Someone wrote "X'tians connect their concept of their "original sin" to Psalm 58:3 (4 in the T'nach): "The wicked become estranged [even] from the womb; those who speak lies go astray from birth." How would you answer this?"
The verse in question is T'hillim / Psalm 58:4 (3 in Christian versions which often do not print the first line (or when they do print it it is very small and not counted)... which says "For the conductor, al tashchet (do not destroy); of David a michtam."
Can you see why ignoring the first line is itself deceitful to the reader???
Psalms are poems and prayers, primarily written by King David. They were sung in the Temple and are still a large part of our religious services today.
Psalms are found in Ketuvim of the T'nach -- meaning they are written by men. They are inspired by G-d but these are the words of a human being expressing his own thoughts.
This is part of the problem with the way the Christians have mashed their version of the Hebrew Bible -- taking it completely out of order and thus misunderstanding the level of holiness.
The Torah is the word of G-d. It is directly from Him. The books in Nevi'im (Prophets) are messages from G-d relayed in dreams and visions to His prophets. It is holy, but not has holy as the Torah. The messages in Nevi'im all echo messages found in Torah -- along with histories of the Jewish people.
Then we come to Ketuvim. This section contains poems (which are what the psalms happen to be), stories, histories, and even fables (Iyov / Job) -- all written by holy men inspired by G-d, but not a direct communication from G-d.
So here, in this psalm, you have it beginning with the plea "do not destroy."
So this is King David writing - and he is speaking of his enemies -- those who wanted to kill him.
David asks his enemies why suddenly they're so quiet. This is speaking of the incidents in Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel:26. David's enemies didn't hesitate to speak up to criticize him, but now that it's clear that David is innocent, they don't say a word: why is there silence when you should be speaking righteousness?"
They say nothing. They are too corrupt.
Then comes the passage the missionaries misuse. David is speaking. This is not G-d. This is not G-d saying all people are born with original sin.
It is David.
David who is angry at the injustice these people have done to HIM.
David says that these people who won't speak the truth, but were happy to disparage and criticize him when he was in danger -- these people are wicked and are distanced from G-d -- they must have been this way even while they're still in the womb they are so disgusting, hypocritical and evil David says.
They're poisonous like a snake and they refuse to hear the truth if it doesn't somehow benefit them. David hopes that G-d will render them harmless like one would remove a snake's fangs.
In other words: David is a bit peeved at these people!
But this is not what G-d tells us about people.
G-d tells us we are NOT evil from the womb.
Br'eshit / Genesis 8:21 . . .
"G-d said to Himself, ". . . the inclination of man's heart is evil from his youth."
This isn't "Sophiee" telling you something. It is the bible. It is G-d speaking! Man's heart is evil from his youth NOT FROM HIS BIRTH, TAINTED WITH THE IMAGINARY ORIGINAL SIN.
Read D'varim / Deuteronomy 30:15: "See! Today I have set before you [a free choice] between life and good [on one side], and death and evil [on the other]. . .30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses! Before you I have placed life and death, the blessing and the curse. You must choose life, so that you and your descendants will survive."
We are not born into sin. To sin or not to sin is our choice.
Yes, we are inclined to do evil -- to sin. But we are not born evil. We are not born into sin.
Sh'mot / Exodus 32:22: "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil."
Aaron doesn't say the people ARE evil. He says they are prone to evil.
If we were all condemned to sin (as the concept of original sin asserts) then why would G-d punish us for something we couldn't control? Is the Christian god so cruel that he would let man be so condemned?
Throw away your Christian translations -- they are not only full of errors, but the mere fact that they are completely out of order and ignore the level of holiness inherent in Torah-Nevi'im-Ketuvim makes these distortions not only possible but probable!
Pointing to T'hillim / Psalm 58:4 where David is speaking of his enemies and ignoring the actual words of G-d in the Torah is done because, in their ignorance, they do not realize the difference between G-d's words and the words of a man in pain (David)....
Matthew 2:23 says "And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene."
Would it surprise you to know there is no such prophecy?
There is nothing in the Hebrew Bible that even comes close to suggesting the messiah will be called a Nazarene.
The Hebrew word נֵ֖צֶר / netzer in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 11:1 is a poetic word found three times in the T'nach. It is translated as ‘a scion’, ‘a twig’, and lastly as "a sapling."
The Hebrew word נֵ֖צֶר / netzer has three consonants נ-צ-ר / nun-tzaddi-resh.
The two acceptable Hebrew names for the town of Nazareth are נָצְרַת / notsrat / nun-tzaddi-resh-tav or נַצֶּרֶת / natseret / nun-tzaddi-resh-tav with a different pronunciation than Notsrat... Both of Hebrew words for Nazareth have the same four consonants נצרת.
There is no connection between נֵ֖צֶר / netzer and the Hebrew for Nazareth: נצרת. They don't even share the same root (Hebrew words are based on roots). At first glance those with limited knowledge of Hebrew might assume that they share a root because both נֵ֖צֶר / netzer and natzar / נָצַר (the root for Nazareth) share consonants.
However, there are many roots in Hebrew that share consonants but are the roots of completely different words. A perfect example is the word ערב which is the root for erev / עֶרֶב evening, arav / עָרַב a vow, and even arev / עָרֵב -- a co-signer of a loan.
The root for the Hebrew word for Nazareth is the verb natzar / נָצַר which means to “guard” or “preserve.” See Sh'mot / Exodus 34:7 where נֹצֵר (it is the first word in that verse). As you can see, it is not the same as the root נֵ֖צֶר / netzer in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 11:.
English has a similar concept -- where words are spelled alike but are totally different words. Consider the English word "bat" which can refer to the animal or to a baseball bat... Same spelling, different word. When they sound alike (as in bear) it is called a homonym. When they are spelled the same by pronounced differently (as in natzar / נָצַר and נֵ֖צֶר / netzer) in English this is called a homograph. In English you might say that there is wind if it is blowing, and you wind up a clock (same spelling, different pronunciation)...
So no, the term in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 11 has nothing in common with the name of a town called Nazareth.
Then there is the fact that the word, נֵ֖צֶר / netzer, is never used as a "name" for the messiah. There is no such passage in the T'nach.
Some missionaries try to tie the "called a Nazarene" claim in Matthew to a נָזִיר / nazir (a person who has taken a “Nazirite” vow of abstinence).
This term (נָזִיר / nazir) is specified in B'midbar / Numbers 6:2-21: "Speak to the children of Israel, and you shall say to them: A man or woman who sets himself apart by making a nazirite vow to abstain for the sake of the L-rd."
Jesus never took such a vow.
So the claim is a non-starter.
The second letter of נָזִיר / nazir is ז / zayyin while the second letter of נֹצְרִי / notz'ri is צ / tzaddi.
Many Christian translations compound the issue by writing the word “Nazirite” with an "a" instead of an "i" in their transliteration of Nazirite to make it "Nazarite" -- perhaps to try to somehow link it to the "Nazarene" non-existent prophecy in Matthew 2:23.
The Hebrew word נָזִיר / nazir is totally unrelated to the word נֹצְרִי / notz'ri (Nazarene). Again, missionaries are making a claim based on a lack of Hebraic understanding.
Many missionaries shrug off this "little problem" that there is NO prophecy that the messiah will be from the non-existent town of Nazareth. They say it is a “lost prophecy”— or even funnier -- an "oral one" (they say the oral tradition in Judaism is nonsense -- but here they want to use it as proof??). If this was a "lost prophecy" how would the author of "Matthew" know about it? Why would he expect his readers to know of it, too?
And what of the town of Nazareth? Someone asked whether this town even existed in the time of Jesus.
Well, it is immaterial to a Jew if it did or it didn't but there seems to be more "proof" for didn't than did.
Not that it matters.
The earliest historical mention of "Nazareth" comes from the 3rd century CE. There is no mention of Nazareth in the T'nach, nor Talmud, nor Josephus -- and Josephus listed all of them!
Even an early reference to Nazareth cited by Eusebius has Julius Africanus locating Nazara in Judea in 200 CE... Archeological discoveries may back up the fact that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus.
Last year, 2019, an Israeli archeologist found a house dating back to the time in Jesus in what is today called Nazareth. This is actually the first archeological finding that anyone lived there around the time of Jesus -- but one house does not a town make!
Link to a page on the Israeli Antiquities site discussing this topic. In it the lead archeologist says "Until now... no settlement remains have been discovered that are attributed to this period."
This one house may or may not point to the existence of Nazareth in the time of Jesus.
But (again) if it existed or not is immaterial. There is no prophecy that the messiah will live in such a town or that he will be called a "Nazarene."
Someone wrote "Shalom Madam, I had a few doubts based on this Talmud - Gitten 56b. I hope you will help me.(This is Sefaria version). It says:
"Onkelos then went and raised Jesus the Nazarene from the grave through necromancy.... Onkelos said to him: What is the punishment of that man, a euphemism for Jesus himself, in the next world? Jesus said to him: He is punished with boiling excrement. As the Master said: Anyone who mocks the words of the Sages will be sentenced to boiling excrement. And this was his sin, as he mocked the words of the Sages."
1, Is the Jesus mentioned here the Jesus of the New Testament?
2, Does the Torah teach that there are such punishments in gehinom?
3, Does Judaism believe in issues like Necromancy?(or Zohar support this)?"
This is Gittin 57a, although it starts in Gittin 56b....
I have no clue why the Sefaria translation would say "Jesus of Nazareth" when the words "of Nazareth" or "the Nazarene" are not found in the Aramaic!
Yep, someone inserted it in the translation even though it isn't in the Aramaic:
אזל אסקיה [ליש"ו] בנגידא (לפושעי ישראל) א"ל מאן חשיב בההוא עלמא א"ל ישראל מהו לאדבוקי בהו א"ל טובתם דרוש רעתם לא תדרוש כל הנוגע בהן כאילו נוגע בבבת עינו
And quite possibly the name Yeshu is not found in this passage either!
Yep, one of the passages missionaries love to point to saying Jews say mean things about Jesus in the Talmud may not actually say the name Jesus and certainly doesn't say the name Nazarene or Nazareth!
[ליש"ו] appears in the passage. Transliterated this would be L'ysh"u.
Let's examine the part in question:
"אזל אסקיה [ליש"ו] בנגידא (לפושעי ישראל)."
This translates to "He went and raised [L'yesh"u] with necromancy (the sinners of Israel)."
Did you notice that the name [L'ysh"u] is in square brackets and that there is a quotation mark (actually two apostrophes) in it?
The square brackets are inserted words.
Let me repeat that.
The square brackets are inserted words. They are not in the Vilna Edition of the Talmud, printed in Vilna (now Vilnius), Lithuania, is by far the most common printed edition of the Talmud still in use today.
In other words the name "Yeshu" or "Jesus" is NOT found in this passage in the most common version of the Talmud -- not at all!
So why the square brackets and why is it in there at all? Somebody inserted it thinking it pertained to Jesus. It's possible that the name appeared in other copies of the Talmud -- but it might have been put there by Christian copiests (who notoriously destroyed the Talmud and tampered with it). It might have been inserted as a suggestion by some copiest and then others just assumed it was there...
And did you notice the quote mark between the Hebrew letters of shin and the vav - [ליש"ו]? It's use represents the גֵּרְשַׁ֞יִם / gershayim which is a cantillation mark used in trope. In print two apostrophes represent it. It's use represents acronyms and other multi-letter abbreviations.
Having discussed all of that: let's just assume (for the sake of argument) that this passage mentions a man whose name we can translate as "Jesus" or "Yeshu."
Does that automatically mean it is about Jesus?
If it is about Jesus is the Talmud insulting him and saying he is boiling in excrement for eternity as a factual statement?
As we often say on this forum: read it in context and understand what is being said, and even more importantly: what is being TAUGHT?
Onkelos was a convert to Judaism who lived 2000 years ago.
He was the nephew of the Roman Emperor Titus. (His mother was Titus' sister).
This story is discussing how he came to convert to Judaism.
This is simply a humorous story about the conversion of the Roman Emperor Titus' nephew (Onkelos).
In the story he approaches 3 men who are now dead (necromancy) to ask them who is valued in the after life. First he asks his uncle, the Emperor Titus. Titus tells him it is the Jews -- but don't bother converting because you won't be able to observe all the mitzvot!
Next he asks Balaam if he should convert, and then he asks what happened to Balaam in the afterlife. Balaam tells him that he is cooked in boiling semen as punishment for encouraging the Jews to engage in licentious behavior with the daughters of Moab.
Third he approaches a man identified as [L'ysh"u] if he should convert to Judaism, and then asks what happened to him in the afterlife. This man replies that he is punished with boiling excrement...
"The Gemara relates: Onkelos bar Kalonikos, the son of Titus’s sister, wanted to convert to Judaism. He went and raised Titus from the grave through necromancy, and said to him: Who is most important in that world where you are now? Titus said to him: The Jewish people. Onkelos asked him: Should I then attach myself to them here in this world? Titus said to him: Their commandments are numerous, and you will not be able to fulfill them. It is best that you do as follows: Go out and battle against them in that world, and you will become the chief, as it is written: “Her adversaries [tzareha] have become the chief” (Lamentations 1:5), which means: Anyone who distresses [meitzer] Israel will become the chief. Onkelos said to him: What is the punishment of that man, a euphemism for Titus himself, in the next world? Titus said to him: That which he decreed against himself, as he undergoes the following: Every day his ashes are gathered, and they judge him, and they burn him, and they scatter him over the seven seas."
He then seeks out Balaam (now dead) and then another man [Yeshu] again in square brackets because it is not in the original...
Gittin 57a then says "[Onkelos] went and raised [Yesh"u] with necromancy (the sinners of Israel) [Onkelos] asked: Who is honored in that world? [Yeshu] replied: Israel. [Onkelos asked:] What about joining them? [Yeshu] replied: Seek their good. Do not seek their bad. Whoever touches them is as if he touched the pupil of his eye. [Onkelos] asked: What is your punishment? [Yeshu answered]: In boiling excrement. As the mast said: Whoever mocks the words of the sages in punished in boiling excrement."
It is a humorous story. Some people lack a sense of humor!
We've already discussed whether or not the third man could be Jesus of the Christian bible. It is certainly possible, but it does not seem to be probable. There are a few men named Yeshu in the Talmud, who may or may not be Jesus. The information in this passage does not "fit" the Christian Jesus....
Remember -- all those words in square brackets [Yeshu] and [Onkelos] are INSERTIONS which do not appear in the passage as is the passage in parentheses...
The man supposedly boiling in excrement was a "prominent sectarian of the early first century BCE who deviated from rabbinic tradition and created his own religion combining Hellenistic paganism with Judaism."
Jesus was not a prominent sectarian who lived in the early first century BCE (he was born supposedly in the year 0 of the CE)...
R' Gil Student wrote: "Interestingly, if someone were to claim that Yeshu in the passage above is Jesus, then Balaam cannot also refer to Jesus because both Balaam and Yeshu are in the passage together. In other words, it is self-contradicting to claim that the passages above about Balaam's being a harlot or dying young refer to Jesus and to claim that the passage above about Yeshu being punished also refers to Jesus. You can't have it both ways."
2, Does the Torah teach that there are such punishments in gehinom?
3, Does Judaism believe in issues like Necromancy?(or Zohar support this)"
To answer your 2nd and 3rd points -- it is a STORY meant to teach a moral point -- it is not literal.
Gehenna may or may not exist. If it does exist there is nothing physical there so how could anyone be boiling in excrement???
Our sages tell us that the punishment of Gehenna (again -- if it exists) is that when we die we are faced with seeing the wrongdoings we did in this life and our own shame and horror at our actions disturb us... It would be a place to learn what you did wrong -- not burning hell fire or boiling excrement...
Communicating with the dead (necromancy) is considered a sin and is one of the "do nots" forbidden to Jews in the Torah. It may be possible (the T'nach tells us that Saul was able to speak to the deceased prophet Shmuel / Samuel), but it is forbidden. See Shmuel Alef / I Samuel 15:23.
He used an Ov.
An "Ov" is a medium... We are not permitted to inquire of a medium or a necromancer (an ov or a yidoni – see Avodat Kochavim 6:1 and 6:2), as per D'varim / Deuteronomy 18:10-11,
“There shall not be found among you… one who inquires of a medium or a necromancer.”
Someone asked if there are not places in the Torah where two or more gods are spoken about? The example given was B’reshit / Genesis 35:1:
“G-d said to Jacob, 'Set out and go up to Beth El. Remain there and make an altar to the G-d who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.'”
Of course there is only one G-d!
The idea that there are two or more gods is ridiculous.
The Torah tells us time and time and time again that there is only one real G-d.
“So said the L-rd. . . the ONE who formed you from the womb, “I (singular) am the L-rd . . .Who spread out the earth ALONE (לְבַדִּ֔י).” Yeshayahu / IIsaiah 44:24,
and we are told G-d is one (D'varim / Deuteronomy 6:4).
But now see – it is I! I am the only One! There are no (other) gods with me! (Deuteronomy 32:39).
Over and over and over again we are told that G-d is ONE, alone, by Himself – SINGULAR.
The Torah is also replete with false gods people worshiped (Ba’al, Moloch) and sadly people still pray to false gods to this very day.
Why is G-d repeating His name?
The Talmud tells us (Sotah3a) that when the Torah repeats something it is specifically to TEACH us something. “Every passage in the Torah that was stated and repeated, was repeated only for the novel element introduced therein.”
What is the novel element in this verse?
Why is G-d repeating His name?
G-d is teaching Jacob and us a lesson: when you make an altar make it ONLY to the one true G-d, not to any false gods.
This is one reason it is so critical to not rely on translations but to learn both Hebrew and Torah.
If you read this passage in Hebrew you would have known there is no possibility of two gods.
The very FIRST word in verse one would eliminate any possibility of “two gods” to someone reading the verse.
The very first word is וַיֹּאמֶר / vayomer.
Vayomer is SINGULAR.
Singular as in “one G-d.”
In B'reshit / Genesis 35:1 we have the singular "vayomer elohim" (“and G-d said”)—not vayom'ru (the plural inflection “and they said”).
There are over eleven hundred instances of the word elohim governing an explicitly singular verb-inflexion when speaking of G-d.
This is a very good example of how translations can be very misleading!
Sukkot 2020 will begin in the evening of Friday, October 2, 2020.
This is one of my two favorite holidays (the other being Passover).
Sukkot is commanded in the Torah:
"Every resident among the Israelites shall live in booths, in order that your [ensuing] generations should know that I had the children of Israel live in booths when I took them out of the land of Egypt" (Vayikra / Leviticus 23:42-43).
We build temporary booths to live in.
For forty years, as our ancestors traversed the Sinai Desert, following the Exodus from Egypt, miraculous "clouds of glory" surrounded and hovered over them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert.
Ever since, we remember G-d's kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a sukkah (booth).
For the eight days and seven nights of Sukkot, Jews eat and sleep in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling with a thatched roof. In Israel you see them everywhere!
For the first two days of Sukkot melachot are forbidden. Since Sukkot begins Friday night (Shabbat) no melacha (activities used to build the Mishkan) is permitted from the evening of October 2nd until nightfall on the 4th (outside of Israel).
Melacha is permitted from October 4 - 9 during the holiday. The final two days from sundown on October 10 until nightfall on October 11 in 2020 are Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah which I will discuss as we come closer to them.
That means no posts will be released from Friday night October 2nd to the night of the 4th (at the earliest).
On this festive holiday you will see Sukkahs (temporary dwellings) all over Israel -- on balconies, on streets... Everywhere!
A sukkah is an outdoor hut that is covered with things like vines (although they can't still be attached to a live source like a tree or the ground)... You should be able to see the stars through its "roof" although this is not actually a requirement for a kosher sukkah.
Sukkah 2a (Babylonian Talmud) says "a sukkah that is not even ten handbreadths high, and one that does not have three walls, and one whose sunlight that passes through its roofing is greater than its shade are unfit."
We are also told that a sukkah may not exceed a height of twenty cubits
We are also commanded to bring the "four species" -- the lulav (palm), willow, myrtle, and etrog (citron):
"And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of the hadar tree, date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Hashem your G-d for a seven day period." (Vayikra / Leviticus 23:40).
This mitzvah shows yet again that one cannot fulfill Torah mandated commands without the oral Torah. The written Torah commands that we take the four species and to rejoice before HaShem for seven days.
So what exactly are we supposed to do with the fruit of the hadar tree, date palm fronds, a branch of a braided tree, and willows of the brook?
The written Torah tells us to do it -- but not HOW to do it. That was handed down orally and eventually explained in the Talmud.
First we bind all the branches together – two willows on the left, one palm branch in the center, and three myrtles on the right.
During the daytime for the seven days of Sukkot (except Shabbat) we hold this bundle in our right hand, and then lift them together with the etrog (citron). We shake them three times in from front, right, back, left, up and down.
But you won't find those directions in the written Torah!
During Sukkot we expect guests (ushpizin in Aramaic) -- all are welcome into anyone's sukkah.
Someone wrote: "I’ve read all the topics regards Isaiah 9, which are actually really good, but I have still one question though.
Someone pointed out to me that in Hebrew grammar there isn’t really such a thing as tense; Hebrew verbs do not take past, present or future tenses, but instead a Perfect and an Imperfect. The Hebrew Perfect may be taken to represent action in the past, the English present tense is supplied by the participle, and the English future tense by the imperfect. To be strictly accurate we should speak of ‘forms’ rather than ‘tenses’ of the verb, since it is the completeness or otherwise of an action which is being expressed and not the time factor, as in English.
Of course normally a verb in the perfect form would imply a past tense, yet there is something called the Prophetic Perfect. This is where prophets speak of future events in the perfect form, because he has seen them in the future where they have already happened, they describe a future event as if it had been already seen or heard.
Examples are Isaiah 5:13, 10:28-32, Jeremiah 23;2 and Amos 5:2."
That is patently ridiculous. No language can exist without a way to represent past, present and future in its language. Hebrew is very different from Latin based languages. For example, Hebrew has only one past tense, filling the role of the perfect, imperfect and pluperfect tenses of other languages (such as Latin).
The verb וְיִקָּרֵא / v'yikkaré is future tense, nif'al (passive) and means IT WILL BE CALLED; this inflection occurs in B'réshıt / Genesis 48:16 and Rut / Ruth 4:14 (yikkaré without the conjunctive vav occurs about 20 times).
The Hebrew letter vav (sometimes pronounced waw by non-Hebrew speakers) can be pronounced as a "v" sound or used as a vowel with an "oo" or even "oh" depending on the word and the usage. To turn a word from past into a future tense in Hebrew we use an inverting letter ו / vav (which is pointed וְ־ or וּ־ to reverse a past tense into the future).
This is not the case in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5(6).
The word יִקְרָא yikra is the 3rd person singular, future tense of the pa'al or kal conjugation. It means "he will call."
The word יִקָּרֵא yikkaré is the 3rd person singular, future tense of the nif'al conjugation and means "he will be called."
There are thus four possible combinations of these with a conjunctive vav prefix, three of which are found in the Hebrew Bible:
The form not found in the Hebrew Bible is וְיִקְרָא v'yikra which is the word יִקְרָא / yikra ("he/it will call") with non-inverting vav. It means "and he/it will call."
The reason why the Christian translations putting of Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5(6) in future not past tense is wrong is because no passive verb ever has a direct object. By translating וַיִּקְרָא / vayikra as though it were passive, they absorb the subject of the verb into its object.
So, after that very lengthy explanation: of course Hebrew has the ability to show past, present or future.
In Y'shayahu 9:5 (6 in Christian versions) וְיִקָּרֵא / v'yikkaré is not the verb which is used. This is the verb that would make it future tense: will be called. It isn't there!
In Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5 the verb is וַיִּקְרָא vayikra, which is pa'al (“kal”), past tense.
There is no inverting vav in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5 which might make it future tense. Let's look at two more verbs in this passage:
The future tense in this case, including the preposition "and", 'וְ', would be וְהָיְתָה (e.g., Yoel / Joel 4:17) - also different.
when prefixed to a verb in the PAST TENSE, the vav has vowels with a sh'va (וְ־), and when prefixed to a verb in the FUTURE TENSE, the vav has a vowel with pattah (וַ־), or with kamatz (וָ־) if the next letter is a guttural.
Thus, הָיָה hayah "it was" but וְהָיָה v'hayah "[and] it will be"
and יְהִי / y'hi "it will be" but וַיְהִי / va-y'hi "[and] it was" [KJV "and it came to pass"].
The future versions are not used -- the past tense is used in Isaiah 9:5(6)...
Having written all of that he wrote back and said "However I struggle to explain why verses such as Isaiah 5:13, 10:28-32, Jeremiah 23;2 and Amos 5:2 should differ from Isaiah 9.5."
All of those examples are actually in past tense in the Hebrew.
So why do some translators choose to translate them as future when they are not future?
It is a translator's choice -- one might call it a translator's error but they can be excused for choosing a "future" to simply make comprehension easier for a reader...
So why would a prophet use the past tense if he is talking about a prophecy which will happen (may happen) in the future?
Let's look at one mentioned by the person who asked the question. Consider Y'shayahu / Isaiah 5:13. The verb גָּלָה / galah here should be translated as
"he/it has been exiled."
Has been is correct. It does not say "will be exiled." It says "has been exiled."
Why did the prophet speak in past tense even though the exile had not yet happened?
Because, to the prophet Isaiah the exile HAD happened. He had seen it in a vision. Remember, all negative visions are given as warnings to be avoided. If you repent and do good you can avoid the negative.
The prophet envisages himself standing in the future looking back on these events and so he speaks of them using the past tense.
This is true for the other passages you asked about. In Amos 5:2 the verb is נָפְלָה / naflah -- it is past tense -- Israel has fallen.
Wikipedia calls this "prophetic perfect tense" -- a term primarily used by Christians. It says:
“The prophetic perfect tense is a literary technique used in the Bible that describes future events that are so certain to happen that they are referred to in the past tense as if they already happened.”
Wikipedia lists the exact four examples you gave in your post. They do NOT list Isaiah 9:5(6). Wikipedia can be written by anyone and depends on readers to correct glaring errors. This entry must have been written by a non-Jew, because no negative prophecy is certain to happen... they are all given as warnings so that people can avoid having them happen...
Rabbi David Kimhi (1160 - 1235 CE), known as the Radak / רד"ק, was a great grammarian and wrote in Michlol L'HaRadak that this was a Biblical technique -- it is in past tense because, to the prophet, it is a vision he has already seen:
"And you should know that it is a typical behavior of the past tense verbs in the holy language to use a past tense verb in place of a future tense verb (which are the letters איתן), and this is mostly in prophecies because the matter is clear as if it passed, because it has already been decreed."
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5(6) does not fit this criteria. There the prophet is speaking of the son of the king who is already alive. He is saying the child was born and he will be a king in peace time (which he was). This is most likely why Wikipedia does not include Isaiah 9:5(6) -- it does not fit Kimhi's criteria.
The English "was born" in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5(6) is the proper translation. It is not possible to properly translate it as a future event. It is not a prophet who has seen a potential future event and is relaying that information in past tense to listeners...
The prophet is speaking of a child who has already been born (for unto us a child WAS born)...
Check other passages in Christian translations and it is clear that
יֻלַד / "was born" and is not future "will be born."
That very word is properly translated in other passages in Christian translations.
"a son was born; and he called" Genesis 4:26 is the NAS
"to him also there was born a son" in the King James Version (KJV).
In Genesis 10:21 in the NAS we have
"children were born"
and KJV has
"were [children] born."
So why, suddenly in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5(6) do they suddenly say it is future and means Jesus 750 years later????
This correct translating into past tense can be found in many other Christian translations of יֻלַד / "was born" are translated in the past by the Christians -- see Genesis 35:26, Genesis 41:50, Genesis 46:27, Judges 18:29, 2 Samuel 21:20, 1 Chronicles 1:19, Ruth 4:17, Job and many psalms in various Christian translations. . . to check this out for yourself.
And יֻלַד / "was born" is not the only verb in past tense.
The passage should read:
"For a child has been born to us, a son was given to us, and the authority has been put upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty G-d, the everlasting Father, called his name, "the prince of peace."
נִתַּן־לָ֔נוּ / n'tan lanu "was given to us."
וַתְּהִי - "and has-been" (past tense).
The future tense in this case, including the preposition "and", 'וְ', would be וְהָיְתָה (e.g., Yoel / Joel 4:17) - also different.
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5 - 6 is speaking about the birth of חִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ / Hizkiyyahu / Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz (of Y'shayahu / Isaiah 7 fame). At the time of Y'shayahu / Isaiah 9:5 - 6 the child already was born (past tense) so it could not possibly be about Jesus who would not be born for 700+ years.
If this lengthy blog entry has not tired you on the subject I highly recommend an article by UriYosef (native Israeli) entitled Isaiah 9:5-6[6-7] - Is it Messianic or Historical? - which presents a detailed analysis of the grammar that includes tables showing the translations in the KJV. A set of related Lesson notes is also available on this topic.
Apostate Drew (missionary) writes "I also wouldn't recommend Judaism if one wants to be faithful to the Bible."
A few days ago I began responding to a post on William Lane Craig's website where someone wrote asking him about R' Tovia Singer and his two volume set "Let's Get Biblical." Craig had an apostate Jew named "Drew" reply -- and we're now 4 days examining his response which is full of errors.
Apostate "Drew" wrote: "I also wouldn't recommend Judaism if one wants to be faithful to the Bible. The key passage in the Talmud which defines the rabbis' view of the Bible is the Akhnai Oven story in Bava Metzia 59b. In it, Rabbi Eliezer brings many proofs from the Bible for his position, but the sages were not persuaded. He invoked miracles, but the sages did not listen to miracles. Finally he said "If the Law is with me, let a voice come from heaven and say it." God spoke from heaven that Rabbi Eliezer was right, and the sages said "We do not listen to a voice from heaven, since long ago we learned that the Torah is not in heaven. After the majority one must incline." The kicker here is that the prooftext comes from Exodus 23:2, which according to the Artscroll translation states: “Do not be a follower of the majority for evil; and do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert the law.” The passage plainly states not to go with the majority, and the rabbis interpret it to say “go with the majority.”
Missionaries, who are usually ignorant as to what the Talmud is and is not, often cite things out of context and claim the Jews have changed Judaism based on their ignorance. By misusing Jewish sources they do not understand missionaries will "paint the picture" that:
First one must know what the Talmud "is" and what part of the Talmud one can find this story (and it IS a story, not fact or law). The Talmud (there are actually two Talmuds -- Jerusalem and Babylonian) consists of two main concepts: the מִשְׁנָה / Mishna -- which was created to be a "cheat sheet" for a learned person -- the writing was kept to a minimum and meant only to serve as a aid to faltering memories who were taught to memorize the oral mitzvot.
The second part of the Talmud are discussions around the Mishna's teachings. These discussions may discuss the finer points of Jewish law (מִדְךְשׁי הֲלָכָה / Midrash Halacha), but there are also stories and humor as well. This מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah -- which means telling a story. מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah is not prophecy or meant to be taken literally. . . a word or sentence is lifted from the bible to make a moral point.
However, prophecy is NEVER based on these flights of fancy. Prophecy is always plain and clear -- no shadows, types or hints. Judaism has a rich history of 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, Sh'mot / Exodus 12:2).
So guess what "Drew" is doing by referencing the oven of Akhnai?
You guessed it, Bava Metzia 59a and 59b known as תנור של עכנאי / "the oven of Akhnai" was a story -- מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah.
The story is not something to be taken literally -- which is how the missionaries present it to their unlearned (in Torah and Talmud) audience. This is wrong, and it is deceitful. Whether or not the missionaries misusing this passage realize they are distorting it is open to question. Most of them probably do not know anything about the Talmud or Judaism let alone מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah.
The point of the story is to make the moral point that judges have been given the authority to make judicial rulings. The Talmudic story re-enforces what we’ve already been told in the Torah – that we are to appoint judges from all the tribes and then to listen to their rulings! D'varim / Deuteronomy 17:8-12.
G-d has told us in the Torah to establish courts and to listen to the decisions made by the judges.
G-d put the authority of deciding legal issues in the hands of mortal man -- judges because the Torah was made for us in this world and we are co-creators -- that is the entire reason G-d created us.
In Bava Metzia 59b G-d is speaking (in מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah, so not meant to be taken literally) and saying proudly ‘My sons have defeated Me, My sons have defeated Me." -- the judges He put in place are not afraid of making decisions.
In a nutshell:
"Appoint yourselves judges and police for your tribes in all your settlements that G-d your L-rd is giving you, and make sure that they administer honest judgment for the people. Do not bend justice and do not give special consideration [to anyone]. Do not take bribes, since bribery makes the wise blind and perverts the words of the righteous. Pursue perfect honesty, so that you will live and occupy the land that G-d your L-rd is giving you." D'varim / Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
The Torah was given to us as an instruction book -- follow its instructions and you will become better people, holier people.
If people don't use the instructions to learn and grow what good are they?
This is why we are taught that the Torah is here on earth -- not in heaven. "It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" D'varim / Deuteronomy 30:12.
The written Torah tells us:
In the story of the oven of akhnai (and it IS a story) in the Talmud G-d agrees with R' Eliezer on a question of halacha (Jewish law) -- but the majority of the Rabbis have a different ruling.
Since Torah was given to us humans as our instruction book and our guide we are commanded to follow its rules and to apply laws that help us do so.
The Rabbis argue (in the story) that in a court of law "majority rules." -- and this is G-d's own ruling. Jewish courts are comprised of odd numbers of judges (no juries). A majority opinion "rules."
Far from showing the Jews are more powerful than G-d, the Rabbis prove to G-d that they are obeying His mitzvot by coming to a majority judicial ruling as He decreed.
The missionaries distort the idea that to follow G-d we must use the brains He gave us -- not to disobey Him, but to follow His instructions.
Drew on Craig's website wrote: "The kicker here is that the prooftext comes from Exodus 23:2, which according to the Artscroll translation states: “Do not be a follower of the majority for evil; and do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert the law.” The passage plainly states not to go with the majority, and the rabbis interpret it to say “go with the majority.”
Yet again Apostate "Drew" is distorting the teachings -- making them the opposite of what they truly are.
Sh'mot / Exodus 23:2 in the bible tells us that we are to rule according to the majority, and be careful to be just. The missionary is keying on the word "majority" when the key here is "for evil."
Do not follow the majority for evil.
This does not mean "do not follow the majority when they are honest"!
The footnote, which the missionary ignored in Artscroll, explains: "Several laws are derived from this verse by means of Talmudic exegesis...A judge must voice his opinion according to his understanding of the law and the evidence. Even if he is heavily outnumbered by others, he must not change his opinion to agree with them, if he considers them to be mistaken or intentionally perverting the law."
Paints quite a different picture from the one presented by the missionary, doesn't it?
Even in the story in Bava Metzia 59a and 59b we have a judge disagreeing with the majority - which is right in line with Sh'mot / Exodus 23:2.
Jewish law is very, very careful to adhere to Torah mitzvot, the opposite of the missionary claim. If there is total agreement (for example) of a death penalty the person is NOT put to death. Let's discuss the Jewish legal system.
Jewish courts do not use juries -- each court has multiple judges. Today Jewish courts (בית דין / Beit Din / House of Judgement) are comprised of three judges. Rabbis are judges -- this is one of their primary responsibilities and roles.
Why three judges?
“You should not judge alone, for there is none qualified to judge alone, only the One.” Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:8.
It must be more than two (at least 3) judges because the Torah tells us: "Do not follow the majority to do evil. Do not speak up in a trial to pervert justice. A case must be decided on the basis of the majority." Sh'mot / Exodus 23:2.
A super majority of three from a court of 23 was required to pass a death penalty. At least three had to be "for" on the majority side – in a court of 23 that meant that it had to be 13 - 10 in favor of the death penalty for it to be passed.
Two judges are not enough to have a majority (one might have a "tie"). This is why all Jewish courts (including the minor Sanhedrins and Great Sanhedrin) were uneven numbers of 23 and 71. . .
The smallest courts have three judges, and our sages tell us that, a Jewish court can not rule against a defendant by a majority created by one judge. In death penalty cases a court had to have at least 23 Judges. The appellate court was the Great Sanhedrin of 71 sitting in the לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית lishkat hagazit (“Chamber of Carved Stone”) in the Temple.
If all the judges voted "guilty" or even all but one voted "guilty" the accused was set free. There had to be a super majority of three judges voting for innocent for a man to actually be condemned to death. (again, referencing back to Sh'mot / Exodus 23:2).
Missionaries make claims that are simply unsupportable based both on Jewish law and Jewish history.
That in itself is explicit proof that in the case of the oven the law was in accordance with the consensus of Sages.
In the story the rabbis argue with G-d as to who is right on a judicial ruling (arguing with G-d is an old, respected Jewish tradition dating back to B'reshit / Genesis 18 where Abraham argues with G-d to save the people of Sodom). . . in the STORY G-d eventually agrees with the majority debating the ruling.
G-d AGREES with them.
Yet this missionary "Drew" wants to point to the story as how Jews ignore G-d's commandments????
How is this story proof of the Jews changing something G-d dictated when G-d agrees with the sages, going so far as to JOKE about it ("my children have bested me!")?
G-d can take a joke, but apparently missionaries can not!
The Christian bible gives two conflicting lineages for Joseph (husband of Mary). One bypasses Solomon, making Joseph and any heir ineligible from being a messiah (Luke). The other (Matthew) goes through Solomon, but includes Jeconiah / יְהוֹיָכִין (Y'hoyachin) -- a Davidic king who G-d cursed and removed any of his heirs from again being kings (messiahs).
Jeconiah was arrested, deported and imprisoned by Nebuchadnezzar -- the Babylonian Exile.
Many missionaries desperate to find a path for Jesus to be a messiah will claim that the "rabbis" (you know -- the people they normally ignore and despise) say that Jeconiah's curse was the lifted thus Jesus somehow had the required lineage to be a messiah.
Per Christians Joseph was not Jesus' biological father, thus Jesus had no rights to any tribe -- Judah or any other tribe. So why they waste all this time trying to prove Joseph's lineage is senseless, but still they do!
So what of their claim?
Did the "rabbis" say that the curse that G-d gave to Jeconiah, that none of his heirs would be eligible to be kings, lifted?
This is basic Judaism 101 (we repent, G-d forgives).
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 37 and 38) discuss whether or not the Babylonian Exile could atone as does repentance. For one thing, a person who might have been condemned to death prior to the exile was not killed. In the case of Jeconiah the Rabbis were divided on how much of one's sins are atoned through repentance in exile -- so there was no conclusion that Jeconiah's "curse" was lifted by his repentance in exile.
Hypocrisy thy name is missionary!
Missionaries do not accept the authority of the extra-biblical Jewish writings, so why are they using this Talmudic discussion as "proof" of anything while at the same time they reject other opinions that discount Christianity? My mother would have called this "having their cake and eating it, too!"
Can't have it both ways!
Hypocrisy aside, did Jeconiah's repentance in exile wipe away G-d's curse as the missionaries insist?
Along with the Talmud missionaries will quote from Pesikta d'Rav Kahana and Vayikra (Leviticus) Rabbah. Both are aggadic midrash (homily, stories meant to make a moral point, not literal theology). So missionaries want to point to homily -- stories -- as if it proves something...
The Encyclopedia Judaica explains it well: The aggadah comprehends a great variety of forms and content. It includes narrative, legends, doctrines, admonitions to ethical conduct and good behavior, words of encouragement and comfort, and expressions of hope for future redemption. Its forms and modes of expression are as rich and colorful as its content.
"Parables and allegories, metaphors and terse maxims; lyrics, dirges, and prayers, biting satire and fierce polemic, idyllic tales and tense dramatic dialogues, hyperboles and plays on words, permutations of letters, calculations of their arithmetical values (gematria) or their employment as initials of other words (notarikon) – all are found in the aggadah. . .
"SYSTEMATIC PHILOSOPHIES OR THEOLOGICAL DOCTRINES ARE NOT TO BE FOUND IN THE AGGADAH." (end quote from Encyclopedia Judaica, emphasis mine).
Quoting aggadic midrash including Pesikta d'Rav Kahana and Vayikra (Leviticus) Rabbah to "prove" that the curse on Jeconiah was lifted is either ignorance or deceit.
Let's not forget that most of these missionaries pointing to Talmudic "proof" that the curse was lifted are "Sola Scriptura" -- stating that they only believe in the written bibles (theirs and ours).
They say they only look at scripture for the answers to their questions. For them (in this instance) to try to distort the teachings of Jewish Sages, all of whom rejected Christianity, is not only hypocritical -- it is arrogant, too.
Sola scriptura aside, a Christian missionary who uses the argument that the curse of Jeconiah was lifted is using a straw man argument that is immaterial to whether or not Jesus was a messiah.
Joseph was not Jesus' biological father so the curse had nothing to do with Jesus one way or another.
If Joseph was a descendant of Jeconiah, the curse is still on Joseph too, per the Hebrew Bible who never states it was lifted.
If the curse was lifted it might mean that Joseph had the correct lineage, as would his biological sons through Mary -- but not Jesus (who was not his biological son).
And "no" lineage does not transfer via adoption.
And "no" the mother's lineage by birth doesn't matter either as long as she is Jewish.
If the curse was actually lifted, as the Rabbinic literature discusses, then it shows that many things atone -- even for curses from G-d.
This means that there was no need for a "last and final" sacrifice -- a blood sacrifice (aka Jesus).
This invalidates the entire basis of Christianity -- that Jesus had to die for your sins.
The Hebrew Bible never removes the curse from Jeconiah.
The p'shat (plain reading from which all prophecy comes), there is no evidence that the curse was removed - end of story for Christians.
And even if the curse was removed it has nothing to do with Jesus who was not a Davidic heir -- from Jeconiah or any other acceptable lineage.
Finally -- having the right lineage is just a requirement - it is not a guarantee. In every generation there are thousands of Davidic heirs, and to date none have fulfilled the messianic prophecies...
This is a continuation of the previous post where someone asked me about a message to William Lane Craig which was answered by some fellow named "Drew" who was full of misinformation. He quotes from Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, a well known counter missionary rabbi, to actually try to say the rabbi supports the idea of Jews as Christians. This is the exact opposite of that rabbi's teachings. View the video to see for yourself...
This Jewish "expert" named "Drew" stated: "When I studied the Bible under Orthodox rabbis, I would often ask “what about such and such an interpretation?” Inevitably, there was some rabbi somewhere that shared the same view that I had regarding how the passage was to be interpreted. This is why I was puzzled when Singer keeps claiming that the rabbis have unanimously rejected Christian interpretations of certain passages. It is not true, and no less than J. Immanuel Schochet admitted as much. He said “[Christians] keep republishing books which cite numerous passages from Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Jewish Bible-commentaries and other works, to validate their arguments. Are we now to erase these quotations from our heritage?"
His "quote" from the rabbi is deceptive -- it is a partial quote and out of context. The rabbi wrote: "for the longest time they [Christian missionaries] have claimed that authentic Jewish sources support and vindicate the messiahship of Jesus. They keep republishing books which cite numerous passages from Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Jewish Bible-commentaries and other works, to validate their arguments. Are we now to erase these quotations from our heritage?"
By ignoring the sentence preceding his quote "Drew" completely reverses the rabbi's meaning. He is saying quite clearly that missionaries MISUSE numerous sources including the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar and Jewish bible commentaries. "Drew" would have you believe the rabbi "admitted" (his own deceptive wording) that those Jewish works SUPPORT Christianity.
Where did "Drew" study Judaism -- Kindergarten?
Midrash, Talmud (which consists of discussions around Jewish law AND stories meant to make a moral point aka midrash aggadah), Zohar are all NON-LITERAL. Christians will take non-literal things and claim they are prophecies about Jesus -- which apparently this ignorant person is doing.
There are various levels the Jewish bible is read, this is called PaRDeS:
Craig's Jewish "expert" mentioned a quote by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, Z"L (1935-2013). This is highly insulting as the rabbi dedicated his life to countering missionaries like "Drew" himself! The quote is taken completely out of context.
Here is a quote by R' Schoceht that Drew neglected to tell his readers: "For a Jew, however, any form of shituf (mixing of G-d with another entity such as Jesus) is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a 'Hebrew-Christian,' a 'Jew for Jesus,' or in the latest version a 'messianic Jew,' is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a 'Christian Buddhist,' or a 'Christian for Krishna,' one cannot be a 'Jew for Jesus.'"
Hmmm, wonder why "Drew" didn't reference that specific quote from the rabbi? For "Drew" to misuse R' Schochet to missionize is nothing more than deceit. Rabbi Schochet pioneered a successful network of counter-missionary campaigns which succeeded in reconnecting numerous Jews to Judaism.
So how exactly did "Drew" distort and mislead his readers about R' Schochet? The rabbi wrote and lectured extensively on Jewish philosophy and mysticism.
Let me give you a quote by R' R' Immanuel Schochet “I have no interest in attacking another religion, or attempting to convince Christians to change their beliefs,” he announced. “My sole and ultimate goal is to get missionaries off our backs, to say to them, ‘Leave us alone. "
Why do suppose "Drew" didn't give this quote from the rabbi? Why did he mislead his readers to think that R' Schochet equated Christianity's interpretation of verses mistranslated and out of context with rabbinic non-literal uses to teach morality and ethics?
R' Schochet wasn't saying that Christianity's interpretation of the Hebrew Bible to "paint Jesus" into every verse was equal to Jewish stories and tall tales! Hence "Drew" is distorting the words of the rabbi and twisting them to mean the opposite of what the rabbi actually taught.
Missionaries take "types and shadows" (otherwise known as smoke as mirrors) and claim that they are prophecies about Jesus. R' Schochet was speaking of STORIES that are not literal, but are meant to make a moral point.
Judaism is known for its rich history of story telling to make a moral point. This is called "Midrash Aggadah" -- where a word or sentence is lifted from the bible to make a moral point. However, prophecy is NEVER based on these flights of fancy. Prophecy is always based on the plain meaning of the text.
Either "Drew" is ignorant of a pretty basic understanding of Judaism or he is lying to his readers. Most likely he is uneducated.
Yet Craig's friend Drew is saying that non-literal stories and mysticism = prophecy.
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. Prophecy is NEVER based on drash, still less from rĕmĕz or sod.
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).
And then this misguided uneducated misleading fool "Drew" (sorry nothing better to call him) actually says:
"Rabbi Simcha Pearlmutter gave a lecture where he argued that even some of the rabbinic liturgy clearly points to Jesus."
You might think that this Pearlmutter is a rabbi on par with the greats, right?
What of "Rabbi Simcha Pearlmutter"?
"Simcha Pearlmutter" who, it is claimed, was an "Orthodox" rabbi who became a believer in Jesus.
Pearlmutter was never an Orthodox anything, let alone a rabbi.
In a book he authored Pearlmutter gave biographical information. He claimed a bachelor's degree from Boston along with attending two years of law school there. He then states that he became a law clerk in Miami, Florida. Nowhere did Pearlmutter ever claim that he studied Judaism as an adult, let alone that he was an Orthodox Rabbi with a סמיכה / smicha (rabbinical ordination). He became a Christian while living in Miami, Florida.
Pearlmutter founded a Christian cult in Israel where he called himself "rabbi." In 1982 his Jewish wife left him, along with her three children. He barricaded himself with his son and would not allow his son to be taken away. The case made it up to the Supreme Court of Israel. The community became smaller and smaller as more people left.
Pearlmutter was considered quite a nut, according to an article published in 1990 in the Jerusalem Post (April 21, 1990): "His neighbours want him out of the Arava. His community lost its official status years ago, and most of his followers have long since packed and abandoned him. Seven of his nine children have dropped the dream of building a new community in the desert. Most of them do not even maintain contact with him.
And yes, Pearlmutter once had two wives simultaneously, the mothers of his nine children. He does not like to talk about that part of his past, but news stories have attributed to him the view that Jewish law permits men to have more than one wife after they have returned to their own land. . .
(Where he lives is) s a desolate expanse of rock-strewn desert sand. A few decaying cinder-block buildings coexist with a handful of standard-issue caravans that are commonly used for temporary housing in new settlements. . . .
Twenty-four years after he made aliya, Simcha Pearlmutter still lives in a caravan. If the authorities get their way however, he won't even have that much. It seems that everybody - from the Arava regional Council and the Israel Lands Administration to the Jewish Agency and the Water Commission - wants to get rid of Simcha Pearlmutter . . .
AS FAR AS the overwhelming majority of Jews are concerned, these are nothing more than the rantings of a crackpot. Religious Jews believe he poses a serious threat to the Jewish faith, while their secular compatriots just laugh at his seemingly crazy ideas..." By Carl Schrag, Week for the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 1990.
There is a blog entry about Simcha Pearlmutter here.
So this is who Craig's "expert on Judaism" is referencing as some great source to prove Jewish liturgy "clearly points to Jesus" -- a well known nut who was not an Orthodox rabbi at all.
Sadly "Drew" is misleading Craig's readers, perhaps from his own ignorance.
Someone wrote "Hello, I ran into an article on William Lane Craigs website. It's about Rabbi Singer. The author raises some interesting points. Would you mind reviewing it?
I won't provide a link to a missionary site, but I will respond.
In the link you provided Craig actually has some "Jewish" friend respond. Whoever that person is he is woefully ignorant (not terribly surprising).
He says "[Rabbi] Singer... challenges interpretations of the Bible that Christians often assume to be self-evidently true. These other insights into biblical interpretation force us to read the Bible much more carefully. For example, the ending of Psalm 2 can be translated as "kiss the son" or "yearn for purity" depending on how much Aramaic influence one thinks that the author had."
There is NO ARAMAIC in the Psalms!
The T'nach (Jewish bible) is primarily written in Hebrew, but there are a few parts where it is written in Aramaic. The first few words of Daniel 2 are in Hebrew, but with the middle of line four it shifts to Aramaic and continues in Aramaic until the end of chapter seven when it reverts to Hebrew for the rest of the book of Daniel.
There are also two Aramaic passages in the book known as Ezra-N'ḥemyah (Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:12-26), as well as one isolated verse in Yirm'yahu / Jeremiah (10:11) and the two words יְגַר שָׂהֲדוּתָא y'gar sahaduta (“evidentiary cairn”) in B'réshіt / Genesis 31:47, which is a direct translation into Aramaic of the Hebrew word גַּלְעֵד gal'éd.
NONE IN THE PSALMS.
Yet that person goes on to say "Unlike Greek, Ancient Hebrew is a language where a small vocabulary had to express a wide range of meaning. This means that Hebrew words and phrases can be interpreted numerous ways. The rabbis tried to find all the ways that one can interpret a passage, which is why Rabbinics is such a fun discipline."
This isn't a question of interpreting a word! This is an issue of saying a word in Hebrew is actually a word from a completely different language that is not part of the poem!
The Hebrew word for "son of" is בן (ben). בן (ben) is the noun and its smichut case is בן. Ben not bar...
For the sake of argument, let's say that this one word, out of ALL the Psalms was Aramaic. Does it mean "the son"?
The Christian translation is grammatically incorrect for Aramaic. There is no way it can be properly translated as "kiss the son" (or "do homage to the son") because the Aramaic for "the" is not in the text!
In Aramaic the word for "the son" is בְּרָא (b'ra) which is the noun and its smichut case is בר (bar).
The Christians translate the word בַר in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 as if it were the Aramaic noun for "the son."
The Aramaic בַר / bar is not "the son" that would be בְּרָא / b'ra. It isn't found in the psalm...
The א suffix in Aramaic often represents the definite article "the."
It is impossible to translate the phrase נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר as “kiss the son” because there is no definite article or accusative particle present!
Even if we bought that בַּר / bar in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 denotes “son” it would still have to be translated “kiss a son.”....
To be “kiss the son” it would have to be נַשְּׁקוּ אֶת הַבַּר or, using the Aramaic grammatical structure, נַשְּׁקוּ יַת בְּרָא.
But this is all silly because there are no Aramaic words at all in T'hillim / Psalm —not even loan-words.
If it were "the son" and was Aramaic, which it isn't, it would have to be בְּרָא (b'ra)-- and the word בַר / bar in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 does not have an א (alef) at the end, thus giving us the definitive article "the."
Just as in Hebrew the definitive article (meaning "the") is הַ (heh), in Aramaic the definitive article (meaning "the") is א (alef).
And remember T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 is בַר (bar) not בְּרָא (b'ra).
So IF this word (the ONLY one in the entire 150 psalms) was Aramaic it would not be "the son" it would simply be "a son" -- "kiss a son." That doesn't do much for the idea that this "fits" Jesus and thus the translators deceitfully translate it as "kiss THE son."
“Kiss the son” (again, remembering it would have to be Aramaic, not Hebrew) would have be either the phrase נַשְּׁקוּ אֶת הַבַּר or, using the Aramaic grammatical structure, נַשְּׁקוּ יַת בְּרָא.
But we know for a fact that even "kiss a son" is wrong because there are no Aramaic words at all in T'hillim / Psalms.
Why waste your time with such ignorant people?
Why would one word and only one word in T'hillim / Psalm 2 be in Aramaic?
Since it is not Aramaic and does not mean "son" what does בַר mean in this Psalm? It is part of a hyphenated word, נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר.
The verb נַשְּׁקוּ is the masculine plural imperative inflection in the pi'él paradigm of the root נשׁק.
The verb נשׁק has two possible meanings, one of which is to kiss and the other means to arm [with weapons].
The word בַר in Hebrew can refer to grain (B'reshit / Genesis 41:35) or clean / pure (Iyov / Job 11:4). See Uri's article Psalms 2:12 "Kiss the Son? Where is that Son of a Gun?"
The Stone T'nach translates נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 as “Yearn for purity” while the Judaica Press has “Arm yourselves with purity." Both are correct "kiss for purity" not making much sense -- context, context!
Someone wrote the following to me on my blog that my comments regarding Jesus are lashon hara / evil speech. She quoted a post of mine where I stated that Jesus showed "disrespect, petulance and even theft [which are] are the opposite of the messiah's. [behaviors]"
She wrote: "When did Jesus ever steal? Be bad tempered? Or be disrespectful? Before submitting a public article online you should be able to reference your claims. What about Ahavas Yisroel? To love our fellow Jew. What about Lashon Hora? Aren't your claims Lashon Hora? Were you there? Isn't this the same baseless hatred that Hashem allowed us to be exiled out of the land over, and have our temple destroyed? Maybe the Mashiach won't come until we mourn over the way we have treated Jesus, still treat him, a Jewish brother. Our religious leaders of the day handed him over to a goy governement who have no respect for Torah, and were one of, if not the most in-humane government of that time. Stick to presenting your case for your reasons why you think he is not the Messiah. You don't need to go further and insult a fellow Jew's character. How can you insult someone so easily that you have never met? Do you not read Chofetz Chaim?”
Ahavat Yisrael means "love for one's fellow Jews" and is a Torah commandment: “Love your fellow like yourself / וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ” (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:18). Indeed. We are also commanded a mere two lines before this mitzvah "You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account. / תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ, וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא." (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:16).
We are commanded to speak against missionaries and against those who not only do wrong, but worse yet encourage others to do wrong.
She mentions the Chofetz Chaim (19th century Poland) at the end of her remarks. He was a great believer in ethical speech – Jews are not to gossip or speak ill of fellow Jews. This is called lashon hara – evil speech.
She is misusing his teachings. It is not lashon hara if the intention is to correct a negative situation, and there is nothing more negative than Jews being enticed to leave G-d.
She needs to read the last chapter of the section Hilchot Lashon Hara in Sefer Chofetz Chaim. In it he has 17 numbered paragraphs discussing situations when speaking lashon hara for a constructive purpose is permitted. The first of these is speaking lashon hara to help others. The intention must for constructive intentions (numbers four and thirteen)… It is critical that we educate our fellow Jews who are led astray by missionaries.
Let's address her individual claims. She asked "When did Jesus ever steal?" Matthew 8:30-33, Jesus killed a drove of pigs who were privately owned. He did not repay the owner for their cost. Then there is Matthew 21:1-7 where Jesus tells his followers to steal a donkey without notifying the owner. That is theft. He didn’t buy the donkey, he didn’t even rent it – he stole it. “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me." Matthew 21:1. Just take them. Don't find out who owns them. Don't pay for them. Take them.
That is theft.
Then she asked "When was he bad tempered?" When wasn’t he? Matthew 23:33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” How about Matthew 15:26 where he calls a woman who asked him for help a dog? Jesus was bad tempered quite often! He even cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit OUT OF SEASON (Matthew 21:18-21, Mark 11:13-14). This is anger, theft and violence.
Jesus was also disrespectful to his parents (what happened to honor your parents?). Luke 2:48-49, Jesus ran away and didn’t tell his parents. . . .”His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” To honor your parents is a Torah commandment -- and one that Jesus often disregarded.
Jesus also showed disrespect to his mother in Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 3:30-34 “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. "Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50.
He encouraged others to disrespect their parents, too. Luke 9:59-60 has a tale of a man who wants to stay to bury his father and Jesus tells him to leave! Jews bury their dead within 24 hours. There was no reason other than disrespect that Jesus either couldn't wait for the man or say to him "follow the mitzvah and honor your father.” It is clear that Jesus told the man to not respect his father, but to leave the dead to "bury their own dead."
Far from being baseless hatred, we are commanded to hate the missionary and not be swayed by him. Quite a few of these 613 mitzvot are all found in the Torah, and here is the Rambam's listing of them in his Mishneh Torah:
The woman who wrote the comment to me should spend more time in studying Torah with a good rabbi. To equate countering attempts to lure Jews from Judaism with "evil speech" is the height of ignorance. It also shows a woeful lack of understanding Jewish law.
She also wrote “Our religious leaders of the day handed him over to a goy government.”
Highly unlikely. She is again showing complete ignorance of history -- both secular and Jewish.
The anti-Jewish Christian bible claims that Jewish religious leaders of the day handed Jesus over to the Romans who were unwilling to kill him.
This is patently false and anyone familiar with both Roman and Jewish histories of the time would know that.
The Christian bible was primarily a marketing tool to gain non-Jewish converts.
The so-called trial of Jesus (with its varying conflicting stories) found in the Christian bible is full of errors, not the least of which is that the Jews had lost the right to try anyone to a death penalty. It has the wrong person as the leader of the court and it has the court meeting on Passover Eve – something that would have never happened!
The high priest is said to be the head of the trial in the Christian bible.
The high priest never headed the Sanhedrin -- that role fell to Nasi (president) and the Av Beit Din (head of the Sanhedrin) -- both of whom were rabbis.
The Christian bible doesn't mention either one.
These pairs are all listed in the "Ethics of the Fathers" (Pirkei Avot). Gamaliel (who is mentioned in the Christian bible in Acts 5 is not mentioned at all in relation to Jesus' trial). Gamaliel was the Nasi of the Sanhedrin at the time.
Perhaps most telling of all is that while the Christian bible puts the blame on the high priest it ignores the fact that the Romans had selected the Jewish high priest!
The high priest Caiaphas was really a servant, or lackey of Rome, appointed by the legate or procurator to ensure local control of malcontents.
Most of the priests were hellenized -- and sided with the Romans. So far from the “Jews” turning Jesus over to the Romans you have a Roman puppet doing the Romans bidding – but let’s blame the Jews because we’re trying to convert the Romans to our new religion!
Something tells me that this woman says “our religious leaders” is not a Jew at all. She writes as if she is a Christian. Perhaps she was born a Jew but through a lack of Jewish education believes the falsehoods she wrote about in her comments to me.
The prophet Hosea wrote "My people has been eliminated for lack of knowledge; for you have spurned knowledge and I will spurn you from serving Me; and as you have forgotten the Torah of your G-d, I too, will forget your children." Hoshea / Hosea 4:6.
Since the person who made the comments to me found her way to this blog perhaps she will read a few of the posts and learn about Judaism. If she was born a Jew I can only hope that she does so, that she repents and returns to G-d. Soon it will be the High Holy Days -- a perfect time to repent and turn to G-d.
Someone asked: "I understand that for Jesus to be Mashiach Ben David, he has to be the son of Yosef. Many people have tried to explain to me the the genealogy from Luke is his legal lineage through Natan via yibum and they quote from anarticle written by Chabad website to verify this claim."
A link to the article "Is the Messiah a Descendant of King Solomon?"
Yibbum aka "levirate" (in Latin) is a mitzvah whereby an older brother may marry the widow of a younger brother if there was no male heir conceived in the deceased brother's marriage. This is done to allow inheritance to go to the deceased brother's widow's son while staying in the same tribe / family since the biological father is an elder brother to the deceased.
Does the article support the idea that King Solomon married his younger brother Nathan's widow and had a son by him who could be an ancestor to Joseph, Mary's husband (but not Jesus' actual biological father)?
Missionaries are distorting the article which itself states: G‑d singles out King Solomon (I Chronicles 22:9–10): Behold, a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace (shalom) from all his enemies around about, for Solomon (Shlomo) will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house in My name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
And later on, David states:
And of all my sons—for the L‑rd gave me many sons—He chose my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the L‑rd over Israel . . . (Ibid. 28:5)
When King David reaffirms that Solomon will reign after him, he is saluted with the expression, “Let my lord King David live forever” (I Kings 1:31), indicating that the eternal monarchy continues through Solomon.
In light of the above, the fact that Moshiach will be a descendant of both David and Solomon is part of the twelfth (of the thirteen) Jewish fundamental beliefs as outlined by Maimonides.
The article makes it clear that the messiah will be a descendant of Solomon, not Nathan or one of King David's other nine sons.
The missionaries attempt to find an excuse for Luke's bypassing Solomon and including Nathan's son in the lineage he gives for Joseph, Mary's husband (this even though Joseph was supposedly NOT Jesus father!).
They come up with the excuse that Nathan must have died childless (the only way a yibbum is permitted) and Solomon must have married Nathan's widow and fathered a son with her that eventually became the ancestor to the Joseph of the Christian bible.
Even though none of this is supported by either the Hebrew Bible or the Christian bible this is the excuse they try to use.
Let's not forget either that the messiah must not only be born from a line including David and Solomon, he must also fulfill the actual messianic prophecies (which Jesus never did) or he would not be the messiah no matter if he was descended from both men or not!
Ignoring the virgin birth -- which makes Joseph's lineage immaterial since tribal status is only passed down by a biological father of a given tribe married to a Jewish woman fathering children with her -- let's assume that Joseph actually got Mary pregnant and so his lineage has some value. Big assumption, but for the sake of this argument let's say that Joseph fathered Jesus...
Both of Joseph's lineages in the Christian bible disqualify him from being a messiah, including any of his children. One line goes through Jeconiah and the other through Nathan, not Solomon.
Matthew includes King Jeconiah in his lineage for Jesus and Joseph. Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 22:30 states that none of Jeconiah's heirs will ever be kings of the Jews. Thus by including Jeconiah in Jesus (and Joseph)'s lineages Matthew has just eliminated Jesus from the possibility of ever being an anointed (messiah) king of the Jews.
Luke has a completely different lineage for Joseph and says he was descended from King David's son Nathan, not Solomon, thus eliminating Joseph and his heirs from the kingly line.
Nathan is not the son G-d promises in Shmuel 2 / 2 Samuel 7 will build G-d’s house (the Temple) and through whom the throne will be established. This person was David’s son Solomon, not his son Nathan.
The Jewish bible is clear that the messiah must be a physical offspring of both David and Solomon on their father's side (paternally).
That throws Jesus out completely if one believes Luke's lineage since it bypasses Solomon.
What of the information on theChabad website regarding Nathan and a yibbum marriage?
Missionaries are misusing a Jewish source.
The Chabad makes it clear that in Kabbalah (which is mystical, not literal) there is the possibility that the messiah will have descended not from Nathan, but from Nathan's wife via a yibbum. Remember: to marry under the law of yibbum the widow must be of childbearing age and not have had an heir with her husband. This would seem to support the missionary argument -- but the Chabad article also made it clear that the messiah must be descended from Solomon, meaning he must be of the legal line of Solomon.
The Chabad article brings up a comment in the Zohar (Kabbalah) that Nathan, one of King David's youngest sons, died without a male heir and Solomon took her as one of his 700 wives (he also had 300 concubines). There is no biblical support for this idea, so it seems that the Zohar is using drash (non-literal story telling) to make a point. Here is a link to the Chabad which restates that the messiah must be descended from Solomon, not one of David's other sons.
The concept of yibbum / ייבום, sometimes called levirate (by non-Jews as it comes from Latin), speaks of a brother marrying his dead brother's wife. Same tribe, It is very important to note that in a yibbum (levirate marriage) both brothers must have the same FATHER. If there are two brothers who have the same mother but not the same father then it is not a yibbum marriage.
Any older brother of a deceased man may offer yibbum although most often it was the eldest brother. FYI, Solomon was NOT the eldest son of David. That honor belonged to Amnon, son of Jezreel. The second son was Chileab, son of Abigail... --
The fact is that it is ILLEGAL for a Jewish king to take part in a yibbun marriage so this Christian idea of a loophole to explain Luke's lineage bypassing Solomon and going through Nathan can be excused. The fact is that it is ILLEGAL for a Jewish king to take part in a yibbun marriage so this Christian idea of a loophole to explain Luke's lineage bypassing Solomon and going through Nathan can be excused.
The Talmud, Sanhedrin 2:2 -- this is the Mishna so this is not mere "opinion" -- it is Jewish law -- says a king is forbidden from marrying under yibbum:
"The mishna continues, enumerating the Jewish law pertaining to the king in similar matters: The king does not judge others as a member of a court and others do not judge him, he does not testify and others do not testify concerning him, he does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife, and he does not consummate yibbum marriage with his brother’s widow and his brother does not consummate yibbum marriage with his wife, as all these actions are not fitting to the honor of his office."
This is repeated twice again in the Talmud Sanhedrin 18a:5-10 "he (the king) does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife, and he does not consummate yibbum marriage with his brother’s widow and his brother does not consummate yibbum marriage with his wife, as all these actions are not fitting to the honor of his office."
It is repeated again in Sanhedrin 19b:1 - 2 repeats this "The mishna teaches that the king does not perform cḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform cḥalitza with his wife."
R' Y'huda disagreed with chazal, but they told him: "The Sages said to him: They do not listen to him if he desires to do so, as this affects not only his own honor but that of the kingdom. " The Talmud, Sanhedrin 2:2.
Commentary agrees: "No one hears him, that it is not only the honor itself but the honor of the kingdom." Steinsaltz Commentary and "because it is forbidden to marry." Rashi.
What is cḥalitza?
This is when a widow refuses a brother of her husband's offer of yibbum. This absolves a brother from having to marry a widow of a younger brother.
Likewise, if one brother receives chalitza from a widow of a younger brother all the brothers are absolved of any obligation to marry her.
The Rambam in his Mishneh Torah repeats what the Talmud has told us -- a king was forbidden from marrying via yibbum.
"Since he (the king) is not allowed to perform chalitzah, he is not eligible to participate in yibbum. Similarly, in the event of his death, since it is forbidden to initiate yibbum with his wife, chalitzah is also not performed for her. Rather, she must remain in her state of attachment forever." Mishneh Torah M'lachim uMilchamot - Chapter 2.
So much for the missionary thought that Luke's bypassing Solomon in favor of Nathan (which disqualifies the line from being a messiah) was because it was REALLY Solomon who had married Nathan's widow via yibbum.
Kabbalah is not literal and it most certainly does not "trump" the written or oral Torah.
Kings are forbidden from a yibbum marriage. This far reach to excuse Luke's mistake is, itself, a mistake.
Is it possible that King Solomon's younger brother, Nathan, died before having any sons? Sure. Is it possible that out of the eight brothers (Nathan was the 2nd to last son) older than Nathan didn't offer yibbum, but King Solomon did even though it went against Jewish law? Possible.
Is any of it likely?
Is any of it supported by anything in the Bible?
Luke goes on to name sons of Nathan in his lineage who are not named in the Bible as sons of Solomon so even the Christian bible does not support this far reach by missionaries to explain why Luke would bypass the REQUIREMENT that the messiah be a son of Solomon.
Just more attempts by missionaries to make excuses while completely ignoring both the Hebrew Bible and Jewish law.
Someone pointed out that Jews for Judaism remarked that over 500,000 Jews had converted to Christianity.
The entire reason that Jews for Judaism and this blog exist is because of the ongoing onslaught by Christians to convert uneducated Jews. Sadly far too many Jews are raised with little to no Jewish education. Many are raised entirely secular, with no religion at all. A major problem in America (in particular) is that so many of these people wind up marrying non-Jews. Since the majority of Americans are Christian they usually marry a Christian and in turn "convert" to Christianity as they raise their children. As to how many are actually religious compared to just converting to make a spouse happy or to "fit in" with mainstream America, it is hard to say...
It seems this person's point was that somehow conversions by Jews to Christianity "proved" that Christianity is viable or "more true" than Judaism. That leap in logic is ridiculous. Consider the following Pew Research information which shows Americans are leaving Christianity in droves.
Read "In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace"
"65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009."
Regarding Jews Pew Research reports: "Judaism is the largest faith group in America after Christianity, and its relative size in America has grown slightly since 2007, from 1.7 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 to 1.9 percent in 2014... When it comes to religious retention rates, American Jews come in third, retaining 75 percent of those raised Jewish...Sixty-five percent of American Jews who are married or living with a partner are with a Jew and 35 percent are with a non-Jew....But 17 percent of us have found Judaism: Seventeen percent of American Jews say they were raised in another religion. Six percent say they were raised unaffiliated, 4 percent as mainline Protestant, 3 percent as Catholic, and 2 percent each as evangelical and in some other religion."
While the Jewish statistics are depressing, the decline is primarily attributed to secular and less observant Jews, not to observant Jews. This is why the work we do here is so critical.
Converts to Christianity for reasons other than marriage or simply to "fit in" tend to be swayed by emotions -- either the "Christian love" they are shown by the missionaries trying to convert them, or sometimes a "personal revelation" that sways them emotionally to believe in Jesus. They only tend to try to support their conversion with "proof texts" after the fact, but I have yet to meet even one who converted based on studying Christianity and making an intellectual choice.
The Torah warns us to not be swayed by personal visions and revelations -- all religions except for Judaism are based on personal revelations. From the followers of Jesus reporting "third hand" on him being a god, to Mohammad to Joseph Smith of Mormon fame, all other religions are based on one or two people (or anonymous groups) having visions which they relay to followers. The Torah warns us against these personal experiences and tells us that G-d is testing our faith in Him. Judaism is the only religion based not on personal revelations, but on national revelation. G-d spoke to the entire nation (3 million people) and made a contract with us Jews -- warning us that any other religious experience we did not know at Sinai was false and not to be fooled by them.
D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:32-33: "You might inquire about times long past, from the day that G-d created man on earth, [exploring] one end of heaven to the other. Has there ever been anything like this great thing or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of G-d speaking from the midst of the fires as you have heard, and survived?"
Converts to Judaism from Christianity tend to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. They were often religious Christians or Muslims who begin to see the inconsistencies and errors in the Koran and Christian bible. They begin to research and search for G-d -- and they usually find him.
While fighting missionaries who spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try to convert Jews to Christianity is an ongoing battle, there is good news. Observant Jews are growing in numbers and thanks to kiruv (Jewish outreach) many Jews who were raised secular or with limited education are returning to Judaism. From "Will Your Grandchildren be Jewish?
Someone wrote: "I have a question please.
In Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 7:20 it says that there is no one without a sin, however the Gemara mentioned some people never committed a sin like Benjamin, Jesse, son of David and one more person which I forgot who he was. And it some interpretation chazal mention 11 people in total.
How can I understand this? Thank you ☺"
Jesse (Yishai) was David's father, not his son.
The Talmud, Bava Batra 17a says: "The Sages taught in a baraita: There were four people who died only because of the counsel of the primordial snake, in the wake of which all of humanity became mortal, and not on account of any personal sin. And they are: Benjamin, son of Jacob; Amram, father of Moses; Yishai, father of David and Kil’av, the son of David and Chileab, son of David. ."
A ברייתא / baraita recorded teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishna. The word ברייתא / baraita means "outside." They include teachings by the tanna’im not found in the Mishna. The Tanna'im were the authors of the Mishna.
The Gemara records conversations with all kinds of opinions. There are two basic types of conversation: midrash halacha (discussions around Jewish law) and midrash aggadah which are not meant to be taken literally -- they are there to teach a moral lesson through stories, sayings and jokes. You are trying to take something literally that is not literal.
Did these four men never sin? It seems highly unlikely since we all make mistakes and some sins fall under that category. So the Gemara here is trying to teach us something.
What is it trying to teach us?
Stop and think.
Who are these four men?
Were they anyone important in their own lives? Sure, Yishai fathered David and Amram father Moses -- but what did either accomplish other than fathering an important son?
The people who we're told didn't sin are NOT great Jewish leaders. It isn't Abraham. It isn't Moses. It isn't King David.
Rabbi Zevulun Charlap asked the question: "why are each of these four mentioned by stating who they are related to? Yishai (Jessie) is father to David, Binyamin is son of Jacob... "
By pointing out these relatively unknown people by comparing them to well known Biblical figures we can contrast them.
Do you honestly think that Binyamin was greater than his father Jacob?
Was Yishai greater than his son David?
Of course not.
Yet we know David sinned. Jacob sinned.
So the point may be that it is important to sin.
Now before you go crazy with that thought, stop and think -- David, Jacob -- these are some of the most important men in Jewish history -- in all of history. Moses himself was the greatest prophet to ever live!
So is it better to be Amram or Moses?
Binyamin or Jacob?
Should you live your life in a bubble and never sin, or should you take risks and do the best you can?
Who is the holier person in the end?
The Orthodox Union states: "Clearly, the Talmud wants us to compare each of these four individuals to a more well-known relative. When we do so, a striking truth emerges. Each of the four figures identified in the Talmud as having died “without sin” pales in comparison to a close relative who cannot make that claim. While some Midrashic traditions maintain otherwise [As we have noted before (see Unlocking the Torah Text on B'reishit), a spectrum of opinion exists within rabbinic thought concerning the potential fallibility of biblical heroes, some sages refusing to see any possible failing on the part of the heroes of the Torah and Tanach.], the straightforward reading of events indicates that Yaakov, Moshe and David certainly sinned, and that their sins are recorded for posterity in the Tanach and rabbinic literature. Nonetheless, their place in Jewish history is unsurpassed. In spite of faults and human failings, Yaakov remains the greatest of our patriarchs, (Midrash Sechel Tov Bereishit 33) Moshe the greatest of our prophets, (Devarim 34:10) David the greatest of our kings. (Midrash Tehillim Mizmor 1)
Is it preferable to be Binyamin or Yaakov, Amram or Moshe, Yishai or David, Kil’av or David? While all of these personalities were righteous men deserving of emulation, the Talmud’s answer is clear: Better to risk sin and rise to leadership than to remain unblemished in the shadows. (Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Vayikra,’ co published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers).
You asked about Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20. It says "there is no righteous person who never sins."
Righteous people sin. Sin is part of G-d's plan. G-d does not expect perfection -- He expects us to try, to fail, to pick ourselves up and to try again.
What does it mean?
Solomon, the author, is telling us how to be a wise person. One of his pieces of advice is to do everything in moderation. Solomon says that he spent his life pondering the meaning of everything and learned:
"I have seen everything in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in his wickedness. Be not overly righteous, and be not overly wise; why should you bring desolation upon yourself? Be not overly wicked, and be not a fool; why should you die before your time?" Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:15 - 17.
Solomon tries to make sense of the reality that wise / righteous people may not live longer than foolish / wicked people. He concludes that no one is perfect -- and this is the meaning of "there is no righteous person who never sins."
Since sin is just a normal part of living, so too must be t'shuvah (turning to G-d with repentance).
R' Moshe Chaim Luzzatto 1707 – 16 May 1746 (26 Iyar 5506), the RaMCHaL wrote:
“it is impossible for a person not to have shortcomings, regardless of whatever level of personal development he has otherwise attained. Whether these failings are a result of his nature, or his immediate or extended family, or whatever circumstances shaped him, or his choices in life. There is no righteous person on earth who does good and does not sin (Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20). These flaws prevent a person from self-aggrandizement, even if he is a person of great accomplishments, for the flaws are large enough to obscure them.”
Listen to the Talmud: don't spend your life in the shadows, never doing anything -- no sin but nothing great either. Take a risk or two, or three. You will stumble, but get up and try again -- and repent when you do something wrong. That is living -- not just existing!
Be aware of your actions -- and don't listen to what people may say about you for good or ill... When you do something wrong, fix it -- repent, make amends. Solomon goes on to say that he tested these thought in an attempt to become wise, but that it was beyond his reach. If it was beyond the reach of one of the wisest men to ever live, no doubt it is beyond mine as well...
Someone wrote "Shalom. I have a question regarding Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 98a. I have heard missionaries and other Christians states that the passage from that Tractate states that Mashiach can come on one of two ways. If the Jewish people merit redemption, he will come with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13) whereas if the Jewish people do not merit redemption, he will come humble on a donkey (Zech 9:9).
These Christians claim that 2000 years ago, the Jewish people did not merit redemption and therefore, Mashiach has to come as a humble man on a donkey. What is the response to this?"
Do you suppose the missionaries making that claim realize that this part of the Talmud was written hundreds of years AFTER the death of Jesus? For nearly 200 years the sages worked together to write down Jewish law so that it would not be forgotten. This Herculean effort, the מִשְׁנָה / Mishna, was finalized around 190 CE.
Jews being Jews, no sooner was the מִשְׁנָה / Mishna complete then the discussions began. These discussions were never about core matters of Judaism. Each and every single debate in the history of Jewish Law has been about a minor detail of the Torah. These discussions came to be written down and called the Gemara.
The passage in question is found in the Gemara.
The Babylonian Talmud was completed 500 years after Jesus -- including the Mishna and the Gemara. It was edited for the next 200 years...
So this discussion took place long after Jesus died and they were still discussing just "who" this messiah might be!
So much for this passage pointing to Jesus, he'd been dead for around 500 years!
The מִשְׁנָה / Mishna was created to be a "cheat sheet" for a learned person -- the writing was kept to a minimum and meant only to serve as a aid to faltering memories who were taught to memorize the oral mitzvot. It was necessary because Jews were living throughout the known world with a very large community in Babylon. These rules had been maintained in courts of law from generation to generation, but for fear that some would be lost they were written down.
There were details and discussions around the Mishna. These discussions may discuss the finer points of Jewish law (מִדְךְשׁי הֲלָכָה / Midrash Halacha), but there are also stories and humor as well.
These stories, humor and more are all part of מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah. מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah is not prophecy or meant to be taken literally. . . a word or sentence is lifted from the bible to make a moral point. However, prophecy is NEVER based on these flights of fancy.
The missionaries are taking story telling -- humor -- and trying to present it as if the messiah will either come from the clouds (which is ridiculous since this was a VISION in Daniel and the messiah will be a normal human) or lowly and humbly...
This is wrong, and it is deceitful. Whether or not the missionaries misusing this passage realize they are distorting it is open to question. Most of them probably do not know anything about the Talmud or Judaism let alone מִדְרַשׁ־אַגָּדָה / Midrash Aggadah.
The modern resource The Encyclopedia Judaica says this about :אַגָּדָה / aggadah: "The aggadah comprehends a great variety of forms and content. It includes narrative, legends, doctrines, admonitions to ethical conduct and good behavior, words of encouragement and comfort, and expressions of hope for future redemption. Its forms and modes of expression are as rich and colorful as its content. Parables and allegories, metaphors and terse maxims; lyrics, dirges, and prayers, biting satire and fierce polemic, idyllic tales and tense dramatic dialogues, hyperboles and plays on words, permutations of letters, calculations of their arithmetical values (gematria) or their employment as initials of other words (notarikon) – all are found in the aggadah."
The point of this passage is that no one knows who the messiah will be or when he will come -- he could be rich, he could be poor... in every generation lives a man who could be the messiah if we warrant him...
Yet again missionaries are distorting Jewish teachings. Big surprise! Isn't it interesting how they ignore the parts that refute Christianity? Also in Sanhedrin 98a is the passage "Ze’eiri says that Rabbi Ḥanina says: The son of David will not come until the arrogant will cease to exist from among the Jewish people, as it is stated: “For then I will remove from your midst your proudly exulting ones” (Zephaniah 3:11)."
This discussion of "when will the messiah comes" is recorded hundreds of years after Jesus died.
The criteria mentioned by R' Ze'eiri is the opposite of the time of Jesus when there were many different divisions among the Jewish people who arrogantly fought each other -- leading to the eventual destruction of the Temple in 68 CE due to baseless hatred of Jew against Jew.
Thus Jesus could not be the messiah just based on this one sentence in Sanhedrin 98a if the missionaries were to seriously accept any of it!
Who will be the messiah? No one knows.
How long will the messianic era last? No one knows:
The point of the discussion in Sanhedrin 98 (a and b) is not to waste your time endlessly speculating as to when the messiah will come, or who he might be, or even how long it may last. He will come when he comes -- whether by our merit or by G-d's timeline...
For a shiur on the daf (Sanhedrin 98a) visit Yeshiva University Torah Online.
For a point by point outline of the daf visit Daf Yomi.
Someone asked "what is Holy Water?"
A Christian myth. Christians think that a priest (or minister) "blessing" water for baptism makes it holy. As if.
Water is used in Judaism for ritual cleansing, but there is no such thing as "holy water."
There is the מַיִם קְדֹשִׁים / mayim kodeshim -- waters of holiness or sanctified waters -- water which was used by the priests in the Temple to wash their hands and feet. It was also used to test a woman who had committed adultery if she wanted to return to her husband.
In the case of adultery a husband divorces his wife. She is then free to re-marry. When a divorced woman remarries her status as a divorcee does not affect in any way how she is to be treated by her new husband.
If she wants to return to her husband then she must "drink the bitter waters" (Bamidbar / Numbers 5) from the washstand in the Temple (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:17). This is done by her to declare that she was wrongfully accused of adultery.
The washstand containing this water was made of the mirrors of the righteous women (Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8: "He made the copper washstand and its copper base out of the mirrors of the dedicated women who congregated at the entrance of the Communion Tent.").
This washstand in the Temple was used by the priests for ritual bathing of their hands and feet (Sh'mot / Exodus 30:18 - 21). The washstand / kiyyor / כִּיּוֹר resembled a large kettle with two spigots for washing. Later it had 12 spigots... (no doubt to accommodate more priests at one time).
In Bamidbar / Numbers 5:17 we are told these are: מים קדשים / waters of holiness. A bitter substance was added to the water to test the woman -- she had to declare that she had not committed adultery and drink the "bitter waters" as a test of her honesty.
From Torah.org: "Adultery - Sotah If a woman is deliberately unfaithful to her husband she becomes forbidden to him and he must divorce her, as it says "Her first husband... cannot take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled"1,a; and she is also forbidden to marry the man with whom she was unfaithful. If a man tells his wife before witnesses that she must not be alone with someone and she disobeys, she also becomes forbidden to both of them. When the Temple exists she can (if they wish) return to her husband by performing the ceremony of drinking the "bitter waters", as it says "If a man's wife strays... he shall bring his wife to the priest and bring her sacrifice with her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour; he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it... and [the priest] shall make the woman drink the bitter water...".2,b It is a man's duty to be particular about the habits of the members of his household and to warn them against sin, as it says "And you shall know that your tent is at peace and you shall examine your habitation and not sin."
The water used for this purpose is called מים קדשים / waters of holiness.
Rashi wrote מים קדשים water of holiness -- water that has become holy through being in the washstand / kiyyor / כִּיּוֹר — because that washstand was made of the copper mirrors of the [holy] women who had gathered (Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8) [at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting] and this woman [accused of adultery] deviated from her chaste ways. Because the [holy] women [who donated their finery to make this washstand] had cherished their husbands’ love in Egypt (Rashi, Sh'mot / Exodus 38:8), while this woman [accused of adultery] gave herself over to another in depravity, the [suspected adulteress] was to be examined through [the test of bitter waters] (Bamidbar / Numbers Rabbah 9 :14).
Someone asked "Good morning Sophie just want to ask for a certain debate question with an atheist he ask for a scenario like this what if comes a person who is good and has not been a violent person then comes to a situation where a person created a huge lie for him and then with that lie the good person didn't reacted immediately he waited for several year and has decided to act for it not knowing that it was a lie and has committed a sin for it will the person who once innocent and now became a sinner be punish for that act he did or will it be to the person who created that lies and fooled the innocent person not knowing the exact truth."
The definition of sin in the Hebrew Bible is a חֵטְא / cheit. It means a mistake -- a missing of the mark. You tried to do the right thing and "missed." The word itself comes from the concept of an archer who aims his arrow at a target, and misses.
So a person who is lied to and as a result makes a mistake -- they do not intentionally do anything wrong -- is (in a sense) the very definition of the word.
In Judaism we believe that when we sin against another person the responsibility to make things right lays with the person we wronged. In your example he should seek the person who was wronged and try to make things right. There needs to be sincerity -- which in this instance should certainly be present.
If the person refuses to forgive then he should try at least 3 times, and if the person still does not forgive him the onus is now on that person (the sin).
If the sin was to G-d (he broke a mitzvah that would be classified as a sin, such as not taking a ritual bath at the right time or not eating from a kosher dish if he is Jewish) then he should correct the mistake (make sure dishes in the future are kosher and ensure he immerses in a mikvah as appropriate) and he should repent (seek forgiveness from G-d sincerely, intending to not repeat the sin)...
Now "sin" is a mistake, an unintentional error. There are intentional wrongdoings (these are not "sin") some of which are minor and some of which are not. The worst of these (when it comes to G-d) would be not only intentional -- so there is no way your supposed example fits -- but they must be done in defiance of G-d Himself. This is called a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע.
Even in the case of something as serious as a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע (which could include willfully murdering someone in defiance of G-d, knowing that G-d forbids taking a life needlessly) there are human ramifications (courts of law, penalties) and heavenly judgments.
Are there some evils that are so horrible G-d won't forgive a person, even one who sincerely repents? Well, some can only be truly forgiven by death itself (by G-d). We believe the immortal soul is without evil or what you might term "sin", and it is the human condition -- the physical needs -- that result in us doing bad things when we over indulge human requirements (the need for shelter becomes the need to have the fanciest house you can get)...
A person who has been evil in life may feel tormented when faced with what they did in this world, but that is self-inflicted pain by the recognition... There is no hell, no eternal damnation even for someone who has been truly evil. The truly evil might have their eternal soul removed from their individuality.
The Christian bible seems to think that you need blood for your sins to be forgiven. At the Last Supper Jesus says: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins," Matthew 26:28. See also Luke 22:20 and John 6:54.
This is not true.
Blood is not the sole means of atonement. There is atonement through repentance (Shmuel II / II Samuel 12:13-14, Yonah / Jonah 3:10, Vayikra / Leviticus 26:40-42, Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32, 33:11-16), kindness (Mishlei / Proverbs; 16:6, Daniel 4:24), prayer (Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3, Melachim I / I Kings 8:46-50, Daniel 9:19), removal of idolatry (Yeshayahu / Isaiah. 27:9), punishment (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1, Eichah / Lam. 4:22), death (Is. 22:14), flour offerings (Vayikra / Leviticus 5:11-13), money (Sh'mot / Exodus. 30:15), jewelry (Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50), and incense (Bamidbar / Numbers 17:11-12).
Someone asked: "Someone asked "In Shoftim 14:6, 14:19, 15:14, speaks about ruach HaShem coming over Samson , what is the difference between that and the ruach HaKodesh (spirit of holiness)? "I understand it is God and not a separate entity or anything christian life but why the difference, I see one giving the person strength and the other one being used for prophecy in visions...
In Shmuel 10:6 it says: "And they came there to the hill, and behold, a band of prophets (came) toward him, and the spirit of God passed upon him, and he prophesied in their midst. "If the ruach HaShem is not for prophesying wouldn't that go against this statement?"
The term RU'ah ha-kodesh includes the word "the" (which רוּחַ יְיָ RU'ah hashem does not). רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶש / RU'ah HaKodesh should be translated as "a spirit of [the] holiness" or "a spirit of [the] sanctity." Christians often mistranslate it as "holy spirit" but in literal translation it is "spirit [of] the holiness."
The term רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶש / RU'ah HaKodesh does not appear in the Hebrew bible.
The other term you mentioned, רוּחַ יְיָ / RU'ah Hashem means a spirit of G-d, which is similar in meaning to the term שְׁכִינָה Sh'chinah, or "Holy Presence."
So one term is a spirit of holiness the other is a spirit of G-d...
The prophets, judges, and Samson were endowed with the "spirit of G-d", that is often referred to in translations as "a spirit of the Divine Presence."
This aspect of רוּחַ (RU'ah) relates to inspiration - the endowment of "spirit" from G-d to a person confers extraordinary gifts (prophecy, wisdom, strength, etc.) on such a person. Y'shayahu / Isaiah 63:10-11 and T'hillim / Psalms 51:13 are relevant examples.
Being connected to G-d and inspired by Him is lower than prophecy. Prophecy is G-d communicating directly with a human. For prophecy to happen you need both, where with only a spirit of holiness that direct communication is not present.
The T'nach (Hebrew Bible) is broken into 3 major divisions, each one with a lesser level of connectednesss to G-d. In Torah Moses communicated directly with G-d as we might have a conversation one on one.
In Nevi'im (Prophets) G-d communicated with the prophets directly, but not "one on one" (face to face), but through dreams and visions -- a step away from the prophecy of Moses.
Prophecy (remember) is direct communication with G-d with a message the prophet is to relay to the then living generation... The communication to their own generation is a key part of prophecy...
Then there is the third part of the T'nach: Ketuvim (Writings). This is not prophecy. These were all written by humans in their own words, but inspired and connected to G-d. Very holy people wrote those works, many of whom were prophets (but were not prophesying here)...
For prophecy to exist you must be a very holy person. In his Mishneh Torah the Rambam (Maimonides) wrote
"Prophecy is bestowed only upon a very wise sage of a strong character, who is never overcome by his natural inclinations in any regard. Instead, with his mind, he overcomes his natural inclinations at all times. He must [also] possess a very broad and accurate mental capacity...if he possesses an accurate mental capacity to comprehend and grasp [them], he will become holy.
"When a prophet is informed of a message in a vision, it is granted to him in metaphoric imagery. Immediately, the interpretation of the imagery is imprinted upon his heart, and he knows its meaning." Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Seven.
Prophecy itself is direct communication from G-d with a message for the then living generation... You may be very holy, you may be of strong character and all the rest -- you may be connected even to the spirit of His Presence... and still prophecy may or may not be present...
Having an ability is not the same as something actually happening.
It's a bit like saying a female between the ages of 15 and 35 can become pregnant. It doesn't mean she is pregnant... It simply means that the environment is correct for pregnancy to happen.
With someone imbued with a spirit of connectedness to G-d you have the right environment for prophecy. This doesn't ensure that G-d will actually communicate with that person directly which is the very definition of prophecy.
Being inspired by the spirit of G-d simply means that the environment is correct for prophecy to happen...
The Rambam describes the nature of prophecy, follow the link.
No, a mamzer cannot become a kohein (priest). The child of adultery between a kohein (or incest) falls under forbidden sexual acts and any resulting children would be considered ממצרים / mamzerim. Jewish priests have many prohibitions on whom they may marry (more on that momentarily)...
A mamzer / ממזר is the result of a couple whose sexual relationship is forbidden by the Torah and punishable by kareit or death. The term "bastard" is an inaccurate translation as "bastard" has to do with a child born out of wedlock. There is no such term in Judaism.
The word mamzer / ממזר comes from mum / מוּם = defect, and זָר = alien, stranger. (Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin).
What relationships are forbidden? The Torah forbids sexual relations between:
Most issues with being a mamzer relate to whom he or she may marry. A mamzer may only marry converts to Judaism, eved (servants / slaves) fellow mamzerim, and their descendants who are also mamzerim.
Of course mamzers are not damned -- in fact in some ways their souls are considered holier than those of ordinary Jews. The Talmud tells us: "a mamzer, who, notwithstanding his status, is considered a brother." Yevamot 22b. Yet it is also true that the mamzer has no genealogy, hence is called mamzer, thus there is no right to inherit any tribal status.
Although כֺּהֵן (kohein) is used to speak of the descendants of Aaron and is often translated as "priest" it can refer to others as well.
Although כֺּהֵן (kohein) is often translated as "priest" it is closer in meaning to a minister -- and is used in the T'nach to speak of government ministers (rulers): "And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of the famine set in, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti phera, the governor / כֹּהֵן / kohein of On, bore to him." B'reshit / Genesis 41:50.
Most Christian translations erroneously have "priest of On" -- but the Hebrew word אוֹן on is not a place “force” or “power” and was used by Jacob when he blessed his son Reuven in B'reshit / Genesis 49:3, "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the first of my might. [You should have been] superior in rank and superior in power.").
"And Benayahu the son of Yehoyada [was over] the archers and the slingers; and David's sons were chief officers / כֹּהֲנִ֥ים / kohanim." Shmuel Beit / 2 Samuel 8:18.
Speaking specifically of the "priests" (the descendants of Aaron who ministered the Temple) they have many marriage prohibitions. They can't marry a divorcee, a prostitute, a convert, or a dishonored woman (חֲלָלָה / chalalah) See Vayikra / Leviticus 21:7.
If a kohein married a disqualified person (including a mamzer) he would lose his priestly duties and could not serve. It is permitted for a convert to marry the daughter of a priest, since women with a priestly father were not prohibited from marrying those disqualified for the priesthood.
The term mamzer does not refer to the child of two unmarried individuals who could theoretically marry -- hence it does NOT mean "bastard."