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The Torah of Moses or the Oral Torah

“The “Oral Torah,” it should be noted, consisted of more than biblical interpretation alone—it also contained rules governing a number of matters not covered in the Pentateuch (for example, prayers and blessings to be recited on various occasions; agricultural laws; some torts and other areas of civil law; matters connected with betrothal, marriage, and divorce; parts of criminal law and judicial procedure; a detailed description of temple rites, purity statutes, and so forth). It thus included a vast body of material, and even though it continued to be called the “Oral Torah,” this material was eventually committed to writing—it became the Mishnah and Tosefta and the two Talmuds and various compilations of midrash in different genres. Thus, today, Judaism has essentially two canons, the biblical one and the great corpus of writings included under the Oral Torah. Although these two bodies of writings were, and are, said to be of equal authority, in practice, the Oral Torah always wins.

To insist on taking the Torah’s words at face value, without regard to what the Oral Torah says about them, is thus for a traditional Jew somewhat comparable to telling a Christian that he or she must take the laws of the Old Testament at face value, without regard for all that Paul has to say about them in the New Testament, as well as about the new covenant of Christianity that has come to take their place. I do not know any Christians who would accept such a proposition.”[1]

The “Oral Torah”, as Mr. Krugel states, is the essence of what is known as “Judaism”, the religious practices of the Jewish people. “Judaism” over the course of the centuries has become central to Jewish identity, and for some, as Mr. Krugel points out, is the final word on all things Biblical/religious. That it is central to Jewish life and identity is understandable; the Jewish people have over the last couple of thousand years expanded and refined its content to what it is today. It is uniquely “Jewish” in its character for that reason and uniquely appropriate for the “Jewish” lifestyle. The problem is that it is only suitable as a standard for those who consider themselves “Jewish”, which excludes the remnant of the House of Israel that went into captivity before “Judaism” was even a thought.

“When Ezekiel saw a valley full of bones, dried out by the sun and seeming beyond all hope of revivification, he understood the message: the bones represent the “whole house of Israel,” those northern tribes that had been deported. They might appear dead now, and yet, God could and would bring them back to life.12 North and south would once again be united, and a mighty empire would raise its head as in days of old. Indeed, it was not, Ezekiel said, just a matter of physical resuscitation, but of a changed spirit. Like the book of Jeremiah, Ezekiel said that God would make a new covenant with His people, and things would return to what they were before: My servant David [that is, one of his descendants] will rule over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow My rules and they will carefully carry out My laws. They will settle in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, and in which your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and My servant David will be their prince forever. Then I will make a covenant of peace with them. It will be an eternal covenant with them, and I will bless them and make them numerous, and I will set down My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place will be with theirs, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Ezek. 37:24–26 But it was never to be. Wherever the northern tribes had ended up, they never again returned to the Samarian hills. To this day, their fate is quite unknown.”[2]

[1] James L. Kugel, How to Read the Bible, Pg. 848-9

[2] James L. Kugel, How to Read the Bible, Pg. 940-41

Here, Mr. Krugel reminds us that what Ezekiel saw in his time not only didn’t manifest during his life but has yet apparently happened up until our time! So, are we to believe there is no validity to Ezekiel’s words, or should we simply take the position that their fruition wasn’t for that time, but for a later period? Afterall, Judah’s return after the captivity of Babylon was prophesied, but the later dispersal from their land doesn’t seem to be accounted for, yet throughout the diasporic period the Jews believed they were prophesied to return to their land.

“THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel… for the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.”[3]

“…for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel”! As Mr. Krugel explained, “the whole House of Israel”, prophetically, are the northern tribes that were deported, therefore, the founding fathers of the modern State of Israel made provision for their return by allowing for both Jewish immigrations, and the ingathering of the Exiles, i.e., the deported northern tribes. Credence is given to the vision of the prophets of Israel by the writers of the Declaration and this is important for us to understand today; the return of the northern tribes, i.e., Israel, has to be accepted by the Jewish people, along with the fact that those who return would not be “Jewish”, nor be familiar with “Judaism” as it is today.

“1 Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me; and YHWH, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, behold, he cometh, saith YHWH of hosts.

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto YHWH, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.

18 Then shall ye again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.

22 Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.”[4]

[3] Israel’s Declaration of Independence

[4] Malachi 3, Mechon-Mamre online Bible

We see in the 22nd verse that the law of Moses was given to “all Israel”, in Horeb, which included the House of Judah. This is the standard for the latter days; it is a return to what is common to all Israel and is therefore the foundation upon which all relationships between the Houses should be built. This is essential to understand because the promise is that YHWH would return His people to their land, which means that this would happen by whatever means He sought fit to use. While it is commendable of the Jewish people to seek out the other tribes in an effort to facilitate their return, ultimately that timetable is in the hands of YHWH.

“11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that YHWH will set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, that shall remain from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

12 And He will set up an ensign/standard for the nations, and will assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather together the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and they that harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.”[5]

Mr. Krugel stated, “Wherever the northern tribes had ended up, they never again returned to the Samarian hills. To this day, their fate is quite unknown.”, yet apparently YHWH knows where His people are and promised to recover them from whence He sent them! The ensign for the nations was the establishment of the State of Israel because the name Israel was chosen over Judah or Zion, again fulfilling the words of the prophets! The House of Ephraim is not to repeat the err of Jeroboam and envy Judah/the house of David, but also Judah/the house of David is not to place stumbling blocks before the house of Ephraim!

[5] Isaiah 11, Mechon-Mamre online Bible

“5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as YHWH my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the midst of the land whither ye go in to possess it.

6 Observe therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, that, when they hear all these statutes, shall say: 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'”[6]

As Hebrew Israelites of the House of Israel, we have returned to follow these statues and ordinances- as Rabbaenu Ben Ammi of blessed memory began to open them to us once again- that we might serve our God in a manner He accepts and be the people He caused us to return to Israel to be. Mr. Kugler says that in cases where there is a choice between the Torah and the Oral Torah the Oral Torah will always win, we have only just begun living by the Torah of Moses as given to us by Rabbaenu Ben Ammi, and that means that Moses trumps all else where his teachings failed to reach, which is most of the Torah!

Whichever you choose, the end result should be the same, living a righteous, just and compassionate life!

“16 Then justice shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness shall abide in the fruitful field.

17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and security forever.”[7]

The House of Judah and the House of Israel will be one Israelite nation, serving the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel.

“3 For, lo, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will turn the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith YHWH; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'

25 At that time, saith YHWH, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.“[8]

October 27, 2022

[6] Deuteronomy 4, Mechon-Mamre online Bible [7] Isaiah 32, Mechon-Mamre online Bible [8] Jeremiah 30, Mechon-Mamre online Bible

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