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quently, it was made at least fourteen years but at present there is none. It is not true before circumcision, so that the assertion that that God reproaches the Gentiles in the the covenant respecting the land was made on words, “ All the nations are uncircumcised ;" account of the merit of circumcision is alto. on the contrary, he is reproaching Israel. gether false. God made the covenant, not The context is, “ Behold the days come, because Abraham deserved it, but according saith the Lord, that I will punish all them to his own grace and mercy, when Abraham which are circumcised with the uncircumhad no bodily mark to distinguish him from cised ; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the surrounding nations. Here again, then, the children of Ammon and Moab, and all the oral law asserts what is false. But the that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in rabbies were not contented with Scripture the wilderness; for all the nations are unproof; they felt that the letter of Scripture circumcised, and all the house of Israel are was against them, and therefore had recourse uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jer. ix. 25, 26.) to their own invention, and have devised the This is very different doctrine from that of fable that “ Circumcision delivers from the the rabbies. God declares that the mere judgment of hell, for that Abraham sits at outward sign of circumcision shall not save the door of hell, and does not suffer any one from punishment; that he makes no difference that is circumcised to be cast into it.” That whatever between the uncircumcised and the this is a regular and wilful falsehood, no one circumcised, but that he looks upon the heart, that has reason, and takes the Scripture to and deals out to all evenhanded justice. He guide it, can possibly doubt. It implies that says that he will punish the idolatrous many who are circumcised deserve the punish- tions, whom he has enumerated, but declares ment of hell, and are led to the very door, that he will punish the sinners of Israel along but that Abraham interferes, and delivers with them, and then to obviate the very obthem from their just punishment. If they jection which the oral law urges, and to take did not deserve it, and were not liable to it, away all false confidence in circumcision, he there could be necessity for Abraham's sitting adds, “ The nations are uncircumcised, and in so unpleasant a situation. The guilt of all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in these persons is, therefore, fully admitted, heart;" as if he would have said, Do not and yet the wise men say, that out of regard deceive yourselves, thinking that your cirto the mere external token of the covenant, cumcision will save you: there is a worse unGod gives up his attribute of justice, and circumcision than that of the flesh, the unciracquits those who deserve punishment. But cumcision of the heart. This is doctrine it implies further, that God does not deal thus worthy of the Divine Being, consistent with his to the Gentiles—that to them he exercises all attributes of justice and holiness, and consolajustice, and shows no mercy. Abraham looks i tory and encouraging to all his rational creatures; on with unconcern when a Gentile is brought whereas the rabbinic doctrine is dishonouring to the place of the damned, feels no compas. to God, and contemptuous to all the Gentile sion and exercises none, and the Divine Being nations. If it were believed, no Gentile himself is made a party in this injustice, and would have any motive to serve or honour the want of compassion. Religion is misrepre- true God, from whom he could expect neither sented as a mere system of favouritism, and justice nor mercy. It is equally pernicious the Judge of all the earth as a doer of wrong. and destructive to the moral and spiritual That this is the plain drift of the story is welfare of the Israelites themselves. Any plain from what follows : “Circumcision is man who believes that his circumcision will despised, for the Gentiles are reproached with save him from hell, will feel himself at liit, as it is said, “All the nations are uncircum- berty to violate other commands without fear. cised.' Here the rabbies plainly tell us, Why should he be holy, or chaste, or honest, that God despises the works of his own hands, or true ? His father Abraham is sitting at the that he disdains the overwhelming majority gate of hell waiting for him, and will deliver him of his rational creatures, and that not because from the just reward of his delinquencies. We of their wickedness, or their cruelty, or their do not mean to attribute such reasoning to all idolatry, or their profanity, but because they Israelites—far from it; but it is certain that have not got a commandment which He never on the minds of the ignorant and superstitious

The rabbies themselves will this doctrine must have this effect. Those admit that God never gave the Gentiles the who are acquainted with the Word of God, or commandment of circumcision, how then is know how to reason, must believe that it is false, it possible that he should blame them, or but then it is their duty not only to disbelieve despise them, or treat them with unmitigated it in their hearts, but to renounce it publicly, severity, because they have not got what he and to teach the ignorant and uneducated that never gave them? If it had been offered to it is false. Israelites often feel justly indignant them, and they had refused, there would have at the want of due appreciation which chabeen some ground for such a representation, racterises public opinion with regard to the

gave them.

And answers,

dation, but let them reflect on the causes, and ( sign, which God never intended they should they will cease to wonder. Mankind in ge- have. Christianity proclaims that God is a neral does not distinguish between the Jews just Judge. It

says,

“ Circumcision verily and Judaism, but erroneously attribute, with- profiteth, if thou keep the law ; but if thou out any discrimination, the errors of the sys- be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is tem to the men ; and how can they do other made uncircumcision. Therefore if the un. wise, so long as the oral law is still upheld as circumcision keep the righteousness of the law, a divine code of law ? Let Israel renounce shall not his uncircumcision be counted for the errors publicly, and all the causes of mis- circumcision ?" Judaism teaches that Abraconception will be removed.

ham sits at the gate of hell to deliver even the But we would ask our readers to go a little wicked, if they be only circumcised. Christianity farther, and compare the doctrines of Chris- teaches that Abraham has no respect to the tianity on this subject with those of the oral outward sign, unless it be accompanied by law. They will find that where the rabbies purity of heart. 66 There was a certain rich have erred, the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth man, which was clothed in purple and fine have taught the truth. St. Paul admits the linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and importance and the privileges of circumcision. there was a certain beggar' named Lazarus, He asks, “ What advantage then hath the which was laid at his gate, full of sores. And Jew ? or what profit is there of circumcision? ” it came to pass that the beggar died, and was

“Much every way: chiefly, carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : because that unto them were committed the the rich man also died, and was buried : and oracles of God.” (Rom. iii. 1.) He does in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, not undervalue God's mercy to Israel, but at and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in the same time he honours God's justice and his bosom. And he cried and said, Father holiness, by declaring that “ God will render Abraham, have mercy on me, and send to every man according to his deeds : to them Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger who by patient continuance in well doing in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tor. seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, mented in this flame. But Abraham said, eternal life: but unto them that are conten Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime retious, and do not obey the truth, but obey ceivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tri- evil things ; but now he is comforted, and thou bulation and anguish, upon every soul of man art tormented. And beside all this, between us that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of and you there is a great gulf fixed ; so that they the Gentile ; but glory, honour, and peace, to which would pass from hence to you cannot ; every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, neither can they pass to us, that would come and also to the Gentile: for there is no re- from thence. Then he said, I pray thee, spect of persons with God.” (Romans therefore, father, that thou wouldest send ii. 6-11.) This exactly agrees with the him to my father's house : for I have five breth. words of Jeremiah, and with the character of ren; that he may testify unto them, lest they God, as set forth by Moses and the Prophets, also come into this place of torment. Abraand must commend itself to the mind of every ham said unto him, They have Moses and the reflecting person. Let then those who reject prophets ; let them hear them. And he said, Christianity account for the fact, that where Nay, father Abraham: but if one went to the rabbies are wrong, the preachers of Chris- them from the dead, they will repent. And tianity are right. If all truth come from God, he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and and unassisted human reason must go wrong, the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, how it is that God should have helped Chris- though one rose from the dead.” (Luke tians to the truth, and left the Jews in deadly xvi. 19—31.) Let the reader compare this error for so many centuries ?

with the Rabbinic doctrine, and then explain Judaism teaches that the Gentiles are despised, why it is that where the oral law errs, God has simply because they have not got an outward' given the truth in the New Testament.

London :-Sold at the London Society's Office, 16, Exeter-hall, Strand; by James Duncan, Paternoster

row; and B. Wertheim, 57, Aldersgate-street. This publication may be bad by applying at No.5, No. 7, or No. 13, Palestine-place, Bethnal.green; also, at No. 10, New-street, Bishopsgate-street.

עמדו על דרכים וראו ושאלו לנתבות עולם - ירמיהו טזי

“ THE OLD PATHS.”-Jer. vi. 16.

NUMBBR 59.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1837.

[Price ONE-Penny.

causes.

The great object of these papers has been | which despises and insults the unlearned to compare Judaism, as it at present exists, cannot be from God. The oral law does despise with the religion of Moses and the Prophets, and insult the unlearned, for it commands its and thus to ascertain whether the Jews of the disciples not to marry the daughters of the present day walk in the good old paths pointed unlearned on the ground that they are no better out to their forefathers. We have endeavoured than beasts. Therefore the oral law cannot to give our reasons for believing that the be from God. Secondly, a religion which Jews have been imposed upon by the inven- makes the murder of an unlearned man lawful, tors of the oral law, and have now got a re- cannot be from God. The oral law does ligion diametrically opposed to that which was make it lawful, for, as we showed in No. 1, revealed to them by God. More than a year Rabbi Eleazer says, That it is lawful, even has elapsed since the first of these papers was on the most solemn day of the Jewish year, published, and yet no answer has appeared. to kill an unlearned man without observing This silence may be attributed to one of three any of the technicalities of the Rabbinic art

Either there has been a want of suf- of slaughtering; or, as another says, to rend ficient zeal on the part of those who profess him asunder like a fish. Therefore the oral Judaism—or, prudence has suggested that the law cannot be from God. We now proceed system would not bear discussion-or, these to show why we still think that that line of papers have been thought unworthy of notice. argument is valid. It is for the Jewish people at large to consider, The first step is, to establish the meaning of wbich of these three reasons have influenced the expression 9787 DY Amhaaretz, which we the champions of the oral law. The Jews translated “ an unlearned man.” The literal certainly have a right to some explanation English of this expression is, “ People of the from those, whose learning and station point land,” it might therefore signify the inhathem out as the natural defenders of Judaism. bitants of Canaan, but in the Bible it is more Every reflecting man must be staggered by commonly used of the mass of the Israelitish the fact, that a strong case has been made out people, as for instance :against the oral law—that, contemporaneously with the publication of these papers, strong

“ And all the people of the land rejoiced, symptoms of dissatisfaction with certain parts and blew with trumpets.” (2 Kings xi. 14. of Judaism have been manifested in one of See also verses 18–20.) Here the exthe most respectable synagogues in London pression is opposed to king and princes, and -and yet, that nothing has appeared, either evidently means the mass of the population, in the shape of defence or explanation. That or, as some would say,

" The common this silence has not proceeded altogether from people.” And, again, to give an example contempt is made probable by another fact, from the Prophets.

, that a public answer was given orally to the

: first number, and that this answer was satis- " Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith factory to those who heard it. It is much the Lord ; and be strong, O Joshua, son of to be regretted that the answer was not made Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all known generally, so as to afford the same sa. ye people of the land.” (Hag. ii. 4.) Here, tisfaction to others. For ourselves, we should also, the expression is opposed to the goverhave been most happy, if convinced of error, nor of Judah and the high priest, and plainly to have retracted any erroneous charge. We signifies the mass of the population. In the have, in the interval, frequently considered oral law, it has much the same signification ; the subject which is said to have been an. it stands for those who are not counted amongst swered ; and now consider it our duty, the learned, nor the great men of the time, before closing this series, to make known nor the almoners, nor the schoolmasters, as our reasons for still believing, that that one appears in the extract given in page 3, col. 2, topic is in itself sufficient to prove that the with this difference, that in the oral law the religion of the oral law is a system of error. want of learning is a prominent idea, and the Our arguments were simply these. A religion expression may therefore be applied to a high

וכל עם הארץ שמח ותוקע בחצוצרות :

ועתה חזק זרבבל נאום יהוה וחזק יהושע בן יהוצדק | and that is, That it is confidently asserted הכהן הגדול וחזק כל עם הארץ :

man.

דין תלמיד חכם קורם לדין עם הארץ :

retz

וכן אסור לו לנהוג בהן קלות ראש אע"פ שהן עמי we fear not to assert, that this one passage is הארץ ולא יפסיע על ראשי עם הקדש• אע"פ שהן fatal to the claims of the oral law. There is | הדיוטות ושפלים בני אברהם יצחק ויעקב הם :

לפיכך כשמלמדין את הקטנים ואת הנשים וכלל עמי themselves, and their disciples; they wished הארץ אין מלמדין אותן אלא לעבוד מיראה וכדי לקבל

שכר וכו':

priest if he be unlearned. In further proof an alms-fund. One is not to bear them com. we might appeal to the common parlance of pany in the way. And some say, that if they the Jews, even at this day, for they commonly have lost any thing, and it is found, no public call an unlearned man an Amhaaretz. We notice is to be given respecting it.” (Pesachim, prefer, however, giving one or two extracts fol. 49, col. 2.) Here, then, the unlearned more from the laws, where the expression are branded as liars, whose word is not to be Amhaaretz is put in opposition to “ The depended upon-as rogues, unfit to be trusted disciple of a wise man,” that is, to a learned with property-as murderers, with whom it

We read, for instance, that in a court is unsafe to walk by the way-side. Can conof justice,

tempt or insult add more? Yes; Rabbinic :

contempt had one insult more galling than “ The cause of the disciple of a wise man these, and that was to put them on a level takes precedence of the cause of an Amhaa- with Gentiles, and this it has done by forbid. (Hilchoth Sanhedrin, c. xxi. 6.) Again, ding public notice to be given, if any thing

which they had lost should be found. Now, '• ,

: 2 . “ In like manner, it is unlawful for an elder not a particle of resemblance in it to the merto behave with levity to the congregation, ciful and just religion made known by Moses. even though they be Amharatzin. Neither it is the effusion of a mind intoxicated with let him behave haughtily to the holy people, self-conceit and arrogance. The authors of for although they be common and humble the oral law were determined, so far as they persons, they are children of Abraham, Isaac, could, to lay it down as a maxim, not only and Jacob.” (Ibid., c. 25.) Again, that no wisdom, but no truth, no honesty, and

no humanity, was to be found, except amongst

; :

to have the monopoly of all moral virtue, as “ Therefore, when children and women, well as of all learning. We ask both the and the whole genus of Amharatzin, are in- learned and the unlearned, whether it be posstructed, they are to be taught to serve God sible that such a law could have emanated only from the motive of fear, and the desire from the God of Israel? But there is not to receive a reward until, &c.” (Hilchoth only excessive arrogance, there is also gross T'shuvah, c. X. 5.) In these passages, and injustice in their law. It is ordained, first, many, many more, may be added, Amhaaretz that in a court of law, the cause of the learned plainly signifies an unlearned man, and it is to be heard before the cause of the undoes not appear from any one, that there is learned ; this is in itself most unjust, but is any crime to be laid to his charge. He may not to be compared with what follows. The appear as suitor in a court of law; he is oral law forbids the appointment of an unconsidered as a son of Abraham, Isaac, and learned man as guardian to orphans; can any Jacob; he is put on a level with the children thing be more oppressive ? Suppose that an and the women of Israel. The only dispa- unlearned man, on his death-bed, thinks of a ragement is, that he has not been brought up guardian for his orphan children, and looks at the feet of a learned rabbi, and, therefore, to a brother, or an intimate friend, as uncannot be reckoned amongst the disciples of learned as himself, but whose worth, and the wise men.

honesty, and affection, he has long known and The next thing to be established is, that valued ; the oral law forbids him to make the oral law despises and insults those whose such an appointment; and if he has no learned misfortune it is to be unlearned ; and here, in friend--and how, where such a law exists, is addition to the compliment paid to their wives it ever possible that the learned and the un. and daughters, noticed in No. 1, we bring, as

learned should be friends ?--he must die with a proof, the general rule which is given the agonising thought, that his children must respecting their treatment.

be left to the guardianship of a perfect stranger. Is it possible to conceive anything more , , “

; , ,

. “Our rabbies have handed' down as 'a tra- finds it may keep it. The law for other dition, that six things are said with respect people is, that if any thing be found, the finder to Amharatzin. Testimony is not to be given is to have proclamation made in the city, or, to them, nor received from them. A secret is if the majority of the inhabitants be Gentiles, not to be revealed to them. They are not to in the synagogue, that the loser may hear of be appointed as guardians to orphans, por to it. But the poor Amhaaretz is excluded from

תנו רבנן ששה דברים נאמרו בעמי הארץ אין oppressive, unjust, or cruel ? But the oral | מוסרין להן עדות ואין מקבלין ממנו ערות ואין מגלין law is not content with this; it will not permit | להן סוד ואין ממנין אותן אפיטרופו' על היתומי' ואין an unlearned_man, even in his lifetime, to | ממנין אותן אפיטרופוס על קופה של צדקה ואין recover property that has been lost. Whoever | מתלון עמהן בדרך י"א אף אין מכריזין על אבידתו :

וא"ת מאין יודע שהיא של ע"ה ואור" כגון ששיירא the principles which precede and follow are an | של ע"ה עוברת וראינו שנפל מהם :

אמאי ממונו אסו' השתא גופו מותר שמותר sense decide, whether this law is honest or לקורעו כדג וכו' :

:

the benefit of this command. It may, how- has lost, what principle of conscience or jusever, puzzle the reader, how the finder is to tice is there left to prevent them from killing know whether the thing which he has found him whom they have robbed ? If all the other belongs to a learned or an unlearned man. principles of these rabbies were just, honest, One of the commentators has solved this diffi- upright, and merciful, we might be tempted to culty in the following manner :

suppose, that in these words they enveloped y

some mystical sense. But when we see that “ If you ask, How is the finder to know outrage upon humanity, justice, and mercy, that the thing found belongs to an Amhaaretz ? no such supposition is necessary. R. Isaac says, It is in such a case as when a But, after all, how did the commentators crowd of Amharatzin is passing, and we see understand the passage. If we, as Gentiles, that it fell from them.” (Ibid.) So that, are accused of misrepresenting the sense, what according to this interpretation, the disciples did the rabbies, who succeeded, make of this of the wise men are positively allowed to passage ? The commentary from which we retain what they know does not belong to have just quoted, after saying, that if a crowd them, if they only see that it does belong to of Amharatzin let any thing fall, it is lawful an unlearned man; and yet these are the men to keep it without giving public notice, adds, who are so afraid of the dishonesty of the that this is to be understood strictly of what unlearned, as to forbid their appointment to is lost, but that it does not warrant the learned the office of guardian to orphans, or treasurer to rob them by force ; upon which the folto a charitable fund. Let any man of common lowing difficulty is started :dishonest, and then let him decide, whether it

:' can come from God, and whether such a re- " Why should it be unlawful to deal thus ligion is fit for an honest man ?

with his money, when it is lawful to deal The most important point, however, re- violently with his body, for it is lawful to mains, and that is, the permission to kill an rend him as a fish.” (Ibid.) Now here this unlearned man, or to rend him like a fish. rabbi evidently interpreted the permission to We have been told that this is merely figura- kill literally, and he naturally asks, If it be tive language, but the context is not such as lawful to take away a man's life by violence, to lead to this conclusion ; on the contrary, why should it not be lawful to take away his the passage itself, and all that precedes and money. If the words had been taken figura. follows, leads us to believe that it was meant tively, there would have been no room for literally. In the first place, it is said, that it this question. We have, therefore, neither is lawful to kill an Amhaaretz without observ- misunderstood nor misrepresented the meaning the rules of Toyu slaughtering, and when ing. The oral law allows the murder of an the disciples ask the reason, R. Eleazar re- unlearned man, and that with as little cere. plies, Because these rules would require a mony as it permits the killing of an unclean benediction to be pronounced, whereas he animal, or a fish. We therefore repeat our would not have an Ambaaretz treated with assertion, that the oral law cannot be from such respect.

Let any man explain the God. One such passage is quite sufficient to figurative meaning of all this. Secondly, R. discredit the whole, not only because of its Samuel, to take away all ambiguity, says, in intrinsic wickedness, but because it displays the name of R. Johannan, that it is lawful to the character of those men with whom the oral rend him as a fish. Now it is known that, law originated. Superabundant self-conceit, with regard to fish, the rules of Tone, or cold blooded cruelty, and unrelenting enmity, slaughtering, are not observed. All ambi- are the striking characteristics of those men, guity, therefore, as to R. Eleazar's meaning, who, by dint of force and fraud, gradually is here removed. Thirdly, it is evident that enslaved the minds of the Jewish people. the rabbies looked upon the unlearned as It appears from these passages, and from the nothing better than beasts. They say, that plain confessions of the rabbies in the context, the daughters of the unlearned are an abomi- that the common people struggled hard before nation, and their wives vermin; yea, that they submitted to the yoke of the oral law. their daughters are beasts. Now, when men The attempt to impose such a burden, evidently are so wicked as to use such language con- produced the most bitter animosity between cerning their fellow-creatures, are we to be the rabbies and the people. The people were astonished that they should draw the con- ready, as one of the rabbies says, to kill all clusion that necessarily follows from such the wise men, and these, in return, laid down premises, and that they should allow these the principles of retaliation which we have beasts and vermin to be killed ? When we just considered, and which are a disgrace to see that these rabbies allow an unlearned man the name of religion. These principles to be robbed with impunity of that which he however, would not have triumphed, if

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