« AnteriorContinuar »
its followers to drink wine to excess on this, in order to save a drunkard and a murderer occasion. It sets before them the example of from that punishment, which He had himself one of the greatest Rabbies committing murder commanded to be visited upon either of these in his drunkenness, and so far from repro- crimes. The story of the miracle is therefore bating this sin, it gravely tells us that God a palpable falsehood, contradictory to the law interposed by a miracle to prevent the ill con. of Moses, and derogatory to the honour of sequences ; and that the Rabbi, far from God. How, then, can the Talmud be of being cured of his propensity, or making any God? If you attempt to distinguish, as some declaration of his intention to amend, con do, between the Talmud and the oral law, and tinued in that state of mind, that his colleague say that though the Talmud contains the oral found it imprudent to trust himself at his law, yet it is not all inspired, then we ask, table. Now every body that is acquainted how can you rely upon the testimony of a wit. with the Jews, knows that they are a tempe- ness convicted of wilful, gross, and flagrant rate and sober people; and because they are falsehood ? If you do not believe in the so, we ask them whether the above command above miracle of the drunken Rabba, you decan be from God ? and whether they believe nounce it as a liar. If it lie, then, upon this that the Talmud speaks truth in giving the solemn occasion in relating a miracle, in above narrative ? It says not merely that handing down the law of God, how can you men may get drunk with impunity, but that depend upon it at all ? If it does not scruple to get drunk is an act of piety, and obedience to forge miracles, what warrant have you for to a command ! Here, again, the Talmud is believing that it does not forge laws also ? directly at issue with the New Testament, But suppose, which is far more probable, which says, “ Be not drunk with wine, wherein that Rabbi Zira, when killed by Rabba, had is excess.” (Ephes. v. 18.) " Take heed to not come to life again, would Rabba, in the yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be eye of the modern Jewish law, be considered overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, as a murderer, and guilty of death, or as an and the cares of this life, and so that day innocent person, who might safely be permitted come upon you unawares.” (Luke xxi. 34.) | to go at large, and pursue his usual avocations? The New Testament holds out to us no hope, This is a question well deserving an answer that if in our drunkenness we should commit from some of your learned men, and naturally murder, a miracle will be wrought in order to suggested by some principles asserted and deliver us from the consequences ; but tells implied in the following decisions of the oral us, that 6 neither murderers nor drunkards law :shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. O EVD 279 To niso 73912 T3297 717 vi. 9, 10.) Now which of these two doctrines D'2" 53771 O'8°2377 napn TW D'777 Oman771 is the most agreeable to the revealed will of 43772799717109 D'7299 042) D'
O x inapa if death should come upon the feast of Purim ? Would you wish the angel of death to find you, in obedience to the oral law, insensible from overmuch wine ? or in that state of so. 27 7 7x7 '17720 2779 '7773 77950 inin briety and thoughtfulness prescribed by Jesus 15 780 iyo nan yon 1359 07h28 1729 TTTOO of Nazareth ? Does not the inward tribunal of the heart decide that Jesus of Nazareth is “ The reading of the Megillah (the book of right, and that the Talmud is wrong? And Esther) in its time is an affirmative precept does not the Old Testament confirm the sen. | according to the words of the scribes, and it is tence? Isaiah says, “Wo unto them that known that this is an ordinance of the prorise up early in the morning, that they may phets. The obligation to read it rests upon follow strong drink; that continue until night, all, men, women, and proselytes, and manu. till wine inflame them! and the harp and the mitted slaves. Children also are to be accus. viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine are in their tomed to the reading of it. Even priests in feasts ; but they regard not the work of the their service are to neglect their service, and Lord, neither consider the operation of his to come to hear the reading of the Megillah. hands. Therefore my people are gone into In like manner the study of the law is to be captivity, because they have no knowledge ; omitted, in order to hear the reading of the and their honourable men are famished, and Megillah, and a fortiori all the remaining their multitude dried up with thirst.” (Isaiah commandments of the law, all of which give v. 11-13.) And so Moses commands the way to the reading of the Megillah : but there parents that should have a son "a glutton and is nothing to which the reading of the Megillah a drunkard,” to bring him to justice, and to gives way, except that particular class of dead have himstoned. (Deut. xxi. 20.) The person called the dead of the commandment, Talmud, then, manifestly contradicts the Old who has none to bury him. He that happens Testament; it therefore cannot speak truth upon him is first to bury him, and afterwards when it narrates that God wrought a miracle to read.” (Hilchoth Alegillah, c. i. 1.) On
God ? How would you desire to meet death) את הקטנים לקרותה ואפילו כהנים בעבודותן מבטלין | , עבודתן ובאין לשמוע מקרא מגלה • וכן מבטלי' תלמוד | תור' לשמוע מקרא מגילה קל וחומר לשאר מצות של |
this extract we have several remarks to make, the greatest of its commandments makes it but at present we request the attention of our possible for a man to commit the greatest of readers to the reason given why the reading of crimes, and to subject himself to the extremity the Megillah is more important than any of of punishment. But we object, secondly, to the commandments. It is this. According the exaltation of a mere human ordinance to the oral law, “the study of the law is equi- above the Word of God. The reading of the valent to all the commandments, and the other book of Esther at the feast of Purim, is no commandments are to give way to this study.” doubt a very appropriate, and may be a very But according to the passage before us, the profitable exercise." But it is confessedly of study of the law is to give way to the reading human appointment. It is of the words of of the Megillah. The reading of the Megil. the scribes; the time and the mode are allolah, therefore, being greater than the greatest gether rabbinical ordinances. Why, then, "are of the commandments, is of course greater all the remaining commandments of the law than all the inferior ones. Now apply this to give way to the reading of the Megillah ?” reasoning to the above command to get drunk, The priest was to neglect the service to which and you will prove that getting drunk at God had appointed him, in order to obey a Purim feast is the greatest of all the com- mere human institution. And the Israelites mandments. In order to get drunk, it is to neglect the duties of love and charity, to plain that the study of the law must give fulfil a mere ceremonial commandment. Here way. The man who cannot distinguish be- is a plain token that the oral law is not from tween “Cursed be Haman and blessed be God, but is the offspring of human invention Mordecai,” certainly cannot study, neither and superstition. The human mind exalts can he bury the dead. The commandment, ceremonies above moral duties. God declares therefore, to which the study of the law and that all outward observances are secondary. the burying of the dead give way, must be " I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the the greatest of all the commandments; i.e., knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings." the getting drunk on Purim is the greatest of (Hos. vi. 6.) “ He hath showed thee, o all the commandments. This conclusion, man, what is good; and what doth the Lord which inevitably follows upon Talmudic require of thee, but to do justly, and to love principles, necessarily shows that those prin-mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" ciples are false. But that is not the object for (Mic. vi. 8.) And so the New Testament which I have exhibited this conclusion; it is says in the very same spirit, “ The first of all with reference to the case of Rabbah above the commandments is, Hear, O Israel : the mentioned. Having got drunk according as Lord our God is oné Lord, and thou shalt the oral law commanded, and having thereby I love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c. obeyed the greatest of the commandments, This is the first commandment. And the and one to which all others are necessarily in second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love abeyance, was he guilty or innocent in having thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other murdered R. Zira ? It certainly seems a very commandment greater than these." (Mark hard case to condemn him to death for an act, xii. 29–31.) The oral law, on the contrary, which resulted from his obedience to the tells us that “ all the commandments, except greatest of all the commandments. He might the burying of the dead, are to give way to the urge that he had a great dislike to drunken- reading of the Megillah,” to a mere ceremony ; ness-that he had overcome his natural aver- and that not even of God's appointment. sion simply to satisfy the rabbinical require. God prefers mercy before the sacrifices which ments—that by the time that he had arrived He himself has instituted. The Talmud at the prescribed incompetency to distinguish prefers a human institution to all God's combetween Haman and Mordecai, he had lost mandments. A more striking instance of geall power of distinguishing between right and nuine superstition, and a stronger proof of the wrong-that, therefore, he had not done it human origin of the oral law cannot be found. with malice propense; what sentence, there. The book of Esther appears to have been a fore, does the Talmud pronounce against a peculiar favourite of the rabbies. The read. murderer of this sort ? If Rabbah was al. ing of it takes precedence of all other duties lowed to go at large, as would appear from but one, and is considered as obligatory even his invitation to Rabbi Zira the following year, upon the women, who are declared exempt a repetition of the same offence was possible, from the study of the law. It is true that it a repetition of the miracle in R. Zira's opinion contains a very notable warning for disobedient highly improbable. Thus Rabbah might go wives, and a striking instance of the deliverance on from year to year killing one or more with of Israel by the instrumentality of a woman; impunity, and would be a far more dangerous but when we consider that the name of God neighbour than “ the ox that was wont to does not occur once in the whole book, and push with his horn.” If, on the other hand, that the law contains the account of man's he is to be punished capitally, then the oral creation and fall, the ten commandments, the law is plainly not from God; for obedience to deliverance from Egypt, and all those events of primary interest to women as well as name to occur in the whole book- just as he men, it becomes of some importance to con. did not permit David to build him a temple, sider why the women, who are not bound to so he would not have his name associated with study the law of God, are bound to read the deeds of personal revenge. But, however that book of Esther. The au i hors of the oral law be, we can discover no other reason for the de. appear to have attached uncommon importance cided preference which the oral law gives to to this book, as appears from this circumstance, the book of Esther. And we think that after and still more so from the following startling the specimens which we have already given declaration of Maimonides :
of their spirit towards idolaters we do them no injustice : especially as, in this particular
osuus “ All the books of the prophets, and all the " It is necessary to say, cursed be Haman, Hagiographa, except the roll of Esther, will blessed be Mordecai, cursed be Zeresh, blessed cease in the days of Messiah. But it is per- be Esther, cursed be all idolaters, blessed be petual as the five buoks of the written law, all Israel.” (Orach Chaiim, sec. 690.) and the constitutions of the oral law, which why this is necessary, is not told us. It apo shall never cease.” (Hilchoth Megillah.) pears not to bring glory to God, nor any Some of the rabbies say that this is to be taken blessing to man. Haman and Zeresh have conditionally, “ although they were all to long since passed into eternity, and received cease, yet this would not cease.” But this from the just Judge the reward of their deeds. still attributes a decided superiority to the Mordecai and Esther have in like manner book of Esther above all the other books. appeared before the God of Israel, and reWhat then is there in it, that gives this book ceived according to their faith. To these, such a peculiar favour, and makes the history then, the voice of human praise or reproach of Esther more important than that of the is as nothing. But to curse a dead enemy, to conquest of Canaan, or of the glory of Solo pursue with unrelenting hatred those who have mon, or of the restoration of the house of the already fallen into the hands of the living God, Lord ? Is there more devotion and piety to is certainly not a divine ordinance, and cannot be found in it than in the Psalms of David ? | be an acceptable act of worship in poor sinners, Does it contain more wisdom than the Pro- who themselves stand so much in need of verbs of Solomon ? Is there a sublimer forgiveness. To curse the dead is bad, but flight of divine poetry, a more heavenly to curse the living is, in one sense, still worse. affiatus than in the visions of Isaiah ? A “ Cursed be all idolaters.” According to more open revelation of the mysteries of the our calculation, there are 600 millions of Deity than is to be found in Job, or Da idolaters-according to the Jewish account, niel, or Ezekiel ? Why do the rabbies pro. there must be more. Why, then, should nounce it worthy of preservation, whilst they they be cursed? That will not convert them contemplate without emotion the loss of all from the error of their ways. It will not the other books ? We cannot possibly dis- make them more happy, either in this world cover, unless it be that it furnishes more gra- or in the next. We are not aware, even if tification to the spirit of revenge so natural God were to hear this execration and curse the to all the children of Adam, whether they be idolatrous world, that it would be productive Jew or Gentile. To forgive is to be like God of any blessing to Israel. Why make a day --and God alone can teach forgiveness either of thanksgiving for mercies received an oppor. speculatively or practically. But the book tunity of invoking curses upon the majority of of Esther contains an account of the revenge mankind? The Word of God teaches a very which the Jews took upon their enemies, not different petition for the heathen. 6 God, be like the destruction of the Canaanites, fulfil. merciful to us, and bless us, and cause his ling the commands of God upon His enemies, face to shine upon us. That thy way may be but taking personal and individual revenge on known upon earth, thy saving health among their own." And this very fact may be one all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; reason why God did not permit his most holy yea, let all the people praise thee." (Ps. lxvii.)
London :-Sold at the London Society's Office, 16, Exeter-hall, Strand; by James Duncan, Paternoster.
row; and B. Wertheim, 57, Aldersgate-street. Tbis publication may be had by applying at No. 5, No. 1, or No. 13, Palestine-place, Bethoal-green.
עמדו על דרכים וראו ושאלו לנתבות עולם - ירמיה ו' טו'
על ששה דברים נצטווה אדם ראשון - על ע'ז' ועל |
ועל גלוי עריות ברכת השם ועל שפיכת דמים הגזל • ועל הדינים • אף על פי שכולן הן קבלה בידינו | ממשה רבינו • והדעת נוטה להן: מכלל דברי תורה
מצות • וכן היה הדבר בכל העולם עד אברהם •
The noblest inquiry, to which the mental, were allowed to reside in the land of Israel, powers can be directed, is, Which religion and that their piety consisted in receiving and comes from God? The most satisfactory practising the seven commandments. What mode of conducting such an inquiry, inde. these commandments were, we are informed pendently of the external evidence, is to com. in the next chapter of the same treatise. pare the principles of one system with those of the other, and both with an acknowledged l; standard, if such there be, and this is what we are endeavouring to do in these papers. We by no means wish to make the modern Jews responsible for the inventions of their forefa- 777 79 2x mas 770177 771233 the syv thers, but to show them that their traditional | yad 139 1389 is 197 0532 702 TN 70X30 argument for rejecting Christianity, and that is the example of the high priest arid the Sanhe.
6. The first Adam was commanded concerning drim, is of no force; inasmuch as these same
six things--idolatry, blasphemy, shedding of persons, who originally rejected Jesus of Naza.
blood, incest, robbery, and administration of reth, were in great and grievous error in the fundamental principles of religion, whilst He
justice. Although we have all these things as
a tradition from Moses, our master, and rea. who was rejected taught the truth. To do
son naturally inclines to them, yet, from the this we must appeal to the oral law, and dis. cuss its merits. We have shown already that
general tenour of the words of the law, it
appears that he was commanded concerning those persons did not understand at least one
these things. Noah received an additional half of the law ; that their doctrines were in
command concerning the limb of a living the highest degree uncharitable. It has, how.
animal, as it is said, “ But flesh in the life ever, been replied, that the Talmud is more
thereof which is the blood thereof, ye shall tolerant than the New Testament, for it al
not eat.' (Gen. ix. 4.) Here are the seven lows “ that the pious of the nations of the
commandments, and thus the matter was in world may be saved ;” whereas the latter as
all the world until Abraham.” (Ibid. ix. I.) serts that " whosoever believeth not shall be damned.”
Now, without stopping to dispute about We must, therefore, inquire into the extent of toleration and charity contained
the command given to Noah, we cannot help in that Talmudic sentence.
saying that the above tradition is very defec. The first step in
tive, and certainly not derived from Moses, this inquiry, is to ascertain who are the per.
for it is opposed to the history which he him. sons intended in the expression “ The pious
self has given us. In the first place, that of the nations of the world.” The oral law
command, on which the oral law lays such tells us, as quoted in No. 6, that the Israelites
stress, “ Be fruitful and multiply," was origi. are commanded to compel all that come into the world to receive the seven commandments
nally given to Adam (Gen. i. 28), and was
renewed to Noah, after the deluge. If the of the sons of Noah, and adus,
rabbies reckon this as a separate command
in the case of the Jews, as may be seen in the “ He that receives them is called universally Hilchoth Priah Ureviah, it is only fair to 2 sojourning proselyte.” And a little lower
| reckon it as a separate command in the case down it says plainly,
of the Gentiles, and thus we get an eighth YTONO ITO nynowys 777127 niso yau sap277 53 command. In the second place, God ordained
•57 Osry's part is you osiyon 10 marriage as a holy state.“ The Lord God “ Whosoever receives the seven command. | said, it is not good that man should be alone : ments, and is careful to observe them, he is | I will make him an help meet for him." one of the pious of the nations of the world, “ And the rib which the Lord God had and has a share in the world to come.” taken from man made he a woman, and (Hilchoth Melachim, c. viii. 10.) From these brought her unto the man.” Here is God's two declarations, then, we learn that “the | holy institution, and in the following verses pious of the nations of the world” are the we have the obligations of marriage distinctly same as " the sojourning proselytes,” who acknowledged. “And Adam said, This is
now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh : of marriage. What would have been the she shall be called Woman, because she was state of the world, if the oral law had at. taken out of man. Therefore shall a man tained supreme power, and the Gentiles had leave his father and his mother, and shall been instructed in the above law as divine ? cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one What would result from the doctrine that flesh.” Here then is a ninth commandment. | every man may turn out his wife, and every We know, indeed, that the oral law gives a woman leave her husband, whenever they different account, but its doctrine is false and like? The peace and well-being of Gentile pernicious. In the face of the above plain society would be at an end. The frightful narrative, it teaches as follows :
state of disorder and misery that would ensue, as well as the words of the original institu
tion, plainly show that this doctrine is not * T *17.737 from God.' But the effect upon the believers
TUNS 19 TDI 1934 yas 13'| in the oral law is still worse. With refer. “ Before the giving of the law, a man might ence to them, the marriage of Gentiles is no happen to meet a woman in the street ; if marriage at all. The oral law says disthey both agreed on marriage, he took her to tinctly his house, and cohabited with her, and she
Du nợ became his wife.” (Hilchoth Ishuth, c. i. 1.) 6. There is no matrimony to the Gentiles.” Now, not to speak of profane history, there (Hilchoth M
(Hilchoth Melachim, viii. 3.) And again is not in the law of Moses a single passage
קודם מתן תורה היה אדם פוגע אשה בשוק אס מה | רצה הוא והיא לישא אותה מכניסה לתוך ביתו ובועלה
אין אישות אלא לישראל או לגוים על הגוים אבל לא | to give colour to this statement
ומאימתי תהיה אשת חבירו כגרושה שלנו? משיוציאנה מביתו וישלחנה לעצמה או משתצא היא מתחת רשותו
שאין להם גירושין בכתב • ואין הדבר תלוי בו ותלך לה
אלא כל זמן שירצה הוא או היא לפרוש זה מוה לבד
the following :-“ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the “ There is no matrimony except to Israel, earth, and daughters were born unto them, or to Gentiles with respect to Gentiles; but that the sons of God saw the daughters of not to slaves with respect to slaves, nor to men that they were fair ; and they took them slaves with respect to Israel.” (Hilchoth wives of all which they chose.” But, what Issure Biah, c. xiv. 19.) Here, then, the ever is meant by “ Sons of God,” it is plain oral law directly makes void the law of God, that this conduct is mentioned, not as having and pronounces that a command given to the sanction or approval of God, but as a Adam in paradise, and therefore equally proof of antediluvian wickedness, for it is im. binding on all his descendants, is in parti. mediately added, “ And the Lord said, My cular cases of no force at all. The oral law, Spirit shall not always strive with man, for therefore, is certainly not from God. that he also is flesh.” But it is not simply We have already made out nine commandan error of judgment, it is most pernicious as ments ; in sacrifice we find a tenth. Cain it regards both Gentiles and Jews, 'for it com. and Abel brought sacrifices, and the only pletely annuls the sanctity and obligation of reason that can be assigned is, that they had the marriage tie. It teaches that as the mar. | received a command to that effect. Sacrifice riage of Noahites is contracted without solemn was either a divine command or the dictate espousals, so it may be dissolved without the of their own reason. But it was not the formality of a divorce.
dictate of reason, for reason says, that the Creator of all things has no need of gifts, and, least of all, such gifts as imply the slaughter of an innocent animal. It must, therefore, have been of divine command.
The reason why the rabbies excluded this
gorio command is plain. They did not choose that “ When is his (the Noahites) neighbour's there should be acceptable sacrifices offered wife to be considered in the same light, as any where but amongst themselves. But a divorced woman with us ? From the time that this doctrine is altogether of a recent date that he sends her forth from his house, and is plain. It was not known to Job. He leaves her to herself. Or from the time that says nor a word about the seven commandshe goes forth from under his power, and ments, and he was in the habit of offering goes her way; for they have no divorces in sacrifices. " And it was so when the day of writing, neither does the matter depend upon their feasting was gone about, that Job sent that alone;* but whenever he or she please to and sanctified them, and rose up early in the separate one from the other, they separate." | morning, and offered burnt offerings according (Hilchoth Melachim, c. ix. 8.) We Gentiles to the number of them all.” (Job i. 5.) have great reason to be thankful that Jesus And the Lord himself expressly commanded of Nazareth has taught us a different doc. Job's friends to do so likewise." And it was trine, according with the original institution so, that after the Lord had spoken these
Instead of as alone, there is another reading, words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the 1197 the tribunal.
Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee,