Torah Pearls – Season 2 – Nasso

The Nelson’s NKJV study notes regarding the “Nazarite” in Numbers 6:2-8 states “Not to be confused with Nazarene (one from Nazareth, see Matthew 2:23)”. This same publication cross-references Matthew 2:23 solely with Judges 13:5 (marked with a “Prophetic Star” that designates it as “a fulfilment of a prophecy related to the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.”) while also cross-referencing Judges 13:5 not to Matthew 2:23 but back to Numbers 6:2-5 thereby purposefully confusing “Nazarite” with “Nazarene”! Why? Rabbi Tovia Singer’s answer will astound you!

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12 Comments

  1. Valerie says

    rabbi Singer, You said there were 25 commandments on how to treat convert. can you tell us what they are ?
    toda raba,
    Valerie

  2. Valerie says

    and please tell me where you will post it ….

  3. Jeff Edson says

    Tovia, Is it your belief a person must convert to Judaism to become a part of the nation of Israel and if so, where is that explained in the written Torah?

  4. Paul L. says

    Explain the Phrases:
    “Put my NAME on the people” Num 6:27
    You will give your Vows, Tithes & Offerings only where the Levites have “PUT MY NAME”.Deut 12
    I have “PLACED MY NAME” on the Ark, the Temple & Yerushaliym.

  5. Sophiee Saguy says

    Jeff, to be a Jew one must take upon himself (herself) the 613 mitzvot binding a Jew to G-d. A Jewish court (a Beit Din) of three judges must accept the conversion as sincere, and finally the convert will immerse in a mikvah (ritual bath) and emerge as a Jew.

    The Israelites were converted during the Exodus and Revelation at Sinai. Prior to Sinai there were no Jews (although each of the patriarchs had a covenant with G-d). It was at Sinai that the Jewish nation agreed to the contract (covenant) and as part of it the Jews were circumcized in Egypt and bathed (mikveh) at Sinai, then received the commandments at the Revelation and afte during the 40 years in the desert. The same as the conversion process generally today. The Talmud and Midrashim discuss this.

    Ruth, David’s ancestress, was a convert to Judaism. The Sages take the basic rules of conversion from the Book of Ruth Chapter 1 verses 16-18. Here’s the verses with Rashi’s commentary (taken from the Judaica Press Tanach). “And Ruth said, “Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your G-d my G-d.”

    Do not entreat me Heb. תִּפְגְעִי, do not urge me.

    And Rashi’s commentary: “for wherever you go, I will go From here our Sages derived that a [prospective] proselyte who comes to convert is told some of the punishments [for violating the commandments], so that if he decides to renege, he can renege, for out of Ruth’s words, you learn what Naomi said to her: “We may not go out of the boundary [of 2,000 cubits on all sides] on the Sabbath.” She replied to her, “Wherever you go, I will go.” “We are prohibited to allow a female to be secluded with a male who is not her husband.” She replied, “Wherever you lodge, I will lodge.” “Our people is separated from the other peoples with 613 commandments.” [She replied,] “Your people is my people.” “Idolatry is forbidden to us.” “Your God is my God.” “Four types of death penalties were delegated to the beth din (court) [to punish transgressors].” “Wherever you die I will die.” “Two burial plots were delegated to the beth din [to bury those executed], one for those stoned and those burned, and one for those decapitated and those strangled.” She replied, “And there I will be buried.”

    17. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. So may the Lord do to me and so may He continue, if anything but death separate me and you.”

    So may the Lord do to me as He has commenced to harm [me], for His hand has gone forth against me to slay my husband and to cause me to lose my property.

    and so may He continue if anything but death separates me from you.

    18. And she saw that she was determined to go with her; so she stopped speaking to her.

    so she stopped speaking to her From here they derived that we do not overburden him and we are not overly meticulous with him (i.e., with a prospective convert).

    Solomon converted most of his hundreds of wives and concubines. They went into the mikveh but most did not observe the mitzvot. Maimonides writes in his Mishna Torah they were still considerd Jews, but called mumarim – non observant Jews who worshipped idols.

    The idea that someone can “decide to be part of Israel” comes from a mistranslation in the King James Version (KJV). Look at the verb הַנִּלְוִים in Y’shayahu / Isaiah 56:6. נִלְוִים is the נִפְעַל nif’al (passive) present participle, as even Strong’s (a Christian concordance) admits, and yet KJV deliberately uses the reflexive to translate it. This changes the entire sense of the verse from the intended “those gentiles who ARE JOINED [to Israel by the proper Jewish religious authorities]” into “who JOIN THEMSELVES to us.”

    Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if every person was able to determine his own status! I could declare myself to be the Queen of England! I could claim Saudi Arabian citizenship to get my share of Arab oil! One can only become a United States citizen by satisfying the appropriate United States authorities that one meets the criteria for citizenship – and to principle is exactly the same for becoming a Jew. A Jewish court must authorize it.

    The rules regarding Jewish courts are also found in the T’nach. Moses began the court system with the 70 elders from all the tribes. Rabbis are the judges and the teachers. The system of justice, then as now, follows the mitzvot in the Torah — this includes how courts are established and how they “operate.” The Jewish system of judges began under Moses. Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18: “But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men – men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 18:22 ‘Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.’” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.

    From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice including the acceptance or rejection of a convert.

    I hope that answers your question (even though I am not Rabbi Singer).

  6. Jeff Edson says

    I’m not questioning the terms of the covenant given at Sinai, I’m questioning the apparent belief that a person must convert to some form of Rabbinic Judaism to accept the terms of that covenant. There are countless numbers of people all over the world accepting the terms of the covenant who are not formally converting to Judaism-at least not yet. We currently have this phenomenon of people leaving churches to attach themselves to Messianic groups and then from there converting to Judaism. It appears to me to be an endless cycle of exchanging one man made religion for another. I don’t believe The Most High established a formal religion at Sinai any more than I believe He established the one born out of the second and third centuries of the common era. Have we really convinced ourselves that the much anticipated Messianic King is coming to reinforce our religions, or would it be safer to assume he’s coming to reinforce the covenant and gather those people who have a heart for keeping that covenant? I came out of the church into the Messianic Movement and then from there into a heartfelt desire to understand the scripture text in it’s historical, cultural, and linguistic context. I don’t attach myself to Judaism, Christianity, or the Messianic Movement. I just want to grow in my understanding of the covenant given at Sinai and appropriately apply those commandments that are applicable to me as a male living outside the land in 2015. The terms of the covenant were simple and were given to a simple people. Yes judges and elders were required for a system of justice but was that system modern Judaism? Do I actually need a Rabbinic court to determine if my desire to keep the terms of the covenant is sincere? How did the sages manage to draw the rules for converting to Judaism out of the book of Ruth? All of this perplexes me. It is not my desire to be rude or disrespectful. I’m honestly seeking the Most High and all I want is the truth of the scripture text and the truth about the scripture text. I came out of the Church of Circular Reasoning and I have no desire to enter another institution of circular reasoning. I’m not taking anything away from those in Judaism who have preserved the written Torah and who have provided great wisdom throughout the centuries. I am benefitting from this today as a result. But I cannot embrace the tenets of another religion. I didn’t walk out of the by-laws, doctrines and statements of faith of one institution to adopt the halacha, minhag and takanot of another.

  7. Vernon says

    Jeff, I would have to agree with you, we are to keep the covenant given by the Most High God but not get tangled up in the things of men, that’s when things start going wrong. If I’ll keep His covenant, commandments, statutes, and judgments to the best of my ability (all my heart, soul, mind, and strength) He will be my God and I will be His people, end of story. Everything else has been added or made up, not that there may be some benefit to some of it but I am not bound by another man deciding my position or fate.

  8. Sophiee Saguy says

    The Torah makes it clear that there are 606 mitzvot that apply only to Jews. Take Shabbat (for example). Shabbat was decreed and designed for all humanity… but all humanity rejected G-d’s gift. Except for Abraham.

    From that point forward, Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob became the keepers and guardians of the Sabbath. Adam, Abel, Enoch and Noah might not have kept it the way Abraham kept it, but they were… in tune with it and connected to it. Abraham is the first person, we are told, that kept G-d’s laws as He intended for the Jewish people. [“Because Abraham obeyed My voice, and observed My safeguards, My commandments, My decrees, and My instructions.” (B’reshit / Gen. 26:5).

    Move along to Sh’mot (Exodus). “G-d has given you the Sabbath.” (Sh’mot 16:29) is said to the Jews. G-d has given YOU (not the entire world).

    This doesn’t mean that a non-Jew must abstain from resting on the Sabbath, they simply should not “keep” the Sabbath as a Jew keeps it (observing the Shabbat mitzvot).

    The Jews did not “make this up.” It is all in the bible. Read it.

    “Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying: On the tenth of this month, every man must take a lamb for each extended family, a lamb for each household.” Sh’mot / Exodus 12:3. The community of Israel: Jews.

    “The entire community of Israel must keep [this ritual].” Sh’mot / Exodus 12:47.

    “‘Sanctify to Me every first-born that initiates the womb among the Israelites.” Sh’mot / Exodus 13:2.

    AMONG THE ISRAELITES.

    And on and on the list goes.

    To discredit Judaism many missionaries claim that “Rabbinic” Judaism is not the same as Judaism. They insist that the “Rabbis invented” or the “Rabbis changed” Judaism and that Christianity is as legitimate an “offspring” of ancient Judaism. Part of this lie is based on a half-truth. The word “rabbi” does not appear in the Torah.

    True enough. The word “rabbi” is Aramaic, not Hebrew. The Jewish bible is written in Hebrew with the exception of a smattering of Aramaic in the books of Daniel and Ezra. The variation of the word “rabbi” is found in Daniel 5:1 (“rav” – meaning “great one”) – which is written in Aramaic.

    Rabbis are mentioned in the Torah (just not by that term) – they are the judges and the teachers (just as they are today). The system of justice, then as now, follows the mitzvot in the Torah — this includes how courts are established and how they “operate.” The Jewish system of judges began under Moses. Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18: “But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men – men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 18:22 ‘Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.’” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.

    From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice. They apply the mitzvot to various legal problems (this is what much of the Talmud is doing – describing the rules in a given situation). . . and it is ALL biblical. Far from the rabbis “changing the law” the rabbis are doing exactly what G-d instructed them to do – follow the rules and apply them using the Torah as their guide.

    G-d is the G-d of all mankind, but He made a covenant — a contract with the Jews to be His first born son, His nation of priests to lead the rest of the world to know Him. You are not bound by that contract if you are not a Jew — you are bound by the 7 mitzvot given to all mankind pre-Sinai. This does not make His love for you any less — but it also does not allow you to hijack his covenant with the Jews (which was made to benefit non-Jews).

  9. Sophiee Saguy says

    Jeff asked “Yes judges and elders were required for a system of justice but was that system modern Judaism?” — the answer is YES. The legal system was established at Sinai — the 613 mitzvot. The judges were established by Moses and that legal system has continued in an UNBROKEN CHAIN from that first generation to today. Each generation handed down the Torah to the next, from one generation of judges / teachers to the next. Great pains were made to not change the mitzvot (do not add to or subtract from the mitzvot is taken very seriously). The term “Orthodox Jew” is relatively new – but it is just a new label for the observant Jew. The small number who remains. . . When you hear the term “Rabbinic Judaism,” or “Orthodox Judaism” do not be fooled – it is Judaism. True, observant, faithful to G-d Judaism.

    We do not change the mitzvot. I recommend you read some articles at the website “being Jewish” (I’ll give the link in a minute). The three articles you need to read are:

    1. Haven’t Rabbis Changed the Laws?

    2. Why Can’t Jewish Law be Altered?

    3. Has Judaism Changed?

    The link to the main website is http://beingjewish.com/

  10. CKDees says

    But Sophee, Jeff made it clear that his is not interested in being Jewish. He wishes to be in covenant with The Most High, as at Sinai. The two are not synonymous. In 3500 years, a great many things change in the dealings of the G-d’s people with the world and amongst themselves. Not so with G-d.

    That said, clearly we know that throughout time G-d’s people lived by rules and statutes that were not specified in detail in the written Torah. They exist, they were just not given by G-d.

  11. Jeff Edson says

    Sophee, you seem to be saying those slaves came out of Egypt Israelites and left the mountain “Jews” after a process of conversion to Judaism. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t they still called Israelites after receiving the covenant? I’m assuming you believe they became a “Jewish nation” yet they are NEVER called “Jews” or a “Jewish nation” in the Torah. They are simply called “Israel” and “Israelites”. Certainly the tribe of Judah would have been a part of that group and I suppose if we wanted to call them “Jews” we’d be in a relatively safe parameter, but even they are not addressed as “Jews” in the Torah. I would like a Rabbi to explain how we have gone from a broader Israelite nation to a narrow “chosen few” who have the authority to determine the who and the how of excepting the covenant. The “contract” as you put it was with ISRAEL. You stated the Noachide Laws were given to all mankind pre-Sinai. Where’s that in the Torah?
    You also seemed to indicate those laws prevent me from hijacking the covenant made with the “Jews”. I would like to know who made the determination there are 606 commandments that apply only to Jews and what criteria was used to make that determination. Show me in the Torah where it says the Sabbath was given to the Jews. The people being addressed in Sh’mot 16 are called “Israel”!!!!! Israel is the firstborn. My question to Tovia was, is it his belief a person must convert to Judaism to become a part of the nation of Israel? Taking the Torah at face value that should be a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Lengthy explanation, clarification, and the quoting of Rabbinic sources shouldn’t be necessary. If there is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question, then we probably need to be re-examining who has really hijacked the covenant.

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