We first see the term used to speak of a false god in Bamidbar / Numbers 22:41: "In the morning, Balak took Balaam, and brought him to the In the morning, Balak took Balaam, and brought him to the High Altars of Ba'al, where he could see [as far as] the outer edges of the [Israelite] people., where he could see the outer edges of the people."
Josephus, the Jewish priest and historian of 2000 years ago, wrote of a mountain by this name that was about 60 furlongs or five miles from the camp of the Israelites. (Antiquities of the Jews 4:6:4).
In Shoftim / Judges 3:7 we are told that the Israelites served אֶת־הַבְּעָלִ֖ים / et HaBa'alim / the Ba'al. אֶת / et is a preposition that serves as the marker of a definite direct object of a verb. The Hebrew preposition אֶת / et is used with a semantically definite direct object of a proper noun or personal pronoun, but not with indirect objects. English does not have this concept.
After the אֶת / et is מַקָּף makkaf which appears as a dash, and connects the words in the way a hyphen connects words in English.
Then we have the word בְּעָלִ֖ -- ba'al.
Next is the ים / im ending which can infer plurality, but only if the verb is also plural. If the verb and adjective are singular it infers majesty, or power...
So here we have the instance of the Israelites appearing to worship a false god named Ba'al.
Why would the name of a false god in the T'nach (bible) also be used to speak highly of some people, too?
The word בַּעַל / ba'al means master or lord. While it was used for a false god it is also used to speak of others including G-d. Consider that Saul's son was named Eshbaʿal ("The L-rd is Great").
The word simply means "master." So the Israelites of the northern kingdom worshiped a false god they called "master." The term is often found in Judaism -- including in the term you mentioned -- "baal teshuva" -- a master of returning (to G-d)...
The honorific Baal Shem Tov means ''Master of (the) Good Name.''
Why did the elders believe that G-d sent Moses (Sh’mot / Exodus 3:16)?
Was it because Moses performed miracles?
Was it because Moses just "showed up?"
The elders of Israel believed Moses because Moses told them a secret message -- one he himself may not have realized was special.
Moses repeated to the elders the very words G-d had spoken through Ya'akov / Jacob and Yoséf / Joseph as a promise long before they were enslaved.
This secret message which Ya'akov / Jacob told his sons and Yoséf / Joseph told his brothers had been passed down to their children and theirs -- a treasure held by the elders of Israel.
Here is what G-d told Moses to say to the elders of Israel:
“'Go, gather the elders of Israel, and say to them, HaShem, the G-d of your fathers, appeared to me - the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said, 'I have granted you special providence (פָּקֹ֤ד פָּקַ֙דְתִּי֙ / remembered you) regarding what is happening to you in Egypt.” – Sh’mot / Exodus 3:16.
What is so special about that statement from G-d?
Why is it more powerful than a miracle as proof that Moses was sent by G-d?
Yes, G-d gave him a staff that turned into a snake and back again.
Yes, G-d turned his chest diseased and back to health as a sign.
But those were not the reasons the elders believed G-d had sent Moses.
Read Sh’mot / Exodus 3:16 closely and then Read B’reshit / Genesis 50:24:
“Joseph said to his close family, 'I am dying. G-d is sure to grant you special providence (פָּקֹ֧ד יִפְקֹ֣ד / will remember you / will attend to you) and bring you out of this land, to the land that he swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.'”
There is a secret code there – the words of Ya’akov / Jacob are repeated by Moses and this was how the elders knew G-d had sent him.
The secret password (as it were) are the words פָּקֹ֤ד פָּקַ֙דְתִּי֙ / special providence (surely remembered or surely visited)…
Yosef / Joseph tells his brothers (the sons of Ya’akov / Jacob) that G-d will grant special providence / פָּקֹ֧ד יִפְקֹ֣ד.
The verb פָּקֹ֧ד / pakad can have several meanings; according to Bolozky in "501 Hebrew Verbs":
to hold a census
And G-d does not merely use this word once.
He uses it twice.
In a row.
This repetition of the verb implies "surety" – it is said twice!
G-d will "surely remember!"
In other words this is an extremely powerful statement “I will remember! I will remember!!!”
In fact the phrase "פָּקֹד פָּקַדְתִּי" translates as "I have surely remembered!".
When the Torah repeats something, it is because the message is critically important.
In the case of this phrase the repetition of these two verbs appears no less than five times in the T’nach:
"פָּקֹד פָּקַדְתִּי" at Sh’mot / Exodus 3:16;
"פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד" at B’reshit / Genesis 50:24 and 25, Sh’mo t / Exodus 13:19;
"פָּקֹד יִפְקְדֵנִי" at Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 20:6.
This coded message is so critical that the Torah repeats it: “Joseph then bound the Israelites by an oath: 'When G-d grants you [this] special providence (פָּקֹ֨ד יִפְקֹ֤ד / will remember you / will attend to you), you must bring my remains out of this place.'” B’reshit / Genesis 50:25.
Moses tells the elders that G-d has granted them special providence / פָּקֹ֤ד פָּקַ֙דְתִּי֙ – just as was prophesied by Jacob not once, but twice.
This is no coincidence – it is G-d letting the Israelites know that Joseph’s words were prophetic – and that prophecy is being fulfilled in the person of Moses.
Go back a bit further to B’reshit / Genesis 21:1: “G-d granted special providence to (remembered / attended to) Sarah as He said He would, and G-d did what He promised for Sarah.”
Rashi in his note on the words וְשָׁמְעוּ לְקֹלֶֽךָ (“and they will listen to your words”) in Sh'mot / Exodus 3:16 wrote: “And they will listen to your voice”—by themselves [i.e. without any further proof of your authenticity]; they will listen to you as soon as you say to them the words: “pakod pakad'ti”, because they have long had a tradition that their chosen redeemer would identify himself by using this specific expression [i.e. the doubled use the verb / pakod / פקד, literally ‘to visit’, “attend,” or ‘remember’]: Ya'akov / Jacob had told them v'élohim pakod yifkod ĕt'chĕm (“and G-d will definitely bear you in mind” [see note below] and Yoséf also told them pakod yifkod ĕlohim ĕt'chĕm “G-d will definitely bear you in mind” (B'réshıt / Genesis 50:25).
Did you notice that in Rashi’s statement both Ya'akov / Jacob and Yoséf / Joseph said “G-d will definitely bear you in mind”?
Yet the Torah has both statements made by Yoséf / Joseph.
Why does Rashi say that the first is by Ya’akov?
Sh'mot / Exodus Rabbah 5:16, a midrash (story) says: “...they had this tradition from Ya'akov / Jacob, because Ya'akov / Jacob had transmitted the secret to Yoséf / Joseph and Yoséf / Joseph had passed it on to his brothers.”
This appears to be the source for Rashi’s statement that both Ya'akov / Jacob and Yoséf / Joseph repeated this important code to the brothers – the sons of Israel (Ya’akov / Jacob)…
Rashi’s claim seems since the prediction about the doubled use of the verb פקד contains an element of prophecy and Yoséf / Joseph was not one of the 48 prophets listed in the Talmud, while his father Ya'akov / Jacob —in common with both of the other Patriarchs—was listed as a prophet.
Whether both Ya'akov / Jacob and Yoséf / Joseph or only Yoséf / Joseph stated the important phrase not once but twice (and Torah, when it repeats, does so because there is something very important to be learned) this very important message was remembered by the generations in slavery – taught from one generation to the next…
These words were said to the children of Ya’akov before they were enslaved.
The important root word used is פָּקֹ֤ד / "pakad."
Although usually translated as “remembered” it actually has a number of meanings including "bear in mind" and "count", not just “remember."
These were special instructions…
Special instructions from a death bed…
Yoséf / Joseph did not tell his brothers יִזְכּוֹר אֱלֹהִים אֶתְכֶם / yizkor elohim et'chem ("G-d will remember you"); what he said was פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶתְכֶם / pakod yifkod elohim et'chem, using the unusual verb פָּקַד pakad – a verb only ever used of G-d – and even more striking the Torah uses a doubled form of the verb, too (פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד / pakod yifkod).
And these are the words used by Moses when he approached the Elders of Israel – and they knew he was sent by G-d. G-d had given them special providence – He had remembered His people in merit of the patriarchs.
Moses was not a member of the Elders – and he did not grow up being taught these secret words.
Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s palace.
During his first outing from the palace he killed the Egyptian taskmaster and went into exile.
How could he have known the phrase that was used?
The Egyptian prince's repetition of the unusual phrase to the elders, who surely remembered Yosef's last words, were proof of prophecy (knowing things that a person could not have known).
And therefore the elders believed him.
Moses had quite a few names, but this name is from his Egyptian name. "When the child matured, [his mother] brought him to Pharaoh's daughter. She adopted him as her own son, and named him Moses (Moshe / משה). 'I bore (mashe) him from the water,' she said.” (Sh'mot / Exodus 2:10).
There were even a number of Pharaohs with similar names including Thutmose who was the third pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. He received the throne after the death of the previous king, Amenhotep I.
Some of our sages (including חזקוני / Chizkuni of the13th century) state that his mother named him and told the Egyptian princess the name...
The footnote from The Living Torah says: "In Egyptian, Moshe means a son. Thus, his naming is prefaced by a phrase that is literally translated, 'he became to her as a son' (cf. Ibn Ezra; Hadar Zekenim). Significantly, the suffix moshe is found (and exclusively so) in the names of many Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, such as Ka-moshe ('son of [Ra's] majesty'), Ach-moshe (Ahmose; 'son of the moon,' or 'the moon is born') and Toth-moshe (Thutmose; 'son of Toth'). The word moshe may indeed be of Semitic origin (see next note, this verse, 'bore'), introduced by the Semitic Hyksos.
"According to other ancient sources, the name Moses comes from the Egyptian mo (water) and uses (drawn from) (Josephus, Antiquities 2:9:6, Contra Apion 1:31; Philo De Vita Moses 2:17; Malbim)."
Some sources state that Moses' Egyptian name was Monius (Ibn Ezra; cf. Abarbanel; Josephus, Contra Apion 1:26, 28). Other ancient sources claim that Moses' name was preserved among the Gentiles as the legendary Musaeus, teacher of Orpheus, from whom the Muses obtained their name (Artapanus, in Eusebius, Preparatio Evangelica 9:27).
Artscroll's footnote says: "She gave him the Egyptian name Monios, which means that he was drawn from the water. Moses/Moshe is the Hebrew translation of that word (Ibn Ezra)."
Vayikra Rabbah 1:3 (midrash probably compiled around the fifth century CE) tells us that Moses had ten names:
Miriam (his sister) gave him the name Yered (ירד).
His grandfather called him Avigdor (אבי גדור).
Some say his father named him Chever (חבר).
His mother called him Yekutiel (יקותיא‑ל).
His brother Aaron called him Avi Zanoach (אבי זנוח).
Another name was Tuviah (טובי‑ה).
The Jewish people named him Shemayah (שמעי‑ה).
Ben Evyatar (בן אביתר) and finally
From Vayikra Rabbah 1:3:
The Holy One said to Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh: "Moses was not your son, and yet you called him your son. So too, you are not my daughter, but I call you my daughter."
Moses was known by 10 names: Jered, Chever, Yekutiel, Avigdor, Avi-Socho, Avi-Zanoch ... Tuvia ... Shmaya ... Levi ... and Moses, which makes 10.
The Holy One said to Moses, Behold! From among all the names from which you are known, I only refer to you by the name that Batya, Pharaoh's daughter, named you.
1. Yered (ירד), implying descent. According to one opinion, Miriam gave him this name, for because of him, she went down (yarad) to the Nile to see what would become of him. Alternatively, Moses was called this name because he brought the Torah down to the Jewish people, and the Divine Presence back down to this physical world.
2. Avigdor (אבי גדור), master of the fence. According to the Yalkut Me'am Loez, he was called this (by his grandfather, Kehat), because "since Moses' birth, G‑d has fenced in Pharaoh, not allowing him to continue his decree to drown Jewish infants."
3. Chever, (חבר) meaning, companion, or connector. Either because Moses connected the Jewish people with their heavenly Father, or because he prevented Heavenly retribution for their sins. Some say that Amram, his father, gave Moses this name, because Moses was born after his father had once again joined his wife after having divorced her.
4. Avi Socho, (אבי סוכו) Father of Seers. He was given this name by his grandfather, Kehat (alternatively, by the nurse who helped Moses' mother raise him), because Moses would grow up to be the "master" (avi) of the seers (sochim) and prophets.
5. Yekutiel (יקותיא-ל), from the root kavei (קוה) meaning hope. His mother Jochebed called him this name because she had hope and trust in G‑d that He would return Moses to her. Alternatively, because she foresaw that Moses would be the Jewish nation's great hope.
6. Avi Zanuach (אבי זנוח), literally, "master of rejection." Aaron, Moses' brother gave him this name, saying "My father rejected my mother, but took her back because of this child." Alternatively, because Moses would make Israel reject idols.
7. Tuvia (טובי'ה), implying goodness.
8. The Jewish people called him "Shemaya (שמעי-ה) ben [the son of] Nethanel." They predicted that in his days, G‑d would hear (שמע) their prayers.
9. Ben Avitar (בן אביתר), son of pardon, since Moses was the Jewish son who would solicit G‑d's pardon (ויתר) for the Jewish people's sin of the Golden Calf.
10. Levi (לוי), so named after the tribe to which Moses belonged.
(Source: Rabbi Eliezer Danzinger, Chabad.org)
"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.
Throughout history Jews have turned their backs on G-d and followed false gods -- many out of ignorance. This was true in the days of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, and it has been true throughout history.
Jews converting to Christianity tend to epitomize two things:
1. A lack of decent Jewish education
2. An underlying issue (mental, emotional, wanting to escape antisemitism and "fit in" with the society around them).
By underlying issue I mean that converts to Christianity 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.
This warning is found in many places, but is shouted loud and clear in D'varim / Deuteronomy 13: "The entire word that I command you, that shall you observe to do; you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.  If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder,  and the sign or the wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying "Let us follow G-ds of others that you did not know and we shall worship them!"  do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for HASHEM, your G-d, is testing you to know whether you love HASHEM, your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul.  HASHEM, your G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear; His commandments shall you observe and to His voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave."
1. If there is a dreamer (visions -- from others or your own) do not believe them.
2. If they even show you miracles do not believe them.
G-d is testing you.
3. Observe his mitzvot (do not desert them to "believe" in Jesus or Mohamed or anyone else).
Which brings us to one Max Wertheimer.
Max Wertheimer was an early 20th century Reform Rabbi. He was born in Germany and eventually moved to the United States.
Apparently quite a few American Reform Jews (non-observant) of the late 19th and early 20th century converted to Christianity. There is a question as to "why" -- there was a concerted effort at the time to convert Jews, and many European Jews who had suffered pogroms and prejudice wanted to assimilate (become part of the country in which they lived). They began to abandon Jewish practice, and Jewish education suffered. These assimilated Jews had little to no religion, and perhaps this is why quite a few became Christians.
It was these uneducated Jews who, to a very great extent, began to immigrate in large numbers to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This certainly seems to fit Max Wertheimer who converted in the early 20th century (possibly late 19th) to Christian Science, and later became a Baptist. He seems to have turned to Christian Science upon the death of his wife...
He was definitely uneducated and must not have been able to read Hebrew. He is quoted as saying that after his wife died of an illness he began to “search.”
“he began reading the New Testament, comparing its content with that of the Old Testament, and stumbled across Isaiah 53, Isaiah 50:6 (“I gave my back to the smiters”), Psalm 110 (“The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”), and Isaiah 9 (“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ….”). Messianic Judaism from the 6th to early-20th Century: Textual Evidence by Hélène Dallaire, Ph.D.
No one who could read Hebrew would be persuaded by the mistranslations in any of those passages. For example, T’hillim / Psalm 110:1 actually says that G-d said to an earthly (human) master (the word is adoni – it is never used to speak of G-d)… So he had to have been terribly uneducated – and early Reform Jews did not use Hebrew at all – they were pretty much churches without Jesus in the early days… (Reform has much improved, but still is very far from traditional, observant Judaism)…
I am speaking of historical Reform Judaism as it was founded in the 19th century in Germany and its early years in America where it was founded in 1841 by Isaac Mayer Wise (1819–1900), a German emigrant. Scrolls: Essays on Jewish history and literature, and kindred subjects, Volume 1 by Gotthard Deutsch (died 1921 -- a Jewish historian) discusses "rabbis" in the 19th century often referenced by missionaries as converting to Christianity. From the book starting on page 116:
"the present chief rabbi of London referred to the fact that three reform rabbis had converted to Christianity. He preferred not to give the exact number, because he probably had reason to fear the exact memory of those who remembered a previous statement of his that he could fill a book with the names of the disciples of Isaac M. Wise (founder of Reform Judaism) who has become converts to Christianity."
Wise, the founder of American Reform Judaism declared that he didn’t believe in a personal messiah or in bodily resurrection. He created a Reform prayer book which eliminated prayers for a return to Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple. The 1885 Reform official declaration was anti-Zionist and even rejected Judaism as a people :
"We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community; and we therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning a Jewish state."
Max Wertheimer was educated at Wise's "seminary" and was one of those three Reform rabbis Deutsch mentions converted to Christianity... BTW, the first graduation ceremony of this "seminary" served shrimp (trief -- not kosher)...
Many, many of the early Reform Jewish adopters had children who became Christians.
The early Reform movement also disavowed the divinity of the Torah, saying it was written by men. They gave up being kosher, and shrimp was often served at official meetings (including the first graduation ceremony -- along with clams -- also not kosher). The early Reform movement moved Shabbat to Sunday (to be like the Christians). The services were held in German, not Hebrew. They had choirs and organs, like the Christians...
A Reform rabbi of this period would not be expected to be a great Jewish expert -- and this certainly includes Wertheimer who attended the Reform seminary and this is where he claimed his semicha (rabbinical ordination).
Max Wertheimer claimed to have been born and raised Orthodox in Germany (highly unlikely if he became a Reform Rabbi). When you look at Jews who missionaries hold out as Jews who have converted to Christianity they often inflate their backgrounds.
Why do I doubt that Wertheimer was raised Orthodox?
There are contradictions in the information we have about Wertheimer. His obituary states that he came to America at the age of 13 (in other words, he wasn’t old enough to have been raised in an observant home as is the claim that he was Orthodox). His autobiography claims that he left his German secular high school for a mercantile apprenticeship while he attended night school, eventually coming to America where he completed high school (seemingly as a young adult). So was it 13 or adult? No way to know...
Upon the death of his young wife he says he had a revelation and became first a Christian Science member (thinking they could heal) and then dropped it to become a Baptist.
Some said he was mentally unstable.
The American Jewish Archives supplied me with a copy of an article written by Leo Wise in 1900. Leo Wise was the son of Isaac Wise, the father of American Reform Judaism (and the founder of the Hebrew Union College). Leo Wise wrote about Wertheimer in 1900:
“The general impression…is that Mr. Wertheimer is mentally unbalanced, an opinion which has prevailed among his friends in Dayton and elsewhere for some time past. Mr. (not Dr.) Wertheimer appears, according to what he says, to have left the Jewish Church without having lost a particle of his faith in its teachings, and to have affiliated himself with a Christian sect, without having the slightest belief in any of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, such as the immaculate conception, vicarious atonement, etc.
(note that Leo Wise wrote this in 1900 when Wertheimer was a Christian Scientist, before he became a Baptist in 1904)…
“Mr. Wertheimer’s days of usefulness in the Jewish pulpit have long been over; it would not be far from the truth to say that they never really began…The new Rabbi soon evinced peculiarities, wild eccentricities, that led those who came in contact with him to believe that he lacked mental balance. He was soon at loggerheads with his congregation, and as time went on the relations between them did not improve…
“When the proper length of time after his graduation had expired, Rabbi Wertheimer presented to the faculty of the Hebrew Union College (the Reform school for rabbis) a thesis as a candidate for the degree of D.D. (Doctor of Divinity). This paper was declared by the faculty not up to the required standard, and the degree was not conferred. Another application had a similar result. This angered Mr. Wertheimer very much. His vanity, which by the way, is one of his marked idiosyncrasies, led him to believe that the refusal to grant the degree was brought about by personal prejudice against himself, not by his lack of requisite scholarship.
“He thereupon joined the enemies of the Hebrew Union College in their attacks upon the good name of the institution, the scholarship of the faculty and the character and capacity of the graduates – a rather extraordinary proceeding toward his alma mater and fellow alumni, especially as in addition to free tuition he had, during his college career, been a pensioner, and had been fed, lodged, clothed and generally cared for gratuitously. This naturally seems abominable to an American, but Mr. Wertheimer is a Frenchman by birth…”
(Wertheimer’s autobiography claims he was German, not French)…
“As time passed Mr. Wertheimer grew more eccentric…after the sad death of his wife he became more erratic than ever… Finally, at the expiration of his last term of office his congregation…informed him that he could not remain with them any longer. This was followed by a dismissal in the usual delecate way, i.e., by re-electing him for a further term and then accepting his resignation, which he tendered.”
Now that is interesting – because Wertheimer’s autobiography states that he resigned because he was leaning towards Christianity – yet it appears that he was fired – this was not voluntary. He was simply allowed to resign to “save face”.
(He) “then became a candidate for various Jewish pulpits that were without incumbents, but in every instance his reputation for being exceedingly erratic had preceded him and he was not selected.”
Wise then goes on to state that he thinks Wertheimer chose Christian Science because it was closest to Judaism of the various Christian denominations.
“Rabbi Wertheimer’s defection is mainly due to the fact that his peculiarities of disposition and character disqualified him for the Jewish ministry, and he very wisely, left it, as it…He was an applicant for (a position of a rabbi) about a month ago.
“I have known Mr. Wertheimer from the time he entered the preparatory department of the Hebrew Union College, and have watched his career since he graduated. With full knowledge of the facts, I have no hesitation in saying, that, unpleasant as it is to have a Rabbi become an apostate…it is far better that he should have withdrawn in this manner than to have remained in it. As he stands today he is a mild annoyance, for some time past he has been a source of harm to Judaism.”
This certainly is an interesting perspective and seems closer to the truth than Wertheimer's autobiography. It seems that he had many eccentricities including a large ego -- with a brain that didn't match (he never received is D.D. from the Hebrew Union College). He was forced out of the Reform rabbinate and had to find a way to survive after his young wife died and he had debts to pay. In 1904 Wertheimer became a Baptist having accepted the trinity based on Greek translations of the Hebrew bible. No kidding.
From “A Rabbi who Turned,” by Alfred Segal, The American Israelite (an English-language Jewish weekly newspaper published in Cincinnati, Ohio), May 9, 1957:
"One day he found something in a Greek translation of our Pentateuch (written 275 years before Jesus); it persuaded him that even that long before Jesus was born the Greeks foresaw Jesus’ coming. In that translation they spoke of Joshua as Yesous and to Max Wertheimer “Yesous” suggested “Jesus.” Wertheimer wrote: “I could hold out in unbelief no longer…I was convinced of the truth of G-d as it is in…Jesus… I cried, “L-rd, I believe that Thou as Jehovah Yesous has made the atonement for me. I believe that Jehovah Yesous died for me!"
That is certainly not stable -- why would a man who could, supposedly, read Hebrew turn to a translation of the bible and then, dependent on some unknown translator's choice for the name Joshua uses this to convince himself of Jesus as a god and part of the trinity?
That is not reasonable, let alone stable!
Perahaps Gotthard Deutsch (a professor of Jewish history at Hebrew Union College - Reform Movement) who was a contemporary who knew Wertheimer, put it best:
"I have been connected with Hebrew Union College for 20 years, and know all its graduates, and therefore can state positively that there were no more than three conversions among its graduates. Samuel Freuder, the first of the converts, returned to Judaism, declaring the whole missionary business a fraud, and is now living a retired life, earning only a modest livelihood. Max Wertheimer turned out a failure as a Christian Science practitioner, and entered the Baptist ministry..." The Jewish Archives, Gotthard Deutsch.
A missionary has brought up the antisemitic accusation that the Talmud permits sex with three year old girls. He wrote: "I use the Talmud online, not some secret Talmud. Please justify the following if possible: MISHNAH. A GIRL OF THE AGE OF THREE YEARS AND ONE DAY MAY BE BETROTHED BY INTERCOURSE ... GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: A girl of the age of three years may be betrothed by intercourse; so R. Meir. But the Sages say: Only one who is three years and one day old. What is the practical difference between them? — The school of R Jannai replied: The practical difference between them is the day preceding the first day of the fourth year."
The Talmud is a law book. Law books explain the law and often present cases that epitomize the law, and the Talmud does this, too.
Consider this: the United States has laws about murder and rape. Does this mean that the United States condones, or even endorses, murder and rape?
Ridiculous -- but this is exactly what the antisemites do when they say the Talmud condones sex with children!
The Torah tells us: "If a man encounters a virgin girl who is not betrothed and is caught raping her, then the rapist must give the girl's father 50 [shekels] of silver (the normal dowry price). He must then take the girl he violated as his wife (only if the girl consents (Yad, Naarah Bethulah 1:3), and he may not send her away as long as he lives." D'varim / Deuteronomy 22:28 - 29.
A rabbi on the website Aish wrote: "The demand is to the rapist to protect the daughter, her reputation and her dowry. The rapist is held accountable and is made to be responsible for his actions. Rape of a single woman carries a heavy monetary fine (depending on the age of the victim), plus the rapist has to pay reparation for damages, as well as for her suffering, embarrassment and emotional anguish. The rapist also incurs lashes. This is all intended as both a deterrent and a punishment (D'varim / Deuteronomy 22:28-29, see also Rambam Rotzai'ach 2:4-5).
"As regards to what you read, it is true that the Torah states that the rapist must marry (and may never divorce) his victim (actually only if she is at a certain young age at the time), but both she and her father can refuse the "match" – which they are extremely likely to do. I believe the message of the Torah is not that the rapist can have whom he wants, but quite the opposite. If he wants to enjoy another human being, he cannot just do so and split. He becomes responsible for her – for the rest of his life."
The Talmud discusses what to do if a male child molests a female adult or if a male adult molests a young female child (Ketuvot 11b). Remember that virginity was highly prized in ancient times -- is the raped 3 year old girl now considered a non-virgin for the purposes of a dowry later in her life? The Jewish judges wisely said that she is still considered a virgin for her sake and future. Jewish law does not condone sex with a 3 year old or children, the opposite is true.
The Talmud states (Kiddushin 41a):
האיש מקדש את בתו כשהיא נערה: כשהיא נערה אין כשהיא קטנה לא מסייע ליה לרב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב ואיתימא רבי אלעזר אסור לאדם שיקדש את בתו כשהיא קטנה עד שתגדל ותאמר בפלוני אני רוצה
Translation: “A man may marry off his daughter when she is a na’ara / נערה / young woman" When she is a na’ara (young woman), yes. When she is a child, no. This supports the teaching of Rav, for Rav Y’huda said in the name of Rav, and there are those who say Rabbi El’azar, “It is forbidden for a man to marry off his daughter when she is a child, until she grows up and says, ‘I want to marry So-and-so.'” (Talmud, Kiddushin 41a).
Further, Niddah 13b says: ת”ר הגרים והמשחקין בתינוקות מעכבין את המשיח… דנסיבי קטנות דלאו בנות אולודי נינהו
Translation: “The Rabbis taught in a b’raita: Converts and those who play with little girls delay the coming of the Messiah… The latter refers to those who marry [and have sexual relations with] girls who are too young to [safely] bear children.”
Molesting a child, whether above or below the age of three, is forbidden as stated clearly in both Kiddushin 41a and Niddah 13b.
Further, the Rambam (Maimonides, 12th century) in Issurei Biah 21:18 writes: “A man should not marry a minor who is not fit to give birth.”
Jewish law strictly forbids not only child molestation but all kinds of non-marital sexual relations are prohibited. The Rambam wrote in Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Ishut 1:4 "a person who has relations with a woman for the sake of lust, without kiddushin (marriage), receives lashes as prescribed by the Torah."
The Talmud strongly opposed formation of the marriage bond by sexual force (at any age) and punished those who acted in such manner (Kiddushin 12b).
Sanhedrin 55b says IF a girl is raped if she is younger than 3 she is still considered a virgin for the sake of later marriage. If she is older then 3 it is considered RAPE and one of the compensations is that her father may demand the perpetrator marry her as well as pay all the criminal penalties.
Remember that the man is not allowed to have sex with a 3 year old we are discussing what happens if someone DOES. The Talmud goes on to say that the father's right to marry off his daughter was to be used for her benefit. The age and manner of marriage is to a large extent a societal variable but at Kiddushin 41a the rabbis taught: "It is forbidden for a man to betroth his daughter while she is young [but rather he should wait] till she has grown and says 'This is the one I want [to marry]" and this teaching is repeated elsewhere in the Talmud.
The Laws of Niddah pertain to family purity (think menstruation or giving birth and once again becoming ritually clean by immersing in a mikvah). This chapter is discussing how old a person (male or female) can be ritually impure.
"This mishnah teaches that in a legal sense, sexual relations with a girl over the age of three counts as sexual relations. I should emphasize that this mishnah in no way condones such an act (which is certainly rape) it just teaches that this counts as an act of intercourse. At the core of this notion is their understanding of the physical consequences of intercourse for the first time namely the breaking of the woman's hymen. As we can see at the end of the mishnah, if a girl has intercourse (i.e. is raped) before the age of three her hymen will repair itself. After the age of three, it will not. This, to the rabbis, means that after the age of three, intercourse "counts" in a legal sense. Before the age of three, it does not. Having taught this mishnah (and others like it) many times, I realize that this is a very sensitive issue. To talk about sex with young girls is very troubling. I certainly don't want people to read this and think that the rabbis thought that it was okay for men to have relations with little girls. As usual, the mishnah uses a clinical, emotionally distant tone. That's just the way the rabbis composed much of the mishnah." Modern commentary from Sefaria on Niddah 5.4.1.
So if a young girl three years old (or older) is raped the rapist may be forced to marry her and take care of her -- IF the father agrees, and the girl (when she is old enough) must also agree. Sex with a young child is not allowed in this situation -- it is a legal requirement on the part of the rapist.
The Talmud is stating that a girl younger than 3 is still considered a virgin for the purposes of a later marriage dowry (dowries were monies paid by a prospective husband to the girl's parents). Dowries for a virgin were higher priced than dowries for a widow or other non-virginal woman... A girl older than 3 who was raped would thus be financially impacted, and this law states that the father can demand that the virginal dowry price be paid...
There is no real Talmud online unless you are reading it in Aramaic. The highly abridged ones online are very poor translations -- and again, highly abridged. |
Arranged marriages with children was very common – particularly among Christians. In July 1543, Mary of Scotland was betrothed to be married to Edward, son of King Henry VIII of England. She was 6 months old.
SIX MONTHS OLD.
It doesn't mean they had sex -- it was an arranged marriage.
Someone asked me: You have said "This oil was never used on Jesus, and since he was not in an unbroken and uncontested line to the throne he would have to have been personally anointed with the very specific compound of spices and oil whose exact composition is stipulated in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33 for use in the “anointment” of Jewish kings or priests:" But According to the Talmud Horayos 12a the anointing oil was compounded only once in Jewish history, by Moses, and the supply made by him sufficed for the whole period from the anointing of Aaron and his sons until the residue was hidden away by Josiah. Anointing oil was therefore not used for the kings and high priests after Josiah, and it was one of the five appurtenances used in the First Temple but not in the Second. So Are you saying the the hidden temple items including the oil must be back before the messiah?
Yes, that is what I'm saying. The holy anointing oil was hidden along with the אָרוֹן הַבְּרִית / Aron HaBrit (Ark of the Covenant) before the Babylonian Exile.
The Torah tells us of a special oil which was used to anoint kings and priests. was a special mixture of spice and olive oil that was used for “anointing” of kings and priests. This special oil is called שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”) and is given in the passage of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33 which gives the formula for making it and how to properly use it. . .
"G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people." Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33.
Moses was ordered in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-25 to make personally (he was not to delegate the task to an assistant), which was to last “for all our generations” (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:31), and which was never to be duplicated ever again by anyone else (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33).
So the Torah says this oil was only made once and will never again be duplicated -- but it also says it will be the sacred anointing oil for all generations -- so it will never be used up either.
The questioner mentioned Horayot 12a. The answer to his (her?) question is found in Horayot 11b:
אמר לו רבי יהודה וכי נס אחד נעשה בשמן המשחה והלא תחלתו שנים עשר לוגין וממנו היה נמשח משכן וכליו אהרן ובניו כל שבעת ימי המלואים וכולו קיים לעתיד לבוא שנאמר (שמות ל, לא) שמן משחת קדש יהיה זה לי לדורותיכם
Rabbi Yehuda said to him: And was it merely one miracle that was performed with regard to the anointing oil? But wasn’t it initially only twelve log, and from it the Tabernacle, and its vessels, Aaron, and his sons were anointed for the entire seven days of inauguration, and all of it remains in existence for the future, as it is stated: “This shall be a sacred anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations” (Exodus 30:31)? Since the entire existence of the anointing oil is predicated on miracles, it is no wonder that its preparation also involved a miracle.
THUS SHALL BE A SACRED ANOINTING OIL UNTO ME (G-D) THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS...
Horayot 12a goes on to say:
"Rav Pappa said: They anointed Jehoahaz with pure balsam oil, not with anointing oil. "
It does not say that the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“oil of anointment of holiness”) was made only once or that it was used once and only once. It also doesn't say that it will never be used again after Y'ho'aḥaz / Jehoahaz. It simply says "They anointed Y'ho'aḥaz / Jehoahaz with pure balsam oil, not with anointing oil."
Y'ho'aḥaz / Jehoahaz wasn't properly anointed by a known prophet (as is required) either. See M'lachim Beit / 2 Kings 23:30, where it was the people who anointed him - no mention of a prophet or priest: "And the people of the land took Y'ho'aḥaz / Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king instead of his father."
The people would not have had the holy oil -- and they are not the ones who can properly anoint a king -- that honor falls to a known prophet... In other words -- his anointing was not done properly according to the Torah (known prophet and the shemen mish'ḥat kodesh “oil of anointment of holiness" being used).
There are three situations that "trigger" the requirement that the messiah be actually anointed with a very specific type of holy oil (which was never used on Jesus). The three situations are:
Again, see Horayot 11b which confirms my three points:
ואפילו כהן גדול בן כהן גדול טעון משיחה ואין מושחים מלך בן מלך ואם תאמר מפני מה משחו את שלמה מפני מחלוקתו של אדוניה ואת יואש מפני עתליה ואת יהואחז מפני יהויקים שהיה גדול ממנו שתי שנים ואותו שמן קיים לעתיד לבוא שנאמר שמן משחת קדש יהיה זה לי לדורותיכם זה בגימטריא שנים עשר לוגין הוו
The baraita continues: And even a High Priest, son of a High Priest, requires anointing, but one does not anoint a king, son of a king. And if you say: For what reason did they anoint King Solomon (see I Kings, chapter 1), who was the son of a king? It was due to the challenge of Adonijah, who sought to succeed their father David as king. And they anointed Joash due to Athaliah (see II Kings, chapter 11). And they anointed Jehoahaz due to Jehoiakim, who was two years older than he was (see II Kings 23:30). In all these cases, it was necessary to underscore that these men were crowned king. And that oil remains in existence for the future, as it is stated: “This [zeh] shall be a sacred anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations” (Exodus 30:31). The numerical value of zeh is twelve log, indicating that this amount of oil remains intact despite its use."
There would have been no need to anoint a king who was inheriting from his father unless it was contested or was not a direct line of descent. Horayot 11b specifically mentions the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“oil of anointment of holiness").
There are only two explicit accounts of proper anointment of kings beyond King Solomon. One account describes the anointing of Jehu King of Israel by one of the disciples of Elisha - M'lachim Beit / 2 Kings 9:8. The other account describes the anointing of Joash King of Judah by Jehoiada the priest - M'lachim Beit / 2 Kings 11:12 & Divrei Hamayim Beit / 2 Chronicles 24:11. It is most likely that the other kings of Judah were properly anointed being legitimate descendants of King David through King Solomon. It is doubtful that the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel were properly anointed, since the special oil of anointing was kept in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Prophecy is a communication direct from G-d through a prophet to the people of his or her generation. The message may or may not contain visions of future events. The message may have importance to future generations (us), and those were written down for posterity in the Torah (the prophecies of Moses) and Nevi'im (Prophets) in the T'nach.
Prophecy is always based on the plain meaning of the text -- not on hints or "shadows." Consider the famous chapter of Y'shayahu / Isaiah 7. it does not speak about virgins giving birth, and the woman (and her child) are incidental to the actual prohecy which was for the then living king, אָחָז / Ahaz.
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 7 begins "And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, marched on Jerusalem to wage war against it, and he could not wage war against it."
G-d tells Isaiah (prophecy! direct communication of G-d to Isaiah) to go to King Ahaz and tell him: "Feel secure and calm yourself, do not fear, and let your heart not be faint because of these two smoking stubs of firebrands, because of the raging anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah." (verse 4).
So the prophecy is for King Ahaz, the prophet is Isaiah. The message is "don't be afraid of the two kings (Rezin and Pekah)."
Prophecy is never based on hints, or shadows or vague possibilities. Judaism is replete with stories and "tall tales" -- but those are not literal and are not meant to be taken literally. A principle of the Talmud that Rashi quotes several times states that אֵין מִקְרָא יוֹצֵא מִידֵי פְשׁוּטוֹ -- in English this would be "A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning." (Treatise Shabbat 63a, Treatise Y'vamot 11b, 24a; quoted by Rashi at B'réshıt / Genesis 15:10, 37:19, and Sh'mot / Exodus 12:2).
Likewise the concept of "dual fulfillment" is totally non-biblical.
Missionaries often reference midrashim (stories meant to make a moral point) as if they were prophetic -- either from ignorance or malice.
Thus a "secondary message" that is not clear (requires drash, aka "types and shadows" let alone "dual prophecy") violates the very concept of prophecy itself. Even a "first message" which came directly from G-d (required to be prophecy) that was unclear or required interpreting hints (remez) or inferring something that isn't clearly there (drash) doesn't fit the definition of prophecy.
For those reading this who do not know the terms p'shat, drash and sod, these terms relate to the various levels the Jewish bible is read, PaRDeS:
* P'shat (פְּשָׁט) - the "plain" ("simple") meaning of a passage (prophecy is always based on 'pshat)
* Remez (רֶמֶז) - "hints" implied in the text but not explicit
* Drash (דְּרַשׁ) - which is a deeper or even midrashic meaning -- often inferred from other scripture
* Sod (סוֹד) - "secret" ("mystery") meanings
On top of all that prophecy is never hidden.
The Jewish bible itself never once gives an example of a prophecy being "dual" or being "hidden."
Thus the Christian concept of changing the meanings long after the fact are simply not supported in the Jewish bible.
The real meaning of any biblical passage is the p'shat (plain meaning). Everything else is a kind of midrash, -- a story which is not literal, but is meant to teach some supplementary message.
The Rambam wrote: "I maintain that it is not proper for a person to stroll in the Pardes unless he has filled his belly with bread and meat. "Bread and meat" refer to the knowledge of what is permitted and what is forbidden, and similar matters concerning other mitzvot. Even though the Sages referred to these as "a small matter" - for our Sages said: "'A great matter,’ this refers to Ma'aseh Merkavah ("Maaseh Merkavah" and "Maaseh Bereishit," are the mystical study of the Creator and His Creation). `A small matter,’ this refers to the debates of Abbaye and Ravva" - nevertheless, it is fitting for them to be given precedence, because they settle a person's mind." Yesodei haTorah, chapter 4.
Missionaries will dabble quoting sages speaking of drash or remez -- as if they are literal. They are doing so out of ignorance -- and as the Rambam continued to state "strolling in the PaRDeS (orchard) is restricted to accomplished Torah scholars who are already well founded in the literal understanding of the Torah (p'shat)...He stated:
"The Sages of the early generations commanded that these matters should not be expounded upon in public." Yesodei haTorah, chapter 4.
The Orthodox Union puts it well:
"Some authorities maintain that there should be a general limit on the study of kabbalah and other esoteric subjects. Rabbi Shlomo Luria, the Maharshal (d. 1573) complains (Shu”t 98 ) about ignoramuses learning kabbalah.
"The Rema equates the substance of philosophy and kabbalah and penned a lengthy essay (Torat Ha’olah, part 3, ch. 4) and a long response (Shu”t 7) on the topic of studying them. He displays intimate familiarity with kabbalah, and explains that he personally only studies such matters on Shabbat, yom tov and Chol HaMoed, and uses the rest of his time to study Mishnah, Talmud, halachah and the relevant commentaries. (Similarly, the Sanzer Rav, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, states that the essence of life is to study the main parts of Torah all day, and that he involves himself with kabbalah when other people are in their beds and he is fighting off sleep [Divrei Chaim 2, YD 47]).
"The Maharshal derives his knowledge of philosophy only from Jewish sources such as Rambam. The Rema bemoans the lack of true kabbalists and that instead “every bore who knows not his right from his left and cannot learn parashah with Rashi, jumps to learn kabbalah."
Prophecy is NEVER based on drash, still less from rĕmĕz or sod. Prophecy is only based on a text’s p'shat (actual meaning)—never on d'rash (sermons derived from, or based on, it). The Talmud tells us: "A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning." Shabbat 63a, Y'vamot 11b, and Y'vamot 24a. Rashi, the 11th century Torah commentator, quotes this at B'reshit / Genesis 15:10, 37:19 and Sh'mot / Exodus 12:2).
I received an email which reads: “If you read Genesis 15 carefully from the Jewish perspective, you will notice the reference to Jesus.”
A link was provided FROM the website with the article. The article was complete nonsense, and "no" I will not provide a link as that was most likely the desire of the author (to receive visitors at my expense).
B’reshit / Genesis 15 has nothing to do with Jesus and only someone with Jesus blinders on would “see” him in it. This chapter, part of Parsha Lech Lecha / לֶךְ-לְךָ פָּרָשָׁה.
It begins with Abram having a vision -- he is concerned because he has no children to inherit from him. G-d tells Abram that he will have a son and through that son will have many descendants...the Jewish people. G-d tells Abram to get various kosher animals, which Abram does -- and Abram sacrifices them.
The article makes a “big deal” out of verse 15:10 where Abram takes the animals G-d asked him to get and cuts them in half. To the author this means it all about blood (not about the “halves” which is really the point). He says Abraham split the animals even though G-d didn’t say to do so.
This is a mistake -- G-d and Abraham now have a contract -- G-d's promise to Abraham, and this promise is sealed as contracts were created in ancient times.
The author, apparently ignorant of both Hebrew and ancient history, has jumped to an erroneous conclusion.
It is not all about blood (as the author assumes) -- it is about dividing something in half to form a contract or covenant. The Hebrew term for establishing a covenant / contract / treaty between two entities is known as "כריתת ברית" / kritat brit.
It translates to "dividing a contract."
Dividing -- as in cutting in half -- which is what Abram DOES.
In the Hebrew language, the verb that is used for "making" a b'rit is כרת, which literally means "to cut". In English you "make" or "sign" an agreement or a treaty - in Hebrew you "cut" one. In cutting the animals in half Abraham was creating a covenant with G-d.
Now do you see why Abram did what he did – taking the animals G-d had designated and using them to create a pact / treaty / covenant with G-d?
By cutting the animals in half Abram is formalizing the treaty with G-d via the symbolism of cutting or tearing an object in halves where each party keeping one half.
BTW – this all happened in a vision – none of it happened in reality – which your research source also seems to ignore. Read the very first line of the chapter: “God's word came to Abram in a vision…”
G‑d seals the Covenant Between the Parts / ברית בין הבתרים / Brit Bein HaBetarim which is actually the point of this chapter (chapters being a Christian invention, Jews read the Torah in parshot -- sections designated by spacing between passages in the Torah).
In this chapter Abram (later Abraham) is told that the he will have many descendants who will become the Jewish people. The exile and persecution is told, and אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל / Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) is given by G-d as the eternal heritage of the Jews.
Why did G-d choose Abram for this covenant?
Go back a few chapters and read for context. In the end of chapter 13 Abram settled on the plains of Mamre. Soon after war came. A group of five kings went to war against a group of four kings (chapter 14). Lot, Abram's nephew, was captured in this war by the second group. Abram took 318 men and went to save his nephew, which he did.
Abram's victory was nothing short of a miracle, and he was concerned that G-d had performed a miracle for him for his past observance of Him -- and that now that might have "evened the score" -- meaning G-d would no longer be there for Abram.
In this vision G-d promises Abram that He is still His G-d and the covenant "seals" the agreement. G‑d reaffirms His promises to Abraham and Abraham confirms the covenant with the sacrifices..
I suppose the email's author equates Jesus with this chapter because of blood, G-d's word being mentioned (the very first sentence speaks of G-d’s “word” coming to Abram in a vision) and even odder -- a fiery torch also being mentioned.
The simple use of the word "word" somehow translates to the missionary as Jesus as John 1’s the word as flesh. It is an impossible notion in Hebrew and incomprehensible to the Jewish mind because the Hebrew word דָּבָר davar (word) is the closest thing that Hebrew has to a neuter noun and actually means a "thing", i.e. an inanimate object.
The "word of G-d" (and Jesus as the word) is just a repackaging of a pagan Greek concept of the λόγος / lōgos, the "personified word."
Whoever wrote your reference is unaware of Hebrew and made up a story to fit Jesus into a passage that has nothing to do with anyone other than G-d and Abram.
Then the author of the email and website somehow relates Jesus to being a “torch” and the passage speaks of a torch – so this HAS to be about Jesus s/he proclaims!
This person literally references John 1:4-5 about the word being flesh and “the light shines in the darkness.”
To this person light = flaming torch in B’reshit / Genesis 15.
I kid you not.
It gets even more ridiculous. On the website s/he writes: “As Abram stood in front of the pool of blood trembling in fear, Jesus told him in Genesis 15:13-16 that while trials await him and his kids.”
So blood, torch = word as flesh (also non-biblical) = light = Jesus and now Jesus (who needless to say is not in the passage) is now there talking to Abram.
The insanity is mind boggling.
The whole nonsense of a torch being Jesus as the word is flesh and somehow a torch is reaching to an unbelievably ridiculous extreme.
The footnote of this verse from the Artscroll Stone Edition translation says: “The furnace and fire symbolized that eh Divine Presence was there to seal the covenant, and the smoking furnace also symbolized Gehinnom, , into which the Four Monarchies would descend (Rashi). Alternatively, they symbolized the intense darkness and the fire that would be present at the Revelation at Sinai.” (Sh’mot / Exodus 19:18) (Moreh N'vuchim, "The Guide for the Perplexed," the Rambam).
A Missionary Wrote:
"According to the site that translates the Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 53:8 says: “From detention and judgment he was taken away-and who can even think about his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living, he was stricken for the transgression of my people.”
The translation at that site is by Christians: Dr. Peter Flint & Dr. Eugene Ulrich. Both men are devout Christians. Dr. Flint, now deceased, was formerly with the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and later at Trinity Western University, British Colombia, Canada. Dr. Ulrich, now emeritus faculty, was with the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Look at the Hebrew from the Great Isaiah Scroll. Here is an image of Isaiah 53:8.
The handwritten is from the Dead Sea Scrolls (Great Isaiah Scroll) for Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:8. The printed Hebrew is from the Masoretic Text (the bible).
They are nearly identical. The מִ֣י (who) appears to be different as does כִּ֤י (for) and נֶ֥גַע (plagued). Hence the translation you gave was really a mistranslation -- and the modern Jewish translation matches the Great Isaiah Scroll. The term לָֽמוֹ / lamo appears in the DSS (Great Isaiah Scroll) and in the MT -- it is plural, not singular.
The line in verse 8 in both the Great Isaiah Scroll and the MT ends with לָֽמוֹ lamo -- plural, further emphasizing that Isaiah is speaking of multiple people and multiple deaths.
The term לָֽמוֹ / lamo means "upon them" - on this one occasion, the Hebrew text uses the plural form "them" (לָֽמוֹ lamo is a poetic synonym for לָהֶם lahem, "to them").
Thus in the DSS Great Isaiah Scroll (as in the MT) this passage is about more than one person. Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:8 the last part of the sentence is in plural: they were killed, not "him." Jesus was not "them" ergo this passage does not apply to him.
"Now that he has been released from captivity and judgment who could have imagined such a generation? For he had been removed from the land of the living, an affliction upon them / לָֽמוֹ / lamo that was my people's sin."
Then examine Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:12.
Again -- even if you don't read Hebrew you can see how similar they are.
The use of singular versus plural for the servant is immaterial -- the Jewish people are often referred to as "one people." The singular is often used to speak of the Jews. In Sh'mot / Exodus 20:1-14 G-d speaks to the entire nation of Israel in the singular (this is the giving of the 10 utterances). See also:
"And you shall say to Pharaoh, 'So said the L-rd, "My firstborn son is Israel." S'hmot / Exodus 4:22. Singular for the Jewish people.
It is interesting that the servant in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53 is referred to in singular and plural -- and obviously Jesus did not die multiple deaths!
In closing, the Great Isaiah Scroll is NOT reliable. It has many scribal errors. Many of the variances seem to be phonic in nature. This leads some experts to believe that it was copied from dictation, not from another written copy. It contains scribal spelling errors. Most of the differences are simply grammatical -- it most likely was in a genizah (a "graveyard" for defective copies) -- BUT the content is the same as the Hebrew we have today (even if there are some minor variations).
Per Emanuel Tov the Qumran caves yielded no less than twenty-one copies of the book of Isaiah. Sefer Isaiah was not found among the manuscripts at Masada, and but a copy was found at Wadi Murabba’at (circa 132 - 135 CE). Many texts from the Bar Kochba rebellion were found at Wadi Murabba'at.
It's interesting to note that the scribe of the Great Isaiah Scroll produced the most error filled, careless and irregular copy of Isaiah among the various (21 copies) of ancient manuscripts (see Emanuel Tov’s Scribal Practices). Many of these errors were corrected in the other Qumran texts. So the largest copy of an ancient Book of Isaiah is also the copy containing the most corrections (an average of one scribal intervention to every four lines of text).
The 1QIsb – is called the 2nd Isaiah Scroll. It is even closer to today’s Hebrew Isaiah. It is much more fragmentary than the Great Isaiah Scroll and is missing chapters 1-9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 27, 31-34, 36 and 42. Most of the Qumran (Dead Sea) texts of Isaiah including 1QIsb are similar in their consonantal framework (Hebrew does not have vowels) with the medieval Masoretic texts. 1QIsab has a large about of the Book of Isaiah, and read from chapter 38 to the end it is nearly identical with today's Masoretic Text (and differs more from its contemporary, the Great Isaiah Scroll). Emanuel Tov is the emeritus Professor in the Department of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1990 to 2010, Professor Emanuel Tov (Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) served as the Editor in Chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project, producing over thirty volumes from the famed 1947 discovery near Qumran. He wrote:
"When comparing 1QIsab, dating from the first century BCE, with codex L written one thousand years later, one easily recognizes the close relation between the two texts that are sometimes almost identical."
"the sources of Isaiah . . . level of differentiation is not very high. The number of proto-Masoretic texts is remarkable . . . the known texts of Isaiah do not differ from each other recensionally."
Many experts on the scrolls seem to think the Great Isaiah Scroll with its errors may have been a personal copy, and was therefore not "perfect."
A Jewish woman who was raised Christian wrote me that her parents have returned to Judaism, but she still has doubts. She discovered a Jew named Ariel Alloro who seems to claim that Jesus was moshiach ben Yosef and that the "bible codes" show that Jesus was a messiah.
Ariel Alloro may be a well intentioned musician, but he needs to improve his Jewish education before he continues making misleading videos. While his goal may be to establish bridges between Christians and Jews he instead is being used by missionaries to convince them that Jesus was the messiah -- but simply from reviewing the main points here it is clear that Alloro himself is misled and it is a case of the blind leading the blind.
Jesus was not a messiah (let alone "the" messiah). The Hebrew word is inseparable with the concept of the special oil in my last paragraph. This was a special mixture of spice and olive oil that was used for “anointing” of kings and priests. It is called שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”) in the passage of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33.
Jesus was never anointed with this oil and he was not an uncontested descendant from David and Solomon (the only reason a person does not need a personal anointing is if the line from father to son is not only unbroken but is uncontested (everyone recognizes he is a messiah)... Not true for Jesus who was not a legal descendant and was certainly not universally accepted as a messiah even in his own lifetime, let alone today.
As discussed in the blog entry "There is no "anti" Messiah (Christ), part 1: Daniel 8," the concept of an "anti" messiah is totally foreign to the Jewish bible (T'anch).
Some Christians fervently believe in the antichrist -- and some think he is not human, but perhaps their mythical devil (who does not exist). . .
Although the concept is foreign to the T'nach some missionaries will refer back to Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 as "proof" of this concept.
The last blog entry dispelled the error that Daniel 8 is about this mythical evildoer. . . who is actually an arrogant king that defied G-d and defiled the Temple, stopping Temple sacrifices until such time as the messiah arrives, the new Temple is rebuilt, the Jews all return from exile and sacrifices resume.
This did not happen in the time of Jesus, but it will happen in the real messianic age.
What of Daniel 11?
Daniel 11 is a very quick tour of Jewish (and to some extent world) history from the Persians through Alexander the Great and the Greeks to the Romans, eventually Christianity all the way to the time of the messiah (and potentially a final war that might precede the messiah).
Notice I said a final war that MIGHT precede the messiah.
All negative visions are warnings -- heed the warning and the evil will not happen.
Just as Daniel 8 spoke of various kingdoms where Jews would be exiled, so to does Daniel 11. Start with Daniel 11:2:
“three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth one will become wealthy with great wealth, and when be becomes strong with his wealth, he will arouse all against the kingdom of Greece.”
Seder Olam assumes this Greek king to be Alexander the Great. The chapter goes on to discuss a southern kingdom whose daughter will marry a ruler in the north. The daughter's husband dies and she is taken captive. One of her family members will recapture the northern kingdom -- and on and on it goes. . . The north conquers the south then the king of the north goes south unopposed -- just more and more strife. . .
Eventually the kings of the north and the south ally, but the alliance fails -- and a pretender to the throne becomes rich and plots against the Jews.
This was the emperor of Rome ( Daniel 11:28) who went home full of the spoils of Judah with no intention of keeping his covenant he had made with the Jewish leaders. "And companies will come upon him from the Kittites (Romans, Kittim is another name for Rome), and he will be crushed" Daniel 11:30.
"And arms from him will stand, and they will profane the Sanctuary, the stronghold, and they will remove the daily sacrifice, and place a silent abomination." Daniel 11:31. This happened in the time of Hadrian, who set up an idol on the site of the second Temple.
"And the king will do as he wishes, and he will exalt himself and magnify himself over every powerful one, and about the G-d of the mighty he will speak wondrous things, and he will succeed until the fury is spent, when it will be finished and executed." Daniel 11:36 Rashi says this king is a Roman Emperor -- possibly Constantine, the Roman Emperor who introduced Christianity to the Romans (and made it the national religion).
The next line seems to speak of the pope and the Christians. "And he will not contemplate the gods of his fathers, and the most desirable of women and any god he will not contemplate, for he will magnify himself over all." Priests are supposed to be celibate -- so the line about not desiring women (not contemplating them) fits this "king" -- the pope.
The next few lines also seem to speak about Christianity "But the god of the strongholds on its base he will honor, and the god that his ancestors did not know he will honor with gold and with silver and with precious stones and with desirable things. And he will construct for the fortresses of the strongholds with a foreign god; whomever he will recognize, he will honor increasingly, and he will give them dominion over multitudes, and he will apportion land for a price." Daniel 11:38 - 39. The church built glorious churches with gold and silver -- it held great power over the people of many lands (including the kings of those lands), and it even levied taxes.
Christianity will be with us until the true messiah comes.
Daniel 11 continues looking into the future (from Daniel's perspective in the first Persian empire). Line 40 takes us to a possible war which could happen just prior to the messianic age -- a war between Muslim and Christian.
This is a prophecy about Jewish exile and redemption -- and the troubles caused by the other nations to the Jewish people. There is no devil, no antichrist -- no demigods either.
It is worth reading what Maimonides, the Rambam, has to say about Jesus and Daniel 11:
"If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him messiah.
If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the messiah.
He will then improve the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve God together, as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'
If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. God caused him to arise only to test the many, as Daniel 11:35 states: 'And some of the wise men will stumble, to try them, to refine, and to clarify until the appointed time, because the set time is in the future.'
Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the messiah and was executed by the court was also alluded to in Daniel's prophecies, [Daniel 11:14] which states: 'The vulgar among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.'
Can there be a greater stumbling block than Christianity?
All the prophets spoke of messiah as the redeemer of Israel and their savior who would gather their dispersed and strengthen their observance of the mitzvot. In contrast, Christianity caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.
Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts, our thoughts. Ultimately, all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for messiah's coming and the improvement of the entire world, motivating the nations to serve G-d together as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'
How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of messiah, Torah, and mitzvot. These matters have been spread to the furthermost islands to many stubborn hearted nations. They discuss these matters and the mitzvot of the Torah, saying: 'These mitzvot were true, but were already negated in the present age and are not applicable for all time.'" M'lachim uMilchamot - Chapter 11.
Some Christians believe that before Jesus returns (second coming) there will be an "anti" christ who will oppose Jesus. Some Christians believe this antichrist is the devil (who simply does not exist). . .
The term "antichrist" is found in the Christian bible. It is not found in the T'nach (Jewish bible).
This concept is totally foreign to Judaism -- there is no such concept.
Let me repeat that: there is no antichrist.
There is no devil in Judaism. There are no "demi-gods." There is only one G-d and He created good and evil. "Forming 'Light' and creating 'Darkness', making 'Peace' and creating 'Evil' - I am HaShem and I do ALL these things" Y'shayahu / Isaiah 45:7.
The Messianic era will mark the end of evil and sin: יְחֶזְקֵאל / Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 37:23: “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and with their abominations and with all their transgressions…”
Not an "evil" anti-messiah. The end of evil and sin.
Other messianic prophecies include:
1. The rebuilding of the Temple. יְחֶזְקֵאל / Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 37:26-28: “I shall give My Sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling-place shall be over them… The nations shall know that I am G‑d who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever.”
2. In gathering of the Exiles of Israel aka the *return of all the Jews to Israel." יְחֶזְקֵאל / Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 39:25, 27-29: “…Now I shall bring back the captivity of Jacob and I shall have compassion on the whole House of Israel, and I shall be zealous for My holy Name… When I shall have returned them from the nations and gathered them from the lands of their enemies… They shall know that I am G‑d, their G‑d, in that I exiled them to the nations and gathered them unto their land, and I will not leave any one of them there. I will no more hide My face from them, as I will pour out My spirit upon the House of Israel…”
See also Y'shayahu / Isaiah 43:5-6.
3. Resurrection of the righteous dead. “Behold I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the Land of Israel. You shall know that I am G‑d when I open your graves and when I revive you from your graves, My people. I shall put My spirit into you and you will live, and I will place you upon your land, and you will know that I, G‑d, have spoken and done, says G‑d.” (יְחֶזְקֵאל / Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 37:12-14)
4. Blissful Utopia: End to Disease and Death. “I will call for the grain and increase it… and I will increase the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field…” ((יְחֶזְקֵאל / Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 36:29-30.
Where do Christians "point" in the T'nach to support the concept of the antichrist?
Usually the missionaries refer to Daniel 8 and Daniel 11.
The vision of Daniel in chapter 8 is one of what will happen to the Jews in the future. There is no antichrist -- simply the empires to which the Jewish people will be exiled until such time as they are returned from exile to the land of Israel (in the end of the time of exile).
Read the chapter to understand the vision.
In Daniel chapter 8 Daniel envisions a ram standing by a river. The ram has tall horns, but one is taller than the other -- and sprouted last.
The ram gores everything around it -- north, west, south and east.
In the vision a goat comes forward and hits the ram, breaking both of its horns. The ram is defeated and the goat gets huge and strong. But its great horn broke and four sprouted from it -- to the four directions.
One horn became great and took over many lands including Israel destroying the Temple -- removing the daily sacrifice and casting down the Temple.
Then, in his vision, Daniel hears an angel ask another how long the "goat" (idol worshiping destroyer) would be permitted to disrupt the holy land / Temple. The answer was “Until evening, morning, 2,300. Then the holiness will be corrected.”
"Then I heard one holy one speaking, and one holy one said לַפַּלְמוֹנִ֣י / TO THE ANONYMOUS ONE who was speaking, "How long will be the vision of the daily sacrifice and the mute abomination, permitting the Sanctuary and the host to be trampled?" Daniel 8:13.
What is the time frame? Daniel tells us that "until evening, morning, 2,300. Then the holiness will be corrected.”
The 2,300 comes AFTER the end of the sacrifices (68 CE) -- not at the end of the entire vision. The one ending the sacrifices (Antiochus per Ibn Ezra or Titus per Rashi) does so BEFORE the count begins.
This is the period of time from the end of sacrifices to their beginning again.
Not when some mythical antichrist appears.
Gabriel explains it all to Daniel.
Daniel didn't understand the meaning of the vision -- so the angel Gabriel explained it to him. Gabriel says "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end. . . The ram that you saw, the one with the horns, represents the kings of Media and Persia. And the he-goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn that is between his eyes-that is the first king. And the broken one, in whose stead stood four, represents four kingdoms [that] will rise from a nation, but not with its strength. And at the end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have been destroyed, there will arise a brazen-faced king who understands riddles.
"And through his intellect, he will cause the deceit in his hand to prosper, and in his heart he will become proud, and in tranquility he will destroy many, and over the Prince of princes he will stand, and without strength he will be broken." Daniel 8:17 - 25..
Who is this last arrogant ruler?
It is not the antichrist -- it is a human king, just as the first kings were human (the kings of Media and Persia and the king of Greece).
Rashi says this evil ruler is Titus of Rome, who destroyed the second Temple.
Ibn Ezra says that it is Antiochus of the Chanukah story, who desecrated the Temple and suspended the sacrifices.
The “stars” in the vision who are the Jewish people who are thrown to the ground and stomped. . .. . the Temple desecrated. . .
Both Titus and Antiochus desecrated the Temple. Titus destroyed the second Temple.
No antichrist, no Jesus and no horrible war of destruction. . .
Speaking of wars of destruction: whenever the T'nach (bible) speaks of bad things that may happen (not WILL happen, but MAY happen) the vision is given as a warning. Bad visions may always be avoided by following the mitzvot of G-d.
The 2,300 comes AFTER the end of the sacrifices -- not at the end of the entire vision. The one ending the sacrifices (Antiochus per Ibn Ezra or Titus per Rashi) does so BEFORE the count begins -- not after it.
This is the period of time from the end of sacrifices to their beginning again.
Which means it did not "fit" Jesus at all since the Temple existed, as did sacrifices, in his lifetime. They did not stop until about 40 years after his death. They have not yet resumed.
Skipping lines 14 - 16 and 17 - 25 is lifting things completely out of context -- and distorting Daniel's vision. Let's read them:
"I heard a holy one speaking; and the holy one said to the anonymous one who was speaking, 'Until when, this vision concerning the daily offering (sacrifice) and the mute abomination, allowing the trampling of the holy one and the host?'
14 "And he said to me, 'Until nightfall, morning, two thousand and three hundred; and then the holy one will be rectified (the sanctuary will be cleansed and sacrifices will resume).'
"15 When I, Daniel, saw the vision I sought understanding, then, behold! there stood before me the likeness of a man. 16 I heard a human voice in the middle of the Ulai; he called out and said, 'Gabriel explain the vision to that [man].
"17 So he came to where I was standing. When he came I was terrified, and I fell face down. He said to me, 'Understand, son of man, that the vision concerns the time of the End.' Artscroll Stone Edition translation.
The vision tells Daniel that vision is about various kingdoms -- four kingdoms will be carved out of Alexander the Great's kingdom. With that final king (Titus says Rashi and Antiochus says Ibn Ezra he Temple services will be interrupted, the Temple degraded (which means the Temple WILL EXIST) and eventually the sacrifices will be suspended.
The sacrifices did cease under Antiochus who built an altar to Zeus in the Temple. Judas Maccabee (of the Chanukah story) removed the idols and cleansed the Temple. This was around 167 BCE.
Titus ordered the destruction of the second Temple circa 68 CE.
Daniel's vision says that the period of time without sacrifices will be 2,300. Daniel 8:14 "And he said to me, 'Until nightfall, morning, two thousand and three hundred; and then the holy one will be rectified (the sanctuary will be cleansed and sacrifices will resume).'
Again -- this doesn't "fit" Jesus. There were sacrifices in his lifetime and nearly 40 years after his death. . .
The 2,300 refers to a time when the holy one will be rectified (not to the time of the end).
Context and chronology are your friend. Try reading things for what they actually say and it will be clearer.
And remember the words of Gabriel: "As for you, obscure the vision, for it [belongs\ to many days hence."
There are no such things as "fallen angels."
This includes the Christian idea of the devil, aka "lucifer."
No such thing.
There is only one G-d and no one can go against His will. (He gave humans free will, and thus allows us to make our own mistakes in the hope that we choose the blessing and not the curse (D'varim / Deuteronomy 11:26).
The word שָׂטָן / satan just means adversary. It is used in the Jewish bible to speak of humans as well as angels.
G-d has no adversary -- He is all powerful. There is only One G-d. Since angels have no free will the angelic satans do indeed "work" for G-d. They are adversaries of man and simply have a job to do (to tempt man to evil hoping that man will not turn to it).
Human satans, like all humans, have free will. Do you have any adversaries? Is there someone at work who wants to get promoted and so makes you look bad so they look good? This would be a satan -- an adversary to you.
Now keep in mind that human adversaries are OUR adversaries, but not G-d's. He is both all powerful and all knowing. . .
The idea of a devil (an evil counterpart to G-d) is called "dualism. The dictionary defines dualism as "the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided."
In Christianity this dualism is personified by the good G-d and the bad god (devil). The bad god (devil) fights the good G-d -- this certainly describes the Christian concept of the devil. These ideas were common in the pagan world 2000 years ago -- particularly in Zoroastrianism -- an ancient religion which was practiced in ancient Rome.
From the BBC website regarding Zoroastrianism: "Dualism in Zoroastrianism is the existence of, yet complete separation of, good and evil. . . (there is an) ongoing battle between Good (Ahura Mazda) and Evil (Angra Mainyu) within the universe. It is important to understand that Angra Mainyu is not G-d's equal opposite. . ."
You may find demons, fallen angels and such in Jewish fables and stories -- but they are there just as wizards appear in Harry Potter books. They are fictions which are meant to both entertain and teach a moral story. They are not biblical, they are not part of Jewish teachings.
At this point many Christians ask "what about lucifer? He is found in Isaiah chapter 14!"
There is no lucifer at all.
The word appearing in Christian translations of Isaiah 14 is "lucifer."
It is a mistranslation.
The term in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 14 is הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָֽׁחַר -- transliterated as "heilél ben-shaḥar" or “Heilél" and it translates to "[the] morning star”. In modern English this would be the planet Venus.
How did the Christians turn the planet Venus into "lucifer"?
The Hebrew was translated into Latin.
In Latin lucem ferre means “light-bearer” -- which was the Roman name for the planet Venus.
It seems likely that the King James translators chose to shorten lucem ferre to "lucifer." Somehow over time the Christians associated "lucifer" (the mistranslation) with their "devil."
What of the nephillim?
Who were they?
It is a mistake to assume that נְפִלִים nephillim means"fallen", because grammatically that would have to be נְפוּלִים n'fulim; and the verb נפל (nafal) can just as well connote "to settle [in a region]" as "to fall" (see B'réshit / Genesis 25:18 and Shoftim / Judges 7:12).
The nephillim were also known as רְפָאִים R'fa'im, a name for the original population of כְּנָֽעַן / Canaan, both to the east and to the west of the Jordan. river.
Some of them (not all) are described as being very tall -- including עוֹג / Og (D'varim / Deuteronomy 3:11), and four brothers יִשְׁבִּי Yishbi / Ishbi (Sh'muél Beit / 2 Samuel 21:16), סַף Saph (Sh'muél Beit / 2 Samuel 21:18), גָּלְיַת הַגִּתִּי Golyat / Goliath of Gat (Sh'muél Beit / 2 Samuel 21:19) and לַחְמִי / Elhanan (Sh'muél Beit / 2 Samuel 21:19, Divrei Hayamim Alef 1 Chronicles 20:5). All these "giants" were the "sons of the רָפָה / Rafah."
Genetics -- tall men (very tall) from the same father.
"And if (Jesus) has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1 Corinthians 15:14.
Did you know that the earliest gospel (Mark) did not have any stories about Jesus being resurrected? This central theme of Christianity (and why Christians celebrate Easter) does not appear in the gospels until well after the 4th century CE!
"And if (Jesus) has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." 1 Corinthians 15:14.
Prior to the Council of Nicea (in 325 CE), when the trinity was made a religious concept, there was a great deal of disagreement in Christians as to whether Jesus was part of G-d, if there were two "parts" of G-d or a trinity. Early church fathers also recognized that the pagans had resurrection themes similar to their own. Justin Martyr (100 - 165 CE) wrote "when we say ... Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus." (1 Apologies 21).
Resurrected gods (dying and resurrecting) was a common theme in pagan religions. The Greek god Asclepius often resurrected people from the dead. Zeus (the main Greek god) killed him, but later resurrected Asclepius himself.
There are three resurrections in the T’nach:
The prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) prays and G-d raises a young boy from death (1 Kings 17:17-24);
The prophet Elisha raises a boy whose birth he had prophesied (2 Kings 4:8-16 and 32-37);
A dead man's body thrown into Elisha's tomb is resurrected when the body touches Elisha's bones (2 Kings 13:21).
In other words, what many Christians see as the very reason for believing in Christianity (the resurrection of Jesus) is not unique to Jesus. Neither it is a messianic requirement for the messiah to be resurrected. The messiah IS required to resurrect the righteous dead (all of them) -- and this is something Jesus did not do.
As shown above there are examples of Elijah and Elisha raising the dead in the T’nach – and we know that all the righteous will be resurrected in the messianic age.
A Jew would say “so what?” to the resurrection of Jesus (if it ever happened). His resurrection certainly would not make him worthy of worship. . . It does not prove he was the messiah, and it certainly doesn’t show he was part of G-d.
But interesting enough the earliest copies of the gospel of Mark (said to be the earliest gospel) do not have Jesus being resurrected at all.
The resurrection of Jesus appears to be a later insertion -- later than the 4th century CE (when these early texts date).
The gospel of Mark ended with the verse 8: "Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."
No resurrected Jesus.
Eusebius (an early church father who lived from 264 CE to 340) CE, wrote in Ad Marinum "in the accurate manuscripts Mark ended with the words 'for they were afraid' [Mark 16:8].'"
The oldest copies of the Christian bible all end at Mark 16:8 (no resurrection).
Codex Vaticanus (dated by handwriting analysis, called palaeography, to the 4th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
Codex Sinaiticus (dated by handwriting analysis, called palaeography, to the 4th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
Codex Syriacus ( (dated by handwriting analysis, called palaeography, to the early 5th century CE) = Mark ends at 16:8.
No resurrection story in Mark in any of them.
So was the resurrection part of the early belief of all of Christianity -- or just "some"?
Is it possible (even probable) that the resurrection stories (all conflicting with one another) found in the four gospels and Acts were the result of the pro-resurrection Christians "winning" the theological battle of early Christianity? Today around 90% of Christians worldwide believe in the trinity (3 gods in 1 -- the father, the son and the holy ghost), but this concept was once controversial.
In the first century of Christianity the Gnostics believed that Jesus was G-d, but not man. An early adherent was Valentinus (100 CE to 160 CE) who believe that Joseph was Jesus' biological father, but when John baptized he physically died and resurrected as G-d. Jesus he was "born" as a G-d and no longer what he had been (100% human from human parents). The human Jesus is joined to the Savior.in Valentinus' version of Christianity.
A little later came the Arian sect, founded by Arius (250 CE - 336 CE). The Arians believed that Jesus was a man, and not G-d. The Arians did not believe in the trinity. They also thought that Jesus was not equal to G-d. Arius wrote "We are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning but that G-d is without beginning." Arius's Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia.
Prior to the Council of Nicea (325 CE) t the Arians and Gnostics were only two differing "schools of thought" as to whether Jesus was a normal human being, a part of a trinity or part of a duality. . .. There were other Christian sects also differing from modern Christianity. The Council of Nicea condemned Arius's doctrine and formulated the original Nicene Creed of 325.
Resurrection (תְּחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים) is a part of Judaism, and indeed it is one of the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Judaism. "My corpses shall rise; awaken and sing, you who dwell in the dust, for a dew of lights is your dew, and [to the] earth You shall cast the slackers." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 26:19.
When the messiah comes the righteous will be resurrected and the soul reunited with body; this is why Jews do not believe in cremation or embalming (Isaiah 26). The T'nach seems to tell us that only the righteous will be resurrected (Daniel 12). Yet, there is a school of thought that every Jewish soul that ever lived will be resurrected. “Even the empty ones among you [Israel] are filled with mitzvot as a pomegranate [is filled with seeds]"—Talmud, Berachot 57a and The soul of every Jew is a "veritable portion of G‑d," and as such is eternal and indestructible.
If the resurrection of the messiah were so special why is it that all righteous people will be resurrected?
The Torah gave us G-d's instructions of what to do (or not do). . .
For example: "you may slaughter of your cattle and of your sheep, which the L-rd has given you, as I have commanded you" D'varim / Deuteronomy 12:21.
As I have commanded you.
But the instructions of "HOW" G-d commanded this are not found in the written Torah.
Someone actually said to me "there is only one way to slaughter an animal."
This is patently false.
Animal slaughter is the killing of animals. Animals can be killed by suffocation, or by hitting them over the head, shooting them, wringing the neck (in the case of smaller animals), and so on. . .
And none of those methods are kosher.
A kosher animal is killed via שְׁחִיטָה / shechita (the laws of slaughtering). The animal is killed by a swift, smooth cut of a very sharp knife whose blade is free of any imperfection. If there is even a slight nick in the knife it cannot be used.
The trachea and esophagus must be severed according to the oral mitzvot. If this is not done properly the animal is not kosher and thus is unfit to be eaten.
There can be no hesitation as the animal is killed -- because that might cause pain or trauma to the animal. Chopping is not allowed. Burrowing the knife between the trachea and esophagus is not allowed. The cut must be made within a specified area -- or the animal is not kosher.
It is actually impossible to even read the written Torah without the oral Torah. . . There are no vowels in the Torah!! To even read Hebrew one must learn from the oral law.
Shabbat 31a tells the story of a non-Jew who came to the famous R' Shammai, saying to him "How many Torot (plural of Torah) have you?"
"Two,' he replied: 'the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.'
The non Jew said "I believe you with respect to the Written, but not with respect to the Oral Torah; make me a proselyte on condition that you teach me the Written Torah [only]."
R' Shammai scolded and rejected him in anger.
The gentile then went to R' Hillel who accepted the man as a student. On the first day, R' Hillel taught him the Hebrew Aleph-Bet (alphabet), beginning with Alef, beth, gimmel, dalet. . .
The next day the man returned and Hillel taught him the aleph-bet, but in reverse.
The man was confused and said 'But yesterday you taught me the opposite!"
R' Hillel explained that is the entire point -- no one can even learn the Hebrew aleph-bet without a teacher. Why rely on the teacher to correctly teach you how to read, and then not rely on the teacher with the respect of the oral law?
The Torah gave us G-d's instructions of what to do (or not do). . . but not how to do it.
Moses himself instituted courts and judges to try legal cases based on the mitzvot and laws given to us by G-d. D'varim / Deuteronomy 17:
"you shall come to the Levitic kohanim (priests) and to the judge who will be in those days, and you shall inquire, and they will tell you the words of judgment. And you shall do according to the word they tell you, from the place the Lord will choose, and you shall observe to do according to all they instruct you. According to the law they instruct you and according to the judgment they say to you, you shall do; you shall not divert from the word they tell you, either right or left."
If missionaries were right and "all you need" is the written bible, why did G-d command us IN THE WRITTEN TORAH to appoint judges and listen to them?
There would be no need!
Some convince themselves that there is no oral mitzvot by misreading the passage in Joshua which reads" "And afterward he read all the words of the instructions / הַתּוֹרָ֔ה / ha-torah the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the Torah / בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתֹּורָֽה / b'sefer ha-torah. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua did not read before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that walked among them." Y'hoshua / Joshua 8:34 -34.
Again -- every single mitzvah IS in the Torah. Not one is left out. We do not add to or subtract from the 613 mitzvot in the Torah.
Joshua read instructions are WHAT to do, not HOW to do them. This is what Joshua read to the people.
I was asked to explain "AMOS 3:1-2 Hear this word that the L-RD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities. WHO is speaking in the verse number 1? WHO says that "L-RD hath spoken " ....and "I brought up.." ??? "
Let's read the Judaica Press Translation: "Hearken to this word which the L-rd spoke about you, O children of Israel, about the entire family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: Only you did I love above all the families of the earth; therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities. Will two walk together unless they agreed?" Amos 3:1 - 3.
Amos 3:1 - 3 (in Christian bibles, 3:1 -2 in the T'nach (Jewish bible) speaks of Israel.
So the first question to answer is "which Israel?"
יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel can refer to:
So one must ask the question: to which יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel. is the prophet referring?
To understand one must read the entire book of Amos -- this is the only way to understand Amos' context. Although the questioner began with chapter 3 -- the fact is that chapters are a Christian invention (they began primarily in the 13th century -- created by an archbishop and cardinal). To understand Amos we must begin with chapter 1.
Amos was a wealthy shepherd from יְהוּדָה / Y'hudah / Judah (the southern Kingdom). before G-d called upon him to prophesy to the northern kingdom of יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel. in 621 BCE. The image of Amos by the artist Chagall is shown in this post.
Amos spoke of the need to be good people -- and that G-d was far more concerned with good people than sacrifices or prayer. Amos demand fair treatment of the poor and sincere repentance. This made Amos an unpopular man in יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel -- with many demanding he be banished.
The prophet begins by speaking of many peoples whom G-d forgave for three sins -- but would not forgive the fourth sin. Speaking for Hashem Amos speaks of one nation after another with the infamous rebuke of, “For the three sins of [name of nation] I can forgive but for the fourth sin I cannot forgive.”
Amos begins by rebuking Damascus, the people of Aram (who would be exiled). Next comes Gaza, a city of Philistines, who would be exiled and lost, the people of Tzor (Tyre), Edom and Ammon. This is all discussed in chapter 1.
Chapter 2 continues the theme with Moab.
Next Amos speaks of the southern Jewish kingdom of יְהוּדָה / Y'hudah / Judah (the southern Kingdom).. He says that their fourth sin was rejecting the Torah and not keeping the mitzvot. They followed false prophets -- and Amos says that G-d will send fire into Judah to consume Jerusalem.
Finally Amos speaks of the northern kingdom of יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel. Their fourth sin was unjust courts. The northern kingdom's courts accepted bribes to condemn the innocent. They conspired to cheat the poor out of their few possessions. They defiled girls, too -- and all in the service of false gods / idols.
Amos is telling בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל / Bnei Y'srael / children of Israel to repent and turn to G-d.
Amos, speaking for G-d, makes the point that all eight peoples with the fourth and unforgivable sins share one great sin -- and that greatest sin is אכזריות -- out of control , inhumane, cruelty. G-d can forgive almost anything in His infinite mercy -- excepting cruelty of man against man.
Inhumanity -- savagery -- threatens the entire world -- and it cannot be ignored.
Hashem is willing to forgive the worst of sins, but when it comes to אכזריות, Hashem cannot forgive, hence: “But for the fourth, I cannot forgive.”
Chapter 3 is a continuation of chapter 1 and chapter 2.
Having castigated many peoples for a fourth, unforgivable sin of unimaginable cruelty to other humans -- including the Jewish lands of Judah and Israel (the southern and northern kingdoms) Amos again addresses the Jewish people. G-d has singled out the Jews to be a nation of priests, a light to the other nations of the earth. . . thus cruelty by the Jews is worse than it is with other peoples.
Amos says "Hearken to this word which the L-rd spoke about you,
Amos then speaks for G-d "O children of Israel, about the entire family which I (G-d) brought up from the land of Egypt, (out of slavery) saying Only you did I love above all the families of the earth; therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities.." Amos 3:1 - 2.
Amos then asks a series of rhetorical questions which show cause-and-effect:
"Will two walk together unless they agreed?
"Will a lion roar in the forest if he has no prey? Will a young lion let out a cry from his den unless he has taken something?
"Will a bird fall on a net upon the ground unless it has a snare? Will a net ascend from the ground and have taken nothing?
"Will a shofar (ram's horn) be sounded in the city and the people not quake? Will there be evil in the city if the L-rd has not done it?" Amos 3:3 - 6.
Having sinned and not reversed their cruelty to others the people must be punished: cause and effect.
Amos then declares that G-d has revealed the message to him as G-d's prophet: "For the L-rd G-d does nothing unless He has revealed His secret to His servants, the prophets." Amos 3:7.
Remember: negative prophecies (in this case the punishment including exile) is a warning. All negative prophecies can be reversed through heeding the words of the prophet to cease the evil and returning to G-d by being Torah observant (which includes being just and humane). . .
Amos warns יְהוּדָה / Y'hudah / Judah (the southern Kingdom). to heed the warning of the destruction of the northern kingdom of יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel.
"Hearken and warn the house of Jacob, says the L-rd G-d, the G-d of the Hosts. For on the day I visit the transgressions of Israel (the northern kingdom of יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel) upon them, I will visit upon the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and shall fall to the earth." Amos 3:13-14.
The people of Israel will have some remnant survive. In this case, it will be those who are bedridden, either with illness or fear. They will not go to battle and the enemy won’t care about them. In chapter 5 Amos states that the northern kingdom of יִשְׂרָאֵל / Y'srael / Israel. will fall and they will never have their own king again. Eventually יְהוּדָה / Y'hudah / Judah will also fall for similar reasons. . .
But do not despair.
"I will not destroy the house of Jacob, says the L-rd." Amos 9:8.
"I will scatter the house of Israel among all the nations. . . " Amos 9:9. Exile.
But one day: "I will raise up the fallen Tabernacle of David, and I will close up their breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and build it up as in the days of yore. . ." Amos 9:11.
Amos is speaking of the messianic age, when the Jewish exiles (did not happen in Jesus' lifetime) will be returned from exile: "And I will return the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall rebuild desolate cities and inhabit [them], and they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their produce. And I will plant them on their land, and they shall no longer be uprooted from upon their land, that I have given them, said the L-rd your G-d." Amos 9:14 - 15.
So ends the prophecies of Amos. The exile and punishment of the Jewish people will end, the Jews will return to their land.
Judaism is a very small religion -- and the T'nach told us this would be so. "G-d will scatter you among the nations, and only a small number will remain among the nations to which G-d will lead you." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:27.
This is saying that many Jews will fall about into idolatry or in other ways leave Judaism, but a small number will remain observant and faithful to G-d. Jews refer to this minority as the "righteous remnant."
But, still, observant (so called "Orthodox") Judaism is growing, while Christianity is in decline.
People are leaving Christianity "en mass." From 2010 - 2015 Christian deaths in Europe outnumbered births by nearly 6 million (Pew Research). A study in 2017 shows Christianity declining in the United States. Just 43% of the U. S. population said they were white Christians. To put that in perspective, in 1976, eight in 10 Americans were identified as such, and a full 55% were white Protestants. Even as recently as 1996, white Christians were two-thirds of the population. Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) concluded that white Christians are now a minority in the US population.
"Much of the decline has occurred in the last few decades. As recently as 1996, white Christians still made up nearly two-thirds (65%) of the public. By 2006, that number dropped to 54%, but white Christians still constituted a majority. But over the last decade, the proportion of white Christians in the U.S. has slipped below majority. Today, only 43% of Americans identify as white and Christian—and only 30% as white and Protestant." Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) .
"In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050. . . Christians are projected to decline from 78% of the U.S. population in 2010 to 66% in 2050, while the unaffiliated are expected to rise from 16% to 26%." Pew Research.
"The number of countries with Christian majorities is expected to decline from 159 to 151, as Christians are projected to drop below 50% of the population in Australia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom." Pew Research.
Orthodox Judaism has quadrupled in size in the last 3 generations (grandparent to grandchild). Pew Research.
Judaism was never intended to be a large people -- our role is to be teachers to the nations. . . We do know that in the messianic era all people will know the one true G-d, and idolatry will vanish. The decline in Christianity may well be a move in that direction.
In the T'nach (bible) Zechariah prophesied "So said the L-rd of Hosts: In those days (the messianic era), when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you." Zechariah 8:23.
Who was Paul?
The Ebionites (early Christians) claimed that Paul was not a learned Jew at all. 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).
I do not know if Paul was the Jew he claimed to be, or the bitter man Epiphanius claimed him to be in the 4th century CE. We do know that the information he presents about the T'nach (in the Christian bible) is often the exact opposite of what the T'nach truly says.
From the Encyclopedia Judaica: "Whatever the physiological or psychological analysis of Paul's temperament may be, his conception of life was not Jewish.
Nor can his unparalleled animosity and hostility to Judaism as voiced in the Epistles be accounted for except upon the assumption that, while born a Jew, he was never in sympathy or in touch with the doctrines of the rabbinical schools.
For even his Jewish teachings came to him through Hellenistic channels, as is indicated by the great emphasis laid upon "the day of the divine wrath" (Rom. i. 18; ii. 5, 8; iii. 5; iv. 15; v. 9; ix. 22; xii. 19; I Thess. i. 10; Col. iii. 6; comp. Sibyllines, iii. 309 et seq., 332; iv. 159, 161 et seq.; and elsewhere), as well as by his ethical monitions, which are rather inconsistently taken over from Jewish codes of law for proselytes, the Didache and Didascalia.
It is quite natural, then, that not only the Jews (Acts xxi. 21), but also the Judo-Christians, regarded Paul as an "apostate from the Law" (see Eusebius (3rd century Greek historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist), l.c. iii. 27; Irenus (2nd century Christian, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul), "Adversus Hreses," i. 26, 2; Origen (2nd century Christian and Greek scholar) "Contra Celsum," v. 65; Clement of Rome (Christian pope, 1st century), "Recognitiones," i. 70. 73)."
Paul boasts of pretending to be one thing to Jew and another to non-Jew... Whoever this man, who never met Jesus, might have been he was not who he claimed to be in the Christian bible.
The late Hyam Maccoby wrote a book entitled "The Mythmaker" about this topic.
A missionary wrote "is it true that in the Dead Sea Scrolls it is attested that the family of Jacob arrived in Egypt with 75 people (where the Torah says 70) and that the LXX (Septuagint) also has 75? Is the Torah wrong when it says "70"?"
In the Torah, there are three places where we learn that 70 people went to Egypt with Jacob -
Yet, in the LXX / Septuagint both Genesis 46:27 & Exodus 1:5 mention 75 descendants -- although Deuteronomy 10:22 in the LXX has 70.
Ergo in two places the LXX says 75, but in one it agrees with the Torah and says 70.
Which is right and which is wrong?
The Septuagint (LXX) was an early translation of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) into Greek. The LXX / Septuagint is first mentioned in the 2nd century BCE in the Letter of Aristeas. The letter states that King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (reigned 281-246 BCE) wrote to the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem demanding that a delegation of Rabbinic experts be sent to Alexandria in order to translates the five books of the Torah into Greek for inclusion in his library. The story eventually found its way into the Talmud (folio 9a of treatise M'gillah).
Ergo the ancient translation of the Torah into Greek was only that of the Torah (Prophets and Writings were not translated) -- and all three of mentions of Jacob's 70 descendants are found in the Torah.
Learned Jews have always studied the Torah in Hebrew, not in Greek. Translations might be used as study aids, or for people in exile who were less learned. . . Over time the Greek translations (which came to include the other books of the bible, but translations varied in good or poor quality and were by persons unknown) became corrupt. Jews stopped using them, although Christians continued to use them much longer.
What is today called the Septuagint (which is the entire Jewish bible in Greek) are translations into Greek from persons unknown at times unknown. There was no quality assurance and as a result they became heavily corrupted over time. By the 5th century the Christians gave up on the LXX / Septuagint because it was so corrupt -- so why people now are debating this is really interesting. The term "self-serving" comes to mind. Origen, an early church father (died 232 CE) tried to piece together a decent translation by putting 6 different versions side by side (called the Hexapla). Here is what HE says about how bad the Septuagint had become "we are forthwith to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which shall be untampered with, and free from forgery." Origen, A Letter from Origen to Africanus, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4.
There is also St. Jerome (early 5th century) who decided to re-translate from the Hebrew rather than rely on the Septuagint saying: "I was stimulated to undertake the task by the zeal of Origen, who blended (the Septuagint) with the old edition Theodotions translation."
But. . . . what of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) -- they are 2000 years old and both 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda-Exoda say "75" and not "70."
Wouldn't the DSS attest to the fact that the Torah is wrong?
Just because something appears in a Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) copy does not mean it is perfect -- and that the Jews changed it some time after 2000 years ago. Jews have a mesorah, a method of transmission, of the Torah which has amazing accuracy for Torot (plural of Torah) from around the world.
It is far more likely that some scribe wrote a note in a margin about Ephraim and Menashe's descendants and that note made its way into some copies along the way (Greek and Hebrew). It seems likely that some (if not all) of the scrolls found in Qumran (DSS) were destined for burial (when a Jewish holy work cannot be repaired it must be buried ceremoniously). Often such documents were stored in a repository called a גְּנִיזָה (g'nizah) -- a word which comes from the Hebrew verb גנז meaning to hide away.
There are scroll fragments from Masada (contemporary with the DSS) and from (early 2nd century CE) that are even closer to the Masoretic Text (MT) -- today's bible -- than the DSS - virtually identical; thus, proving the antiquity of the MT.
The Dead Sea Scrolls should not sidetrack you -- much of what was found was stored in a "graveyard." There are scroll fragments from Masada (contemporary with the DSS) and from Wadi Murabit (early 2nd C. CE) that are even closer to the MT than the DSS - virtually identical; thus, proving the antiquity of the Hebrew bible we use today. Actually most of the DSS supports the MT, not the Septuagint - this includes the Great Isaiah Scroll.
We have another ancient witness to the number of 70 (not 75) -- and that is found in the history by Josephus entitled "The Antiquities of the Jews." Written in the 1st century CE it bears witness to the number in the Torah: 70.
"Jacob, encouraged by this dream, went on more cheerfully for Egypt, with his sons, and all belonging to them. Now they were in all seventy. . . If we add these, which are sixteen, to the fifty four, the aforementioned number  is completed"
"As for Jacob, he became well known to strangers also, by the greatness of that prosperity in which he lived, and left to his sons; who came into Egypt with no more than seventy souls; while you are now become above six hundred thousand.. . "
Josephus, writing 2000 years ago (about the same age as the DSS 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda, wrote 70 -- although 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda have 75. `Both are 2000 years old, yet Josephus agrees with the Torah while 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda don't.
Most of the DSS do in fact "match" our modern texts. Those that don't follow the Hebrew (these would be the 4 Greek manuscript fragments that date to around 200 CE), come from cave 4.
Cave 4 is where the texts were not preserved carefully in jars indicating they were not considered as important. Archeologists have surmised that they were damaged texts or simply not important and thus weren't stored in jars.
Both 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda were found in Cave 4.
Given the amazing accuracy of Torah transmission, the reference from Josephus of 2000 years ago, and what we know of Cave 4 it seems highly likely that the Torah is accurate and 4QExodb and 4QGen-Exoda both contained errors.
The Torah tells us time and time and time again that He is one -- not a plurality. People like Craig are grasping at straws and using false analogies (because in human terms love means giving of oneself this same definition applies to G-d is a fallacy -- G-d is not a man).
I'm pasting a post I made in March that may better explain this to you. It's important to realize that although the Torah tells us (for example) that G-d loves Jacob and hates Esau (meaning G-d loves the Jews and hates the descendants of Esau, Malachi 1) this does not mean G-d literally has the emotions of love and hate.
The Torah speaks in the language of man. G-d does not have emotions as we know them -- we are simply trying to use language we as humans understand to put into perspective something we experience of G-d. The following was written by Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro on the forum "Jews with Questions"
G-d has no emotions. Zero. Nada. G-d is totally Simple. An emotional reaction - love, hate, loneliness, excitement - would mean, chas v’sholom, that…
When we say G-d “loves us” it means that G-d caused things to happen in such a way that it feels like He loves us. If someone else would have done that to us, it would be driven by love.
Hashem has no accidental attributes at all, meaning that there’s no such thing as anything being part of Hashem. There is no such thing as “G-d's knowledge”, “G-d's strength”, or “G-d's love” - all of those things would mean that He has components, which is not true.
The Rabbi was asked: "So when we ask G-d to have mercy on us, compassion, etc, we are asking for him to deal with us in a way that we define as mercy, compassion, etc? (It’s very hard to understand this because we think like humans and G-d can’t be defined in human terms, like you said.) But what I don’t understand is that, when G-d acts with mercy towards us, isn’t He having mercy, so doesn’t that mean He has mercy?"
G-d has no mercy in the emotional sense. He does, however, act in such a way that the results are the same as if He would have had mercy.
That’s what we mean when we ask G-d for mercy. We mean He should act in a way that seems merciful to us, although what we think of as human mercy is not His motivation.
When we say Hashem has “mercy” for instance, we do not mean that Hashem chas v’sholom has an emotion. We mean that Hashem at times acts in such a way that it feels to us as if He was merciful.
It's like, for instance, when you put the wrong software in your computer and it acts up. You may say, as a figure of speech, that the “computer doesn’t like the software” or even “the computer got angry”. The computer doesn’t really have any emotions or likes, but it acted in a way that metaphorically can be described as “anger”.
So too, when we say Hashem gets “angry” we mean that Hashem acts in a way that seems to us angry. But there was no emotion of anger involved.
So if we had a real Loshon Hakodesh dictionary there would be an entry like this:
an•ger n. - Hashem's actions toward us that seem as if He would have a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.
“Anger”, when it refers to Hashem, is only a figure of speech.
"The Rabbi was asked: So if our actions can’t be compared to Hashem’s at all, how can the Torah say that our Midos (character traits.) should emulates G-d’s – ma hu rachum, af ata rachum? If all these Midos (character traits). in regard to Hashem are only a Moshol (a short parable with a moral lesson), then how can we “emulate” Hashem by us having real Midos (character traits),
You are asking that if our midos have nothing to do with Hashem's, and are merely homonyms, then how can we ever “resemble” Hashem in our Midos (character traits.?).
The answer is that when we say Hashem is “strong” it means He does not need strength because even without the attribute of strength He is never weak; when we say He is wise it means He does not need the thing we call wisdom because He is never ignorant, even without it; when we say Hashem is merciful it means that He does not need the emotion of mercy - even without it, He is not cruel. It is Hashem's perfection that causes Him not to have any of these traits; He is so perfect that He does not need any of them. Traits such as wisdom, mercy, and the like are only positive things if you need them. We do. Hashem does not.
So when we are commanded to be like Hashem, we are expected to use those traits that Hashem does not need, in order to mimic the actions that Hashem performs without them.
If fact, if you examine the way the Rambam quotes the Halachah (Jewish law) of ma-hu-af-ata ("Just as Hashem is merciful and compassionate, so too, you [i.e., man] should be merciful and compassionate." - Shabbat 133b)., you will see this idea explicitly. The exact wording of the Rambam is: .מה הוא נקרא רחום אף אתה היה רחום
In other words, Hashem is merely “called” merciful, but we are commanded to actually be merciful.
The Rabbi was asked: One more thing: if G-d doesn't experience emotion, then He must either be incapable of emotion or chose not to experience it. Surely G-d would choose to love His own people if it were a possibility, so then, is He incapable of love? If so, wouldn't that be placing boundaries on a limitless G-d? And either way, what is the purpose of davening (prayer) and fulfilling all sorts of requirements if not to please G-d?
G-d is incapable of emotion since He is incapable of change, since He is beyond time, and to change means to be a “victim” of time; and He cannot have emotions for various other reasons - it would contradict His simplicity and His perfection.
And no, this is not a limitation to G-d. Thinking so is just a trick of the mind. You ask: “If G-d is perfect, then can He make Himself imperfect? No?... Aha! The He can’t do everything!”
G-d cannot scratch His nose; He cannot kill Himself; He cannot be weak. No, no, no. The answer is a simple “No”. And no, it’s not a limitation to be always limitless and it’s not a weakness if you can’t be weak.
"The Rabbi was asked: So let me get this straight....everything that's said about "G-d's love" isn't literal at all? So G-d's feelings about us are totally neutral, or don't really exist? Sorry, it’s just kind of a weird realization to think that...but if G-d didn't really "love" us, and if He doesn't "need" or "want" anything, then what would be His motivation to create the world?"
Right. G-d's “love” isn’t literal. Neither is His anger, or any other emotion. (But it's not that "G-d's feelings are totally neutral." It's that the whole concept of physical, subconscious, unconscious, brain-released-chemical-induced emotional changes.)
And your question that if G-d has no emotions and does not “love” us, then why did G-d make the world, is a wonderful one. By asking it you have uncovered one of the greatest teachings of Creation:
G-d created the world for our benefit, with nothing for Him to gain at all.
That is the difference between “generosity” as it applies to us and “generosity” as it applies to Hashem. For us, there is always a reason why we want to be generous. We always have something to gain - a mitzvah, a feeling of satisfaction, a little recognition, whatever. For Hashem, there was none of this.
He wanted to create us and give us Gan Eden - eternal, infinite happiness - only for our sake. He gains nothing. He did it because He wanted to. For us. With absolutely zero benefit for Himself.
The topic you brought up – the Purpose of Creation – is an important one indeed, but as you have just discovered, it can only be understood properly after we establish that Hashem’s actions do not have the same “reasons” as our actions. Our actions bring benefit to ourselves. Even “selfless” acts provide a sense of satisfaction and garner us reward for having done a Mitzvah. When Hashem acts, He does not get any benefit at all. He cannot benefit – that would imply a change, and some kind of gain. What is outside of time cannot change, and what is Kulo Poshut (perfectly simple, no characteristics, no qualities) cannot “gain” anything at all.
"The Rabbi was asked: When you say such things like "Hashem is One”, "He just is, He never began nor ever will end,” "Hashem is Kulo Pushut (that means perfectly simple, no characteristics, no qualities)" etc. - do you fully understand what these terms mean or are you just referring us to different places where Hashem is described? Honestly, can we really comprehend what this truly means?"
The meanings of these terms are easily understood; but visualizing someone or something with these characteristics is impossible - not only for us but for Moshe Rabbeinu, too. When Moshe asked Hashem “show me your glory”, what he wanted to understand was the essence of Hashem, to which Hashem answered: “No living being can see Me.” This means that as long as we are physical beings, we cannot conceptualize these things.
This is so because the human mind does not generate its own knowledge; rather, it absorbs information from the outside and rearranges it in the mind. So someone, let’s say, who was born blind, can never understand the difference between blue and red. There’s absolutely no way you can explain it to him.
Someone who never experienced infinity cannot imagine what he himself means when he says “space never ends”. And neither can he understand what it would mean if he’d say that space does end. Because we have experienced neither infinity nor anything outside of space, we cannot conceptualize those thoughts. Yet the infiniteness of space - or its having an end - can be understood “on paper,” even if our mind’s eye is not sharp enough to picture it.
So too, the things we know about G-d can definitely be understood “on paper,” but we will not be able to imagine them in our minds.
There is a great difference between “impossible” and “unable to be visualized.” There is no reason to say that a Muchrach HaMetzius (the first cause) is impossible. There is no logic that negates the possibility of such an existence. But just because something is real does not mean we can visualize it.
Visualization is possible only if we experienced the reality that we want to visualize. Since we never experienced a Muchrach HaMetzius (the first cause) we cannot visualize it.
However, an infinite regression of causes, for example, is not merely impossible to visualize. It is impossible to exist. Because infinity never ends, the amount of causes in the past cannot be infinite, because those causes have already ended. Logic precludes the existence of an infinite regression of anything in the past. Therefore, when faced with the choice of an infinite regression of causes, which is impossible, or a Muchrach HaMetzius (the first cause) which is not impossible, we conclude that a Muchrach HaMetzius must have been the First Cause.
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.