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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:43 pm
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Gods Promise to Abraham

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And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. Gen.13:14-15

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Gen.17:8

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father. Gen.26:3

The Bible says God would give the promised land to Abraham specifically. The word God spoke was not kept. How do Jewish people explain the the unfulfilled promise God made to Abraham?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:48 pm
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Re: Gods Promise to Abraham

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[Replying to post 1 by Thruit]

In traditional Judaism, the answer is that the promise WAS kept. It was only with the succession of apostate kings who ruled after the reign of Solomon, beginning with the arrogant tyrant Rehoboam, that the Land was taken away from Israel; that was also prophesied in Scripture, if that's what one is seeking. Traditional Jews also believe that the Land is being restored to us in our own day -- and there are promises in the Hebrew Bible to that effect as well.

Aside from sectarian and literalist concerns, none of this much matters anyway. Israel was not founded by Orthodox Jews, but by secular Socialists trying to find refuge from the antisemitism and pogroms of the nineteenth century. Many, if not most, were atheists. The Orthodox, almost universally, opposed the foundation of Israel at the time, maintaining that the nation could only be restored by the coming Messiah. Most have come around since, though a few small splinter groups are still opposed. Oddly enough, most of them actually live in Israel!

Uganda was actually proposed as an alternative homeland, but was rejected; Israel was and is the homeland of our history and heritage, whatever God may or may not have said.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:01 pm
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Thank you for responding cnorman18.
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cnorman18 posted,
In traditional Judaism, the answer is that the promise WAS kept.
The promise was not only to Abrahams descendants, but to Abraham himself, yet he was a foreigner in the promised land:

Gen 23:4
I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

How do traditional Jews believe God kept His promise to Abraham?

.
Quote:
Many, if not most, were atheists. The Orthodox, almost universally, opposed the foundation of Israel at the time, maintaining that the nation could only be restored by the coming Messiah.

That's interesting. Why did the Orthodox Jews think Messiah had to restore Israel?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:06 am
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Thruit wrote:

Thank you for responding cnorman18.
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cnorman18 posted,
In traditional Judaism, the answer is that the promise WAS kept.
The promise was not only to Abrahams descendants, but to Abraham himself, yet he was a foreigner in the promised land:

Gen 23:4
I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

How do traditional Jews believe God kept His promise to Abraham?

Remember that in the language, and the thought, of the time, a person's descendants WERE that person. Notice that the Jewish people as a whole are often referred to in the singular, as "Israel" -- which was, of course, the name of a single man, Abraham's grandson, whose birth name was Jacob. Therefore, the Promised Land was given to Abraham, in the person of his descendants. I have never heard anyone, Jewish or Christian, refer or allude to this matter as a problem.

It might be well to remember that the Hebrew Bible is the collected literature of the Jewish people, and should be understood as such. As my own rabbi says, "If you want to denigrate and trivialize the Bible, read it literally." Few Jews do. It's pretty hard for us to miss the metaphoric and symbolic nature of many, if not most, of the Biblical narratives; the name "Adam" is not only the proper name of a person -- the Hebrew word adam also means "Humankind." Understanding the Bible requires a deeper look at the text than a mere superficial reading of the surface narrative.

I have often wondered why so many people "study" the Bible without ever going near a good commentary or study Bible that will actually give some guidance to the reader for understanding it. These documents were produced millennia ago, in an ancient language, in a place on the other side of the world, by a large number of wildly differing people who lived in a time and culture very, very foreign to our own. I wouldn't read a book written in another nation just one century ago without consulting some genuine students of that time and place and culture; why would anyone presume to "interpret" a collection of books that is, in part, more than three thousand years old, on their own?
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Many, if not most, were atheists. The Orthodox, almost universally, opposed the foundation of Israel at the time, maintaining that the nation could only be restored by the coming Messiah.

That's interesting. Why did the Orthodox Jews think Messiah had to restore Israel?

Might be a better question to ask why almost all of them have since changed their opinions. The answer to both is pretty much what we're doing here; we're arguing over different interpretations of Scripture and the different levels of authority that are being attributed to those documents by different groups.

I've said this over and over: One cannot determine the teachings of the Jewish religion by reading the Hebrew Bible alone and unassisted. The Bible simply isn't the highest authority in Judaism; that is found in the tradition, which is the collective understanding and consensus of the Jewish people as a whole, as determined by the best and wisest of our people, who are also identified by consensus.

Much of that material can be found in the Talmud, which is a record of centuries of debate and discussion of a very great many matters, and runs to more than sixty volumes in English. Even that is not all; the tradition continues to change and grow into the present day. The Jewish religion is not a static set of unchanging "doctrines" which must be accepted by all Jews, and it never has been. It is a living and emphatically pluralistic religion, and there have always been many possible and acceptable perspectives on how to live and believe as a Jew, and there have always been revisions and changes in our practices and teachings, throughout the centuries.

Some Orthodox teach that their way is the one, monolithic, unchanging and uniquely correct way; that is simply an historical untruth. Like Christian fundamentalism, Orthodox Judaism is of relatively recent origin, dating back no more than two or three hundred years. Even in the first century, there were serious disagreements between two near-contemporaries of Jesus, Hillel and Shammai; in the eighteenth century, there were serious differences of opinion between the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidism, and the Vilna Gaon, who took a more scholarly and down-to-earth approach. Indeed, it is not hard to show that there are wide variations in teachings in the Hebrew Bible itself!

The short answer to almost any question that begins with "What do Jews think about..." is virtually always the same: We argue about it. That's part of our tradition too. There are few matters upon which we all agree -- but I've never heard anyone argue over the first one you bring up here. That's new.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:42 am
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Quote:
cnorman18 posted,
Remember that in the language, and the thought, of the time, a person's descendants WERE that person.
Notice that the Jewish people as a whole are often referred to in the singular, as "Israel" -- which was, of course, the name of a single man, Abraham's grandson, whose birth name was Jacob. Therefore, the Promised Land was given to Abraham, in the person of his descendants.

The Bible seems pretty clear when either the entire Nation, or just Jacob is being mentioned. It seems redundant then that God makes promise to Abraham and his children, but you could be right.

Quote:
I have never heard anyone, Jewish or Christian, refer or allude to this matter as a problem.

I never thought about it either, until I read the Letter to the Hebrews in the NT.

Quote:
It might be well to remember that the Hebrew Bible is the collected literature of the Jewish people, and should be understood as such.
I will keep it in mind, but what amazes me is the God described in the collected literature of a country the size of New Jersey found its way into my house (and the rest of the gentile world), but then the Hebrew Bible tells of a time when the Gentiles of the world will come to know about the God of the Jews, doesn't it?

Quote:
As my own rabbi says, "If you want to denigrate and trivialize the Bible, read it literally." Few Jews do. It's pretty hard for us to miss the metaphoric and symbolic nature of many, if not most, of the Biblical narratives; the name "Adam" is not only the proper name of a person -- the Hebrew word adam also means "Humankind.
Yes I know. I understand the Bible contains symbols.

Quote:
Understanding the Bible requires a deeper look at the text than a mere superficial reading of the surface narrative. I have often wondered why so many people "study" the Bible without ever going near a good commentary or study Bible that will actually give some guidance to the reader for understanding it. These documents were produced millennia ago, in an ancient language, in a place on the other side of the world, by a large number of wildly differing people who lived in a time and culture very, very foreign to our own. I wouldn't read a book written in another nation just one century ago without consulting some genuine students of that time and place and culture; why would anyone presume to "interpret" a collection of books that is, in part, more than three thousand years old, on their own?

I don't know why either.

Quote:
Might be a better question to ask why almost all of them have since changed their opinions. The answer to both is pretty much what we're doing here; we're arguing over different interpretations of Scripture and the different levels of authority that are being attributed to those documents by different groups.

I suppose you're right. Interpretation does seem to change over time.

Quote:
I've said this over and over: One cannot determine the teachings of the Jewish religion by reading the Hebrew Bible alone and unassisted. The Bible simply isn't the highest authority in Judaism; that is found in the tradition, which is the collective understanding and consensus of the Jewish people as a whole, as determined by the best and wisest of our people, who are also identified by consensus.

I can understand that. Personally, the authority I use to understand the Hebrew Bible is the most famous Jew who ever walked on earth.

Quote:
Much of that material can be found in the Talmud, which is a record of centuries of debate and discussion of a very great many matters, and runs to more than sixty volumes in English. Even that is not all; the tradition continues to change and grow into the present day. The Jewish religion is not a static set of unchanging "doctrines" which must be accepted by all Jews, and it never has been. It is a living and emphatically pluralistic religion, and there have always been many possible and acceptable perspectives on how to live and believe as a Jew, and there have always been revisions and changes in our practices and teachings, throughout the centuries.

Some Orthodox teach that their way is the one, monolithic, unchanging and uniquely correct way; that is simply an historical untruth. Like Christian fundamentalism, Orthodox Judaism is of relatively recent origin, dating back no more than two or three hundred years. Even in the first century, there were serious disagreements between two near-contemporaries of Jesus, Hillel and Shammai; in the eighteenth century, there were serious differences of opinion between the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidism, and the Vilna Gaon, who took a more scholarly and down-to-earth approach. Indeed, it is not hard to show that there are wide variations in teachings in the Hebrew Bible itself!

The short answer to almost any question that begins with "What do Jews think about..." is virtually always the same: We argue about it. That's part of our tradition too. There are few matters upon which we all agree -- but I've never heard anyone argue over the first one you bring up here. That's new.


It wasn't to the Jews who wrote the NT:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
He.11:13

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:16 pm
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Thruit wrote:

Quote:
cnorman18 posted,
Remember that in the language, and the thought, of the time, a person's descendants WERE that person.
Notice that the Jewish people as a whole are often referred to in the singular, as "Israel" -- which was, of course, the name of a single man, Abraham's grandson, whose birth name was Jacob. Therefore, the Promised Land was given to Abraham, in the person of his descendants.

The Bible seems pretty clear when either the entire Nation, or just Jacob is being mentioned. It seems redundant then that God makes promise to Abraham and his children, but you could be right.

Quote:
I have never heard anyone, Jewish or Christian, refer or allude to this matter as a problem.

I never thought about it either, until I read the Letter to the Hebrews in the NT.

Hebrews is a fascinating document. It's generally agreed among scholars today that its author was not Paul, but a member of his inner circle in Rome -- and since the name of the author was apparently deleted at a very early date, the most interesting speculation about it is that it may very well have been written by Priscilla.
Quote:

Quote:
It might be well to remember that the Hebrew Bible is the collected literature of the Jewish people, and should be understood as such.
I will keep it in mind, but what amazes me is the God described in the collected literature of a country the size of New Jersey found its way into my house (and the rest of the gentile world), but then the Hebrew Bible tells of a time when the Gentiles of the world will come to know about the God of the Jews, doesn't it?

True enough -- but that could as easily be described as a hope. I don't deny "prophecy," but in Jewish tradition that word has less to do with predicting the future than with speaking the truth.
Quote:

Quote:
As my own rabbi says, "If you want to denigrate and trivialize the Bible, read it literally." Few Jews do. It's pretty hard for us to miss the metaphoric and symbolic nature of many, if not most, of the Biblical narratives; the name "Adam" is not only the proper name of a person -- the Hebrew word adam also means "Humankind.
Yes I know. I understand the Bible contains symbols.

Quote:
Understanding the Bible requires a deeper look at the text than a mere superficial reading of the surface narrative. I have often wondered why so many people "study" the Bible without ever going near a good commentary or study Bible that will actually give some guidance to the reader for understanding it. These documents were produced millennia ago, in an ancient language, in a place on the other side of the world, by a large number of wildly differing people who lived in a time and culture very, very foreign to our own. I wouldn't read a book written in another nation just one century ago without consulting some genuine students of that time and place and culture; why would anyone presume to "interpret" a collection of books that is, in part, more than three thousand years old, on their own?

I don't know why either.

Quote:
Might be a better question to ask why almost all of them have since changed their opinions. The answer to both is pretty much what we're doing here; we're arguing over different interpretations of Scripture and the different levels of authority that are being attributed to those documents by different groups.

I suppose you're right. Interpretation does seem to change over time.

There is a story in the Talmud that speaks directly to this; do a search on "the oven of Akhnai" or "The Torah is not in Heaven." It has been a Jewish teaching for almost two thousand years that not only the interpretation of the Torah may change, but its actual meaning. Now that the Torah has been given to us humans, its meaning and authority is now to be determined by the consensus of the Jewish people. It has been put this way; "God has a vote, but not a veto."
Quote:

Quote:
I've said this over and over: One cannot determine the teachings of the Jewish religion by reading the Hebrew Bible alone and unassisted. The Bible simply isn't the highest authority in Judaism; that is found in the tradition, which is the collective understanding and consensus of the Jewish people as a whole, as determined by the best and wisest of our people, who are also identified by consensus.

I can understand that. Personally, the authority I use to understand the Hebrew Bible is the most famous Jew who ever walked on earth.

That would be quite proper for a Christian. For Jews, of course, the opinions and teachings of Jesus are of no more than academic and historical concern -- and when they differ from Jewish teachings, they are of no relevance whatever. Jesus, and in fact the New Testament as a whole, hold no authority and no interest for us.
Quote:

Quote:
Much of that material can be found in the Talmud, which is a record of centuries of debate and discussion of a very great many matters, and runs to more than sixty volumes in English. Even that is not all; the tradition continues to change and grow into the present day. The Jewish religion is not a static set of unchanging "doctrines" which must be accepted by all Jews, and it never has been. It is a living and emphatically pluralistic religion, and there have always been many possible and acceptable perspectives on how to live and believe as a Jew, and there have always been revisions and changes in our practices and teachings, throughout the centuries.

Some Orthodox teach that their way is the one, monolithic, unchanging and uniquely correct way; that is simply an historical untruth. Like Christian fundamentalism, Orthodox Judaism is of relatively recent origin, dating back no more than two or three hundred years. Even in the first century, there were serious disagreements between two near-contemporaries of Jesus, Hillel and Shammai; in the eighteenth century, there were serious differences of opinion between the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chasidism, and the Vilna Gaon, who took a more scholarly and down-to-earth approach. Indeed, it is not hard to show that there are wide variations in teachings in the Hebrew Bible itself!

The short answer to almost any question that begins with "What do Jews think about..." is virtually always the same: We argue about it. That's part of our tradition too. There are few matters upon which we all agree -- but I've never heard anyone argue over the first one you bring up here. That's new.


It wasn't to the Jews who wrote the NT:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
He.11:13

Those Jews who wrote the NT remained ethnic Jews, of course; but they were no longer practicing the Jewish religion, and as I said, their writings are not authoritative for us. Christian doctrines and teachings are really of no interest to most Jews. Our two religions are historically related, and we do share a body of literature (though we read the Hebrew Bible, aka the "Old Testament," quite differently) -- but they have diverged over the centuries to the point that they are separate and distinct religions with little in common other than a general ethic and vocabulary. The goals and priorities of Christianity and Judaism have virtually nothing in common any more.

For starters, Jews have no particular interest in "salvation" in the Christian sense. We do not believe in "Original Sin," and we have no formal teachings about a life after death. We see no need for a "Savior," we do not and cannot accept the teaching that a human could be in any sense God Himself Incarnate or the literal Son of God, and we reject the idea that a "sacrifice" is necessary for forgiveness of sin and/or that any person can "bear the sins" of another. We also reject the idea that proper belief alone has any particular effect on one's "eternal fate," or in fact on anything at all. This is all "angels dancing on the head of a pin" irrelevance to us; the Jewish religion is focused on THIS world and THIS life. The rest, we are content to leave to God. We have teachings and traditions, but we have no formal "doctrines" that a Jew is required to believe, Maimonides to the contrary -- though there are beliefs which are forbidden to Jews, e.g. polytheism.

We do NOT say that Christianity is a "false religion": we have no warrant for that. We know how God, in our tradition, spoke to US; If He chose to speak to another people in another way, that is no business of ours. Peace to you, and please remember that in this subforum, it is not acceptable to promote or proselytize for the Christian religion as an alternative to Judaism.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:38 am
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[quotecnorman18 posted,
Hebrews is a fascinating document. It's generally agreed among scholars today that its author was not Paul, but a member of his inner circle in Rome -- and since the name of the author was apparently deleted at a very early date, the most interesting speculation about it is that it may very well have been written by Priscilla.[/quote]
My point in quoting from the NT letter to the Hebrews was to show the writers slant on the promise of God in the Hebrew Bible to literally give the promised land specifically to Abraham, not only his descendants. I'm curious cnorman18, does Judaism teach that Abraham (and the rest of your departed kinsmen) will be resurrected from the dead?

Quote:
True enough -- but that could as easily be described as a hope. I don't deny "prophecy," but in Jewish tradition that word has less to do with predicting the future than with speaking the truth.

Apparently here we have both. I asked a Jewish friend of mine about the prophetic time frame in which your Bible says gentiles enmass will come to know about your God. He told it will happen when the Messiah appears. Do you agree?

Quote:
There is a story in the Talmud that speaks directly to this; do a search on "the oven of Akhnai" or "The Torah is not in Heaven." It has been a Jewish teaching for almost two thousand years that not only the interpretation of the Torah may change, but its actual meaning. Now that the Torah has been given to us humans, its meaning and authority is now to be determined by the consensus of the Jewish people. It has been put this way; "God has a vote, but not a veto."

I don't know about the Talmud, but I'm sure the Rabbis treat the Hebrew Bible with the utmost respect.

Quote:
That would be quite proper for a Christian. For Jews, of course, the opinions and teachings of Jesus are of no more than academic and historical concern -- and when they differ from Jewish teachings, they are of no relevance whatever. Jesus, and in fact the New Testament as a whole, hold no authority and no interest for us.

That mystifies me. A Rabbi of Jesus' magnitude not being considered an authority on scripture. I think it's possible Gods people got turned off to Jesus because of persecution at the hands of misinformed gentiles masquerading as followers Jesus. I think that, coupled with misunderstanding what Jesus taught would make anyone not want to have anything to do with Him.

Quote:
Those Jews who wrote the NT remained ethnic Jews, of course; but they were no longer practicing the Jewish religion, and as I said, their writings are not authoritative for us. Christian doctrines and teachings are really of no interest to most Jews. Our two religions are historically related, and we do share a body of literature (though we read the Hebrew Bible, aka the "Old Testament," quite differently) -- but they have diverged over the centuries to the point that they are separate and distinct religions with little in common other than a general ethic and vocabulary. The goals and priorities of Christianity and Judaism have virtually nothing in common any more.

I think the fault lies completely with the gentiles, many of whom claimed they believed in your God, but didn't.

Quote:
For starters, Jews have no particular interest in "salvation" in the Christian sense. We do not believe in "Original Sin," and we have no formal teachings about a life after death.

I don't believe in original sin either, but I do believe in life after death.

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We see no need for a "Savior,"...

Your Bible does refer to God as your Savior and Redeemer. In what sense do you view Him that way?

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we do not and cannot accept the teaching that a human could be in any sense God Himself Incarnate or the literal Son of God,

I don't think any human could live without ever committing a sin if that Person wasn't God.

Quote:
and we reject the idea that a "sacrifice" is necessary for forgiveness of sin and/or that any person can "bear the sins" of another.

Neither do I. I think the sacrifice of Jesus is completely misunderstood by main stream Christianity.

Quote:
We also reject the idea that proper belief alone has any particular effect on one's "eternal fate," or in fact on anything at all. This is all "angels dancing on the head of a pin" irrelevance to us; the Jewish religion is focused on THIS world and THIS life. The rest, we are content to leave to God. We have teachings and traditions, but we have no formal "doctrines" that a Jew is required to believe, Maimonides to the contrary -- though there are beliefs which are forbidden to Jews, e.g. polytheism.

I don't disagree with anything you say here.

Quote:
We do NOT say that Christianity is a "false religion": we have no warrant for that. We know how God, in our tradition, spoke to US; If He chose to speak to another people in another way, that is no business of ours. Peace to you, and please remember that in this subforum, it is not acceptable to promote or proselytize for the Christian religion as an alternative to Judaism.

I understand and my reason for my being in the Judaism forum is only for the purpose of understanding, because you know the Hebrew Bible better than I do. I'm not trying to promote Christianity (which I think is full of false teachings), or to proselytize you. God bless you and all those you hold dear.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:16 pm
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Thruit wrote:

cnorman18 wrote:

Hebrews is a fascinating document. It's generally agreed among scholars today that its author was not Paul, but a member of his inner circle in Rome -- and since the name of the author was apparently deleted at a very early date, the most interesting speculation about it is that it may very well have been written by Priscilla.

My point in quoting from the NT letter to the Hebrews was to show the writers slant on the promise of God in the Hebrew Bible to literally give the promised land specifically to Abraham, not only his descendants. I'm curious cnorman18, does Judaism teach that Abraham (and the rest of your departed kinsmen) will be resurrected from the dead?

There is no specific formal teaching about a life after death in Judaism. There are allusions to "the next world" all over the place in the literature and the liturgy, but very few specifics indeed. Most Jews believe that there is something, but few will tell you what it is. We claim no promises, and we don't presume to know.

When we speak of our dead, whether at a funeral or on yahrzeits (anniversaries of people's deaths), we speak of their "living on" -- in our memories, and in the good things that they have done. We do not deny life after death, or Heaven; we just have nothing to say about it. That's God's business, and we trust God.

We do deny, as being contrary to God's Justice, the concept of an eternal fiery Hell. That seems to be a Christian innovation, and is not found in Jewish tradition or teaching.
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True enough -- but that could as easily be described as a hope. I don't deny "prophecy," but in Jewish tradition that word has less to do with predicting the future than with speaking the truth.

Apparently here we have both. I asked a Jewish friend of mine about the prophetic time frame in which your Bible says gentiles enmass will come to know about your God. He told it will happen when the Messiah appears. Do you agree?

Once again; I don't presume to know. The figure of the Messiah isn't as important in modern Judaism as it once was, probably because we have been so often disappointed; Jesus was not the only unsuccessful claimant. Simon bar Kochba was another, and he attracted the majority of the Jews of his day as followers, including Rabbi Akiba. He died in battle in the uprising he led, which didn't end well for the Jewish people as a whole. In fact, it was a huge and bloody disaster. Another claimant was one Sabbatai Zevi. When he converted to Islam under the thread of being beheaded -- well, that hope didn't work out too well either. There have been others.

There is a tradition, not well known even among Jews, that the Sabbath Millennium -- that is, the "Messianic Age" -- will begin in or around the Hebrew year 7000. The present year is 5774. We have another 126 years to wait. If you go in for that sort of thing, of course.
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There is a story in the Talmud that speaks directly to this; do a search on "the oven of Akhnai" or "The Torah is not in Heaven." It has been a Jewish teaching for almost two thousand years that not only the interpretation of the Torah may change, but its actual meaning. Now that the Torah has been given to us humans, its meaning and authority is now to be determined by the consensus of the Jewish people. It has been put this way; "God has a vote, but not a veto."

I don't know about the Talmud, but I'm sure the Rabbis treat the Hebrew Bible with the utmost respect.

Certainly; most especially the Torah, or the first five books, often call the Five Books of Moses. That is, for Jews, the holiest and most sacred and authoritative part of the Bible. The rest is less so, on all counts. But even the Torah does not have the same kind of authority for Jews that the Bible has for conservative Christians.
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That would be quite proper for a Christian. For Jews, of course, the opinions and teachings of Jesus are of no more than academic and historical concern -- and when they differ from Jewish teachings, they are of no relevance whatever. Jesus, and in fact the New Testament as a whole, hold no authority and no interest for us.

That mystifies me. A Rabbi of Jesus' magnitude not being considered an authority on scripture.

Well, first, Jesus was not a "rabbi" in the sense of being an ordained spiritual leader in the modern sense. He could not have been; the term was not used in that way until about two hundred years after Jesus's day. The teachers whose debates are recorded in the early parts of the Talmud were called "sages." it was only later that the term "rabbi" settled on its present meaning. When Jesus is called "rabbi" in the NT, the term meant something like "great one" or perhaps "teacher."

Jesus was not and is not considered an authority on Torah by Jews, in his day or in our own. He departed from the traditional teaching in too many ways for him to have been accepted as such. Even if one discounts his (apparent) claims of being God Incarnate and the literal Son of God, his teachings were in many areas too far removed from the normative Judaism of his day for him to be considered an "authority." Some of these are discussed in threads on the subject in this subforum.
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I think it's possible Gods people got turned off to Jesus because of persecution at the hands of misinformed gentiles masquerading as followers Jesus. I think that, coupled with misunderstanding what Jesus taught would make anyone not want to have anything to do with Him.

Those issues certainly didn't help; but the fact remains that even today, the Jewish people, who are united on very little, are united in their rejection of Jesus as Messiah or spiritual teacher or leader. Some of his parables are right on the mark and are in alignment with those of the Pharisaic Judaism of his day, which evolved into present-day Rabbinic Judaism; but some are rather far from the beaten Jewish path.
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Those Jews who wrote the NT remained ethnic Jews, of course; but they were no longer practicing the Jewish religion, and as I said, their writings are not authoritative for us. Christian doctrines and teachings are really of no interest to most Jews. Our two religions are historically related, and we do share a body of literature (though we read the Hebrew Bible, aka the "Old Testament," quite differently) -- but they have diverged over the centuries to the point that they are separate and distinct religions with little in common other than a general ethic and vocabulary. The goals and priorities of Christianity and Judaism have virtually nothing in common any more.

I think the fault lies completely with the gentiles, many of whom claimed they believed in your God, but didn't.

I think the "fault," if it can be called a fault, is that Judaism and Christianity are two separate and distinct religions, with different core concerns, different priorities, and different teachings.
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For starters, Jews have no particular interest in "salvation" in the Christian sense. We do not believe in "Original Sin," and we have no formal teachings about a life after death.

I don't believe in original sin either, but I do believe in life after death.

Don't misunderstand; belief in a life after death, even in Heaven, is certainly allowed for Jews. It's just not a required belief.
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We see no need for a "Savior,"...

Your Bible does refer to God as your Savior and Redeemer. In what sense do you view Him that way?

Those terms are usually found in a real-world context; in the Psalms, David is often speaking of being "saved" in a physical sense, from actual, physical danger. "Redeemer" is most often found in an historical sense, as in the children of Israel being redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Sometimes the terms are generalized praise for the One who blesses and saves in many ways.

The term is never found in a context that means, or even could mean, being "saved" or "redeemed" from Hell. That is not a Jewish concept.
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we do not and cannot accept the teaching that a human could be in any sense God Himself Incarnate or the literal Son of God,

I don't think any human could live without ever committing a sin if that Person wasn't God.

Once again; "sin" is not the point. The word itself has a different meaning for Jews than for Christians. It's perfectly possible for a human to live without sin, and for all we know, many have. The difference is this; for Jews, "sin" has no eternal consequences, and it does not change the nature of a human being. "Sin" is just -- bad things that people do. One ought not do them. That's all.

We spend more time thinking about what we SHOULD do, than about what we SHOULDN'T. That's a healthier kind of approach, in Jewish thought.
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and we reject the idea that a "sacrifice" is necessary for forgiveness of sin and/or that any person can "bear the sins" of another.

Neither do I. I think the sacrifice of Jesus is completely misunderstood by main stream Christianity.

Okay. My point is that Jews don't go in for sacrifice for sin at all -- and never did. The sacrifices in the Temple were for unintentional sins. The other kind can only be dealt with through repentance, prayer, and acts of lovingkindness. Period. That's still the rule.
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We also reject the idea that proper belief alone has any particular effect on one's "eternal fate," or in fact on anything at all. This is all "angels dancing on the head of a pin" irrelevance to us; the Jewish religion is focused on THIS world and THIS life. The rest, we are content to leave to God. We have teachings and traditions, but we have no formal "doctrines" that a Jew is required to believe, Maimonides to the contrary -- though there are beliefs which are forbidden to Jews, e.g. polytheism.

I don't disagree with anything you say here.

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We do NOT say that Christianity is a "false religion": we have no warrant for that. We know how God, in our tradition, spoke to US; If He chose to speak to another people in another way, that is no business of ours. Peace to you, and please remember that in this subforum, it is not acceptable to promote or proselytize for the Christian religion as an alternative to Judaism.

I understand and my reason for my being in the Judaism forum is only for the purpose of understanding, because you know the Hebrew Bible better than I do. I'm not trying to promote Christianity (which I think is full of false teachings), or to proselytize you. God bless you and all those you hold dear.

Thank you! You might want to read some of the other threads in this section, and then perhaps a few basic books on Judaism. That's when I began to learn -- by reading books about Judaism written by Jews, which makes a considerable difference. Beware of Internet sites; many are Orthodox without saying so, and many are just -- nutty. The Jewish Virtual Library is a good source; so is Judaism 101. It's an Orthodox site, but it's pretty evenhanded and fair even so.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a former Methodist minister who converted to Conservative Judaism (which is, oddly enough, a rather liberal branch) at the age of 50. I'm pretty well read, but I'm no authority and no rabbi. What I say here is my own understanding of the Jewish religion; I make no pretense of it being anything more.

Thanks for the conversation.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:35 am
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cnorman posted,There is no specific formal teaching about a life after death in Judaism. There are allusions to "the next world" all over the place in the literature and the liturgy, but very few specifics indeed. Most Jews believe that there is something, but few will tell you what it is. We claim no promises, and we don't presume to know.

When we speak of our dead, whether at a funeral or on yahrzeits (anniversaries of people's deaths), we speak of their "living on" -- in our memories, and in the good things that they have done. We do not deny life after death, or Heaven; we just have nothing to say about it. That's God's business, and we trust God.

I wasn't inquiring about what after life will be like. I was just wondering if you believed Abraham would be raised from the dead. That would explain how God will keep His promise to the Patriarch.

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We do deny, as being contrary to God's Justice, the concept of an eternal fiery Hell. That seems to be a Christian innovation, and is not found in Jewish tradition or teaching,
Yeah, I don't that either.


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Once again; I don't presume to know. The figure of the Messiah isn't as important in modern Judaism as it once was, probably because we have been so often disappointed; Jesus was not the only unsuccessful claimant. Simon bar Kochba was another, and he attracted the majority of the Jews of his day as followers, including Rabbi Akiba. He died in battle in the uprising he led, which didn't end well for the Jewish people as a whole. In fact, it was a huge and bloody disaster. Another claimant was one Sabbatai Zevi. When he converted to Islam under the thread of being beheaded -- well, that hope didn't work out too well either. There have been others.

There is a tradition, not well known even among Jews, that the Sabbath Millennium -- that is, the "Messianic Age" -- will begin in or around the Hebrew year 7000. The present year is 5774. We have another 126 years to wait. If you go in for that sort of thing, of course.
I was never into date setting.


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Certainly; most especially the Torah, or the first five books, often call the Five Books of Moses. That is, for Jews, the holiest and most sacred and authoritative part of the Bible. The rest is less so, on all counts. But even the Torah does not have the same kind of authority for Jews that the Bible has for conservative Christians.

Didn't know that.

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Well, first, Jesus was not a "rabbi" in the sense of being an ordained spiritual leader in the modern sense. He could not have been; the term was not used in that way until about two hundred years after Jesus's day. The teachers whose debates are recorded in the early parts of the Talmud were called "sages." it was only later that the term "rabbi" settled on its present meaning. When Jesus is called "rabbi" in the NT, the term meant something like "great one" or perhaps "teacher."

Jesus was not and is not considered an authority on Torah by Jews, in his day or in our own. He departed from the traditional teaching in too many ways for him to have been accepted as such. Even if one discounts his (apparent) claims of being God Incarnate and the literal Son of God, his teachings were in many areas too far removed from the normative Judaism of his day for him to be considered an "authority." Some of these are discussed in threads on the subject in this subforum.

Thanks, I'll check them out.

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I think it's possible Gods people got turned off to Jesus because of persecution at the hands of misinformed gentiles masquerading as followers Jesus. I think that, coupled with misunderstanding what Jesus taught would make anyone not want to have anything to do with Him.


Those issues certainly didn't help; but the fact remains that even today, the Jewish people, who are united on very little, are united in their rejection of Jesus as Messiah or spiritual teacher or leader. Some of his parables are right on the mark and are in alignment with those of the Pharisaic Judaism of his day, which evolved into present-day Rabbinic Judaism; but some are rather far from the beaten Jewish path.
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Those Jews who wrote the NT remained ethnic Jews, of course; but they were no longer practicing the Jewish religion, and as I said, their writings are not authoritative for us. Christian doctrines and teachings are really of no interest to most Jews. Our two religions are historically related, and we do share a body of literature (though we read the Hebrew Bible, aka the "Old Testament," quite differently) -- but they have diverged over the centuries to the point that they are separate and distinct religions with little in common other than a general ethic and vocabulary. The goals and priorities of Christianity and Judaism have virtually nothing in common any more.

I think the fault lies completely with the gentiles, many of whom claimed they believed in your God, but didn't.


I think the "fault," if it can be called a fault, is that Judaism and Christianity are two separate and distinct religions, with different core concerns, different priorities, and different teachings.

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Don't misunderstand; belief in a life after death, even in Heaven, is certainly allowed for Jews. It's just not a required belief.

It's not a required belief for me either.

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Those terms are usually found in a real-world context; in the Psalms, David is often speaking of being "saved" in a physical sense, from actual, physical danger. "Redeemer" is most often found in an historical sense, as in the children of Israel being redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Sometimes the terms are generalized praise for the One who blesses and saves in many ways.

The term is never found in a context that means, or even could mean, being "saved" or "redeemed" from Hell. That is not a Jewish concept.

It might if "hell" means "the grave" (which it often does):

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me. Selah. Ps.49:15


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Once again; "sin" is not the point. The word itself has a different meaning for Jews than for Christians. It's perfectly possible for a human to live without sin, and for all we know, many have.

I think Solomon might give you an argument on that:

If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near...1 Ki.8:46

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The difference is this; for Jews, "sin" has no eternal consequences, and it does not change the nature of a human being. "Sin" is just -- bad things that people do. One ought not do them. That's all.

Again, David doesn't seem to agree with you:

God shall likewise destroy thee for ever...Ps.52:5

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We spend more time thinking about what we SHOULD do, than about what we SHOULDN'T. That's a healthier kind of approach, in Jewish thought.

Makes sense to me.

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Okay. My point is that Jews don't go in for sacrifice for sin at all -- and never did. The sacrifices in the Temple were for unintentional sins. The other kind can only be dealt with through repentance, prayer, and acts of lovingkindness. Period. That's still the rule.

I believe that.


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Thank you! You might want to read some of the other threads in this section, and then perhaps a few basic books on Judaism. That's when I began to learn -- by reading books about Judaism written by Jews, which makes a considerable difference. Beware of Internet sites; many are Orthodox without saying so, and many are just -- nutty. The Jewish Virtual Library is a good source; so is Judaism 101. It's an Orthodox site, but it's pretty evenhanded and fair even so.

Thank you kind sir.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I am a former Methodist minister who converted to Conservative Judaism (which is, oddly enough, a rather liberal branch) at the age of 50. I'm pretty well read, but I'm no authority and no rabbi. What I say here is my own understanding of the Jewish religion; I make no pretense of it being anything more.

I would never have guessed.

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Thanks for the conversation.

It was a pleasure, thanks.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:19 pm
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Thruit wrote:

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cnorman posted,There is no specific formal teaching about a life after death in Judaism. There are allusions to "the next world" all over the place in the literature and the liturgy, but very few specifics indeed. Most Jews believe that there is something, but few will tell you what it is. We claim no promises, and we don't presume to know.

When we speak of our dead, whether at a funeral or on yahrzeits (anniversaries of people's deaths), we speak of their "living on" -- in our memories, and in the good things that they have done. We do not deny life after death, or Heaven; we just have nothing to say about it. That's God's business, and we trust God.

I wasn't inquiring about what after life will be like. I was just wondering if you believed Abraham would be raised from the dead. That would explain how God will keep His promise to the Patriarch.

Okay. To answer directly: I don't know. I don't know any Jews who would claim to.
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We do deny, as being contrary to God's Justice, the concept of an eternal fiery Hell. That seems to be a Christian innovation, and is not found in Jewish tradition or teaching,
Yeah, I don't that either.


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Once again; I don't presume to know. The figure of the Messiah isn't as important in modern Judaism as it once was, probably because we have been so often disappointed; Jesus was not the only unsuccessful claimant. Simon bar Kochba was another, and he attracted the majority of the Jews of his day as followers, including Rabbi Akiba. He died in battle in the uprising he led, which didn't end well for the Jewish people as a whole. In fact, it was a huge and bloody disaster. Another claimant was one Sabbatai Zevi. When he converted to Islam under the thread of being beheaded -- well, that hope didn't work out too well either. There have been others.

There is a tradition, not well known even among Jews, that the Sabbath Millennium -- that is, the "Messianic Age" -- will begin in or around the Hebrew year 7000. The present year is 5774. We have another 126 years to wait. If you go in for that sort of thing, of course.
I was never into date setting.


LOL! Nor am I. It was just an interesting sidelight, on the broad spectrum of Jewish belief if nothing else.
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Certainly; most especially the Torah, or the first five books, often call the Five Books of Moses. That is, for Jews, the holiest and most sacred and authoritative part of the Bible. The rest is less so, on all counts. But even the Torah does not have the same kind of authority for Jews that the Bible has for conservative Christians.

Didn't know that.

Quote:
Well, first, Jesus was not a "rabbi" in the sense of being an ordained spiritual leader in the modern sense. He could not have been; the term was not used in that way until about two hundred years after Jesus's day. The teachers whose debates are recorded in the early parts of the Talmud were called "sages." it was only later that the term "rabbi" settled on its present meaning. When Jesus is called "rabbi" in the NT, the term meant something like "great one" or perhaps "teacher."

Jesus was not and is not considered an authority on Torah by Jews, in his day or in our own. He departed from the traditional teaching in too many ways for him to have been accepted as such. Even if one discounts his (apparent) claims of being God Incarnate and the literal Son of God, his teachings were in many areas too far removed from the normative Judaism of his day for him to be considered an "authority." Some of these are discussed in threads on the subject in this subforum.

Thanks, I'll check them out.

Quote:

I think it's possible Gods people got turned off to Jesus because of persecution at the hands of misinformed gentiles masquerading as followers Jesus. I think that, coupled with misunderstanding what Jesus taught would make anyone not want to have anything to do with Him.


Those issues certainly didn't help; but the fact remains that even today, the Jewish people, who are united on very little, are united in their rejection of Jesus as Messiah or spiritual teacher or leader. Some of his parables are right on the mark and are in alignment with those of the Pharisaic Judaism of his day, which evolved into present-day Rabbinic Judaism; but some are rather far from the beaten Jewish path.
Quote:


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Those Jews who wrote the NT remained ethnic Jews, of course; but they were no longer practicing the Jewish religion, and as I said, their writings are not authoritative for us. Christian doctrines and teachings are really of no interest to most Jews. Our two religions are historically related, and we do share a body of literature (though we read the Hebrew Bible, aka the "Old Testament," quite differently) -- but they have diverged over the centuries to the point that they are separate and distinct religions with little in common other than a general ethic and vocabulary. The goals and priorities of Christianity and Judaism have virtually nothing in common any more.

I think the fault lies completely with the gentiles, many of whom claimed they believed in your God, but didn't.


I think the "fault," if it can be called a fault, is that Judaism and Christianity are two separate and distinct religions, with different core concerns, different priorities, and different teachings.

Quote:
Don't misunderstand; belief in a life after death, even in Heaven, is certainly allowed for Jews. It's just not a required belief.

It's not a required belief for me either.

Quote:
Those terms are usually found in a real-world context; in the Psalms, David is often speaking of being "saved" in a physical sense, from actual, physical danger. "Redeemer" is most often found in an historical sense, as in the children of Israel being redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Sometimes the terms are generalized praise for the One who blesses and saves in many ways.

The term is never found in a context that means, or even could mean, being "saved" or "redeemed" from Hell. That is not a Jewish concept.

It might if "hell" means "the grave" (which it often does):

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me. Selah. Ps.49:15

"The grave" is the grave. Being killed, being dead. That's all. It's hard to see what that would have to do with the Christian concept of "Hell."
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Once again; "sin" is not the point. The word itself has a different meaning for Jews than for Christians. It's perfectly possible for a human to live without sin, and for all we know, many have.

I think Solomon might give you an argument on that:

If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near...1 Ki.8:46

Like I said; Though we study it and consider it, Jewish teachings are not determined by Scripture. Judaism is not a static, unchanging set of doctrines, and there are many Scriptural commands and edicts that we have revised or even discarded entirely. We believe that that is how it was meant to be; we were not given brains in order that we would discard them and allow all our decisions to be made and all our standards set by a set of ancient documents.
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The difference is this; for Jews, "sin" has no eternal consequences, and it does not change the nature of a human being. "Sin" is just -- bad things that people do. One ought not do them. That's all.

Again, David doesn't seem to agree with you:

God shall likewise destroy thee for ever...Ps.52:5

Same remark as before. David's not here; and it might be useful for you to read more Jewish interpretations of these Scriptures. I recommend The Jewish Study Bible for that.
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We spend more time thinking about what we SHOULD do, than about what we SHOULDN'T. That's a healthier kind of approach, in Jewish thought.

Makes sense to me.

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Okay. My point is that Jews don't go in for sacrifice for sin at all -- and never did. The sacrifices in the Temple were for unintentional sins. The other kind can only be dealt with through repentance, prayer, and acts of lovingkindness. Period. That's still the rule.

I believe that.


Quote:
Thank you! You might want to read some of the other threads in this section, and then perhaps a few basic books on Judaism. That's when I began to learn -- by reading books about Judaism written by Jews, which makes a considerable difference. Beware of Internet sites; many are Orthodox without saying so, and many are just -- nutty. The Jewish Virtual Library is a good source; so is Judaism 101. It's an Orthodox site, but it's pretty evenhanded and fair even so.

Thank you kind sir.

Quote:
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a former Methodist minister who converted to Conservative Judaism (which is, oddly enough, a rather liberal branch) at the age of 50. I'm pretty well read, but I'm no authority and no rabbi. What I say here is my own understanding of the Jewish religion; I make no pretense of it being anything more.

I would never have guessed.

I suppose that's a good thing.... ;-D
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Thanks for the conversation.

It was a pleasure, thanks.

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