An Open Letter to New Testament Believers: “The Unchanging Torah”

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Image: Rabbi Aaron Dovid Poston, Rabbi Tovia Singer, Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Published: July 11, 2023   |   Last Updated: August 06, 2023

Dear New Testament believer,

As a fellow traveler on the path of faith, I extend my hand to all with a sincere and willing heart, eager to understand through our shared pursuit of knowledge. Let me humbly present profound insight from a traditional Jewish perspective on the significance of the Torah, the five books of Moses. This is not a challenge to your faith, but an invitation to explore deeper wisdom, a heart of understanding through open dialogue.

The Torah, with its five books, is a living covenant between the Almighty and the Jewish people. Immutable in nature, the Torah serves as a timeless guide, its principles enduring and its truths eternal. One might liken the Torah’s immutability to Blockchain technology, where once data is inscribed, it remains unaltered.

It’s understood that the term “new covenant” is recognized in the prophecy of Jeremiah Chapter 31. But from a Jewish standpoint, it doesn’t infer a new or revised Torah. The “newness” is in how the same eternal Torah will be inscribed on our hearts. When referring to this covenant as possibly burdensome in Acts 15:10, Peter likely wasn’t addressing a “new covenant” but rather the Torah of our forefathers. Born Jews continued observing the Torah in its entirety (Acts 21:24).

The fundamental question at the heart of our discourse is, “Is God human?” The Torah resoundingly answers with, “NO.” Numbers 23:19 declares, “God is not a man.” Similarly, Deuteronomy 4:12 states, “You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice.”

These verses challenge the concept of God being a man and spotlight the unique Jewish understanding of the Divine. Our belief is in an Infinite, formless God, but this doesn’t make Him distant. Instead, we sense Him as a compassionate Father deeply involved in our lives.

Our concept of Mashiach, your “Messiah,” is not of a divine being but a human leader. Guided by divine wisdom, the Mashiach will lead humanity towards universal acknowledgment of God’s Oneness.

The idea of a “New Testament” diverges from Jewish belief. The Torah, revealed at Mount Sinai, is eternal, not allowing for supplementary covenants or erasure of past ones, as stressed in Deuteronomy 4:2. Jewish tradition holds the Prophets and Writings, with the Torah, as our unified Tanakh. No new scriptures add to or remove its laws.

Non-Hebrew interpretations can, at times, differ significantly from the Torah’s intended message. Certain verses like Isaiah 7:14 and Psalms 22:16-18, as interpreted in some New Testament versions, veer away from traditional Jewish understanding.

To conclude, let this serve as a bridge to deeper spiritual exploration, nurturing understanding, and wisdom in the Hebrew text of the Torah. It’s an opportunity, not a challenge, to grow and forge connections between our communities. Through respect and open dialogue, may we build a world echoing with unity, peace, and reverence for the One True God.

May God illuminate your path, bestowing wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, uniting our world in His infinite glory. May it be so. Amen.

B’Shalom,
Dovid


Here are some Torah and Tanakh sources underscoring God’s incorporeal nature and the Jewish understanding of divinity:

1. Deuteronomy 4:15-19: A caution against crafting images, emphasizing God’s formlessness.
2. Numbers 23:19: A declaration that God is not a man.
3. Isaiah 40:18-25: A reflection on God’s unique, immeasurable nature.
4. 1 Samuel 15:29: A reminder of God’s unchanging nature, unlike humans.
5. Isaiah 46:5: A question on comparing God to any other.
6. Hosea 11:9: An affirmation of God’s divine nature, distinct from man.

Additionally, the Torah emphasizes its singular role as the divine covenant with God. Deuteronomy 13:1 warns against additions or subtractions from God’s commands.

For Jews, the “New Testament” doesn’t follow the divine covenant. Instead, the Torah is our sole guide, underlining our belief in God’s indivisible oneness, as affirmed in the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4).


Disclosure Statement

The individuals, Rabbi Aaron Dovid Poston, Rabbi Tovia Singer, and Rabbi Mendel Kessin, are not affiliated with the Avadat HaShem, HaTorat Emet or any of the content of this blog. It is important I clarify that there is No Connection between the Featured Rabbis within the image used within this blog post. Furthermore, it should be noted that the use of their image in this blog post is not intended to misrepresent or mislead, whatsoever.

Honoring Chachamim “Scholars”

On the contrary, the inclusion of their picture serves as a tribute to these esteemed rabbis who are widely revered in the online Jewish community for their unwavering commitment, diligent efforts in the kiruv movement, and dedication to spreading the authentic teachings of Torah to the world.

This gesture reflects their esteemed status as talmidei chachamim “Torah Scholars”, embodying the honor and prestige they have rightfully earned throughout their tireless work in fulfilling the obligation to be a guiding light upon the nations, as exemplified by various Torah sources.

A Blessing of Wisdom, Compassion, Health, and Family

May the mentioned Rabbis (Rabbi Aaron Dovid Poston, Rabbi Tovia Singer, and Rabbi Mendel Kessin), be blessed abundantly with divine wisdom, enabling them to illuminate the world with profound Torah teachings and guidance. May their hearts overflow with compassion, kindness, and mercy as they continue to touch countless lives and bring comfort in the teachings of the Torah to the world. May they enjoy vibrant health, granting them strength and vitality to carry out their sacred missions with energy and enthusiasm. Additionally, may their families be blessed with unity, love, and harmony, serving as a source of support and inspiration in their lives. May their lives be filled with blessings, prosperity, and joy as they continue to be beacons of light in the Jewish community and beyond.

References:

Rabbi Mendel Kessin
https://youtube.com/@TorahThinking

Rabbi Tovia Singer
https://youtube.com/@ToviaSinger1

Rabbi Aaron Dovid Poston
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQDhwNlh-HiCqhQuPZTfdf786Fw15Er9D

Short URL: https://torahhashem.com/?p=687

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2Comments

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  1. 1
    Miriam Levinson

    I would suggest a slight modification concerning the “new covenant” which [New Testament believers] believe originated in the prophesy of Jeremiah Chapter 31. Rather than say there is no new covenant, it would likely be better received by [New Testament believers] to let them know that it does not mean a new (or revised) Torah. The “newness”, rather, is that the very same Torah will be inscribed upon our hearts.

    [New Testament believers] should be able to see this truth from their own bible, in Acts 15:10, where Peter refers to the covenant of our fathers, saying it would be too heavy a yoke to put upon the necks of [non-Jews]. This could not logically be the “new covenant” which [New Testament believers] believe they are under. What would be too burdensome? They are debating with other [New Testament believers], at this Jerusalem Council meeting, what to require of the [non-Jews] who wanted to join them, and they sent a letter specifically addressed “to the brethren who are of the [non-Jews], mentioning some of the Noahide laws. Born Jews, however, continued to observe the whole Torah (Acts 21:24). This structure came to an end around the beginning of the second century when none of the [New Testament believers] leadership was held by Jews, and the [non-Jews] church not only severed its relationship with Israel, but began to form its own religion, alienated from the Torah.

    • 2
      Dovid E.Y.

      Miriam,

      Your insights are deeply appreciated, and I’m profoundly thankful for your guidance. Your references, particularly from Jeremiah and Acts, greatly illuminate the nuances of understanding the ‘new covenant’ from the perspective of [New Testament believers]. It’s imperative that we articulate our beliefs in a manner that fosters dialogue and understanding with the [New Testament believers], while still staying true to our Torah heritage.

      Your elucidation of Acts 15:10 and Acts 21:24 provides a deeper understanding of the continuity of the Torah’s observance among Jews during those times. It is indeed crucial to underscore the distinction between the perceived ‘new covenant’ and the Torah’s eternal nature, ensuring that the intent is to promote mutual respect and not confrontation.

      Your mention of the transition of leadership in the [New Testament believers] community during the second century underscores the historical evolution and divergence of faiths. It’s a poignant reminder of the need to understand historical contexts when discussing these subjects.

      May our efforts in clarifying these perspectives forge a bridge of understanding, allowing both sides to appreciate our shared roots and the profound wisdom each holds.

      B’Shalom,
      Dovid

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