- Talmud - Is - Right
by Rachmiel Frydland
Let there be no misunderstanding.
We do not believe that the TALMUD is inspired by the RUACH HA KODESH
(the Holy Spirit of God), or that it is the Word of God. The Talmud does not claim
to be the Word of God, but rather an interpretation and an explanation
of the Law of God, the TORAH.
The Talmud, oral discussions and instructions relating to Holy Writ, is supported in its conclusions and interpretations by the written Word of God, the Torah, or by hoary tradition. When neither was available, final decisions were suspended until there should arise again a prophet in Israel, or until Messiah, preceded by Elijah, would come. Then all doubtful and uncertain points which could not be decided previously would be settled.
Work of Wise Men
The final edition of the BABYLONIAN TALMUD, which includes the earlier work of the MISHNA, took place around A.D. 500, a stupendous creation over 500 years in the making; and in which all the learned of Israel participated. From that time until the present, pious Jewish people took great pride in mastering the "deep sea" of the Talmud."
Subject of Attacks
Many people have attacked the Talmud. Of such were the SADDUCEES, Jews who were mentioned in the BRIT HADASHA (the New Testament). They opposed PHARISAIC Jews. Later, similar teachings against the Talmud were propounded by the KAIRITES, a Jewish sect started in the eighth century by a Jewish leader, Anan ben David. The remnants of this strong Jewish movement of the middle ages have now settled in Israel. They oppose all Rabbinical traditions and laws and claim that only the written Torah is authoritative - not the interpretations and additions of the Talmud.
The MASKILIM, followers of Haskoloh, the Jewish enlightenment and cultural movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, attacked the Talmud for another reason. To them the Talmud prevented the Jewish people from participating in the benefits of enlightenment. They considered the Talmud a travesty but highly praised the Biblical Hebrew and recreated it in a modern language.
Challenge to Our Thinking
It is not our purpose to take sides in these disputes. We are not obliged to accept the authority of the Talmud, as the Talmud does not claim Holy Spirit inspiration. However, we do want to point out some Talmudical sayings that should challenge our thinking regarding our beliefs and attitudes.
Forty years before the Holy Temple was destroyed the following things happened: The lot for the Yom Kippur goat ceased to be supernatural; the red cord of wool that used to change to white [as a symbol of God's forgiveness) now remained red and did not change and the western candle in the candlestick in the sanctuary refused to burn continually while the doors of the Holy Temple would open of themselves. [Tractate Yoma 39:b]
The Talmud takes this clearly as a sign of the departure of the SHECHINA GLORY from the Temple in Jerusalem. Surely there is a great coincidence in that these things happened forty years before the Temple was destroyed. This brings us to about A.D. 30; the time when the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) died on a hill outside of Jerusalem. He called on the people of Israel to believe in His Messiahship, yet the majority refused!
There is another wise saying of the Rabbis in the same Tractate of the Talmud: Why was the first Holy Temple destroyed? Because of three wicked things: idol worship, adultery, and murder. But in the second Temple in which time the Jewish people were occupied studying the Torah and doing good deeds and acts of charity why was it then destroyed? The answer is: It was because of hatred without a cause to teach you, that hate without a cause is equal to these sins and that it is as serious a crime as the three great transgressions of idol worship, adultery, and murder. [Yoma 9].
The Talmud does not answer the question, "Whom did we hate without a cause?" If we hated the Romans, surely there was cause for it, as they were pagans bent on destroying us physically, spiritually, and morally. The Pharisees, we are told in history, were not hated but rather loved people. Sadducees were not hated; they were a priestly party serving God inside His Temple. But, there was One who indeed applied the words to Himself! We read in the Brit Hadasha, the life of the Lord Yeshua written by His followers.
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did,
they had not sin; but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law,
They hated me without a cause. John 15:24, 25
Could the quotation in the Talmud be a veiled allusion to the One who loved His people, the sheep of His pasture, so much He gave His life for their salvation, while we, His people, with our leaders, treated Him with hatred instead of love? And the Rabbis want to tell us that this was the main reason for the victory of pagan Rome and the destruction of the second Temple?
Let us look at the inspired Word of God. The Holy Book of TEHILIM (Psalms) says:
Yea, mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 41:9 Hebrew 41:10
What humiliation and disappointment to be despised and hated without a cause! We find in this Holy Book of Tehilim, a more exact description of this hatred without a cause:
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head....
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. . . .
The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Psalm 69:4, 8, 9 Hebrew 69:5, 9, 10
These verses are quoted in the Brit Hadasha as part of the Scriptures that have been fulfilled in the Lord YESHUA HA MASHIACH (Jesus, the Messiah). The great Rabbi, Saul of Tarsus (Paul), a disciple of the famed Rabbi Gamaliel wrote to the believers in the Lord Yeshua in the city of Rome and called on them to suffer rather than to cause pain to others. Saul wrote:
For even Messiah pleased not himself; but as it is written,
The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. Romans 15:31
God's Everlasting Love
and Man's Response
We could quote many other wise sayings from the Talmud, many telling of God's everlasting love. We could quote many instances when the Talmud is right. However, as stated in the opening paragraph - let there be no misunderstanding - we do not believe that the Talmud is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God nor does the Talmud make this claim. It is best to turn to the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures as the final authority. Here we are often reminded of God's love for our people. Whether we are in Israel or in the DIASPORA, whether our Temple is intact or destroyed, God still loves us with an everlasting love. We are assured of this love of God in His Word:
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying Yea, I have loved thee
with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. . . . Thus
saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the
moon and of the stars for a light by night. . . . If those ordinances depart from before me,
saith the LORD then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation
before me forever. Jeremiah 31:3, 35, 36
We find the same thought in the Brit Hadasha:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,
lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel
shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and
shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob ... as touching the election they
are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God
are without repentance. Romans 11.25-29
Whether we love in return or not, God does love us.
In response to God's love we should be willing to obey Him. He definitely calls us
to believe in Messiah Yeshua as the KORBAN (atonement) for our sins.
See Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12
A Rabbi's Response
Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein of Tapio-Szele, Hungary, responded with this testimony:
I, an honored Rabbi for the space of 40 years, am now in my old age, treated by my friends as one possessed by an evil spirit, and by my enemies as an outcast. I am become a butt of mockers who point the finger at me. But while I live I will stand on my watchtower, though I may stand there all alone. I will listen to the words of God, and look for the time when He will return to Zion in mercy, and Israel shall fill the world with his joyous cry, "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
If we respond, the Deliverer comes into our hearts,
removes hatred - replacing His love in its stead.
By responding, we are the CHALUZIM (pioneers) for God and for our people.
How about you?
Have you received your Redeemer,
the Stone whom the builders rejected?
In Him is life, light and joy and in His sacrifice is forgiveness of sin.
RACHMIEL FRYDLAND - (1919-1985)
Rachmiel Frydland was raised in an orthodox Jewish home in a village in Poland.
At age nine he began the study of the Talmud. Later he enrolled in a YESHIVAH.
Puzzled by the identity of the Messiah in Daniel 9:24-26, he accepted Yeshua as Messiah.
By God's grace he survived the great persecution of World War II, living on the edge of
death under Nazi rule.
Mr. Frydland was truly a humble scholar-teacher who lived to proclaim the Messiahship
of Yeshua in many countries and languages. He shared his knowledge of rabbinics and
Yeshua in books, articles and messages, many which are available from
MESSIANIC LITERATURE OUTREACH.
BRIT HADASHA - New Covenant.
CHALUZIM - Pioneers.
DIASPORA - The scattering of the Jews.
KAIRITES - A sect of Jews who accepted the Old Testament as God's only authoritative word.
KORBAN - Atonement for sin.
MASKILIM - A sect of Jews who were followers of the Jewish enlightenment of the 18th
and 19th centuries.
MISHNA - Collection of interpretations and discussions of the law; a portion of the Talmud.
PHARISEES - A religious Jewish sect which believed in the resurrection.
RUACH HA KODESH - Holy Spirit.
SADDUCEES - A Jewish sect that denied the resurrection.
SHECHINA GLORY - presence of the glory of God Who manifested Himself in the temple.
TALMUD - Collection of books containing Rabbinic interpretation of the Old Testament.
TEHILIM - Psalms.
TORAH - Five books of Moses containing the law.
YESHIVAH - Jewish school for higher education.
YESHUA HA MASHIACH - Jesus, the Messiah.
Reprinted with permission of The Messianic Literature Outreach
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