Is The Oral Torah Binding On Anyone?
If we disagree with the Written Torah
we just reinterpret it our way, Orally.
The Oral Torah. Is It Binding?
It is prohibited to add to, subtract from, or
change the meaning of, His Holy Scriptures.
Circular Reasoning: An attempt to support a statement by simply repeating the statement in different or stronger terms. In this fallacy, the reason given is nothing more than a restatement of the conclusion that poses as the reason for the conclusion.
What I am going to do today, is review a tape I heard recently on 'The Oral Torah', and I will only hit the highlights of the tape's message, to establish who is speaking, and what his goals are, and then we will come to the main subject of the tape, which is The Oral Torah.
I will be skipping around the tape somewhat, to enable me to stick to the main points of this study. I will be using the book 'Their Hollow Inheritance', to answer all the questions and arguments made on the tape, due to the tape making extensive use of it. It is most important that you understand the fallacy of The Oral Torah, and that it is not binding on Israel anciently, or today. Therefore, this is the topic of today's study. The words of the tape and book will be red; while my commentary and highlights will be black, or bold, respectively.
"We're going to continue with the discussion we had last week about differences between Christianity and Judaism. We want to look at a very central issue, a very basic issue, foundational, which is the make-up of the program itself. We're going to see that one of the major differences between Christianity and Judaism is in its understanding of the revelation of 'God.'
"The basic difference is that, according to traditional Jewish teachings, when Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai and heard from 'God,', the entire revelation at Sinai was not exhausted in the writing down of the five books of Moses. The Christian understanding is that the entire revelation of 'God' is included in the five books of Moses and then is further developed in the books of the prophets.
"The traditional Jewish understanding is, that when the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai, there was a lot more that 'God' revealed to them than just the five books of Moses. This is actually a very crucial issue, because it affects the nature of the data we are using. The Christian claim is that there was no oral tradition given, no oral transmission by 'God' at Mount Sinai. The Jewish tradition is that 'God' revealed to us many things at Mount Sinai that were not written down in the Bible.
"So it is a question of the oral Law, whether there's an oral Torah, is it for real? Did it take place at Mount Sinai? Or is it something added on much later by Rabbi's? There are a number of places in the Bible where it becomes very clear that the transmission by 'God' at Sinai, if it was limited simply to the written text, would that be adequate? If you would take the Bible seriously, and try to live by its rules, try to open the Bible and determine how does 'God' desire for you to live, what is "God's" will in any given situation, you would quickly see that the Jewish Bible, the written text of the five books of Moses, is incredibly inadequate, very vague, it doesn't really explain itself, and it would be useless as a revelation.
"In the book of (Deuteronomy chapter six), the Jewish people are told to "Love the 'LORD' your 'God' with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might and these words I command you this day shall be in your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up."
"These are the words of the Shema and the Bible says 'You shall bind them for a sign upon your hand and it shall be as frontlets between your eyes.' You shall bind up what for a sign upon your hand? How do you bind them? In what manner? When is this done? A person that was serious about fulfilling the laws of 'God,' a person that was concerned about fulfilling what it says in the Bible would be stuck, for we have no idea what it means 'to be frontlets between your eyes.' What are frontlets between your eyes? It's a very, very meaningless term. Our supposition is, that when 'God' gives commands in the Bible, He's not just being coy, or mysterious, or being tricky, He's not giving us the Bible, or a law, which we have to scratch our heads and not understand. Our presumption is that 'God' will be clear in communicating His will.
"In (Leviticus 23), the Bible speaks about Atonement, Yom Kippur, and the Bible says on this day we have to afflict our souls. How do you afflict your souls? This is a commandment of 'God.' It is not clear how you would fulfill this law, and 'God' is giving this as a very important law.
"The Bible goes on in (Leviticus 23), and says the next holiday in the Jewish calendar year is the Feast of Tabernacles and the Bible says on the 15th day of the seventh month, that we are to take the boughs of a 'goodly' tree, the fruit of a beautiful tree. What is the fruit of a beautiful tree? Is it up for grabs? Does 'God' say you can celebrate this holiday by picking the fruit of your choice? Not likely. Usually, 'God' does not leave things up to our desecration.
"(Deuteronomy 12) says 'If the place which the 'Lord' your 'God' has chosen to place His name there, be too far from you, then you shall kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you." Here the Bible is speaking about the laws of eating kosher meat, and the Bible says if we desire to eat kosher meat, to eat meat that is OK to be eaten, we have to slaughter the animal as 'God' commanded us. The problem here is very clear. If you were to go to prior written text of the Bible, is there a commandment on how to slaughter meat, how to slaughter an animal? The answer is No. "Slaughter the animal as I have commanded you." Where is the commandment 'God' gave us? How were we commanded to slaughter animals? Do you bash it over the head with a sledge hammer? Here, the Bible says, was a command that 'God' gave us. Where is the command on the methodology of slaughtering meat?
"(Numbers 8) describes the building of the menorah in the temple. This work of the candlestick, which was a beaten gold unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof with beaten work according to the pattern which the Lord had showed Moses. That's a really strange verse! When you open your Bible at home, there are no pictures in it. When you open a Torah scroll in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, there are no pictures. It says here that 'God' had shown Moses the pattern of how to make the menorah, the candlestick. We don't have access to that diagram. So, clearly, there was information that Moses was given that we don't have access to. There was more to the revelation than simply what we read in the five books of Moses.
We are going to cover all the scriptures he just mentioned, however I'm going to jump forward in the tape to the critical part, where he fully explains what The Oral Torah is, and I'll cover the main issue of the problem with the oral Torah, and why it is not something that we need to be concerned with.
"'God' did explain to Moses how we are to keep the Laws. Don't do any work on the Sabbath. He explained precisely the 39 categories of labor we are not to engage in.
"Without the oral Torah the Jewish people are subject to spiritual larceny. It would be possible for any group of people to take our Torah and say 'We're the real Jews. We have the Torah, we're reading it, we're interpreting it, and we say that we're living by the Torah properly.' Which actually happens in the terms of Christianity. Christians took our Torah and claim to be the true Jews. That would only be possible if there was no such thing as an oral Tradition. If all we had was a written Bible, then it is possible for any other group to purloin the Torah and claim to be the true teachers! But the fact of the matter is, we the Jewish people, have a secret key for unlocking the Jewish scriptures, the Jewish Bible, that's the oral Tradition.
"That's not public domain, not public access. You need to get that from a teacher. You can't just walk off the street and get the secret knowledge. You have to be a master, you have to become worthy, it is just not passed out publicly. The oral Torah is only accessible to people who are part of the system. It is a mechanism to prevent people from ripping off the Jewish Traditions.
Did you get that? He said it is a mechanism to prevent the people from ripping off the Jewish Traditions! Keep that in mind, that is very, very important, the Jewish Traditions.
"Now we come to a situation where we don't know how to apply the Torah. What do we do at that point? We're living a Torah life, we're living according to the Torah, we have a big problem, so what are we to do when we have a question? There are two possibilities. One possibility is, OK, we're stuck, what do we do?
"A Christian might say, "Well, if you have a question, you pray to 'God' and 'God' will tell you the answer." 'God' doesn't say that. In Deuteronomy 17 'God' says the following, "If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment between blood and blood), between plea and plea, between stroke and stroke (damages), between matters of controversy within your gates (any kind of question that comes up)
Where is he headed with this? He's headed in the direction that he's going to say that the Rabbis have the authority to interpret the scriptures. But let's just go back and pick that one up in the Tanakh:
(Deuteronomy 17:8-11) (ISV) (Tanakh) 8If a case is too difficult for you to decide with respect to bloodshed, civil claims, assault and battery, or other matters of dispute within your courts, bring it to the place that the ETERNAL your SOVEREIGN will choose. 9Present the case to the Levitical priest or the judge at that time. When you have inquired and they have announced the verdict, 10carry out the verdict that was declared to you at the place that the ETERNAL will choose. Carefully observe all of their instructions to you 11in accordance with what the Law says and in accordance with the verdict that will be handed to you. You must not deviate from the verdict that they declare to you either to the right or to the left.
Notice that this is a problem of civil matters between individuals, there is no mention here that the Levites (Rabbis now) have the authority to make decisions that affect the Law. Our CREATOR set the Law and what it says is what it says and no human can change it. The subject of Deuteronomy is how the Supreme Court operates.. If two people have a controversy over a capital case, a civil law, or damages they take it to the judge. If the judge can't decide the controversy, then he takes it to the Levite. The Levite, in the civil cases, is the Supreme Court. But the Levite, nor the Rabbi, have any authority to change or "reinterpret" any of the Laws that are written in The Holy Scriptures. Back to the tape:
"Then you shall arise and get thee to the place which the 'Lord' thy 'God' has chosen, and you shall come unto the priests and the Levites and unto the judge that will be in those days, and inquire, and they shall show you the sentence of judgment. And you shall do according to the sentence which they of the place which the Lord shall choose, show you, and you shall observe to do according to all that they inform you, according to the sentence of the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do. You shall not decline from the sentence which they shall show you, from the right hand nor to the left hand.
"The Hanukkah is a good case. A great miracle happens to the Jewish people, and now the question, Do we make this a holiday? Do we commemorate this miracle by some religious observance? They didn't go to 'God' and say "'God' shall we make a holiday called Hanukkah?" They take it up with the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court, and if the Sanhedrin says "Yes, this miracle warrants some kind of a celebration." That's why we celebrate Hanukkah, because 'God' gave the sages, the Supreme Court, the authority to rule in cases of questionable situations. Now, in the New Testament 'Jesus' says the exact same thing.
There are two points of interest here. Number one is that Hanukkah is a tradition, Hanukkah is not a law. It is a tradition that was established by the Sanhedrin, by the Rabbis. It is not a law, it is a tradition.
The other thing that is of interest is that he goes on, in the tape, to use 'Jesus Christ' in the NT to back up what he is saying about the Rabbis having the authority. And I will grant you, the Rabbis or the Sanhedrin, if it were here, would definitely have the authority to make changes in Jewish Tradition. But they do not have the authority to add or subtract one whit from the words of the Creator.
To prove that in scripture, notice the following:
(Deuteronomy 4:2) (KJV) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the ETERNAL your CREATOR which I command you.
Be careful to observe only that which I enjoin upon you: neither add to it nor take away from it:
(Deuteronomy 12:32) (KJV) What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Every word of the CREATOR is pure, a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He indict you and you be proved a liar:
(Proverbs 30:5-6) (KJV) 5Every word of the CREATOR is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 6Add thou not unto His words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Nobody has the authority to re-interpret the Scriptures, nobody has the authority to change one word of what the Creator has written. In addition to that, nobody is trying to rip off the tradition of the Jews. In fact, the last thing that I can think that I would want to be a part of, is an activity that would want to rip the Jewish people of their traditions. But the key to remember is that this is Jewish traditions, that is not the Law of the CREATOR.
I welcome you to the second potion of the message today. First I want to give you a little background on my evolution into the position that Christianity is a false religion.
When I realized that the New Testament was just a product of the Roman Catholic Church then I understood that modern Christianity, in total, was just a watered down enlightened version of the ancient religion of Mithra. By enlightened I mean that they had traded the actual religious sexual practices for symbols and adopted a Judiazed version of Mithraism against the back drop of The Holy Scriptures (Old Testament).
If any of you have any problems with that statement I would refer you to 'Babylon Mystery Religion' and 'Mystery Babylon and the lost ten tribes in the end time'.
My next question that I asked myself was, "Now what?" I would guess that most all of us have asked ourselves that same question. I would also guess that many of us thought, as I first thought, "Judaism must the true religion since they proclaim to worship the one true CREATOR and believe that He is one."
The other speaker had those same thoughts that I did so we decided to attend a Jewish Synagogue. Before the day was over we both readily agreed that Judaism was not the answer. Why? There are many reasons but the first one that I will cover is the oral Torah.
A few weeks ago I went through Chapter Three of 'Their Hollow Inheritance' but I want to go back through it today because nearly everything that was mentioned on the tape is also covered in the book. So we will take it slowly and go through it.
Their Hollow Inheritance.
The Jews are quite defensive of their religion of Judaism as most every body is of their own religion. The Jews go to great effort to refute what they call "Christian Missionaries" who are trying to "convert" Jews from Judaism to Christianity. But on the other hand in their efforts to refute Christians they are also trying to proselyte members to their own religion as most all religions do.
The problem for us is that we have left one camp, the camp of Christianity, and must be careful of what we read or hear, to not be sucked into the other camp, that being Judaism. I say this because the Jews condemn the "Christian Missionaries" of "proof-texting" (taking things out of context to prove a point) yet as we shall see they are as guilty of "proof-texting" as those they condemn.
The first item on the agenda is the book 'Their Hollow Inheritance' by Michael Drazin, published by G.M. Publications, Safed, Israel, Chapter Three "The Oral Tradition".
Reading from Chapter Three in the book he says:
"In the first chapter, Christian authorities were quoted as stating that the New Testament was based on hearsay and conflicting traditions, and was composed, canonized, and made public long after the events depicted therein allegedly occurred.
"In direct contrast, the Torah was written and transmitted to the entire
Jewish nation by Moses himself:
That should be, to the entire Israelite nation by Moses himself, rather than just the Jewish people. As we go down through this, we're going to see that their renditions of this subject have not been lily-white. The first scripture that he goes to is:
(Deuteronomy 31:9) (KJV) And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the ETERNAL, and unto all the elders of Israel.
Unless noted verses will be from (The Tanakh), The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985. Since it is produced by the Jewish Publication Society they can hardly take issue with what it states. Back to the book:
"The Jewish nation [that should be the Israelite nation] that stood at Mount Sinai dedicated itself to the study of the Torah, [now if you think that worshipping a golden calf is dedicating themselves to the study of the Torah, OK.] as have its descendants throughout the generations, in fulfillment of the following verse:
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7) (KJV) 6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
"Moses furthermore instructed that the Torah be read [keep that in mind, be read, and we're talking about oral Tradition] before the entire nation every seven years:
(Deuteronomy 31:10-12) (KJV) 10And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles 11When all Israel is come to appear before the ETERNAL thy CREATOR in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the ETERNAL your CREATOR, and observe to do all the words of this law: [Emphasis is the author's].
Then he says:
"One thousand years later, this practice was still in effect:
Well we will see if it was still in effect. To prove this statement he quotes:
(Nehemiah 8:1) (KJV) And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the ETERNAL had commanded to Israel.
(Nehemiah 8:3) (KJV) And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.
(Nehemiah 8:8) (KJV) So they read in the book in the law of 'God' distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
They would read it, and then explain what it meant. Mr. Drazin's statement "still in effect" is not quite accurate and is an example of "proof-texting" for if we continue and read verses 13-18 of the same chapter we will see differently:
(Nehemiah 8:13-18) (KJV) 13And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 14And they found written in the law which the ETERNAL had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. 18Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
"On the second day, the heads of the clans of all the people and the priests and Levites gathered to Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Teaching. They found written in the Teaching (Nehemiah 8:13-14)
They found it written in the teaching, but they had no idea about it, until they found it written in the teaching.
"They found written in the Teaching that the ETERNAL had commanded Moses that the Israelites must dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month, and that they must announce and proclaim throughout all their towns and Jerusalem as follows, (Nehemiah 8:14-15)
In the tape when he quoted that verse, he used the KJV that says "goodly trees". Well "goodly trees", the Tanakh says, are leafy branches.
"Go out to the mountains and bring leafy branches of olive trees, pine trees, myrtle, palms and [other] leafy trees to make booths, as it is written." (Nehemiah 8:15)
Now we can plainly see, that there is no oral law here. It says we are to make booths, as it is written. In addition since they did not yet have the KJV there was no confusion over what are "goodly trees."
"So the people went out and brought them, and made themselves booths on their roofs, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the House of ELOHEIM, in the square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Ephraim Gate. The whole community that returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths, (Nehemiah 8:16-17)
Mr. Drazin's says, now notice this, he says "THIS PRACTICE WAS STILL in effect" but now notice what the rest of verse 17 states:
(Nehemiah 8:17) (KJV) And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
"the Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun to that day, and there was very great rejoicing. (Nehemiah 8:17)
Mr. Drazin's statement "still in effect" is not quite accurate and this is an example of "proof-texting" as we will see by reading (Nehemiah 8:13-17) in context we will see differently:
(Nehemiah 8:13-17) (GNT) 13The next day the heads of the clans, together with the priests and the Levites, went to Ezra to study the teachings of the Law. 14They discovered that the Law, which the ETERNAL gave through Moses, ordered the people of Israel to live in temporary shelters during the Festival of Shelters. 15So they gave the following instructions and sent them all through Jerusalem and the other cities and towns: Go out to the hills and get branches from pines, olives, myrtles, palms, and other trees to make shelters according to the instructions written in the Law. 16So the people got branches and built shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the Temple courtyard, and in the public squares by the Water Gate and by the Ephraim Gate. 17All the people who had come back from captivity built shelters and lived in them. This was the first time it had been done since the days of Joshua son of Nun, and everybody was excited and happy.
On the second day, the heads of the clans of all the people and the priests and Levites gathered to Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Teaching. They found written in the Teaching that the ETERNAL had commanded Moses that the Israelites must dwell in booths during the festival of the seventh month, and that they must announce and proclaim throughout all their towns and Jerusalem as follows, "Go out to the mountains and bring leafy branches of olive trees, pine trees, myrtle, palms and [other] leafy trees to make booths, as it is written." So the people went out and brought them, and made themselves booths on their roofs, in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the House of the CREATOR, in the square of the Water Gate and in the square of the Ephraim Gate. The whole community that returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths, the Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun to that day, and there was very great rejoicing. (Nehemiah 8:13-17)
Now lest I be accused of "proof-texting" I must tell you the rest of the story. In Scofield's Reference Bible in a footnote for verse 17, he explains it this way:
It is not meant that there had not been some formal observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, but that the people had not dwelt in booths since Joshua's days.
Thus it is easy to see by "proof-texting" the inference that the Jews have had it totally right from the beginning, and they are referring to the oral traditions and by using the rational they have had it totally right, is not true. If it was true as they say, somehow they lost the understanding of what the "goodly trees" are.
To backup and give you some scriptures of when Israel kept the Feast of Tabernacles since the time of Joshua, we're not going to go to them, but if you want to write them down:
(Judges 21:19); refers to a yearly feast at Shiloh.
(1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 2 Chronicles 8:13); which were during the reign of Solomon.
(2 Chronicles 30:22-23); Another time the Feast of Tabernacles was mentioned is in the tenth year of Hezekiah.
We'll look at that one in detail a little later. According to Scolfield, the date for that would be 26 BCE. Keep this date in mind because we're going to come back to it and use it.
Thus we have an example of Jewish proof-texting just as bad as the "Christian Missionaries" which the author is knocking. Please understand that I am not Jew-bashing, this is not an anti-Semitic attack against our Jewish brothers of the greater House of Israel. However this is a stand, against the religion of Judaism. It is an effort to protect our own from "Jewish Missionaries," as we come out of Christianity. I personally know of such activities by "Jewish Missionaries" against some of the ETERNAL's people, so I want all of us to be prepared for this.
The main tactic of "Jewish Missionaries" is to claim that there are TWO Torahs: "The Written Torah" and "The Oral Torah", and that only they, the Jews, have access to both and that both are needed. It is this claim of the validity of the "oral Torah" that I am presently taking exception to. The key to answer their claim is the title of the chapter under study, "The Oral Tradition".
One thing else is certain, in referring back to the tape, we certainly are not trying to rip-off our Jewish brothers of their oral traditions. The last thing that I would want to be involved in was to try to rip-off Jewish Traditions. Now back to the book:
"The learned men who were assisting Ezra the Scribe helped the common people understand what was being read by expounding the Oral Tradition. In the Talmud (Erubin 54b), we learn exactly how these oral explanations were transmitted: [OK, so he is going to give us right out of the Talmud how these oral transmissions were transmitted.] He says [now I'm going to paraphrase this, I'm not going to read the whole thing] Moses learned it from the mouth of the Eternal. [OK, that is oral.] Then Aaron entered and Moses taught him. When Aaron finished, Aaron's sons entered and Moses taught them. When they had finished, then the elders entered and Moses taught them the same chapter. When the elders had finished, the people entered and Moses taught them. Then Aaron taught it, then the sons taught it, then the elders taught it, and the people heard it, everyone had heard it four times.
Now that sounds pretty much like they had it memorized, but let's go to Exodus 24:
And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the ETERNAL hath said will we do, and be obedient. (Exodus 24:6-7 KJV)
Notice that it was not a memorized statement, it was the book of the Covenant that Moses had read. So we see that Moses did not have that all memorized but he read it out of the book. Likewise Aaron did not have it all memorized, his sons did not have it all memorized, the elders did not have it all memorized, they ALL read it out of the book. To see that in the Tanakh:
(Exodus 24:6-7) (KJV) 6And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7And he took THE BOOK of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the ETERNAL hath said will we do, and be obedient.
Moses took the book of the covenant and read it aloud to the people. Once again, that is not a memorized oral Torah, Moses read it. It did not happen the way Mr. Drazin states it did in the Talmud. Moses read it, then the sons read it, it was not memorized, it was read out of the book of the Covenant. Then the book goes on to say:
"Josephus also clearly states that the Oral Tradition had been well known since ancient times, and accepted by everyone but the Sadducees, [He's going to make a statement here that really doesn't look good for his side, it looks bad for the home team!] a small group motivated by materialism:
The reason this is not a supporting statement for him to make is because the ones that were motivated by materialism were those that were rich and educated with access to knowledge and understanding, thus the masses were poor and uneducated and with knowledge and understanding since there were no public school systems in those days. He goes on to quote Josephus from Antiquities of the Jews, book 13, chapter 10, section 6:
"The Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the Law of Moses; and for that reason the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers; and concerning these things great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obedient to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side.
What a confession! Those who were not wealthy, who were not educated, were persuaded by the Pharisees' oral Traditions. But those who were educated were not hemmed in by those spoken words of Pharisee traditions they looked to the written word from our CREATOR. Then the next thing he says in the book is:
An oral explanation had to accompany the written Torah. Otherwise, much of it would be incomprehensible.
The Rabbi on the audio tape made the same statement, that if you do not have the oral Torah, the written Torah makes no sense whatsoever. He gives for an example in his book:
(Exodus 16:29) (KJV) See that the 'Lord' has given you the Sabbath;... let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
Notice the Sabbath;... [dot dot dot]. That means he left something out!
Then he asks:
"What is the meaning of the term "place"? The Oral Tradition stipulates that a Jew is forbidden to walk more than 0.7 miles beyond his city's perimeter.
This is an example of proof-texting in its purest form. That is when you take something out of context, and to try to make it say something that is not even being discussed.
Let's go back and read this scripture again, this time in context, to see exactly what IS being said. Then we will be able fill in the dots... that he omitted. We will start in verse 27 to get the story flow:
(Exodus 16:27-30) (Tanakh) 27And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out some of the people to gather, and they found none. 28And HaShem said unto Moses: 'How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws? 29See that HaShem hath given you the sabbath; therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' 30So the people rested on the seventh day.
Now when he quotes verse 29, he leaves out the next part of the sentence [which is the real meaning of the verse], and thus we would assume that this is a general instruction for walking on the Sabbath. But we must understand the specifics [in context], of what is being taught here. This is the dot, dot, dot, that he failed to mention: "therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days."
The NKJV is almost word for word with the Tanakh, except it captures the true meaning of "resting" on the Sabbath:
(Exodus 16:27-30) (NKJV) 27Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. 28And the ETERNAL said to Moses, How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? 29See! For the ETERNAL has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30So the people rested on the seventh day.
However The Living Bible gives what I consider the best rendering of this verse and is what I thought when I read the verse in context in the Tanakh:
(Exodus 16:27-30) (TLB) 27But some of the people went out anyway to gather food, even though it was the Sabbath, but there wasn't any. 28How long will these people refuse to obey? the ETERNAL asked Moses. Don't they realize that I am giving them twice as much on the sixth day, so that there will be enough for two days? 29For the ETERNAL has given you the seventh day as a day of Sabbath rest; stay in your tents and don't go out to pick up food from the ground that day. 30So the people rested on the seventh day.
The ETERNAL is specifically dealing with the Israelites in the wilderness, to instruct them on keeping the Sabbath and the emphasis is on resting as compared to walking. For more detail on the Sabbath, be sure to read the articles: 'Sabbath Principles', and 'Studying Scripture On The Sabbath'.
What Is Work?
On the tape he mentions the 39 categories where work is categorized, but we will cover it and see that that is not really right either. So Mr. Drazin says in the book:
(Exodus 31:15) (NIV) For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, Holy to the ETERNAL. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.
"What constitutes work? The Oral Tradition explains that those activities involved in building the portable Tabernacle in the wilderness are prohibited on the Sabbath.
Now I will grant you that a lot of the instructions for building the Tabernacle were oral from our CREATOR to Moses then to the craftsmen, an example would be the menorah that was mentioned on the tape. The ETERNAL had to tell Moses a lot about the Tabernacle that is not in the detailed instructions in the Scriptures. For his example the menorah, nowhere does it describe how to make one. But that information was not needed in later generations so it was not written down. But, what else does the CREATOR say about the Sabbath? Let's look in Isaiah:
(Isaiah 58:13-14) (NIV) 13If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the ETERNAL's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14then you will find your joy in the ETERNAL, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the ETERNAL has spoken.
So what the ETERNAL does not want is 39 categories of what not to do. It is pretty simple what He wants, He says, "if you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own affairs on My day, if you call it a delight, and if you honor it and not go your own ways, do not look to your own affairs, nor strike bargains" those are the things our CREATOR says we need to be concerned with. Thus He explains there how to keep the Sabbath. The next item in the book is tefillin.
Up to this point I have been using (The Tanakh) which is a 1985 Jewish version of the Masoretic Text but now I will use The Holy Scriptures the earlier Jewish version of the Masoretic Text The Holy Scriptures, Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society 1917. which is the version I think that Mr. Drazin used in his book. I have used the Tanakh for other references since I have it in my computer and that saves typing. But the actual phraseology used in The Holy Scriptures is even more damaging to a claim for the "Oral Tradition." than the Tanakh.
(Deuteronomy 6:8) (Tanakh) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes.
And this was in the tape.
"Without the Oral Tradition, one would never know that this verse is speaking of the tefillin worn by the Jewish men during the morning prayer. These black, leather boxes contain verses from the Hebrew Bible and are strapped to one's arm and forehead.
Preparing The Tefflin.
I would have to admit that I could have read that for a thousand years and never come up with the thought of making small scrolls and tying them to my head and arm as a way to please the ETERNAL.
(Deuteronomy 6:9) (Tanakh) And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.
"This refers to mezuzah, parchments inscribed with Biblical verses, which are placed in small containers and affixed to the doorposts of Jewish homes.
Now let's read (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) from the earlier Scriptures, which is the earlier version of the Tanakh and we will see the "Oral Tradition" is flat out wrong.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9) (NIV) 4Hear, O Israel: The ETERNAL our SOVEREIGN, the ETERNAL is one. 5Love the ETERNAL your SOVEREIGN with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
If any part of this is literal then it is all literal, if any part is allegorical then it is all allegorical. If verse 8 literally means, "to tie a scroll on your arm and forehead" then verse 6 literally means, "to put the scroll inside of your body upon your heart." And if that is what it meant I guess that was the first use of open heart surgery.
However, if verse 6 allegorically means, "to have your heart set upon loving the ETERNAL with all your ability" then verse 8 allegorically means to make your hands, eyes and mind do things that show love to our CREATOR, and you do it all your might.
Either literally or allegorically verse 9 means to, "have a sign on your door and gate that reads, 'The ETERNAL is our CREATOR and He is one and I will love Him with all my heart, my being, and my might.'" The sign should be visible as you enter or leave your home so it can be read. Placing a little scroll inside a canister on the door post is not in the spirit of what is meant.
I have a friend who is a Sunni Muslim, who actually prays verses 4&5 every morning, and has a sign of verses 4&5 written in Aramaic on her door. I have a sign on my door in English and she is looking to find me one in Aramaic, not that it would make any difference because the words are the same.
The next topic he covers in the book is the blowing of the Shophar.
(Numbers 29:1) And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn [Strongs #H8643] unto you.
This description of Rosh Hashanah does not specify what exactly is to be blown on the Jewish New Year, but the Oral Tradition does: a shophar (ram's horn).
There is some confusion here and the confusion is that the English word "horn" is from the Hebrew word "teruw'ah" (ter-oo-aw') (Strongs #H8643) and means "a blowing" with out regard to stating what is actually blown. He is right about this verse because it does not say what is blown, it says something is blown but we don't know what.
Thus what we need determine is if that information is written in the Scriptures. If it is written then no oral tradition is needed. We will start with Psalms 81. A side note here is that (Psalm 81:3) states point blank, for all the world to see, that the new moon is the full moon. For more information on this, see the article: 'Quest For The Hebrew Calendar'.
(Psalm 81:1-4) (NKJV) 1Sing aloud to the ETERNAL our strength; Make a joyful shout to the SOVEREIGN of Jacob. 2Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute. 3Blow the trumpet [Strongs #H7782] at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day. 4For this is a statute for Israel, A law of the SOVEREIGN of Jacob.
A ram's horn Shofar.
The English word "trumpet" used here, is translated from a different Hebrew word. The Hebrew word is 'showphar' (sho-far) [Strongs #H7782], which is a curved ram's horn.
Knowing that the new moon is the first day of the month, and since the feast day being mentioned here is on the first day of the month, all we need to do, is to determine which feast day is on the first day of the month.
And indeed, the Scriptures plainly state that the Shophar is blown on the feast day on the first day of the seventh month. That is found in Leviticus:
(Leviticus 23:23-25) (NKJV) 23Then the ETERNAL spoke to Moses, saying, 24Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the ETERNAL.
No oral tradition is needed here, so lets go back to the book and the next topic:
Afflicting Your Soul.
Here is another example of wrong application of Scripture from the book:
(Leviticus 29:7) (KJV) And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein.
Only the Oral Tradition teaches us that to "afflict your souls" on Yom Kippur means, abstaining from all food and drink.
Well, not really. Let's go to (Leviticus 23) and see what it states. Keep in mind that Yom Kippur is The Day of Atonement:
(Leviticus 23:27) (KJV) Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the ETERNAL.
Now reading this in the NKJV it says afflict you souls:
(Leviticus 23:27) (NKJV) Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict [#H6031] your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the ETERNAL.
The author is saying that without the oral Tradition we would never know this was a fast. The word there for "afflict" is the Hebrew word "anah" [Strongs #H6031] and it means to beat down, to abase, to chastise, or to humble yourself. But how do you do that - let's go to Psalms:
The word there for "humble" is the same Hebrew word "anah" [Strongs #H6031]. Let's go back to Leviticus 23:27 and tie that back into it:
(Leviticus 23:27) (NKJV) Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict [#H6031] your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the ETERNAL.
Afflict is the same Hebrew word "anah" [Strongs #H6031], and it means to beat down, to abase, to chastise, or to humble yourself. But how do you do that? Psalms 35 told us that you humble your soul with fasting.
No need for an oral Torah to instruct us on what fasting is. Let's look at one other verse to confirm that afflicting your soul is fasting, and you do not need an oral Torah to know that.
(Isaiah 58:3-5) (NKJV) 3Why have we fasted, they say, and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted [#H6031] our souls, and You take no notice? In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 5Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict [#H6031] his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the ETERNAL?
So the Hebrew word "anan" [Strongs #H6031], is to humble [Strongs #H6031] yourself, and you do that with fasting. We do not need the oral Tradition to tell us that "afflicting your souls" on Yom Kippur, means abstaining from all food and drink.
Remember on the tape we had a big deal about how there are no instructions given on ritual slaughter of animals for food. Quoting again from the tape:
(Deuteronomy 12:21) (NKJV) If the place where the 'Lord' your 'God' chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the 'Lord' has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires.
"Here the Bible is speaking about the laws of eating kosher meat, and the Bible says if we desire to eat kosher meat, to eat meat that is OK to be eaten, we have to slaughter the animal as 'God' commanded us. The problem here is very clear. If you were to go to prior written text of the Bible, is there a commandment on how to slaughter meat, how to slaughter an animal? The answer is No. "Slaughter the animal as I have commanded you." Where is the commandment 'God' gave us? How were we commanded to slaughter animals? Do you bash it over the head with a sledge hammer?
He is absolutely correct that the method of "ritual slaughter" is not found anywhere in the written Torah. The key word is "ritual" slaughter. If we don't take that out of context, and continue reading down through verse 25, you will see that the point the ETERNAL is making is, to drain the blood out of the meat:
(Deuteronomy 12:21-25) (NKJV) (Tanakh) 21If the place where the ETERNAL your CREATOR chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the ETERNAL has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. 22Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. 24You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water. 25You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the ETERNAL.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you're going to drain the blood out of a carcass, you are going to have to hang it up by its hind feet, cut its throat and let the blood drain out. That seems pretty simple and straight forward to me. Even though they say there is no method of "ritual slaughter", and they are exactly right, there is no "ritual" of slaughtering mentioned anywhere. However, we are instructed about the condition of the meat we are to eat and that is, "the blood must be drained out of it", before it is consumed.
More On Oral Torah.
Quoting from Chapter Three of the book again:
"If no Oral explanation had been taught to the nation from the outset, the uniform observance of the Torah's commandments would have been impossible!
No, that is not really true. Now he is going back to the part where Moses was given the comprehension of how the Tabernacle was to be built and the pattern for the menorah that was mentioned in the tape.
"To enhance Moses' comprehension and memory of the Oral Tradition, its intricate details were shown to him in visions:
The example that was given was for the menorah, but what if that includes all of the oral Traditions? Let us just say that Moses had it all memorized because he was shown a vision. If it took a vision for Moses to know and understand the oral Traditions, what about the people? How in the world would they ever remember and understand it? That is if the oral instructions gives Moses was more than just concerning the Tabernacle. Again from the book:
"Clearly the Oral Tradition must be afforded the utmost seriousness, for its explanations of the Biblical verses were given to Moses by 'God' and have been studied and cherished for generations. In contrast, during the glorious prophetic era (which lasted one thousand years), while the Jewish people pondered the profound Divine messages conveyed by its prophets, Christians were non-existent and most Gentiles were illiterate pagans! The Hebrew Bible, with its revolutionary moral standards, only became known to the world at large in 246 BCE.
If you remember, earlier I said keep in mind the date of 726 BCE. That was the date that Hezekiah found the scrolls after they had been lost. So, again we have a conflict with what is in the written Torah.
"Nevertheless, the founding fathers of Christianity had to insist that their interpretations of the Hebrew Bible were as valid as the Jews'.
But the basis of these claims is itself founded on misinterpretations. As we've seen, the oral Tradition is not one that has been handed down through the generations. This next statement will prove it to you because the author of the book really shoots himself and the oral Traditions in the foot.
"This sensational discovery unearthed the Torah scroll Moses himself had written (the Book of the Law):
(Deuteronomy 31:24-26) (NKJV) 24So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the ETERNAL, saying: 26Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the ETERNAL your CREATOR, that it may be there as a witness against you;
"This scroll had been hidden from King Ahaz, who had destroyed the holy artifacts one hundred years earlier:"
(2 Chronicles 28:24) (NKJV) So Ahaz gathered the articles of the house of the ETERNAL, cut in pieces the articles of the house of the ETERNAL, shut up the doors of the house of the ETERNAL, and made for himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
"However, when this scroll was unrolled before King Josiah, he rent his clothes for it fell open to the section containing all the curses destined to befall those
Jews [that should be 'Israel and Judah'] who disregard the Torah (Deuteronomy 27-28):
(2 Chronicles 34:18-21) (NKJV) 18Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 19Thus it happened, when the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes. 20Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, 21Go, inquire of the ETERNAL for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the ETERNAL that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the ETERNAL, to do according to ALL that is written in this book.
Now Hear This: "If the scroll itself had been lost for a hundred years, if the written law was lost for a hundred years [and for Moses to comprehend only the 'oral Tradition' concerning the Tabernacle he had to have a vision to remember it], how in the world did the any one remember the 'oral Traditions'? Yet the book continues onward:
"It should be noted that of all the Torah's commands, the only one some of Josiah's subjects were accused of violating was idolatry:
(2 Chronicles 34:21) (NKJV) Go, inquire of the ETERNAL for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the ETERNAL that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the ETERNAL, to do according to ALL that is written in this book.
The book states that ONLY the commandment against idolatry was broken, but the Scriptures plainly says they had not done ALL that was written in the scroll, and if they had not done ALL that was written in the scroll during the hundred years the scroll was lost, the oral traditions were obviously lost also. So what is his answer to that?
"Missionaries claim that the Written Torah (and consequently, the Oral Tradition) was lost and forgotten until it was found by Hilkiah. The Jews allegedly, then interpreted it anew, each to his own understanding. Missionaries, therefore, assert that Christian interpretations are as valid as those of the Jews.
There is a big underlying point here. When you interpret something, it is because it's being translated to or from another language. The question then is, "Why did the Jews need to re-interpret it?" The Torah is written in the Hebrew, and since Hebrew is their native language, they already understood what it said. So there must be a different reason.
Earlier when I mentioned we had gone to the synagogue in New Orleans, Professor "name withheld" was there from Hebrew University. He was giving the sermon for the day and the subject was the Tzitzit [a blue cord in a fringe]. He said that the Jews had to destroy millions of snails to get the blue dye for the cords, so the Rabbis changed it to white a fringe. Then he made the statement, "We know this is against the Torah."
Afterwards, I wrote and asked him if what the Rabbis are saying about changing a blue titzit to white is against the Torah, then how is anything said by a Rabbi, supposed to have any justification at all? This is his e-mail response back:
"Not for a minute did the Rabbis feel that in prescribing shatnez (mixed wool and linen) for the tsitsit that they were violating Scripture.
I do not see what mixed fabric has to do with changing a blue titzit to white.
"This is how they interpreted (Deuteronomy 11:11-12), that is shatnez is forbidden in any garment, but tsitsit (Hebrew g'dilim in this citation) is an exception.
I do not see how a scripture on the land makes that an exception, but let's go on.
This is an entirely different subject, but he says that it conflicts with (Numbers 15:37-41). We now have one Scripture about land, one about mixed fabrics, and one about the blue cord, and he says they all conflict. He's mixing apples and oranges, yet he says:
"True, I stated in my talk the Rabbis were in opposition to (Leviticus 19)."
No. What he was talking about was the blue cord; the wool and linen were never mentioned. This is all smoke and mirrors.
"but I also stated that the Torah took issue with itself in allowing an exception. Indeed, the Rabbis never supersede the Torah, however, they use their judicial freedom to re-interpret the Torah for the needs of later times."
Hold on right there, here is a big red flag. The Rabbis never supersede the Torah, but they can use their judicial freedom to re-interpret the Torah. To re-interpret the Torah IS to supersede it.
"One example: the Rabbis do not allow the death penalty. They do not however, abolish the Torah's regulation in that regard. They simply make it difficult for the sentence to be carried out by requiring that two witnesses in addition who saw the crime, have to testify that a moment before the act the witnesses informed the criminal of the consequences of his act. In modern terms, they have to testify that he was sane. This is the Rabbinic way and shows how Judaism was able to answer to moral sensitivities in succeeding generations.
Blessings for the new year.
The meaning here, is that there is no oral Torah, however the Rabbis can use their "judicial freedom", to re-interpret the Torah to suit their needs, and then claim the new interpretation is part of the oral Torah, to fit the new circumstance. Neat, huh? Can you say 'Circular Reasoning'?
What we have seen today is that, the 'Oral Torah' is not binding. There are several reasons how we can know for sure that there was no oral Torah handed down since the time of Moses and therefore, is not binding:
1. If for Moses to remember the only oral instructions for the Temple construction, took a vision from our CREATOR, then there is no way an oral torah could be handed down from generation to generation.
2. With the written Torah lost for a hundred years and thus forgotten there is no way an oral Torah could survive.
3. Professor "name withheld" stated that the Rabbis can use their "judicial freedom" to re-interpret our CREATOR's word to fit their needs.
4. If the Torah is re-interpreted as needed, then the oral Torah was never there to start with.
Since all of that is true, we then, are not bound by any 'Oral Traditions'. The Creator said what He meant, and meant what He said. All that is needed for you to understand it, are prayer and the ETERNAL's Holy Scriptures [OT].
(Isaiah 8:20) (NKJV) To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Remember that it is prohibited to add to, subtract from, or change the meaning of, His Holy Scriptures [OT]. So if it's not recorded [written down], in the Torah portion of 'The Hebrew Scriptures', then it's a safe bet whatever it is, that it is not binding in any way, despite their 'oral' insistence to the contrary!
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