Rabbinic Judaism for Believers?


We have been doing a bible study that last week covered the oral tradition…or rabbinic Judaism.
And I learned a few things: The Talmud is made up of two parts the Mishna and Gemara. The Mishna was the Oral tradition that was past down and likely the tradition that was folowed during Yeshua’s time. The Mishna, for the most part explains how to do the Torah.
Like putting the scriptures on the doorpost, the Torah doesn’t say which ones, where or how. Or Kashering an animal, it doesn’t give specifics. Within the Pirke Avot, it relates how the Oral Tradition was handed down from Moses in an unbroken line. Deut 17:8-13 is Adonai describing how the judgements on the Torah should be made and if you don’t follow those judgements, you should be killed. Yeshua reaffirms this when he says in Matt 23:2-3 “all that they tell you, do and observe.” The “they” are the scribes and Pharisees, that sit in the seat of Moses, which is a euphemism for “have the authority of.”
When the second temple was destroyed and the Jewish people dispersed among the nations, the rabbis were concerned for a loss of the Oral Tradition and set down to record it. Later the Gemara was added to fill in the blanks of the Mishna.
Now does this mean we should accept the whole of the Talmud? No. Yeshua did not except this completely. Yeshua admonished the pharisees for keeping the Oral tradition over that of the Torah, so we should judge the Talmud by that standard. In addition those traditions that expand on the laws of Torah should never come in conflict with Torah.
For example, playing musical instruments on Shabbat is forbidden in the Talmud. There is no Torah to back this up. In addition rabbinical Jews will not blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana if it falls on Shabbat, thus breaking Torah…which says specifically to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana.
Also candle lighting for shabbat, this is not found in the Torah, but it does not negate the Torah, as long as the candles are lit before sundown.
So using these two “rules” to glean from the Talmud will allow us to follow in the masters steps. Remember John records Yeshua keeping the feast of dedication which is not found in the Torah or the Tanakh. There are valid oral traditions, we just need to study them out.
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