Thinking Like a

Hebrew
The background around why Jesus pissed off the
Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jewish Leaders SO MUCH

The Ancient Hebrew
Language

Does not contain time tenses - past, present & future

The tenses in English and other Bible translations of the Old Testament have been added by
the translators

Ancient Hebrew contains 2 completion tenses - complete, not yet complete

Ancient Hebrew does not support abstraction in the way Greek thought and logic does;
therefore it seems odd to Americans who are steeped in Greek logic from kindergarten on

Hebrew people (still at times) use cluster or topical logic (Morris' term; others call it "block
logic") where Greek logic is linear and sequential, Hebrew logic is topical and fine with
contradictions; almost all logic in the church since ~200 AD is Greek, not Hebraic

Ancient Hebrew is concrete and active - nouns are as active as verbs - the Hebrew noun
translated as "king" is actually "king that reigns" not the static label "king"

The ancient language has very few abstract terms - for example anger is an abstract term;
the Hebrew term for anger is "hot nose" a very concrete term for nostril dilation; therefore
ancient Hebrew seems blunt and at times harsh

Jewish Life

Is directed by Halakhah

Halakhah is often translated into English as "the
law"

It is more accurately translated as "the Path" or
"the Way"

Halakhah Includes

Opinion varies, some say it is ONLY the Oral Torah

Others say it includes, The Tanakh (Old Testament) and...

The Two Torahs -

The Written Torah (Mosaic Law in the Old Testament)
The Oral Torah - this is a body of information ascribed to Moses and believed to have
been given directly by YHWH to Moses at Sinai plus decisions of sages on how to apply the
law plus filling-in-the-gap musings or commentary

Oral Torah grew as sages, then scribes, then Pharisees and finally rabbis
adapted the Oral Law to a changing world; The Pharisees held that the Oral
Torah was binding independently of the Written Torah (& the whole Tanakh)

The Sadducees rejected the Pharisees Oral Torah, but had their own (nonbinding) book of decrees ("Book of Decrees"), which is speculated as
probably exegetically derived from the Tanakh

Handling of The Oral Torah

It was deliberately not written down in order to prevent individual interpretation
(until the crisis of 135 AD caused a change in this practice)

All material passed from teacher to student; teachers kept written notes, but
taught verbally; so the material could written down, but not passed on in written
form; verbal teaching was mandatory

Oral Torah was considered superior since it allowed the student to have a
dialogue with the teacher and thereby gain real understanding, where written
material was seen as impeding this dialogue since it allowed untutored
interpretation

The Oral Torah came to be considered as authoritative and eventually more
authoritative than Written Torah by some; it explained how to fulfill the law, where
the Written Torah did not; so to speak "If I know how, then I have what I need"

Some now consider Halakhah as ONLY the Oral Torah

The 135 AD Crisis

Between 132 and 135 AD, Rome suppressed the second Jewish rebellion (the first was
in 70 AD). This 132 AD event was the Bar Kohkba messianic rebellion.

The Romans wiped Israel from the map; in 70 AD the Temple was destroyed; after 135
AD nothing was left of the country; the population was scattered over many areas and
the Zealots, Essenes, Sadducees ceased to exist; the Pharisees, however, remained

The destruction of Israel broke the Hebrews ability to somewhat uniformly pass the Oral
Torah from teacher to student; the continued existence of the Pharisees and those like
them, however, offered a solution - write it down

Therefore, the Oral Torah was written down at this time (135 AD to ~200 AD; although
there are significant additions in 1500's and 1600's) - the material recorded in these
ally centuries became the Talmud, which contains the Mishnah & its commentaries the Gemera/Midrash Aggadah plus others (Midrash Halakhah is commentary on the
Old Testament)

There are 2 Talmuds - the Babylonian (Talmud Bavli) and the Jerusalem (Talmud
Yerushalmi - written in a village near the destroyed Jerusalem)

The Mishnah's Statement of
the Oral Torah's Origin

‫ וּזְקֵנ ִים‬,‫ וִיהוֹשֻׁ ﬠ ַ לִזְקֵנ ִים‬,ַ ‫מסָרָ הּ לִיהוֹשֻׁ ﬠ‬
ְ ‫ וּ‬,‫מסִּינ ַי‬
ִ ‫משֶׁה ִקבֵּל תּוֹרָ ה‬
‫ הֵם אָמְרוּ שְׁלשָׁה‬.‫הגּ ְדוֹלָה‬
ַ ‫ה לְאַנְשֵׁי כ ְנֶסֶת‬
ָ ‫מסָרוּ‬
ְ ‫ וּנְבִיאִים‬,‫לִנְבִיאִים‬
‫ וַﬠ ֲשׂוּ סְי ָג לַתּוֹרָ ה‬,‫תלְמִידִים הַרְ בֵּה‬
ַ ‫הﬠֲמִידוּ‬
ַ ְ ‫ ו‬,‫בּדִּין‬
ַ ‫ הֱווּ מְתוּנ ִים‬,‫ ְדבָרִ ים‬:

Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it
to Yehoshua, and Yehoshua to the Elders, and the
Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it
to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three
things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many
disciples and make a fence for the Torah.

The Talmud's Contents

The condensed elements of Oral Law believed
to have been spoken by YHWH to Moses on
Sinai, but not recorded by Moses (Mishnah)

The 13 Hermeneutical Principles

The Gezayrot (Edicts - discussions/Gemera and
decisions on legal questions)

The Point & Reach of the
Oral Law

To tell the Jews how to obey the Written Law

Some say that the original point of the "Fence around
the Law" was to prevent death due to unwitting
violation of Written Torah laws with capital punishment
penalties

The extent of the Oral Law is agreed to be exactly 613
laws (opinion on the exact items list varies a little)

The Reach of the Oral Law is into EVERY aspect of
life; this defines spiritual life for an Orthodox Jew

Why did Jesus anger them?

He threatened the foundations of the Oral Law

If he fulfilled the Written Law in his life without
compliance with the Oral Law? Then the Oral Law
was a lie, the Book of Decrees was meaningless,
the people in power were promoting lies and it all
was a sham pitted against YHWH.

For Jesus to deny the Oral Law and be the true
Messiah? That was a disaster worse than leaders
could tolerate

The point of this Presentation

To help you understand that in theologically conservative Judaism there is
no such thing as secular life

ALL of life is theological and God-Centered or theological and God rejecting

The focus of ancient Hebrew is community-based faith happening TODAY,
not tomorrow; worship is always today and right now; the ancient Hebrew
language is right now and always active, which reinforces the active
theology mindset

Heaven is a reward not the escape Evangelicals tend to describe (e.g.
rapture minded or get me outta here thinking)

Worship occurs in every action through obedience and prayer; Orthodox
Jews find Christian worship horrifying; for Orthodox Jews obedience is
worship and therefore continual

[The dilemmas noted above] form the core of the recent argument about the nature of
halakhah [Jewish law] and its responsiveness to new circumstances. They can be
summarized in a single question. The situation of halakhah has changed. Can halakhah
itself change?

The question touches on fundamentals. At the core of Jewish law are the commands and
prohibitions set forth in the Mosaic books. Having been given by God, they can be
repealed only by God. Having been accepted by the Israelites as the terms of the
covenant, they can be abandoned by Jews only at the cost of forsaking the covenant.

To these propositions must be added two others. The first is that only the revelation
granted to Moses had the force of divine legislative authority. Subsequent prophets were
not authorized to make permanent changes in the law. The second relates to halakhic
interpretation. The concept of an Oral Law, of equal authority with the Written Law,
implies that the Torah cannot be legitimately interpreted without reference to tradition.
These principles are central to Judaism and were the cause of three of the great schisms
in Jewish history. The Sadducees and later the Karaites denied the binding force of the
oral tradition. The early Christians, Paul in particular, denied that the commandments
could not be revoked. He argued that they had been and that a new covenant was now
in force. The rabbis for their part held firmly to their view of the immutability of the law
and traditions revealed at Sinai. The law is eternal because the covenant is eternal. On
that faith, Jewish destiny depends.

So halakhah can and does change, but always to preserve the
essential integrity of biblical law. We should note however that
Maimonides makes a distinction that substantially tilts the balance of
halakhah in the direction of conservatism. A protective decree or
enactment created by the sages–a "fence around the law"–is
permanent, whereas a suspension of the law is always only
temporary." Rabbinic law, that is to say, has an inbuilt bias toward
greater stringency over time.

The rabbis were emphatic in seeing their interpretations and decisions
as strictly continuous with biblical precedent. As the third-century
teacher Rabbi Joshua ben Levi put it, "Bible, Mishnah, Talmud and
[Aggadah], even what a senior disciple is due to teach in the
presence of his master, were already stated to Moses at Sinai."
Procedurally, therefore, any new ruling must be rendered consistent
with the antecedent sources. Any departure from precedent must be
temporary, justified by emergency conditions and undertaken with the
express purpose of safeguarding Jewish law as a whole.

Time is not for Judaism, as it was for other ancient civilizations,
cyclical repetition or a meaningless sequence of events; nor is it
evolution. Instead, human history is a series of deviations from
an essential and permanent moral order which will eventually be
restored. The end of history is already implicit in its beginning.

The changelessness of Jewish law is therefore not an accidental
feature of rabbinic jurisprudence but is central to biblical
theology. As Franz Rosenzweig, one of the most perceptive of
20th century Jewish thinkers, put it, "While the peoples of the
world live in a cycle of revolutions in which their law sheds its old
skin over and over, here the Law is supreme, a law that can be
forsaken but never changed."

The excerpts above are from: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/
article/orthodox-judaism-halakhah/