Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 30

We are going to pick up with Canto II from Salmon Ben Yeruham’s “Book of the Wars of the Lord” where Salmon is tearing down the main pillars of Rabbanism (Rabbinic Judaism) and the “Oral Law.”

“I have discovered in my heart another argument, a handsome one, and majestic enough to be placed as a crown for the Karaites, to be their ornament, pride, and glory. I have looked again into the six divisions of the Mishnah, and behold, they represent the words of modern men. There are no majestic signs and miracles in them, and they lack the formula: “Thus the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron.”

“I therefore put them aside, and I said there is no true Law in them, for the Law is set forth in a different manner, in a majestic display of prophets, of signs, and of miracles; yet all this majestic beauty we do not see in the whole Mishnah. I have seen an end to every human purpose, but there is no end to the speaking about the majesty of his ordinances and utterance. Blessed by the Creator of what is below and of what is above, and may his blessing rest upon his people. Selah!”

“I am young in days, and you are older than I. Had not the blackguard (Saadiah) intruded among the scholars I would never have written this epistle. I have turned again to my first argument, to fortify it with truth and uprightness, without falsehood, and with might and power, like the power of Samson; however, the best answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

“I have set the six divisions of the Mishnah before me, and I looked at them carefully with mine eyes. And I saw that they are very contradictory in content, this one Mishnaic scholar declares a thing to be forbidden to the people of Israel, while that one declares it to be permitted. My thought therefore answer me, and most of my reflections declare unto me, that there is in it no Law of logic, nor the Law of Moses the Wise.”

“I said, perhaps one of the two did not know the right way, wherefore he did not know how to reason it out with his companion; perhaps the truth lies with his companion; let me look into his words; perchance I will find relief from my perplexity. But instead I found there other men, sometimes they say, ‘Others say’ while none of the scholars issue a decision, agreeing with the one or the other, but contradicting both.”

“Had I been among them, I say, had I been among them I would not have accepted the words of these ‘others’ and ‘scholars.’ Rather would I have weighed the words of the Lord with them and I would have judged accordingly every word which they had contrived. Gird thyself with thy strength and hearken, and step up to me, and let the scholars of my congregation of Israel judge between us, and let them place our words upon the scales, so that I may walk in truth upon the road of my life’s course.”

“Know that there is no difference in learning between them and me. When they say, ‘Rabbi so-and-so said thus-and so’, I answer and say ‘I too am a learned so-and-so.’ Thine escape has been cut off by this argument, else answer me, if thou canst. His (Saadiah) heart is overlaid with stupidity as with fat, and I know well what he says and speaks, as he has set it forth in his written scroll; therefore will I turn my face toward him and do battle with him, and I will shake his loins and strike down his sword.”

“He has written that the sis divisions of the Mishnah are as authoritative as the Law of Moses, and that they wrote it down so that it would not be forgotten. I shall answer him concerning this, for I will not be silent, lest the blackguard (Saadiah) think that he had uttered an unanswerable argument. He who remembers forgotten things and knows what is hidden, had he deemed it proper to have them skillfully written down in order that they might not be forgotten upon the earth, he would have ordered his servant Moses to inscribe them, with might and power in a book.”

“If it is proper for men like us, who have none of the Holy Spirit in us, to turn the oral Law into a written Law by writing it down, why would it not be right for us to turn the written Law into a Law preserved only in our mouths? Hearken unto me and I will speak further: If thou should say, ‘This took place in the days of the Prophets and in the days of Ezra’ why is there no mention in it of these Prophets in the same manner as the names of the Prophets are recorded throughout Scripture?”

Be silent, and I will teach thee wisdom, if it be thy desire to learn wisdom. It is written: The Law of the Lord is perfect (Psa 19.8). What profit be there for us, then, in the written Mishnah? Moreover, if the Talmud originated with our master Moses, what profit is there for us in ‘another view’, and what can a third or a fourth view teach us, when they tell us first that the interpretation of this problem in law is thus-and-so, and then proceed to explain it with ‘another view?'”

“The truth stands upon one view only, for this is so in the wisdom of all mankind, and right counsel cannot be based upon two contradictory things. Now in this one thing he has fallen down and cannot stand up: If the Talmud is composed of the words of the words of the Prophets, why are contradictory views found in it? Now it is evident that this view of Saadiah’s is foolishness, and the words of fools. So testify to all mankind.”

In Part 31 we will pick up with Canto III in Salmon Ben Jeruham’s argument against Rabbinic Judaism and their view of the Oral Law. Again, we are presenting this because it is relevant to believers today because there are many teachers who say the Oral Law is applicable today to those who follow Yeshua. Again, all of this applies as part of our commentary on Deut 31.9 where it says, “So Moses wrote down this Law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.”

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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