[b-hebrew] OT: a link about Modern Hebrew

VC vadim_lv at center-tv.net
Thu Jun 10 02:08:22 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,

The concept of messiah is virtually absent from Torah. There is a promise to
Moses, but "like you" is hardly a status most Christians require for Jesus;
besides, the word is probably in plural.
I fail to see messianic reference in Deut30:3; besides, the concept of New
Israel, required to apply this promise to gentiles, is still required - and
it is not there in Torah, but somehow derived from Nakh.
The story of Balaam is probably an insert, as you know, but I'm not sure
that there are two people implied, not David. You just presume that the
anointed king is a different fellow, not just another title.
The fact that several commandments probably remained undone is not an
implication that they will be realized in future. In fact, Christians
introduced the concept of outdated commandments. But, to tell the truth,
many commandments are practically unrealizable, especially in the sphere of
rituals. For example, cannot kill a sheep from every Israelite family in the
given time span of festivals.

We know that Zaddukis dominated the Temple (at least, since the expulsion of
Qumranites, if we take this story for the face value) and Pharisees appeared
lately, and were innovators. So we have good reasons to believe that Judaism
as religion originally did not put much stock in Nakh. Therefore, there were
none messianic substantiations.

Sure enough, there was folk lore expecting messiah. This may be compared to
folk stories of Christians (such as those assembled in the Golden Legend
book). Same as Christian theologians do not take these stories seriously,
neither we can take Jewish Nakh-messianic lore.

As for your appeal to Maimonides, he was writing with Pharisaic tradition,
and necessarily constrained by it. Like Philo, he spent a large part of his
efforts for futile attempt of reconciling irreconcillable.

You are speaking in vain of rabbi Akiva. As far as we can imagine, he did
not have another choice if Judaism was to be preserved, not dissipated.
And well, if messiah for you is a military leader smashing gentile nations,
I wonder what he has to do with Jesus.


Vadim Cherny

> >Now we fully switched to the issues of faith, and the discussion becomes
> >meaningless. One can believe in Las Vegas jackpot as well.
> >I take Nakh for saga. You take it for prophecy. Jewish folks probably
> >believed in messianic fables. The knowledgeable priests certainly did
> >We can see prophecies in War and Peace.
> >Let's better talk of grammar, if we can dissect it from the doctrine.
> HH: Faith, however, is central to the Bible. And this is B-Hebrew, a
> biblical Hebrew site. Not all Jews adhere to the Bible, and of those
> who honor the Bible, not all believe in the Messiah. However, it is a
> belief derived from the Bible and one of the points of doctrine of
> Orthodox Judaism. How do you know that knowledgeable priests did not
> believe in a Messiah?  Maimonides lists belief in the Messiah as one
> of the thirteen principles of faith, and he is considered a fount of
> Orthodox thinking:
> --------------------------------------------
> Maimonides Page
> Some years ago, Immanuel O'Levy posted his own translation of the
> first book of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, the Code of Jewish Law: the
> Book of Knowledge. It is a fundamental work of Jewish philosophy by
> one of the greatest thinkers in Jewish history.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> HH: Here are a few more comments from another web site:
> Jewish Messiah
> In Hebrew the messiah is often referred to as Melekh HaMoshiach,
> literally "Anointed King."
> Christianity as we have come to know it emerged from Judaism in the
> first century of the Common Era. The first Christians were Jews, and
> likely subscribed to Jewish beliefs and practices common at the time.
> Among these was a belief that a messiah-a descendant of King
> David-would restore the monarchy and Jewish independence.
> Jewish theology
> The view of Maimonides
> The predominant Jewish understanding of moschiach ("the messiah") is
> based on the writings of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, better known as
> Maimonides, or the Rambam. His views on the messiah are discussed in
> his Mishneh Torah, his 14 volume compendium of Jewish law, in the
> section Hilkhot Melakhim Umilchamoteihem, chapter 11. Maimonides
> writes:
> The anointed King ("HaMelekh HaMoshiach") is destined to stand up and
> restore the Davidic Kingdom to its antiquity, to the first
> sovereignty. He will build the Temple in Jerusalem and gather the
> strayed ones of Israel together. All laws will return in his days as
> they were before: Sacrificial offerings are offered and the
> Sabbatical years and Jubilees are kept, according to all its precepts
> that are mentioned in the Torah. Whoever does not believe in him, or
> whoever does not wait for his coming, not only does he defy the other
> prophets, but also the Torah and our Rabbi Moses. For the Torah
> testifies about him, thus: "And the Lord Your God will return your
> returned ones and will show you mercy and will return and gather
> you... If your strayed one shall be at the edge of Heaven... And He
> shall bring you" etc. (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).
> These words that are explicitly stated in the Torah, encompass and
> include all the words spoken by all the prophets. In the section of
> Torah referring to Bala'am, too, it is stated, and there he
> prophesied about the two anointed ones: The first anointed one is
> David, who saved Israel from all their oppressors; and the last
> anointed one will stand up from among his descendants and saves
> Israel in the end. This is what he says (Numbers 24:17-18): "I see
> him but not now" - this is David; "I behold him but not near" - this
> is the Anointed King. "A star has shot forth from Jacob" - this is
> David; "And a brand will rise up from Israel" - this is the Anointed
> King. "And he will smash the edges of Moab" - This is David, as it
> states: "...And he struck Moab and measured them by rope" (II Samuel
> 8:2); "And he will uproot all Children of Seth" - this is the
> Anointed King, of whom it is stated: "And his reign shall be from sea
> to sea" (Zechariah 9:10). "And Edom shall be possessed" - this is
> David, thus: "And Edom became David's as slaves etc." (II Samuel
> 8:6); "And Se'ir shall be possessed by its enemy" - this is the
> Anointed King, thus: "And saviors shall go up Mount Zion to judge
> Mount Esau, and the Kingdom shall be the Lord's" (Obadiah 1:21).
> And by the Towns of Refuge it states: "And if the Lord your God will
> widen up your territory... you shall add on for you another three
> towns" etc. (Deuteronomy 19:8-9). Now this thing never happened; and
> the Holy One does not command in vain. But as for the words of the
> prophets, this matter needs no proof, as all their books are full
> with this issue.
> Do not imagine that the anointed King must perform miracles and signs
> and create new things in the world or resurrect the dead and so on.
> The matter is not so: For Rabbi Akiba was a great scholar of the
> sages of the Mishnah, and he was the assistant-warrior of the king
> Ben Coziba, and claimed that he was the anointed king. He and all the
> Sages of his generation deemed him the anointed king, until he was
> killed by sins; only since he was killed, they knew that he was not.
> The Sages asked him neither a miracle nor a sign...
> And if a king shall stand up from among the House of David, studying
> Torah and indulging in commandments like his father David, according
> to the written and oral Torah, and he will coerce all Israel to
> follow it and to strengthen its weak points, and will fight Hashem's
> wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one. If he
> succeeded {and won all nations surrounding him. Old prints and mss.}
> and built a Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the strayed
> ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain,
> and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it
> is stated: "For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue, to
> call all in the Name of the Lord and to worship Him with one
> shoulder" (Zephaniah 3:9).
> [Added from mss.:]
> But if he did not succeed until now, or if he was killed, it becomes
> known that he is not this one of whom the Torah had promised us, and
> he is indeed like all proper and wholesome kings of the House of
> David who died. The Holy One, Blessed Be He, only set him up to try
> the public by him, thus: "And from the seekers of wisdom there shall
> stumble, to purify among them and to clarify and to brighten until
> the time of the ending, for there is yet to the set time" (Daniel
> 11:35).
> The messiah in Orthodox Judaism
> Most Orthodox Jews hold that Jews are obligated to accept
> Maimonides's 13 Principles of Faith; most have an unwavering belief
> in the coming of the messiah. Hasidic Jews also claim to adhere to
> Maimonides's writings, but an analysis of Hasidic writings show that
> although they agree with Maimonides that there will be a human
> messiah, Hasidic views of the messiah often posit that he will
> perform supernatural miracles.
> The messiah in Conservative Judaism
> Emet Ve-Emunah, the Conservative movement's statement of principles,
> Since no one can say for certain what will happen in the Messianic
> era each of us is free to fashion personal speculation. Some of us
> accept these speculations are literally true, while others understand
> them as elaborate metaphors....For the world community we dream of an
> age when warfare will be abolished, when justice and compassion will
> be axioms of all, as it is said in Isaiah 11: "...the land shall be
> filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the
> sea."For our people, we dream of the ingathering of all Jews to Zion
> where we can again be masters of our own destiny and express our
> distinctive genius in every area of our national life. We affirm
> Isaiah's prophecy (2:3) that "...Torah shall come forth from Zion,
> the word of the Lord from Jerusalem".
> We do not know when the Messiah will come, nor whether he will be a
> charismatic human figure or is a symbol of the redemption of
> humankind from the evils of the world. Through the doctrine of a
> Messianic figure, Judaism teaches us that every individual human
> being must live as if he or she, individually, has the responsibility
> to bring about the messianic age. Beyond that, we echo the words of
> Maimonides based on the prophet Habakkuk (2:3) that though he may
> tarry, yet do we wait for him each day.
> The messiah in Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism
> Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism generally do not accept
> the idea that there will be a messiah. Some believe that there may be
> a messianic age, which all Jews are obligated to work towards.
> HH: The main point is that if the Tanakh describes a Messiah, then
> there is one in the Hebrew Bible, whether or not any particular
> person believes that there is a Messiah. I was giving you evidence
> that there is such a figure in the Book of Isaiah. I gave evidence to
> back up my conclusion from the beliefs of Israelites in the first
> century. I claimed that many other books in the Tanakh mention the
> same figure.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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