Relationship vs. Theology – excerpt from Covenant Nation

Relationship versus Theology
In his description of the sense of Jewish self-identity that preceded Christianity, Boyarin has forgotten a key element in that sense of self-identity. The Jewish people did not just see themselves merely as a community; they saw themselves as a community that stands in a special relationship with God. Obviously, some Jews took this relationship more seriously than did others, but being a Jew meant being tied up with God. This central feature of Jewish self-identity was shared by every man woman and child who saw themselves as part of the larger Jewish community.

A prerequisite for sharing a relationship with somebody is an ability to identify that somebody. If it is a group of people that share a relationship with somebody, as in the situation of Israel sharing a collective relationship with God, then the nation will need to be able to identify God on a national level. This would require a uniform definition of God that is shared by the nation. This definition would have to be clear and simple. If the Jewish people are going to relate to God as a nation, each Jew needs to be confident that whichever group of Jews he or she stands with, they worship the same God. It is not enough that they call God by the same name because you don’t have a relationship with a name and you don’t worship a name. We need to find the common Jewish understanding of the One that they were having a relationship with.

This understanding of God shared by the Jewish people will not be a theological formula or creed, because you don’t have a relationship with a mathematical equation. It needs to be something concrete that everyone could relate to on the level of the heart.

So what was it? How did the Jewish people perceive God in the pre-Christian world? How did the Jewish people understand the One that they were tied to in covenantal relationship?

If we search the Jewish Bible for an answer to this question, we will not find a creed or a mathematical formula. The Bible opens with the words: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”. The God of Israel is above and beyond heaven and earth and all that exists in heaven and earth are His creations. The Jewish concept of God shapes the Jew’s view, not only of God Himself, but also of all existence. God is the One Creator and every detail of existence is viewed as His subject. The One that the Jewish people related to was the One that is outside of the confines of heaven and earth and the Jew saw heaven and earth and of all their inhabitants as subjects of this One God. The Jew stood apart from all of the pagan nations that surrounded Israel because they all found themselves in a relationship with some feature of finite existence; be it the sun, the moon, or any other force of nature. The Jew saw all of these as fellow subjects of the One who created them all.

This is the concept of God that is shared by all Jews from the time of the exodus onward. It is this Being who is identified by the fact that He is outside of existence as we know it that Israel shares her covenantal relationship with.

Yes, there were many teachings floating around, and there still are many teachings floating around that address questions such as; how does an infinite God appear to the prophets? How does an infinite God interact with a finite world? But whatever answers are given to these questions, they do not affect the basic relationship with God. God always remains outside of the existence that we see and comprehend.

Pointing to any inhabitant of heaven and earth, be it a human, an angel, a star or an animal and encouraging a devotional relationship with that entity is the most serious violation of Israel’s relationship with the God who is above and beyond heaven and earth.

This then was the constant. When a Jew joined his or her fellow Jews in worship, they may not have been confident that their fellow Jews subscribed to the same teachings that explain how God appeared to the prophets. But of this they were sure; that their fellow Jews were NOT worshiping an inhabitant of heaven or earth but that their hearts were directed to the One who stands outside of the confines of heaven and earth.

When the Church encouraged devotion to Jesus as a deity (regardless of when this devotion surfaced in Church history), the Church was encouraging a different relationship than the relationship of Israel with her God. The Church was pointing to an inhabitant of this earth and demanding that human hearts direct their devotion towards that entity. The Churchmen may have used the Jewish teachings that explain God’s interaction with this world to justify the relationship that they were encouraging, but they were encouraging a different relationship. The fact that the Logos theology of the Church is similar to some of the Jewish teachings on God does not make Christianity Jewish. The teachings may be similar, but the relationships that they are encouraging are diametrically opposed to each other. In Judaism these teachings are used to explain a relationship with an entity that stands outside of the confines of nature, while in Christianity these same teachings are being used to justify a relationship with an entity that is inside the confines of nature.

Whenever it was that the Church introduced the idea that the hearts of human-kind ought to relate to Jesus as their supreme master they had crossed the line and moved out of the range of Jewish self-identity – according to every understanding of Jewish self-identity that ever existed.

How did this happen? How did the Jewish followers of Jesus come to adopt a belief that is the antithesis of the self-identity of the Jew?

There are several possible answers to this question; it is possible that the Jewish followers of Jesus were not the ones who introduced this non-Jewish belief into the Christian community but that this belief was a later, Gentile, development. It is possible that the Jewish followers of Jesus were so taken in by their devotion to Jesus that they elevated him to the status of divine without consciously realizing that they had violated the core of their standing as Jews before God.

Many theories can be proposed to explain the phenomena of Christianity’s move towards the deification of Jesus. But the one theory that is impossible is that the original Jewish belief system allowed for the deification of a human. Such a theory violates every understanding of Jewish self-identity that the historical record has bequeathed to us. Such a theory takes the covenant that stands at the heart of the Jewish Bible and renders it meaningless.

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68 Responses to Relationship vs. Theology – excerpt from Covenant Nation

  1. Dina says:

    Great article. I’m reposting here my favorite paragraphs just to reiterate (to people like Concerned Reader):

    “In Judaism these teachings are used to explain a relationship with an entity that stands outside of the confines of nature, while in Christianity these same teachings are being used to justify a relationship with an entity that is inside the confines of nature.”

    “But the one theory that is impossible is that the original Jewish belief system allowed for the deification of a human. Such a theory violates every understanding of Jewish self-identity that the historical record has bequeathed to us. Such a theory takes the covenant that stands at the heart of the Jewish Bible and renders it meaningless.”

  2. Fortune Levy says:

    One word,or maybe a few extra.
    Firstly having read the article agree with the writer a100% .
    And you have confirmed it.
    You cannot be God fearing Jew and decide to believe a so-called flesh and blood man that Christians believe as the son of god.
    Our Lord God does not have a son,for we are all his children.Nor does our god have a wife.
    There for,one God and his covenant with the Jewish people.

  3. Concerned Reader says:

    while in Christianity these SAME TEACHINGS (Emphasis mine) are being used to justify a relationship with an entity that is inside the confines of nature.” These SAME teachings that teach that G-d is not physical, ie not limited to a physical human named Jesus or his movement, or nature (John 10:16) that we are not to make graven images, that G-d has never been seen at any time (John 1:18 1 John 4:12 1 Timothy 6:16) You are saying that we are justifying a relationship with a creature, but G-d is not limited by Christians to operation through this “creature.” We are not saying that you cannot approach G-d without the man Jesus. You may read verses which state that, “no one knows the father but the son” but this is not saying “Jesus the man is the only way to G-d.” The NT teaches clearly that Jesus makes G-d known. How? In what he teaches us, and what he did. As has been pointed out, the Torah does not prevent a man from sinning, it gives a person free choice. That said, even if you agree with the central biblical premises (G-d’s unity and total otherness, as defined by the sages as outside of nature,) this does not guarantee that you have a knowledge of G-d, or even a fear of G-d. Knowledge of G-d, is in the fear of G-d, and you cannot fear or love an abstraction, only a being that is known to you by experience. Jews came to know about G-d through Sinai, that is their collective experience. Christians gained this SAME knowledge and insight through hearing of Jesus, and so he is regarded by them as the eternal word of the father. Why is his life so important? For the same reason that Moses’ own personal recounting of the national revelation event (to a whole new generation) is instrumental to Judaism’s own self understanding. If you read the Torah without Deuteronomy, the emphasis, the exactness of what the experience at Sinai was, becomes much less clear. Moses in that sense, has the word of G-d emanating from him. He is essential to the message, but does not limit hashem.

    • Dina says:

      Con, why are you avoiding Deuteronomy 4?

      The verses that have been under discussion are very simple and very clear. Therefore, as far as I can see, you have three options.

      1. Concede that Deuteronomy 4 cannot be reconciled with Trinitarian worship, along with whatever that entails for an intellectually honest truth seeker.
      2. Concede that Deuteronomy 4 cannot be reconciled with Trinitarian, admit therefore that your beliefs are purely faith-based and not bound by reason, and stop preaching on this blog that it is.
      3. Show how Deuteronomy 4 can indeed be reconciled with Trinitarian worship.

      If the third option is viable, it should be so obvious to you that you should not need weeks and weeks to think about it.

      So, Con, why are you avoiding Deuteronomy 4?

    • LarryB says:

      CR
      “Christians gained this SAME knowledge “emphasis yours” and insight through “hearing of Jesus”, and so he is regarded by them as the eternal word of the father. Well, all I got to say, have you heard of Horace’s tree by Jim?
      https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/horaces-tree-by-jim/

  4. Concerned Reader says:

    I am not avoiding Deuteronomy 4 at all. Deuteronomy is NOT G-D speaking, it is Moses speaking to Israel recounting the events long after the fact, that nonetheless are counted as being the word of G-d. Why is that? Moses is speaking the word of G-d from his mouth, clarifying to an up and coming generation that did not experience the national revelation itself directly. You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. We agree with this Dina, as I pointed out above, G-d is not a form. Deuteronomy is the word of G-d through Moses, (G-d is not limited by the form of Moses) Scripture DOES SAY in numerous places however that G-d has been seen, that the sound of his word has been seen, etc.Exodus 20:15, Exodus 24:10, Numbers12:6-8, etc. We both know that to “see G-d” means to understand what hashem is like. We do not identify G-d with flesh, or limit him to it, we do note that his eternal word was revealed through Jesus. This blog keeps saying that this is Christian self justifying. Like it or not, this is how we define our religion. If you cant judge us by how we understand what we believe, then you cant be judging us fairly. If our worship was about Jesus’ physical or even metaphysical form, we wouldn’t need Christian theology.

    • Dina says:

      Con, Moses’s audience is the people who directly experienced the revelation, as he is reminding them that God did not appear in any form. To say otherwise would turn his words into nonsense. I suggest you read the relevant passages again and see if you can still say that with a straight face. But if you want to go back to Exodus 20, God introduces Himself as “I am the Lord your God Who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.”

      That would have been the perfect time for God to introduce all his friends, don’t you think? But he didn’t. And then Moses goes ahead in Deuteronomy and warns the Jewish people to remember that it’s a grave sin to worship anything that did not appear at Sinai. You know, just to underscore the point in case the people didn’t get the obvious the first time around. Jesus did not appear at Sinai, nor did he take us out of Egypt. The “word made flesh” did not appear at Sinai, nor did it take us out of Egypt. The trinity did not appear at Sinai, nor did it take us out of Egypt. Furthermore, as has been pointed out to you, the Torah also identifies idolatry as a type of worship unknown to our fathers (Deuteronomy 13). Trinitarian worship was unknown to our fathers; ergo, it is idolatry.

      This blog takes a lot of time to explain those instances where God is described as having been seen. Here’s one of Rabbi B.’s articles on the subject: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/the-bush-the-cloud-and-genesis-18/

      Your point about that reminds me of what Jim has said: Christians don’t read the Torah to find out what God says; they read it to find Jesus in it. It’s a circular and weak foundation for any theology.

      You can’t reconcile Deuteronomy 4 and 13 with Trinitarian worship in any honest way, which is why you are trying to discredit Moses. I think that’s just. Forget it, I can’t think of a nice way to say this.

      What is also [can’t think of a nice adjective here either] is your comparison of the Jewish reverence for Moses with the Christian worship of Jesus. You can call Jesus whatever you want, but there is no escaping the fact that he is the center, the focus, of Christian worship. On the other hand, Moses is not only not the center of our worship, but he is not even on the periphery of it. Moses is simply not worshiped. He does not appear in our liturgy. Pretty much the only times he gets mentioned is in reference to the Law, as in the Law of Moses. To say that Jesus is God’s word bound in a human is the same way we see Moses carrying God’s word is plainly dishonest. Sorry to be so blunt.

      Last point. Complaining that we don’t understand your belief or are judging it is simply dodging the issue. If we don’t understand, then explain more clearly. If you can’t, consider that it be unintelligible.

      Finally, I do believe you are allowing yourself to be distracted from your important conversation with Rabbi B.

    • LarryB says:

      CR
      May I ask a question? You said “If our worship was about Jesus’ physical or even metaphysical form, we wouldn’t need Christian theology.” Maybe your worship isn’t all about a physical/human form but surely it includes it. If Jesus is the word of god and that he was born, suffered and died in a human form for the sins of man, surely his physical form is crucial to your worship. No physical form, no sacrifice, no forgiveness of sins.

      • Dina says:

        Larry makes a good point, Con. The custom of the Eucharist is all about Jesus’s flesh and blood. Much is made of Jesus’s blood in Christianity. The symbol of Christianity is the cross from which hung Jesus’s body.

        Just emphasizing Larry’s point here.

  5. Concerned Reader
    There is theology and there is a relationship. The missionary that knocks on my door encourages me to read a book about a man, encourages me to develop feelings in my heart toward that man, and then theologize about my feelings that they are not directed at the man but at God.
    Which part of the program did I miss?

  6. Concerned Reader says:

    Jewish tradition has maintained that God spoke the first two commandments directly to Israel (but see Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, II.33), this is an interpretation that is not explicit in the text itself. Israel says “You speak with us, and we will hear, but let God not speak with us lest we die.” If we accept the speaking Moses as being literal:
    The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood BETWEEN the Lord and you at that time TO DECLARE to you the WORD of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said, “I am the Lord your God . . .” (Deuteronomy 5:4-6; emphasis added)

    We see that Moses’ words are instrumental in explaining and clarifying what exactly happened during this national experience. It is in this sense, that I call the common reading of Dt 4 as an unambiguous occurrence an emphasis. The eternal word of G-d emanated from Moses, as it did with Jesus. So, a trinitarian reading (which does not emphasize Jesus’ flesh, but on the word and experience he brought, is not beyond possibility. Christians do not believe that there are three bodies in heaven, or three beings, but that G-d, reveals himself in three personal manifestations. Hashem as he is, his word, and his spirit.

    • Dina says:

      Obviously both events happened. You are choosing to not emphasize the first part of the verse: “The Lord spoke with you FACE TO FACE at the mountain.” Seems pretty unambiguous to me. It’s astonishing what you choose to ignore to support your theology.

      I think Rabbi B.’s point is spot on: “the fact that you are trying to minimize the Sinai experience as God’s lesson to His nation on idolatry makes me suspect that your theologizing doesn’t really separate you from the missionaries that knock on my door.”

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Dina, respectfully the point I am trying to make, is that when you bring Deuteronomy Moses is the one who is clarifying and saying “here is what you saw” after the event happened. If the text wanted to convey an unambiguous national experience the way it is presented here, it would make more sense for the text to narrate in Exodus as follows “we see face to face the L-rd speak.” The thrust of the argument is relying on Moses’ words, not the original event as it was happening. I hope all is well with everyone btw, I’m not trying to be a thorn in anyone’s side.

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          He is not clarifying for them what they saw. This is a blatant misrepresentation. He is appealing to their experience, not informing them of it.

          Jim

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Jim, did you read the section I posted from here? (but see Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, II.33) http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp120.htm The Scriptural accounts suggest far more easily that Moses was articulating the experience clearly, while the people experienced something generally, Exodus 20:16 “You speak with us, and we will hear, but let God not speak with us lest we die.” and then yes, Moses was recounting what they all saw afterwards in Deuteronomy. I am not misrepresenting anything, I am not reading the text with the same emphasis. Big difference. Is everything well with you btw?

          • Dina says:

            Yes, this is obvious if you are reading the passage without an agenda.

          • Jim says:

            Con,

            Thank you for your concern. I am well.

            Jim

        • Dina says:

          Exodus 19:19

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Yes, G-d spoke in A voice Which Moses understood clearly, and the people heard sounds. The texts say plainly that the people were to be far off, and not to come up, lest they get too close. Why are you accusing me of misreading?

            Moses would speak: When Moses would speak and make the Decalogue heard to Israel-for they heard from the mouth of God only “I am…” and “You shall not have” (Mak. 24a)-the Holy One, blessed be He, would assist him [Moses] by giving him strength so that his voice would be strong and audible. — [from Mechilta]

            משה ידבר: כשהיה משה מדבר ומשמיע הדברות לישראל שהרי לא שמעו מפי הגבורה אלא (שמות כ ב) אנכי ולא יהיה לך והקב”ה מסייעו לתת בו כח להיות קולו מגביר ונשמע:

          • Dina says:

            Con, read the verse again, because you are misreading it. You are spinning an interpretation that is not there. Or you are mistranslating it. Also, the Mechilta that you quoted supports our position.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            are mistranslating it. Also, the Mechilta that you quoted supports our position.

            I know that Mechilta interpretation supports your view. It is The commentary that says Moses was heard audibly clearly, but all that was heard is I Am and you shall not have. The point, is that the context of the verses, and later books, as well as the calf incident shows that what was heard, was not understood well by the people, but by Moses who articulated it more clearly later.

          • Sharbano says:

            What does the calf incident have to do with it.

          • Dina says:

            I think Rabbi B.’s comment sums it all up.

          • Sharbano, if Israel, and not just Moses exclusively heard G-d speak very Clearly as is emphasized here with national revelation, it doesn’t make sense that the people would fall away so quickly from such an experience which is supposed to have sealed their faith. It seems to me that Moses spent so much time clarifying, and reminding the people in Deuteronomy because it was needed.

          • Sharbano says:

            I think you are misunderstanding the book of Devarim. He isn’t “clarifying” anything. The book is a synopsis, a retelling of events, much what every child learns in the same way, as commanded. It is certainly Not telling what they already know.

          • Dina says:

            That’s like saying that after a couple marry, which is a public pledge of their fidelity to each other, they won’t be unfaithful shortly thereafter. Yet we know that this happens.

          • LarryB says:

            CR
            “If Israel, and not just Moses exclusively heard G-d speak very Clearly as is emphasized here with national revelation, it doesn’t make sense that the people would fall away so quickly” maybe they were thinking they would die if they couldn’t hear Gd, that’s why they told Moses to talk with Him and were afraid. They didn’t have bull horns in those days you know.

  7. Concerned Reader
    You seem to have forgotten Deuteronomy 4:35
    Let me address your argument – I mean the argument that we are attacking “your” belief yet we don’t allow you to define it for yourself thus our attack is unjust (we would expect to be allowed to define our beliefs and not have them defined by our opponents)
    Your argument is fallacious – because it is not your belief that we are “attacking” – it is the belief that missionaries are encouraging us to believe – if they are misrepresenting you then take your argument to them and not to us.
    In any case – the fact that you are trying to minimize the Sinai experience as God’s lesson to His nation on idolatry makes me suspect that your theologizing doesn’t really separate you from the missionaries that knock on my door

    • Concerned Reader says:

      No, Sharbano, I’m not reading anthropomorphism literally.

      Rabbi B, I’m not trying to minimize the Sinai event or experience. I am merely pointing out to you that the thrust of your argument for the clarity of what happened on Sinai keeps pointing to the after the fact secondary recounting of what is written in Deuteronomy to conclusively demonstrate what exactly happened during the national revelation.

      We all know however that Deuteronomy is a second hand account in Moses’ words written later, about what happened, and he communicated clearly the experience to the nation, who it isn’t clear understood the event as he did when it happened.

      Respectfully, my writing is in terms of the emphasis you place on the national revelation event, not the event itself. I’m not disputing the event, but your reading of it, because you place so much emphasis on an event which when it happened seems ambiguous in the text without Moses there to clarify it to everyone else. If it is wrong for Christians to accept the word of Jesus as if it is the word of Hashem, then it should be wrong to rely on Deuteronomy for a majority of clarification of this unambiguous heophany. There is an embryonic logos like theology in Deuteronomy where Moses’ words recounting the event seem to carry the brunt of clarification and the authority as though he’s relaying the actual event better than when it happened firsthand.

      As Ive mentioned to you have no interest in missionary work. respectfully, you guys have what you need.

  8. Sharbano says:

    It seems to me that CR wants to attribute a literal reading of anthropomorphism texts, but in the Xtian text the literal words are interpreted as a non-literal reading of those texts, in order to substantiate a different concept of Jsus than what is commonly believed. Every Xtian I have ever heard, going back 50 years, Do believe Jsus is co-equal and distinct from their god. As I recall the book of Revelation confirms this.

  9. Concerned Reader says:

    Sharbano, respectfully, you are hearing words like co equal co eternal god of god, etc. without getting the meaning and distinctions associated with these terms in the theology, and that’s where there is a problem. Its like the problems Judaism faces with missionary misquoting or misunderstanding of Talmud. Christians have always taught that G-d’s nature is spiritual IE totally other than anything in nature, that he is one, but that the “Son” is the “image” of the father from before the world was, who “dwelt” as the man Jesus. He reveals the word of G-d, his flesh is not G-d.

    • Sharbano says:

      Son is the image of the father from before the world who dwelt as a man????

      This is about as incoherent a statement as can be. He “dwelt” as a man. Was he a man or not. Since all mankind was created in His image then Jsus was nothing special, Just a man. This is nothing but an attempt to weave a three-part trinity into a oneness. So, actually, the one part of the trinity should include all of Yisrael. You cannot have it both ways, other than anything in nature, and also in nature, as in “dwelt as a man”.

  10. Concerned Reader says:

    Jesus the human is a tabernacle for G-d’s word/wisdom which we call “son of G-d.”

    • Sharbano says:

      Even More So that all Yisrael are a tabernacle for G-d’s “Word”, considering they Are the Light to the Nations, and light being a metaphor for Torah.

      • Dina says:

        Yeah, how come we’re not part of the godhead?

        • Sharbano says:

          Oh, and not to leave out All Yisrael are firstborn sons of G-d.

          • Yes, I know Israel is called the Son. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

            15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

            16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Jesus always spoke in an I and You all collective dynamic.

      • Are a tabernacle for G-d’s “Word”, considering they Are the Light to the Nations, and light being a metaphor for Torah. And Torah is the wisdom which was with G-d, and was what G-d was. G-d, his word, and his spirit, G-d, the Torah, and his people are all one. This does not mean that we go around praying to bodies, and it doesn’t mean that in Christianity either.

        • Sharbano says:

          Then, given all you’ve said Jsus should Not be different than any other Jew who has lived before or since. Considering the few words Jsus did speak one would be better off following Talmud, which is much more inclusive in its details and definitive in the particular, especially since the words from Jsus are so misunderstood, as you say.

        • Dina says:

          Right, so when Christians eat the wafer and say this is the body, really they mean the word. And when they drink the wine and say this is his blood, really they mean the word. And when they talk about Jesus’s suffering on the cross, they really mean the suffering of the word. And his death which atones for all sins is really the death of the word. And the symbol of Christianity surely has nothing to do with a body hanging on a cross, no indeed. End sarcasm.

          If Christians don’t worship any bodies, why all this obsession with a body?

        • LarryB says:

          Here is a few prayers said to bodies by catholics.
          hail mary
          hail holy queen
          anima christi
          memorare
          miraculous medal prayer (ok, this one is not a body)

          • And this practice of veneration of saints comes from where?

          • Dina says:

            Aha! You’re deflecting again. You aren’t able to explain away the worship of Jesus as a human, as a man-god. So the blood is symbolic? The body is symbolic? Do you realize that this is the typical justification of all idol worship? Not worshiping the tree, but the spirit it represents? One could say this about any human.

            You say that you do not worship Jesus but the word of God that he represents (by the way, we don’t worship the word of God either; we don’t, for example, worship Torah scrolls and say they represent God’s word and that’s why it’s okay to worship them).

            If someone would say this about any other human being, you would say this is idolatry. If Mr. Joe worshiped Mr. Schmoe and said that he’s not worshiping the physical form of Mr. Schmoe, but that Mr. Schmoe is the tabernacle of God’s word, and so he’s worshiping God’s word that is within Mr. Schmoe, you would find that ridiculous and idolatrous. So why make an exception for the human Jesus?

            This is all beside the point that you haven’t satisfactorily answered Deuteronomy 4. I’ll get to that in another comment.

          • Dina says:

            It’s not our fault that Goyim take Jewish practices into idolatry. Jewish tradition has never allowed for praying to tzadikim.

          • LarryB says:

            CR
            “Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope”
            Your hope is in Mary? Whats is this “our life” stuff? Since she is Queen is she second only to God? To catholics this is second to the mass itself.
            “to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears”
            Wow, this isnt praying to the “Word” which may make more sense. See what happens when you worship the wrong things. There is no end to it.

          • LarryB says:

            The rosary would be second to the mass

    • LarryB says:

      CR
      “Mother of mercy, Shield me from the enemy And receive me at the hour of my death”
      If Jsus is the word, What is Mary then? Also, Whats the word doing when Mary receives us at our death? Is he busy?

    • mansubzero says:

      The giant ball of light must be God too. Think about it. It feeds the food you eat. It gives it’s light and it lives. Moses, jesus and all others have died. The sun lives . There must be something special about the sun. God must be in it. It’s must have 100percent divine nature contained in it. What pagans like christians allow for one they Must allow for all. The sun sustains the earth. Without the sun, you and the rest of humanity would perish. You and jesus would freeze to death had it not been for the sun. The sun must be almighty God. It’s cosmic nature is not it’s divine nature.

      What you allow for one you must all for all.

  11. Concerned Reader
    I don’t need the text to know that my nation entered into a covenant with the Creator of all at Sinai – and that at Sinai they were taught were to direct all of their worship.
    I only quote the text to you because I thought you accept it – I now see that you don’t.
    Moses says to Israel “remember what your eyes have seen” Concerned Reader says – aha – but Maimonides seems to say something different. Moses reminds Israel that they were “shown in order that they know” but Concerned Reader says that Israel needed the matter clarified.
    Moses is reminding the people what they experienced and explaining to them that the memory of this experience is the core of their covenant with God – the people might not have appreciated the weight of their own experience – but as it relates to teaching the people where to direct their worship – the experience was a complete lesson – as our nation testifies and as the text testifies – just read 4:9 and 4:35. Why are you trying to minimize this?

  12. Concerned Reader says:

    Rabbi, with respect, the events after the revelation say this event needed clarification far better than I could. I had nothing to do with it. I’m pointing it out, and the appeal to Rambam shows that I’m not alone in this observation.

    • Concerned Reader
      So the text doesn’t mean what it says because you have a question?! Moses was lying in Deuteronomy 4:35?!
      Your lack of understanding of the Rambam is illuminated by your lack of understanding of the Biblical text. The Rambam is NOT saying that Israel wasn’t given a clear understanding on the matter of worship – he is speaking of the words of the Decalogue which may not have been clear – but the lesson on worship was clear.
      Your question about the Golden Calf is irrelevant – just go through Scripture and see how many times people violated clear instructions that were given to them.
      In any case – how do you justify your method of Biblical interpretation? Do you really believe that when you “find” a contradiction between two texts (Golden Calf vs. Deut. 4:35) that you could reinterpret the text at will? Perhaps Deut. 4:35 should tell you that the incident of the Golden Calf never occurred?

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Your lack of understanding of the Rambam is illuminated by your lack of understanding of the Biblical text. The Rambam is NOT saying that Israel wasn’t given a clear understanding on the matter of worship – he is speaking of the words of the Decalogue which may not have been clear – but the lesson on worship was clear.
        Your question about the Golden Calf is irrelevant – just go through Scripture and see how many times people violated clear instructions that were given to them.

        Rabbi, did I say Moses was lying? No. I said, you are relying on his relaying of the event more than on the event itself to say what happened with clarity. The incidents after this national revelation event show that what happened was not clear to the people at large, but to Moses. This is why you have the Book of the Torah.

        he is speaking of the words of the Decalogue which may not have been clear –

        So, the Ten Commandments which say who to worship may not have been clear. That’s what I’m saying. Your interpretation is compartmentalizing some verses to make a specific point about the strength of this one event, when it’s not explicit based on what actually happens to the people in the text. Rambam’s commentary has to say “this part of the message was clear to all, as opposed to that part which was clear to Moses.”

        just go through Scripture and see how many times people violated clear instructions that were given to them. I have. That’s one reason why it seems to me that your reading doesn’t hold up. You once asked, “where does it say that it’s the book that is important as opposed to the people? (Joshua 1:8) the book, if you mediate on it, keeps things clear, (which humans left to themselves don’t do as scripture continually demonstrates.) so as to preserve you from harm. If the people alone were the main locus of how G-d wanted to communicate, you wouldn’t need the book at all. You have the book together with the people because people fall short, and the book preserves the message.

        • Sharbano says:

          Yes indeed. Count how many times in Torah the people failed during a 40 year span. Not very many actually.

        • Dina says:

          Okay, here’s a thought experiment. Let us say for argument’s sake that Con is right and what happened at Sinai was so unclear to the Jews that they needed Moses to clarify it for them.

          Let us say this for argument’s sake.

          If Moses’s clarification is correct, Con, then you still have a problem, because Moses is clarifying to the Jewish people how God appeared to them at Mount Sinai, and that they are to worship him ONLY as he appeared to them at Mount Sinai according to Moses’s account.

          According to Moses’s account, a trinity did not appear at Sinai. So even if God appeared in human form as you interpret it in Scripture, trinitarian worship is still idolatry.

          Con, you just can’t around this simple and clear teaching in Deuteronomy. Even if you want to de-emphasize it, it still says what it plainly says–that only God as He appeared at Sinai (and Moses clarifies this) is to be worshiped.

        • Concerned Reader
          The entire point that Moses is trying to make is that the revelation at Sinai WAS clear – “unto you it was SHOWN in order that you KNOW” – what else should he have said to make the point that the revelation was clear? Furthermore – it is not only the words in this one verse – but it the entire thrust of the paragraph.
          So yes, you are calling Moses a liar. Or perhaps words are meaningless to you.

  13. Right, so when Christians eat the wafer and say this is the body, really they mean the word. And when they drink the wine and say this is his blood, really they mean the word. And when they talk about Jesus’s suffering on the cross, they really mean the suffering of the word. Romans 13:14 Dina. The point of the wafer and wine is to clothe yourself in Jesus’ example, not literal. Even if you take communion but you aren’t following Jesus’ example, the NT has this to say 1 Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

    The suffering of Jesus is the suffering of the word, because it’s your response to his death that matters most, John 3:16.

    • Dina says:

      Romans 13:14 is not talking about the Eucharist or transubstantiation. There is a lot of discussion of the body, as in “if he does not judge the BODY rightly.” It’s weird. You aren’t really explaining it away. What about the blood, the sacrificial death, etc., how is that not tied to a body? What about the symbol of the cross, sacred to Christians? By the way, how can a word suffer? How does that make sense?

    • Sharbano says:

      Well my oh my. We went from a Torah that is clear and concise to THIS?? The question that Should be asked is WHY is Xtianity what it is. How does this convoluted “word” further G-d’s purpose for mankind. It is matters such as this that caused me to conclude the writers could not have been Jewish, Or, they were Jews who had lacked any knowledge of Torah. It wouldn’t have been the first time external influences guided the people, instead of where they should have sought guidance, which Torah Does specify.

  14. Concerned Reader says:

    Then, given all you’ve said Jsus should Not be different than any other Jew who has lived before or since. Considering the few words Jsus did speak one would be better off following Talmud, which is much more inclusive in its details and definitive in the particular, especially since the words from Jsus are so misunderstood, as you say.

    Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”‘? We have to recall that in Christianity, the righteous are said to be indwelt by the “Holy Spirit,” which means in the theology, we are all “partakers,” not by nature, but by adoption. 2 Peter 1:4.

    22. And He finished speaking with him, and God went up from above Abraham. כב. וַיְכַל לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ וַיַּעַל אֱלֹהִים מֵעַל אַבְרָהָם:
    from above Abraham: This is a euphemism used in reference to the Shechinah, and we learn that the righteous are the chariot of the Omnipresent. — [from Gen. Rabbah 47:6, 82:6]

    Where indeed did those crazy Christians get their ideas from Sharbano?

    • Sharbano says:

      How does this further the Xtian narrative. Apparently the Xtian writers were unable to distinguish Torah from Midrash, which draws the conclusion they were even more ignorant than originally considered.

  15. Concerned Reader says:

    Sharbano, they may have been ignorant, I don’t know, the point is, everything in their narrative did not originate with them.

  16. Also, isn’t it more likely that at one time there wasn’t such a sharply defined line between the two? Torah and Midrash?

  17. Concerned Reader says:

    Clearly you haven’t read the copies of the Torah found at Qumran. They employ midrash within the text itself without breaking a sweat

  18. Clearly, I am learning here though.

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