Sunday, January 11, 2015

Answering Rob Roy's Question About the Infamous Video

"I'm still not sure I understand your disagreement with the video. Nobody is arguing against tradition in toto. Tradition is a necessary adjunct to the written Torah, that tells us *how* various Torah commands can be implemented. 
The question here (and in the video) is whether there was an authoritative, 'God-breathed' tradition for tying/wearing them, that God gave to the Israelites at Mt. Sainai. More broadly, the question is not only whether there is a body of Oral Teaching that was given at Mt. Sainai, but that was also passed down, without error, or change, from teacher to student, up until the codification of the Talmud -- as many Orthodox today hold.
My question is, do you agree with this notion? Do you believe that God gave Moses 2 Torah's on Mt. Sainai -- a written, and an Oral Torah, as Orthodox Judaism teaches -- and that this Oral Torah was passed down from teacher to student over the years, in an unbroken chain of succession? (since that's really the focus of the video here)"
 So what precisely are the claims in that video?  Here they are:

CLAIM 1:  No traditions whatsoever were given to Moses.

"In Exodus 34:27, God commands Moses:  'Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.'  No other law is mentioned.  No 'Oral Law', or of tradition, unwritten that was supposedly transferred by word-of-mouth.  But the Sages tried to force us to think that the 'Oral Law' was indeed included."

So here the gentlemen from the video state that no unwritten tradition was given to Moses.  

CLAIM 2:  G-d hates all oral traditions.

They later state that G-d hates all oral traditions:
"...we should mention, that wise men traditions and commandments are occasionally mentioned in the Old Testament, but always in a negative way.
And they explain that G-d's basis for hating tradition is that it is something man-made:
"God is expressing His anger with the people of Israel, because they follow commandments made by man, exactly as it is happening today with the 'Oral Law', that the rabbis invented, so they can have the power and the control over all of you."  
CLAIM 3:  The Rabbis/Sages were just a bunch of conniving, manipulative, power-hungry Jews.

The gentlemen say that every single Jewish Tradition in the Talmud was fabricated post 70 C.E.:
"After the destruction of the second Temple...[the rabbis] had to invent a new Torah (Law) all together.  And so they did. They called the new law they invented the 'Oral Law.'...."
And that the motivation for this wicked lie was that the rabbis were simply interested in power:
'Oral Law' is a myth, invented by the rabbis, in order to give themselves the power and the control."  
Now back to Rob's question.  Hi, Rob.  So you said "Nobody is arguing against tradition in toto."  However, I've shown above that they are in fact arguing against Jewish Tradition in toto.  Next, you said that tradition is a necessary adjunct to the written Torah (and I agree) yet the gentlemen in the video state explicitly that no traditions were given (and thus were not necessary).

Do you understand my point now?

See, that's what the video is really about.  It's an all-out assault on Judaism.  You can't be Messianic and still like this video--that is if we're defining Messianic as a pro-Judaic belief in Yeshua.  You can be a Believer certainly but can one be an anti-Judaic Messianic?  That just doesn't make sense.

The other point you raise is a comparatively minor point:  did the traditions originate at Sinai?  Answer:  Rambam didn't think so.  I certainly don't think so.  For more on this point, see the previous post.

Please let me know if I've answered your questions/points to your satisfaction.  

Shalom and Blessings,



  1. I think you are partially missing the point, don't get me wrong, I don't like the anti-rabbi argument they gave. However the argument is over the claim, that the Oral Torah was given at Mount Sinai, meaning it is divinely inspired, thus having divine authority, given equal stance with the written Torah, this was their main argument. Not that tradition in itself is bad, however they more than likely believe this concerning rabbinic tradition, given their negative response towards rabbinic Judaism, this was not their argument in the video.

  2. Zion,

    Just like Christians such as C.E.B. Cranfield, these Hebrew Christians in the video reject Jewish Tradition on the basis that it contains traditions made by man. Their precedent for this position is that they actually read passages such as those found in Isaiah as G-d being against all man-made traditions.

    They use the same argument as others before them have used.

    And, let's face it, their argument is a bit of a mess. I mean, the whole "The Tanak doesn't mention the Oral Torah therefore the Oral Torah doesn't exist." Seriously? That's like if I said "The Tanak doesn't mention me therefore I don't exist."

    You wrote: "this was not their argument in the video." What are you saying is their argument? Do you see them on any level speaking lovingly about the rabbis and Jewish Tradition? I just don't see that at all here.

    No love, no fairness. That's my take.

    Where do you think they were fair? Where do you think they were loving?

    There's some gentlemen from a certain well-known One Law institution that are upset with me right now because they don't see how this video is hateful and can't understand why I would interpret a comment that approved this video as indicating that they hate the rabbis or Jewish Tradition.

    Help me to understand this disconnect. MANY others in Messianic Judaism see this as hateful (Kinzer actually gives a decent analysis of the video and calls for an apology). My question: why doesn't everyone see this video as hateful?

    I wish someone could explain that to me. How can anyone seriously think that this video is loving toward Jewish Tradition, that it leaves ANY room to appreciate Jewish Tradition on any level?

    I see it as pure hate.

  3. There approach is certainly negative and hateful towards Judaism and Rabbi's as I stated, however their argument is solid, when pitted against a very specific claim. You are reading to much into the argument, I don't doubt they probably believe that all man made traditions is bad, however that is not their argument in this video, period. They are against a claim that says Oral Torah was given at Mount Sinai and is thus Divinely Inspired and thus holds divine authority. What they failed on, is how they argued this point, by painting Judaism in a bad light.

  4. I'm just glad you at least see it as negative and hateful towards Judaism and the Rabbis.

  5. Greetings Peter,
    I'm not going to have time for a long explanation, but the short end of it is that I think you and I both agree that the video assumes ill motives on the part of the Rabbis, which is unfair. Obviously, they had polemic objectives when creating the video, and their intent wasn't to delve into these issues deeply, but instead to critique the theory that an "oral Torah" was given by God to Moses at Sainai. Thus, I can't be sure whether the creators of the video are in fact against any/all manmade tradition. Manmade tradition simply wasn't the topic they were addressing.

    And again, in my view, manmade tradition -- whether originating in Jewish or Christian streams, in all its diversity and flavors -- is a necessary part of living out our faith, which is why I have friendly views towards both Jewish and Christian tradition, and think we should be very careful before we elevate one set of traditions above another. The traditions these broad groups hold to are important and necessary components of faithful living for the groups that hold to them. In my view, it's only those discrete/individual traditions that go against the written Word of God, or the spirit of God's Word, that are problematic.

  6. Rob,

    Glad to hear that you recognize the hateful nature of the video. It sounds like we agree that it is necessary to take a stand against those who unfairly characterize the Rabbis and unfairly attack Jewish Tradition.