That you should feel a little lost after leaving the Church is only natural. What you are going through is akin to a divorce. Those people with whom you have long socialized and identified now feel distant to you. Some of them resent you leaving; some feel you are a threat to the community. Even those who try to show you understanding and compassion may not share with you the intimacy that they once did. In your search for the truth, you have sacrificed your sense of belonging. It is painful.
You have lost your sense of identity, beyond even your lack of community. You feel that you no longer have any positive identification. Rather, you are identified by what you are not. Every title you apply to yourself appears to be a negation. What are you? Not-a-Christian. You have discovered that the Torah is the truth. Are you then a Jew? No, you are not-a-Jew. This is how you have come to identify yourself: in terms of what you are not. You are a Twilight Man, no longer in the darkness of the Church but not dwelling in the full light of the Torah.
You truly feel that you are trapped between these two worlds in some way. You feel that the full Torah is denied to you. You wonder: Why may I not lay tefillin? Why may I not adorn my doorway with a mezuzah? Why am I not even permitted to study the whole Torah tradition? You have come to believe that the Jew has been granted a full relationship with God, while you are left in the cold, glimpsing the light of Torah from afar. Indeed, you see the Seven Laws as nearly insulting. By and large, they are things that even a schoolchild knows not to do. They appear to you too easy, that God has asked little of you as if you are capable of little. It was unlikely that you were going to eat from the limb of a living animal. So, you are a Twilight Man, receiving just the barest fraction of the Torah, a not-a-Jew.
Even Judaism’s terms for you emphasize your lack of identity. They emphasize that you are not-a-Jew. When you are called a ben Noach, a child of Noah, this is contrasted with being a child of Israel, a Jew. It appears to you that the term is no different than “non-Jew,” just another way of saying not-a-Jew. The term “Noahide” appears to be nothing more than another way of saying, “child of Noah,” or “one that is not a Jew.” “Goyim,” similarly emphasizes to you non-Jewishness: you have the Jewish nation and then all the others. The Torah observant world has created two kinds of people, Jews and those that are not Jews, it seems, and the ones that really count are those in the first class. Others—you—are not given positive identification. You are only identified by what you are not. Not-a-Christian. Not-a-Jew. A Twilight Man.
But you are not a Twilight Man. Though, right now, as you have so freshly divorced yourself from your community, you feel a lack of identity, you should know that the Torah does not see you as a non-being. Rather, you are a human being, among the most precious of God’s creations. You know that the Torah does not teach that it is only the Jew that is made in the image of God. It is the human being that is made in the image of God. And it is this that you are—a human. You have intrinsic worth.
As a human, you have the capacity for the greatest good. It is the human being that is able to act with wisdom. It is the human being that is able to act unselfishly. It is the human being that is not moved solely by instinct but may govern himself through reason. He is the moral creature. And when he acts with wisdom, kindness, and justice, he is the most exalted of creatures. Also, because of his capacity, when he acts foolishly, selfishly, and unjustly, he is the most debased of creatures. It is your humanity that gives you great nobility or ignobility. Your identity is not found in what you are not but what you are—a human being, made in the image of God.
It is a mistake, therefore, to consider yourself a Twilight Man. Not-a-Christian and not-a-Jew are not opposing points on a spectrum. These two means of identifying yourself do not express the same thing. When you state that you are not-a-Christian, this is a statement of rejection. You have rejected the false teachings of the Church and indeed made your way out of darkness. But this is not what you mean when you say that you are not-a-Jew, for you do not reject Judaism. So, when you say that you are not-a-Jew, you are acknowledging that you do not have the same responsibilities as the Jewish people have, just as one from the tribe of Judah does not have the same responsibilities as a priest. Christianity and Judaism are not two points between which you are trapped, then, as the statement that you are not the one is not the same as the statement that you are not the other. You must not see yourself as excluded from the light of the truth of Torah.
Those terms by which you are called and seem to affirm you to be a non-entity generally refer to the difference in responsibility between the Jewish people and the non-Jewish people. The terms “non-Jew,” “child of Noah,” or “Noahide” do not assert the inferiority of you as a person. They do not steal from you a positive identity. They indicate only that you have a different obligation, that of the human generally, in contrast to the Jewish people who have further obligations. A child of Noah must refrain from those actions forbidden to humanity through Adam and again through Noah. (The Seven Laws of Noah are so-called in the opinion of some, because the law forbidding one to eat from a still-living animal was not given to Adam but to Noah, permission having not been granted to eat animals until after the Flood. See Genesis 9.) The term “Noahide” is often employed to mean the same thing. At other times, Noahide is employed to mean, “one that acknowledges that God has given the Seven Laws of Noah and accepts them upon himself.” Some even use the term “ben Noach” or “child of Noah” this way, in which usage the term does not denote a negation. The term “Noahide,” then, can serve as a statement of acknowledgement of Torah, a counterpart to the negative “not-a-Christian,” the rejection of the New Testament and the Church. In any case, Judaism does not deprive you of a positive identity with these terms. They indicate your obligation under the Seven Laws of Noah.
The Jewish people have certain obligations that have not been imposed upon the rest of the world. The Jewish people are commanded to study the Torah; you have no such command. They are commanded to affix mezuzot to their doors; you are not. They are forbidden to perform any creative work on the Sabbath, while you may perform such tasks. This is because the Jewish people have a mission on behalf of the rest of the world. They are a nation of priests and God’s witnesses. Within that nation the priests also have certain obligations that do not apply to non-priestly Jews. However, this does not diminish the non-priestly Jew; nor are you diminished by the priestly nation.
Indeed, the Jewish people are a gift to you. If they are priests, they are priests on your behalf. If they are witnesses, they bear witness to divine truth for you and me and the entire non-Jewish world. The Jewish people were given the Torah. You and I were given the Jewish people. They are appointed by HaShem to be our teachers. You must not suppose that their special role means that God loves only the Jewish people. On the contrary, the creation of the Jewish people is proof of God’s love for you.
Nor must you believe that the Seven Laws of Noah, due to the seeming ease with which they may be upheld, indicate your inferiority. If they were so easy to uphold, the world would not be full of murder, theft, and all manner of injustice. But it is. This is to say nothing of idolatry and sexual degradation. Without question, the world would be much improved if the greater number of humanity refrained from the unjust actions proscribed by the Seven Laws. Humanity would experience a much greater harmony than is now known. Peace would be nearly found. Virtually no one would deny this; yet injustice flourishes.
It requires attention to live in accordance with the Seven Laws. Most people acknowledge that it is wrong to steal, yet many steal anyway. How is it possible? Multiple reasons can be found for this. For example, it is often the case that when someone steals, it does not occur to him that he has even performed a theft. Or, the theft may appear insignificant. Or, he is overcome by desire. The danger of taking the Seven Laws for granted is that one may find himself violating them when opportunity and temptation presents itself, because they are not internalized. No philosophy is ever internalized by hearing the summation of a matter and asserting that one understands and accepts it. Whoever treats the Seven Laws cavalierly, as so obvious that they need no reflection, will not be truly guided by them.
This need not mean that he will violate them, but that they will not be his guiding philosophy. The idea of eating from a living animal does not appeal to many. To some, the law will appear superfluous, even insulting. The law may appear to him to be necessary only for the most barbarous of peoples, not to the modern American. However, this attitude is of no benefit. First, one must consider why the law is kept. If one only adheres to the law because he does not find eating from a live animal appealing, then he obeys his own code and not divine law. His action is correct, but it is devoid of piety. Second, the one that shrugs off the law as obvious will have little reason to contemplate its philosophical underpinnings. A law against eating from a living animal preserves a sensitivity in the human being. He is not to allow himself to inflict unnecessary pain, lest he turn himself cruel. Moreover, such a law rests upon the principle that the world and all that is in it belongs to God and not to human beings. Humans may only use what is in the world with God’s permission. If this is the case, he ought also not to use the objects he finds in the world wastefully. He should not use resources thoughtlessly. One can benefit greatly from studying and reflecting upon the laws, rather than briefly acknowledging them.
Similarly, though the Seven Laws are all prohibitions, with greater reflection, one will find positive actions he should take in order to align himself with the philosophy of the Seven Laws. It is tempting for one to say that he was not going to murder anybody and so the law did not much enlighten him. However, when one considers the reason given in Genesis 9 for not taking a human life, one must ponder the further consequences. Genesis 9 emphasizes that the human being is made in the image of God. The human is sacred and of intrinsic worth. If one truly sees the intrinsic worth in others, he will not merely refrain from murder, he will promote the welfare of others. When he sees that others are sacred, he will treat them always with dignity. The Seven Laws, therefore, inform one’s philosophy and actions beyond the actual prohibited actions.
The Seven Laws are not a consolation prize for the non-Jew. He has not been given an inferior Torah, one that does not allow him to draw close to HaShem. The rabbis famously taught that the child of Noah that studies the Seven Laws is like a high priest. He can indeed draw close to HaShem through the Seven Laws. One must not disregard them, then, but devote oneself to their study. He must internalize them and let their philosophical underpinnings become the foundation for his thought and action. In so doing, he begins to understand God’s will for humanity and to fulfill that will. He draws close to God.
He will not be a Twilight Man, receiving only the faintest light of the Torah. Rather the Seven Laws—his Torah—will illumine his life. His actions and thoughts will be informed by the Torah. He will no longer resent not receiving the commandments of the Jewish people, for he has been given the Jewish people themselves, as teachers. He will not feel like a non-entity, for he will have the full dignity of being a human being. He will be defined by what he does and not by what he rejects. Give yourself time to heal. Leaving a community is a painful experience. Just know that the Torah does not see you as an inferior being.
So moving and inspiring!
Thanks. That is an excellent reminder for anyone who’s is in the same position.
I really like this. It’s also only as humans-seeking-God that Jews ever accept Him and Torah.
The Noachide laws are basically just the minimum for being barely decent! There is so much above that.
Sure, but it is a big step (Conversion) for many; and not everybody can take it due to circumstances that are out of their control. And; better be a decent Noahide than a convert who change his mind along the line and stop following Torah… Regardless, I feel it is a personal decision that could either be good or bad down the line…
Correct me if I’m wrong ,but are you the person who commented in this blog under the name “Annelise”?
If yes,I just want you to know how inspiring your articles and comments have been to me personally .It really helps me in my journey towards the truth.
I used to think the Noachide laws as mundane and basic -something that a school kid should know.Yes,I did read somewhere that these laws are the basic minimum for a civilized society.
Practicing it ,however is much tougher than I thought. I failed many times-especially the one on stealing. Not did I physically take anyone’s property without their consent-but things such as surfing the net during working hours,especially when the boss is not around.Or perhaps joining in the office gossip -spreading false rumor or speaking ill of another person behind their back .That’s breaking the “do not murder” rule,isn’t it?
I did not feel bad doing these things in the past .Perhaps I was not conscious of G-d in my daily activities .Now I realize that even though my boss is not around ,my Big Boss is looking and this is my chance to show that I’m serious to do this for Him.
I guess the key thing to take from here is to be conscious of G-d at all times.To see that our actions matter to Him ,especially when no one’s looking .To consciously obey His commands the best we can -Jew or non Jew.
It’s not about us.It’s about Him.
You do a good job of illustrating how adherence to “easy” laws can be an expression of one’s devotion to HaShem and how by focusing on them one can make himself aware constantly of being in the presence of his King. Thank you for sharing this comment.
There is a similar “twilight” emotion for us converts. We are “sorta-Jews” or “pretend Jews” in the eyes of many, both Jewish and Gentile. The first year, I was proud to speak of my conversion experience,to share my story. Now I just stay silent about it in hopes of being seen as a Jew and not a convert. This silence is also beneficial to others in the sense that they will not be guilty of judging me for being a convert.
Eleazar, it is devastating to hear that you have experienced such an ambivalent welcome as a convert in your community. Where I come from and where I live now, converts are fully accepted as Jews and are even admired for throwing in their lot with the Jewish people. I am close to a couple of converts and I never even think of them as anything but Jews.
It breaks my heart that you feel the need to keep silent about your experience. I hope that things change for you!
That’s very kind of you, Dina. I’m not too worried about it. I made this decision as a path toward my ordained destiny, and how people respond to that is up to them. It does not change my faith or my beliefs. I just want to be Jewish, judged by my peers the same way they would as if my name was Seth Goldstein. But as I said, I get it from Gentiles as much or more than from Jews. “Your last name is what? Oh, so you’re not a REAL Jew.” I am sure this will get better over time as everyone sees how very obviously Jewish I am in every way but my last name.
That highlights a lot how I have felt in the past year since leaving Catholicism. Somewhat homeless and rudderless at times and disoriented. Saying that there have been some very positive changes in my relationship with G-d myself and others. 2 years ago when I first read the Jewish side of things I did pray that I meet Jews and a month later I met my doc an orthodox Jew ironically the first one I ever met. Her and her hubby have since taken me into their spiritual lives. So my advice to anyone leaving Christianity is to pray to find a Jewish community that truly believes in G-d and just give it time and things will open up. I know of people who became atheists after realising Jesus is a complete failure in living up to his promises of transforming a person. At least we (people like Philip, CR, Fred, myself, etc) aren’t in that boat and we haven’t left G-d and i am sure in the longer term we will find Him in a far more fulfilling and healthier way than the cult and sickness of Jesus worship.
I am so happy to hear that you have someone with whom you can learn and find community. May HaShem continue to bless you.
Being divorced from the Church and that community is lonely — I am not wanted in the Church as I no longer believe what that community believes — I am not wanted in the Synagogue as I am not a product of Jewish history nor am I in the process of conversion. In your article “Twilight Man” you point out several times the Jews are my teachers — yet, my teachers do not wish for me to attend their classes by having association with them or their congregation …. so how do I learn from my teachers?? The Jerusalem Bible (Koren Publishing) QOHELET12:13 “The end of the matter, when all is said and done: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for that is the whole duty of man.” Some translations have “mankind” and some have “humanity” — but I do not see “man” being translated “whole duty of Jews only” or “whole duty of the Noahide laws for Goyim.”
Just saying ……..
Seems I read something exactly like this on here a couple of years ago by someone who left (and was spurned by) the church due to various doctrines, including the trinity. He attended a Synagogue, but wanted to do it on his terms, i.e., to be accepted in spite of his continued acceptance and preaching of “Yeshua”. You are not that same person, are you?
Sincere seekers do very well at my Shul. However, those who are there to militantly push anti-Torah/pro “Yeshua” teachings under the guise of “learning” get ignored or even, as happened once a couple of years ago, told to leave.
When I first began visiting synagogues 9 years ago, they were cautious until they knew my motives were honorable and sincere. I was told in advance this would happen, so I did my best to press in, remain friendly and take part in the ways I was asked to- nothing more or less. Over time, I came to be accepted as much as an unconverted Gentile could expect to be. The rabbi even offered to hold learning meetings with me one-on-one (I accepted, of course). If you’re a sincere learner/seeker, the shul will accept you in time if you stick with it, press-in and remain friendly.
Nope Eleazar wasn’t me a couple of years ago…. first time I have been on this site.
Thanks and will keep trying.
Brother Eleazar, i see that you used quite often “acceptance” in this comment.
I thought what i am writing about Romans might help both communities of the Jews and gentile Christians understand and accept each other.
Romans 11:12, 15 “but if their fall means the riches of the world, and their diminishing the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?…
For if their rejection be the reconciling of the world, what shall the ACCEPTANCE be but life from the dea?”
Notice, the original Greek text does not say “THEIR acceptance,” rather “acceptance.” In Romans 11, Paul has been describing the spiritual status of the Jews like “their OOO” ; for example, “their fall” (v.12), “their diminishing” (v.12), “their fulness” (v.12), “their rejection” (v.15). However, in verse 15, why Paul used the phrase, “acceptance” instead of “their acceptance?” This tells us, I believe, that not only the Jewish people’s acceptance of the gospel or the church but also the church’s accepatance of the Jewish people as our brothers and sisters and as firstborn sons of God, will bring great revival in the world and usher in the Messianic age in which the resurrection occurs! Paul wanted to urge us to receive each other in mutual acceptance between the Jews and the gentile Christians (Romans 14:1, 3; 15:7)
Paul urges us to be united in the love of God.
Gean Guk Jeon,
I do not know what you mean when you say that you wish to help “Jews and gentile Christians understand and accept each other.” In what way are they to understand and accept one another? Surely you do not mean that the Jew should accept the Christian into the synagogue as partners in Torah learning. This is impossible.
Even a gentle Christian, such as yourself, both tolerates and perpetuates violence against the Torah. You tolerate it when you accept the NT’s distortions of Tanach, such as Paul’s massive distortion of Deut. 30 in the epistle from which you quoted. You perpetuate it when you distort words like Torah and take them to mean Jesus based on a Greek concept unrelated to Torah. If you, who have rejected the unjustified claims of Trinitarians, can accept and practice the rewriting of the Word of God, then surely no Christian exists who will not misrepresent Torah to support his doctrine.
This being so, no one concerned with the truth–Jew or non-Jew–can accept Christian teaching or interpretation. Anyone concerned with the truth must reject Christian misrepresentations, must not tolerate them for one moment. He cannot, then, accept Christian teachings as an alternate but valid viewpoint. It is not for nothing that in the blogpost above, I consider the Christian position to be one of darkness. The Christian misinterpretations of Tanach are based in ignorance and falsehood. Those seeking truth must not lend them any validity.
Of course, I do not speak for the Jewish people–I am not even Jewish, myself. But it appears to me that if acceptance of the Christian entails validating his views, this must be avoided. And, I do not know that the Jewish people wish to be accepted by Christians. My limited experience suggests that they would prefer the Christian to just leave them alone. Acceptance carries a high price tag, as Christian acceptance often leads to Christian proselytization, “loving” Jews into the Church–and away from God.
Acceptance sounds like a positive move, but it is not always. One must not accept falsehood. And those that speak falsehoods in the name of God cannot be accepted as fellow students of the Torah. A student of the Torah attempts to understand Torah, not impose foreign doctrines upon it. Someone that does the latter is not a student of Torah, and must not be validated as a student of Torah. In this sense, he cannot be accepted. But, if he repents and seeks after the truth, then he may indeed find acceptance as many former Christians have found.
“those that speak falsehoods in the name of God cannot be accepted as fellow students of the Torah. A student of the Torah attempts to understand Torah, not impose foreign doctrines upon it.”
Brother Jim, I agree with your statement! I think that many Christians ignore the fact that Yeshua also prohibited what you have suggested; ” No man putteth a piece of new cloth (NT theology or doctrine) unto an old garment (Torah), for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.” (Mt 9:16) — therefore he seems to imply that we should put a piece of old cloth (Pharisaic traditions or theology of Tanakh, etc) unto an new garment (NT), and then it becomes whole.
In line with your thought, Paul also teaches how we get doctrine: “All scripture (this means Tanakh, not NT in the 1st century) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)
Gean Guk Jeon,
With respect, your quotes do not actually address the issues. They only avoid facing the reality of the distortions of the Church, including those by Paul. You quote his letter to the Romans semi-frequently, overlooking the constant misrepresentation of scripture throughout that letter. Especially egregious is his misrepresentation of Deut. 30. Quoting his thoughts on how one gets doctrine through scripture does not at all address the point.
You have only evaded the issue.
Could you share your thought on why Paul misrepresent Deuteronomy 30?
Gean Guk Jeon,
Throughout his letter to the Romans, Paul contrasts two means whereby one might try to be righteous before God. One means is through the Law, a means by which, according to Paul, one can only experience failure, for the Law is too difficult for one to keep and only reveals to one the need for some other means to attain righteousness. The other means is through faith in Jesus, and it is this means that is efficacious for the attainment of righteousness. All through his epistle to the Romans, he misrepresents the Hebrew Scriptures, Tanach, in order to “prove” his case. For example, in order to prove that no one can be righteous through the Law, he misrepresents Ps. 14, quoting: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one…” But the psalm is speaking about the fools that say in their heart that there is no God. Paul turns a statement about a specific type of person and makes it appear to be a statement about the universal condition of humanity. He goes along through his letter in this way, representing falsely statements and phrases in Tanach to impose upon them his own theology. Perhaps no portion of Tanach is more ill-used than Deut. 30.
In order to support the opposition of these two means toward righteousness, Paul uses Deut. 30 in support of the idea that righteousness comes through faith in Jesus. Note the juxtaposition in the language of the first Romans 10:5 and 10:6. Verse 5 begins: “Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law…” And verse 6: “But the righteousness that comes from faith…” Just as he has done throughout the letter, he is going to juxtapose the Law and Faith.
In support of his thesis that righteousness comes through faith, he quotes Deut. 3:11-14:
“But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:6-10).
To make comparison easy:
“Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” (Deut. 30:11-14).
Paul has so badly misrepresented these verses, performed such an act of violence against them, that he clearly had no love of the truth and no fear of God. Of course, he does to this passage what so many Christian misrepresentations do, he makes it to be about the person of the Messiah. His interjections about “Christ” have no relation to what Moses is speaking about in Deuteronomy 30. But this is almost the least of his crimes in regard to this passage.
Paul has made Moses’ words to be about Paul’s word of faith. But Moses is speaking about the Torah, about the Law, the same Law to which Paul has juxtaposed Faith. Paul has turned the passage on its head entirely. Moses, in telling the people not to seek “it” in the heavens or across the sea, is not talking about Christ but the commandment. It is the very opposite of what Paul has made the passage seem to say. (Paul also changes the relation to the sea from “across” to in its depths, which is a minor point compared to the other points. However, this misquote leads to the interjection about “bringing Christ up from the dead,” which imagery would not make sense with the original relation.) When Paul goes on to say that “the word [that] is near you” is the word of faith, this is an absolute lie. Moses is talking about the commandment, the teaching of the Torah, in Paul’s terminology—the Law. Paul attempts to hide this by omitting the end of Deut. 30:14, which continues where Paul stops. Moses indicates that the people have been given the Law just so that they can observe it, that it is not impossible to keep the Law. But, because the thrust of Paul’s argument is that the Law is impossible to keep, he must omit the end of v.14.
Omitting the end of the quote also allows Paul to impose a new meaning upon the portion of v. 14 that he does quote. He relates the lips to the confession that Jesus is Lord and the heart to belief that God raised Jesus from the dead. However, this is clearly not what Moses was speaking about. These misrepresentations by Paul would make no sense if you quoted the end of the verse, which talks about observance. Moses has given the people the key to Torah observance, internalizing it and speaking about it constantly. When one’s focus is on the Torah, he will be able to keep it. But Paul’s whole argument is the antithesis of this: he claims that the Torah is impossible to keep.
Paul has made the promises of God into nothing. As Deut. 30 continues, it says that obeying the commandments of God brings blessing and life. And, disobedience brings curses and death. According to Paul, however, because no one can keep the Law, it does not bring blessing and life, only curses and death. It is bad enough that he would make this argument at all, but it is particularly brazen to hinge this argument in part upon a passage that is the antithesis of his doctrine.
Paul greatly abused Tanach in his letters. He treated Torah like it was his plaything, rather than the holy words of God. He created his own doctrines, and then he misrepresented Torah in order to make his teachings appear to be divine. In so doing, he misled a great many people. His letter to the Romans is littered with his misrepresentations. His misrepresentation of Deut. 30 stands out for its being so blatant, but it is only one of his many crimes against Torah.
Well-reasoned, Jim. I wonder what more it could possibly take for a believing Christian to be horrified by all the lies and distortions of Christian scripture.
>>This tells us, I believe, that not only the Jewish people’s acceptance of the gospel or the church but also the church’s accepatance of the Jewish people as our brothers and sisters<<
The main thing I take away from that, Gean is that you include yourself as part of the church. You had been denying this in the past, and condemning the church as not genuine. Now you seem to be on board with them as part of the collective.
Otherwise, yes, the belief that the Jews accepting Jesus bringing about the 2nd coming is why the church spends millions of dollars trying to convert Jews to Christianity.
Try to understand that Paul and the NT have zero credibility to me for reasons plainly stated many times on this blog. You may as well quote Moroni.
Brother Eleazar, my understanding of the Hebrew Bible and NT does not allow me to seperate the Jews and the Church. They are together the Ecclesia (the Called out ones).
Qohelet- ecclesiastes – is the one who call the people of God. I believe that those who hears the word of God and respond in obedience is the church; thus the Jews or the gentile Chrisitans are together church.
I did not mean the great revival happens when the Jews accepted Jesus, i meant it when the Jews accepted the good news for them. What is the good news? When God’s word is fufilled in the history, it is the good news. That’s why Paul defined the good news in 1 Corinthians 15, “ACCORDING to the Scriptures (Tanakh), Christ has died;
According to the Scriptures (Tanakh), Christ rose again…”
What is good? When God said, “Let there be light” and there was light, and it was GOOD. When the angel proclaimed the good news of great joy to the shepherds in the hills of Bethlehem, he called it GOOD news because the Christ has been born in the town of DAVID (as prophesied in Tanakh!).
Good news is not “God will save you and give you eternal life if you believe in Jesus.” Good news is “God has saved you and gave you eternal life through what God has done in Yeshua according to the Scriptures.”
I share in your loneliness. I have no one with whom I may learn locally either. This site has been the “place” in which my loneliness is ameliorated. I have made here a few friends that, though I have never met, have comforted me and whom I dearly love. Perhaps the internet can be a place for you to find similar friends, friends that can ease the loneliness, friends with whom you share a similar philosophy.
The internet can also be a place of learning for you. Various sites offer learning for the non-Jews: asknoah.org , noahidenations.com , noahide.org and others. It is not the same as studying with people present in place and time, but it is an opportunity for learning.
I hope you can understand why the Jewish people are wary of non-Jews coming to synagogues to learn with them. Many of those that say they come to learn with the Jewish people, really wish to teach them, usually about Christianity. The modern phenomenon of non-Jews wishing to learn the Seven Laws is quite recent, and the Jewish people have not had many sincere students in the past. If non-Jews continue to seek to be educated by the Jewish people, then it is likely developments in the future will make non-Jewish learning easier, whatever form that takes in the future.
It is lonely, rejecting one’s community. Perhaps you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in suffering from this loneliness. Many have gone through or are going through what you are going through.
In response to your understanding of Kohelet:
You seem to be implying that all of the commandments of the Torah are to be fulfilled by all of humanity. Your argument is based on the fact that Kohelet 12:13 does not specify the Seven Laws are to be filled by the non-Jew. This is not a sound argument.
The verse in no way suggests that all human beings have been given the same commands. Even among the Jewish people, they do not all receive the same commands. Some commands are for men, and others are for women. Some are for the Levites, and some only for priests. Now imagine that a non-Levite decided he was going to perform priestly functions. It is clear from the Torah that he cannot do this. Now, let him quote Kohelet 12:13, saying that Solomon does not distinguish between commandments; he only says that mankind should keep them. Is it not clear that he will have made a significant mistake? Or, let a woman argue from the same verse that she ought to be circumcised. Must we not say that she has misunderstood the verse?
So then, the verse means that the duty of a person is to fear God and perform whatever commandments God gave to him or her. No universality of commandments is implied.
Your words “So then, the verse means that the duty of a person is to fear G-d and perform whatever commandments G-d gave to him or her. No universality of commandments is implied.” The universality comes from the word person (i.e. mankind) So your comment might read “The duty of any person is to fear G-d and perform whatever commandments G-d gave to him or her. And G-d gives his commands to those whom He Created —- not only in the sense of man or woman, but also in the sense of Jew or Gentile.” Zechariah 8:23 — If those from the nations take hold of the skirt of a Jew — would he from the nations NOT be taught G-d’s Ways (i.e. His Word/Torah) which I would assume is the “light to the nations” (the Jews mandate), in preparation for His making His house “a house of prayer for ALL nations????” And before Abraham was circumcised (before he became a Jew) G-d ask Abraham to “Walk before ME” Walk = HALACH — DO TORAH (which IS — how one walks before G-d).
Just saying ……………….
Zechariah says nothing about the non-Jew keeping the 613 commandments that have been given to the Jewish people. Making assumptions is not safe; they may be wrong. Zechariah 8:22 references people praying to God in Jerusalem, much like it is written in Isaiah that the temple shall be a house of prayer for all nations, but it says nothing about the nations keeping the entire Torah rather than the Seven Laws.
Regarding Abraham, with respect, your argument is faulty and undermines itself. If Abraham, in being told to walk before God, was being told to keep the entire Torah, the 613 commandments incumbent upon a Jew, then included in that would have been the command to be circumcised. Yet, that had not been enjoined upon him until later, as you point out. Therefore, walking before God could not mean keeping all the commandments that would later be applied to the Jewish people. It did not include the whole of the Torah.
If one wishes to keep the whole Torah, he may become a Jew. That path is open. However, as long as one is not Jewish, it is not his responsibility to keep those things commanded to the Jew, and some things, like the Sabbath, he may not keep. Instead, he should focus on those commands that are his responsibility. If he will do them, because God commanded them and not for some other reason, then his actions represent his love and devotion to God.
Where is one supposed to find those laws “for gentiles”?
They certainly are not in the Torah, or even Tanakh…
In one sense, you are correct and, in one sense, you are incorrect when you say that the Seven Laws “are not in the Torah, or even Tanakh….” It is true that the Written Torah does not record the giving of six laws to Adam, either before or after leaving Eden. Only the seventh law is explicitly mentioned (in Gen. 9) at the time of its having been given. But, one must not suppose that because the giving of these laws is not recorded, they must not have been given. On the contrary, it is clear from the Torah that such laws must have been given. After all, Noah is judged to be righteous. If no laws had been given, according to what criteria was he measured? According to what criteria were others measured unrighteous? Similarly, Abraham was rewarded by God, “because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Gen. 26:5). It is apparent that Abraham was following laws that had been given to humanity, the giving of is not recorded in the Written Torah. So, while you are correct that the giving of the universal laws is not recorded, it is apparent that they were given.
As noted above, however, this does not apply to the prohibition to eat from a living animal, the commandment given to Noah. At the time when God granted permission to eat animals, God gave the prohibition relating to how it should be eaten (Gen. 9:4). In this instance, one of the Seven Laws—laws for gentiles—is explicitly recorded.
The same chapter alludes to two other commandments—the prohibition to murder and the obligation to establish courts. Gen. 9:6 says: “Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.” Note that these are not commands. God does not say, “Do this” or, “Do not do that.” This is not the giving of the command not to kill other people or to establish courts. Yet, the commands are present in this passage that is emphasizing the value of human life.
These laws clearly were known before the Flood, however, because the inhabitants of the earth are judged for violating them. In Gen. 6:11, one reads that the earth was full of violence. It is this in part for which humanity will be judged. Justice was virtually non-existent. God corrected this evil with a drastic measure. So, humanity at that time must have been given laws that they were violating. And, one can see others of the Seven reflected in Genesis. Even though they are not listed at the time of their giving, they are reflected in Torah and are indeed in Torah.
It is sometimes assumed that God could not have different expectations of two different people. So, when God gave the Torah to Israel, He must have intended it for all humanity. But this is clearly not so. God calls Israel to be a holy nation, one set aside. They are to be a priesthood, serving a special function. If they have a special function, then what applies to them specially does not apply to humanity universally. One must not assume that any law given to Israel applies to humanity.
A couple of examples will illustrate this point. Consider the life of Abraham. During his life, he adhered to the commandments of God. At that time, many other humans existed, and they were also obligated to follow the commandments of God. Imagine the existence of a Hittite of that time, named Rob. Rob and Abraham are both under the same divinely given law for ninety-nine years of Abraham’s life. Then, God gives Abraham a command to circumcise himself and his household (Gen. 17). This is not a universal commandment; it is special to Abraham, his male descendants, and their slaves. This commandment does not apply to Rob or any of his fellow Hittites, unless they happen to be slaves in Abraham’s household. So, one commandment was given to Abraham and through him the Jewish people that does not apply to all humanity. (This will also exclude Rob and his descendants from making a Passover offering, another commandment exclusive to Israel.)
The second example can be found in Jonah. Jonah is sent to Nineveh to tell the inhabitants that they are on the brink of destruction. After he announces their impending doom, the king tells the people that they should fast and repent. He says: “All shall turn from their evil ways and the violence in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish” (Jonah 3:8-9). And, when God sees that they have ceased their wickedness, he does not bring about the destruction. But the Ninevites do not become like Israel. They do not take upon themselves all the commandments. That is not what was required. They had only to give up their unjust ways. So, not all the laws incumbent upon Israel are incumbent upon all humanity.
As to where the enumeration of the Seven Laws may be found, they are preserved in the Oral Torah. And you may find them online or in several books. A few of the websites that enumerate the Seven Laws are: asknoah.org , noahidenations.org , noahide.org , and noahidesevencommandments.org . As for books: The Divine Code, The Rainbow Covenant, or The Seven Laws of Noah, among others. (I particularly like The Seven Laws of Noah, but it is out of print and hard to find.) You may also be able to find a rabbi near you who can teach you.
It should be noted that the Seven Laws are actually seven Categories. Each category has individual laws that fall under that category. Maimonides lists the six laws given to Adam as:
1. The prohibition against worship of false gods
2. The prohibition against cursing God
3. The prohibition against murder
4. The prohibition against incest and adultery
5. The prohibition against theft
6. The command to establish laws and courts of justice
And the seventh, given to Noah is the prohibition against eating flesh from a living animal.
The books and websites listed above, and those similar to them, will give you further information regarding those commands, the details beyond the broad categories.
Thank you for taking time to comment, and if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask them.
so the bottom line is that those laws are not in Torah. You might find some traces of some of the laws, but someone who is reading only Torah is not capable of knowing which 7 laws are for Gentiles, that is without consulting extra-biblical writings and local Rabbi.
What about the clean and unclean animals? Those were clearly known to Noah. Should Gentile abide by the rules for clean and unclean animals?
If gentiles are not required to obey all Torah, how do you explain those verses:
Awake! Awake, Tziyon!
Clothe yourself with your strength!
Dress in your splendid garments,
Yerushalayim, the holy city!
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
will enter you no more.
But we see that gentiles will be required to come to Jerusalem:
In the acharit-hayamim
the mountain of Adonai’s house
will be established as the most important mountain.
It will be regarded more highly than the other hills,
and all the Goyim will stream there.
As far as I know, the Temple will be on mount Zion, which will be in Jerusalem.
Don’t see anything about circumcision and cleanliness in the 7 laws you cited.
When studying Torah, or any work for that matter, one wishes to be careful about jumping to conclusions. One problem that presents itself to the mind, is that a question sometimes seems to imply an answer. This leads one to ignore other possible answers—truthfully, to never notice them. It will just not occur to him that another answer to a question could exist.
You have raised two questions, one about laws pertaining to clean animals and one pertaining to circumcision. For the first, in particular, I will have to do some interpreting of your argument, because you do not state precisely what you mean. So, if I have misunderstood your argument, please correct me.
Both arguments hinge on a question that can be phrased roughly the same way. These may not be how you phrased the questions to yourself, but I suspect your thought process went along these lines:
1. If one assumes that non-Jews are allowed to eat unclean animals, then why did Noah know how to distinguish between clean and unclean animals? This contradicts the assumption; therefore, the assumption is wrong, and non-Jews must have been commanded to eat clean animals.
2. If one assumes that non-Jews are not commanded to be circumcised, then why are they allowed in Jerusalem at a time when the uncircumcised will not enter her? This contradicts the assumption; therefore, the assumption is wrong, and non-Jews must have been commanded to be circumcised.
As noted above, I have had to interpret a little more on the first question, because your comment said nothing about eating. I inferred that, I hope not incorrectly.
The conclusion of your first argument is clearly incorrect. It is contradicted directly by Torah. When God gives permission to Noah to eat animals, he states: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; like the green herbage I have given you everything” (Gen. 9:3). Noah does not receive a prohibition regarding eating unclean animals. Your conclusion was hasty, and it did not rely upon the text as its guide. You noted an apparent contradiction and resolved it by jumping to a conclusion.
Certainly, at least one other explanation can be given. The distinction of clean and unclean animals may have been necessary for bringing sacrifices. Abel had brought the first animal sacrifice hundreds of years before Noah lived. Some support of this idea can be drawn from the fact that Noah did sacrifice those clean animals. Perhaps there are other possible explanations as well.
Please take the time to consider this fact. Even if Gen. 9:3 did not eliminate your conclusion, the fact that alternate possibilities exist would mean that you had not yet proven that a prohibition to eat unclean animals was given to Noah or Adam. That would only remain a possibility, and to be certain of one possibility or another, you would need to do further research. As it is, your conclusion is eliminated by the text directly.
As to the second argument, I leave it to you to consider whether or not there are other possibilities. I am sure you will find that in this case, too, you have overlooked possible answers to what appears to be a contradiction.
Sorry Jim, but your convoluted way of reasoning does not fly in the face of clear meaning Torah gives. And that is for your first point about animals, since you avoided to give any argument regarding circumcision, for the sole reason that you won’t be able to find one.
The point I was making about animals did not pertain to eating per se. The fact is that knowledge and rules, that we can even call laws of clean and unclean animals were clearly given to Noah. Since you call collection of rules for gentiles, “Noahide laws”, one would expect that one such law would include teaching about clean and unclean animals. How is “Noahide” supposed to know which animal he can bring as a sacrifice, once the sacrificial offerings are re-established?
But we don’t even need to go into intricacies of sacrificial cleanliness, because Tanakh is contradicting your line of thought even when it comes to the question of clean food:
For Adonai will judge all humanity
With fire and with the sword,
And those slain by Adonai will be many
“Those who consecrate and purify themselves
In order to enter the gardens,
Then follow the one who was already there,
Eating pig meat, reptiles and mice,
Will all be destroyed together”, says Adonai.
So, basically, whoever teaches non-Jews that it’s ok to eat pork, is leading them straight to destruction. And leading themselves to God’s condemnation. And there is no commentary or mind gymnastics that can change the plain meaning given by God himself.
I am afraid that you have jumped to conclusions again. You have assumed that I had no explanation for your thoughts on circumcision. This is an unjustified and incorrect assumption. You have also assumed that the Seven Laws have nothing to say regarding the clean animals for the purpose of sacrifices. Since you do not see them in the list I gave—a list of categories of laws and certainly not the whole of Torah for a non-Jew—and, since you do see that in Genesis Noah had knowledge of clean animals, then the Seven Laws are—what, made up? But you have operated under a false assumption. This has led you to these hasty and incorrect conclusions.
It is well-known that Noah had a definition of clean animals long before the Jewish people received the entire Torah. I do not know of anyone that denies it. And, if you read Moshe Weiner’s book, “The Divine Code,” you will see that he writes about what is permitted for a non-Jew regarding sacrifices. That you have thought this not to be included in a discussion of the Seven Laws is just an error on your part. When you demonstrate that it was known, you have not disproven anything.
But, when you move to the question of food, you have overstated your case quite significantly. You have written that I rely upon a “convoluted way of reasoning,” while you, in contrast, rely upon the Torah. However, you overlooked that I quoted the Torah directly. God explicitly gives permission to Noah to eat any animal. The only restriction that God gives is that the animal must be dead first (Gen. 9:3-4). This is not a product of my logic, however tortured such logic may be. It is stated directly in the Torah. And you have overlooked it.
It might be worth your while to consider also Deuteronomy 14:21. There Israel is commanded “not to eat any carcass…” But they are permitted to give it to strangers that have settled in the land of Israel or sell it to a non-Jew. If one takes your view, however, that the non-Jew is supposed to be keeping all the laws that a Jew is obligated to keep, then this would be impossible. An Israelite could not be permitted to give the carcass to someone who was also forbidden to eat it—selling it to them would be even worse. In either case, they would be putting a stumbling block before the blind. Two dietary standards are evident.
Please consider also the following question: when did the non-Jew become obligated to keep kosher and become circumcised? In order to prove that the non-Jew is obligated in these areas, you have relied upon Isaiah. Of course, Isaiah is a holy book and his prophecy is reliable; that is not the issue. But, Isaiah lived and prophesied hundreds of years after the giving of the Torah. One presumes that if you had a proof from the Five Books of Moses, you would have listed that. It would have been a slam dunk for your case. But instead, you had to go to a prophet hundreds of years later. If we assume that the non-Jew was always obligated the same way as the Jew, then how did people know that for that several hundred years?
Did they have to consult with the equivalent of rabbis at their times? Did they have to rely upon extra-biblical writings? An oral tradition? I hope that you see the problem. You have implied that the Seven Laws are not legitimate, because they rely upon an Oral Torah. But you have to invent one of your own. You are in a position of having to say that some Oral Torah existed for hundreds of years, and that we see the proof of it in Isaiah.
Now, if you reread the verses you quoted from Isaiah 66, I think that you will see that they are not as straightforward as you thought. Isaiah 66:17 requires a lot of unpacking. If it is a verse condemning all those that do not keep kosher, it has a lot of unnecessary parts. Please review it, and you will see what I mean. It does not appear to me that you have identified the questions that one must ask of the verse.
Regarding Isaiah 52 and circumcision: as I said, you too hastily assumed that I had not possible alternative explanations. Please consider the possibility that you may be in error. It happens. We are all human beings; we make mistakes. If the non-Jew is not obligated in the same dietary laws as the Jew, as I have demonstrated, then other differences likely exist as well. Circumcision is a good candidate for such a difference.
When Abraham was commanded to circumcise himself and his household, he was not told to tell others they needed to be circumcised. It is not recorded in the Torah that the passed along this commandment to others. It is not mentioned, for example, that Avimelech got circumcised. The city of Shechem will the exception that proves the rule. As far as one can tell from the Torah, at that time, Abraham and his descendants had a unique commandment. Then, when the Torah was given, nothing indicates that the command became universal. To reiterate the earlier point, when one read the Torah 200 years after Joshua’s death, he had no verse to indicate that circumcision was universal. So, anyone reading the text—without commentaries, as you say—would have no idea that a non-Jew was supposed to be circumcised. The only way for someone to have this knowledge is through the Oral Torah, which you deny. It is a reasonable conclusion that the non-Jew is not commanded to be circumcised.
If this is so, and if you have overlooked the teaching of Torah regarding food, then you must consider other possible interpretations for Isaiah 52. It is not likely that the verse in question means that the non-Jew must be circumcised. If so, what are the alternatives? I leave you with that question again.
Would you be so kind as to provide explanation for circumcision. I haven’t done homeworks in a long time, and might be rusty a bit.
As for missing slam dunk, please forgive me, I got exhausted from all the jumping – to conclusions.
I’ll jump to another one – you are suggesting people should read books by some guy, instead of sticking with a plain meaning in Tanakh.
Interestingly, Torah is given to Jews only, but oral tradition that is supposedly given in secret to Jewsis actually the main reference for gentiles (how else are they to know 7 laws and all the expansions on those laws).
Daniel You seem to have a misunderstanding of what the Oral Law is and isn’t – may I humbly suggest that you read my article “The Council of My Nation” – you can find it on the panel on top of this page. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
I know what oral tradition is. I did not read very much of it, but I do know what it represents.
Maybe you did not understand my point – as you pointed out, Torah is given to the nation of Israel, and you might say to the Jews only. It has been written down and translated and distributed extensively throughout the world.
On the other hand, oral tradition has been transmitted, well orally, for the most part of its existence, until major parts of it and opinions on it were written down much later.
Jim is suggesting that gentiles should abide by 7 Noahide laws which have been scarcely referenced in Torah If gentile is to understand which laws exactly those are and how to follow them, he needs to consult oral tradition.
To me, that doesn’t make any sense at all – in other words Torah is for Jews only, but Jewish oral tradition is for both Jews and gentiles.
I’m not aware of any other God’s word that is documented by other nations, at least not from true God. So, this is suggesting that gentiles should always consult oral tradition if they are intending to read Torah.
In other words, no one gets to the Father except through Maimonides.
This sounds awfuly familiar. And awful.
Daniel You are understanding Oral tradition according to the Christian slander of Oral tradition. In a nut-shell, the Oral tradition is the social context of the Torah. I have alot written about the Oral tradition on this blog – please don’t let Christians and Karaites teach you about the Oral tradition. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
You have suggested that you are following the “plain meaning in Tanakh,” while I am not. Yet you have not addressed those portions of Torah that contradict your conclusions. Indeed, my argument hinges in part upon a straight reading of the text. Your reading ignores the text. You misrepresent the argument.
With all due respect, the fact is that your authority is not God-given, but a result of a consensus of some number of Jews, and not the national consensus of the house of Israel . In that sense Karaites have at least as much authority as you do in the matters of reading and interpreting Torah. As a matter of fact most of the Jews today don’t subscribe to any of the denominations, and I don’t know when you conducted the straw poll to establish who the judges are today?
According to Tanakh, in the absence of a priest with urim and thummim it is impossible to know God’s true instruction on all of the small matters that might arise. But I guess you guys are both judges and priests.
Actually, the fact that you would lump together Karaites and Christians hints at intellectual dishonesty. But it’s good to know your opinion about your fellow Jews and brethren.
In the same line of reasoning someone from the other side might suggest that actually Rabbinites and Christians are more similar, since both have mandatory extensions to Tanakh.
As for all the other discussion threads in this comment section. I got swarmed by worker bees and it would take a full-time job to answer all of the points raised. Instead, I will relax the discussion and just concede that you guys are right. In your world, of course. So, I wish you godspeed and all the best in your future endeavors.
P.S. Feel free to say that I abandoned discussion because you slammed me with strong arguments. In that, as well, you will be similar to those you are supposedly fighting against.
Daniel I answered most of your questions in the articles I mentioned and I only compared Karaites and Christians in their rejection of the Oral Law, but I wish you well in your life, you are always invited back to read what I wrote so you could actually interact with me as opposed to what my opponents taught you I believe
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
So long, Daniel! I wish you all the best.
Thus, if I compare JUST the Noahide Laws to JUST the 10 Words — a Gentile can without sin — Not observe the Sabbath — Not honor father and mother —May bear false witness — and May covet. Further a Gentile may not worry about Leviticus 18:19 and thus, NOT love my neighbor. And a Gentile may IGNORE the whole of Torah in-one-statement i.e., “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it. (Talmud, Shabbat 31a). I am not comfortable that G-d will ignore these Gentile non-sins. I cannot quite understand why G-d would have left His Word for all to read (i.e., hear) but NOT for all to DO ?? G-d being the ultimate Teacher and His Creation commanded to follow Him or …….. NOT.
Psalm 119:105 JPS Tanakh 1917
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path.
Word meaning ALL of His Word/Torah (i.e., His teaching/instructions for living the abundant life).
Clinton All of those commandments that you mentioned with the exception of the Sabbath are indeed incumbent upon the Gentile. The Torah should be a light to your path and the Torah explicitly describes the Sabbath as a personal sign between the Creator and the people of Israel (Exodus 31:17)
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
It is a bit of a mistake to say that “G-d… left His Word for all to read…”. God did not entrust His Torah to all the nations of the world. Rather, He gave it to one nation. Other nations took that which was not given to them. And then, they asserted that they had an equal understanding of that book, which was not written in a language they spoke and to which they did not have the experiences that contextualize the book.
This is as if I wrote a letter to my wife, and someone else came and stole it. How strange must it be if that person applied the words to herself! How bizarre if she redefined inside jokes to fit her own conception of what I must mean, because she did not understand the context! How is it that the world has done this same thing with the Torah?
Many times, the Torah says something like this, “God said to Moses, ‘Say to the children of Israel…”. The prophets, too, explicitly address Israel. Yet, others have taken these books and said, “This means me, though I am a child of Greece.” Or Rome. Or America. Or, what have you. God appointed Israel as His witnesses, not all the other nations. And he entrusted them with His Torah, not all the other nations.
Now, he has granted the non-Jew to study those passages that relate to him. But the non-Jew should recognize that without the Jewish people, he will not understand these books properly. He must rely upon his teachers and not attempt to usurp their role. It could have been that God denied the non-Jew these books altogether. Thankfully, He did not.
You quoted from the Talmud. If by this, you indicate that you accept the authority of the Oral Torah, then you must certainly accept that God gave Seven Laws to humanity. They are enumerated in Sanhedrin, 56a-60a (for the most part.) Hillel, whom you quoted, famously demonstrated the verity of the Oral Torah. So, you may trust him in this too.
Regarding the sins that a non-Jew may perform, R’ Blumenthal has addressed the error. It does not seem that you understand the Seven Laws. They are broad categories, not individual laws as the 613 mitzvot given to the Jewish people. So, coveting is actually forbidden, a violation of the prohibition against theft. Likewise, bearing false witness is a violation of the obligation to establish courts of justice.
Without going through the whole list (though I will if you think it necessary), if one wishes to be close to God, he will love others. The Torah teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God. Each human being is valuable, Jew or non-Jew. This idea is linked to the prohibition to murder a human being. This idea will also carry one beyond not murdering to taking care of others, extending them kindness just as HaShem does. Because God values human beings, whoever wishes to be close to God will do so as well. And, he will not merely refrain from doing harm, but he will do his fellow human beings good.
You should wholeheartedly follow everything that is written in Torah. God gave you mind and heart to understand Torah completely, without any additional commentaries. It does not matter what your genes are or what your passport says on its cover.
Looks much more like a wandering star reserved to everlasting darkness to cite Jude, than a twilight situation.
Our relationship with God is based in solid forgiveness and mercy, only found in a validated blood atonement (כִּי-הַדָּם הוּא, בַּנֶּפֶשׁ יְכַפֵּר), which the rabbinics and their disciples have rejected, without this there is no proper assurance.
Good luck trying to sell ritual human sacrifice to to a people whose God condemned it.
It is unfortunate that you drop by to once again distort the words of Torah. By this time, you know that Torah does not say that the only way to attain forgiveness is through blood atonement. It is wrong of you, then, to pretend that it says any such thing. It is wrong of you to continue to substitute the ideas of men with the Word of God. It is wrong of you to continue to treat Torah as your puppet, when it does not say what you wish it to say.
One wonders: is it just any blood that is used for atonement? Dog’s blood? Pig’s blood? Perhaps that of a turtle or a mongoose? None of those is prescribed in the Torah. Human blood? Also not prescribed. In fact, especially forbidden. So, even if atonement could only be achieved through blood, it would certainly not be through the blood of a human being. And not through murder.
Of course, Leviticus 17:11 does reserve blood for atonement, not to be consumed, but it says nothing about this being the only means of atonement. It is like a man that has a guest. And he is cooking for his guest an omelet. He tells his guest that this is his special omelet pan, properly seasoned and reserved only for omelets. That this pan is reserved for omelets does not mean that an omelet can only be made in this pan. So, too, with blood: it is reserved for atonement, but that does not mean it is the only means by which one can achieve atonement. It is not the only way to achieve forgiveness and mercy.
Charles, you limit God’s mercy. Ezekiel 18 and 33 promise forgiveness to those that repent. And nothing is said about sacrifices as the necessary ingredient to achieve forgiveness and mercy. But you know this, and you steadfastly ignore these facts to push your own reading onto Leviticus 17:11, based on a misrepresentation in Hebrews, a book shown to misrepresent Jeremiah as well and to be untrustworthy. However, you continue to substitute the misrepresentations of the NT and the Church for the Torah of HaShem.
Because you do misrepresent the Torah, I hope you do not find it surprising that your railing from a sopebox does not move me. That you believe I am destined for everlasting punishment matters little when your opinion does not align with Torah. Your stern warnings are vain, inasmuch as they are built on misrepresentations, distortions of the truth.
cpsoper When you are being embraced there is no need for “assurance”
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
please don’t listen to the exclusionists who want to enforce rules set by people and ignore what God says. Find your guide and hope in the words of God himself. Read carefully the whole Tanakh – you will find all answers. And listen to what God is telling you and all other gentiles:
A foreigner joining Adonai should not say,
“Adonai will separate me from his people”;
likewise the eunuch should not say,
“I am only a dried-up tree.”
For here is what Adonai says:
“As for the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats,
who choose what pleases me
and hold fast to my covenant:
in my house, within my walls,
I will give them power and a name
greater than sons and daughters;
I will give him an everlasting name
that will not be cut off.
“And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai
to serve him, to love the name of Adonai,
and to be his workers,
all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it,
and hold fast to my covenant,
I will bring them to my holy mountain
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.”
So when someone is telling you that you should not keep Shabbat, ignore them, and know that they are misleading you. And know that if God wants you to keep Shabbat, then He wants you to keep all of the Torah.
Just read the Torah and you will get the message, but the first question you need to ask is – who is the target audience?
Target audience is anyone who is willing to accept Torah, right?
Daniel Target audience is who the Torah says is the target audience, it is not for me or you to decide.
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
By that line of reasoning there should be no converts to Judaism, since Torah can be followed just by the born Jews.
In Tanakh God addresses non-Jews multiple times, asking them to follow his words. Is that possible exclusively through conversion process with a certified Rabbi?
Daniel Just as we find different levels of observance within the Jewish people – priests have a different set of laws than do regular Jews (as per Leviticus 21), so it is with the Jewish people as a whole. They are the priests of the world (Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6). So God’s word is applied differently by different people, each person according to his or her particular station in God’s plan. We do see that in the Messianic age the Gentiles will observe more than what is incumbent on them in the present age. Sabbath, the new moon and the holiday of Tabernacles will pertain to the Gentiles although not necessarily in the precise way that the pertain to Israel (Isaiah 66:23; Zechariah 14:18). Until that time the Gentile has the option of asking to be joined to the community of Israel – a process known as conversion, but it is the community’s responsibility to ascertain the sincerity of the potential convert to the best of their feeble human abilities. This responsibility is dispensed through people who the community trusts as embodying the spirit of the Law as understood by the community – again, we are but feeble human beings – but this is our responsibility. Or the Gentile can follow God’s word as it pertains to humanity as whole. You see, much of the Torah describes the covenantal obligations and requirements of Israel as God’s partner in a covenantal relationship. I see no grounds for a Gentile believing that he or she is part of that covenantal relationship. As I wrote in my article “All the Nations” being crowned by God as a human being is a tremendous honor and calling. Righteous Gentiles who follow God’s Law are as the high-priest – because God doesn’t judge according to your station in His plan but according to the sincerity of your heart.
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
I agree with almost everything you wrote. On a maybe minor detail we will agree to disagree. I consider Israel in a strict definition of Torah – anyone who is following God’s instruction. For me, a gentile who is following all the laws from Torah does not need to go through formality of conversion. Also, a Jew who does not follow Torah is not part of Israel. Both of those opinions are rooted in Torah, everything else is an interpretation. I don’t deny anyone’s right to have their own interpretation, I was actually just telling Clinton what my opinion is, and did not anticipate that it will provoke extended polemic.
Daniel The idea that everyone has a right to their own interpretation of Torah is not rooted in Torah. It is clear from the Torah that the laws need to be observed as a community (from the fact that there are community judges and courts to enforce the law) so it is the covenantal community’s understanding of the Law that is binding on the individual.
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
Daniel, I don’t find the Torah to be as clear as you say regarding quite a few commandments.
For example, in Leviticus 23 we are told that on the tenth day of the seventh month we must afflict our souls. And whoever doesn’t afflict himself will be cut off from his people (27-29). That’s a pretty stiff penalty for such a vague commandment, I think. What does it mean to afflict myself? Listen to heavy metal the whole day? Eat whole wheat bread and raw beets?
In Deuteronomy 6:8 we are commanded to bind Moses’s words on our hands and place them as totafot between our eyes.
How do we bind the words on our hands? Do we wrap a sheet of parchment around our hands? For how long? Are we supposed to wear that sheet all day? Once in our life for two hours? Does this commandment apply to both men and women?
What are totafot? How are they placed between the eyes? At what times are they supposed to be placed there? Are women also obligated in this commandment?
Deuteronomy 12:21 tells us: “You may slaughter of your cattle and of your sheep, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you.” Where is the description of the correct process of slaughtering animals as Moses commanded us? He says he commanded it, but I can’t find it anywhere in the Torah.
Jeremiah instructs the Jewish people: “Neither shall you take a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor shall you perform any labor, and you shall hallow the Sabbath day as I commanded your forefathers (17:22).” I can’t find anywhere in the Torah that our forefathers were commanded not to carry burdens on the Sabbath. Was Jeremiah lying when he said that God said this was a commandment given to our forefathers? Or was he violating the commandment against adding to the Law of Moses and adding his own prohibitions?
The Torah is in fact not clear about many, many commandments; this is just a small sample. That’s because the Torah is like the lecture-notes version of what Moses taught the Jewish people. Not everything was written down, and God instructed us to transmit His words primarily through oral teaching (Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:9, for example), not primarily through writing. He appointed the Jewish people to bear witness to His truth (Isaiah 43:10, for example) and promised that His words and His spirit will never, ever depart from the people of Israel (Isaiah 59:21). And God proclaimed through David that He did not do so for any other nation: “He tells His words to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He did not do so to any nation, and they did not know the judgments. Hallelujah!” (Psalm 147:19-20).
The conclusion is crystal clear: the Torah, which was entrusted only to the Jewish people, cannot be understood without its accompanying oral explication, which was also entrusted only to the Jewish people. Zechariah predicts that at the end of days, ten men will grab the coat of a Jew and beg him to teach them the truth about God: “So said the Lord of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (8:23).
But you don’t have to wait for that day. You can start listening to God’s witnesses right now, and stop appropriating their Torah and imposing your own meaning to suit your own agenda. God’s witness nation is ready and willing to show you how you can have a meaningful and close relationship with the one true God of Israel, if only you will open your mind and heart to their words.
“God instructed us to transmit His words primarily through oral teaching (Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:9, for example), not primarily through writing.”
Sister Dina, you sound like Paul who said, ” For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21)
Preaching is Greek word, Kerygma which means “preaching; oral proclamation; oral teaching of the word of God.” So, God was pleased to save those who believe the word of God by hearing it, not by reading it or studying it. (“Faith comes by hearing…”, Romans 10:17)
Even when Paul expected his WRITTEN LETTER to be read and inspired among his audiences, he emphasized the divine commandment of the ORAL Transmission;
“But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour” (Titus 1:3)
Even the Acts records that the Spirit of God descended upon only the Jewish people on Pentecost so that they will preach gospel to the Gentiles.
Questions: When many Jews differ from one another regarding the written Torah, who’s oral transmission or interpretation is more authoritative? How could the Gentiles know the way to establish courts of justice without revealing them what the justice is?
With all due respect, your example with heavy metal affliction of soul is childish and misses the point. One cannot take a commandment and try to understand it out of context of Torah and Tanakh. But when the whole Torah and Tanakh is read and understood there are no ambiguities.
If you really need explanation on how to afflict soul on Yom Kippur, God is giving it to you in Isaiah 58. No need for extra-Biblical man-made explanations.
I’m formally a Jew and find it very offensive that you would suggest that I cannot practice Torah without oral tradition. As a matter of fact many Jews don’t subscribe to oral law, so your assertions are false.
If you can’t understand how a person follows Torah without oral law, I suggest reading many polemics between Karaites and Rabbinites.
You need to understand that a need for oral tradition is something you prescribe to, and not something that is God-given truth. And you have every right to do so, as long as you are not excluding the right of others, including Jews, to not share your opinion.
You write that when the whole Torah is read with all of Tanach as well, then one is left with no ambiguities. For the sake of argument, I would like to accept that premise and consider the question of afflicting one’s soul that is being discussed by you and Dina.
The whole of Tanach was not given at one time. The Torah was given hundreds of years (700?) before Isaiah. When the Torah was given, inside was an instruction for the people to afflict their souls. This was left undefined in the text. Our question must be: how did the people know what this meant?
One answer might be: they didn’t. They had no idea what this meant. For hundreds of years, the Jewish people were confused by this instruction. Only when Isaiah came along did they know what it meant to afflict their souls. This answer fails for a couple of reasons. One is that it would appear that Isaiah was adding to the Torah, then. Second, Isaiah writes as if the people already fast; he is not providing an explanation for the unknown commandment.
So, if the people already knew what it meant to afflict their souls, a new answer is needed. The one that most readily presents itself is that Moses taught the people information that is not in the text. The people had an oral tradition defining for them what it means to afflict their souls, and they had been doing so for hundreds of years before Isaiah, even though nothing in the text available at that time defined for them their practice.
So, even if all ambiguities had been cleared up by the prophets, for hundreds of years, the Jewish people must have been left either with the ambiguities or, possibly, an Oral Torah. Between these two possibilities, the second is more probable. It is the best way to explain how people would already be fasting before Isaiah’s prophecy and how they would know what he was addressing.
I do not see anywhere in your comment any point that directly addresses any argument I made except for a response to the question of afflicting one’s soul on Yom Kippur.
Can you directly address my arguments and refute the Scriptural passages I cited in their support?
Your response citing Isaiah 58 is weak, as Jim has shown. Isaiah is not explaining what afflicting your soul means; rather, he is chastising the people for fasting while not really repenting. In other words, it is clear from the context that the people had already been engaging in this practice. As Jim pointed out, how did they know what to do before Isaiah?
You wrote that many Jews don’t subscribe to the oral law so it is false to assert that one needs it to understand the Torah. This is not an argument. Just because a group of Jews does or does not do something does not make it correct. For example, a group of Jews called Jews for Jesus follow Jesus. A much larger group of Jews called Orthodox Jews follow traditional Judaism. The largest group of all is completely secular and does not follow any religious practices at all except some holidays as a cultural, not religious, celebration.
Using your argument, one could say that you can legitimately keep the Torah and follow Jesus; to use the parlance of Jewish Christians, you would be a “completed Jew.” And so on.
Therefore, I cannot accept this argument as proof that my premise is false. I would much rather see you refute the premise.
I must say I find it ironic that you would reference the Karaites, a movement that arose over two millennia after the Torah was given.
I eagerly await your response to my actual points in my first comment to you.
Daniel, I would like to add another challenge, if I may.
The Torah contradicts your assertion that one should only read Tanach and follow it according to his own understanding rather than rely on oral tradition, rabbis, etc. Deuteronomy 17:8-13 teaches that when something is not understood (“if a matter eludes you”)–in other words, God expected that there would be questions on how to apply the law–we must approach the leaders of our time for a solution and do exactly as they say.
On the other hand, I cannot find support for your position in all of Tanach. Where does the Torah say not to rely on an oral tradition for its understanding? Surely, God would have predicted that the Jewish people would be led astray by the oral tradition and warned against it!
Where does the Torah command the individual to read and understand the Torah on his own? Where does the Torah command an individual not to listen to the rabbis?
So, then (without the oral law) how do you know which is THE correct Fruit from the “beautiful tree” Leviticus 43:20? And what are the correct dimensions of the succah and what are the acceptable materials from which it can be built? The laws of Sheshita are only found in the Oral Law as Deut. 12:21 in the Tanakh only states “as I commanded you.” In Exodus 21:7 it states “and if he betrothed her unto his son he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters” no where does the Tanakh explain what the this “manner of daughters” treatment is (only the Oral Torah explains each of these and many many more situations. Deut. 12:8 “You are not to do as we are doing here today; everyone is doing whatever seems right in his own eyes.”
I am just saying …………..
That’s exactly right, Clint! I brought only a small sample of these occurrences in the Bible. Thanks for bringing more to strengthen my point.
Ten men from the nations came to a Jew and they grabbed his shirt and they said, “Give us your book, for we have heard that God is with you!”
He gave them a Torah scroll and they went away from his to study it. They unrolled the scroll, excited to learn how to live a proper life. But the scroll was full of unintelligible squiggles. And they wailed, “Oh, who will teach us to read this, so that we may follow the Torah of God?”
Haha, well done, Jim!
You have protested that you have a right to an opinion, just like everyone else. And that you were not expecting the extended polemical response that you received. I would like to address opinions.
You wrote: “So, basically, whoever teaches non-Jews that it’s ok to eat pork, is leading them straight to destruction.” This sentence illustrates the power of opinion. According to you, if I state my opinion, I am leading people to “God’s condemnation.” If I share with people my terribly destructive ideas, it will not be reasonable for me to respond that I have a right to my opinion. Surely my right to an opinion is not a right to mislead others to their doom.
It is obvious that not all opinions are equal. The strength of an opinion is related to the facts and arguments brought to support it. People often bring opinions to areas in which they possess little knowledge or understanding. The fact that they have the opinion does not make it equal to the opinion of the knowledgeable just by virtue of its existence in another human mind. The opinion unsupported by facts and reason is uninteresting and does not deserve consideration. Perhaps the person has a right to hold the opinion, but he does not have a right to expect it to be heeded.
On the unexpected extended polemical response:
Do you think that your tone is not polemical? You have made a false equivalency between Maimonides and Jesus. You employ dismissive terms like “convoluted way of reasoning” and “mind gymnastics,” rather than showing a flaw in the argument. If your opponents have taken a polemical tone, surely they are not the only ones. It is a little disingenuous to then say that you were only offering your opinion.
A recent poster here found it absurd that the non-Jew would need to consult books other than Tanach to know and understand his duties, as well as an Oral Torah to which the non-Jew does not have access. Because he did not have the time to answer from multiple commenters, he left the discussion, and I do not wish to engage in an argument with someone unable to answer. But I would like to explain why it is not absurd for the non-Jew to rely upon the Oral Torah or books other than Tanach.
From the outset, the non-Jew must rely upon the Jew. Not only can the non-Jew not read Tanach in its original language—at least, not in large numbers—he also must rely upon the Jew to tell him which books are in Tanach. He must rely upon the Jew to tell him who are the prophets. He must rely upon a Jew to authenticate the Writings. The non-Jew could not just pick up and read Tanach until the Jew defined for him what Tanach is.
But it seems that once the non-Jew knows which books are in Tanach and once he has gotten ahold of a translation, he is in the free and clear. He may now read Tanach for himself without any further assistance. However, this is not so. A translation already contains within it an interpretation, that of the translator. Once he is reading a translation, he is not reading the words straight off the page, able to understand them for himself. The translator is understanding them for him. Much discussed here is Daniel 9:25, in which many Christian translators creatively interpret a term, “The Messiah,” which certainly casts the verse in a Christological light. While this is a bad translation, it would be easy for one that assumed that one could just pick a “Bible” off the shelf and understand it to argue that the passage plainly refers to the Messiah and any denial of that fact relies on convoluted arguments and denial of the plain meaning of scripture.
So often, appeals to the plain meaning of scripture are not anything of the sort. They are themselves interpretations of passages that have overlooked key questions within the text. For example, the commenter in question quotes Isaiah 66:16-17 in order to show that the non-Jew is prohibited from eating unclean animals:
“For Adonai will judge all humanity
With fire and with the sword,
And those slain by Adonai will be many
‘Those who consecrate and purify themselves
In order to enter the gardens,
Then follow the one who was already there,
Eating pig meat, reptiles and mice
Will all be destroyed together,’ says Adonai.”
He concludes that from this passage that one who teaches the non-Jew that it is permissible to eat pork leads them to destruction. However, the commenter has neglected key questions that demand answers before coming to the conclusion that the non-Jew is prohibited from eating pork. The passage does not refer to all that eat pork, reptiles and mice, at least not in the translation given by the commenter. It is speaking specifically about “those who consecrate and purify themselves to enter the gardens.” His interpretation—what he calls the plain reading—overlooks that specificity, does not identify what are these gardens, who it is that was already there, and why he is being followed. The garden, the following, and the one that is there are superfluous if the reading is meant to teach that all who eat pork (and reptiles and mice) are going to be destroyed. (And then, why those animals in particular? Why not shellfish? Why does it not just say “unclean animals”?) The plain reading of the passage is anything but a plain reading.
The non-Jew must be particularly careful in this regard, because he has not been properly educated in regard to Tanach. He comes with his own assumptions and preconceived notions, which influence his reading of the text. When he sees something that seems to support one of his preconceptions, he believes he understands it. This will be to him the plain reading, and he will overlook—completely by accident—those parts of the passage that contradict his understanding of the passage.
To gain the proper perspective, it will be useful to him to consult with Torah observant Jews. They have the proper context, the Torah having been given to them at Sinai and passed from generation to generation. That teaching passed down from generation to generation was not just the book. It was oral instruction. It was practices to remind the Jewish people of their experiences with God. The message was preserved in more than just the written word.
It is not so strange that the non-Jew should rely upon the Jew. All sorts of information is learned through the assistance of a teacher: mathematics, physics, medicine—even law. When one learns how to perform an action, he seldom learns it merely through the means of a book. A book or books may be part of the process, but often it is only a part. Typically, one learns better through a teacher, who can answer questions and correct errors in understanding. It is no different with Torah. Torah is not learned only through what is written on the page. It is learned from the community that was granted the Torah. To the non-Jew, the Jewish people are a community of instructors.
If so, then one must ask why the non-Jew should be left with other books. If the written word is only one part of instruction, why is it being supplemented with more writing, rather than oral instruction? Unfortunately, for much of the past, the non-Jew was disinterested in learning from his teachers. Indeed, he destroyed the works of the Jewish people, constantly attempting to silence their voices. Only occasionally would a non-Jew seek out the instruction of the Jewish people. When the modern Noahide movement began, the Jewish people were no longer prepared to teach the non-Jew. Some have taken up this task, but it will take some time before the teacher-student relationship is totally reconnected. This demands great patience from the non-Jew, now eager to learn the ways of Torah. His immediate need comes after thousands of years of non-Jewish rejection of Jewish teaching. His instructors are rusty.
It is necessary, in the meantime, that books be written for the non-Jew. Very many non-Jews do not have access to a teacher near them. Through books and online materials, the non-Jew can understand the Seven Laws. He can get, however imperfectly, that instruction reserved for him. Though it was meant to be taught orally, temporarily it must be given through writing, videos, podcasts, and the like. Practically speaking, there are not enough teachers to go around.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a larger process. Going forward, more teachers will hopefully be available to meet the growing need. Furthermore, as the non-Jewish world learns the Torah applicable to itself, it will be able to teach further generations. This will only happen, however, if the non-Jewish world has the humility to admit what it does not know. It will have to study with the experts, the Jewish people, and leave behind its own assumptions and preconceptions. If the non-Jewish world will do this, one can have great hope for the future.