Many may be surprised to find out that Yeshua kept the Written Law, the Oral Law and the traditions of Judaism as a Jewish Rabbi. Yeshua also taught his followers to do the same in Matt 23:3 saying, “All therefore, whatsoever, they [the Jewish teachers called the Parushim/Pharisees] bid you, observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” This instruction to follow the Jewish Halakha but not any hypocrisy or bad example of outward observance without a heart of love goes along with what he said earlier in Matthew 5:20, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” How are we to exceed it… by hearing and doing all the Torah applicable to us (written and oral) with hearts of Love! SHEMA ISRAEL!
RABBI YESHUA’S UPBRINGING & CHILDHOOD IN TORAH OBSERVANCE
As far as written Torah observance by Rabbi Yeshua in the New Testament; accounts (Luke 2:39-52, Luke 2:21-32, Luke 2:39, Luke 2:41, John 8:46; Galatians 4:4) stress that Yeshua was brought up as an observant Jewish child in the traditions and faith of his fathers (who were Jews). The Oral Torah and Teffilin/Totofot (Phylacteries) wearing was certainly existent in that day because history proves that, especially being that he grew up in Galilee which was predominantly Pharisee and Hasidic (of that day). Matt 23:5 indicates Rabbi Yeshua’s endorsing the custom of wearing Teffilin in modesty. There is no written instruction on how to make Teffilin (Phylacteries) or a Mezuzah (scroll affixed on door post), nor is there a written instruction on how to put them on your arm or head or door post. And yet, the text assumes the people will know because they had the Oral Torah to explain it. (Deut 6:8-9) Yeshua clearly did not reject Teffilin which is an element of Oral Torah.
RABBI YESHUA’S TORAH TEACHING OF TORAH OBSERVANCE
Rabbi Yeshua told his followers to follow and observe the teachings and instructions of the Rabbis (Mat 23:1-3) but not to be hypocrites like the corrupted ones. No different than any Jewish teaching against hypocrisy. That is certainly a Torah-observant statement as we know the commandment written in Deut. 17:8-12. This would indicate that he upheld all or at least the majority of the Rabbinic provisions, Halachot (protocol for keeping commandments) and fence laws in addition to the actual written Torah. He also said that he didn’t come to change the Torah, and that if anyone kept and taught others to keep even the smallest commandments of the Torah that they would be considered great. He also stated that if any broke the commandments and taught others to break them that they would be considered least. (Mat 5:17-20) Those statements certainly indicate that Torah observance was important to him. When Rabbi Yeshua was asked, what was the greatest commandment in the Torah, Yeshua replied with the beginning of the most important scriptural prayer that every Jew recites 2 times each day, the Shema (Mark 12:28-30) which is found in the Torah. That should give serious credence to the statement that Rabbi Yeshua was certainly Torah observant and that he lived and taught Torah observance according to Rabbinic institution. Another extremely vital point to make, is that the Shema is the very scroll that is put inside of the boxes of the Teffilin and in Mezuzzah. For him to make such a profound statement to his students and to the people around him when asked about the most important commandments and recites the beginning of the Shema… it is more than reasonable to assert that he surely layed Teffilin as any good Jew does. In fact it is not reasonable to even assume that he didn’t put on Teffilin, based on these facts that the NT does clearly indicate. Something that else that needs to be considered. The New Testament constantly speaks of Rabbi Yeshua being a “Tzadik” or a “righteous person.” We know that when a Jew is referred to as a “Tzadik” it means that they have to be Torah observant. In fact, it means that their Torah observance has to exceed and surpass the Letter of the Law. That is what that word means. All the Sages were referred to as Tzadikim.
RABBI YESHUA’S TORAH OBSERVANCE IN DRESS
He kept the ordinances prescribed in the Torah in terms of his attire, as the Torah commands that man wear a Tallit (prayer shawl) with Tzitzit (a four cornered garment with fringes/tassels). When the sick woman reached for him, she grabbed his Tzitzit (fringes/tassels) (Mark 6:56; Mat 9:20; Luke 8:44). Here is a key point. Because, we understand that the NT clearly records his Torah observance in terms of wearing holy garments. It would be reasonable to assert and to make a educated guess that he would have surely layed Teffilin. Especially since the commandment of Tzitzit is closely related and associated with Mezzuzah (scroll affixed on door post) and Teffilin, all elements of the Oral Torah.
RABBI YESHUA’S TORAH OBSERVANCE IN THE BLESSINGS AND PRAYERS
He used and taught the traditional prayers that were instituted by the Sages such as the Amidah – commonly called the “L-rd’s Prayer” (Mat 6:9-13). His special prayer is merely a shortened form of the third, fifth, sixth, ninth and fifteenth of the Eighteen Benedictions of the Amidah (Shimoneh Esrei) which is an element of Halachah (protocol to keep commandments). And this permutative combination of the Amidah is indicated by some of the Sages and is recorded in the Talmud, and as there were other permutative formulations of the Amidah by other Sages as well. Also to note, some of the Sages have different rulings and permutative formations of the Amidah prayer, but the point is to show that he at least observed this which is an element of Oral Torah. He recited the Halachic blessings over matzah and wine when he gave thanks at meals (Luke 22:19-20). This is, again, elements of Oral Torah. Another point I would like to make is, is that much of the prayers and blessings that one can find in their Siddur (or Jewish daily prayerbook) are not found in the scriptures at all. So these prayers and blessings were certainly Oral Torah or at least instituted traditions passed down before Rabbi Yeshua from the Rabbis generation to generation.
RABBI YESHUA’S SABBATH OBSERVANCE
Many people love to point out the moments where it seems as though Yeshua is attacking, disobeying and discrediting the Oral Torah and Halachot of the Sages, such as the Shabbat (Sabbath), the washing of hands, etc… but they do not realize that the Talmud gives instances that support Rabbi Yeshua’s position in each of the cases that it was brought up. These same instances, reveals very clearly that Yeshua upheld and respected the Oral Torah in every way. Since the Sabbath was brought up, I will explain each instance that this argument has been used and explain how my position is not without credible reason.
Carrying on the Sabbath argument:
When Rabbi Yeshua told the man to pick his bed up and carry it on Shabbat he was not denouncing the Rabbinic authority or the Oral Torah, he was in accordance to the Rabbinic authority and the Oral Torah. The laws of Eruv is part of the 7 Rabbinic laws by which the issue at hand proves that Yeshua was in accordance to these laws. The Oral Torah permits carrying within an enclosed “private” area on Shabbat and other holidays (Yom Tov). This area can either be physical or symbolic. Such an area enclosed and considered “private” may vary in size from a small home to an entire community depending on various circumstances and specific situations. The Talmud specifies both the definitions of an enclosure and how to render an entire area a private domain from a small home to an entire community. This is normally done with strings that are fastened around the “private domain.” This string indicates where the people may walk and carry on the Shabbat. In a Jewish community, especially where this instance occurred in the NT, the Pool of Bethesda, indicates the location of where this sick man of many years was with his mat (bed) and Rabbi Yeshua was, there would have been Eruv strings fastened around the domain. We know that by historical records and by traditions that are still practiced to this very day. To think that only in this moment, that the people ran and took down the Eruv string so that Rabbi Yeshua would break the Shabbat is not a reasonable assertion. So we clearly see here, that Rabbi Yeshua did not violate the Sabbath, nor did he teach others to violate the Sabbath. The people who accused him, where either ignorant of the Torah’s laws or they were simply hoping on that ignorance to be a means to persecute Rabbi Yeshua. The people who questioned the man and Yeshua, obviously, like this situation, they were uneducated on the subject and made statements and judgments that were incorrect. There are many “fine print” regarding this issue, aside from the fact that this location indicates that the situation occurred with the Eruv strings…. another case can be argued. The man who carried his mat on Shabbat was not breaking the Eruv laws because his home was his bed. He was homeless. The Talmud says in the Shabbat portions that if a person is homeless or cannot afford to set up an Eruv or is unable to do it himself and has no one else to help him… The Eruv becomes himself and his belongings because he is unable to have an enclosed private area… Therefore, Yeshua was not at all violating the Sabbath. There are claims that Exo 16:29 tells us it is forbidden to leave one’s home on Shabbat. And many love to use this verse as a way to say Yeshua abandoned the laws of Shabbat. This assertion is false. Talmud Bavli – Erubin 42a – “Rabbi Nachman said in the name of Rabbi Shmuel: “If one went out and did not know the legal distance he could traverse, he may walk on for a distance of two thousand medium steps. This will constitute the lawful limit of the Shabbat.” The NT says that Yeshua attended Shabbat gatherings outside of his home, hence he supported Oral Torah Halachot which permits one to leave one’s house on Shabbat but no more distance than 2,000 medium steps. Also, you know of the stories of many people walking around the street on Shabbat recorded in the NT. For further proof of this in the Torah, Leviticus 23:3 even says Shabbat is a day of holy gathering. The synagogues that Yeshua visited on Shabbat were obviously local gatherings at places that did not take a great deal of effort to reach. Staying in your “place” is referring to the neighborhood where one lives, not one’s home in the literal sense. I am sure you all can relate to the allegorical cliche or figure of speech… that one’s village or town is their home.
Healing on the Sabbath:
When Rabbi Yeshua healed people on the Sabbath, and the people including certain Pharisees/Seduccees were in opposition… they were only 1. uneducated on the matter (the people) and 2. were relying on the ignorance of the people to control them (the corrupted Pharisees/Seducees). According to the Oral Torah or the Talmud… you would find that it is permitted to heal or save a life or tend to any emergent situation on the Shabbat. All laws are suspended to save a life or to tend to a dire emergency. Here, we see that Rabbi Yeshua was in accordance to the laws of the Torah. The phrase, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,” appears in the Rabbinical material of the Talmud (Mekilta 103b, Yoma 85b). This statement was a teaching by many Rabbinic scholars of Rabbi Yeshua’s day. The Pharisee School of Hillel was famous for that quote. Yeshua was not saying anything separate from Judaism, he was upholding the teachings of Judaism. The Sages frequently use the verse from Hosea 6:6, that helping people was of greater importance than observing the rituals and customs (Sukkah 49b, Deuteronomy Rabbah on 16:18, etc.), just as Yeshua did. In fact, they used the same examples Rabbi Yeshua presented, David’s eating the Tabernacle bread and the Temple offerings made on the Sabbath, to demonstrate the same general principle, that the needs of life override the Sabbath restrictions (Y’lomm’denu, Yalkut II, par. 130, Tosefta Shabbat 15b). We can clearly see now that the Pharisees and Seducees who were accusing Rabbi Yeshua were corrupted in their judgments against him. We also can tell very clearly that these particular Pharisees were heretical in the fact that they associated with the Seducees who Rabban Hillel, a Pharisee himself, stated were heretics.
Washing of Hands Ritual:
Besides the Sabbath issues mentioned above, this is an argument that people love to use against Rabbi Yeshua’s adherence to Rabbinic law and love to use against Judaism. When the certain Pharisees questioned Yeshua about his disciples not doing the hand washing ritual it is important to note that they didn’t question whether or not he washed his hands, they questioned his disciples. It is more than likely that he did wash His hands, but the disciples did not. What does this mean? The Talmud states that the ritual of hand washing (Netilat Yadayin) is invalid if the mind and heart is not also “cleansing.” In the Talmud, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, stated: “In life it is not the dead who make you unclean; nor is it the water you wash your hands with, but rather the ordinances of the King of Kings that purifies.” Much later, Rabbi Maimonides (Rambam) made a similar comment, “For to confine oneself to cleaning the outward appearance through washing and cleaning the garment, while having at the same time a lust for various pleasures and unbridled license … merits the utmost blame.” The Pharisees had judgment in their hearts instead of compassion, and therefore Yeshua contested their teachings because they were breaking commandments in their statements against them. They were not following their own teaching, and therefore were disgracing the laws of HaShem (God). It was by this reason that Yeshua responded that it is not that which goes into your mouth that makes you unclean, but rather that which comes out. He basically held a mirror in front of their faces. Contrary to the teaching that Yeshua was teaching against the laws of Kashrut (kosher dietary law), he was doing nothing of the sort, rather he was not even discussing the topic of food at all. The passage in Mark 7 has been grossly taken out of context. The tradition of ritual purity; namely, washing the hands; is valid, however, invalid if your mind and your heart is not cleansing. The certain Pharisees were doing things to look pious and special, so others would see… yet they were filthy on the inside. The disciples didn’t wash their hands possibly ‘because they didn’t feel they were clean inside or maybe they forgot, and therefore didn’t do it in that instance. But we should consider the other verses that reveal that they certainly did observe this ritual of washing the hands. Ya’acov (James) 4:8“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.” The Pharisees taught that the Torah had been given to the community for the purpose of community… and therefore any competent person was capable of interpreting it, but that Rabbinical authority was paramount (Deut 17:9-12). Rabbi Yeshua also taught that Rabbinical authority was paramount (Matt 23:1-3). This is a good indication that Rabbi Yeshua viewed the Pharisaic doctrines and teachings as acceptable and authoritative. Pharisees believed that the Oral Torah was also given to Moses along with the Written Torah at Mount Sinai. The scriptures in the book of Exodus supports this theory that there was an Oral Teaching given to Moses from God. The Written Torah is incomplete without the Oral Torah. Many of the teachings of Oral Torah was also practiced and taught by Rabbi Yeshua. In fact, all of the instances that are used against Rabbinic Judaism are the very instances that Yeshua was observing the Oral Torah! A person would need to educate themselves on this subject in order to know these things, other wise they will continue to follow the perversions that have been spoon fed to those who do not know. They (the Pharisees) were advocates of social improvement and were open to doctrinal developments because they believed that the Torah was a relevant social force. They considered the Torah to be a set table while at the same time being capable of being expanded to address new circumstances and new situations. This not only makes sense, but it is inevitable. They taught that the Torah provided continuity and was a basis for progress and development. The “traditions of the elders” or also “customs” (minhag or mesorah) that were instituted were not to be taken as Biblical command, only secondary in that a tradition or a custom instituted in the community cannot supersede a Biblical commandment. Hence, one of the reasons why Rabbi Yeshua said “Why do you ALSO transgress the commandments of God by your tradition?” Yeshua was not defending the disciples, he said “why do you ALSO” indicating that the disciples DID transgress against the rabbinic authority, however, ALSO the Pharisees improperly used that Rabbinic instruction when they violated a Biblical command (not judging your brother favorably). Rabbi Yeshua was using their own teachings against them because they were violating the chain of command. A Rabbinic enactment or a tradition or custom cannot ever be above a Biblical commandment, it can only serve as an enhancement of the Biblical command and must be treated as secondary authority. And this is what the Pharisees taught.
RABBI YESHUA’S WAY OF LIFE
His way of life reflected other Jewish customs as well. He followed the custom of not only teaching in the synagogue, but in the open air like the Rabbis who taught everywhere. The frequent use of Tevilah (baptism) associated with his ministry was also quite common to his time, as the Talmud itself testifies in Sanhedrin 39a. Whether one accepts it or not, it is a fact attested to by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that even in his final hour, Rabbi Yeshua did not stop practicing the Halachic rites of Orthodox Judaism. Perhaps, most significant was his relationship to the Torah and traditions, which clearly describes as entirely orthodox. He declared the permanent essence and authority of the whole Torah in Mathew 5:17-19 and even accepted the Pharasaic Halachot and the Oral Torah in Matt 23:1-3 when he said, “you must obey them and do everything they teach you.” Aside from that he endorsed the halachah of the tithing of herbs (Matt 23:23), bensche at meals (Mark 6:4, 8:6), blessings over wine, and the reciting of the Rabbinic instituted prayer, the Hallel at the Passover Seder (commonly known as the last supper) (Mark 14:22-23, 26). Another interesting point was Rabbi Yeshua’s observance of Chunakah (John 10:22-23), which is another Rabbinic enactment and not found written in the Torah as a mandated observance. This again shows that he observed Oral Torah. It is interesting to note, that the observance of Chanukah appears only in TWO sources… the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) and the Talmud. Now that is a profound fact indeed! The “Sermon on the Mount” which is viewed often as an overview of Rabbi Yeshua’s teaching, reflects concepts familiar to the Sages of his day, consistent with the Oral Torah and Rabbinical teachings found in the Talmud. Also, his teachings of “you have heard it said…. but I tell you” were typical Rabbinic arguments, in fact he was referring specifically to the Seducees (Tzadokim) who were Hellenistic Jews that only accepted the literal Torah in a very harsh manner and rejected the Oral Torah, the Prophets and the Writings! His opposition to the Seducees reflected the same arguments made against them by the Pharisees. It is clear that his teachings consist of magnificent illustrations of the proper understanding of the Torah, spelling out its wider implications just as the many commentaries and debates amongst the Sages recorded in the Talmud. His words were all so common in comparison to the Sages. He uses a Midrashic style (parables) which is an interpretation of the Scriptures, just like it is in the Talmud. The famous Sermon on the Mount was mostly commentary against the heretical doctrines of the Saduccees, and upholding the doctrines of the Pharisees. The widely known phrase to “turn the other cheek” passage (Matthew 5:38-48) is often cited as an example of the radical newness of Yeshua’s teachings. The same is said of his teaching of “Love your enemy” ( Matthew 5:43) is found in the Talmud: Yoma 23a, Gitin 36b, Shabat 88b. Or his teaching of lustfully looking upon a woman (Matthew 5:28), is found in Kallah, Ch.1, “One who gazes lustfully upon the small finger of a married woman, it is as if he has committed adultery with her.” But it is the same Spirit which inspired the best teaching of the Sages. A person is not to seek retaliation but should endure the insult humbly. This the Sages agreed with, and counseled that a person struck on the cheek should forgive the offending party even if he does not ask forgiveness (Tosefta Baba Kanima 9:29). The Talmud commends the person who accepts offense without retaliation and submits to suffering and insult cheerfully (Yoma 23a). In fact, one can find parallels in the Rabbinical material to almost all of Rabbi Yeshua’s statements.
PHARISEES and ESSENES: THE HASIDIC AMALGAM
Based on historical record, we know that the Pharisees and the Essenes were originally branches of the Chasidim movement that came out of the Hashmonean periods, which is first known to have existed during the Maccabean War. Rabbi Yeshua is found quoting extensively from Hillel, founder of the Beyt Hillel Pharisee Schools, in fact his rulings were almost identical to Hillel’s rulings. This not only shows that Rabbi Yeshua’s doctrine was heavily influenced by Oral Torah and Rabbinic Authority but that he aligned himself with Beyt Hillel in almost every situation. There are some instances where Rabbi Yeshua sides with the rulings of Shamai, from the Beyt Shamai Pharisee School. We find Rabbi Yeshua’s criticism towards certain Pharisees (whom of which were corrupted) in a manner that clearly resembles the views of the Essene sect. His position was based on attacking the hypocritical behaviors of these Pharisees. For example: He criticized them for making Tefillin batim (phylactery boxes) very large in size so as to be noticed in public. Also for their Tzitzit (fringes/tassels) being unnecessarily longer than prescribed, for the same purpose of appearing to the community as pious individuals. By reading through these accounts in the NT, we can see clearly that Rabbi Yeshua never criticizes the Pharisees (either Beyt Hillel or Beyt Shemai) for their views on Torah (Oral or Written) nor did he so when they did act in accordance with Jewish Law. This kind of criticism was commonplace amongst the views of Essenic Hasidic sect. Rabbi Yeshua never criticizes any Rabbinic custom or Halachah, as we see in the texts that he adhered to and endorsed these normative aspects of Jewry of that day. In Matthew 5:29 we read Rabbi Yeshua declaring that his followers righteousness must surpass that the righteousness of the Pharisees and the Soferim (Scribes ). What we do know about the Galilean Hasidim, is that they were basically the same as the Pharisees and had little variance in practice and doctrine. Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus for example, were Beyt Hillel Pharisees whom Rabbi Yeshua befriended, not to mention the tens of thousands of Shemai Pharisees who are cited in Acts 15 as being believers in Rabbi Yeshua. Another interesting point is that Paul of Tarsus, a Pharisee himself, was chosen to be the alleged last Apostle. Paul was trained under the Talmudic Sage, Rabban Gamliel… who is cited in the NT as covering for the Apostles to save them from being killed by the Saducees (Acts 5). The majority of Rabbi Yeshua’s doctrinal criticisms were towards the Saducee sect, whom both the Essenes and the Pharisees rejected. Rabbi Yeshua’s alignment in terms of philosophy, doctrine and practice was very much an amalgam of these Chasidic sects, the Essenes, the Pharisees and the Hasidim. This blending of sects within Jewry is also reminiscent of how Rabbinic Judaism was formed. Interestingly, Rabbinic Judaism viewed Beyt Hillel as the more authoritative, just the same as Yeshua clearly did.
The Netzarim (Nazarenes), was the sect that Rabbi Yeshua founded, it was a hodgepodge of multiple Orthodox Jewish sects of that day: the Galilean Hasidim, Hillel and Shemai Pharisees and the Essenes. There is ample evidence that Yeshua and his disciples and all their followers continued to observe as they did previously, but that the practices and doctrines of these sects were the foundation for the later Rabbinic Judaism. We have even evidence written by the Christian fathers that asserted that the Netzarim were entirely Orthodox in the Rabbinic sense. The Netzarim, which would be Nazarenes, was named after the village of Netzaret/Nazareth. Chasidic custom was to name the sect after the home town of the Rabbi. We have the Lubavitch, Breslov, Satmars and other Chasidic sects, further evidence of Yeshua’s sect being named according to Chasidic custom. Quotes from early Church Christians: Fourth Century Church Father, Epiphanius; Panarion 29.”We shall now especially consider heretics who call themselves Nazarenes (Netzarim); they are mainly Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings… so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Rabbis, except they believe in [Messiah]… They preach that there is but one God, and his son. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets…They differ from the Jews because they believe in Messiah, and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jewish rites, such as circumcision, the Sabbath, and other ceremonies.”
Bonacursus wrote:“Let those who are not yet acquainted with them, please note how perverse their belief and doctrine are. First, they teach that we should obey the Law of Moses according to the letter – the Sabbath, and circumcision, and the legal precepts still being in force. Furthermore, to increase their error, they condemn and reject all the Church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church.” Gregorius, of Bergamo, about A,.D. 1250, against the Pasaginians (Netzarim): “There still remains the sect of the Pasagini (Netzari). They teach Christ to be the first and pure creature; that the Old Testament festivals are to be observed– circumcision, distinction of foods, and in nearly all other matters, save the sacrifices, the Old Testament is to be observed as literally as the New– circumcision is to be kept according to the letter. They say that no good person before the advent of Christ descended into the lower regions; and that there is no one in the lower regions and in paradise until now, nor will there be until sentence has been rendered on the day of Judgement.” There is no evidence that suggests the Netzarim abandoned their Orthodox Judaism, and there is no evidence that proves the Netzarim rejected the Oral Torah. There is however, ample evidence in scripture and history, as shown above, that Rabbi Yeshua, his Shlichim (Apostles) and all his followers (the Netzarim) all supported, endorsed, taught and lived according to Written and Oral Torah, and the Halachot, customs and traditions of the Sages.
THE NEW TESTAMENT AND TORAH OBSERVANCE
According to exegetical and scholarly approach, the nature of the NT’s text certainly assumes Torah (Oral and Written) observance but stresses moral laws because of the fact that morality seems to be mankind’s most difficult struggle. The reason being is because, the people of the New Testament already had the Tenakh (Old Testament) as a normative guideline of how to keep the laws of HaShem and how to be an observant Jew. There was basically no need to stress Torah observance in that way, but yet, as I have provided, there are clear indications that prove Rabbi Yeshua did in fact observe Oral and Written Torah. Rabbi Yeshua would not have been able to have such a large following if he was not Torah observant, for people were calling him the Messiah. And the Jews of that day knew that the Messiah must be Torah observant according to the prophecies of the Tenakh. They would never have referred to him as a Tzadik had he not been Torah observant. Even in educational Jewish learning books, such as the Encyclopedia Judaica, says that “the New Testament provides us with undeniable evidence that Yeshua did not oppose any prescription of the Written or Oral Torah.”
So, we can see hear, that we do know a lot of about Rabbi Yeshua, and we do know very clearly that he was a Torah observant Jew who did teach Torah, not in a general manner but in a very specific and scrupulous manner. Rather than teaching contrary to the Pharisees (a common misconception) Yeshua supported much of what they taught, as he often quoted from the Mishnah (the early portion of the Talmud) which is an entirely Pharisaic document…
YESHUA QUOTED ORAL TORAH FROM THE TALMUDIC SAGES
|Teachings of YESHUA the Pharisee (Summaries in italics)||TALMUDIC Teachings of the Pharisees (Summaries in italics)|
|The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. – Mark 2:27||Rabbi Jonathan ben Joseph said: For it is holy unto you; I.e., it [the Sabbath] is committed to your hands, not you to its hands. – Talmud: Yoma 85b|
|Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. – Matthew 25:45||One who betrays his fellow, it is as if he has betrayed God. – Tosefta Sh’vuot, ch. 3|
|Insulting someone is like murder.- Matthew 5:21-22||He who publicly shames his neighbour is as though he shed blood.- Talmud: Bava Mezia 58b|
|But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. – Matthew 5:28||One who gazes lustfully upon the small finger of a married woman, it is as if he has committed adultery with her.– Kallah, Ch. 1|
|That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.- Matthew 5:45||Rabbi Abbahu said: The day when rain fails is greater than [the day of] the Revival of the Dead,for the Revival of the Dead is for the righteous only whereas rain is both for the righteous and for the wicked – Talmud: Taanit 7a|
|Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 6:1||In the case of the recital of the Shema’, since everybody else recites, and he also recites, it does not look like showing off on his part; but in the case of the month of Ab, since everybody else does work and he does no work, it looks like showing off.– Talmud: Berachot 17b|
|But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. – Matthew 6:3||What kind of charity is that which delivers a man from an unnatural death? When a man gives without knowing to whom he gives. and the beggar receives without knowing from whom he receives. – Talmud: Bava Batra 10a – 10b|
|But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.– Matthew 6:7||If one draws out his prayer and expects therefore its fulfilment, he will in the end suffer vexation of heart, as it says, Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. – Talmud: Berachot 55a|
|Do not worry about where your food will come from tomorrow, or your drink. – Matthew 6:25-31||Rabbi Eliezer the Great declares: Whoever has a piece of bread in his basket and Says. ‘What shall I eat tomorrow?’ belongs only to them who are little in faith. – Talmud: Sotah 48b|
|Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. – Matthew 6:34||A parable: [They were] like a man who was kept in prison and people told him: To-morrow, they will release you from the prison and give you plenty of money. And he answered them: I pray of you, let me go free today and I shall ask nothing more! – Talmud: Berachot 9b|
|Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. – Matthew 5:34-37||A righteous yes is a Yes; a righteous no is No. – Talmud: Bava Batra 49b|
|At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. – Matthew 11:25||Rabbi Johanan said: Since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children. – Talmud: Bava Batra 12b|
|And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. – Matthew 5:29-30||Come and hear what was taught: Rabbi Tarfon said, ‘If his hand touched the membrum let his hand be cut off upon his belly’. ‘But’, they said to him, ‘would not his belly be split’? ‘It is preferable’, he replied, ‘that his belly shall be split rather than that he should go down into the pit of destruction’. – Talmud: Niddah 13b|
|But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. – Matthew 23:8||Shemaiah used to say: love work, hate acting the superior, and do not bring thyself to the knowledge of the ruling authority. – Mishnah: Avot 1:10|
|Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. – Matthew 24:44||Even as R. Zera, who, whenever he chanced upon scholars engaged thereon [I.e., in calculating the time of the Messiah’s coming], would say to them: I beg of you, do not postpone it, for it has been taught: Three come unawares: Messiah, a found article and a scorpion. – Talmud: Sanhedrin 97a|
|Yeshua taught in a parable that they can please the king (God) by pleasing one another. – Matthew 25:40|
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:40
|Rabbi simeon said: if three have eaten at one table and have not spoken thereat words of torah, [it is] as if they had eaten sacrifices [offered] to the dead, for [of such persons] it is said, for all tables are full of filthy vomit, [they are] without the All-Present. But, if three have eaten at one table, and have spoken thereat words of torah, [it is] as if they had eaten at the table of the All-Present, blessed be he, as it is said, this is the table before the LORD. – Mishnah: Avot 3:3|
|Love your enemy. – Matthew 5:43|
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; – Matthew 5:43
|They who are insulted but insult not back; who hear themselves reproached but answer not; who serve out of love and rejoice in their affliction–of them it is written in Scripture: They that love God are as the going forth of the sun in its might. – Talmud: Yoma 23a, Gitin 36b, Shabat 88b|
|Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. – Matthew 5:23-24||If a man said, “I will sin and repent, and sin again and repent”, he will be given no chance to repent. [If he said,] “I will sin and the Day of Atonement will effect atonement”, then the Day of Atonement effects no atonement. For transgressions that are between man and God the Day of Atonement effects atonement, but for transgressions that are between a man and his fellow the Day of Atonement effects atonement only if he has appeased his fellow – Mishnah: Yoma 8:9|
QUOTES FROM OTHERS
Yehezkel Kaufmann, a famous Jewish author on Jewish thought, said that, “The attitude of Yeshua to the Torah is the very same attitude one finds among the masters of halakhah and aggadatta who followed in the Pharisaic tradition.” Yehezkel Kaufmann also wrote: “Jesus (Yeshua) represents a point of development running unbroken from the Hebrew Bible and linked to it through an interpretive supplement that is characteristic of the great literary device of the Rabbis, the Oral Torah. The attitude of Jesus to the Torah is the very same attitude one finds among the masters of halakah and haggadah who followed in the Pharisaic tradition.”
An Orthodox scholar and rabbi, Pinchas Lapide, described Yeshua as a traditional, observant Jew. He wrote, “Yeshua never and nowhere broke the Law of Moses, nor did he in any way provoke its infringement – it is entirely false to say that he did… In this respect you must believe me, for I know my Talmud… this Yeshua was as faithful to the Law as I would hope to be. But I suspect that Yeshua was more faithful to the Law than I am – and I am an Orthodox Jew.”
B.Z. Bokser. p 194. wrote: “In fact, even the Sermon on the Mount, often viewed as the essence and epitome of Yeshua’s teaching, reflects concepts familiar to the Jews of his day and consistent with rabbinic teaching. To begin with, it is quite similar in style. Much of the sermon consists of illustrations of the proper understanding of the Law, or Torah, spelling out its wider implications and describing its broader principles. Many of the illustrations he used were common to the “rabbis” of his day, and the whole is carried out in the style of a midrash – an interpretive supplementing of Scripture – much as is exemplified in the Oral Torah which later became the Talmud. Much like Yeshua these teachers felt that the morally sensitive must go beyond mere conformity to the Torah (cf. Baba Mezia 88a; Mekilta on Ex. 18:20).
Rabbi John Fischer, Ph.D. Th.D wrote:”The Gospels provide sufficient evidence to the effect that Jesus did not oppose any prescription of the written or oral Mosaic Law.”
Finkel; G. Friedlander wrote: “In effect, Yeshua built a “fence around the Law” – as indicated by the Aramaic and Hebrew underlying “fulfill” – much as the earlier sages cited by the Talmud did (Pirke Avot 1.2). And, his fence is remarkably similar to that of the sages.”
Tim Hegg wrote: “Yeshua certainly follows the halachah of the Sages in spite of the fact that such traditions are not explicitly stated in the Written Torah.”
Shemayah Yardin wrote: “There is no evidence that suggests the Netzarim abandoned their Orthodox Judaism, and there is no evidence that proves the Netzarim rejected the Oral Torah. There is however, ample evidence in scripture and history, as shown extensively, that Rabbi Yeshua, his Shlichim (Apostles) and all his followers (the Netzarim) all supported, endorsed, taught and lived according to Written and Oral Torah, and the halachot, customs and traditions of the Sages.“”
David Stern wrote: “Based on all of my research, myself and my colleagues, have found without any doubt, that Yeshua’s teachings and life style was closer to Hasidic Judaism than any other form of Judaism.”
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