Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two Torahs? - Is there an oral & written Torah?

From beginning to end, the Scriptures tell us to keep the Torah["teachings and instructions"] of YHWH. This is one of the central themes of the whole Bible: Follow the Torah. Whole chapters of Psalms and Proverbs are exaltations of the joy and truth of Torah. So, in addition to knowing the Mitzvot["Commands"] of Torah we must also know how to put them into practice.

  • "Blessed is the man you discipline, O YHWH, the man you teach from your Torah" (Psalms 94:12)
  • "Oh, how I love your Torah! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalms 119:97).
  • "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my Torah as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:2-3)
  • "Like a lamp, the commands and Torah are a light and a way of life, correction and discipline." (Proverbs 6:23)
  • "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah" (Proverbs 4:2).
  • "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says YHWH. "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33)
  • "If you love me, you will keep My Commands [Mitzvot];" (John 14:15)
  • "But the man who looks intently into the perfect Torah that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:25)
  • "I delight in Elohim's Torah... I myself in my mind am a slave to Elohim’s Torah." (Romans 7:22,25)
The Rabbinic tradition teaches that there is an "oral Torah" passed along that tells us how to follow the will of YHWH. A Messianic brother named Nakdimon has posted an excellent two part refutation of the "oral Torah" claims made by Rav Tovia Singer. He demonstrates that the only Torah is the written Torah which we have in our Bible.

Oral Law? part 1

Oral Law? part 2


Anders Branderud said...

Regarding Oral Torah, you will learn more about it if you read the glossaries-pages in for example the words “Halakhah” and “mishpat”. I also recommend this blog post about the oral Torah:

Sepher Shalom said...

There is no such thing as "oral torah". We have one Torah, and it is written for us in our Scriptures. The link which I provided aptly demonstrates this. If you would like to interact with the substantive points in the paper by Nakdimon, please feel free.

Anders Branderud said...

The article is a relying on an English translation, which always is bad. It relies on a human translation, instead of the Word of the Creator.

It quotes “1 Kings 2”. The Hebrew text contains an inflection of the Hebrew word משפט (mishpat).

Definition mishpat:
“mi•shәpât′ ; sentence (in both senses: jurisprudence & grammar) or judgment, especially of aBeit-Din). The plural is מִשׁפָּטִים (mi•shәpât•im′ ).

מִשׁפָּט derives from the stem שָׁפַט (shâ•phat′ ;, to judge), and is a cognate of שׁוֹפֵט (sho•pheit′ , judge of a Beit-Din), plural שׁוֹפטִים (Sho•phәt•im′ )—which is the name of a book of Ta•na"kh′ . The connective plural is -מִשׁפְּטֵי (mi•shәpât•ei′ -…).
Mi•shәpât•im′ are the product of Sho•phәt•im′ of a Beit-Din, who adjudicate questions and disputes (in contrast with legislating khuq•im′ ) in the implementation of Tor•âh′ in real life disputes, applications and cases. Just as in courtrooms today, These mi•shәpât•im′ constitute a res judicata in a system of law based on the principle of stare decisis.
De-Judaized (Hellenized) to "judgment" and various other renderings to avoid recognition of theBeit-Din system. mi•shәpât′ concerns the definitive, authoritative and just interpretation of Tor•âh′ applied to real life situations. All other interpretations are "following one's own heart and one's own eyes" (Shәm•ot′ 15:39; Dәvâr•im′ 17:9-13). Mi•shәpât′ has been handed down by the Beit-Din in a chain uninterrupted sinceMosh′ ëh at Har Sin•ai′ (….).“ (Quote from the Netzarim-website (link in my previous post)).

The person who looks up every instance of the word משפט in a Hebrew concordance will learn.

Sepher Shalom said...

I agree with much of your comment. Certainly the message of Ha'Mashiyach is best understood when placed in it's historic Hebraic context, and certainly Hellenic thought is often at odds with contextualizing in this manner.

"The article is a relying on an English translation, which always is bad. It relies on a human translation, instead of the Word of the Creator."

Brother Nakdimon speaks and reads Hebrew, so your assertion that he is relying solely on an English translation is false. His paper deals with the Hebrew text in point of fact.

Also, your assertion of an unbroken chain of oral tradition going back to Moses is not accurate based on what we know of the historical record, nor is it the method that is given to us in Scripture. We have our authoritative guide preserved for us and handed down in written form. There is a reason the Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim were written down. The rabbis of today, and through the period after Mashiyach tabernacled amongst us, may have wisdom on certain points through diligent study of the written word, but their authority is invalidated because they attempt to usurp Ha'Mashiyach as the only path to the Father.

Sepher Shalom said...


It appears the links to Nakdimon's two part articles are no longer functioning.

In light of this, it's not possible for me to expect you to comment on the content found there at this time. I will assume when referring to relying on English translations, you were making reference to the verses I posted here on the blog. These verses were provided solely for the purpose of validating that the Nazarene Writings confirm that we should follow Torah. I'm assuming this is a point you agree with me on.

I will try to see where Nakdimon's content was moved to, and fix the links if I can find it.