The Sage Hillel formulated a negative form of the golden rule. When asked to sum up the entire Torah concisely, he answered: That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn. —Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the "Great Principle"
Let me just start by saying I am not writing this to argue with or make fun of Christians, but that I love and respect Christians very much. I also believe that the Torah is the inspired word and must be our first source of study.
The purpose of this is to inform those Christians which speak against the Oral Law, The Talmud or any other rabbinic writings.
The "Golden Rule" has been attributed to Yeshua: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them" (Matthew 7:12, see also Luke 6:31).
The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Christianity adopted the golden rule from two edicts, found in Leviticus 19:18 ("Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself"; and Leviticus 19:34 ("But the stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shall love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God"). Leviticus 19:34 universalizes the edict of Leviticus 19:18 from "one of your people" to all of humankind.
The Old Testament Deuterocanonical books of Tobit and Sirach, accepted as part of the Scriptural canon by Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the Non-Chalcedonian Churches, also express a negative form of the golden rule: "Do to no one what you yourself dislike." —Tobit 4:15
At the time of Hillel, an elder contemporary of Yeshua, the negative form of the golden rule already must have been proverbial, because of the accordance with Tobit 4:15. When asked to sum up the entire Torah concisely, he answered: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." —Talmud, Shabbat 31a
"Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes." —Sirach 31:15
There is also much debate in the Christian scriptures. Some doubt the validity of certain books while others do not. There are books mentioned in the Bible such as Enoch and Jubilees which are not part of the Cannon. Why? How about the ending of the Book of Mark? Some versions only go up to verse eight, while other versions add verses nine to sixteen. So which is right?
The truth is there is much to learn from rabbinic writings. I know that many Christians will say that they believe the bible and nothing else. This may be true, but Christianity has its own form of Rabbis called the Church fathers. The names like Calvin, Wesley and Luther are part of the reason that there are so many Christian denominations because each man had his own interpretation of scripture.
Many of the founding fathers were very anti-Semitic. This is especially true of Luther whose quotes inspired Hitler, in part, to write Mein Kampf.
Another issue is that of Kabbalah. There are two types of Kabala. There is Hollywood or Madonna Cabala as I like to call it, or true Kabala.
The word Kabala comes from the Hebrew verb lekabbel, which means “to receive” or “to accept”. This means that anything that is received or accepted such as the Bible, salvation or even the Messiah is Kabala.
The fact is that the main source of our belief must come from the Bible, but let us not be so quick to dismiss the writings of our sages who have much to offer us. Now, do I agree with everything in Talmud? No!! But we also don’t agree with every interpretation of the Bible, that doesn’t mean we reject it.
Tags: catholic church, christians, eastern orthodoxy, edict, edicts, first source, golden rule, grudge, hillel, leviticus 19, love and respect, Old Testament, oral law, phrasing, rabbinic writings, Shabbat, sirach, talmud, tobit, Torah
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