Question for Jews


#1

Hello, I hear a lot of people ask the questions “Why don’t you follow Leviticus laws” to Christians and then precede to choose the ones with the most shock value like those that involve stoning and such.

So I actually became curious. Why doesn’t Rabbinical Judaism follow any of these teachings such as the one that require to stone a disobedient child, or laws requiring a rapist to marry their victim?

I do not wish to be offensive when asking this, but I am curious about it since I would have assumed theologically nothing about those laws should have been deemed unholy or no longer valid if God retained his covenant with the Jews.


#2

[quote="Uriah_Betrayed, post:1, topic:280964"]
Hello, I hear a lot of people ask the questions "Why don't you follow Leviticus laws" to Christians and then precede to choose the ones with the most shock value like those that involve stoning and such.

So I actually became curious. Why doesn't Rabbinical Judaism follow any of these teachings such as the one that require to stone a disobedient child, or laws requiring a rapist to marry their victim?

I do not wish to be offensive when asking this, but I am curious about it since I would have assumed theologically nothing about those laws should have been deemed unholy or no longer valid if God retained his covenant with the Jews.

[/quote]

The short answer is 'Oral Torah', the huge tradition of legal judgements and interpretation that has built up from the start. A bit like a country that starts off with a Constitution and a 'Legal System' - as time goes by a body of law, within the 'spirit of the Constitution' grows based on circumstances, interpretation and precedent.

In the end, even in Biblical Times, it was difficult to get yourself executed because the procedural and evidential barriers made it an unlikely outcome.


#3

The short answer is 'Oral Torah', the huge tradition of legal judgements and interpretation that has built up from the start. A bit like a country that starts off with a Constitution and a 'Legal System' - as time goes by a body of law, within the 'spirit of the Constitution' grows based on circumstances, interpretation and precedent.

In the end, even in Biblical Times, it was difficult to get yourself executed because the procedural and evidential barriers made it an unlikely outcome.

I suppose I'm having difficulty understanding since these laws I'm assuming are suppose to be divinely mandated. So theologically is it God deciding to tell his Chosen people through a prophet that a a law or practice is no longer enforced because of the change in society?


#4

Suppose that there’s a country with a law against stealing apples where you get executed for doing so . . . .

But then people get to think ‘Are we sure that the person concerned knows that their action is wrong and that the penalty is death?’

So, they decide that, in such cases, immediately prior to the action, at least 10 people must be there to advise the individual on the infringement and its consequences.

They also start to consider that there must be a very high level of evidence in cases involving the stealing of apples - so, perhaps, they suggest that there must be at least 5 independent witnesses to the apple-stealing act.

In the end, the stealing of apples remains a very, very, very naughty activity but the likelihood of getting yourself executed is greatly reduced.


#5

You , dear Original Poster,
are receiving some thoughtful answers from our Jewish friends here.

Please remember that
(1) all ACTS of sin, big or small, are Crimes.
…Here in our society, with separation of church/synagogue and State,
…we have forgotten this and “sin” today is almost a cute word, not conveying
…the sense of horror that was originally conveyed by the word, SIN.
…Today, we say, “This ice cream is so delicious, its SINFUL!!!” as if sin is
…something almost harmless. No way.
(2) When people Sin, it is not always 100% entirely willful, even if it APPEARS
…to be, and even IF the sin is really heinous.
(3) Taking into account a person’s age, background, religious knowledge, spiritual
…maturity, and a host of other factors, is not a product of newer, CHRISTIAN concepts
…of Mercy. This comes rather, originally, DIRECTLY from the Jews.

That being said, Mercy always prevails over strict justice, even under the much more strict Mosaic law that God gave to Israel, as their national AND religious law, through Moses.
Many sins called for the Death Penalty for these crimes, and God IS NOT partial to the rich (i.e. they can get off easy in God’s eyes and be spared because they are rich or royal). Yet many times, right in the Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, or as we call it, the Old Testament, many CAPITAL offenders were spared and, in some cases, even restored ALL their fortunes (no 50 years in prison, no execution, no nothing) and EVEN restored to the very KINGSHIP over the Jewish Kingdom that they had led into demon-worshiping idolatry and committed mass-murder against, even the murder of their own little children, as all was done by King Manasseh, son of the righteous King (I believe son of Hezekiah). Manasseh, though only 12 when he took the throne, had been raised on Torah, yet he behaved worse than a monster. For decades. Murdering by the thousands, at whim, robbing everyone blind, teaching people to worship demons and idols, and murdering his own tiny children in sacrifice to these idols. But when he repented, God Almighty restored this repentant former-monster to the Throne of David in Jerusalem
(( those of us who believe in “throwing the book” at criminals and putting 'em in prison
for far less serious offenses, for decades, ought to REALLY re-think our “tough on
crime” attitudes. If anyone had the right to punish Manasseh with the UTMOST severity,
it was Hashem the LORD GOD YHWH, yet he restored this mass-killer to the very
Throne of Israel )).
My point is, as our Jewish guests here will tell you too,
there is no simple, cut and dried answer to your question.
Questions of Justice and Mercy and TESHUVAH are very, very complex, both within
Judaism and within our own Catholic Faith.
It is all, to me, a very great and wondrous mystery. We do well to try and learn about it,
but we also do well to realize that there are some things which in this lifetime,
we are never going to FULLY understand.
Peace to you, Peace upon our Holy Church, and Peace Upon the Nation
and People of Israel. God bless you all and Shalom.
Jaypeeto4


#6

Another very interesting thing I learned from a dear Jewish friend of mine
for more than 35 years now,
and that is,
that unlike American Law,
under Jewish Law, when you are arrested and charged with a crime,
YOUR CONFESSION, EVEN IF ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY,
cannot be used as evidence against you or your guilt, in Court.
That was news to me, but I checked it out and, yup, that's the
way it is. Very interesting. You cannot testify against yourself.


#7

Suppose that there's a country with a law against stealing apples where you get executed for doing so . . . .

But then people get to think 'Are we sure that the person concerned knows that their action is wrong and that the penalty is death?'

So, they decide that, in such cases, immediately prior to the action, at least 10 people must be there to advise the individual on the infringement and its consequences.

They also start to consider that there must be a very high level of evidence in cases involving the stealing of apples - so, perhaps, they suggest that there must be at least 5 independent witnesses to the apple-stealing act.

In the end, the stealing of apples remains a very, very, very naughty activity but the likelihood of getting yourself executed is greatly reduced.

From this post it seems if I understand correctly that overtime there was restrictions placed on these laws that made it unlikely that the harshest penalty was applied? This leads to a question on the morality of the situation, I realize the Jewish faith is not interpreted in one manner solely, but they all take from the same laws correct? So even with these restrictions, isn't that not still supporting using harsh sometimes fatal consequences on problems that nowadays people consider solvable with just a slap on the wrist?


#8

I think Jesus answered that in (Luke 11:46):
"Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”


#9

I was giving one just one kind of example, obviously.

To understand Judaism as Judaism sees itself, you have to come to an understanding of the relationship of Judaism to its scriptures that may seem strange to many Christians because Judaism doesn’t focus on Messiah, Judaism focuses on Law.

The Tanakh (the ‘Old Testament’ to Christians), is organized ‘Law/Prophets/Writings’ (Torah/Nevi’im/Kethuvim). So, we have levels of ‘revelation’, if you like. To understand Torah, you have to consider the works of the Prophets and then what can be gleaned from the Sacred Writings. You then add the interpretations of all that built up the Oral Torah (including the bits that Moses is supposed not to have written down but passed on orally) and the various ‘Great Thinkers’ ever since.

An argument may go: 'It says in Leviticus 99:49 “aaaaa” but the Prophet Isaiah says 87:12 “bbbbb” and Micah 56: “cccc”, while Psalm 587:43 says: “dddd” and Proverbs 110:50 “eee”. Then throw in a bit of Talmud interpretation: Rabbi Hillel suggested: “ffff”, then the post Talmudic figures: Rambam argued: “gggg” and so on, and so on, and so on, taking in what we’ve learned since.

So, Judaism isn’t just Torah, it’s a mass of argument, precedent, theory and philosophy of Law which has led us to where we are now - so, from a range of crimes that you could get stoned for, or whatever, the lack of Death Penalty in Israel has only ever been suspended for one individual, Adolf Eichmann.


#10

Rabbi Hillel (a few decades before Jesus) was (by legend) once asked if he could sum up the whole of The Law while standing on one leg - his reply was “Do not do unto others what is hateful to you, the rest is commentary, go study.”


#11

Certainly for modern Jews, the problem with the death penalty comes not from the punishment itself but the system which it is part of.

Everyone can agree that the death row system in the US is highly flawed, People are sentenced to death with little to no independent eyewitnesses. Witnesses are often ‘cherry-picked’ for the best bits of evidence. Forensics has with it its own problems, notably contamination and misinterpretation. People sit 20 years on Death Row only to be freed on new evidence. Similarly, people have been executed all around the world for crimes they likely didn’t commit.

If this was a court ran on Jewish principles, as someone said, it is unlikely that anyone would receive the death penalty based on this kind of evidence. Jewish law has been built up for centuries and so requires strict standards of evidence and witnesses. Witnesses to crimes in a Jewish court would be examined by the judge very carefully. And there must be eyewitness testimony of two people in place.

Here’s some articles on the subject, from Jewish sources:

myjewishlearning.com/texts/Bible/Weekly_Torah_Portion/mishpatim_jts.shtml
myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Events/Death_and_Mourning/About_Death_and_Mourning/Death_Penalty.shtml


#12

I am so glad we have these good Jewish posters on this thread.

By the way, one wise poster explained above how the Jewish Tanakh is comprised of Torah, Prophets, etc., each with it's own sorta "focus" or emphasis. Distinct.
As well as what is called the "ORAL" Torah of Moses.
This is perffectly logical of them to believe that last part, too.

We Catholics believe in the same thing.
We accept the Tanakh, and we accept also the Christian Scriptures,
and then we accept "Holy Tradition" These are not the "traditions of mere men" that
fundies falsely accuse of having. No, our "Tradition" refers to the Oral Teachings of the Apostles, handed down (and occasionally clarified, rarely, by official "Definitions.")
We know what the Apostolic TRADITION is by the fact that ALL of the early Christian churches of the 2nd century, from one end of the empire to the other, ALL believed in the exact same basic DOCTRINES, Priesthoods, and Sacraments. They were Universal, in all the churches, regardless of nation or language barriers. This is full proof that these were the teachings and EXPOUNDINGS OF THEIR OWN N.T. WRITINGS, that the apostles taught to the Churches, for Our Faith is ONE.

The Jewish people, too, have an ORAL Torah. Which merely means that Moses taught and expounded upon, a lot more than actually got WRITTEN DOWN in Torah.
Makes perfect sense. The man lived for many decades and had a lot, from God, to say to the Israelites.

Note, too, by the way, that our Jewish brothers here believe in several types of scripture, as noted above, not just the Torah.
Interestingly, the Roman politically-appointed Priests of the first century Temple, the ones who "led the charge" against Jesus, were ethnically Jewish, but were of a school of thought that Modern Jews DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO. They were Sadduccees, and
they accepted, or claimed to accept, ONLY the TORAH. They rejected all belief in the wisdom writings (Psalms, Proverbs, etc) and totally rejected the holy writings of Israel's prophets. They don't even exist today, and modern Judaism, whether Orthodox, Conservative, or Reformed/liberal, all would totally reject those notions of no other scriptures than the bare-bones Torah.

Love to all here, and shalom to all our Jewish friends here.
Jaypeeto4


#13

[quote="Uriah_Betrayed, post:1, topic:280964"]
Hello, I hear a lot of people ask the questions "Why don't you follow Leviticus laws" to Christians and then precede to choose the ones with the most shock value like those that involve stoning and such.

So I actually became curious. Why doesn't Rabbinical Judaism follow any of these teachings such as the one that require to stone a disobedient child, or laws requiring a rapist to marry their victim?

I do not wish to be offensive when asking this, but I am curious about it since I would have assumed theologically nothing about those laws should have been deemed unholy or no longer valid if God retained his covenant with the Jews.

[/quote]

(Mishnah Makkot 1:10): "A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says: even once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon say: had we been in the Sanhedrin none would ever have been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says: they would have multiplied shedders of blood in Israel."

We see from the above that the Rabbis were not comfortable with and did not wish to impose the death penalty for any offense. This is line with the over riding principle in Judaism of the sanctity of life, of the rights of the individual including the rights of the accused.

Far be it from Rabbi's to contradict Torah as to the death penalty being a punishment for certain offences. However, in order to impose the death penalty Jewish law requires:
1) A Sanhedrin trial consisting of 23 Judges
2) 2 witnesses to testify that they witnessed the act for which the accused is charged
3) that the witnesses warned the accused that if he carried out the act he would be executed
4) that the accused acknowledged the warning and stated his willingness to commit the act despite being aware of the consequences
5) the confession of the accused is not admissible as evidence nor is circumstantial evidence

So we see why no imposition of the death penalty

Needless to say the Jewish State of Israel cancelled the British mandate death penalty. It exists on the books only for the crime of treason during wartime and for for Nazi war crimes. The single execution ever carried out in Israel was of the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann on May 31, 1962.


#14

[quote="Kaninchen, post:10, topic:280964"]
Rabbi Hillel (a few decades before Jesus) was (by legend) once asked if he could sum up the whole of The Law while standing on one leg - his reply was "Do not do unto others what is hateful to you, the rest is commentary, go study."

[/quote]

Kaninchen, I think this is a good point, if I understand your intent correctly. I've seen Catholic and Protestant Christian scholars acknowledge that Jesus' moral teachings weren't really anything new. It's already in the Prophets and Jewish teachers before Jesus.


#15

Far be it from Rabbi’s to contradict Torah as to the death penalty being a punishment for certain offences.

I’m not sure if this next question can be answered since it rather impossible to get in the minds of different people from different time periods. But are these restrictions placed on harsher penalties made to put it bluntly as a way to brush these harsh consequence laws under the carpet without having to go out and say that these interpretations weren’t inspired by God or that the morality is relative to the time?


#16

Yes, there are a number of passages where the text seems to imply that Jesus is saying something astoundingly new when it’s really just stating one side of a general debate that was going on (the Hillel v’s Shammai schools in particular).


#17

Thanks to the poster just above !!

Yes, as my priest/pastor is always pointing out, the teachings of Jesus, the ones we have written down in our scriptures, line up about 90% with the teachings of the great Jewish teacher Gamaliel.

Atheists and others who like to attack both Christianity and Judaism by claiming that our teachings “came from” some pre-Jewish or pre-Christian worldly sage, aren’t establishing anything by such claims. We believe that there is ONE GOD and that this God’s breath or spirit, as well as this God’s WISDOM, is present in seed form in ALL human beings since the dawn of creation, along with the ability to reason, which we all have, unless our brains are injured before or at birth resulting in what is known as “mental retardation.” That innate God-given basic morality, the Jewish people regard as encoded in what are known as the Noahide Laws that all, even gentiles, are expected to adhere to.
The Mosaic Laws are for the Jews ONLY, with all the dietary restrictions, etc, and Jews do not expect Gentiles to keep all the Mosaic Laws in these areas.

Jesus taught DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU, which we call the Golden Rule, but this is indeed present also in the Tanakh (the “old Testament”) and in nonChristian and nonJewish writings. So what? All are teaching, on this point, something that clearly comes from the spirit of God. This in no way proves the unbelievers’ claims that since others believed it, there therefore is no basis for believing these teachings to come from some “god.” They DO come from the One God, from that God’s very Spirit, present to some degree in the minds of all people, unless they have gone too far in deliberate wickedness to the point where repentance/teshuvah is impossible because of a forever-hardened heart.

These teachings are the WORD. And we believe, we Christians, and are firmly convinced, that Jesus of Nazareth is himself the INCARNATION of that eternal "Word."
By the way, the “Word,” being spirit, remains, forever, in his inherent nature, spirit and incorporeal. When we say that “God became man” or that “the Word became Flesh,” we **do not mean **that the Word, in the Word’s eternal essence, became material. We mean, and theologians understand this well, that the Word UNITED ITSELF to human, specifically JEWISH, flesh, in the womb of Mary, not to degrade the incorporeal Word or Deity at all, but to UNITE the Word with broken Humanity AS A Goel, a Kinsman-Redeemer, to the entire Human Race. My best friend, a Jewish lady, Eve, (Hava), never knew this. She had always thought that we Christians were claiming that the incorporeal nature of God actually turned into flesh, something which, the Jews are right, is Impossible. But that’s not what we mean by “the Word became flesh.” We mean that the Word UNITED himself to human nature, permanently, as our goel, bridging the unbridgable gap between Holy God and sin-stained humanity, redeeming everyone to fullest degree possible. We also call this the “Hypostatic Union” and the "two natures in Christ."
Anyway, I’m digressing.
Peace, love, and shalom to all.
God bless everyone.
Jaypeeto4


#18

Here are just a few of many concrete examples:
Psalms 37;11
’but the humble shall inherit the earth, and delight in abundant peace"

becomes in Matthew 5:5 (the sermon on the mount)
‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’

Psalms 24:3-4
"Who may ascend the mountain of Hashem and who may stand in the place of sanctity?One with clean hand and pure heart;"

becomes in Matthew 5:8
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"

Lamentations 3:30
"Let one offer his cheek to the smiter, let him be filled with disgrace"

becomes in Matthew 5;39 becomes
"…but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…"


#19

we dont follow because you hate us!!!!! in history you always tried to have us killed even in the holocust how would you fell if i would try to kill you for your faith?


#20

[quote="chosen_people, post:18, topic:280964"]
Here are just a few of many concrete examples:
Psalms 37;11
'but the humble shall inherit the earth, and delight in abundant peace"

becomes in Matthew 5:5 (the sermon on the mount)
'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth'

Psalms 24:3-4
"Who may ascend the mountain of Hashem and who may stand in the place of sanctity?One with clean hand and pure heart;"

becomes in Matthew 5:8
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"

Lamentations 3:30
"Let one offer his cheek to the smiter, let him be filled with disgrace"

becomes in Matthew 5;39 becomes
"...but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also..."

[/quote]

The same Word, afterall :cool:


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