2006 08 03
By Tony Malone | tonymalone.blogspot.com
Continued from: Part 1 - The Bible Is the Blueprint for Modern Zionism
Does the Bible say that Israel should assassinate their enemies' leaders and proudly boast about it? Does it suggest buying bulldozers from Caterpillar Inc. to pulverize Arab homes and trees?
Does it order the destruction of vineyards and farmlands, the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians without charges; the erection of a 20-foot army-protected cement wall to imprison a whole population; mass murder; and the brazen theft of land? Some would say "no", but others would answer "absolutely". Is Judaism the Old Testament? Is Zionism Judaism? The answer, again and again, is that some say yes, and others say no. There is continual argument about these questions and the arguments show that Jews themselves have conflicting ideas about what it means to be Jewish.
There is argument within the Bible itself. In one passage, the Israelites are told not to destroy their enemies' food trees. Why? Because those trees will feed Israelites after they steal the land. Non-food trees may be cut down and used as "seigeworks" to help the army demolish non-Israelite cities.
"When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, but you shall not cut them down…Only the trees which you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls." (Deuteronomy 20:10-20)
However, later in the Bible, this rule was reversed. In the time of Israelite King Jehoram (9th century BCE), the country of Moab (now Iraq) revolted against its abusive Israelite occupiers. The Israelites banded together to re-conquer Moab, and the armies called out the "prophet" Elisha to predict how things would go. Elisha said that God will:
"…give the Moabites into your hand, and you shall conquer every fortified city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop up all springs of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones." (2 Kings 3:18-19)
"…the Israelites rose and attacked the Moabites, till they fled before them; and they went forward, slaughtering the Moabites as they went. And they overthrew the cities, and on every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered; they stopped every spring of water, and felled all the good trees till only its stones were left in Kirhareseth. And the slingers surrounded and conquered it." (2 Kings 3:24-25)
(In spite of this novel effort, they couldn't subdue Moab. They were driven out, making Elisha a false prophet - he said the Israelites would conquer Moab - and they blamed this on a child sacrifice the Moabite god made (2Kings 3:26-27), which somehow caused the Israelite god to withdraw. It is not explained how or why this worked, but we hear that "there was great indignation against Israel".)
We see a discrepancy - first God says NEVER tear down food trees, then he says tear down food trees. Don't ruin food fields, then, ruin food fields. So, what to do? Well, according to Judaism and Christianity, the Bible is the word of the Creator of the Universe (there's no argument about THAT, right?), so both of these Bible quotations must be correct. Therefore, we must figure out - "interpret" - what God really means here. That's how Judaism works. But look at what we're interpreting.
What Is The Old Testament?
It is a glued-together stack of writings that tells an awkward history of the Israelite people and their antics. Here's a speedy synopsis (modern place-names are used):
c3800 BCE - The beginning of time; we follow a bloodline from the first man (Adam) through many generations, to Abraham "The Patriarch";
c2000 BCE - Abraham migrates from southeast Iraq, to northeast Syria, to middle Palestine, where the Israelite people are conceived;
c1600 BCE - Seventy Israelites migrate to Egypt and into bondage (note that in 400 years, Abe's family grew from 2 people to 70);
Exodus & Numbers
c1250 BCE - At least three million Israelite descendants escape from Egypt and wander the desert for forty years (note that in 350 years Abe's family has grown from 70 to over 3,000,000!);
Joshua & Judges
C1200-1150 BCE - They invade and settle in Palestine;
Samuel & Kings (these books were later revised to become Chronicles 1 & 2)
c1000 to c580 BCE - The Israelites erect kings, who perpetually fight with the natives and each other, attempting to control the whole "Promised Land";
c750 BCE - The northern area is demolished by Assyrians and the tribes are relocated;
c650 BCE - The southern area is demolished by Babylonians and the tribes are relocated;
Ezra & Nehemiah
c550 BCE - The southern tribes are freed from Babylon (south east Iraq) by Persians (today called Iranians), and are sent home to build a temple and re-settle in Palestine with Persian support. The northern tribes are forgotten.
The rest of the Bible is taken up by the "prophets" (16 of them!) who curse anyone not following the Israelite religion, and who predict future greatness for Israelites who DO follow. There are big lists of rules (Leviticus & Deuteronomy), a bunch of prayers and hopeful citations (Psalms & Proverbs), and a few loose ends (Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Job, etc) that fill in parts of the story. And that's it.
A new religion has been established. Really? What is it and how does it work?
Important Detail 1: Around 1200 BCE (Moses had just died), the Israelites invaded Palestine (Books of Joshua and Judges). Two tribes, called Levi and Judah, broke away from the rest and lived in the south area (now Israel) by themselves. The other tribes settled in the north and mingled with the natives. The Levite tribe had their own god and a set of rules to live by. Levite-ism was born. They ran the religious law system in the south, and we can see in the books of Samuel and Kings that they continually tried to dominate the northern tribes too. They failed dismally, over and over again, and they never got over it. The Bible is packed with insults against the northern tribes, all written and edited by Levite or pro-Levite authors. They said that the northerners, and particularly their kings, were evil. The northerners sinned against "God", specifically, the Levite god, who planned to be the only god in Palestine.
Important Detail 2: Around 600-500 BCE, after centuries of fighting for this position, the Levite tribe began gathering various local histories. Chopping and pasting, they edited them into an Israelite "history" which included lots of their own writing and glorified themselves and Judah as God's favorite Israelite tribes. The first version of the Torah, whatever form it may have been in, is usually credited to the priest Ezra. He did his work around 500 BCE. At religious gatherings he'd stand on a podium and read from his book about the Israelites and their special pact with God, and he'd explain its special meanings (Nehemiah 8:1-8). Ezra was a Levite, supposedly descended from Moses' high priest, Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5).
Ezra's Torah was nothing but a collection of Levite-authorized propaganda. And so it remains.
What Is Judaism?
This Levite religion was invented around 1150 BCE (perhaps a bit earlier). It ordered the Israelites to give all their best food to the Levite tribe, support them and give them land, worship their god, and bow to their legal system. They were also told to go out and destroy all the local religions. Disobeying a Levite priest was punishable by death.
"If cases come before your courts that are too difficult for you to judge - whether bloodshed, lawsuits or assaults...Go to the priests, who are Levites, and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict. You must act according to the decisions they give you at the place the Lord will choose. Be careful to do everything they direct you to do. Act according to the law they teach you and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left. The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God must be put to death." (Deuteronomy 17:8-12)
Even in 500 BCE, when Ezra collected the writings together, "Jews" were merely members of the tribe of Judah. They weren't special, and there was no "Judaism". The Levites had always controlled the religion, and Judah followed. It was Levite-ism. Even the most important Biblical book of rules, Leviticus, is named after them, and they were in charge of enforcing all of it and collecting sin payments.
But shortly after Ezra's time, certain men from the tribe of Judah figured they could interpret these writings as well as the Levites. This new group of Jewish religious pretenders named themselves "Pherushim" (in the New Testament "Pharisees" - means "separated ones"). Each was called a rabbi, meaning father or teacher. From them came Judaism, or Rabbinical Judaism: the rabbi interprets the weird old Levite stories into divine messages from their god. But why does the Bible need to be interpreted?
We've looked at one big contradiction (kill enemy trees or don't). There are thousands of other contradictions like this in the Bible. Someone has to settle the confusion. The myth of Rabbinical Judaism is that Moses wrote The Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. When he gave it to his people, he also spoke an "interpretation" of his text, called the Oral Law, which has been passed down among the holy and learned. Unfortunately, no one wrote down Moses' Oral Law. The only tangible thing we ever had was his Written Law, and that's what the Bible still is today.
Now, it's preposterous to imagine that Moses wrote anything at all. He was awfully busy. When would he do this? His adventures aren't written in the first person; the stories in Exodus and Numbers are about him, not by him; there's nothing personal in the writing that would make you think someone is sharing their experiences; and ironically, the rest of the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with him. So what? you may ask.
Many thousands of books have been written by generations of rabbis, these Pherushim from Judah, weaving their endless interpretations into the Bible's Levite words, weaving endless meanings into the supposed utterances of "Moses".
Authorized collections of these interpretations are known as "Talmud"; there are two (from Babylon and Jerusalem), and there are countless other writings. Any detail from any of them can be used by a modern rabbi as "precedent" when he is making a biblical interpretation. And he can credit any or all of it to Moses! All rabbinical writing pretends to have some deep understanding of what God "meant" by this or that Bible passage, and all of this revelation was allegedly given to the Israelites by Moses.
Ordinary Jews, like everyone else, have no idea what's in most of those rabbinical writings (you could spend the rest of your life reading and discussing them). Like Christians, Jews simply observe holidays and listen to what their preachers say, making few decisions for themselves. So the game of pulling some nasty thing out of a Talmud and blaming Jews for it is quite pointless and unfair. It's like holding all Americans responsible for a racist comment made by some forgotten politician a century ago; or using the Spanish Inquisition to prove that modern Christianity is inherently bad.
Judaism is based almost entirely on the writings of various rabbis of the last 2,300 years, selectively taught and re-taught by new generations of rabbis - selectively, meaning the rabbi's personal character decides for him which historic rabbis he follows. If he's a good-hearted man, he'll take the advice of rabbis who set a gracious example. Likewise, if he's a nasty fellow, the nasty rabbis of old will be his role models.
Most Jews are so indoctrinated that they don't distinguish between the rabbinical tales they've been taught and the actual words of the Bible. They get blamed for blindly following what many people see as a racist, supremacist religion, when really they're only as ignorant as the followers of any other religion. It is the leaders who should be watched.
The Old Testament is a Levite plan. It is Levite-ism, and its origins had nothing to do with Jews or any of their interpretations. After the appearance of the rabbis, and with the advent of rabbinical interpretation, the tribe of Judah finally created its own religion, but it was based on the old Levite writings.
Rabbinical Judaism was the first true Judaism, developed by the tribe of Judah: Jews. Judah-ism in essence just means 'following the ways of the tribe of Judah'. However, the Bible is still a set of old Levite writings. Judaism is the interpretations APPLIED to those writings, and Judaism's interpretations do not appear anywhere in the actual Bible. They are a later application. But Rabbinical Judaism, of course, would have you believe that "Moses gave us these interpretations", and rabbis will defend this idea even to this outrageous point:
"The Oral Torah is not an interpretation of the Written Torah. In fact, the Oral Torah preceded the Written Torah. When the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago, God communicated the 613 commandments, along with a detailed, practical explanation of how to fulfill them. At that point in time, the teachings were entirely oral. It wasn't until 40 years later, just prior to Moses' death and the Jewish people's entering the Land of Israel, that Moses wrote the scroll of the written Torah (known as the Five Books of Moses) and gave it to the Jewish people." (from aish.com Talmud website, http://www.come-and-hear.com
It seems odd that a man would intentionally write something that says one thing, and then tell his followers 'it really means that other stuff I told you 40 years ago'. What if his "oral interpretation" is lost? What use will his writings be?
These rabbinical interpretations continue to pile up. If Moses taught the specific meanings of his Torah to someone, to ANYONE, why is there still discussion about what he meant? Where are the interpretations HE issued? Why can't he settle this?
The Bible's words, and the conflicting interpretations of thousands of rabbis, allow for so many different interpretations of what their god wants from them, that there can be no ONE Judaism. And each version can stand by its interpretation, with God as its defender.
"Further, without the Talmud, we would not be able to understand passages in the Bible...God has handed this authority to the sages, and tradition is a necessity as well as scripture. The Sages also made enactments of their own [they made up their own laws as well] ...anyone who does not study the Talmud cannot understand Scripture."
(Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph, quoted by Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby in "Judaism on Trial", reprinted in "The Truth About the Talmud" by Michael A. Hoffman II & Alan R. Critchley, 2000
Though most Jews have never seen a Talmud, they tend to believe that the Talmud stories they've been taught are one and the same with the Bible's, not realizing that all ideas were selectively chosen by their rabbis from the millions of rabbinical possibilities. Rabbis like the one quoted above will all say that the Bible cannot be understood without the Talmud, and they must convince their followers that following the literal words of the Bible would not be Judaism. Without the interpretive angle, the Bible is completely insane, and they're out of a job.
Continue: Part 3 - Is The Talmud Zionism?
Tony Malone is the author of The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible (books one and two): www.saintoxenbooks.com
Article received from: Tony Malone
Related: The Zionist Manifesto - Part 1 - The Bible Is the Blueprint for Modern Zionism
The Zionist Manifesto - Part 3 - Is The Talmud Zionism?
Hating the Bible - The Bible For People Who Hate The Bible (Books 1 & 2)
Zionism, Israel & Shabbetai Tzvi
One Law for One...Propaganda Against the Other... (Part 1)
'What is this Carnage Really all About...? (Part 2)
Red Ice Radio: Special Focus interview with Michael Tsarion - Israel, Lebanon and Beyond (mp3)