Thursday, January 01, 2009

Contra "Muhammad Rafeeq": The "True Torah Jews" Believe that Talmud Is Torah and Is More Important than the Torah of the Old Testament

Christopher Jon Bjerknes

All Orthodox Jews, the Ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta included, believe that the Talmud is Torah and that the Talmud is a stronger, or at least as strong an authority as the Torah of the Old Testament. Pranaitis wrote in his The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians:

"As to the origin of the Talmud, the Rabbis6 regard Moses as its first author. They hold that, besides the written law which Moses received from God on Mount Sinai on tables of stone, which is called Torah Schebiktab, he also received interpretations of it, or the oral law, which is called Torah Shebeal Peh. They say that this is the reason why Moses remained so long on the mountain, as God could have given him the written law in one day.7"--Rev. I. B. Pranaitis, The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians, Eugene Nelson Sanctuary, New York, (1939), p. 10.


"An important point to note is that this work has always been regarded by the Jews as holy. They have always held it, and still hold it, as more important than the Sacred Scriptures. The Talmud itself shows this very clearly:

In the tract Babha Metsia, fol. 33a, we read:

'Those who devote themselves to reading the Bible exercise a certain virtue, but not very much; those who study the Mischnah exercise virtue for which they will receive a reward; those, however, who take upon themselves to study the Gemarah exercise the highest virtue.'

Likewise in the tract Sopherim XV, 7, fol. 13b:

'The Sacred Scriptures is like water, the Mischnah wine, and the Gemarah aromatic wine.'

The following is a well-known and highly praised opinion in the writings of the Rabbis:

'My son, give heed to the words of the scribes rather than to the words of the law.'12

The reason for this is found in the tract Sanhedrin X, 3, f.88b:

'He who transgresses the words of the scribes sins more gravely than the transgressors of the words of the law.'

Also when there are differences of opinion between the Law and the doctors, both must be taken as the words of the Lord God.

In the tract Erubhin, f.13b, where it is related that there was a difference of opinion between the two schools of Hillel and Schamai, it is concluded that:

'The words of both are the words of the living God.'

In the book Mizbeach,13 cap. V, we find the following opinion:

'There is nothing superior to the Holy Talmud.'

Contemporary defenders of the Talmud speak of it almost in the same way.14"--Rev. I. B. Pranaitis, The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians, Eugene Nelson Sanctuary, New York, (1939), p. 20.

Lest anyone mistakenly believe that I am focusing on an obscure point that only an expert on this particular subject should have been expected to have known, the Wikipedia online article on Haredi Judaism states:

"One basic belief of the Orthodox community in general is that it is the latest link in a chain of Jewish continuity extending back to the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. It believes that two guides to Jewish law were given to the Israelites at that time: the first, known as the Torah she-bi-khtav, or the 'Written Law' is the Torah as Jews know it today; the second, known as the Torah she-ba'al peh ('Oral Law'), is the exposition as relayed by the scholarly and other religious leaders of each generation. The traditional interpretation of the Oral Torah is considered as the authoritative reading of the Written Law."

The Neturei Karta rely upon the Talmud to justify their belief that the Jews are forbidden to go in large numbers to Palestine before the arrival of the Messiah. In addition to the following source,, Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky wrote in their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel:

"The Haredi objection to Zionism is based upon the contradiction between classical Judaism, of which the Haredim are the continuators, and Zionism. Numerous Zionist historians have unfortunately obfuscated the issues here. Some detailed explanation is therefore necessary. In a famous talmudic passage in Tractate Ketubot, page 111, which is echoed in other parts of the Talmud, God is said to have imposed three oaths on the Jews. Two of these oaths that clearly contradict Zionist tenets are: 1) Jews should not rebel against non-Jews, and 2) as a group should not massively emigrate to Palestine before the coming of the Messiah. (The third oath, not discussed here, enjoins the Jews not to pray too strongly for the coming of the Messiah, so as not to bring him before his appointed time.) During the course of post-talmudic Jewish history, rabbis extensively discussed the three oaths. Of major concern in this discussion was the question of whether or not specific Jewish emigration to Palestine was part of the forbidden massive emigration. During the past 1,500 years, the great majority of traditional Judaism's most important rabbis interpreted the three oaths and the continued existence of the Jews in exile as religious obligations intended to expiate the Jewish sins that caused God to exile them."--I. Shahak and N. Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Pluto Press, London, (1999), p. 18.