Today’s Orthodox Jews are Talmudic Jews in contrast to Biblical Jews. This means that they esteem the Talmud - a vast collection of ancient rabbinic writings compiled around 550 AD - above all other writings, even Scripture.
The Talmudic writings represent a departure from the Hebrew Scriptures in many ways. It has also superseded the Scriptures, according to its own statements. For example:
- "Those who devote themselves to reading the Bible exercise a certain virtue, but not very much; those who study the Mischnah exercise virtue for which they will receive a reward; those, however, who take upon themselves to study the Gemarah exercise the highest virtue." (Babha Metsia, fol. 33a)
- "The Sacred Scriptures is like water, the Mischnah wine, and the Gemarah aromatic wine. (Sopherim XV, 7, fol. 13b)
- "He who transgresses the words of the scribes sins more gravely than the transgressors of the words of the law." (Sanhedrin X, 3, f.88b)
Not only does this constitute adding to the Law, something that God had forbidden Israel to do (Deut. 4:2; 12:32), it also involved replacing the Law - something that Moses had warned repeatedly against. Isaiah had denounced Israel for teaching commandments of men in place of those of God:
- Isaiah 29:13-14 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their [faithfulness] fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Regarding “commandment taught by men,” the Talmud teaches many things counter to what is found in the Scriptures. For example, it teaches the superiority of the Jew, something that Moses had repeatedly warned against believing:
- Deuteronomy 9:4, 6 “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you… Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”
Moses also warned our people to not take credit for their successes:
- Deuteronomy 8:17-19 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
Sadly, our people have gone after a very different g-d – a Talmudic invention. Instead of being the light to the world, we have covered it with the darkness of the Talmud. And the dreadful promised consequences have continually followed. Moses warned that we would be hated by the world. This prophecy has become a persistent fact of history, always accompanied by the disobedience of our people in turning from Scripture.
Jesus attempted to turn Israel back to their G-d. However, He observed that there was no way that they would hear Him since they even refused to believe Moses (John 5:44-47).
Meanwhile, the greatness and restoration of the Jewish nation has always accompanied a return to our G-d. (Adherence to the Talmud has only brought despair and dispersion.) God built Israel into a great nation because of the faithfulness of King David. This greatness continued through much of Solomon’s reign. It was restored, in great measure, under the faithful reigns of the great kings of Judah - Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah. All of these kings had revived Israel by returning to the very Words of God and not to the traditions of the elders or the Talmud.
Even the modern rebirth of Israel had nothing to do with the Talmud. Instead, the Talmud has been a blight upon our people. Yet our G-d promises that He will open the eyes of disobedient Israel:
- Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me [Jesus], on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
What does our G-d require of us? Return:
- Jeremiah 3:12-13 “Return, faithless Israel,” declares the Lord. “I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God.”