Deuteronomy 33:4 – Oral Law

Deuteronomy 33:4 – Oral Law


Judaism affirms that God made use of two methods of communication in order to transmit the truths of Judaism from one generation to the next; the written text and the living communication of parent to child. These two methods of communication complement and support each other. It is only when we absorb the message through both of these mediums of communication that we can arrive at a proper understanding of God’s truth.


Some of Judaism’s detractors attempt to invalidate the second method of communication; the living transmission of parent to child. These critics of Judaism argue that the written text; i.e. the Bible, is God’s word, and as such is reliable and trustworthy, but the living transmission is only words of men. Why should we rely on the words of men? What indeed is the basis for the Oral Law?


If we examine the Bible itself, we will see that this criticism of Judaism does not get off the ground.


Those who dispute the validity of the Oral Law assume that the Five Books are the basis and the foundation for the Law. They understand that the written text comes first. When these critics approach Israel’s claim for an authoritative Oral Law, they see this as a claim for a supplementary code, one that is authorized to define and to interpret the written word. These critics contend that if there is a valid code of Law that supplements the text, we would expect that it should have been mentioned in the text.


The facts though are exactly the opposite. It is not the Oral Law that is a supplement to the Written Law, it is the Written Law that serves as a supplement and an augmentation for the Oral Law. The Five Books present themselves as something that came after a complete body of Oral Law was already firmly established.


Throughout the Five Books of Moses we find that God communicated with Moses and Moses, in turn, communicated with the people – orally, without any written medium.


Deuteronomy 5:28, – God tells Moses: “But as for you, stand here (at Sinai) with Me, and I shall speak to you the entire commandment and the decrees, and the ordinances that you shall teach them and they shall perform in the Land that you shall possess.”


Deuteronomy 1:18- Moses reminds the people: “I commanded you at that time (at Horeb) all the things that you are to do”.


These conversations between God and Moses and between Moses and the people of Israelare the basis of the Law. The format of the text of the Five Books fully confirms this basic truth. The Five Books do not present themselves as an independent legal text. They are written in the format of a narrative, with various laws woven into the narrative. In other words; the Torah does not read like the constitution of the United States which simply sets down an arrangement of laws. Instead the Torah records the conversations in which God commanded Moses one law or another. Sometimes the Torah may record a lengthy series of laws, but always in the narrative setting of a God talking to Moses (as in Leviticus 1:1-7:38) or Moses talking to the people (as in the book of Deuteronomy). The usage of the narrative format confirms the significance of these conversations as the basis of the Law.


Furthermore, these narratives are not written in a way that would indicate that every last word of the conversation was included in the written record. In fact the opposite is true. It is actually clear from these narratives that they are not literal, word-for-word records of these conversations. The first example of such a narrative conspicuously highlights this truth. In Exodus 12:1-20 we find a narrative that tells us what it was that God said to Moses and Aaron concerning the Passover offering. Verses 21 thru 27 of the same chapter record Moses passing on this same commandment to the elders of Israel. The words of these two narratives (God to Moses – Moses to the people) and the structure of these two narratives are entirely different. Each of these narratives contain elements that are absent in the other one. There can be no question that these narratives are not meant to be a verbatim record of these conversations. The same pattern holds true every time the Torah presents both sides of the conversation; God to Moses and Moses to the people. In each instance the words are different and the details are different (e.g. Exodus 25:1-28:43 versus 35:4-29; Exodus 29:1-37 versus Leviticus 8:5-36). It is clear that these narratives are not literal records of every word that God told Moses or that Moses told the people. The fact that these narratives do not attempt to record every last detail of the conversations is evidence that the people possessed another, more complete record of these conversations, which can only be the record they retained in their memory.


There is yet another way that the written text affirms the central nature of the Oral Law in Israel.


The Five Books reiterate again and again the importance of passing on the teachings of Moses to the future generations (Exodus 10:2; 12:14,17,24; 13:8,14; 31:13,16; Leviticus 23:43; Numbers 15:24,38; Deuteronomy 4:9,40; 6:2,7,20,21; 11:19; 12:25,28; 30:2; 32:46.) Not once throughout the Five Books are we commanded to utilize a book in the personal process of passing on the teachings of Moses to our children. The process is described as one in which parents speak to their children – an oral transmission.


When Moses exhorts the people to keep the Law and to pass it on to their children he is referring to a body of law that these people have absorbed through the medium of speech. When Moses refers to “all that I have commanded you” (e.g. Deuteronomy 30:2), he was not referring to a particular scroll that each individual Jew had tucked in his pocket. He was talking of a Law that lived in their hearts and in their minds. The children of that first generation of Jews were to receive the Law from their parents through the medium of oral communication. They were also to realize that the Law that they receive from their parents is the very same Law that God delivered to Moses and that it was God who established this medium of communicating with them. The written text, which was only presented to the Levites and the priests at the end of the 40 year sojourn in the wilderness, served to augment, to support and to corroborate the oral testimony of their parents. But the primary means of communicating the Law from generation to generation was and still remains; oral.


Throughout the Five Books of Moses, mention is made of ten written documents. Not one of these documents was designated to play a role in to the personal process of parents teaching the practical observance of the Law to their children.


Let us examine these Scriptural references to the various written documents and let us see what function these documents were to serve.


The first reference to any written document is found in Exodus 17:14. Moses was to write a remembrance of God’s enmity towards the people of Amalek. This was not a text that was handed to every individual Jew. This was a national remembrance that was in the hand of the central leadership; Moses and Joshua. Furthermore, the text tells us that the written remembrance did not stand alone. Moses was to place the remembrance into “the ears of Joshua”. The communication was to be passed on through both mediums; the written text and the living transmission.


The next reference to a written document appears in Exodus 24:4 where Moses wrote the ordinances recorded in the previous chapters. The ordinances of Exodus 21 – 23 were first presented to the people orally and only afterward were they written down in a book (Exodus 24:3,4). This book (the “book of the covenant”) is not mentioned again in the Five Books. At no point are the people directed to look in this book as a resource of reference for the observance of the Law. It is clear that the function of that book (the book of the covenant) was ceremonial and not practical.


The next reference to a written document speaks of the tablets of testimony which contained the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:15,16; 34:1,27,28; Deuteronomy 9:9,10; 10:1-5). The Ten Commandments were presented to the people through the medium of speech (Exodus 20:1). The tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were engraved were only given to Moses after his stay on the mountain (Deuteronomy 10:5). These tablets were eventually put into the ark that was placed in the holy of holies, which was accessible to no-one, but to the high priest, once a year (Exodus 40:20, Leviticus 16:2). It is clear that these tablets were not used for any practical transmission of information from one generation to the next.


Another reference to a written document appears in Numbers 5:23. This passage describes how the priest is to write the curses on a scroll and erase this writing into the bitter waters which the suspected woman is to drink. It is clear that the only function of this scroll was ceremonial, and in no way did this written text function as a means of communicating information.


The next reference to a written document instructs the King, as a public figure, that he must keep a Torah scroll with him and read from it constantly (Deuteronomy 17:18). (The wording of the aforementioned verse indicates that it is only the book of Deuteronomy that the king must copy for himself). This injunction is limited to the person of the king and is in no way related to the practical transmission of the Law from one generation to the next.


The next reference to a written text appears in Deuteronomy 27:3,8. Moses commands the people to write the Torah upon an altar of rocks upon their entry into the land of Israel. In the book of Joshua we learn that this commandment was limited to the book of Deuteronomy (Joshua 8:32). This altar was used only once; on the occasion of the reading of the blessings and the curses as described in the book of Joshua. This was not the permanent altar in the Tabernacle, which was not on Mt. Ebal but rather at Shilo (Joshua 18:1). At no point does the Torah direct the people to read the writing on this altar and at no point are the people commanded to preserve this writing on the altar, which presumably faded with the passage of time. It is certainly possible and even plausible to assume that the people did read these written words. But in no way can it be said that this was their first encounter with the Law, nor can it be said that this altar served as a means of transmitting the Law from generation to generation. After the one-time use of this altar described in the book of Joshua, this altar is never mentioned again in the Scriptures.


The first reference to the complete Torah scroll appears in relation to the imprecations of the covenant (Deuteronomy 28:58; 29:19,20, 26). The curses that will befall Israel if they disobey the Law are described as: “the imprecations of the covenant that are written in this book of the Law”. It is significant to note that the details of the curse would not be relevant to the practical day-to-day living of a Jew in his observance of the Law. It therefore follows that this information would require a written document in order to ensure its preservation. Again we see that the written document is not mentioned in relation to the practical observance of the individual Jew.


The next reference informs us that the priests and the Levites were presented with a copy of the complete Torah scroll (Deuteronomy 31:9). As the guardians of the Law (Leviticus 10:11, Deuteronomy 33:10) these public servants would make use of a written text. But for the individual Jew, the Law that he or she heard from her parents was the primary method of learning the Law. The fact that Moses commanded that the Torah be read publicly once in seven years (Deuteronomy 31:11) does not mitigate this truth. The once-in-seven-year reading would do little to impart knowledge to the nation as a whole. Hearing the Torah once in seven years can perhaps reinforce existing knowledge. It cannot be used as a method of teaching new information. How can you expect a nation to follow a Law that is as complex as the Torah on the basis of having heard it read once, in the setting of a vast crowd, five years ago? It is clear and obvious that the people passed the Law on to their children as they heard it from Moses – orally. The public reading was a means of reinforcing the knowledge of the Law that they already possessed through the medium of the living transmission.


Another reference to a written text tells us that the song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32;1-43) was to be written down (31:19). This written version of the song is presented as a supplement to the oral teaching of the song (Deuteronomy 31:30). The song of Moses is not related to practical observance of the Law. It is parallel to the “imprecations of the covenant” that would befall Israel if they were to disobey God’s Law. This particular document is also not related to the practical observance of the Law.


The final reference to the written document describes how Moses presented the Levites and the priests with the completed Torah scroll. They were instructed to place it beside the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony against Israel. Here too, we see that this text was not used for the personal transmission of practical information from parent to child. Rather, this text was placed in a national setting (the holy of holies) and its main function was to keep record of the curses that would befall Israel should they disobey the Law.


The Law of Moses, as it is described in the Five Books, remains for all practical purposes an Oral Law. When Moses makes continuous reference to “the Law”, “the commandments”, or “that which I command you” (e.g. Deuteronomy 26:16; 27:26; 28:1,14; 29:28; 30:2,11; 32:46), he refers to a body of information that his listeners carried around in their minds and in their hearts. When the Five Books declare: “Moses commanded us a Law, and inheritance for the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4) – it is referring to an Oral Law that is the exclusive inheritance of the intergenerational community of Eternal Israel.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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85 Responses to Deuteronomy 33:4 – Oral Law

  1. bography says:

    Would the following commentary of Rashi be an example of the oral Torah providing the full meaning of the written Torah?Deut 11:22. For if you keep all these commandments which I command you to do them, to love the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him,   כב. כִּי אִם שָׁמֹר תִּשְׁמְרוּן אֶת כָּל הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם לַעֲשֹׂתָהּ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו וּלְדָבְקָה בוֹ:

    Rashi’s commentary:

    “and to cleave to Him”: Is it possible to say this? Is God not “a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24)? Rather, it means: Cleave to the disciples and the Sages, and I will consider it as though you cleave to Me. — [Sifrei]

  2. Bography
    In order to get the “full meaning” – you need to go to the literal Oral Torah – the living community of eternal Israel. As a member of that community I can help you understand this commandment and Rashi’s comments – are you interested?

  3. bography says:

    Yep, sure am.

  4. Bography
    I’ll try – It is clear and obvious that “cleaving” to God means tying every aspect of our lives to Him – thinking of Him constantly – loving Him, thinking of His will as it relates to our lives, developing a more heightened awareness of Him, learning to see Him everywhere and in everything.
    What is being taught here (in this Rashi) is that since we know that God revealed His will as it relates to us in His Torah – then those who are continuously absorbing His Torah and the setting in which this absorption of God’s Torah takes place (in the company of “the Sages and their disciples”) is the appropriate setting for one who seeks to cleave to God. In this setting the combined effort of those loyal to God heightens everyone’s sensitivity to the truths revealed in His Torah. One who rejects this setting when it is readily available to him – is turning away from God. Throughout our history – many have ignored this opportunity and have fallen into the trap of self-delusion in their relationship with God. In the setting of people who are earnestly searching for God – the honest criticism of one cancels the errors and the self-delusion of the other.
    I hope this helps – please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.

  5. bography says:

    So, is cleaving to the setting is like cleaving to God. If this is your meaning, then would it be correct to say that the sages are the vicars of God on earth?

  6. bography says:

    Here is a snippet of an article on trust and faith (adapted from Rabbi Loubavitch) that I received in my mail box from France.

    When you bind yourself to the Eternal Rock on high, the Eternal Rock will bind Himself to you
    (Vous vous liez avec le Rocher Éternel en haut, et le Haut se lie avec vous).

    Would it be wrong to follow Rashi and mean by the above,
    “When you bind yourself to the Sages, the Sages will bind themselves to you.” (because God is an unapproachable raging fire)?

  7. Bography
    Not really – in a certain sense all Jews are God’s witnesses here on earth and are called His firtsborn son. But the cleaving to the sages and their disciples has to do with absorbing the Torah, the Law of God, the wisdom of God as it is manifest in their discussions and in the way they implement these teachings in their day-to-day lives. So it is not the sages in and of themselves – but it is the Torah of God that they are constantly incorporating into their lives.

  8. Bography
    – to continue. The goal is binding yourself to God – and God alone will bind Himself with you. There would be no point in the sages binding themselves to you.

  9. bography says:

    Would this then be more proper?
    “When you bind yourself to the Sages’ interpretation of the written Torah and to the Oral Torah (which seems to be, if I have understood you, much much more than the interpretation of the written torah), God binds himself to you.”

    • Iti'El says:

      This almost sounds like those who would bind themselves to the sage’s, Paul’s or Peter’s, oral and written interpretation of the written Torah? Or more so to Jesus’s oral interpretation of torah, since he was their teacher?

    • Bography
      No – When you bind yourself to the ongoing study of God’s truth – i.e. when you make this study part of your life and you do so by joining with God’s children who are seeking God’s truth as a community – you bind yourself with God and He will bind Himself with you

  10. Iti'El says:

    Since they bound themselves to their teacher Jesus so much so that they place & exalt the man Jesus over G-d himself?

    • Iti'El says:

      So much so that you can not even get to G-d unless you bind yourself to their human teacher, & become bound to the “BODY” of Jesus? Their (Christian’s) prayers to G-d are worthless unless they end their prayer with reference (in Jesus’s name) to their human teacher, Jesus?

  11. Iti’el
    It is not an issue of binding yourself to a specific person – it is an issue of joining the “Council of God’s Nation” (Ezekiel 13:9). This is where God reveals His truth to the Jewish people.

  12. bography says:

    Here is Ezekiel 13:9 in context with Rashi’s commentary:

    9. And My hand shall be against the prophets who prophesy vanity and the diviners of lies; in the counsel of My people they shall not be, and in the roster of the house of Israel they shall not be inscribed, and to the land of Israel they shall not come, and you will know that I am the Lord God.
    10. Because, indeed because they misled My people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and it is building a flimsy wall, and behold they are plastering it with daub.

    and it is building a flimsy wall: And behold My people are like builders of a partition, and the prophets are plastering with daub-earth similar to lime cement, but which does not resist the rains.

    “My people” are all very keen to believe prophecies of peace when their (great) destruction is on the cards – as we read in the previous and subsequent chapters of Ezekiel. They are so keen to dive in to building their “peace palace.”

    Yisroel, you say that to get close to God, one can only do it in the “counsel of My people.” I think that is sound advice. In the context above, however, the counsel of “My people” is the last counsel to follow, as Rashi makes clear (building their flimsy partitions). So, what’s going on? As you know בְּסֹוד עַמִּי (Be’sod ami) could mean among the counCIL (not counsel) of my people, in the sense of assembly יָסַד (yasad – gather together). Which assembly? Why, the one of “My people” that remains faithful.

    Alas, I am relying solely on the written Torah to form my judgments, whereas you will claim that this is not good enough, because it is the oral Torah that determines the meaning of the written Torah, which is merely a loose summary of the much much greater revelation at Sinai – the Oral Torah. And the oral Torah, you argue, is confined to ”the counsel” of the long uninterrupted line of chochomim (sages). You are confident. of course, that their (which includes your?) counsel did (and is still doing) a better job than the “counsel (council?) of My people” in Ezekiel.

  13. Bography
    The words “My people” refer to the Jewish people. In Ezekiel God is talking to the false prophets and telling them that their punishment will be that they shall never abide in the council of God’s people. Yes – there were those amongst God’s people who chose to abide in the council of these false prophets – but when the false prophets were eradicated from amongst God’s flock – generally the Jewish people lost interest in them – even though they might have flourished in Gentile circles. So Bography – there is a specific council that you want to be a part of – that is the one Rashi is describing in his commentary to Deuteronomy 11:22

  14. bography says:

    Yisroel, one of your earlier comments:

    “It is clear and obvious that “cleaving” to God means tying every aspect of our lives to Him – thinking of Him constantly – loving Him, thinking of His will as it relates to our lives, developing a more heightened awareness of Him, learning to see Him everywhere and in everything. What is being taught here (in this Rashi) is that since we know that God revealed His will as it relates to us in His Torah – then those who are continuously absorbing His Torah and the setting in which this absorption of God’s Torah takes place (in the company of “the Sages and their disciples”) is the appropriate setting for one who seeks to cleave to God. In this setting the combined effort of those loyal to God heightens everyone’s sensitivity to the truths revealed in His Torah. One who rejects this setting when it is readily available to him – is turning away from God.”

    Are there any occasions – say in the privacy of your room – that it is possible to have intimate fellowship with God, and say a prayer of this nature: “Lord, my God, I am lost without you; I cling to you, you are my life?”

  15. Bography
    of-course, not only “on occasion” – but on a regular basis – 24 hours a day we should be recognizing our absolute dependancy of God – and this is certainly the primary meaning of cleaving to Him

    • bography says:

      Is cleaving more than dependency? Something like this?
      Sinners are consumed by the fire of God’s wrath; while his faithful – those who cleave to Him – are consumed by the fire of his love.

  16. Bography
    That is a good way of putting it – the Song of Solomon gives expression to this aspect as do many of the Psalms

    • bography says:

      So then, if cleaving to God’s consuming fire (of love, not of wrath, of course,) is in harmony with the Sages, how does this fit in with Rashi’s admonition to circumvent cleaving (directly) to God, in case one get’s burned? As you intimated, the Psalms and Songs are aflame with the longing for the embrace of the Beloved.

  17. Bography
    Now you know why you need an Oral Law – if you take Rashi’s words at face value he is saying that cleaving to God is nothing more than cleaving to the sages and their disciples – but in fact that is not Rashi’s point at all – he is focusing on the Hebrew word for cleaving and telling us that it has to have some physical application as well aside from the conceptual application taht is obvious in the words.

    • bography says:

      “he is focusing on the Hebrew word for cleaving and telling us that it has to have some physical application as well aside from the conceptual application that is obvious in the words.”

      It is true, obviously so – not so? – that clinging/obeying God’s commandments/precepts/testimony has a physical application, but that applies to our actions, and, I argue, nothing about the psalmists requirement to cling to the interpretations of a Mosaic sage. For example in Psalm 119:30, we read “I chose the way of faith; Your judgments I have set [before me].

      Here’s Rashi’s commentary on v. 30. which connects to v. 31

      Your judgments I have set: I applied myself to your judgments and I CLUNG to your testimony, to choose the way of faith. Therefore, I ask, “Remove from me the way of falsehood.”

      31. I clung to Your testimonies; O Lord; put me not to shame.

      It’s obvious that ”clung” in “I clung to your testimony” is metaphorical because “testimony” is an abstract noun; it’s a concept (and therefore resides in and is a product of your “loaf”). If, however, you use your loaf merely to loaf around, that is, you do not apply yourself to the world out there (physical application), well then you can cleave (cling) as much as you want to God, but the result is nothing more than to “cleave the general ear with horrid speech.” (Hamlet).

  18. Bography
    My point was not that the word literally has to mean physical cleaving – but in the midrashic way of reading the text of the Five Books – this is the way we connect concepts with the text.
    By the way – do you disagree with the concept that one who seeks to cleave to God should choose company that is likewise inclined?

  19. bography says:

    your “… one who seeks to cleave to God should choose company that is likewise inclined?”

    I don’t see what cleaving to the (oral Torah through the) Sages has to do with seeking out conducive company.

    There’s nothing wrong with reading a text in a particular way. I would add, as long as it doesn’t mutilate the text. The thing about the oral Torah view is that the written Torah is nothing but a patchy summary of oral Torah; indeed, in this oral view, the written Torah is merely a long string of letters, which can be chopped up and juggled around any way the sages see fit. That is what Rabbi Akiva Tatz says, and what I see as well. Rabbi Tatz says the written Torah is for six-year olds. I suppose that is because at six you begin to understand how grammar works. But in the oral Torah view, to understand the written Torah you have to scuttle the grammar and sink to the bottom, where the hidden treasure is found. Where I see the drowning of meaning, you perhaps see a breath of fresh air, because you are wearing your oral diving equipment. (Tee hee).

  20. Bography
    Rashi says nothing about cleaving to the Oral Law in this context – he speaksof cleaving to the sages of israel and their disciples – that is the company who seeks the God of Israel
    Your view of the Oral Torah’s view of the Written Torah (“scuttle the grammar…”) has no basis in reality. I suggest you read Malbim’s commentary to Leviticus to get a true picture of the Oral Torah’s view of the Written Torah
    In any case – one thing we can be sure about the commandment to cleave to God – cleaving to Jesus as a deity is certainly precluded – unless you want to scuttle everything the Scriptures stand on and stand for

    • bography says:

      My intention is not to stall our discussion. Before I respond, what do you consider to be the connection between the oral Torah, on the one hand, and Gematria and other devices such as the rerarrangement of letters, on the other.

    • naaria says:

      From the Christian perspective, it not only is appropriate, but necessary to cleave to the NT sages and especially to their original teacher, in order to get near to God. For, “If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [to cleave steadfastly to Me…] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26 AMP).

      It is ok in the NT for the teacher & sages to come up with new laws that are not found in the Written Torah. Jesus, we are told, only spoke an oral torah which was passed down from teacher to student only (secret mystery teachings not meant for the people, which were supposedly mainly Jews) until it finally came to be canonized as a written New Testament. According to NT Matthew, the disciples of Jesus came to him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  He replied, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not.” (Matthew 13:10, 11 NET). “Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the crowds; he did not speak to them without a parable. (Matthew 13:34 NET). Only those who cleaved to Jesus (had “faith”), were taught or healed. And when the laws, rituals, or teachings about God are based on or justified by the Hebrew bible, it is ok to interpret the Torah without adherence to the plain sense of the Written Torah or Tanakh, even sometimes without regard to correct translation or proper context of the verses selected (this is often called, “fulfilling prophecy”).

      The early church fathers often used allegory (Greek based interpretation, sometimes called Christian midrash/oral Torah) interpreting the Hebrew Bible and the apostolic or other Christian writings.  Some believed that the OT, should only be read as allegory and not according to the literal or plain sense.  According to the early church father, Irenaeus, “…. they themselves acknowledge that the prophets have very often expressed themselves in parables and allegories, and [are] not [to be understood] according to the mere sound of the words.”

      According to one Australian OT scholar, fairly recently, “The emergence of the allegorical method of interpretation in the early church provides a good example. Because much of the Old Testament was seen as unhelpful or sub-Christian, the only way to save it for Christian use was to distinguish a hidden “spiritual” sense, concealed behind the natural meaning.  Allegory seemed to be a legitimate method of interpretation because it was controlled by the content of the New Testament or, later on, by church dogma…. Instead, the relationship between the natural meaning of the Old Testament and the teachings of the New was left to the ingenuity of the expositor.”.  From “Is the Old Testament for Christians?” from Gospel and Kingdom, copyright by Graeme Goldsworthy (1981).


      They teach another type of cleaving as well; “Let us go up against Judah and harass  and terrify it; and let us cleave it asunder [each of us taking a portion], and set a [vassal] king in the midst of it, namely the son of Tabeel, (Isaiah 7:6 AMP).

      • bography says:


        The most important thing for both of us is our relationship to God. We go further, by adding that this relationship should be a personal relationship.

        All I have been trying to squeeze out of our winsome Pharisee friend is that there are occasions where it is possible, indeed a very kosher thing, to cleave to God directly; and yes, as a personal saviour, as David did. And I’m sure God won’t consume you in his fire, as Rashi warns, unless it is the fire of His love, of course. Alas, many Jews frown on such talk because it has strong Christian overtones. A pity, because if David is any example, “personal” and “saviour” are the leitmotif of the Psalms.

        Hebrews 12:18-24
        Ye are not come unto a mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that no word more should be spoken unto them; 20 for they could not endure that which was enjoined, If even a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned; 21 and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:
        22 but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel.

      • naaria says:

        It is interesting that you quote a partially Marcionite NT text (“the OT God is an angry & terrible, untouchable, unapproachable god”, but the “NT good god Jesus is lovable & approachable”, at least most of the time outside of NT book of Revelation.). There is a Christian fear that too much emphasis on Jews and Judaism, OT (Oral Torah or written Torah), will result in realization that Jesus is not needed in order to cleave to God. Some who are’nt missionizing to Jews, have a problem with replacing Jesus with a more Jewish sounding name of Yeshua, because it might signal a separation from the teachings of the NT (of Platonic/Gnostic Word, mediator, “son” of God), a return to “Jewish legalism”, and a rejection of cleaving to Jesus/Yeshua as unnecessary when wanting to cleave to God directly. No cleaving to an assembly/church of humans or to a “BODY of Christ”, no cleaving to a “first born”, but instead cleaving to God directly. No “sprinkling of blood” of a surrogate image of a god-man sacrificed to “the angry wrathful god”. Not the OT David’s saviour who saves one from humans, but Jesus who supposedly saves us from “supernatural demons” and from the “bad god, devil, ruler of hell” and “inventor of death”.

  21. Bography
    The Oral Torah brings the commandments that are spoken about in the Written Torah – to life. an additional and even peripheral facet of the Oral Torah is a set of hermeneutical methods through which we can find deeper meaning in the text of the Written Torah – not so as to contradict the plain grammatical meaning – but to provide additional insight. Of these methods – gematria and rearanging the letters are two of the most peripheral techniques used.

  22. naaria says:

    I do not hear him reject a personal relationship with God. But I hear from you arguments against him or oral Torah and the sages of Israel, which are arguments that are more appropriate when used against you, or NT or roman/Greek oral & written new/replacement “Torah). You may say “cleave directly to God”, but then quote “Hebrews”, “to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling”. Mediator does not mean directly. Son does not equal Father. Son in a trinity, for instance, is not a relationship to us but to is a invented relationship of a spiritual being to God (God is OUR Father, but Jesus is not OUR son). No new covenant (as promised by written Tanakh/Torah) has arrived or been established. The “heavenly kingdom or Jerusalem” was there before Jesus and will be without Jesus. What is a “church of the first born”? Why a church and why a “first born”?

    • bography says:


      Who is Jesus to you?

      • naaria says:

        The real interesting question is “who is Jesus to you”? And who is God to you? Do you believe there is any difference between the 2 & why??? And can you only say the word/name “God” and totally refrain from saying “Jesus” or “Yeshua” for the next 30 days? The next 90 days? Can you refrain from quoting the NT during the same time, while only reading and quoting from the OT (which is God’s word. Or do you believe it is not?).

      • naaria says:

        Who was Jesus/”Yeshua” to King David? Who did he call “savior”? Who was the saviour to Israel before Israel was influenced by Babylon, then by Greece (& the Seleucids or Ptolemies), and then by Rome? And where was Jesus before Roman rule and why did he have more hatred toward his fellow brothers & sisters, Jews, then he had for those pagans who ruled his “kingdom on earth” and virtually destroyed his “Father’s House” that even he attempted to cleanse, but had failed to?

  23. Bography
    It is heartbreeaking to hear how a Jew bought the slander of the Greek Testament hook line and sinker. Will you next try to “squeeze out of me” if we have horns?

    • bography says:

      Yisroel, “bought” does indeed come into it. 
      1 Corinthians 6:19-20
      “… Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; 20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.”

      Naaria tells me not to quote from the NT. As this blog is yours and (I think) not hers, it might be more appropriate if you make such a request, if it ever entered your mind. I will, of course abide by any rules you lay down.

  24. bography says:

    So, Naaria, can I infer that you believe that the man the “Christians” called Jesus and the “Messianic Jews” called Yeshua deserved to be condemned for blasphemy and executed.

    • naaria says:

      You did not answer my questions about who you think Jesus is and who God is. Can I infer therefore that you believe that he was a man (and not God or a spirit) and therefore could possibly commit blasphemy against God and therefore smitten down by God, like King Agrippa? Cut down for cursing God by cursing a tree, because a tree obeyed God’s law rather bending to the “demonic” powers of a child of the devil? Or that as a man, there is more justification in the NT for Jesus to be executed by Romans for inciting crowds of zealot Jews in a rebellion against Rome? Or should I infer, that you believe he is God who lies and contradicts his very words that he emphasized over and over in the Hebrew scriptures and plays irrational games (god that can be “killed” by God loving/God loving Jews or by mere men?) and who acts more as a pagan god than even “the whore of Babylon”? For whatever Jesus or Yeshua you might believe in, should I infer that you believe he should have been executed no matter what the cause (maybe as long as it was done by Jews not Romans leaders, lest Rome be cursed?), no matter the reason, and no matter whether or not it is holy, godly, believable, or rational?

      • naaria says:

        I didn’t “tell” you not to quote the NT. I could not do that nor would I even think of that. A question mark ends a question. My questions were a response to a question asked of me. The post was entirely of questions. Rhetorical questions to make one think of what one is saying or asserting. Seek and you shall find. A question to figure out who Jesus is and who God is. Some say they are one and the same; yet they also are very different. If they are the same, that is puzzling to readers who may see that if A=B, only an A or only a B is necessary and therefore less confusing, more exact. Since the idea of “cleaving” was brought up, who shall one cleave to? A alone, B alone, A and B at different times, to A but only though B, or none of the above, or other?

  25. bography says:

    Naaria, you remind me of Paul – before his conversion.

    • naaria says:

      Although a Christian, I never really cared that much for Paul. Too mystical; his Jesus was spiritual & not real to him; his god was in his own mind. That was why Marcion loved him, that was why he was a hero to the Gnostic Christians, and why simple, pagan gentiles who loved Isis or sun-gods, and knew not the God of Israel nor God’s scripture were convinced to follow him. They followed him for a while, until as Paul admitted, “all of Asia deserted him” when they heard what the Hebrew scriptures really said. His whole idea of God, he admitted, rested on the shakiest of foundations; his god could be proven to be false because it relied on philosophy, emotions, fear, & ignorance. Some (Ebionites, Nazarenes) in early Christianity called him a liar; some now call him a “myth-maker”, the “inventor of Christianity”. See Bet Emet ministries online for a disparaging view of Paul & how his teachings contradict Jesus of the gospels (gospels which sound very Pauline-like to many NT scholars). Some (even in the 2nd & 3rd century c.e. could find no evidence he even existed, unless he was that famous non-Christian “healer/miracle worker). His gospel relied on opinion (blind faith in a man), not on experience, not on truth. I was not blind before, I was ignorant. Now, I may indeed convert from Christianity, for neither Saul nor Paul make any sense to me any longer. Thanks to you, as well.

      BTW, Naaria (Child of God) was a man in the OT, a descendant of King David. So, how well is your discernment? Or are you caught up in the traditions & the teachings of man, blinded by your own will to be blind? To read and see what you want to see?

    • Yishai says:

      bography, man if your still out there, you come across like a crazy person, im messianic, read what rashi said, and its not a big deal at all lol you just seem anti semetic.
      The Jews are a light to the nations for a reason, you are not a light to them.

      Stop clinging to that catholic cannon so hard as well, you can believe Yeshua is coming as Messiah with out the NT.. many original Messianics ONLY trusted Gospel of mathew as a true good news message. And Tanach as the only divine Word of God..
      Im sorry for people who like this guy who just wanna argue and dont want to learn from GODS PEOPLE. What a shame.

  26. bography says:


    The more I read you, the more I enjoy it. I mean it.

    As for the origin of your name, I see that the Baby names website says that “Naaria” means “servant of God.” I wonder whether that is correct? In Chronicles there is the man Neariyah נעריה (servant of Yah-God) and the woman Na’arah נַעֲרָה (maiden, girl), which does not contain the Yod before the H, which you need to obtain “God.” Now your name (not in the Bible, as far as I can see) has an “i” which I suppose could also be written as “y” to give “Naarya,” which would then make you a maiden (or secondary meaning, “servant” ), but not of God, because you are still missing the H at the end, (YaH – God). Maybe, you could show me where I’ve missed something – or everything.

    It reminds me of my brother Benny who thought that when Yisroel (no not our Rabbi Blumenthal), my Dad called him a naar, (in Yddish) he was merely calling him a na’ar (a lad) in Hebrew. I had the sorry task of disabusing him. If you know Yiddish, you might know that a yiddishe naar is something very different from a Hebrew na’ar. One thing you’re not, Naaria, is a Yiddishe Naaria. All is explained here:

    But on to stronger meat like the resurrection:
    Regarding your “…Paul. Too mystical; his Jesus was spiritual & not real to him; his god was in his own mind.”
    We are definitely not reading the same NT, or are you reading the oral version (joke)? For Paul, the Gospel is firmly based on the physical resurrection of Jesus:

    1 Cor 15
    2 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    As for being a nutty Gnostic, more accurately, Paul was more likely to have been a nutty Noshtick (like me; can’t do without my Brazils). Here is how he addressed the Gnostics in Athens (the story must be familiar to you):

    Acts 17

    16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

    22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

    24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[b]

    29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

    32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

    And you want to leave Christianity because of Paul! As he said of those who would say that God has rejected his people: “God forbid,.”Or as another translation has it, “No, no, no way,” which is the leitmotif of my blog. See, my best friends are …

  27. naaria says:

    First (again), make no assumptions, especially about things that are irrelevant to begin with. Maybe your first guess about me was right, or perhaps the 2nd assumption was. It don’t matter. I am intentionally vague about some things, because I know how some people argue bringing up irrelevant things in discussions in order to distract or to try to move the discussion in a different direction. In order not to mislead, I might have to address certain issues or challenges directly, from time to time. For instance, I often have to add that I was raised as a Christian, because often some people falsely assume that I am another “blind Jew” who knows nothing about “the lord” (although I did nothing intentionally to mislead them). When once I was accused of knowing absolutely nothing about “Messianic Judaism”, I immediately sent back a long list of titles of books or bibles on my book shelf, including a statement of what could be found on several pages of a book by A. Fruchtenbaum. I had studied that movement somewhat for over 10 years at that time. Of course, I knew what his response to that would be. I often can anticipate what the response will be to my arguments; the same old tired counter-arguments and 1 or more verses from a worn-out list of selected bible verses. As a common saying goes, “I did not just fall off a turnip truck”.

    So, selected NT quotes do little to provide any light, especially when the passages themselves are questionable, controversial, or contradict other NT verses. There are other verses in the NT then the well known Acts 17 & 1 Cor 15, which contradict them. You lie to others and you lie to yourself when you try to ignore those other verses that contradict your “favorite verses”. Over 15 years ago at a well known conservative seminary in the US, a thesis was written on just one phrase in one verse in 1Cor 15. They found over 200 different interpretations or translations from the Greek of the phrase, which were “whittled down” to a list of 3 different categories of interpretations, each incompatible with the other, so no conclusion on the most correct interpretation was reached. Acts 17 is discussed in another university thesis paper about “Socratic Paul the Sophist”, and the “…danger of presenting the image of a Paul who does not play fair with his audience. A Paul who intentionally deceives his audience with ambiguous language” and “…we recognize that what Luke gives us is a Paul who deceives his audience with intentional ambiguities,…”.

    In “Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism” by
    Paula Fredriksen (which I glanced over only briefly in a bookstore), Augustine of Hippo was quoted as saying that most of the NT epistles were not written by apostles, but by various later church leaders who were presenting the arguments of their own Christological “schools of thought” against other Christian schools. Most notable of those (who made an impact on the NT canon, even if their works may not be included in the NT, although some or part of their writings may be included) are the Marcionites and those who wrote the pseudo-Clementine “novels”.

    Modern critical scholarship now assumes that only 7 of “Paul’s letters” are authentic (but there is no guarantee, no real evidence that any are “authentic”). Modern Christian scholars also have moved away from an uncritical acceptance of Act’s portrayal of Paul to one of skepticism. Numerous discrepancies and contradictions exist between Acts and the “7 authentic Pauline” epistles in the general areas of: Paul’s speeches; in the itinerary of Paul; in the person of Paul; in Paul’s relationship with the apostles; in Paul’s attitude towards circumcision; in the reason for the Jewish antagonism towards Paul; and in Paul’s basic theology. Based on the large amount of discrepancies, it is reasonable that many Christian scholars have concluded that Act’s portrayal of Paul is largely unhistorical.

    Now, quite a few Christians would not disagree with me on many points that I might make, since most of what I know about the bible is from Christians. Those who left the Catholic church to become a “real Christian” have seen some of the same errors I see. Some see the problems with Christianity & with Jesus, and have lost faith in Jesus, so they now believe in “Yeshua”. But Yeshua is Jesus. There is only a name change (as they say, to protect the innocent?), a few different rituals, a few different favorite bible verses. But the same bible as before, with the same (unknown) authors as before, with the same history of the texts as before. They just tell themselves a slightly different set of beliefs, a slightly different set of stories about their bible. No new texts have been found (except a few more non-canonical Gnostic writings).

    • bography says:

      Your “I am intentionally vague about some things, because I know how some people argue bringing up irrelevant things in discussions in order to distract or to try to move the discussion in a different direction.”

      I would never have guessed that you had the intention to be vague; yet you say you have a pretty good idea of what you say is my intention; to be irrelevant, “in order to distract or move the discussion in a different direction.”

      Prithee disabuse me by specifying what distractions you mean.

      • naaria says:

        “Some people” say the days are getting shorter; “I” say the days are getting longer. So it’s the “world” against “I”? No, because “some people” agree with me, yet they are not “I”? Are “some people” undecided or are “some people” wrong or am “I”. My clock agrees with “I”. I guess it depends upon where “you” are at (make that a “one” not a “you”, since that may be taken as a presumption, or should “I” say “one or more” which may or may not include “you?)? And I guess it depends upon whether one looks at it from a short term view or a long term view? But how long is the “long term view”? A few days? 2 weeks or so? 3 months more or less (when some people say it is Spring, but some people (undecided? Or wrong?) say it is Autumn? Now, which question will I expect an answer, if any?

        Well, pardner, I m plum confused rat now. Reckon I wuz jes borned simple folk. But wat I wanna no, is did Jesus ever comment on Deut 33:4? Specifically on that verse, not generally about oral law or traditions? Just curious.

  28. naaria says:

    That one question should read “Now, which question, if any, will I expect an answer on? It still sounds grammatically incorrect, but I hope one knows what I mean or understand what I am “trying to get at”. And, on the “long term view”, I meant to ask also; “364 days? 367 days? 1000 days or 1000 years?” Or is that relevant?

  29. naaria says:

    Or 5288:?
    naar: a boy, lad, youth, retainer
    Original Word: נַ֫עַר
    Transliteration: naar
    Phonetic Spelling: (nah’-ar)

  30. naaria says:

    But I don’t speak Yiddish. I can speak German, so I can understand a lot of Yiddish words. Why call myself by a German name? My screen name in another language is close to meaning something else. Might still use an I & drop the h. If I spoke Yiddish, I might use the usual one “a” & be a fool for God. Not bad. Sort of like being “drunk on the lord”, filled with the spirit. Of course, then I might be confused with narnia, who is popular with kids in the US.

  31. bography says:

    “While Rashi on Deuteronomy 11:22, quoting Sifre 48,49 deems it impossible
    to attach oneself to God, and while the Sforno suggests that u’ledavkah
    bo refers to the consecration of our deeds towards the fulfillment of the will
    of God, many other exegetes present a more esoteric and mystical approach,
    suggesting an actual union with God. Ibn Ezra, who generally tends towards
    rationalistic exegesis, writes: “Basof. V’hu sod gadol [At the end. And this is
    a great secret].” The Ramban tries to unravel this cryptic interpretation, and
    concludes that Ibn Ezra is actually referring to the possibility that “the men of
    excellence, even in their lifetime, their souls shall be bound in the bundle of
    life (I Sam. 25:29) since their very being becomes a maon [residence] for the
    Divine Glory.”

    Click to access 362_pollakreply.pdf

  32. Bography
    Do you really think that Rashi believed that it is impossible to have a personal relationship with God? – what was he thinking when he wrote his commentary on the Psams? or on the Song of Solomon?

  33. bography says:

    Yisroel you ask
    “Do you really think that Rashi believed that it is impossible to have a personal relationship with God?”

    What am I to think that when he says we cannot cleave to God because He is a consuming fire.If he wanted to point out the primary importance of the Oral Torah (mediated by the sages), surely he could have done so in a different way; your way, for instance. it seems to me that he had Oral Torah on the brain when he ex(eis?)egeted “…love the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him (Deut 11:22). But then from your Oral standpoint, it is the Oral that gives meaning to the Written, no matter how contradictory it may seem.

    • Bography
      Is it too much to ask of you to look at the full scope of rashi’s world before passing judgment on the basis of one comment?

      • bography says:

        Yisroel, let me give an analogy. If I say to my grandson: “Don’t touch the fire because it’ll burn you,” I mean never touch the fire ever. Now when Rashi says you cannot cleave to God because he is a consuming fire, I don’t have to know anything else about Rashi to know that he is enunciating a rule, a “law” , which by definition applies to all situations. In Rashi’s case, he is expounding the “Oral Law.”

        The “Written Law” says that God is a consuming fire AND that He is a Father. Well, if He is both, it can only mean that He is sometimes the one, and sometimes the other, which makes perfect sense. Sometimes God is wrathful, sometimes he is forgiving, sometimes he is this, sometimes that. By “is” I mean, of course, “manifests (himself as this or that).”

  34. Yah-man says:

    I know very little about Oral Torah and even far less about Rashi, but since God is described in the Holy Bible as an all consuming fire, how can one literally touch Him and yet live in this life? Aren’t we when we are consumed in Love, totally consumed and taken from this world? Otherwise, we would be toast, ashes? It appears to me that the commentator is talking about taking the verse very literally because walking in His ways has already been mentioned in the verse before this one and it makes sense that something more is meant. How can one literally touch & cleave to a non-physical God? You can’t do it either but you can hug an idol and cleave to it. All we have is really His word taught by the priests, prophets, and disciples. If I lean on my own understanding alone, I could be easily led by the devil. I need some human shepherd. Some wise teacher to guide me to correct discernment.

    • bography says:

      Yah-man (God-man? – only teasing)

      Does God ever manifest Himself as a Father?

      • Yah-man says:

        God to man relationship. Manifest – from the old French – struck by hand, palpable, manipulatable. I assembled items for shipping to Iraq and also received items on a ship or plane manifest, an itemized list of supplies and equipment. The The word is also used as in to sense with your senses and also sense not literally with your mind. Just as we can hold on to things in our mind – including unreal imagined things, lies, false ideas.

        I looked up Rashi’s comments. I see that he does say that we can hold on to God and even walk in God’s ways. What are God’s ways literally- how can we walk those ways? Or does Rashi mean we should take a hike? Along a well marked trail? Or wherever God takes us in the wilderness? Some commentators don’t see each of God’s words in a verse as unnecessary or redundant. God should be telling us something more. A deeper revelation of God & God’s ways. If we can walk in his ways is it also possible to literally walk with Him holding His hand on earth? Have you done that? Then you ought to write a book or maybe a new Gospel.

        Most people who believe in God or know God have experiences of God. But in a spiritual sense. In their mind they feel feelings of a father or of a mother or even as a brother. The Creator as Mother of all and all things manifested. The Shekinah Glory. Wisdom or sophia.
        I have seen God in an undeniable vision. A revelation. Not in the mind or in a dream. Not physically. Not literally. There is evidence of God in the stars, night sky, awesome mountains. But God is not and for Eli-yahu was not literally in the earth and rock nor in the wind or in the fire, lest we believe as Jezebel and we come to worship rocks, sun, mountains, burning bushes or man.

  35. Pingback: The Written and Oral Torah: The Raw and the Cooked « OneDaringJew

  36. bography says:


    You have manifested (by the way I also used that word in my reply to YourPhariseefriend BEFORE I read your post) very well the typical Jewish (and Muslim) view that it is not possible to experience God as a Father.
    “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father AVI אָבִי, thou [art] the guide of my youth?”
    Jeremiah 3:4
    הֲלֹוא מֵעַתָּה קראתי לִי אָבִי אַלּוּף נְעֻרַי אָֽתָּה׃

  37. bography says:

    Jeremiah 31:9 is a more appropriate verse because Jeremiah 3:4 is lambasting hypocrites for calling God their father.

    Jer 31:9
    They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim [is] my firstborn.

    • Yah-man says:

      Which Jews do not see God as Father as you quote, Israel is the Son. They are Israel. Perhaps Jews mean God is something greater than the idea of a human father. One can hold on to that humanistic or man father idea and they should be lambasted as Jeremiah does to the hypocrites who can also call God Father or as idolators and baalist and their lords.

      • Yah-man says:

        God is Light. The heathens said yes the sun is a manifestation of light. So worship the sun. Worship and cleave to it mentally although one can not touch the sun. The sun’s embrace is gentle and warm like a father’s embrace. The sun is the creator of life the heathens say, not God as the Jews say. The heathen mind can not conceive of a god unless man could touch or see that god.

  38. Bography
    Your understanding of Rashi is thankfully not shared by any Jew who considers Rashi their teacher. Rashi is not saying that it is “prohibited” to enter into a personal relationship with God. He is not stating a “law” he is stating a fact.
    Where did you pick up the idea that the “typical Jewish view” is that it is not possible to experience God as a father?
    I find your comments deeply saddening – Do you really think that Jews don’t experience God as a Father?
    It seems that belief in Jesus is tied in with an intrinsic disdain of the real firstborn son of God.

  39. bography says:


    Consider Yah-MAN’s “The heathen mind can not conceive of a god unless man could touch or see that god.” it seems that to be personal with God – for Yah-man – implies touchy feely stuff. When you imply that the typical Jewish view is indeed to experience God as father, I must differ. If you believe the Zohar is divine revelation, which ” de facto Judaism” (Rabbi Boteach) does believe, then God is even beyond the nameless Hashem; “He” is the En Sof (Endless one).

    God reveals his name in the Written Torah but reveals to Moshe through the Oral Torah (same time and clime) that He’d prefer to be called “The name.” So in the end, you end up with the penultimate Hashem and the ultimate En Sof – an endless departing and never arriving, which is perhaps what set Jacques Derrida the Jew off on his endless deconstructive (dis)course.

    • Yah-man says:

      “touchy and feely stuff” is not literally touching and feeling. Perhaps you are like Titus who believed Jews were atheists. He believed their God was imaginary because they could love & worship God that he could not see. The Jews fought so courageously and died for nothing since he found no god in their Temple. I pray that your hatred of Jews and your rejection of the God of your fathers is not due to your human father being a horrible dad. I have known some who became atheists because of their father. I know those who sought alternatives and desperately sought a surrogate father in other religions and belief systems. Including the religions of Titus and Rome. Some are hung up on the feelings of ectasy. Ecstasy is also one of many drugs. You speak as if you were a drug user – nor real drugs – but mental drugs. An escape from reality not an embrace of reality. Touchy and feely You seem obsessed with one Rashi comment taken out of context. You seem to be saying there is only one type of love. Touchy and feely is one thing but not love of God. Love of your child is another. Love of your mother is a different love. Love of your father is a different love. Love of your spouse is a different love. Love of ice cream is a different love. I love to take a nap is a different love but I am not too touchy about that if I don’t take a nap. Love of an idol is a different love. Love of a man god is a different love but one I pray you have not too deep and strong a love for. Love of God as a Father is a different Love. Love of God as something more than a manifestation or more than a Father, is a Love you obviously have not yet experienced. Don’t hate me because you have not yet learned to love a greater Love.

  40. Bography
    Books mean nothing – especially when they are read by an enemy of the intended audience – which you are. Books only mean what the intended audience understand that they mean. The intended audience of the Zohar, of Rashi and of God in the Bible (as per Psalm 147:19,20) literally went into fire and water – for the love of God. So are you going to put on the glasses of their murderers – and read their books – and conclude – aha! they didn’t love God?! I ask you Bography – put yourself back into the shoes of someone who is standing there before the burning flames – with his beautifull wife and lovely children – and he chooses the fiery death for all of them rather than violate His relationship with His Father in heaven. What was this person thinking? what was going on in this person’s heart?

  41. Bography
    You quote me in your article
    “Rabbi Blumenthal then provides examples from the Written Torah to uncover its skeletal nature, and then argues that it requires an authority outside the text to pack flesh onto the dry bones.”
    Where exactly do I do this in this article?

  42. Pingback: Can a Jew singly cleave to God? In Judaism, it seems not. « OneDaringJew

  43. Bography
    Is it only possible to follow Jesus by propgating lies against the firstborn son of God? It seems so – from the days of the authors of Christian Scriptures to the days of Bography – this is the refrain. “The Jews do not know God” – Thank you.

  44. Pingback: Rabbi Eli Cohen – Introduction to a Jewish Perspective of the Oral Law

  45. bography says:

    Re: dry bones – written Torah; flesh – oral Torah.

    Yisroel, here is what you said:
    “Those who dispute the validity of the Oral Law assume that the Five Books are the basis and the foundation for the Law. They understand that the written text comes first. When these critics approach Israel’s claim for an authoritative Oral Law, they see this as a claim for a supplementary code, one that is authorized to define and to interpret the written word. These critics contend that if there is a valid code of Law that supplements the text, we would expect that it should have been mentioned in the text. The facts though are exactly the opposite. It is not the Oral Law that is a supplement to the Written Law, it is the Written Law that serves as a supplement and an augmentation for the Oral Law. The Five Books present themselves as something that came after a complete body of Oral Law was already firmly established.”

    I understand you to mean that the written Torah is a (small) textual presentation of the oral Torah. The Oral Torah is “Mother,” the Written Torah is one of her progeny. To understand the Written Torah, you need the light of the Oral Torah. I then arrive at the metaphor of dry (dead) bones (Written Torah) and flesh (Oral Torah).

    On rereading your text, I see that you regard the Written Torah as a supplement to the Oral Torah. “Supplement” evokes the idea that the Written Torah can help interpret the Oral Torah. If this is what you mean, then permit me to change my depiction of Written Torah as “bones” to “bonus.”

    I do not think though, that the “de facto” Jewish view (Chabad) would agree that the Written Torah helps explain the Oral Torah. As I mentioned in a previous comment, Rabbi Akiva Tatz maintains that the Written Torah is for six-year olds. When they’re 46 years old and have studied lots of Kabbalah (significant part of Oral Torah, only then, I suppose, may they understand the deep secrets hidden below the text.


  46. Austin says:

    I hate to burst your bubble but Malachim Bet chapter 22 disputes your entire ‘oral law’; foundation. It there was such a thing as a ‘oral law’, then why did Josiah repent in vs 11 after reading the newly found Torah the high priest Hilkiah discovered in the old Temple? Josiah says “because our fathers have *not listened to the Words of this Book*, to do according to all that which is **written** concerning us.” wait, that means there was speaking of some ‘oral’ something but it was false! and it spoke AGAINST the Torah! teaching lies about “burned incense to other gods”! (vs 17) Those that follow any ‘oral law’ has forsaken the ways of YHWH!

    Yirmi’yahu 44:5 לא שׁמעו ולא־הטו את־אזנם לשׁוב מרעתם לבלתי קטר לאלהים אחרים

    Did you notice the “have not inclined to turn their ear” bit? they/you would rather be seduced by what is heard than to follow the written words of Elohim of Israel. These two passages speak of your law:

    Devarim 4:2
    את כל־הדבר אשׁר אנכי מצוה אתכם אתו תשׁמרו לעשׂות לא־תסף עליו ולא תגרע ממנ

    Devarim 12:32
    לא תספו על־הדבר אשׁר אנכי מצוה אתכם ולא תגרעו ממנו לשׁמר את־מצות יהוה אלהיכם אשׁר אנכי מצוה אתכם

    You need to forsake this evil and turn back to YHWH before its too late.

    Y’chezki’el 18:24
    ובשׁוב צדיק מצדקתו ועשׂה עול ככל התועבות אשׁר־עשׂה הרשׁע יעשׂה וחי כל־צדקתו אשׁר־עשׂה לא תזכרנה במעלו אשׁר־מעל ובחטאתו אשׁר־חטא בם ימות׃

    Y 18:27
    ובשׁוב רשׁע מרשׁעתו אשׁר עשׂה ויעשׂ משׁפט וצדקה הוא את־נפשׁו יחיה

  47. bography says:

    Austin, you’re not talking about my bubele, are you?

    • Yedidiah says:

      That may not have been his intent, but the implications of his interpretation might be used by non-believers to target Paul and even the law and oral teachings of Jesus since they weren’t the “written words”.

  48. Austin
    I appreciate your fear for our eternity – but your argument is fallacious – please read the appropriate section in this post - (page 45)

  49. Pablo says:

    “14. And they found written in the Torah (What happened to the Oral?), which the LORD* had commanded by Moses that the children of Israel should stay in booths, sukkot, during the feast of the seventh month, Tishrei, 15. and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem saying, Go out to the mountains and fetch olive branches and wild olive branches and myrtle branches and palm branches and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.”

    • Pablo says:

      Oops Nehemiah 8 …:)

    • dovid says:

      The subject at hand is a very broad one. But it seems to me that your particular question is why the verses here only mention the Written Torah and not the Oral Torah.

      My response to that would be that literally that’s what was happening – they were reading from the Torah scroll and came across those WRITTEN passages and were inspired to do the Mitzvos of Sukkos, which are indeed described in Written Law. The details are definitely entailed in the Oral Law but that doesn’t deduce from the fact that their inspiration for the Mitzvah – which is what the verse is speaking of – was from the Written Torah.

      I think a fair parable would be from a Second Amendment activist who will fight for the freedom to own guns based on the second amendment written in the Constitution. This is despite that the amendment has many details and criteria etc decided by judges and lawmakers that is not written in the Constitution. That is because his or her inspiration and bases is from the Constitution and only from there do the details branch out (similar to the Oral Law which gets technical on the details that are based in the Written Law).

      Let me know if I understood your question wrong or if I havn’t explained myself here

  50. Pingback: Deuteronomy 33:4 – Oral Law | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources | ShlomoZalman Weblog

  51. Angelika Dumanski says:

    wowo I was impressed with this knowledge and wisdom, of G-ds word,amazing truth about Christianity…Im not Jewish but follow Torah/ Tanach…learning about it is truth that I found and going to run with it,,,lots to learn,,but loving it…shalom..

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