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."