews which He repeatedly tells us ARE eternal?
"And You did establish to Yourself Your people Israel to be a people unto You forever; and You, L-rd, became their G-d." Shmuel Beit / 2 Samuel 7:24.
"The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our G-d will stand forever." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 40:8.
"Forever, O L-rd, Your word stands in the heavens. . . Were not Your Torah my occupation, then I would have perished in my affliction. T'hillim / Psalm 119:89-92.
"Thus shall the children of Israel observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. Between Me and the children of Israel, it is forever a sign." Sh'mot / Exodus 31:16-17.
"The hidden things belong to the L-rd, our G-d, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah." D'varim / Deuteronomy 29:28.
Paul is either ignorant of G-d's eternal promises to the Jew -- or he is simply lying to his followers. Paul even has the arrogance to say
“But their minds were made dull (the Jews) for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It (the veil) has not been removed, because only in (Jesus) is it taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:14.
Paul says the Jewish mind is dull, yet G-d says the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever.
Which is it?
Who to believe: Paul or G-d?
Ask yourself, if Paul reversed what the Torah said in this instance then how much more can you believe in the Christian bible?
No doubt I have many failings, but perhaps the most egregious of all is a lack of patience with stupid people.
I have no trouble having patience with ignorant people. An ignorant person does not know something, but they are teachable.
A stupid person is quite different. A stupid person declares their knowledge as they spout nonsense and do so arrogantly.
I have no patience at all with such fools.
So what brought on this diatribe? A comment to me from a person on Facebook.
This one wrote that Hebrew had been dead for at least 500 years and that anyone who disagreed was obviously brain damaged. The renewal of modern Hebrew, stated this one, created a new language on the ashes of the old -- bearing little in common.
This claim, based on ignorance and stupidity, is right up there with the comment a week ago from an idiot who said there are no longer any Jewish priests! I suggested this person visit any Synagogue on a Shabbat to meet at least one and perhaps many (Jewish priests are given the first blessing over the Torah reading)...
But how can anyone think that Hebrew died 500 years ago? Or 1000? Or 2000?
The famous commentary of Rashi (1040 CE to 1105 CE) was written is in pure Hebrew - and, what is more, Rashi's commentary is written for common Jews rather than scholars.
Maybe this person can explain how a commentary written nearly a thousand years ago, and intended to be read by laymen, can possibly be in Hebrew if the language had "died"???
Rashi's commentary is studied and has been since the day he wrote it -- yet this stupid person says "Hebrew died out 500 years ago."
While many Jews (not all) spoke either the language of their country of exile or a Jewish language (such as Yiddish or Landino) in every day speech not all did. There were always Jews living in Israel even after the exile and most of them spoke in Hebrew. I have a diary written by such a relative in the 18th century which is written in Hebrew cursive and was many, many volumes in length (most of his adult life he kept it).
Jews have always spoken Hebrew. Prayers are recited in Hebrew many times a day. The Torah is read out loud in Hebrew in our Synagogues. Torah scrolls are written by hand in Hebrew and have been for millennia.
But this person stated emphatically that Hebrew had been dead prior to the arrival of Eliezer Ben Yehuda in the later half of the 19th century. This was the reemergence of Hebrew as an every day language -- and it is now the language of the modern State of Israel.
If he "invented" modern Hebrew then explain to me why Jews from European descent have some different pronunciations than do Jews of Spanish descent? They speak the same language -- but there are differences in pronunciation of some words. If Hebrew was "invented" a mere 100 years ago wouldn't they all speak it identically?
Ignorance, too -- but rather than try to learn the facts the stupid one insists on reveling in their stupidity!
These are the same fools who would tell you that Jews couldn't read the Hebrew Bible until the Masoretes invented vowel notations between the 6th and 10th centuries CE.
How do Jews read Hebrew in Israel today without vowel notations (most Hebrew is written without them)... if the Masoretes invented "modern" Hebrew over a thousand years ago?
The Masoretes were Jewish scribe-scholars who invented a method to note pronunciation of Hebrew since written Hebrew is (primarily) without vowels. The word Masorete gets its name from the word “masorah” which means “tradition;” and their purpose in doing this was to maintain tradition Jewish meaning -- NOT to change it!
So the Masoretes didn't change or invent Hebrew.
Hebrew was not dead 500 years ago (or 1000 or "fill in the blank")...It has never been "dead."
So how did Jews read Hebrew before the 6th century CE?
How do Jews read Hebrew in Israel today without vowel notations (most Hebrew is written without them)...
A former moderator at the Virtual Yeshiva (Netanel) once wrote:
"Using "dead" to describe the language which has been taught from generation to generation, from parent to child, for millennia is fallacious, sensational, and hyperbolic. The teaching of Hebrew to our children has been one of the main factors in keeping Jews - whether rich, poor, healthy, ailing, young, or old - literate no matter our standing, while the Christians and Muslims save the upper echelon more mostly illiterate.
"For three and a half millennia we have taught and been taught to read and understand Hebrew and Torah, it is one of the supreme commandments, and one which has never died.
"That it was not spoken as the main language in many a diaspora community does not negate the fact that it is and always has been central to every Jewish community up until and perhaps thus excluding some of those who tried to sweep their Jewishness under the rug during enlightenment and reformation. I pity the ignorance of those who regard Hebrew as ever having been dead, as they apparently don't understand the history of the usage of and regard for Hebrew, nor do they seem to understand the meaning of the word dead. Such claims are extremely insulting."
I have no patience at all for these stupid oafs. Perhaps I should work on this aspect of my personality. I probably won't bother!
What is the JEDP theory (sometimes called the documentary hypothesis (DH) or the Graf - Wellhausen hypothesis) that so many Christians are taught is the "real" story of how the Hebrew Bible was written?
Well, you'd think the word "theory" would make them realize it isn't "real" or a "fact." Nope. It is a theory.
And it is a theory based on a very basic lack of bible knowledge from so-called bible experts.
This theory divides the Torah into four separate sources:
Did anyone bother to explain to Wellhausen that the "names" for G-d are really descriptions?
There are nine "names" for G-d that appear in the Scriptures “which may not be erased” and another eleven “which may be erased”—these are all listed in Treatise Shavuot 35a.
“Ehyeh asher ehyeh / אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה” is one of the nine “which may not be erased”.
This is the "name" in Sh'mot / Exodus 3:14. It translates to "I will be as I will be."
Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) speaks of 72 names for G-d.
Yet, not one of them is really a name.
G‑d has no name. He is infinite and does not have a name -- or a title or a description for that matter. You could say that by definition, G-d has no definition.
What we call His name(s) are simply our attempt at describing the indescribable.
This JEDP idea was the theory of one Julius Wellhausen (May 17, 1844 – January 7, 1918) -- a German, and son of a Protestant minister and Karl Heinrich Graf (February 28, 1815 – July 16, 1869), also a German Protestant. These men's education was at the hands of other Protestant theologians including Georg Heinrich August Ewald of the 19th century.
Graf and Wellhausen seemed to have been a product of their anti-Semitic 19th century German world. Graf - Wellhausen based their theory on the fact that because the bible uses two names for G-d (there are actually far more than two!) there must have been a "merging" of two gods / two religions. They thought that Moses could not have written the Torah (thus lessening its value) because the Torah uses the Tetragrammaton (holiest name) and "elohim" (which means a mighty judge / ruler and is used to speak of G-d, false gods, angels and even humans) to speak of G-d. They decided that since there were "two names" there had to be different authors. This theory divides the Torah into four separate sources:
So the fact that the JEDP theorists decided that four of the "names" had to mean four different authors is based on error.
For example, "elohim" / אֱלֹהִים (a word used to speak of humans, angels, false gods and G-d) means a mighty judge. The word "adon" / אדן means a lord or master and so on. . .
Although many Christians are taught the JEDP as if it is "fact" it has actually been disproved by archaeology -- which shows that there is historical proof for the Torah (and 'nach) dating much farther back than there theories would contend.
"On Bible Criticism and Its Counterarguments" from Torat Emet:
"Umberto Cassuto (1883-1951) and Yechezkel Kaufman (1889- 1963) further demolished the theory, showing that Wellhausen's observations contradicted his conclusions. Kaufman's main contribution lies in his thesis that monotheism was not, as Wellhausen and others had stated, a gradual departure from paganism, but an entirely new development. Israel's monotheism began with Moshe and was a complete revolution in religious thought. . .
"Special mention should be made of the famous archaeologist William F. Alright. He convincingly demonstrated that archaeological research did not support, and in fact often contradicted, this view of history. In many of his works, Albright destroyed the very foundations upon which Wellhausen's edifice had been erected. . ."
One of Graf-Wellhausen's main points was that the Torah wasn't written until after the Babylonian Exile. Archaeological discoveries in Israel alone disprove this -- as does the discovery of the silver scrolls which was discussed in yesterday's post. Some estimate the scrolls date back to 700 BCE (whereas Ezra returned to Israel around 350 BCE)... Even later opinions of the scrolls still date them to pre-Babylonian Exile times (pre-dating Ezra and his return)...
Prof. Moshe David (Umberto) Cassuto wrote a detailed analysis of the Documentary Hypothesis (JEDP). The author notes that some of the JEPD theorists may have had an anti-Jewish bent and so were trying to distance us Jews from our own bible.
"Solomon Schechter famously equated “higher criticism” with “higher anti-Semitism." . . .one can indeed find anti-Jewish references. . . one example concerns. . .David’s efforts to procure materials for the construction of the First Temple under Solomon. . . Wellhausen writes, “1 Chr. 22-29 is a startling instance of that statistical fantasy of the Jews which revels in vast sums of money on paper.”
The author goes on to state that the underpinnings of Wellhausen’s hypothesis (JEPD) may be seen to have an affinity with Protestant theology.
Some proponents of Biblical theory point to Spinoza (17th century) -- a man born Jewish to parents who had converted to Christianity but fled from Portugal to return to Judaism... Spinoza invented his own iteration of what he thought Judaism to be (he wasn't the first or the last). He believed that G-d and nature are equivalent, and that the T'nach is allegory...
Spinoza was cut off from the Jewish community due to his refusal to actually practice Judaism (observe the mitzvot). Spinoza is known as the "Jewish Atheist" if that gives you some clue! Some proponents of JEDP will point back to Spinoza as some sort of foundation for later theories -- but this would be akin to pointing to Mormonism as proof of Catholicism. It makes about as much sense!
Jews have an unbroken chain of transmission of the Torah going back to Moses. It seems that some of these theorists on the history of the Torah have a zeal to discredit Judaism.
Here is a link to the Rambam (Maimonides) Introduction to the Mishneh Torah where he discusses Torah transmission giving the name of each generation up to his time... the lists have continued to this very day...
Judaism has a very rich history of using stories (called midrash aggadah) to make a moral point. These stories are not meant to be taken as “fact” – but missionaries quote them time and time again as if they are reality and Jewish theology.
Legends presented as truth.
To complicate matters these stories are also often mistranslated.
Pesikta Rabbati is one that missionaries love to reference. It is a collection of Aggadic Midrash (homilies), but missionaries often quote it to “prove” some error they have about Judaism or the T’nach (bible) – stories are not proof of anything.
Pesikta Rabbati is not ancient, either. It dates to the 8th century of the common era. The stories are about Jewish festivals throughout the year.
Why do missionaries like this particular set of tales? There is one which missionaries claim is about moshiach ben Yosef suffering, tying it to T’hillim / Psalm 22. Moshiach ben Yosef is not “the” messiah. There is a possibility that a messiah from the house of Yosef (Ephraim) will be a soldier who lives at the same time as the messiah, and who will die in battle. Dying in battle is no doubt painful, but it does not “fit” the suffering of Y’shayahu / Isaiah 53’s servant who is said to have suffered for a very long time (as if from lengthy illness).
There is another claim that one story is about satan or angels being hurled into "hell." FYI, hell does not exist in Jewish theology. That reference is wrong. It seems to be given from a big mistake in the early 20th century publication called The Jewish Encyclopedia.
To add insult to injury (using stories as if they make a point) so many of the references are mistranslated to the point where meanings are often reversed. Continuing with Pesikta Rabbati here is a picture of the actual text http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/vl/psiktarabati/psiktarabati06.pdf Comparing it to the mistranslations here are just a few:
Mistranslation "put away His Messiah"
Correct translation "put IT (light) away FOR His Messiah"
Mistranslation "G-d replied, "For him who will turn you back and put them to utter shame."
Correct translation "G-d replied, "For him who will turn you back and put YOU to utter shame."
Mistranslation ""Surely this is the Messiah who will cause me and all the counterparts in heaven of the princes of the earth's nations to be swallowed up in Gehinnom,"
Correct translation "Surely this [is] the Messiah who will CAUSE MY DECENT and all the counterparts in heaven of the princes of the earth's nations in TO Gehinnom, "
"Counterparts" refers to a managing angel – every nation on earth has a managing angel except for Israel. They are referred to as the nations "counterpart" in heaven.
Mistranslation "In that hour, all princely counterparts of the nations, in agitation, will say to Him,"
Correct translation "In that hour, all of the nations, in agitation, will say to Him, "
Mistranslation "Master of the universe, who is this through whose power we are to be swallowed up? What is his name? What kind of being is he?"
Correct translation ""Master of the universe, who is this that we will fall into his hand? What is his name? What is his character?"
So far we’ve identified three big problems with this ONE missionary source which is misused:
There is a 4th:
Many missionaries leave things out. For example, Michael Brown references Pesikta Rabbati 36:2 in one of his books. The reference is wrong (it is really 36:3, not 2). Brown relied on the text at the "Chazak" messianic site which supposedly copied these from "Pesikta Rabbati: Homiletical Discourses for Festal Days and Special Sabbaths" by William G. Braude.
In other words the missionary website Chazak didn't use the original source, and Brown compounded the error by relying on Chazak's source -- no one went to the original.
In Brown's book (Answering Jewish Objections, vol 3, 4:24) he has the source listed as 37:1, -- another typo. His referenced quote is lengthy and is joined with a few others, and speaks of the author's point of view that the false and fallen Moshiach ben Yosef will be redeemed as well and come to terms with the fact that he was wrong.
You have the Chazak/Brown version ending with "At these words, the Messiah will reply: 'Now I am reconciled. The servant is content to be like his Master'" But here is the actual next line..."[HaShem responds] "Since the day that the evil Nebuchadnezzar came forth and he destroyed My house and burnt my palace and exiled My children". .. "
In fact, there are three sentences that he doesn't translate that is between "your distress is now like my distress" -- adding insult to injury it says "say" (amar) and not "answer", and in the context of the other three sentences, it changes the flavor from that Brown / Chazak (missionaries) would like to sway the reader to believe.
Bottom line: beware when missionaries begin to reference Jewish sources other than the T'nach (bible). Odds are they are quoting a story as if it is "fact", it may well not exist at all -- or it may be so badly mistranslated (including gaping holes between sentences) to fit their narrative. . .
The Tetragrammaton (four letter holy "name" of G-d) is found over 6,600 times in the Torah, including with the patriarchs who preceded Moses.
In Sh'mot / Exodus 3:15 we are told "G-d then said to Moses, 'You must [then] say to the Israelites, 'Hashem (Tetragrammaton), the G-d of your fathers, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sent me to you.' This is My eternal name, and this is how I am to be recalled for all generations."
Here we are told that the patriarchs knew G-d by this title (not really a name) and the elders of Israel would certainly recognize the holy name when Moses used it.
The word is translated (above) as name but it really means renown.
The Tetragrammaton (the four letter holy name of G-d) consists of four letters:
yod / י
heh / ה
vav / ו
heh / ה
None of those letters individually is a name of G-d.
G-d's holiest name is not really a name at all. None his names are really names -- they are human efforts to describe the indescribable.
The word here more properly means:
This is what G-d will be known as forever -- His reputation - a G-d who is with the Jewish people now and forever. He will be (ever faithful)....
R' Aryeh Kaplan (Z"L) in his translation (The Living Torah) wrote: "The Tetragrammaton denotes the level where past, present and future are the same (Tur, Orach Chaim 5; Rabbi Eliezer of Garmiza on Sefer Yetzirah 1:1)."
This particular "name" (or description) of G-d means "I shall be" (not "I am").
G-d was telling Moses to tell the Jews that He would always be with the Jews -- and was with them in their slavery in Egypt...
The tetragrammaton (four letter name for G-d) is in the third person singular imperfect of the verb "to be" -- as in ''causing to be'' or ''causing to exist."
Do keep in mind that since Hebrew is written without vowels (consonants only) the proper pronunciation (hidden) could modify the meaning of the word...
Given that the patriarchs knew G-d's holy name, as did the elders of Israel who recognized it when used by Moses -- how do we explain the verse:
"I revealed Myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as G-d Almighty (El Shaddai), and did not allow them to know Me by My name HaShem (Tetragrammaton)."
But they DID know His holiest name -- so is this a mistake -- or perhaps a less than enlightening translation?
G-d did not allow them to know Him by His holy name, but they obviously knew it.
While the Tetragrammaton was never used in speech before the time of the Patriarchs, it is used in connection with them (B'reshit / Genesis 15:7 with Abraham for example)...
So what did G-d mean that the patriarchs did not know Him by His holiest name?
Well, there is a way to know and a way to know.... Consider that you may know a piece of information, but in the Torah we also know that when a man "knows" his wife they have sexual intercourse.
The word has a depth of meaning -- particularly in Hebrew. This is yet another term that loses quite a lot in (mis)translation.
What G-d is telling Moses is that while the patriarchs used this name, they did not know of its power and importance.
Rabbeinu Bahya on Sh'mot 6:3 tells us
"He had not employed the powers inherent in the use of His four-lettered holy name. in His relations with them. According to the opening word וארא, “I have become visible,” in our verse, the word נודעתי used as a contrast is strange; we would have expected the Torah to write לא נראתי להם, I have not become visible to them, by My (holiest name).
"the patriarchs as a rule experienced their visions at night. It was appropriate therefore to apply the expression “vision” from the root ראה “to see” to their experiences of encounters with G’d. G’d wanted to contrast the fact that Moses had been granted a revelation of His presence while he was fully awake already the first time he had had a communication from G’d..."
Moses' knowledge of G-d was a different level than that of any other, and this is the meaning in Sh'mot / Exodus 6:3.
The Tetragrammaton was known before Moses, but not its inner significance (see the Ramban and / or Ibn Ezra). Again, quoting R' Kaplan:
"This was because the Patriarchs received their prophecy from the level associated with the name El Shaddai, while only Moses received it from the level associated with the Tetragrammaton (Moreh Nevukhim 2:35; Ralbag; Milchamoth HaShem 6)."
Someone asked: "What is the Jewish view of the death(s) of the uncircumcised? The significance? A little background to my question. Genesis 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
(recently pointed out to me) Exodus 4:24-26, (paraphrased by me) the L-rd met Moses to put Moses's son to death because he had not been circumcised, it appears."
And to the prince of tyre, in Ezekiel 28, who figuratively sits in the seat of G-d, claiming to be G-d, magnified in his heart as being G-d.
“The deaths of the uncircumcised you shall die at the hand of foreigners, for I have spoken," says the L-rd G-d.”
My question also entails - how could the prince of tyre, unless being a code name for someone else, die the deaths of the uncircumcised, unless he were a Jew, who had broken the everlasting covenant made on Mt. Sinai - by claiming himself to be God? And cut off from the Jewish people.
There is no significance – apples and oranges.
B’reshit / Genesis 17 and Sh’mot / Exodus 4 are both speaking of the covenant of circumcision (Brit Milah / בְּרִית מִילָה).
Y’chezekel / Ezekiel 28 has nothing to do with the covenant of circumcision (Brit Milah) – so you are jumping to an erroneous conclusion that they are the same thing. They are not.
As you mention, this chapter is speaking of the prince of Tzor who was egotistical – a god himself! He even had a throne that symbolized him ruling over the sky and ocean! G-d is prophesying the downfall of this king and nation – who are uncircumcised (the Greeks and Romans did not circumcise their people).
Thus it is the death of the uncircumcised.
The Artscroll footnote indicates that in Ezekiel 28 the circumcision referred to is of the heart.
“This refers to those of uncircumcised heart, meaning that they persist in their wickedness and refuse to accept the truth.” See also Ezekiel 44:7. Artscroll, Stone Edition T’nach.
B’reshit / Genesis 17 and Sh’mot / Exodus 4 do refer to the mitzvah of Brit Milah (the covenant of circumcision). In B’reshit / Genesis we are told that a Jew who does not observe this positive mitzvah will be kareit / כָּרֵ֥ת – cut off. This term normally refers to being spiritually cut off from G-d and the Jewish people (not physical death).
To be כרת / kareit -- cut off from G-d, is very rare. It is even rarer in the world today as many people do not know what is expected of them. G-d judges us not only with mercy, but He judges us based on who we are (our personal abilities and limitations as well as our understanding of what He expects from us).
In the case of Abraham and Moses both of them were very holy and also in direct communication from G-d. Thus they were held to a very high standard if they did not observe the mitzvot on purpose. Consider
"[Therefore] keep the Sabbath as something sacred to you. Anyone doing work [on the Sabbath] shall be cut off spiritually from his people, and therefore, anyone violating it shall be put to death. 31:15 Do your work during the six week days, but keep Saturday as a Sabbath of sabbaths, holy to God. Whoever does any work on Saturday shall be put to death. 31:16 The Israelites shall thus keep the Sabbath, making it a day of rest for all generations, as an eternal covenant. It is a sign between Me and the Israelites that during the six weekdays God made heaven and earth, but on Saturday, He ceased working and withdrew to the spiritual." Sh'mot / Exodus 31:14-17.
We then hear of a man who went out to collect would on Shabbat – this was a willful and defiant act – and as a result he was put to death.
Rashi, quoting the Talmud (Sanhedrin 41a), says that the mekoshesh eitzim – the individual who desecrated Shabbat by gathering wood, was warned by witnesses that it was a death penalty offense, yet he ignored them and continued collecting wood. Thus the man's actions were done to willfully disobey G-d. It was a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע --- a wilful wrongdoing in defiance of G-d (you know it is wrong, you know G-d forbids it and you defy Him). You have a man who willfully, knowingly, in defiance of G-d did this knowing that the penalty was death.
The issue in both situations: Moses not circumcising his son and the man picking wood on Shabbat have to do with knowing there is a mitzvah which commands something -- and willfully not obeying said mitzvah.
WILLFUL DEFIANCE is the issue here. Willful defiance of something you learned directly from G-d and agreed to do! This is very different from a person today who may not fulfill a mitzvah (even on purpose) because they are removed from having been told THEMSELVES to do this mitzvah.
The death possibility for Moses for not circumcising his son before leaving Midian had nothing to do with circumcision itself, it had to do with willful defiance of G-d and his mitzvah of not observing the COVENANT of circumcision – the very first covenant G-d made with Abraham and thus the Jewish people.
The Christian bible has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism. It is as pertinent to a Jew as the Koran or Book of Mormon is to the average Christian. Unfortunately tens of millions of dollars are spent annually by Christians to try to convert Jews to their faith.
Sadly, many Jews are raised without knowledge of Judaism (secular), or in homes which may observe some mitzvot, but fail to teach their children diligently.
So just how reliable is the Christian bible?
Christian "scholars" themselves attest to the fact that it is totally unreliable. There are no "full papyri of the GT" dating earlier than about the 16th century of the common era (CE).
"What do survive are copies of the copies some 5,366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly alike in all their particulars. No one knows how many differences, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands." (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, page 27).
So how reliable do you think it would be if 5,366 fragments are all different except for the smallest fragments that don't even make up entire words? The Greek text used today (what you like to call the "new" testament) today bears no resemblance to those early, contradictory fragments.
The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction and Commentary (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries) by I. Howard Marshall:
Modern Greek texts of Acts are essentially based on the Egyptian manuscripts, Codices, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
There are many differences (additions and omissions of words, changes of words, and so on) in the version of the text found in Codex Bezae and other manuscripts which mainly come from the western area of early Christendom; this form of text can be traced back to the second century.
Arguments that it represents the original text of Acts, or a second edition of the text by the original author, have failed to produce conviction.
It is generally thought that it represents an early scribal revision of Acts although on occasion it may preserve the original wording of Acts when the Egyptian text goes astray. But the whole matter is far more complicated than the present brief summary indicates.
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, a book written to prove the validity of the Christian bible says:
"A study of 150 Greek [manuscripts) of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings... It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the [manuscript] is wholly uniform."
The earliest papyri has been dated to around 125 CE (although some apologists have dated them earlier -- there is no consensus).
• P52 -- a fragment of John 18 (written ca. 125 CE)
• P90 -- a fragment of John (ca 175 CE)
• P66 -- portions of John 1, 6, 15-16, 20-21 (ca. 200 CE)
• P64; P67 -- fragments of Matthew 3, 5, 26 (ca. 200 CE)
There are no papyri of the Christian bible containing more than one gospel date only after 200 CE.
The oldest one appears to be P52 which contains a snippet from what appears to be part of John 18:31-33. It cannot be proven to pre-date Josephus. The Harvard Theological Review writes:
"Paleography (dating things by handwriting) is not the most effective method for dating tests. . .the real problem is thus in the way scholars of the New Testament have used and abused papyrological evidence. . .I have (shown) that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. thus, P52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century. Only a papyrus containing an explicit date or one found in a clear archaeological stratigraphic context could do the work scholars want P52 to do. As it stands now, the papyrological evidence should take a second place to other forms of evidence in addressing debates about the dating of the Fourth Gospel."
Take a look at an early papyrus which is said to be of the Christian bible. Let's talk about P75. Most scholars date P75 to the 3rd century. It is sometimes called "the most significant" papyrus of the Christian bible yet discovered (in the 1950s).
Yet P75 has Luke 3:18-24:53 -- yet Luke 22:43–44 is missing.
Besides missing Luke 22:43-44 there are differences in P75 from than the text in the Codex Sinaiticus. It is NOT THE SAME. Luke 8:21 it reads αυτον instead of αυτους.
αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου (but deliver us from evil) (Luke 11:4)
is not even in P75.
Also missing is: "And Jesus said: Father forgive them, they know not what they do." (found in Luke 23:34 in modern Christian bibles) Luke 16:19 is different from modern Christian bibles.
Even a cursory reading of the Christian bible used by Christians today shows one contradiction after another.
Even the current Christian bible is full of contradictions which most ignore, but when one realizes how none of the early sources match up it is a scary thought indeed that 2.4 billion people believe in this religion without actually researching the "facts."