No person standing before God will get a pass because he was just following the [big religious group X] interpretation of Scripture.
That isn’t being prideful toward either Jewish or Catholic traditions. Rather, it’s being responsible for your own walk before God.
Judah Gabriel Himango
from one of his comments on his blog post
A Warnng to Those Who Follow Yeshua
There’s a rather spirited debate going on over at Judah’s blog considering whether or not studying Talmud and other Jewish texts leads Christians and “Messianics” away from faith in Jesus. The Jewish texts are taking a rather heavy beating from some of the commenters (as I write this, there are 105 comments and growing) but a few defenders of Talmud study are weighing in, including me.
I’ve already commented on a number of occasions, but the question of authority has come up. While I agree that we, as individuals, are responsible to God for our behavior and how we have sanctified or desecrated His Name, I also believe we are not expected to be solely responsible for understanding God or His Bible. It’s OK to have teachers and authorities that we agree to follow and it’s OK to let ourselves learn from these teachers.
I found the following commentary on a Daf I was studying and I thought it was an appropriate illustration of the dynamic between an individual’s interpretation of the Bible (in this case, a Torah mitzvah) and a Rabbinic ruling that modifies the person’s beliefs. As a bonus, the story shows a typically human response to this new information, even after agreeing that we’ve changed our opinion.
Enjoy today’s “extra” meditation.
On today’s daf we find that even pork was permitted during the seven-year conquest of Eretz Yisrael.
Rav Shabsi Yudelevitz recounted that on one plane trip he was seated next to a well-known Israeli zoologist. While the two spoke, the airline meal came and the professor began to partake of his bacon with obvious relish.
Rav Yudelovitz painfully remarked, “How could you eat that? Aren’t you a Jew?”
The professor was nonplussed. “Why does what Moshe said four thousand years ago obligate me?”
Rav Yudelevitz was not impressed, however, with this answer. “Rasha! God said what is written in the Torah, and He is alive and well!”
The professor tried to mollify the offended rabbi. “Rebbi, don’t get upset. If you can prove that God said what meat to eat, I will do teshuvah. But I must say that I had an argument with a certain rav for four hours and he failed to convince me of anything.”
“Four hours? I only need about four minutes,” was Rav Yudelevitz’s confident reply.
The professor opened his eyes wide and said, “Four minutes? Really?”
“Yes. Just listen. The Torah tells us that there are only four species that have one sign of kashrus but not the other: they all either have split hooves or chew their cud, but not both. The Gemara in Chulin 60 wonders how Moshe could have possibly known this. It’s not as though he was a hunter or zoologist! He never went hunting and how could any human at that time possibly know all the many species of animals, even on the savannah of Africa? So how would he dare say that there are only four such anomalies unless God told him so?”
The professor turned white.
But a moment later he said, “I will just finish eating and then I will do teshuvah…”
Rav Yudelevitz commented later about the incident. “What a pity. The professor simply cannot wean himself away from his tasty chazir. He is convinced of the truth but will just wait to finish eating. Sadly, by then it is already too late…”
Daf Yomi Digest
Stories off the Daf