Was Jesus a Hillelite Pharisee?
It doesn't make sense. Jesus was a Jew himself (Heb. 7:14; John 4:9; Rev. 5:5). He was called a "Rabbi" on several occasions (John 1:38,49; 3:2,26; 6:25; 20:16). He attended synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and wore blue tassels on the four corners of his robe (Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44; Nu. 15:38).He recited the Shema -- "Hear O Israel... God is one" (Deut. 6:4-5) in Mark 12:28-33 just as Jews do. He believed in Jewish ritual immersion since he came up "out of the water" at baptism (Matt. 3:16). He celebrated the Passover Seder (John 2:13; Luke 22:8), Pentecost and Sukkot (John 7:10) and told his disciples to do the same (Luke 22:49; Acts 2:1; John 7:6-8; 14:15). Following the Pharisaic custom of the Haburah, he formed around himself a group of 12 (Mark 3:13-19) with himself as the Rabbi (John 1:38).
Was Jesus anti-Jewish? No. Jesus was a HILLEL Pharisee in the midst of SHAMMAI Pharisees. The law was forgotten in Israel until "HILLEL the Babylonian (c. 60 B.C. to 20 A.D.) came up and reestablished it" (b. Sukkah 20a; Pes. 66a). Jesus could have heard him in person (4 B.C. to 31 A.D.). Judaism was split into TWO CAMPS (Sanh. 88B). Bet HILLEL and Bet SHAMMAI. The SHAMMAI Pharisees were in the MAJORITY in the Jewish San Hedrin from about 20 B.C. until 70 A.D. (Betsah 20A; Sukkah 37B; Parah 12:4-6; Yadayim 4:6, etc.). They sat in "Moses' seat" (Matt.23:2), so the people followed their ORAL LAW. But none of the SHAMMAITES believed in Jesus (John 7:48). Jesus condemned the SHAMMAITE Pharisees who "made the commandment of God of none effect by your (ORAL) TRADITION" (Matt. 15:6). Paul "had no small ... disputation with those SHAMMAITES who said "Except ye be CIRCUMCISED after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved" (converted) (Acts 15:1). It's not that Jesus and Paul were against ORAL LAW itself. Paul was "zealous of the (HILLEL) TRADITIONS" of his fathers (Gal. 1:14) and urged Gentiles to "hold the (HILLEL) TRADITIONS which ye have been taught" (2 Th. 2:15). Both Jesus and Paul were HILLEL Pharisees in the midst of SHAMMAI Pharisees. Paul was taught by Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) who was a grandson of HILLEL and defended Christians (Acts 5:34). Jesus said "Make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19) which agreed with HILLEL who taught "Love mankind and bring them nigh to the Torah" (Avot 1:12). SHAMMAI taught that "NO GENTILE merits a share in the world to come" (Sanh. 105A). Jesus said the followers of SHAMMAI "Shut up the kingdom of heaven AGAINST MEN" (Matt. 23:13). According to Yevamot 46B, BAPTISM was HILLEL'S method of conversion while CIRCUMCISION was SHAMMAI'S method. Christianity adopted HILLEL ORAL LAW. A close examination of the Gospels reveals that Jesus almost always took the side of Rabbi HILLEL in his debates while Jesus' opponents almost always were SHAMMAITES. Examples are given below:
Paul asks, "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law" (Gal.3:2) - meaning the SHAMMAI ORAL LAW including CIRCUMCISION? Cornelius didn't (Acts 10:44-45). The "YOKE" of 15:10 is the strict SHAMMAITE ORAL LAW since they sat in Moses' Seat in 50 A.D. Nobody is debating the 613 WRITTEN laws of Moses. Paul said they were "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12). This SHAMMAITE ORAL LAW was the "law of commandments" (Eph. 2:14-15) such as "Jews can't eat with non-Jews, or go into the house of non-Jews." Peter deliberately VIOLATED them (Acts 10:28; 11:3). Later Peter was CONDEMNED by Paul for OBEYING them (Gal. 2:12). The SHAMMAITES would "EXCLUDE YOU" (Gentiles) (Gal.4:17) and "FORBID us to speak to the Gentiles" (1 Th. 2:16). They forbade non-Jewish milk, bread and oil (Shabbat 13B, 39B). In another incident, Jesus condemned the SHAMMAI Pharisees in Matthew 23:5 by saying, "All their works they do to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and ENLARGE the borders (TASSELS) of their garments." T.B. Menahot 41b says, "How many threads must one insert? Beth SHAMMAI say. FOUR; but Beth HILLEL say, THREE. And how far must they hang down? Beth SHAMMAI say FOUR (fingerbreadths); but Beth HILLEL say THREE (fingerbreadths)." Jesus sided with HILLEL'S view that it is sufficient to insert THREE threads into the hole at each corner of the garment, and then double them in the middle so that six hang down, with THREE fingerbreadths of loose thread after the windings and knots. But the SHAMMAITES disappeared by the second century and HILLELITES wrote the Talmud. In it they say, "The OPINION of Bet SHAMMAI when it CONFLICTS with that of Bet HILLEL is NO MISHNAH" (Berakhot 36B).
Which Pharisees "Shut Up The Kingdom" From Gentiles?
Jesus said "Make disciples of ALL NATIONS" (Matt. 28:19) which agreed with Hillel who taught, "Love MANKIND and bring them nigh to the Torah" (Avot 1:12). Hillel conversed "gently" and patiently with HEATHEN whereas Shammai "impatiently"discouraged them (Shabbat 31A). Shammai taught that even if GENTILES observe the Noahic commandments "No GENTILE merits a share in the world to come" (Sanh. 105A) . A Pharisee may not eat with an am ha-aretz (IMPURE) even when both have venereal disease according to Shammai. But Hillel permits it (T. Shab. 1:15, b. Shab 13a). Jesus said that Shammaites "shut up the kingdom of heaven AGAINST MEN" (Matt. 23:13) and make a convert "twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" by causing him to revert to paganism as Aquila almost did (Midr. Gen. Rab. 70:5). Jesus gave a parable of the Good Samaritan which agreed with Simeon Ben Gamaliel, a grandson of Hillel who held that the Samaritans were more observant of the commands they had adopted than the Jews (Hul. 4A). However Rabbi Eliezer the Shammaite stated that a proselyte "has a strong inclination to EVIL" (Bava Mezia 59B).
Hillel taught, "If you will come in my house, I will come in your house, but if you will not come in my house, I will not come in your house" (Tosefta Sukkah 4, 3, 6. Sukkah 53a). Jesus taught, "If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you" (Matt. 10:13). Shammai taught, "it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation" (Acts 10:28). The day Shammai gained control and passed the 18 measures (two of which were AGAINST GENTILES -- c. 15 B.C.), was like the day the golden calf was built (Shabbat 17A).
Judah ben 'Illai recommends the daily recital of the benediction. "Blessed be Thou . . . who hast not made me a goi" (Tosef., Ber. vii. 18: Men. 43b, sometimes ascribed to Meïr; see Weiss, "Dor," ii. 137). This reminds us of Luke 18:11 which says, "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican."
Which Pharisees "Exalt" Themselves?
Jesus identified his adversaries as men who SHOW OFF their "phylacteries" and "borders" "to be seen of men" and "love the UPPERMOST PLACES at feasts and the CHIEF SEATS in the synagogues" and to be called "Rabbi" and "Father" and "Master" (Matt. 23:5-10). Jesus said, "I am MEEK" (Matt. 11:29) and "whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall HUMBLE himself shall be exalted" (Matt.23:12). Rashi said Hillel was a MEEK man (Shabbat 17A) who said "My HUMILIATION is my elevation and my elevation is my humiliation" (Lev. Rabba 1:5). He also said, "Be NOT SURE of yourself until the day of your death, and judge not your fellow until you come into his place" (M. Avot 2:4). He said, "A name made great is a name destroyed" (Aboth 1:13). His followers were COMPROMISING and SELF-EFFACING and always quoted the opinion of Shammai BEFORE THEIR OWN in the house of study (Erubin 13B) which is why the Halakah was eventually accepted in their favor. As Hillel said,"If I am ONLY for MYSELF, what am I?" (M. Avot 1:14). However, even when the followers of Shammai were in the MINORITY, they still were adamant in maintaining their own opinions because they CONSIDERED THEMSELVES SMARTER than the followers of Hillel (Erubin 13B & Yevamot 14A). Shammai had a reputation for irascibility.
Which Pharisees Were Rich & Happy?
Hillel said, "The more POSSESSIONS, the more DISTRACTIONS; the more meat, the more worms" (Abot 2:7). Rabbi Judah Ha Nasi, a descendant of Hillel, said, "He who ACCEPTS the PLEASURES of thisworld is DEPRIVED of the PLEASURES of the world to come, and vice versa." (Ab. R.N. (verse I), 28: 43a). Another Talmudic verse says, "The righteous DO NOT REJOICE in my world, and do you (wicked) seek to rejoice in my world?" (Pes. K. 27:170a, 171a). Jesus agreed with Hillel by saying, "Woe unto you that are RICH! For ye have received your CONSOLATION. Woe unto you that are FULL! For ye shall HUNGER. Woe unto you that LAUGH now! For ye shall MOURN and WEEP. Woe unto you when all men shall SPEAK WELL of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:20-26). Hillel was a POOR man (b. Yoma 35b; b. Sot. 12a). The Essenes also are called POOR (DST 5:22). But the Shammaites were in control of the San Hedrin at the time and therefore were SPOKEN WELL OF and able to LAUGH. Shammaites possessed a relatively HIGH SOCIAL STANDING (Finkelstein's Pharisees) and were WEALTHY (Dam. Doc. 8:8).
Jesus said "Blessed are you POOR; for yours is the kingdom of God" (Luke 6:20). Jesus preached the gospel "to the POOR" (Luke 4:18). Hillel was spokesman for the POOR Jews while Shammai was the spokesman for the RICH (L. Finkelstein's The Pharisees -- "Plebians" and "Patricians" respectively). Hillel's New Year for fruit trees is observed half a month later than the date of the Shammai school to accommodate the POOR. RICH people had better fields and gardens and their fruits matured earlier (M. Rosh Hashanah 1:1). Hillel based the Sabbath or festival eve benediction sequence at the home service on the living conditions of the POOR. The School of Shammai set the order according to the RICH (M. Berakhot 8:1). A ritual known as Erub tabshilin is performed on the eve of a festival which is followed by a Sabbath. Hillelites ruled that one course was sufficient for this ritual since this was the typical meal of the POOR, while Shammai required two courses, the customary RICH man's meal (M. Betzah 2:1). Hillel accepted the benediction over bread as a blessing over the entire meal since the bread was the main dish of the POOR. The Shammai School ruled differently based on the meal of the RICH (M. Berakhot 6:5). Hillel's school maintained that "everybody should be taught" -- RICH and POOR while Shammai's ancient tradition was restricted to students who came from good families, were wise, modest, and RICH (Aboth de R. Nathan1:3).
Jesus said that men don't light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. Instead he said, "Let your light ... shine before men" (Matt. 5:15-16). Unlike the Essenes who hid their light in Qumran, it was one of Hillel's principles not to separate from the Jewish community (m. Abot 2:5) but to work within its framework "for the better order of the world" (Gittin 34b). He did this to slow the exodus of Jews into the Qumran Community because "they that loved the synagogues of the pious fled from them" and "wandered in deserts ... and caves" (Heb. 11:38) "that their lives might be saved from harm" (Ps. Sol. 17:17). Hillel introduced the Hellenistic institution known as the prosbul, a ruling protecting the CREDITOR against cancellation of a debt in the Sabbatical year and the BORROWER against possible resistance of the lender (Mishnah Shebiith 10:3). Hillel also introduced a ruling allowing the ORIGINAL OWNER of a house in a walled city to redeem it within a year even when the NEW OWNER skipped town by depositing the sale price in the court of law (Lev. 25; M. Arakin 9:5). Hillel opposed certain Sages whose inconsiderate rulings would have made bastards of some Alexandrians (Baba Metzia 104a). Hillel introduced a ruling preventing a LENDER from exploiting a BORROWER with usury (M. Baba Metzia 5:9). The School of Hillel, prompted by the Shammaites, solved the awkward position of a man "who is HALF BONDMAN and half freedman" by compelling the master to set him free and turn the remaining obligation into a bond of indebtedness (M. Eduyot 1:13).
Jesus said his adversaries "bind HEAVY burdens" (Matt. 23:4) and "strain out a GNAT" (Matt. 23:24) and TITHE on "mint and anise and cummin" (Matt. 23:23). Rabbi Eliezer, the Shammaite (Shabbat 130B & Niddah 7B) for example, taught that plants and trees grown for their seeds SHOULD ALSO have their leaves, pods, and stalks TITHED ON as well (Maasrot 4:5-6). Beit Shammai required TITHING on oil bought from the lawless while Hillel DID NOT require it (Dem. 1:3). This illustrates whom Jesus was criticizing. Hillel's family went along with certain STRICT rulings of Shammai (Betsah 21b) only because Shammai sat in Moses' seat (Matt. 23:2). MERCY characterized Hillel's way (Lev. Rabbah 34:3; Yer. Nedarim 39b; SanHedrin 11a). In discussing the Day of Judgment, the School of Hillel taught that the less than totally righteous people will receive God's MERCY while Shammai said they would TASTE the FIRE (Tosefta San Hedrin 13:3; R. Hash. 16b). Hillel advocated LYING in order to make a poor, orphan bride feel beautiful and gracious on her wedding day whereas Shammai advocated telling her the HARSH truth" (Ket. 17a; See Bezah 20a) (spirit vs. letter). Hillel taught, "Always make your disposition SYMPATHETIC to that of your neighbor" (Ket. 17a). Johanan, son of Zakkai, Hillel's chief pupil, had the motto: "I desire MERCY and not SACRIFICE" (Ab. R.N. 1:4). Jesus said , "I will have MERCY (Hillel) and not SACRIFICE (Shammai)" (Matt.12:7) and "My yoke is EASY, and my burden is LIGHT" (Hillelite) (Matt. 11:30). God's law is not "BURDENSOME" (1 John 5:3) (Shammaitic).
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for permitting people to vow all their belongings to the Temple, thus making it impossible to support their
Which Pharisees Refused Gentile Gifts For The Temple?
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for NULLIFYING VOWS made to the Temple and altar (Matt. 23:16-21). We know from Josephus that by the year 66 A.D. the Zealots REFUSED ALL GIFTS of GENTILES to the Temple and they were in partnership with the Shammaites (Ant. 18:1-10 & Yevamot 15B; Tosefta Eduyyot 2:2). But "that altar (was) universally venerated by Greeks and Barbarians" (Wars 5:17). Hillel would have HONORED their VOWS since he taught "LOVE MANKIND and bring them nigh to Torah" (Avot 1:12). This explains Jesus' attack on the moneychangers at the Temple (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17) for it was their function to ACCEPT ALL GIFTS and forward them to their intended purpose (Shekalim 6:5-6). It was at these moneychangers' tables that the Zealot priests would have diverted GENTILE OFFERINGS making the Temple "a den of THIEVES" (Jer. 7:11).
Which Pharisees Were Vengeful Against Roman Rule?
Jesus condemned the Pharisees for teaching "an eye for an eye" (Matt. 5:38-39) with regard to the Roman occupation. But the only Rabbi on record as interpreting "an eye for an eye" literally is Rabbi Eliezer (Bava Kamma 84A) who was known never to deviate from the teachings of Bet Shammai (Shabbat 130B & Niddah 7B). Hillel said, "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow creature" (Sab. 31a). Jesus agreed with Hillel by saying, "All things whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matt. 7:12). Both Hillel and Jesus resisted the Zealots by advocating peace and love -- not war against Rome. Jesus said, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword" (Matt. 26:52).
Which Pharisees Were Murderers?
Jesus condemned the Pharisees saying, "you are the SONS of them who KILLED the PROPHETS" (Matt. 23:29-37; John 8:37-44). Jesus quotes the Pharisees as saying, "We would never have joined in SHEDDING the BLOOD of the PROPHETS had we lived in our FATHER'S day." These were definitely Shammaite Pharisees because one of the first debates between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel concerned "eighteen measures" (Shabbat 13B) which Bet Shammai sought to introduce to create further separation between Jew and Gentile. Bet Hillel opposed these measures and the Jerusalem Talmud records that during the course of the debate a number of Bet Hillel's members were MURDERED by Bet Shammai (T.P. Shabbat 1:3c & T.B. Shabbat 17a). Many of Hillel's disciples -- some of whom were KILLED that day -- are referred to in the Talmud as PROPHETS (Sukkah 28A & Bava Batra 134A). This occurred anywhere from 20 to 10 B.C. and Jesus' word's were spoken about 30 A.D. making these Pharisees the SONS of the Shammaite Pharisees who MURDERED the PROPHETS.
Furthermore, Jesus accused these Pharisees of MURDERING Zechariah ben Berechiah in the Temple. Zechariah ben Berechiah was MURDERED on the Temple grounds by Zealots (Wars 4:335) who are linked to Shammaites (Ant. 18:1-10 & Yevamot 15B; Tosefta Eduyyot 2:2). Shammai taught that whoever hires a person to kill another person is himself liable (Kid. 43a). Rabbi Gamaliel the elder, grandson of Hillel, strongly denounces Judas the Galilean, a founder of the Zealots (Acts 5:37), whose co-founder was Zadok the Shammaite Pharisee. Jesus said, "You will draw down on yourselves the BLOOD of every HOLY MAN that has been shed on earth" (Matt. 23:35). The Talmud echoes these same sentiments: "He who observes the teachings of Bet Shammai DESERVES DEATH" (Berakhot 11A & Jerusalem Talmud Berakhot 1:4). This is proof Jesus was condemning Bet Shammai. Jesus said, "Ye seek to KILL me" (John 8:37). The Talmud calls the Zealots MURDERERS also (Mishnah Sotah 47A). Josephus calls the Zealots ROBBERS and MURDERERS (Wars 2:13:2-3; 7:8:269-273). Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus because ISCARIOT may be derived from "SICARRI" a term for Zealots (Encyclopedia Judaica 14:1492). "SICARRI" is translated "MURDERERS" in Acts 21:38. The Zealots followed Shammai. Luke 22:3 links Judas with the DEVIL and the Talmud links Bet Shammai with SATAN (Yevamot 16A).
Christ's criticism of the Shammaites and the Essene criticism of the Shammaites (calling Shammai the "PREACHER of LIES" and "MAN of LIES" and his followers "TRAITORS" who "build up a RICKETY WALL" -- Dam. Doc.) are no more hostile than Dosa ben Harkinas, a famous sage of the period, who once called his brother Jonathan the "firstborn of SATAN" (Yevamot 16A) for having ruled with Bet Shammai -- against Bet Hillel -- in a serious case concerning Levirate marriage. When Rabbi Tarfon acted in accord with Bet Shammai in one case, and then later narrowly escaped being killed by robbers, the Sages told him he DESERVED to have been KILLED (M. Berakhot 10b). The Talmud also CRITICISES Pharisees who teach legal tricks (Sotah 22) and try to circumvent the law (Sotah 19a). "The plague of the PHARISEES ... destroys the world" (Sotah 20a). Bet Shammai used the tactic of GROUPING TOGETHER to confront Hillel or his followers in the Temple (Betsah 20a) the same way Jesus was confronted (Matt. 22).
Which Pharisees Wouldn't Teach Repentant Sinners?
Jesus was "separate from (deliberate) sinners" (Heb. 7:26). But he TAUGHT and associated with repentant SINNERS (Matt.9:10). He said, "They that are well need not a physician, but they that are SICK" (Matt. 9:12). This appears to be related to another debate where Bet Shammai said the Torah should be TAUGHT ONLY to one who is WISE, HUMBLE, of GOOD family and RICH, whereas Bet Hillel ruled that one should TEACH ALL (Avot D' Rabbi Nathan, ch. 2 end). Hillel said, "The more TORAH, the more LIFE" (Aboth 2:6) and "In a time when men SCATTER, GATHER" (Sifre Zutta). Jesus said, "He who does not GATHER with me, SCATTERS" (Luke 11:23)
Jesus HEALED a man on the SABBATH through PRAYER (Matt. 12:9-14). This incident stems from a debate between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel over whether it is permitted to PRAY for the SICK on the SABBATH (Tosefta Shabbat 17:14). Bet Hillel PERMITTED such prayer. Bet Shammai FORBADE it. In Mark 2:27 Jesus says, "The SABBATH was MADE for MAN, not man for the Sabbath." In addition to PRAYER for the SICK, Jesus' remark implies other disputes between the two schools such as Bet Shammai saying it is forbidden on the Sabbath to promise CHARITY for the POOR in the synagogue, even for the MARRIAGE of ORPHANS, nor may BETROTHALS be ARRANGED, nor may discussion be held for a YOUNGSTER'S EDUCATION, nor may MOURNERS be COMFORTED or the SICK VISITED, while Bet Hillel PERMITTED all of these (Tosefta Shabbat 17:14 & Shabbat 12A).
Which Pharisees Don't Allow Carrying On The Sabbath?
Jesus healed a paralyzed man on the Sabbath, and told him to CARRY his BED away with him (John 5). The Pharisees considered this a violation of the Sabbath. People assume that Jesus permitted the man to CARRY since Jesus abolished the Sabbath law. But Jerusalem was a walled city, and there would have been no reason to forbid such CARRYING. Instead the Shammaite Pharisees considered the bed to have become MUKZAH (an object one does not intend to use during the Sabbath) AFTER the HEALING, and therefore forbidden to be moved. Jesus, however, adopted the Rava's view (Betsah 26B; Shulhan Arukh Orah Haim 310:3) holding that the prohibition of MUKZAH does not apply where the STATE DEVELOPED AFTER the BEGINNING of the SABBATH. The fourth century Rava was well known as a hasid (Hillelite), so once again we find Jesus adhering to the authentic traditions of the Hillelites. The Talmud does in fact record a conflicting view which forbade moving such an object on the Sabbath (Betsah 26B).
Matthew 15 has the Pharisees complaining to Jesus that his disciples DO NOT WASH their HANDS BEFORE EATING. Luke 11:37 relates that a Pharisee invited Jesus for a meal, and was surprised that Jesus DIDN'T WASH his HANDS FIRST. Jesus replied, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup" and this leads into an attack on the Pharisees. WASHING HANDS BEFORE MEALS was a custom that had its origin in the eighteen measures (Shabbat 13B-15A) passed by Bet Shammai requiring that Terumah (the priest's share of the produce) not be eaten by the priests without FIRST WASHING the HANDS (Shabbat 13B). This WASHING was later EXTENDED to everyday meals eaten by ALL JEWS (Hullin 106A). Since washing hands before meals has its source in the eighteen measures, it would have no
Paul, who studied under Rabbi Gamaliel the elder, a grandson of Hillel (Acts 22:3), mentioned that a "bishop must be ... the husband of ONE WIFE" (1 Tim. 3:2). Later he also said "deacons" (1 Tim. 3:12) and "elders" (Tit. 1:6) must be "the husbands of ONE WIFE." Also Rabbi Judah Ha Nasi, a descendant of Hillel, said marrying TWO WIVES SIMULTANEOUSLY was an act of fornication (Ketubbot 62B). The only Talmudic Rabbi we know of, who had TWO WIVES SIMULTANEOUSLY, was Rabbi Eliezer (based on the Jerusalem Talmud Yevamot 13:2, Avot D' Rabbi Nathan ch. 16 and Sanhedrin 68A). Rabbi Eliezer permitted POLYGAMY (Shabbat 127B) and he was always a follower of Bet Shammai (Jerus. Talmud Betsah 1:4; Shabbat 130B; and Tosafists ad loc). The Essenes also condemned the Shammaites by saying that the animals entering the ark were in GROUPS of TWO (Dam. Doc. 5:1).
Which Pharisees Required Circumcision Before Conversion?
Christian BAPTISM was modeled after the ritual IMMERSION of converts to Hillelite Judaism. We find a difference between the two schools over the importance attached to ritual ABLUTION or BAPTISM upon entering the faith. According to the Talmud (Yevamot 46b), Rabbi Joshua of Bet Hillel ruled that both males and females performed such BAPTISM when the Israelites received the Torah at Mount Sinai, whereas Rabbi Eliezer the Shammaite believed that men underwent CIRCUMCISION ONLY, and he makes no mention of any ceremony for women.
Furthermore, the schools of Hillel and Shammai differed on the issue of a proselyte who had ALREADY BEEN CIRCUMCISED before the time of his conversion: "Beit Shammai states: 'One must DRAW from him the BLOOD of CIRCUMCISION'; Beit Hillel states: 'One need NOT DRAW the BLOOD of CIRCUMCISION from him'" (Tosef., Shab. 15:9; TB, Shab. 135a). Most of the rabbinic authorities decided in favor of Beit Shammai (Tos. to Shab. 135a; Maim. Yad, Issurei Bi'ah 14:5; Sh. Ar., YD 268:1). In the circumcision benediction of proselytes, the statement is made: "Who hast sanctified us with Thy commandments and hast commanded us to CIRCUMCISE proselytes AND to DRAW from them the BLOOD of the COVENANT" (Shab. 137b). In other words, CUT a CIRCUMCISED man just in order to make him BLEED.
When "certain men ... came down from Judea (and) taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be CIRCUMCISED after the MANNER of MOSES, ye cannot be saved" (convert to Judaism) (Acts 15:1), they were speaking from the perspective of the Shammaite oral law. This is proven by the fact that the written Torah says hardly anything about the "MANNER" in which it is to be done. They believed that their oral Torah was also given by God to MOSES on Mount Sinai at the same time as the written Torah (Ber. 5a; Ex. R. 47:1; Shab. 31a). It does specify the MANNER in which CIRCUMCISION is to be done (Shab. 9:3; 18:3; 19:1-6; Pesachim 3:7; Megillah 2:4; N'darim 3:11; Arakhin 2:2; K'ritot 1:1 and N'ga'im 7:5). Paul and Barnabas "had no small dissension and disputation with them" (Acts 15:2). "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees (Shammaites), who believed, saying that it was needful to CIRCUMCISE them (Gentiles), and to command them to keep the (Shammaite oral) law of Moses" (Acts 15:5). Paul was trained by Rabbi Gamaliel the elder, grandson of Hillel, and followed the Hillelite oral law of Moses. Paul said, "I am a Pharisee" (Acts 23:6). He was "zealous of the traditions" of his fathers (Gal.1:14) and urged Gentiles to "hold the traditions which ye have been taught" (2 Th. 2:15) -- the Hillelite traditions which require ONLY BAPTISM when converting to Judaism, or for those already circumcised, to require no further CUTTING to DRAW BLOOD when converting to Judaism.
Peter points out that "God made a choice among us, that the Gentiles by MY mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe (not by the mouth of a Shammaite). "And God ... gave them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us. And put no difference between us and them (even though they weren't CIRCUMCISED)... Now, therefore, why ... put a YOKE upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (15:7-10) The "YOKE" is clearly the strict ORAL LAW of the SHAMMAITES since they sat in Moses' seat in 50 A.D. (see Gal. 5:2-3). The "YOKE of the Mitzvot" (B'rakhot 2:2 & Sifra 57b) is a
Talmudic phrase referring to talmudic ORAL LAW or "TRADITIONS of the elders" (Mark 7:3). Paul said, "Be not entangled again with the YOKE of BONDAGE" (Gal. 5:1). Jesus said, "You have made the commandment of God of none effect by your (ORAL) TRADITION" (Matt. 15:6). Jesus also said, "My YOKE is EASY"(Hillelite) (Matt. 11:30).
Nobody is debating the 613 written commands of the Torah! They are "a LAW of LIBERTY" (James 2:10-12). Paul said this LAW was "HOLY,
But the very next verse of Acts shows that converts were expected to attend synagogues "every Sabbath day" where Moses is read (Acts 15:21). As Exodus 20:10 says, "the stranger that is within thy gates" "shalt not do any work" on the Sabbath cp. Deut. 5:14). Attending with Jews shows that the SAME DOCTRINAL OBEDIENCE was expected of both. As Numbers 9:14 says, "You shall have ONE LAW both for the stranger and the native." As Leviticus 19:34 says, "The stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you AS ONE BORN AMONG YOU and thou shalt love him as thyself." As Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, "Teach all nations to OBSERVE ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you." And if you will "enter into life, KEEP the COMMANDMENTS" (Matt. 19:17). (Strangers who sojourn among you must obey the same Old Testament as the Israelites obey.) When a STRANGER eventually decides to observe Passover, he must be CIRCUMCISED (Ex. 12:48).
John the Baptist and Jesus were both CIRCUMCISED (Luke 1:59; 2:21). Paul was CIRCUMCISED "the eighth day" (Phil. 3:5). Paul said CIRCUMCISION has much VALUE (Rom. 3:1) -- but NOT as a pre-conversion SHAMMAITE DEMAND prior to DWELLING among Israelites (Gal. 5:1-6) and NOT to DRAW BLOOD when the man has already been CIRCUMCISED. Paul never taught "Jews ... NOT to CIRCUMCISE their children" (Acts 21:21). Instead, Paul believed "all things which are WRITTEN in the law and in the prophets" (Acts 24:14) and had committed no offense against the Torah (25:8). This is proven by the fact that Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:1,3). He hadn't even violated the ORAL traditions (28:17) of HILLEL. Later Paul makes the point that God forgives sin BEFORE strangers are CIRCUMCISED (Rom. 4:7-12). Therefore, if you are called by God, Shammaite CIRCUMCISION is NOT REQUIRED as a TEST of fellowship (Gal. 5:3-6) or for FORGIVENESS of sin (1 Cor. 7:18-19). Perhaps this is what Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 7:19 when he said, "Circumcision (according to the commandments of men) is NOTHING, and uncircumcision (according to the commandments of men), but the keeping of the commandments of God." Galatians 5:12 says, "I wish those who are so eager to CUT your bodies would CUT themselves off from you altogether" (Phillips). "Beware of MUTILATION of the FLESH" (Phil. 3:2).
There is one instance of divorce law where Jesus sided WITH SHAMMAI and against Hillel. "The School of Shammai says: 'A man may not divorce his wife unless he has found unchastity in her, for it is written, Because he finds something obnoxious in her (Deut. 24:1).' And the School of Hillel says: 'He may divorce her even if she spoils a dish for him, for it is written, Because he finds something obnoxious in her.' R. Akiba says, 'Even if he found another more beautiful than she, for it is written, she fails to please him (Deut. 24:1)'" (M. Git. 9:10; cf. B. Git. 90a). Jesus contrasts the interpretation of Hillel which was "EVERY CAUSE" (Matt. 19:3) with the interpretation of Shammai which was "ONE CAUSE -- sexual immorality" when he said "whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of FORNICATION (Gr. "porneia") causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matt. 5:32 & 19:9). Hillel taught "ANY CAUSE" whatever because Deuteronomy 24:1 mentions "indecency in ANYTHING" (Gittin 9:10). Shammai taught "IMMORALITY" because Deuteronomy 24:1 mentions "INDECENCY in anything." Each school emphasized a different word in the verse. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus dropped the phrase that "she find no favor in his eyes" since men's personal views were subject to God's. This had been one of the chief arguments of the school of Hillel in advocating the "EVERY CAUSE" divorce (Matt. 19:3; cp. pp. 333-334 of Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah). Beit Hillel taught that a woman may remarry on the evidence of an unidentified "mere voice" testifying to the death of her husband while Beit Shammai again disagreed (Yev. 122a). When Jesus sided with SHAMMAI, it upset even his disciples who were accustomed to siding with Hillel (Matt. 19:10). Perhaps Isaiah 8:14 applies here: "he shall be for ... a rock of offense to BOTH the houses of Israel." (Hillel and Shammai)
Which Pharisees Believe That A Sinner is Only Liable For Evil Actions, not Evil Thoughts?
Some scholars think Jesus sided more with Shammai than Hillel when he taught that an evil INTENTION is tantamount to an evil ACT (Matt. 5:22,28). Jesus said, in effect, that "Whosoever HATETH his brother (without a cause -- Matt. 5:22) is a MURDERER" (1 John 3:15) and "Whosoever looketh on a (married) woman to LUST after her hath committed ADULTERY" (Matt. 5:28). In Mishnah, Baba Metzia 3:12 it is stated, "If one INTENDS (lit. "thinks") to convert a deposit to his own use, the School of Shammai says: He is LIABLE (for its value in case it is lost or damaged). And the School of Hillel says: He is NOT LIABLE until he has converted it" -- or done the ACT. But Jesus was saying he is LIABLE for his THOUGHTS TO GOD while Hillel and Shammai were debating whether he is LIABLE for his THOUGHTS TO MEN. A totally different matter. How could INTENT be established by MEN except through ACTIONS? Jesus cannot be construed as Shammaite.
Scholars also try to show that the demand for absolute truthfulness in James 5:12 and Matthew 5:37 is Shammaitic (see G.F. Moore Judaism 2:189). Moreover, the belief that angels are spiritual beings, not subject to human needs and passions (Mark 12:25, etc.) is a view more commonly held by Shammaites than Hillelites, most of whom thought of angels in quite anthropological terms (Finkelstein Pharisees, pp. 181-185). Finally, there is some evidence that the cleansing of the Temple, in so far as it reflects a hostility to the Temple dove-sellers, probably represents a Shammaitic bias (Kerithoth 1:7; Finkelstein Akiba p.50). But these are debatable issues.
In regard to Paul, it is argued that 1 Corinthians 3:15 is a parallel of the baraita in Rosh ha-Shanah 16b-17a and its parallel in Talmud Sanhedrin 13:3. In this baraita, Hillel and Shammai agreed that on Judgment Day the righteous gain eternal life and the wicked get Gehennah, but they differed on those who were in between. Hillel said God would give them grace but Shammai said they would go through the fire the way silver and gold are refined in Zechariah 13:9. Thus Paul uses SHAMMAITE arguments in 1Corinthians 3:15.
But in Romans 12:15 Paul says, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." He was quoting HILLEL because in Tosefta Berakhot 1:21 we read, "Hillel the elder said, "One should not ... weep in the presence of those who laugh, nor laugh in the presence of those who weep ... as it is written: "A time to weep and a time to laugh." (Eccl. 3:3). In 1 Corinthians 6:17 Paul says, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that is in you?" He was quoting HILLEL the elder here who considered bathing caring for the vessel containing the divine spirit (Lev. R. 34:3)
Did Jesus Obey The Talmud?
Of course the TALMUD was written down long after Jesus lived. However the oral laws or traditions that compose this book were in existence in Jesus' day. The Jews made "a FENCE around the Law" (Abot 1:1). They were finally put to writing as the MISHNAH in 220 A.D. and the two GEMARAS were added later, each of which with the MISHNAH equals a TALMUD -- the JERUSALEM TALMUD (4th century) and the BABYLONIAN TALMUD (5th century). Also the TOSEFTA (composed of 2nd and 3rd century codifications similar to the MISHNAH) and the HALAKHIC MIDRASHIM (Mekhilta on Exodus, Sifra on Leviticus, Sifrei on Numbers and Deuteronomy, all compiled in the fourth and fifth centuries) etcetera. The oral Torah ("TRADITIONS of the elders" -- Matt. 15:2; Mark 7:3) is, among other things, the authority of the courts that Deuteronomy 17:8-17 allows in "binding and loosing" grey areas (cp. Deut. 1:16-17 & 2 Chr. 19:8-10). Jesus reaffirmed this legitimate role of oral law when he said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. All, therefore, whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do" (Matt. 23:2-3).
Yes, Jesus OBEYED these oral traditions. For instance, the FOUR CUPS of WINE at Jesus' Passover meal (Luke 22;17,20; Mark 14:25) are nowhere found in the Old Testament scriptures but are mentioned in the Talmud (Mishnah Pesahim 10:7). The concept that CIRCUMCISION OVERRIDES the SABBATH to which Jesus referred (John 7:22-23) is nowhere found in the Old Testament scriptures but is mentioned in the Talmud (Shabbat 18:3). When Jesus used SPITTLE to CURE a man's BLINDNESS (Mark 8:23), this procedure is nowhere found in the Old Testament but is found in the Talmud. Spittle was commonly used to cure eye trouble (Sotah 16d; Baba Batra 126b). When Jesus told us to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39), he may have been quoting: "If you are struck you must forgive the offender even though he does not ask for your forgiveness" (Tractate Baba Qamma 9:29). When Jesus said, "Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst" (Matt. 18:20), he was not quoting from the Old Testament. Instead he may have been quoting from R. Hananya who said: "If TWO sit together and interchange the words of the Torah, the Shekhinah abides between them ... " (M. Avot 3:3). But R. Halafta the son of Dosa of the village of Hananya said: " And whence can it be shown that the same applies to THREE? Because it is said He judges among the judges (the minimum number of judges being three), whence can it be shown that the same applies to TWO? Because it is said, Then they that feared the Lord ... (Mal.3:16)" (Avot 3:7; See also ARN 8; B. Sanh. 39a; B. Ber. 5b; Orach Chaiim, 55). Jesus' teaching on VISITING the SICK (Matt. 25:44) is not found in the Old Testament but is found in the Talmud Shabbat 127a, Nedarim 40a and Ben Sira 7:35. Even when his disciples began plucking ears of grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-27) in violation of the Talmud (b. Sab. 73a-b), Jesus argues against this oral law by paraphrasing another oral law. Jesus said, "The SABBATH was MADE for MAN, not MAN for the SABBATH" (Mark 2:27). The Talmud says, "The SABBATH was GIVEN to YOU, but YOU were NOT GIVEN to the SABBATH" (Betzah 17). Jesus may have been paraphrasing Betsah 17 or a similar saying of R. Simeon ben Menasiah (Mek. Ex. 31:14; b. Yoma 85b). In Shab.128a we read, "Bundles which can be taken up with one hand may be handled on the Sabbath ... and he may break it with his hand and eat thereof" which is what Jesus' disciples were doing. In Matthew 12:5 Jesus used Rabbi Akiba's argument that "TEMPLE SERVICE takes precedence over Sabbath " (B. Shab. 132b; cf. also B. Yev. 7a). Also, "REGARD for LIFE overrules the Sabbath" (b. Yoma 85b). Moreover, in the case of any lingering doubt concerning the potential severity of an illness, legal presumption favors intervention and the Mishnah (Yoma 8:6) cites the principle: "Whenever there is doubt concerning LIFE being IN DANGER (the case discussed is a sore throat), this overrides the Sabbath." Otherwise you're guilty of murder. This explains why Jesus allowed his disciples to PLUCK GRAIN on the Sabbath. HUNGER also sets aside the ban on eating the Bread of Presence destined for priests only (Lev. 24:5-9; 1 Sam. 21:1-7) in the case of David and his hungry soldiers.
When Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of GOD, and HIS righteousness, and all these things (food and clothing) shall be added unto YOU" (Matt. 6:33), he was not quoting from the Old Testament. Instead, he may have been quoting the same Hillelite traditions as Gamaliel II later quoted when he said, "Do GOD'S will as if it were THY will, that He may do THY will as if it were HIS will" (Abot 2:4). When Jesus said "The LAW and the prophets were UNTIL John; since then the good news of the KINGDOM of GOD is preached" (Luke 16:16), he may have been paraphrasing Sanhedrin 97a which says: "The world is 6000 years. Two thousand are confusion, two thousand TORAH, two thousand days of the MESSIAH." He may have taken his teaching about being RECONCILED to a brother BEFORE OFFERING a gift (Matt. 5:23-24) from Bava Kama 9:12 & 110a which says, "He that OFFERS an oblation, NOT RESTORING that which he had unjustly taken away, does not do ... his duty." When Jesus said, "If you INSULT a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council" (Sanhedrin), he was not quoting from the Old Testament. Instead, he was paraphrasing the Talmud which states, "He who HUMILIATES his fellow in public, has no share in the world to come" (Baba Metzia 59a; Abot 3:15). When Jesus said, ""Whosoever looketh on a woman to LUST after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:28), he was not quoting from the Old Testament. Instead, he was quoting Talmud Berakhot 61a which says that a man who walks behind a woman crossing a stream has committed SIN since she may lift her dress to avoid getting wet. Jesus said,"Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father, who is in heaven, is PERFECT" (Matt. 5:48). This verse is similar to the Jewish principle: "just as HE IS, so should YOU (strive) TO BE" (Gen. R. 46; B. Ned. 32a; Tan. B. Gen. (40a); Jerus. Talmud Meg. 4:10, 75c (14); Targ. J. I Lev. 22:18). When Jesus said, "Blessed are you that WEEP now, for you shall LAUGH" (Luke 6:21), he may have been quoting R. Johanan who said, "It is FORBIDDEN that a man's mouth be filled with LAUGHTER in this world" (b. Ber. 31a). For many other Talmudic parallels to the sayings of Jesus, see A Rabbinic Commentary On The New Testament by Samuel Lachs. But Jesus went beyond merely quoting oral law. He said a number of times, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old ... but I SAY unto you" (Matt. 5:21,27,33,38,43). This was nothing short of creating his own oral law. "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 7:29) who merely quoted previous sages.
Did Jesus Ever Disobey The Talmud?
Hillel didn't refer to a TRADITION to prove a scriptural point. Instead he used HERMENEUTICAL RULES --logical principles of interpretation. "He sat and expounded to them the whole day long but they did not accept" HIS TEACHINGS. Finally Hillel added: "I have received this TRADITION from Shemaiah and Abtalion." That authority was accepted." (Yer. Pesahim33a) The midrash method, with its constant reference to the TEXT ITSELF, resulted in the elimination of any authority which did not have a RATIONAL examination. Jesus also rejected TRADITION in favor of SCRIPTURAL PROOF. "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 7:29) who merely quoted previous sages. The Shammai Pharisees asked Jesus why his disciples DISOBEYED the "TRADITION of the ELDERS". He answered, "Why do ye transgress the COMMANDMENT of GOD by YOUR TRADITION?" (Matt. 15:2-3; Mark 7:1-23). They added to or subtracted from the Bible (Deut. 4:2). In John 7:49 the Pharisees "cursed" the common people of the land who "knoweth not the (oral) law" and "believed on" Jesus. Jesus finally transferred halakhic authority to his disciples to be the oral law Torah interpreters for Christians (Matt. 18:18-20). Jesus said, "Whatsoever YOU bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). They usually bound Hillelite oral law. He said, "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Shammai represented established TRADITIONS), ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 5:20). Each disciple brings "forth out of his treasure things new (oral halakah) and old (Torah)" (Matt. 13:52).
In another instance, Jesus didn't forbid a WOMAN when "she rose and SERVED him" (Matt.8:15). But the Talmud says, "One must not be WAITED ON by a WOMAN" (b. Qid. 70a). When Jesus HEALED a suffering woman on the Sabbath, he said, "Doth not each one of you on the SABBATH LOOSE his OX or his ASS from the STALL, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath BOUND, lo, these eighteen years, be LOOSED from this BOND on the SABBATH DAY?" (Luke 13:15-16). Jesus was actually condemning the "traditions of the elders" (Talmud) here because the "TYING" and "LOOSENING" of a KNOT are FORBIDDEN WORK according to the Mishnah (Shab. 7:2) .
The Jews teach that the TALMUD was a "LAW given to MOSES at SINAI" (B.T. Berakot 5a; Shabbat 31a; Nedarim 37a & 38b; Rabbi Nathan 15:5:1; Mishnah Abot 1:1). Jesus called it the "TRADITIONS of MEN" (Mark 7:7-8) that make the LAW of GOD of "none effect" (Matt. 15:9). From the Talmud, Shabbat 15c and Baba Metzia 33A, R. Shimon ben Yohai says, "He who occupies himself with SCRIPTURE gains merit that is NO MERIT." "He who occupies himself with MISHNAH (Talmud) gains merit for which people receive a REWARD." Jews put the TALMUD on a higher level than SCRIPTURE. From Hagigah 1:7.V we read, "Some teachings were handed on ORALLY, and some things were handed on in WRITING ... we conclude that the ones that are handed on ORALLY are MORE PRECIOUS." "The Babylonian TALMUD represents GOD in the flesh" (Jacob Neusner, Rabbinic Judaism, p.62). They argue that the WRITTEN Torah was incomplete since Deuteronomy 12:21 says "SLAUGHTER ... as I have commanded thee" and only Mishnah Hullin tells us how to SLAUGHTER animals. And yet, the study of the uncensored Talmud by Gentiles was an offense punishable by DEATH until recently (Sanh. 59a).
To heal pleurisy ("catarrh") a Jew should "take the EXCREMENT of a white dog and knead it with balsam" (Gittin 69b). To heal his flesh a Jew should take DUST that lies within the shadow of an outdoor TOILET, mix with honey and EAT it (Gittin 69a). Whoever disobeys the rabbis deserves DEATH and will be punished by being BOILED in HELL (Erubin 21b). "The best of WOMEN are filled with WITCHCRAFT" (Soferim 15:7). "The more WIVES, the more WITCHCRAFT" (Mishnah Abot 2:7). WOMEN are a "VALUELESS treasure" (Sanhedrin 100b) and "DUNG" (Shabbat 152b) and "MEAT from a butcher shop" (Nedarim 20b). Talmudic study for WOMEN is banned (Kiddushin 29b). Sexual intercourse between Eve and the serpent produced Cain (Yevamoth 103b). "Even the best of the GENTILES should all be KILLED" (Soferim 15, Rule 10). Berakoth 58a twists Ezekiel 23:20 to teach that GENTILES are SUB-HUMAN while Baba Mezia 114b, Yevamoth 61a, and Kerithoth 6b twist Ezekiel 34:31 to teach that ONLY JEWS are HUMAN. God says, "Ye shall not ADD unto the WORD which I command you, neither shall ye DIMINISH ought from it" (Deut. 4:2). But the oral law TRADITIONS of the Pharisees did just that which is why the Greek word for "TRADITION" adds up to 666.
Paul said, "I have committed nothing against the ... CUSTOMS of our FATHERS" -- Strong's #1485 "ethos" meaning "a usage (prescribed by habit or law) custom, manner." Paul was a fully-observant Hillelite Pharisee taught by Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel. He and Silas "teach CUSTOMS" ("ethos") (Acts 16:21) which is the same word. HILLELITE oral law. The false rumor was that Paul taught Jews who are among Gentiles "to forsake Moses" (613 written laws) and not "walk after the customs" (Halachah of oral laws -- Mishnah) (Acts 21:21). The truth was that Paul "WALKEST ORDERLY" (keeps the oral law Halachah) and keepest the law (613 laws of Moses)" (Acts 21:24) -- Strong's #4748 "stoicheo" meaning "to march in rank; keep step." HALACHAH comes from the Hebrew word "holech" which means "to walk." Therefore "HALACHAH" means "how one walks." Each separate group had a court and HALACHAH: Zealots, Essenes, Saduccees, Hillelites and Shammaites. In Acts 15:13-21 we find James, as the Nassi, setting forth the HALACHAH. Paul walked in the HILLELITE HALACHAH or ORAL LAW. He says, "Keep the ORDINANCES as I delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2) -- Strong's #3862 "paradosis" meaning "transmission; a precept; specifically the Jewish traditional law; ordinance, tradition. Paul also says, "I was zealous of the TRADITIONS ("paradosis") of my FATHERS" (Gal. 1:14), same word. Paul said, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the TRADITIONS ("paradosis") which ye have been taught" (2 Th. 2:15). Same word again. HILLELITE ORAL LAW otherwise known as the TALMUD -- excluding unbiblical commands.
Paul strictly obeyed Jewish law (Acts 26:5). He said, "I AM a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee" (Acts 23:6). He did not say, "I WAS a Pharisee." Paul studied under the head of the Sanhedrin (the highest court in Judea) "brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3). Paul was probably a member of the Sanhedrin since it was the responsibility of the members of the Sanhedrin to witness public stonings and Paul was present at Stephen's stoning in an OFFICIAL capacity (Acts 7:58). Paul mentions that he was given "AUTHORITY" from the chief priests and he says, "I gave my voice (he cast his VOTE) against them" (Acts 26:10).
But did Paul ever DISAGREE with the Talmud? Paul taught that "elders," (Tit. 1:6), "deacons," (1 Tim. 3:12) and even a "bishop must be ... the husband of ONE WIFE" (1 Tim. 3:2) whereas Sanhedrin 20b & 21a allow 18, 24 or 48 wives.
Nowhere in the Torah are men told to COVER their heads. But in the Talmud there are statements that some righteous men refused to walk more than six feet without COVERING their heads (Shabbat 118b and Kiddushin 29b). Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac's mother told him, "COVER your head so that the fear of heaven will always be on you" (Shabbat 156b). The Maharal (Responsa Number 7) makes it clear that a KIPPAH or YARMULKAH is just a custom, a minhag. Any minhag that has been done by Israel for more than two hundred years is treated as if it is a rabbinic law. There is no biblical proof for wearing a head COVERING in the synagogue but many Jews do it because the High Priest wore a head COVERING when officiating in the sanctuary. Therefore they feel that they should wear a KIPPAH or YARMULKAH when praying. Jews want to avoid walking in the ways of the Gentiles and since the Gentiles pray with their heads UNCOVERED, they reason that they should pray the opposite way. But Paul said, "Every man praying or prophesying, having his head COVERED, dishonoureth his head" (1 Cor. 11:4). He was referring to the KIPPAH and the TALLITH which Jews sometimes use to COVER their heads. The Jewish women always wore -- and still do -- a head COVERING in the synagogue. Paul agreed with this Jewish custom in 1 Corinthians 11:5-6. Now since Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1), we can be confident that Paul would not have condemned a practice that Jesus obeyed. Therefore, Jesus didn't wear a kippah.
In contrast with the Bible, the Talmud, influenced by Hellenism, contains explanations and stories and even descriptions of the IMMORTAL SOUL. It also teaches ASTROLOGY. The time, day and date upon which a person is born has an important influence on his destiny (Shab. 156a; Niddah 16b). The "MAZAL TOV" greeting actually means "May you have a fortunate CONSTELLATION." Later Jewish mystical literature, the Kabbala, even goes so far as to teach REINCARNATION (transmigration of souls), which is basically an ancient Hindu teaching. In Israel today, this is widely accepted as a Jewish teaching, and it also plays an important role in Hasidic belief and literature. However the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead is also taught in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1) and was included as the last of Maimonides' thirteen principles of faith. The Zohar calls JESUS a "DEAD DOG" (3:282a). The Kabbala contains NUMEROLOGY, BLACK MAGIC, SORCERY, and DEMONOLOGY. The use of INCANTATIONS, AMULETS and good luck CHARMS to cast spells is practiced by certain Rabbis. But evil spirits are an abomination to Yahweh (Lev. 19:31; 20:6; 27; Deut. 18:10-12; 1 Sam. 15:23; 1 Chr. 10:13-14; Ps. 5:4-6). Each year the FAST of TAMMUZ is celebrated from the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Ab. Section CXXIV of theSchulchan Aruch tells Jews how: "In the evening all enter the synagogue ... All should be SEATED on the ground, and only a few lights are lit just sufficient to enable them to say LAMENTATIONS ... in a low tone with a WEEPING intonation." Ezekiel said, "there SAT women WEEPING for TAMMUZ" in the Temple and he called it a "wicked abomination" (Ez. 8:9,14). In Sanhedrin 64b we read, "If one causes all his SEED to pass through the FIRE to MOLECH, he is EXEMPT from PUNISHMENT" but Leviticus 20:2 says, "Whosoever ... giveth of his SEED unto MOLECH, he shall surely be put to DEATH." The Talmud is steeped in the Kabbala. The Kabbala is paralleled in eastern YOGA. But Paul said we should NOT give 'heed to JEWISH FABLES, and COMMANDMENTS of MEN, that TURN from the TRUTH" (Titus 1:14).
Shabbat 116a says, "The BOOKS of the MINIM (the New Testament of Christians) may not be saved from a FIRE, but they must be BURNT." Those who READ the NEW TESTAMENT ("uncanonical books") will have no portion in the world to come (Sanhedrin 90a). MINIM (Christians) who reject the TALMUD will go to HELL (Rosh Hashanah 17a). Maimonides Mishnah Torah, chapter 10, page 184 says, "It is a mitzvah, however, to eradicate ... MINIM ... since they ... sway the people away from God, as did JESUS of Nazareth ... and Tzadok" (who obeyed the Old Testament but disobeyed the Talmud).
There are 350 disputes between Beth Hillel and Beth Shammai recorded in the Talmud. Shammaites objected to the way Hillelites derived halakah from scripture (Y Pesahim 6:1). Hillel reasoned using 1.) "small to large" and the other way around, 2.) using a clear text to interpret an unclear one, 3.) "particular to general" logic, 4.) explaining the meaning of a word in one passage by how that word is used in another unrelated passage and 5.) using context to interpret unclear areas. Hillel adopted these hermeneutical principles of interpretation in an attempt to reconcile the Sadducees (who rejected oral law altogether) with the Pharisees (who in Hillel's case accepted only oral law backed by the Bible). But Shammaites opposed Sadducees and accepted all tradition. Jesus opposed the Shammaite method (Mark 7:7). Only very few of the names of the Rabbis are known who formed the two schools. Some of Hillel's followers were called by the title Rabbi, but none of Shammai's. Hillel himself had no title of "Rabbi." Thus Jesus may have been urging Hillelites to follow the example of their leader when he said, "Be not ye called Rabbi" (Matt. 23:8) rather than telling them to follow Shammai. Yohanan ben Zakkai (who established the Sanhedrin in Jabneh), Gamaliel (Paul's teacher), Gamaliel II, R. Joshua, R. Akiba and Jonathan ben Uzziel (Sukkah 28) were Hillelites. R. Eliezer was a Shammaite. God favored Hillel over Shammai (Erubin 13).
Jesus condemned the Pharisees in Matthew 23:5 by saying, "But all their works they do to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and ENLARGE the borders (TASSELS) of their garments." T.B. Menahot 41b says, "How many threads must one insert? Beth Shammai say, FOUR; but Beth Hillel say, THREE. And how far must they hang down? Beth Shammai say FOUR (fingerbreadths); but Beth Hillel say THREE (fingerbreadths)." Jesus sided with Hillel's view that to insert THREE threads into the hole at each corner of the garment, and then doubling them in the middle so that six hang down, with THREE fingerbreadths of loose thread after the windings and knots, is sufficient. Furthermore, Hillel agreed with Jesus by saying, "He who makes a WORLDLY use of the crown of the Torah shall waste away" (Aboth 1:13).
Which Pharisees Disliked Using Scented Oil?
In Berakoth 43b we read, "Beth Hillel ... (before going out) ... smears it (oil perfumed with myrtle) on the head of the attendant; and if the attendant is a man of learning, he smears it on the wall, since it is UNBECOMING for a SCHOLAR to go abroad SCENTED." Hillelites were for simplicity of life and the COMMON MAN and disliked the frivolous aristocracy who would anoint themselves with scented oil. R. Yohanan b. Zakkai, the famous disciple of Hillel, explained Eccl. 9:8, "Let thy garment be always white, and let not thy head lack ointment" to symbolize the keeping of the Law, the practice of good deeds and the study of the Torah (Koh. R. a.1.) -- not going around perfumed. Essenes regarded oil as defiling (War 2:8:3). If any Essene was anointed against his will, he would wipe it off. Essenes held an uncouth appearance to be a good thing. Jesus disciples also avoided perfumed oil. In Matthew 26:7-9 "There came unto him (Jesus) a woman having an alabaster box of very precious OINTMENT and poured it on his head (Jesus was a SCHOLAR), as he sat at meat ("and the house was filled with the odor" -- John12:3). But when his disciples saw it, they had INDIGNATION, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the POOR." But Jesus was an exception since it was for his burial.
Which Pharisees Built Their Own Succahs?
According to Hillelites, the Succah obligation consists mainly in "sitting" and consuming meals there, not building one yourself (TB Succ. 27a; Succ. 2:7; M. Suc. 1:1). A friend may build the Succah and you share it. Shammaites require a change of habitation which implies erecting a new habitation. Shammai cut a hole in the roof of a house and put branches over it for a baby too young to change habitations (M. Succ. 2:8; TB 28b). We know from Matthew 17:4 that Peter offered to build three succahs for his friends, implying the Hillelite method, but this scripture is not conclusive proof of either way.
Which Pharisees Allowed Showers Instead Of Ritual Bathing?
"One can take a ritual bath in a water fall, according to the opinion of the Shammaites; the Hillelites do not permit it" (M. Miqvaoth 5:6; Tosephta Miqvaoth 4:10). The teaching of Hillel and the New Testament is immersion: "Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straightway out of the water" (Matt. 3:16). The Greek word "baptizo" means "immerse." Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water (Acts 8:38). John baptized around Aenon near Jerusalem "because there was much water there" (John 3:23). Baptism is a burial and rising from the grave (Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3-5).
Which Pharisees Didn't Worry About Tomorrow?
Hillel was noted for being satisfied with his lot and he was in the habit of saying: "Blessed be God for this day." He was never worried over what the following day might bring and taught the members of his household to feel likewise. "It once happened with Hillel the elder that he was coming from a journey, and he heard a great cry in the city, and he said: I am confident that this does not come from my house. Of him scripture says: He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord" (Ps. 112:7)." (Berakoth 60a). He had faith that God would protect his family. Several generations after Hillel, the teaching of his school was summed up by R. Eleazar ben Azariah (ca. 100 CE) in these words: "Whoever has sufficient food for the day and says,'What shall I eat tomorrow?' is lacking in faith" (Mekilta Beshallah, Masseket Vayyassa',ch.2, p. 161). Jesus agreed with Hillel when he said, "Take no thought (be not anxious) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on ... For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is its own evil" (Matt. 6:34). But Shammai taught that since the Sabbath is the most important day of the week, every Jew should prepare for it as if preparing for a prince. Beginning on Sunday he would therefore search for the best things and reserve them for the Sabbath. He never permitted good food to be served at his table on a weekday unless he had better food prepared for the Sabbath (Bezah 16a).
"It is enough for a disciple to be as his master" (b. Ber. 58b; Matt. 10:25) "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Sot. 1:7; Matt. 7:2). "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (b. Ber. 9b; Matt. 6:34). "Physician, heal thyself" (Ber. R. 23:4; Luke 4:23). "I am first ... I am last" (Shemot Rabbah 29:5; Rev. 1:11).
"As for the world beyond the grave, no eye hath seen, and no ear hath heard, but God alone knows what he hath prepared for those who wait for Him" (Berakot 34b; 1 Cor. 2:9). "In Paradise there will be reserved for the righteous a sumptuous banquet, at which the huge leviathan, the mystical fish, will be the principal dish" (B. Batra 74b-75a; Mt. 24:28). "Rab used to say: "The World-to-Come is not like this world. In the World-to-Come there is no eating and drinking, no begetting of children, no bargaining, no jealousy and hatred, and no strife. But the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads, enjoying the effulgence of the Shekinah" (Berakot 17a; Mark 12:25). "Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar said, 'Didst thou ever see any animal or bird exercise any trade or handicraft and yet they are maintained without trouble or care; they were created to serve me; would it not follow, that I, who was created for the sole purpose of worshipping my Creator, should also find my maintenance without trouble, if it were not that, through my evil conduct, I have forfeited my maintenance'" (Kedushin 4:14; Matt. 6:26). "Let therefore one new regulation be subjected to conclusions drawn from another new regulation; but let not a new regulation be subjected to conclusions drawn from an old established regulation" (Yadaim 4:3; Matt. 9:17). "It were good ... that you vow not at all" (Hullin 2:17; Matt. 5:34). "Be you guilty or innocent, do not swear" (Jer. Shebuoth 6:6, 37a; Matt. 5:34). "He who has compassion upon men, upon him God has compassion" (Sabbath 151b). Matt. 6:14). "The Law said it is better that one life should be lost and that the many lives should not be lost" (Midrash Tannaim 21:21; John 11:50). "(It is like) one to whom there fell in inheritance a residence in a sea-port city and he sold it for a small sum and the purchaser went and dug through it and found in it treasures of silver and treasures of gold and precious stones and pearls. The seller almost choked. So did Egypt because they sent away (Israel) and did not know what they sent away" (Mekilta 14:5; Matt. 13:44). "Whoever receives the Sages is as if he received the Shekinah" (Mekilta 18:12; Mt. 10:40). "He who humiliates his fellow in public has no share in the world to come" (T. Baba Metzia 59a; Matt. 5:21-22). "If a woman will not consent to her husband (to have sex) he may reduce her Ketubah by seven denars for every week ... So too if a husband will not consent to his wife, her Ketubah may be increased by three denars a week" (M. Ket. 5:7; 1 Cor. 7:3-4). "And so the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, "My children, whenever you feed the poor I count it up for you as if you fed me" (Midrash Tannaim 15:9; Matt. 25:35,40). "If they believed Moses a fortiori (they believed) the Lord" Mekilta 14:31; John 5:46). "There was a chamber for secret almsgiving wherein pious men put gifts for the nourishing of the deserving poor" (Shekalim 5:6; Matthew 6:3). "The best of physicians is destined for Gehinnom" (Kedushin 4:14; Mark 5:25-26). "He (the High Priest on Yom Kippur) ... offered a shorter prayer in the outer house, and he did not prolong his prayer, lest he should excite terror in Israel" (lest they think he had been killed by God) (Yoma 5:1; Luke 1:21). "Be not righteous overmuch" (Eccl. 7:16) means "Be not more righteous than thy Maker" (B.T. Yoma 22b & R. Eliezer ch.44) when Saul failed to exterminate the Amalekites."Let your speech be yea, yea; nay, nay" (Torath Kohanim 91b; commenting on Lev. 19:36). Jesus also said this (Matt. 5:37).
"Be not righteous overmuch" (Eccl. 7:16) means "Be not more righteous than thy Maker" (B.T. Yoma 22b & R. Eliezer ch.44) when Saul failed to exterminate the Amalekites."Let your speech be yea, yea; nay, nay" (Torath Kohanim 91b; commenting on Lev. 19:36). Jesus also said this (Matt. 5:37).
"Take a place in the lecture room two or three rows behind that to which the order of precedence would entitle you" (Abot de R. Nathan ch. 25). Jesus said, "sit down in the lowest room that, when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher" (Luke 14:10).
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