Think for Yourself: Reform Judaism Uses JW Blood Issue For Shavuot

by David_Jay 87 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TD


    I was pointing out the difference that Judaism requires that a Jew eat non kosher to save his life and the wt teaches that each person must decide whether to obey God's law on blood.

    Okay. Let's back up a little bit then:

    Therefore, you conclude that in a survival situation jw should be required to consume blood same as a Jew is required to eat to save his life over keeping kosher? WT does not view it like that.

    Such was not my conclusion at all. My illustration to Myelaine was only intended to show how basic assumptions affect legal interpretation. Which is more valuable; life or property? If life is more valuable than property, then laws whose purpose is to protect property must, of necessity be limited by that assumption.

    Let's try an entirely different example:

    One of the most iconic plants of the American Southwest is the saguaro cactus. These plants are protected by law and may not be moved or transported without a permit. Let's assume you're walking your dog around a construction site after hours one evening and you see a young saguaro cactus that has been toppled by a bulldozer and rolled into a trash heap. Let's further assume that you're outraged by this and you put this doomed saguaro in your truck and take it miles and miles out into the desert and replant it. Have you broken the law? Why or why not?

    Can you explain what do you mean by "mechanical" application of the Law.

    --Rigid adherence to the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. This actually a fallacy in formal logic with a fancy Latin description - Dicto Simpliciter

    All kidding aside, I see your point:

    Jesus' argument was that healing was lawful on the Sabbath and therefore did not break it.

    "All considered, of how much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do a fine thing on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:12)

    --Big, big difference. :-)

  • myelaine
    dear David_Jay...

    you said, "Remember, our culture is very much a product of monotheism as monotheism is a product of the unique Jewish culture. The rules are not written in Scripture. For Jews the Scriptures came after the rules were set in place. Our worship is not based on Scripture as much as the Scriptures are based on what we believe and how we worship. It is a product of our faith, not its foundation or rule book."...

    I guess I have to question "jewish" authority then. The OT is replete with God's desire for israel to return to those "rules" or the paths that were set "before" the scriptures. I can't imagine God asking the jews to return to something that wasn't clearly spelled out, which the law of moses is (in minute detail). Before Jesus came to Jerusalem the rabbis added to the law and Jesus found the need to correct them regarding those additions only (call these additions interpretation that formed the way they worshiped). Now it seems that the pendulum has swung the other way. With the various sects of judaism the more progressive form has removed aspects of the law in their interpretation of worship practice. I'll suggest the humanist approach has been elevated (though beneficial) to the same status as God's Holy law.(not sure if I'm expressing myself to be correctly understood here but as an example...) If modern judaism progressed to the point where a practicing* homosexual was welcomed and encouraged to be a member of the congregation because the judaic religion's "current understanding" is that it "is a value that serves humanity best"...though it is a balm to all and sundry, isn't the acquiescence to that progressive thought, without exception, a fly in the ointment?

    It was said earlier in this thread: how presumptuous of JW's to think they can interpret the jewish scriptures, or something like that. I'd like to say how presumptuous of "judaism" to amend scripture thinking they have the authority by virtue of being jewish! (Paul said it wasn't the law that saved, it was grace through faith in the God who inspired the scripture...the ONE who commissioned the rules)

    I don't know all the mysteries of God...yet...but I do know that Jesus is the written word made flesh and if He is perfect then the word/torah is perfect. My God says so. The Father says listen to the Son, He is well pleased with the Son. While I spent time in the city listening to the authority there I was eventually led out into the wilderness by my Saviour away from the "prevailing" authority. I started listening to the Son, hearing Him. That meant becoming torah observant to the best of my ability. I'm putting on the new man. It's great and I know that I will be judged, not by the religion and culture of the jews (that came after the rules) but, in the land of my nativity. Ezekiel 21:18:32.

    love michelle

    *if you wanna go there...
  • David_Jay


    We are not amending the Scriptures because the Scriptures did not come before our religion. Our religion and culture came first. The Scriptures were written by Jews who were descendants of Jews who had been worshipping YHWH for millennia before the books of Scripture were composed and settled into the form you know today.

    Judaism is not based on Scripture because Judaism had to exist first. The Bible did not write itself of fall from the sky as you have it today. Jews wrote it. Jews came into existence not because they had the Scriptures to study and base their religion on. On the contrary, Jews based the Scriptures on their own beliefs long after their religion had started and long after they had settled in Israel. It is the testimony of their convictions, not the basis for them.

    The Hebrew Scriptures only have their current status in Judaism because Jews picked them out from the myriad of our many compositions to make up the Tanakh. Jewish authorities, our rabbis and great sages, decided what books were sacred and which were not. They would have no authority unless we made it so. They did not authorize or write or canonize themselves. Someone with authority from outside the Bible had to do it, someone and something with more authority than Scripture.

    Jews base their religion on a series of claimed theophanies that our ancestors claim they experienced. It is on the basis of these, especially the Great Theophany at Sinai, that our religion stands. That came before even the Ten Commandments were written by God. Those theophanies are the "proof" our ancestors had of YHWH, not Scriptures.

    God did not write us Scriptures and hand them out to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and tell them to follow what was written. God did not hand Moses the first five books of the Bible and tell him to start a religion based on it. We Jews did not stumble over these books or find them hidden in the ground like Joseph Smith and then decided to base on religion on what was written.

    God revealed our religion to Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebecca, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, to Moses and the prophets. We didn't learn it from a book. We wrote the book. We invented it and based it on what was revealed to us. The Scriptures have never replaced or will ever be seen as greater than the theophanies experienced by our ancestors. They are a testimony to it, part of the deposit of that revelation, but not the final or primary authority. The Scriptures would not have authority unless we believed our religion had authority.

    In the light of this we interpret our history and our religion and its meaning based on human growth and achievement. The words in Scripture, from our God, yes, are however not seen as static. We are not called to return to the snapshots in time preserved in it's pages but the call to our hearts placed there by God to which the texts give witness.

    I understand and appreciate that you hold the written books as the ultimate authority. Religious Jews feel they have something greater. God didn't give us Jews an inspired book in order to make us his people. God made us his people so we could write an inspired book.

    If God made us a nation and inspired my people to write a book you feel must be obeyed, why do you find it appropriate to question the authors who God used to compose it? Do not authors have the right to explain their own work?

    I know you probably don't agree and won't ever, even if the heavens shook and told you so. And I don't claim that everything here represents my personal convictions as a Jew either, but it is the general way we as a people approach the Scriptures and why we have a progressive theology not bound by a snapshot in time written in scrolls.

    Your claim may be that your religious beliefs are based on the Bible. But we claim that our religion is based on meeting YHWH face-to-face, and that the Bible is based on what we believe. That is very, very different from where you are. Not more superior (and not meant to claim that they are better than other views), but definitely different in how we use Scripture. Be happy with what you have. We cannot change our view on Scripture because our religion is not based on it like yours. Our religion came from a different source than just writings.

  • myelaine

    dear David_Jay...

    Judaism can teach that the scriptures came about from their religion and worship but the birth of that nation and their religion was borne of YHWH. The hebrews in egypt didn't seek Him out, He found them. You say the religion of judaism doesn't have all the answers yet at the same time it seems you are trying to convince me that, indeed, the egg came before the chicken.

    you said, "If God made us a nation and inspired my people to write a book you feel must be obeyed, why do you find it appropriate to question the authors who God used to compose it? Do not authors have the right to explain their own work?"...

    The author is God, D_J. God is the author and finisher of our faith. He inspired hebrew hands to write about His faithfulness and He inspired hebrew hands to write about their unfaithfulness. Therefore...He has remained faithful and the prime suspect for unfaithfulness in the OT according to Him are those who have practiced the "amended" religion called judaism.(before or after Christ, take your pick [Jesus said, "if you had believed moses, you would have believed Me"] )


  • David_Jay


    Your saying that It is audacious for Jews to interpret the Scriptures of their own people, their own religion, is what confuses me.

    The Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, contains Jewish laws, Jewish legends, Jewish mythology, Jewish history. It was written by Jewish hands in a Jewish language, Hebrew. How is it 'audacious,' as you say, for a culture to interpret its own writings?

    That is like saying the Native Americans are audacious when they give new meanings to their ancient stories. It is like saying that a race, a people, an ethnic group can write a book but it takes another race or religion to properly interpret it.

    Jews can interpret their texts as they see fit. They may be legends, myths, even fiction, but they are our legends, our myths, our fiction. I'm not saying they are purely mythological or genuine history, but I am saying that a culture's understanding and use of its own origin stories and written works is not audacious.

    That is like saying the Governing Body of JWs is right when they say the Bible could not be understood until they themselves came on the scene. "It may be written by Jews, canonized and preserved by Catholics, but these people cannot truly understand it unless they listen to us and our interpretation."

    If that is the way you want to believe, I am happy for you. But it's illogical. I bet you can't even read and speak in Hebrew like I can, and yet you elevate yourself and say 'the audacity for the Jews to interpret their own texts in new ways as history progresses!' The term "Messiah" is a Jewish concept, and yet you, like so many Christians are so quick to judge other non-Christian cultures of no value, even the Jews and their own understanding of the texts they wrote, as you claim what others invented for yourselves.

    Yeah, I already this story from the Watchtotwer. I don't care for it. You can keep it.

  • TheWonderofYou

    Interesting discussion.

  • TheWonderofYou

    Sorry I was not able to delete the last post. Although an"something or other" it has common with the OP.

  • David_Jay

    If Judaism is so "unfaithful" as you, Myelaine put it, why base one's beliefs on the myths and legends of an unfaithful people?

    That is like saying: "I'm going to follow the religious texts of Jim Jones and the people of Jonestown, even though their religion ended in a mass suicide of their true believers." Claiming "they had the truth, but the only reason they ended up dead is because they were unfaithful to the truth in their writings, so I am going to follow their writings correctly because they come from God." That would be idiotic. The group killed itself because they believed in crazy things. If the group's religion is wrong, how are their writings inspired?

    Didn't Jesus say that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit? If the Jews were so unfaithful to God in their religion, why would you want to base your religion on the writings of an unfaithful people? How does a bad tree produce good fruit? (Matthew 7.16-20) If the nation and its religion are unfaithful, how does an unfaithful nation produce a text that makes one faithful? "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit." If Judaism is unfaithful, it's Scriptures will make you equally so for they are a product not merely of the culture of Jews but the religion of the Jews, Judaism.

    However, again I remind you, as I wrote above before, "if the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy," that is the Jewish patriarchs, "then the whole batch is holy," that is all the children of Abraham. "Do not boast over the branches," the Jews that did not accept Jesus as Messiah. "If you," the Christian, "do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root" of natural Israel, "but the root that supports you." Non-Jews are saved only because they believe in a concept that springs from Judaism, the Messiah. They are saved because the get grafted into Israel. Israel is not saved because it gets grafted onto you, Myelaine, at least according to Paul.--Romans 11.16-36.

    I'm not saying that Judaism is the only way or the only path with "the Truth," or that even that its doctrines and Scriptures are true. I am not saying I believe in God or reject Jesus.

    What I am saying is that it sounds like the Watchtower all over again when you say that Jews are unfaithful and are being audacious in Interpeting the products of their own culture and religion which they themselves produced. That was the whole point of the article I highlighted. Taking Hebrew texts out of the Hebrew context and at least ignoring the way Jews use them to instead accept a literal interpretation in its place kills, spiritually and physically, like those who refuse blood on the basis of such an ignorant and slavish approach.

  • TD


    Before Jesus came to Jerusalem the rabbis added to the law and Jesus found the need to correct them regarding those additions only (call these additions interpretation that formed the way they worshiped).

    Stop and think about the nature of the controversies between Jesus and the hard-line Pharisees of his day. Why would there be any argument over healing on the Sabbath in the first place? Was it because the Torah clearly defines activities exempt from Sabbath law or was it because it is almost completely silent on the subject?

    I would submit that Jesus, of necessity is arguing outside the scope of the written Law and is therefore engaging in Rabbinic interpretation himself. What other choice did he have? No rule is so general, which admits not some exception as the saying goes.

    What, for example, do you do if an occupied building collapses on the Sabbath? Do you work to rescue survivors or not? --You can go through the Torah from start to finish and you will not find the principle of pikuach nefesh, which Jesus directly alludes to (Luke 14:15) and weaves into his own argument. (An argument which I wholeheartedly agree with.)

    Or carefully read through the Sermon on the Mount. (Not that you haven't already...:-) ) Note how many times Jesus quotes the Torah and then offers amplification. Is he telling his fellow Jews not to observe the Law or is he instead telling them a better way to observe it? Was that not essentially the goal of the Pharisees as well?

  • Fisherman

    Such was not my conclusion at all. My illustration to Myelaine was only intended to show how basic assumptions affect legal interpretation. Which is more valuable; life or property? If life is more valuable than property, then laws whose purpose is to protect property must, of necessity be limited by that assumption. TD

    Are you saying then that since blood is sacred because blood represent s life, then life is axiomatically more valuable than the blood representing it? If that is what your are saying then you are incorrect because blood is sacred to God not because it is merely an object (property sort of speak) representing life but because to God blood specifically represents the life of the creature from where the blood came from.There is no license stated in the OT or the NT that automatically grants the right to violate "God's law on blood" except for your application of Jesus' interpretation of what is lawful on the Sabbath, and it appears that, hence, you feel that it is ok (or ou) to consume blood in an attempt to be healed or to be cured.

    But there is also an axiomatic difference(big) between blood- a mere object except to God- and human life or the life of a child that could possibly be saved ("prolonged") with an attempt using blood. "Each person must decide for themselves whether to obey God's Law on Blood." JW stand firm "mechanically" on their position on blood ( on idolatry too.) JW believe that consuming blood is a sin and that there is nothing stated or implied in the Bible that grants the license to eat or consume blood.

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