We can now understand that gentiles who were coming to G-D through faithful obedience to the Mesorah of the Master accepted the “signs” as a part of their lives in the same way that the B’ne Yisrael did. Hakham Shaul does not tell of the “signs” and “wonders” that G-d was doing but rather the marvel (τέρας – teras wonder) of the Gentiles “taking up” ( οιέω – poieo) the “signs” (ση εῖον – semeion) of G-d.
We have seen that Hakham Tsefet mentioned by the unbearable Yoke in the opening of the second pericope of our Nazarean Talmud, but what implications does this have in a more detailed way?
b. Pes. 87b R. Eleazar said: Even when the Holy One, blessed be He, is angry, He remembers compassion, for it is said, for I will no more have compassion upon the house of Israel. R. Jose son of R. Hanina said [i.e., deduced] it from this: that I would in any wise pardon them. R. Eleazar also said: The Holy One, blessed be He, did not exile Israel among the nations save in order that proselytes might join them, for it is said: And I will sow her unto Me in the land; (Hos. 2:25) surely a man sows a se’ah in order to harvest many kor! While R. Johanan deduced it from this: And I will have compassion upon her that hath not obtained compassion. (R. Johanan makes this refer to the Gentiles, who in God’s compassion will be given the opportunity. through Israel’s exile, of coming under the wings of the Shechinah. According to Rashi, R. Johanan deduces it from the concluding part of the verse, And I will say to them that are not My people; thou art My people. This passage shows these two Rabbis in favor of proselytes. For the general attitude of the Rabbis towards proselytization v. f. E. art. Proselyte.)
Fourthly, the thesis of “Scholar X” is invalid because in Esther’s day, with the victory of the Jewish people over Haman, Gentiles converted in mass, “allowing themselves to be circumcised.”ss And, as noted above the B’ne Yisrael throughout history have never felt it burdensome to circumcise themselves according to the Torah mandate.
ikewise, millions of Muslims circumcise and have for centuries. Therefore, circumcision cannot be an “unbearable yoke” and it is foolishness to believe so.
Fifthly, as noted in the second point above, an unbearable yoke placed on the Jewish people i.e. Hakhamim is the subjection of the Hakham to the Talmid. This is tantamount to the sin of the “golden calf” mentioned in the Talmudic passage Shabbat 17a (13b-17b). Because Shammai usurped the authority of his Hakham/Nasi, he generated a “golden calf” equal to the sin of the first calf that wrenched the authority from their hands. Furthermore, the reversals of hierarchical order, seen in the story of the “Golden Calf,” shows contempt for Mosaic authority. The phrase “as for this Moses” shows that anarchy had ensued the B’ne Yisrael with its poison.
Furthermore, the mindset of anarchy against the “Oracles of G-d” caused Jeroboam to decide to build two golden calves. One resided in Dan and the other in Beth El. Without lengthy elaboration, we note that the idea of the Golden calf seems to be related to anarchy and usurping the authority of one’s superior. This is most certainly an “unbearable yoke.”
Sixthly, we have seen Hakham Tsefet’s “unbearable yoke” allegorically bespeaks of five crimes against the Jewish people and the Hakhamim. We will also note that it is impossible to interact with the Gentiles who wish to join the Commonwealth of Yisrael without having their submission to Jewish Bate Din. Furthermore, those who misread these passages determine that they are not subject to the Theocratic rule of G-d. As such, they forfeit their right of entrance to the Kingdom/Governance of G-d, and His Messiah through the Bate Din as opposed to human Kings. And, they forfeit their place in the Olam HaBa.
The Midrashic statement of Hakham Matityahu fits well here.
Matityahu (Mat.) 7:2 “And then I (Yeshua) will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU
WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS (opposition to or those without the Torah).”
The excess of Shammaisim was an unbearable yoke in the first century. It remains an unbearable yoke to this very day. While we most certainly uphold the Torah, Oral and Written we can in no way agree with despotic authoritarian legalism to enforce it. And, while we often express our desires for halakhic observance ad nauseam, our goal is to bring about a balanced Orthodox Jewish life without legalism. We realize that there is a fine line. We also realize that G-d gave His people a head for something other than a place to put a kippah. The wall of boundary between Jew and Gentile is rebuilt and we are still in Diaspora. We must hear the words of Rabbi Johanan and our Master Yeshua and begin to talmudize those of the Nations containing the Nefesh Yehudi, hidden within Gentile vessels, waiting to be discovered and rekindled.
a The “gathering” is the assembly of the Nazarean Bet Din Gadol (The Greater Nazarean House of Judgment). b We would be a loss to explain these matters were it not for the teachings of the Jewish Sages. The matters at hand a concerning the Gentiles must be deliberated because of the political climate in the First Century. It would appear that earlier generations had no trouble converting the Gentile to Judaism. Albeit we are not given all the details of their conversion without a great deal of research. Likewise, we realize that the requisite deliberation is also related to the “Eighteen Edicts of Shammai” as we have discussed before. We have postulated that Shammai forbade Gentile conversion among the Jewish populations in the First Century. These Edicts were in direct violation of the Torah. Likewise their presence among the Jewish people is evident in the early cases where Yeshua intends that “salvation” (having a place in the Olam HaBa) was for the Jew and Gentile alike. F.F. Bruce accepts that for Gentile conversion to Orthodox Judaism a Gentile must follow the preordained Jewish practice of circumcision ritual circumcision if the Gentile is already circumcised) and ritual immersion as well as acceptance and faithful obedience to the Torah/Oral and Written. Bruce, F. (1990). The Acts of the Apostles, A Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary. (Third Revised and Enlarged Edition ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 329 c Hakham Tsefet is referring to the days when he was sent to the House of Cornelius. d Rom 1:5 Through him (Yeshua) we have received chesed and a commission to bring into obedience among all gentiles, [living in] faithfulness [to the Torah] under his (Messiah’s) authority. (It is G-d’s grace, if we may use the term, to bring Gentiles into faithful obedience of the Torah and Oral Torah through the agent of Yeshua our Messiah.) e Cf. our translation of II Luqas 10:1 – 11:18, connected with Torah readings Keslev 24 – Tebeth 16 f B’midbar 15:15 “The convert will be the same as you…” (Translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger in Hilchot Melachim 8:10) g Cf. Psa 10:8 (7) h A verbal tally to our Torah Seder i m. Berakhot 2:2 “Why does [the passage of] Shema precede [that of] And it shall come to pass [if you keep my commandments]? “So that one may first accept upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and afterwards may accept the yoke of the commandments. “[Why does] And it shall come to pass [precede] And G-d said? “For And it shall come to pass is recited by both day and night. “[But] And G-d said is recited only by day.” m. Abot 3:5 R. Nehunya b. Haqqaneh says, “From whoever accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah do they remove the yoke of the state and the yoke of hard labor. “And upon whoever removes from himself the yoke of the Torah (yoke of the Kingdom i.e. recital of the Shema D’barim 6:4f.) do they lay the yoke of the state and the yoke of hard labor.” m. Shabbat 1:4 These are some of the laws which they stated in the upper room of Hananiah b. Hezekiah b. Gurion when they went up to visit him. They took a vote, and the House of Shammai outnumbered the House of Hillel. And eighteen rules (of Shammai concerning Gentile conversion) did they decree on that very day. b. Shabbath 17a And on that day Hillel sat submissive before Shammai, like one of the disciples, and it was as grievous to Israel as the day when the [golden] calf was made. Now, Shammai and Hillel enacted [this measure], but they would not accept it from them; but their disciples came and enacted it, and it was accepted from them.
We can also associate the “Yoke of the Kingdom” with the Yoke of the (Master) Mesorah. (Mt 11:29-30)
Kilyaim Chapter 9 Halacha 7 Anyone who performs labor with two species of animals or wild beasts together when one of them is kosher and the other is not kosher is liable for lashes in all places, as [Deuteronomy 22:10] states: “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together. “Whether one plows, seeds, has them pull a wagon, or a stone, or led them together even with his voice [alone], he is liable for lashes. This is
derived from the term “together.” If, however, one [merely] yokes them [to a wagon], he is exempt unless he pulls them or leads them.
j b. Baba Mestia 2:11 [If he has to choose between seeking] what he has lost and what his father has lost, his own takes precedence. . . . what he has lost and what his master has lost, his own takes precedence. . . . what his father has lost and what his master has lost, that of his master takes precedence. For his father brought him into this world. But his master, who taught him wisdom, will bring him into the life of the world to come. But if his father is a sage, that of his father takes precedence. [If] his father and his master were carrying heavy burdens, he removes that of his master, and afterward removes that of his father. [If] his father and his master were taken captive, he ransoms his master, and afterward he ransoms his father. But if his father is a sage, he ransoms his father, and afterward he ransoms his master.
k Sabin, M. N. (2006), New Collegeville Bible Commentary: The Gospel According to Mark, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, p. 62.
l Marcus, J. (2000), The Anchor Bible: Mark 1-8 – A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, New York: Doubleday, p. 4 6.
m Lindsey R.L. (1969) A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark: Greek-Hebrew Diglot With English Introduction, Jerusalem: Dugith Publishers, p. 9.
n Hanson, A. T. (1980). The New Testament Interpretation of Scripture, London: SPCK, pp. 13-20.
o Marcus, J. (2000), The Anchor Bible: Mark 1-8 – A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, New York: Doubleday, p. 4 6. p Klausner, J. (1929), Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teaching, New York: Macmillan, p.290.
q Marcus, J. (2000), The Anchor Bible: Mark 1-8 – A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, New York: Doubleday, p. 4 6.
r Caution to our readers this is a Remes commentary not a Peshat, therefore it must be read with a nonliteral mindset!
s Gaston, L. (1987). Paul and the Torah. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. p. 9
t According to the Ramban, “A custom is called chok, this being associated with the expressions: Feed me with ‘chuki’ (my customary) bread; (Proverbs 30:8.) ‘chukoth’ (the customary ways or laws) of heaven and earth. (Jeremiah 33:25.) Custom is also called mishpat (judgment or ordinance) because it is something measured out accurately. A similar usage [of the word mishpat] is found in these verses: So did David, and so has been ‘mishpato’ (his manner) all the while; (I Samuel 27:11.) After the former ‘mishpat’ (manner) when you were his butler; (Genesis 40:13.) And the palace shall be inhabited upon ‘mishpato’ (Jeremiah 30:18.) i.e., upon its ascertained dimension.” Ramban Commentary on the Torah, Vol. II, pp. 209-210, Shilo Publishing House, Inc., New York, 1973.
u Hakham Tsefet is referring to the days when he was sent to the House of Cornelius.
v Rom 1:5 Through him (Yeshua) we have received chesed and a commission to bring into obedience among all gentiles, [living in] faithfulness [to the Torah] under his (Messiah’s) authority. (It is G-d’s grace, if we may use the term, to bring Gentiles into faithful obedience of the Torah and Oral Torah through the agent of Yeshua our Messiah.)
w B’midbar 15:15 “The convert will be the same as you…” (Translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger in Hilchot Melachim 8:10)
x Cf. Psa 10:8 (7)
y Translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger in Hilchot Melachim 8:10
z The inference is simply stated. The Mesorah MUST be passed down – transmitted from Jewish Hakhamim to talmidim. This includes the “Gentiles” who would teach Torah/Mesorah. They MUST be first taught by a Jewish Hakham!
aa The sense of the verse means, in modern terms that the MESORAH will be carried chiefly by the Orthodox Nazarean Jews, and also by the Reform and Conservative Jews.
bb This was the practice when a vote was taken upon any question; Halevi, Doroth, I, 3, p. 585 n. 18.
cc I.e., the assembly voted against him-of course the actual expression is not to be understood literally.
dd In view of the humility to which Hillel, who was the Nasi, had been subjected. ee Cf. b. Erubin 54b
ff b. Shab. 12a, 13b, 98b, 99a
gg Josephus Ant 14:156-159
hh Cf. b. Shab. 31a
ii Ibid, Acts 10:28, where Hakham Tsefet states that it is unlawful for a Jewish person to enter the house of a Gentile. This mandate is not found in the Torah, therefore, we surmise it is a dogma established by the house of Shammai.
jj The middle wall is not the Soreg of the Temple. This “wall of partition” is the dogma of Shammai separating the Jewish people from the Gentile as noted above. The “Soreg” is a wall in the Temple courtyard, which marked the boundaries of the Court of the Gentiles. This is NOT Hakham Shaul’s reference. This breaking down of the “middle wall” is a reference to the Messianic title “Peretz.” The word paretz, wherever used, signifies the breaching of a fence and passing through, just as: I will break down (‘p’rotz’) the fence foereht; (Isaiah 5:5) Why have You broken down (‘paratzta’) her fences? (Psalms 80:13) And in the language of the Rabbis: “Pirtzah (a breach in a wall) calls otrhro rhh rheh .” (Sotah 26a) Indeed, the Sacred anguage (Hebrew is called “the sacred” language.) uses the term p’rotz when referring to anything that oversteps its boundary: And you htoo reer thrfo(‘upharatzta’) to the west, and to the east; And the man broke forth (‘vayiphrotz ‘) exceedingly.
kk These δόγμασιν are a reference to the eighteen edicts (middot) of Shammai, which separated the Jewish people from the Gentiles by deeming the Gentile “unclean.” cf. Acts 10:28. See Falk, H. (2003). Jesus the Pharisee, A new Look at the Jewishness of Jesus. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
ll The “New Body” is a conjoining of Jews and Gentiles who have converted to Judaism under the authority of Yeshua HaMashiach.
mm We must take caution when trying to understand this phrase. Hakham Tsefet is NOT saying that the Torah forbade interaction between Jew and Gentile. Actually, there are a number of instances in the Torah where we are clearly taught how to interact with the Gentiles. In the present case, we have a dogma, which Shammai established concerning the interaction between Jews and Gentiles. μι also means not permitted or not allowed. It is not a halakhah in any sense.
nn Culi, R. Y. (1979). The Torah Anthology. (M. Lo’ez, Ed., & R. A. Kaplan, Trans.) Brooklyn , New York: Moznaim Publishing Corp. Book 5 p. 213
oo Yochai, R. S. (20003). The Zohar, From the Book of Avraham with Commentary by Rav Yehuda Ashlag. New York: The Kabbalah Center International Inc. Vol 9 p. 292 ff.
pp Ibid p. 296 qq b. Keritot 9a
rr Exod. 19:6 And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words, which you will speak/command to the children of Israel.
ss Cf. Esther 8:17, Mid. Rab. Esther 6:2