[b-hebrew] TORATI in Jer 31:33: Is it the Mosaic Torah?

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Mon Oct 1 09:17:11 EDT 2007


Oh, good grief

There is ONLY one Torah!

No one, not G-d nor anyone in the Torah, ever said or implied otherwise.

Contemplating the idea that there is "another" Torah, is a huge 
misunderstanding of Torah.


Partially quoting from Rabbi Tovia Singer:

Jeremiah is referring to a future Messianic age when the entire 
Jewish people -- both Judah and Israel -- will be restored together 
in their rightful place, the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:15-22).  This 
will be realized during an epoch of the universal knowledge of God.  
It will occur when no one will have to teach his neighbor about God, 
"for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest 
of them . . . ."  when Israel will never again be exiled from their 
land.

The Hebrew word bris (covenant) in Jeremiah 31:31 does not mean a 
Bible or refer to a new salvation program or Torah.  The word bris 
always refers to a promise or a contract.  This covenant was made 
with the Jewish people while they were still in the desert before 
they were brought into the Promised Land.

In the 28th and 29th chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses told the children 
of Israel that if they remained faithful to God in the land they were 
about to enter then the Almighty would bestow upon them manifold 
blessings and they would flourish in the Holy Land.  On the other 
hand, if they backslid and turned away from the Lord, they would be 
driven out of Israel into a bitter exile in the land of their 
enemies.  We are all familiar with the events that followed when the 
Jewish people broke their side of the covenant and they were sent 
into diaspora.

These four verses in Jeremiah 31:31-34 are part of an ongoing theme 
repeated throughout the Book of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah's unique literary 
motif is to contrast the redemption of the children of Israel from 
Egypt with their final redemption in the messianic age -- always 
vividly illustrating how the latter will far outshine the former.  In 
Jeremiah 23:7-8, the prophet makes this clear when he proclaims,

Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when men shall 
no longer say, "As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel 
out of the land of Egypt," but, "as the Lord lives who brought up and 
led the descendants of the house of Israel out of the north country 
and out of all the countries where He had driven them."  Then they 
shall dwell in their own land.

In the 31st chapter of the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet continues to 
contrast the exodus from Egypt with the messianic age.  He therefore 
foretells that unlike the exodus from Egypt when the Jewish people 
were brought into the land of Israel only to be exiled centuries 
later because they broke their original covenant as a result of their 
faithlessness, in the messianic age, the Jewish people will enter 
into a "new covenant" when they will be permanently restored to their 
land, never to be exiled again.

As was declared by every prophet, the covenant that God has with the 
Jewish people is eternal. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed this vow more 
than 2,700 years ago,

"With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with 
everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the Lord, your 
Redeemer.  "This is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have 
sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so 
have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.  The 
mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness 
shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be 
removed," says the Lord, Who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:8-10)

Torati is just that - "My Torah" - not a new Torah, not a different 
Torah, but MY (same) Torah

Shoshanna




Karl wrote:-

>My question: is this the same Torah? This is the reason I raised the
>issue of theological vs. secular meanings of "Torah". If the
>theological reading is the correct one, then yes, it is the same
>Torah. If the secular meaning is what is correct, then it could very
>well be a new teaching. While I am leaning towards the latter, you're
>right, the theological meaning could be right. This is one where we
>need to ask Jeremiah for clarification, or just say that we don't have
>enough information and agree to disagree.

The plain reading is that it is the same torah. If someone wants to
read it otherwise then they need to make the case that it is a different
torah. That last sentence is pretty lame. The text does not support
your interpretation so you retreat into ``we can't know''. End of
conversation.

Gary wrote:-

>It's interesting to note that some traditional ancient and medieval
>Jewish sources allowed for the possibility of a new Torah, or a new Law,
>that the Messiah would introduce upon his arrival.

Medieval interpreters aren't going to be helpful in determining the
original meaning of the text, which in this case is rather plain. The
question one must ask about these ``ancient'' sources is how ancient are
they? Are they contemporaneous with Jeremiah and hence useful for making
the case that the idea of a new torah was current in his time? Or are they
also just later interpretations?

Gary further wrote:-

>In Orthodox Judaism, Torah is generally thought of as eternal

That's because you can't find the idea of a new torah in any
of the cannonical Hebrew texts. (Any of our Jewish friends care
to comment?) If you go to the interpretive
literature you can find just about any idea you want. But you
should not read back into the texts themselves ideas from
later interpreters where the texts clearly do not support their
interpretations.

Bill Rea, ICT Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                </   New
Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332        /)  Zealand
Unix Systems Administrator                    (/'

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