Annelise on Faith Structure

Some Jewish followers of Jesus believe that if the New Testament message is  not valid, then they have no other way of being sure that the Torah is from God.  If they found that Jesus’ teachings were false, they would not necessarily  continue to believe in the covenant made at Sinai or follow that law. Many  people have grown up feeling that traditional Judaism is dull or missing  something; not believing in Tanach on its own terms, or accepting the Jewish  understanding of God until they accepted Jesus. Their faith, convictions, and  personal experience of God are all anchored in their experience of the church  and the reasons they believe have compelled them to listen to its message.  Jesus’ life and message are the only reason why many people trust in this day  and age that the Torah itself was given to Israel by her God after the exodus  from Egypt.

The five books of Torah reflect a different assumption. Their message was  given to Israel to be held steadfastly in faith and loyalty as the primary basis  of all their future beliefs and choices. It is rooted in the experience that the  whole nation had of God in the time of Moses. This message was to resonate with  their children who sought God, for all generations in the future, as the story  and the covenant law would be passed down in their lives.

The book of Deuteronomy in particular expresses this theme constantly. Israel  is often reminded to keep carefully the laws that God has given them. Over and  over again, the experience of the exodus, their time in the wilderness, and the  importance of faithfulness to this covenant are brought as the first reason to  listen and obey. It is understood that in all the generations to come, this  covenant and this message will remain the foundation for knowing what God wants.  The phrase “What I command you today,” and words similar to it, shape the  framework.

A clear example comes in chapter 13, where the children of Israel were taught  to test the revelation claims that people would tell them to accept in the  future. This passage shows us the order of the process in which Israelites are  able to show their faithful love of God, according to Deuteronomy, while sifting  through the question of what they should believe and be loyal to. The message is  that even if the signs that a person prophesies come true, if they then lead  Israel away from these commandments (for example, into idolatry), they should  not be accepted or listened to. Any other ‘reasonable proofs’, miracles or  wonders, would also have to be considered in the same light of a prior belief in  Torah, as we can see from the rationale: “for the Lord, your God, is testing  you, to know whether you really love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and  with all your soul… For you shall hearken to the voice of the Lord your God,  to keep all His commandments which I command you this day, to do that which is  proper in the eyes of the Lord, your God.” (Deut 13:4, 19)

This loyalty to the Sinai relationship is always the first place to look when  considering any later claims about truth. If the message of the Torah is true,  then in every generation it is possible for Jews to accept this, as it is passed  down in the community, and understand it on its own terms as the foundational  belief among their beliefs. The story of Sinai and its laws presents itself as  the central hub for all beliefs that are later understood to join with it. The  message of living Torah passed on through generations is never believed to be  true simply because people realise that any particular man was a prophet.  Instead, the acceptance of each prophet is tested on the basis of the knowledge  that the community has of what was taught through Moses about how God wants the  nation to follow Him.

This is not to say that logic, evidence, and signs are not needed or  important for faith. We should not run blindly into things that we are told by  our parents or communities, or things that seem and feel right to us, without  using the minds and desire for truth that God has given us to test our own  biases. We always need to humbly check whether we are following Him, or  following a mistake. But at the heart of any human’s belief in God, and any  Jew’s acceptance of Torah, is an aspect of relationship that is deeper than  proof. It is true that when the evidence seems confused, we are limited in how  well we can walk forward in it, and must continue to search diligently for the  anchors and foundations of our obedience. But even then, the response that a Jew  has to God in the Torah is a personal relationship and a deep experience of  loyalty, at its very core. The Torah suggests that this knowledge, and this  loyalty, are possible for Jews to know in every day and age. It should be taken  as it was spoken in the time of Moses as the solid foundation for testing any  additional belief.

Any Christian Jew who feels that the message of the Torah and the importance  of loyalty to it are not accessible until you place your trust and loyalty in a  later idea has missed the process that God set in place for preserving the  knowledge of Himself among Israel. If a Jew finds it impossible to question  Jesus while continuing to believe in the Torah, or is never drawn to test his  message in light of their faithfulness to God in the Torah covenant, then they  have come at everything from the wrong perspective and missed the depth of what  the observant community is holding onto.

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30 Responses to Annelise on Faith Structure

  1. Lola Hoi says:

    The god of the desert, so cruel to allow innocent babies to be killed. A god who gets angered, wants revenge and is jealous, these are the attributes of weak humans not of a all Powerful God.

    • Annelise says:

      Lola Hoi,

      Thanks for your comment. I have a few thoughts that I’d like to respond with, but I’ll start by sharing with you that I don’t know what to say about the fact that the Torah records God commanding the Israelites to slaughter groups of people and animals, men, women, and children. I was reading Deuteronomy yesterday and the same issue is disturbing to me. There are some things in this book that I find incredibly beautiful, irreplaceable so, and some things that seem horrible. I have some clear thoughts about what you said about anger, revenge, and jealousy, which I’ll share in a moment, but this first question is very hard.

      I’m not just looking to find a religion that I find attractive. I’m trying to respond to whatever is true and revealed about goodness, whatever really happened from the hand of our Creator. Those are two different approaches. Sometimes they do go together, because we have a sense of justice, of beauty, and of morality that help us to find God’s goodness. But sometimes our feelings are wrong, as we can see from the wide variety of feelings that different people have about kindness, and we don’t have all the information to understand what we see in front of us. Even if what feels good to me is different from what is really right, my search for God is a search to know the author of real goodness and to do what He wants. It’s not just a search to find a philosophy that attracts me on the surface. Even though this question is hard for me, there are other reasons why I am drawn to take seriously the feeling that the Torah is from God.

      Each of us can only comment on the way in which God’s goodness is known in our own lives, despite the confusion and suffering that exist for each of us at different levels. I can’t look at someone else’s pain and explain it away with some trivial answer, as if it is no longer a painful thing. But we can look at the closeness and goodness, the faithfulness of God, in our own lives, even through suffering, and we can praise His justice and kindness when we recognise it in the world. When I read about the suffering of people in the Bible, whether through natural causes, or through people obeying God’s command, or by people disobeying Him in the way they treat others, I know that I will never fully understand that suffering person’s story and their whole experience of life with God, throughout their lives and at the deepest level. We are very small, and the journey to obeying Him and knowing goodness is a journey of humility.

      The nations who were slaughtered in this way were considered very immoral and cruel themselves. They were oppressors to their own people and to others, and they were specifically warned and given a chance. I know that this does not explain the fact that the whole nation, even newly born children, was punished. The same thing has happened to the Israelites as well, when they were disobedient to God and their whole nation was punished. Why? I don’t know. But there was some level of justice and of taking away evil when it had reached a level of stubbornness and cruelty that could not be tolerated in the world. Jewish tradition says Israel was not allowed to come into the land until these nations came to that level of evil. It also says that the angels were not allowed to sing praise to God when Pharaoh’s army drowned in the sea, because God was grieved that the people He had made were all suffering. The concept of repentance for both Jews and non-Jews in Tanach makes it clear that God prefers for people to choose what is right, and live. But if we don’t look towards His goodness and obey Him, we can’t live, and we eventually find suffering and punishment. In the case of Israel, there is a concept that co-existing with those kinds of nations would have led them to forget what was right and to let go their loyalty to our Creator in favour of worshiping fake gods. That’s all I can say.

      But I have clearer thoughts about what you said about anger and jealousy as weak human feelings. On one level I believe you’re right. Both of these feelings are often a response of frustration for not being able to access things that we need or want, because we as humans are limited. But sometimes they are positive emotions. If you see people being oppressed, you feel angry at the oppressors. If a person’s husband or wife is unfaithful to the relationship, they feel jealous and immeasurably hurt. The fact that Judaism speaks of God having these emotions is not because we think He is limited and can’t attain what He wants. Instead, it’s to say that in His immeasurable kindness He has invested His love into human beings. When He sees people deliberately walking off the path that leads to life and instead hurting themselves and others, He speaks of anger. When He invests so much into a relationship with created beings who have just a breath, who have no inherent existence but are like servants to Him, and He chooses to offer us a very deep level of relationship with Himself in knowing His goodness, then when people turn to worthless desires instead He of course speaks of jealousy. These feelings are of course anthropomorphic: God does not exist at our level, but He does communicate at our level. To speak of ‘the hand of God’ or ‘God’s eyes’ is to speak figuratively. In the same way, He uses the metaphor of human relationships to describe His relationship with Israel and humanity. But the anger and jealousy are always aspects of strength and goodness, not of weakness or need.

      One last thing. I want to tell you what the holiness of God, and the punishment for doing evil, relate to me in my life. I know God and I have known the beauty of obeying Him, by living in kindness and in His wisdom and seeking to worship only Him, the true God, rather than worshiping illusions of goodness or treating things He has made as if they deserved my worship. To me, this is like a marriage, a friendship, or a bond between a parent and child. If I were married to a man who loved me, whom I deeply respected, and had shared a lot of life with me, then that would be a precious thing. But if I decided to stop caring about him, to be selfish and never care about his feelings, then so much would be lost in the relationship. There would be a big cost; a very beautiful thing would be broken. So I would hope that it would be painful to lose something so precious. And I would avoid that deeply. The same is true with regards to God’s holiness. I see it as a huge gift to be able to have a relationship with Him, to be give an ability to choose what is right. I hope that if I turned off this path, there would be pain and punishment in response… not because I want to experience it… but because I know that the value of righteousness and of worshiping Him is so high that to reject it would be a huge cost. I also know how much He deserves from me, and I believe that if I do things that ignore His goodness stubbornly and refuse to listen, then I have no right to expect His mercy to me. The beauty of knowing His holiness is matched with the awareness that disobedience involves punishment, because of the positive attributes of anger and jealousy and because there is no goodness except what comes from the Creator of everything.

      I would be curious to know how you explain the fact that the all-powerful God allows suffering and evil to exist in this world. Not everything is easy to understand or explain at face value, because our experiences are very finite. Anyway, thanks again for writing. With blessings,
      Annelise

      • Larry says:

        Annelise
        Are you refering to Deutronomy 7?

        • hyechiel says:

          Dear Friends;
          I say Friends, because we all have questions about the Word of G-d. But then, He commanded us to search, to reach out, and we will find it to be good.
          Remember, all humans are both the same and different. Why, I think, Torah is faith based on experience, not on what we would want. We see in restrospect how it works, because we are like children; having not yet received answers to our questions, several potintial posibilities go through our minds.
          As I related, over the course of centuries many things happened. We try to understand the connection. Sometimes, one generation may have a mind-set the previous one did not, and this is reflected in the Tanach. What we need, going back to the we are as children concept, is to see where the connection is. If I concentrate on one idea or incedent, i loose focus on the whole idea, and as Tsvi said, we would end up with smogasborge religion. It can happen in one generation, as we read in the Gospel, but over a long period, it is more so. So we fall back on “my” responsibility to see how it all connects and to guide our lives accordingly.
          This is the missioni G-d gave humanity. If you accept His word, you have an easier time of it, and the understanding of what else is seen as part of the whole.
          I know! I am being redundant here, but I am trying to give the reader enough to look at, to make it easier to form your part of the equation. Make it so!
          Shalom;
          Yechiel

  2. hyechiel says:

    Dear Lola Hoi;
    All religioins have such stories. However, when I read the whole section in them, I find either that there is a reason given, or that something happened, and the people seeking an explaination, say that their god/gods did it.
    In the reference you mentioned, what lead up to the killing of the babies? Why was G-d deemed to be angry? What went on around these people that G-d would exert a stronger reliability test, thgen, than He did later?
    Weak humans? coming out of slavery after centries, forming new structures for their community and tribes, being joined together to form a community of faith, based on their esperience, not a desire to believe, all contributed to their experience and to their learning of what made sense within the for them, new structure of a faith-based people, united on their trust that the G-d who instructed Moses to do as he did, is the real, true, only G-d there is.
    As for the babies being killed? Who was responsible for this, in the first place, Remember, you are unique in the world, if not the Universe; you have free will.
    Pharoe used his, and there were consequences for this. I would not call the results of his crimes “colateral damage/casulaties, but if Pharoe had listen, then the damage done would have been avoided. He demanded the slaughter of our babies; HaShem responded cause for cause, matter for matter.
    Hard for any civilized person to understand. Think; a raped daughter of a Muslim father is safer in Israel, than in her parents homeland, where her father or brother would kill her, to protect family honor. Why in Israel? Because we obey HaShem, and He made it clear that life is important.
    You may not want to rethink you steatment, but I have related a basis for further study on what you said. I thank you for the ideas you shared, and the oportunity to share my responce.
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  3. Tsvi Jacobson says:

    My understanding of the incidents of slaughter in theTanach have more to do with the calling of the Nation of Israel. God chose us to be a nation of priests and a holy nation. This calling has not only responsibilities on each Jew but also the promise of God to keep and protect the nation. Thus it is important to find out the ramifications of this calling. There is a very wonderful example given us in Psalm 136:12-15 It states that he opened the sea that we might go through it and he saved Israel…..Reason? Kee L’olam Hasdoe For his mercies are forever. Then the next verse states and he overthrew Pharaoh and his armies in the sea and again we read For his mercies are forever. Don’t just leave this as God is merciful or you will miss it. It is easy to see mercy upon Israel but it states that mercy was the reason that Pharaoh and his army were drowned. Now the answer:. God is not only merciful in temporal situations but in situations that have to do with eternity. You can read in Ezekiel 32:31,32 that Pharaoh and his army are being comforted in Sheol (the place of the dead) God destroyed Pharaoh for his own good. If allowed to cause destruction to Israel at the Red Sea then the very salvation which is for eternity would have been thwarted which God wouldn’t allow. One day Moshiach is going to come out of our people and the glorious purposes ie the plan that God has for mankind from the very beginning will be experienced and Pharaoh and the Midianites and all those who were bent on committing eternal suicide not realizing they were fighting God will come to that eternal realization. Truly
    Hodu l’adonai kee tov….L’olam hasdoe. and we will all “give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, and his mercies are forever. (not just temoral)

    • Annelise says:

      Tsvi, I know, we can only see the first part of the picture of the souls and experiences of everyone who lives… and of what reality, and the reality of coming near to God in His plan, is like. So how can we tell Him what is right?

      On the other hand it seems cruel that the very nation chosen to show the goodness of God in the world would begin that by slaughtering towns and cities full of people; not only in self-defense, but in conquest. The colonial genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other selfish wars in our recent history are disgusting and horrible; people wiping out families and communities without mercy. So it begs the question of whether these events were really the commandment of the God who in Tanach also spoke of the value of human life, the importance of kindness and of protecting the vulnerable. Or did it really come from nationalistic or land-seeking victories, which were attributed to the holiness and commandment of the Israelites’ national deity? That is a big question that many people ask about how likely it seems to them that the Bible is really from God and not from humans. Even though there is no real contradiction, it is still confusing and seems terrible. If people believed they were told by God to go and slaughter everyone living in my city and take the land, even though some people did not choose to live in evil and some were just children and vulnerable families, I would find it almost impossible to accept that this was just or fair. If I felt I were told by God to to this to people in another city, I would seriously question the morality of that and whether it really came from Him, and it would be awful and impossible. It’s a terrible situation of cruelty, and even though I know that basically every nation in that time was making conquest like this, it still seems very starkly different from the morality, kindness, and justice that we believe our relationship with God is drawing us towards. And how could He ask humans to treat other humans like this?

      To accept a message like this, we don’t just need to hear a possible harmonisation of the ideas; the fact that it’s not impossible that this suffering and this seeming cruelty really came from the goodness of the true God. Instead, once we recognise that in His wisdom these things are not impossible, what we still need is an actual reason to accept that it truly is from Him and that He truly is good.

      I think that there are reasons for us to take seriously this claim that the observant Jewish community has about their relationship with God and the truth of the Hebrew scriptures. But I agree with Lola that it’s a difficult question to even think about, while caring about others as we care about ourselves. The first step is to grow in understanding of what it means to surrender to the true Creator, our God, in truth, in kindness, and in holiness.

      • Annelise says:

        I just want to add, also, that in no way does the New Testament answer these questions in a better way than does the Jewish understanding of God.

        Some Christians would say that the suffering of Jesus was a demonstration of God’s mercy towards all humans and His willingness to experience our pain with us, and to experience the punishment deserved because of sin in the face of His holiness. They might feel that even though this doesn’t answer the question, it does show God’s love in a way that is clearer to be able to trust in the midst of the confusion of our reality and of the biblical message and stories. Christians may also point to verses in the New Testament, or aspects of the way Jesus treated and spoke with people he met, that show an aspect of God’s character that shows mercy and compassion to every human, even while He also shows judgment when His ways are ultimately rejected. Some Christians believe that rabbinic Judaism doesn’t teach that right-standing with God is a result of His mercy.

        This perspective is not fair and not right to hold. Both Tanach and the Jewish tradition uphold the fact that God forgives not because of what we can claim from Him on our own merits, but because He has been gracious to give us the ability to turn to Him in renewed obedience and love. There is in Judaism a deep understanding of His outstretched mercy, His call to repentance, and His patient and compassionate love for each human who lives and breathes… even people who anger Him in their stubbornness and experience punishment are still given the chance to turn back to His love, and that is deep mercy. As to the example of Jesus experiencing suffering, very well… but that depends on whether it is true! And if it is not, then what stops God from showing His love in many other ways? So both Christianity and Judaism really face similar questions about these conquests and wars in Israel’s early history. But Judaism at least addresses those questions from within the context of the Torah covenant as it was established in that time, and what it truly meant (and means) in our world, which is the point of the article here.

        • Tsvi Jacobson says:

          Anneliese: I was quoting the Tanach not the New Testament. I am a Jew.
          I really do not understand your response.
          Tsvi

          • Annelise says:

            I’m sorry… when I wrote that I wasn’t responding to you! I was anticipating the way in which some Christians (not all) could read my response and think, “But if she only knew Jesus she wouldn’t have these questions… the New Testament has all the answers to this and Judaism lacks them…

            I wanted to show that I don’t believe that to be true. Especially in light of the thoughts that Rabbi Blumenthal graciously posted here, but also for the other reasons. Maybe I’m too sensitive to what other people may or may not be thinking when they read, but I feel that there is a lot of misunderstanding of the Orthodox Jewish perspective, to the point that two people will read the same words and interpret them so oppositely.

          • June Volk says:

            Tsvi,
            My understanding of the incidents of slaughter in theTanach have more to do with the calling of the Nation of Israel. God chose us to be a nation of priests and a holy nation. This calling has not only responsibilities on each Jew but also the promise of God to keep and protect the nation. Thus it is important to find out the ramifications of this calling.
            Amen, Tsvi
            As a Jew we need to seek God and know His Word and His Calling on our life and be faithful to Him. And God Will cover us and protect us. The fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom. God encamps around those who fear Him. The Scriptures reassure us that we are following God.
            I believe your understanding is correct, Tsvi.
            Wtih Blessings,
            June

      • hyechiel says:

        Dear Annelise;
        I agree that the slaughter of a community is an awful way to go about it. This is not what I would want to be recognized for.
        However, there is a message that our sages look at, and think may answer some questions; G-d would not want us to adopt the ways of these people. Also, He would not want us to benefit from the action, regardless how nessisary it may seem or to be. So we were forbidden to take the cattle, as this would incourage us to do this kind of thing, on our own enitiative.
        The cruilty of these people, to others and to their own fellow subjects is not acceptable. So why also kill the children?
        Only answer I can come up with is so we would not even think that the ways of their parents would have any justification; seeing the children grow up in what to them wold be an alian culture, or to see the ways of their parents as having some justification could be accepted as OK. So leave no rement of the culture which hold ideas counter to what HaShem would have us to believe is right.
        Or, we decided to do as the other cultures did? I do not know and i would not try to explain beyond the quesions we ask. However, He did, so we believe, have us remove all tokens of the other culture and to implant ours.
        As you know, our sages did erred in several ways; I use the census of David, as explained in 11 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. In one G-d said do it, in the other, Satan provoked David.
        So we see a similar quest for answers here, as well. We are not the “lone ranger” in asking “why”.
        What both writers forgot is Numbers, where we are told how to take a census. David’s men did not do it as He said, and so they brought a plague onto the people.
        So in looking at it all, I know that there are items which may have been because of our not following G-d, and the excuses made, later.
        Keep searching, Annelise, and you shall find much tresure to use in your life. Thank you for your questions and G-d Bless you.
        Shalom;
        Yechiel

        • Annelise says:

          Thanks Yechiel… I agree with you about replacing the culture and not leaving a trace. That seems to be a main concept, and it’s part of what I said at first.

          To me, that could make sense. In general I think that to wipe out a culture from an area is utterly wrong, even though I don’t believe that ‘culture’ can be used as an excuse to do what is wrong either. And in general, for one race to say they are superior to other races, which are unclean, is false and evil rhetoric. But in light of what I know and have seen of how goodness is being revealed in our world, and the humility of humanity before our Creator in His wisdom… I believe that in some instance it is possible that this could be from Him, and right. I just think we should be very careful with that sort of assertion. And also, we should be careful before making assertions in the other direction as well. There is much of very deep worth at stake on both sides of this question, as asked.

          God bless you with much treasure and light as well.

          • Annelise says:

            I don’t say this lightly, and it is a hard thought to swallow. But I really think that if God did create innocent, vulnerable people within those nations and then let them be part of a massacre that He for some reason commanded to happen for that land… then the justice and love of God in their lives is a personal matter between their souls and Himself, both at that time and as they will know Him in the world to come.

            So that is not the big question. It is how we can know what sure, when such a perplexing thing has happened, that it was not simply evil or selfish. And to understand that I believe we have to look elsewhere for the weight of reasons to accept this claim, surrendering to that, if that evidence can support this faith.

          • hyechiel says:

            Dear Anelise;
            We have many examples of wheer G-d commanded something, but we do not know why. At least the issues we are discussing were unique in an dof themselves, for us. Exceptions are often foujd in the disagreements beween or tribes, and how they decided to deal with teir problems. As the tanach shows, this type of behavior only made our staying together and being an united nation harder.
            The solution is to know the Word of G-d, and to be huble in how you carry out His way.
            There is one man on facebook who tries to sell his faith to me. I delited him as a “friend, and he tried to have me accept him, again, today. One thing he said that conenced me to do so is his contention that I do not know anyone who has studied Isaiah verse for erse as he had. I do, both Christians and Jews. I find verses 40 -50 pretty convensing that G-d is unique, as He says He is. Anyway, I know that some people pay little attentioin to what is said, but use it for what they want to say.
            OK. His right, but I read Tanach as both,, my history and an instruction manual for life. It works both ways, but I also have grown in knowing that not all is as it seems, so be careful how I read and accept His word, or the explaination of His word.
            Point is, the Bible is written over a long period of time by many people who have many agendas. Our sages worked hard to select what fits, and the rest is Apographa. All holy, not all consistant, so I learn to keep an open mind on His word, and I find that I have deveolpt a way of understanding consistant with Orthodox, but not Orthodox.
            Maybe my experience can help others. Shalom;
            Yechiel

      • Tsvi Jacobson says:

        Annelise: I was answering the question as to why God would command his people to slaughter such as the Midianites. We either accept the Torah as it is presented and try to understand the why or we end up as we say with “smorgasbord” religion. where we take what we want and leave what doesn’t appeal to our sensibilities. I don’t feel that you really considered what I wrote. Possibly I didn’t explain it well enough. I see that we at times concentrate on the temporal mercies of God. healing from sickness, having our financial needs met. I found my answer to the problem of what seems to be unfairness in God commanding slaughter in the fact that one day even those unworthy of his temporal mercies because of their desire to destroy the Holy nation will be given an opportunity in the days of Moshiach. See Ezekiel 16:49-62 You will see that even Sodom will have an opportunity of Teshuva when Moshiach comes. Not Christianity
        but the true Moshiach.

        • Annelise says:

          Thank you for re-explaining it, Tsvi… Sorry if I didn’t read carefully enough. I agree with you that we must either accept or dismiss the claim that the Torah is a true revelation from God.

          I see what you’re saying (I think!) about how it can be possible, and make some sense, that this aspect of the claim is really true and from Him.

          What is it that makes you believe that it’s important to accept the Torah as it is presented, in the first place? I would really value hearing people’s opinions, experiences, and understanding about this.

          • Annelise says:

            And it’s okay not to have all the answers… the main thing is to search out how to serve and know the God of truth and kindness… confident that it matters to search Him out and surrender to knowing Him because of who we know Him to be in our lives. But having a clearer understanding of these questions helps us to walk forward in that surrender, for sure.

          • Annelise says:

            This is from Rabbi Blumenthal’s ‘Foundations of Worship II’:
            “Holiness is the separation from all pettiness and self-interest. Only the One who intrinsically needs nothing can truly be separate from all self-interest. Perfect righteousness is only possible by the One who brought every detail into existence and who has intimate knowledge of every action and thought that ever existed and that will ever exist – together with the ability to deal with every detail with unlimited power. It is only the Creator of all who constantly sustains all that can be called intrinsically righteous.”

          • Tsvi says:

            Anneliese: I was there at Sinai in my forefathers. We heard God say that Moses his servant was faithful in all things. I accept this because my father and my teachers have confirmed this to me. When I read the detractors and higher critics I am left with nausea and a feeling of hopelessness..
            There are also many evidences within the Tanach that have added to my faith that it is unquestionably the very word of God. Job 36:26,27 the action of rain predated the study of meteorology/ Yet Job seemed to know that rain evaporates and ascends up to the clouds only to come down again. I of course as many would say “the puddle dried up” but Job knew better. No time for the many other evidences that Hashem lovingly provided for us. They are like lolly pops from our great God. Yet the main reason I believe exactly as it is written aside from internal evidences is that as a Jew we were at Sinai. I know it sounds sort of kookie but I believe it. I do have a paper further explaining the hope for those who were killed by or at the command of God
            It certainly has given me comfort as I look at the Tanach for my answer and leave philosophy to the advocates. Rabbi B can give you my email.
            Tsvi

          • Annelise says:

            Thank you so much for writing this and showing me how you respond to Hashem and accept the Torah. I deeply appreciate how you expressed it.

            Something I love about Job in that book is his willingness to listen and to accept the leading of God even without all the answers. And at the same time, he was often questioning in a valid way in his search for where God was in righteousness and in his life. May we all be given the grace to recognise God when He speaks and to accept His ways even when they are far beyond our knowledge, when He shows us how to know Him in truth and thankfulness.

        • June Volk says:

          Tsvi –
          You have a precious understanding of Moshiach! Keep seeking The Lord and speaking the truth of The Cost of The Scriptures on Israel as a Nation of Kings and Priests … The Scriptures are clear … and your understanding is deep … Don’t stop seeking The Truth – The Lord Himself – I blelieve, as found in The Song of Songs … He Will Not HIde From you forever 🙂 He will be found of you!
          With Respect,
          June

      • Larry says:

        When I read Deut. 7 it seems that g-d said that HE will cast away many nation. Yes the people would be involved, in fact they were involved during the 10 plagues in egypt, all be it not much. Still many people died then. It was also a test? “And you shall remember the entire way on which the Lord, your God, led you these forty years in the desert, in order to afflict you to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not”. In 10:3 we are reminded G-d will conquer these people. “You shall know this day, that it is the Lord your God Who passes over before you as a consuming fire (He will destroy them), and He will subdue them before you; and (you shall drive them out) and destroy them quickly, as the Lord spoke to you.”

        • hyechiel says:

          Dear Larry;
          If you know Chianes and English, and the person you are trying to tell something to knows only Chianes, in which language would you speak to him?
          So it was in primative times; G-d accepted humanity & dealt with us accordingly.
          Now, back to your chianes friend: if it is harder to get your points across in Chianes, would you want your friend to learn English?
          G-d has an easier time to share His way with those accept His words. Many love Job because he questioned what he did not understand. To get Job, or the Nation of Israel, to a higher level, we have to understand the “language” the higher way shown, or loose our way.
          The Tanach shows what happens when we ignore the “language” of His way. We now have a much better understanding and it is how we communicate. Also, because we understand the “language” better, even the few sects we have in Judaism have lower doors from one to the other. I am looking for Christinity to lower its doors, as well, for their adherants. Best of luck in this.
          Shalom;
          Yechiel

          • Larry says:

            I’m not sure what your saying. I’m no longer christian. or. I was responding to annelise who said she would apprecieate others opinions on some of these issues she was discussing. I was trying, I’m sure not doing a very good job, to show her why I do not have a problem with what seems g-d telling people to annahialite other peoples.

          • hyechiel says:

            Dear Larry;
            What I am trying to say is that G-d speaks in the way the receiver understands. At the time in question, the way He communicated with us was what we could comprehend. As we grew, we comprehanded more and better. Read Isaiah, the 40s chapters, where He makes sure we know what and whom He is. He could not have gotten through our thick skulls 3500 years ago, until we learned a lot more, and had something to compared it with.
            Same way, today. We find a strong trend for civil rights. During your Christian “Crusades” this would not have been comprehensible. Look at the first Crusade, where the knights of the Templer rushed all over Europe, or later, made their way to Jerusalem, where they killed all they found there, Muslim, Jew and Christian. To these people, they saw the knights as liberators, to the knights, they saw the people as their enemy.
            Could anyone have spocken for these peopes rights, then? So it takes time, and experience to find our way to HaShem’s way of doing what is right.
            Shalom;
            Yechiel

  4. hyechiel says:

    Dear Friends;
    We have been having a discussion on how the people living in the Land could be treated so harshly. I copied and shall post Deut. 7, verses 1-10, as an answer.

    Chapter 7
    1 When HaShem thy G-d shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
    2 and when HaShem thy G-d shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them;
    3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
    4 For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of HaShem be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly.
    5 But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.
    6 For thou art a holy people unto HaShem thy G-d: HaShem thy G-d hath chosen thee to be His own treasure, out of all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.
    7 HaShem did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people–for ye were the fewest of all peoples–
    8 but because HaShem loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore unto your fathers, hath HaShem brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
    9 Know therefore that HaShem thy G-d, He is G-d; the faithful G-d, who keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations;
    10 and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them;
    b. He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face.

    Verse 10, b answers it all. So it depends on love of HaShem (to do as He said) or hatred (do the opposite.
    When He promised the Land to us, He knew that those who had been allowed there had goen to far astray, and would not return to His way. Not only idols, but child sacrifice was a part of their doing.
    Nenivah had it’s chance. That genration t’shuva, but 157 years later, they backslide and lost all hope of repentance.
    Note that these problems did not go away. In Micah, He asked what do we think we expect Him to ask of us. this included “the fruit of your body…” again, to offer your child as a sacrifice.
    Today, we see this in the Middle East, where among other things, one’s daughter or sister is murdered if she is raped, to protect the family. As I said before, in the area, only in Israel would such a would-be victim have a chance of safety.
    Much to think about, and thank you for your comments.
    Shalom;
    Yechiel

  5. Judaism today is not the same as it was 2000 years ago. The Talmud had not been written. Jesus criticized the doctrines of men, never the Torah. Catholics and Protestants are guilty of adding the doctrines of men to the Living Word. When we study the Word of God Tanakh and the New Testament, the scales fall from our eyes. Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 53, Jeremiah 31:31-33, Psalm 22, 2nd Corinthians 3:3, John 1: 1. The Triune God Is in the Shema. Elohim Is a plural noun. You protest too much. I pray that God will give you

    • Tsvi Jacobson says:

      Sheryl Forgive me for butting in but Oh there is noone as the Truly convinced as you seem to be.. but let me correct your assertions Elohim is plural and it is used for men are we a trinity
      The triune God in the Shema You have to be kidding. By the way one can see that Jesus believed in what you refer to as the Talmud. Note Matthew 23 The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses Seat. He didn’t say just read your old KJ Bible. They were the divine interpreteres. I could give you examples of the need if you wish. Check out your own ltemperature before you talk about others protesting too much

  6. Tsvi, What? Jesus didn’t read the KJ Bible? He didn’t speak King James English? Well neither do I. Hahaha. Seriously, regarding the concept of the Triune God, the Creator has given us a perfect example. H20. Water, ice, vapor. Different forms of the same substance. God gives us physical examples of spiritual realities.

    God revealed Himself to Abraham in a physical form and told him that Sarah would have a child. “The angel of the LORD” appeared to Hagar, Jacob, and Samson’s parents–to which they replied, “I [we] have seen God face to face and have not died.” (Some believe that “the angel of the LORD” was the pre-incarnate Messiah.) The Holy Spirit is also mentioned often in the Tenahk, beginning with Genesis 1: 1. King Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit and so on.

    What does King David mean when he writes, “The LORD says to my Lord: sit at my right hand” (Psalm 110: 1a. NASB). Who is David’s Lord?

    Who is the “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53?

    Who is the “Son of Man: to whom “the Ancient of Days” will give dominion over all the earth for eternity (Daniel 7: 13-14)?

    Who is “the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9: 6?

    When God says in Genesis 1, “Let us make man in our image,” what does He mean by “Us” and “Our?”

    Psalm 22 is a picture of the Messiah on the cross. Read the descriptions of the crucifixion in Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

    I have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe through Jesus the Messiah. The supernatural realm invades my life day to day.

    The Scriptures tell us to love the LORD and seek Him first.

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