Beware Hebrew Roots Movement Part 3: The Talmud – Jewish Oral Law

Jewish Oral Law is a Pharisee concept of a Second Torah given orally by God at Sinai but not written down.

Often overlooked or not even understood in the Hebrew Roots Movement is that Judaism is Phariseeism which is a combination of the Hebrew Scriptures plus the Pharisee Talmud plus other traditions adopted over time. The Hebrew Roots Movement holds that the Talmud does not represent inspired writings nor does it represent a body of instructions or laws to obey. However, in the Movement, it is respected as a guide to practical life, a window into how the ancients practiced and applied Judaism. The Movement also recognizes that many pagan practices and traditions (both religious and secular) have also been adopted in Judaism. These are to be avoided. But how does one avoid them if Judaism's Rabbinical Traditions are read and respected? Intrusions from men's additions and interpretations will be unavoidable if the Talmud is taken at all seriously.

The Talmud is 6,200 pages divided into two parts: Mishnah and Gemara. The Talmud was not recorded until about 200 C.E. (A.D.) when the Rabbis were concerned over the decimation of the Jews after two unsuccessful revolts that caused the death of thousands of Jews, Rabbis and Synagogue and Temple destruction. It was thought then that this loss could lead to a total loss of the oral knowledge.

Mishnah, the first part of the Talmud is the Oral Law of the Pharisees. The second part (and much larger) is the Gemara, the commentary on the Mishnah plus other rules, or further instructions. Together, these are the traditions that the apostle Paul warned against and Peter and James refused to lay upon the gentile believers (Acts 15:28). Further, Paul makes the case in Romans 11 that while the Hebrew Scriptures, extolling the forefathers of the Jews, is the heritage of Christians, he did not promote following Judaism (Colossians 2:16). The history of the Jewish Patriarchs were a shadow of things to come, namely Jesus Christ himself as the substance of the shadow. Therefore, celebrate the substance, not the shadows.

Reading and considering the Talmud is an open door to re-introduce Phariseeism into the messianic faith, a potential error of the Hebrew Roots Movement.

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