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Judaism at the Crossroads, at the Final Parting of the Ways


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Judaism at the Crossroads, at the Final Parting of the Ways

The Social Laws and Social System which Jews have to Follow

Jews have to follow and live according to the Pentateuch's laws. At issue are the laws of behaviour and the social system which are laid down in the Pentateuch (Torah, Five Books of Moses):

The Pentateuch states that all are equal, that no person may oppress or exploit another, that all have the right to be free and be independent masters of their own fate.

Every person is entitled as a matter of right to social security. This means that people are entitled to be supported by the community not only when they fall on hard times but also to maintain their independence as independent breadwinners for their families.

For example, the community has to provide backup funds to those who need them and they have to be provided as and when required. To prevent people being exploited through their need these funds have to be provided without charging interest and such 'loans' are cancelled every seventh year if the borrower has been unable to repay them.

Those in authority must not oppress people so as to increase their own possessions and power, are warned against oppressing people, must not be promiscuous and must not amass wealth. The role of those who are rich is seen to be that of administering their wealth and money on behalf of and for the community and not that of enriching themselves at the expense of the community.

The Pentateuch states the Ten Commandments, the social laws and the social system laws and states in religious language the unavoidable consequences of either following or else rejecting these laws. But the Pentateuch also states that this is a scientific Cause-and-effect relationship, lists causes and effects and states that the effects are reversible dependent on how people behave.

The laws of the Pentateuch have to be followed and applied by Jews as a matter of law in their daily lives.

However, it was such laws of behaviour and such social system laws which the rich simply did not want to apply and they, the rich and powerful, had the application of the laws changed to suit themselves.

The Talmud's Record of Changing Beliefs and Practices

The Jewish establishment (secular and religious) had been and was changing the application of the laws of the Pentateuch so that 'the law was becoming like two laws'. The Talmud was then written to record what was happening so that future generations would become aware of the course of events and of who had been doing what to whom. They also wanted future generations to learn from the lessons of the past so as to be able to reverse the tragedy of the destruction of the country, of Jerusalem, of the people.

But by the time the writing of the Talmud was finished, the actual message had been buried in a mass of stories and arguments. From that time onwards the essential core legislation of the Pentateuch had been negated and bypassed and buried under arguments about many subjects.

The Talmud is part of Jewish religious teachings, is frozen (has not been changed) but its real underlying meaning and message are kept hidden, are not known, understood or taught by today's religious or secular Jewish establishments.


The Talmud tells how Hillel gained a following and took control, how he changed Jewish belief and practice on behalf of the Jewish establishment. We are told what he did and how he did it, and that he did so

  1. because he was taught by Shemaiah and Avtalyon, and
  2. that he took over from the Bene Bathyra, having
  3. persuaded them to hand over by using abstract rules of logic and association for interpreting the law.

1.   Shemaiah and Avtalyon: Enemies of the Jewish People

This example from the Talmud illustrates rather beautifully how opposites are used forcefully and convincingly to make a specific point which would have been unacceptable to the religious establishment if it had been openly stated. We are told that

  • "Naaman was a resident alien.
  • Nebuzaradan was a righteous proselyte,
  • the descendants of Sisera studied Torah (the Pentateuch) in Jerusalem;
  • the descendants of Sennacherib taught Torah to the multitude; who were these? - Shemaiah and Avtalyon.
  • The descendants of Haman studied Torah at Bene Berak."

Here we are told of great and famous people serving God, studying and teaching the Pentateuch and its laws, serving God and people. Or so it may appear at first glance.

We know next to nothing about Shemaiah and Avtalyon, but all the other people mentioned here are among the worst enemies of the Jewish people. Nebuzaradan, for example, was captain of the guard of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and commanded the forces which burned down Jerusalem and destroyed the first Temple.

In this way the Talmud records what would have been unacceptable to the religious establishment at that time, namely that Shemaiah and Avtalyon are among the worst and most destructive enemies of the Jewish people and that Hillel followed and applied their teachings.

2.   Bene Bathyra: Sons or Children of the Covenant

We saw already that the Talmud counts Shemaiah and Avtalyon among the worst and most destructive enemies of the Jewish people, representing those who wish to oppress and exploit. And Hillel told the Bene Bathyra that he ruled over them because he had served Shemaiah and Avtalyon, while they (the Bene Bathyra) had dared not to serve them.

The Bene Bathyra, the sons or children of Bathyra, of those who are doing the cutting (circumcision), who are carrying out the Brit, the sons or children of the Covenant. In other words, those who follow and apply the social laws and social system of the Pentateuch in their daily lives.

3.   'Interpreting' the Pentateuch's Social Laws and Social System

The law was apparently being decided according to the Pentateuch and in line with its intent.

But then the establishment's use of abstract rules of logic and association for interpreting the law resulted in laws which were unrelated to, perhaps even outside or opposed to, the meaning of the original text of the Pentateuch. In this way controversy increased in Israel. As the followers of Hillel increased in number, so controversy increased in Israel.

Hillel's Prosbul

Hillel's ruling 'Prosbul' was annulled in 1994.

Sources with Short Descriptions

Title   Description
The God-given Human Rights, Social Laws and Social System   A comprehensive statement of the God-given human rights which underlie all freedom, liberty and independence. They underlie and determine a good life of high quality. See 'Press Notices'.
At the Time of Jesus, This is What Actually Happened in Israel:
The Truth About Hillel and His Times
  Factual and conclusive document describing what actually happened to Jewish belief and practice, based on research into texts published close to the events.
One Law for All: Freedom Now, Freedom for Ever   Document describing the struggles within Judaism which accompanied the birth of Rabbinical Judaism, how people felt about what was happening, how the Talmud recorded events and what would have to be done to reverse the trend of events.
Struggle for Freedom: The Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship   Major review and analysis of the social laws and social system of the Torah and of the Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship. Also reviews the role of religion and of Judaism under modern conditions.
History Speaks: Monarchy, Exile and Maccabees   Major review and analysis of Jewish history, more particularly of King Solomon's reign and that of the Maccabean dynasty, locating the causes of subsequent defeat of the people and loss of country.
ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY and JUDAISM: What Actually Happened, What Jesus Actually Taught and Later Changes   Proves by methods of biblical archaeology what Jesus really taught, how Paul changed what Jesus had taught and how this became Christianity's official doctrine. Outstanding are the sections on Paul and the Gospels. See 'Press Notices'.
Jewish Belief and Practice   Provides the required background knowledge of the essential core of Jewish belief and practice for drawing the only possible conclusion that the procedure called 'Prosbul' is invalid.

Manfred Davidmann

Manfred Davidmann is an internationally well-known and respected scientist and author of a number of books and reports which have had and are having considerable impact. His work usually breaks new ground and opens up new understanding and is written in meaningful and easily understood language. Outstanding is that his work is generally accepted as factual, objective and unbiased.

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