Saturday, July 14, 2012


Complete set of the Babylonian Talmud
What, then, are the implications of this reading of Jesus through the eyes of Rabbinic
sources? First, we do require honesty on both sides in confronting history ... A mature
Jewish-Christian relationship presupposes the ability of both sides to face up to history.
-- The American Jewish Committee, 20031
My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the scribes than in the words of
the Torah, for in the laws of the Torah, there are positive and negative precepts, but, as to the
laws of the scribes, whoever transgresses any of the enactments of the scribes incurs the
penalty of death.
-- Erubin 21B, Soncino translation of the Babylonian Talmud2
All sources have been separately saved to ensure their availability.
I have adjusted grammar, included ellipses (…), and deleted most in-text parenthetical citations in
my quotes for ease of reading. The full source as originally written is always cited.
Italicized text denotes quotations
Boldfaced text denotes my emphasis.
Underlined text denotes important terms, concepts, and people.
Due to the extreme sensitivity surrounding the topic, no critique of Judaism can begin without this
This piece is not an indictment of the Jewish people --historically or presently-- as a whole.
As a Christian, i.e., a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, it would be quite nonsensical for me to hate
Jews. Jesus was a Jew (though more accurately an Israelite or Galilean), teaching Jewish
Scripture to Jews in Jewish land. By definition, “Christ" being the Koine Greek (the language of
the New Testament) word for "Messiah," Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah spoken of
in the Old Testament.
The first Christians were Jews, and, addressing my fellow Christians: No Jew who accepts their
Messiah3 should be treated any differently than our Gentile brethren. As written by the Apostle
Paul,4 a Jew:
There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile], there is neither slave nor free, there is
neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.5
In answer to the American Jewish Committee's challenge found on the front page, I shall right
now confront the history. Professing Christians have, throughout the Common Era,6 persecuted
Jews in vicious ways. Examples that come to mind are the Inquisitions7 and the mass murder
of Jews and razing of Jewish communities8 for a supposed role in creating Europe's 1300's C.E.
bubonic plague pandemic, the Black Death. Both of these, and countless other examples, are
utterly indefensible. Jewish suffering9 throughout history must be entirely acknowledged and
unhesitatingly condemned. They should be freed from centuries of vicious stereotyping and
scapegoating and persecution. Jews, as Jews, are not to blame for the troubling material
examined in this piece.
With that said, I consider the use of the term “antisemitism” to narrowly describe hatred of Jews to
be woefully ignorant. Semitism refers merely to a lingual family. The Jews are but one of over two
dozen extinct and extant Semitic peoples, i.e., the speakers of Semitic languages.10
To be sure, the Jews and their languages (like Hebrew and Aramaic) are of the Semitic branch.
But also included in these Semitic peoples are the Arabs, who are the largest Semitic group
in existence. It is thus the height of absurdity to describe any Arab as an antisemite in any
circumstance, even if they do hate Jews. Another problem with the term “antisemitism” is that it is
an -ism. While most people understand that what is meant by this term is a hatred of Jewish
people, it still connotes that there is some ideology “semitism” that antisemites oppose. Jewish
political scientist Leo Strauss had this to say of the term:
Our worst enemies are called “anti-Semites,” a word which I shall never use, and
which I regard as almost obscene. I think that if we are sensible we abolish it from
our usage. I said in a former speech here that it was coined by some German or French
pedant: I smelled them. But then I learned, a few weeks ago, that it was coined by a
German pedant, a fellow called Marr. The reason he coined it was very simple. “Anti-
Semitism” means hatred of Jews. Why not call it as we Jews call it? It is rish’us
“viciousness.” “Hatred of Jews” is perfectly intelligible. “Anti-Semitism” was coined in
a situation in which people could no longer justify their hatred of Jews by the fact
that Jews are not Christians. They had to find another reason; and since the
nineteenth century was almost as proud of science as the twentieth century, the reason
had to be scientific. Science proves that the Western world consists of two races,
the Aryan race and the Semitic race; and therefore, by speaking of anti-Semitism, our
enemies could claim that they acted on a spiritual principle, not from mere hatred. The
difficulty is that the Arabs are also Semites. One of my Arab friends was
occasionally asked in the Chicago suburbs, “You are, of course, an anti-Semite.”
And he would say, “I cannot be that.”" (Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of
Modernity: Essays and Lectures in Modern Jewish Thought (Albany: SUNY Press,
1997). pp. 320-321.)
We can today confidently say that the notion that “Science proves that the Western world consists
of two races, the Aryan race and the Semitic race” is an obsolete statement based on the
pseudoscience of human racial categories itself.
[;; ]
However, Strauss's words should tell us that perhaps a far more precise and meaningful term to
refer to the hatred of Jews is Judeophobia.
Let me quote a well-known polemicist against Judaism. While this quote is from an essay he
wrote in his earlier years, he is far more famous for his biting and aggressive attacks on the
Talmud and Judaism. Still, his statement here is interesting and true:
If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the
Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian. They have
dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs rather than human beings; they have done
little else than deride them and seize their property... If the apostles, who also were
Jews, had dealt with us Gentiles as we Gentiles deal with the Jews, there would
never have been a Christian among the Gentiles... If we really want to help them, we
must be guided in our dealings with them… by the law of Christian love. We must
receive them cordially, and permit them to trade and work with us, that they may
have occasion and opportunity to associate with us, hear our Christian teaching, and
witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all,
we ourselves are not all good Christians either.11
Believe it or not, those are the words of none other than Martin Luther, long before he wrote
his On The Jews And Their Lies. What a pity this sentiment faded after he learned the baser and
more distasteful doctrines of Judaism. But we should remember it and hold on to it.
That said, in the spirit of honesty, this piece is a challenge to Judaists (a real word.12), i.e., the
followers of Judaism, and confronts the Talmud, which means "instruction" in Hebrew. The Talmud
is one of Judaism's most important texts. It is a massive13 (truly massive, see cover page14)
compilation of debates and commentary by Rabbis on Jewish Law, which they call Halakhah (as
Muslims call their religious legal code Sharia). The most widely recognizable aspect of Halakhah
is likely Kashrut, or a Kosher diet.
In Judaism, there is the Written Law of Moses, or the Books of Moses, which refers to the Torah,
meaning "Teachings." The Torah consists of five books, and is thus also known as
the Pentateuch. These five books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The Torah is the first of three sections of the Tanakh. The two other sections of the Tanakh are
the Nevi'im, meaning "Prophets," and the Ketuvim, meaning "Writings," such as poetry, proverbs,
and minor prophecy. The term "Tanakh" combines the names of these three sections. Sometimes,
the Tanakh may be referred to as the Miqra, meaning “That which is read.” Taken together, the
Tanakh essentially corresponds to what Christians call the Old Testament of the Bible.
Found within the Torah are 613 (as traditionally numbered15) mitzvot (singular mitzvah), meaning
“commandments,” that the Jews are bound to. Many of these mitzvot are mirrors of one another.
This is what is referred to in Erubin 21B on the cover page:
...for in the laws of the Torah, there are positive and negative precepts...
As an example, consider the case of the Amalekites, an ancient nation with whom the Israelites
fought bitterly. Two of the 613 mitzvot are: [1] Always remember the evil that Amalek did to us, and
[2] Never forget the evil that Amalek did to us.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Torah says:
Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how
he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear,
when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be, when the
Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the
Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the
remembrance of Amalek from under heaven [J-VICTUS NOTE: I.E., TO THE GENTILES
EXISTING AT THAT TIME]. You shall not forget!16
Oftentimes, the terms “Torah,” “Talmud,” and “Halakhah” are used interchangeably, all referring to
the totality of Jewish Law, and including Rabbinical works to this very day.17
Judaism is hardly monolithic and is difficult to define and categorize as there are no
"denominations" as such with central authorities. Indeed, not only are the religious views of
Jewish groups varied, but so are the ethnic backgrounds of Jews. Here is a short overview:18 19
Meaning “Eastern” in Hebrew, Mizrahi Jews (Mizrahim) are those Jews who, prior to the
1948 creation of Israel and the resultant exodus,20 21 resided in the mostly Arab and Muslim
countries of the Middle East (Egypt is typically included in the Middle East).22
Meaning “The West” in Arabic, Maghrebi Jews (Maghrebim) are those Jews who, prior to
the 1948 creation of Israel and the resultant exodus, lived in the Maghreb (also mostly
Arab and Muslim), or North Africa minus Egypt.23
“Sephard” ultimately referring to “Spain” in Hebrew, Sephardi Jews (Sephardim), defined
narrowly, are those Jews whose roots lie in Al-Andalus, or Islamic Spain between 711 C.E.
and 1492 C.E. In modern Israel, the term Sephardim generally includes the Mizrahim and
Maghrebim and the religious communities in all three of these ethnic groups use very
similar liturgy (modes of worship).
There are many other small groups of Jews throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. They
include Beta Israel (Black Jews) from Ethiopia, Yemenite Jews, many of whom insist on a
distinction between themselves and other Mizrahim (and by extension, in modern Israel,
the Sephardim), Mountain Jews from Azerbaijan, and Kaifeng Jews from China.
“Ashkenaz” ultimately referring to “Germany” in Hebrew (though their communities
developed long before German Unification and throughout Eastern Europe), the Ashkenazi
Jews (Ashkenazim) make up at least 70% of all Jews, even with all the diversity described
earlier, and even though they were the main victims of the Holocaust. The origins of the
Ashkenazim are a matter of great historical controversy and is a discussion best left for
another forum. To see arguments from both sides of this controversy, please see footnotes
24 through 31.24 25
Religiously, Jewish groups may be divided thus:32 33 34 35
Humanistic Judaism was developed in the United States by Rabbi Sherwin Wine. It is a
non-theistic approach to Jewish identity and culture.
Reconstructionist Judaism was also developed in the United States by Rabbi Mordechai
Kaplan as a breakaway from Conservative Judaism (see below). There are many
viewpoints about God in Reconstructionist Judaism, ranging from atheism to pantheism to
deism to more traditional Jewish conceptions of God. Their main feature is that they
attempt to keep to Jewish Law, not as a divine command, but as a valuable cultural
remnant. As it turns out, while the writers of the Talmud certainly believed that God had
commanded the Jews to follow Halakhah, they too consider it an indispensable part of
Jewish culture.
Reform Judaism maintains a traditional Jewish theology while also being relatively lax in
its observance of Halakhah. It originated in Europe as a sort of compromise between
accepting Jews into public life while also maintaining their Jewish identity. While its origins
lie in Germany, it was in the United States that modern Reform Judaism thrived and
developed. It was so successful that at one point almost 90% of all synagogues in the
United States were Reform.
Conservative Judaism (sometimes referred to as Masorti Judaism) also originated in
Germany (where it was called Positive-Historical Judaism) as a reaction to nascent Reform
Judaism's radical liberalization. Also like Reform Judaism, it was mostly developed in the
United States. In fact, Rabbi Kaplan, the American founder of Reconstructionism, came
from a Conservative Judaist background.
However, the focus in this piece is on the strictest of the groups: Orthodox Judaism, or, in
reference to Rabbis, Orthodox Rabbinism. This will disregard those various
modernization movements37 that have developed over the centuries, though they are themselves
typically descended from Rabbinism and the delineation between Conservative and Orthodox is
subject to endless debate. While Orthodox Judaism is itself diverse,38 39 all the various streams of
Orthodox thought stand united on the unquestionable authority of the Talmud. The Jewish Virtual
Library says:
The Orthodox world often divides into two major categories, generally referred to as Haredi (or
sometimes, ultra-Orthodox) and centrist, or modern, Orthodox. But in recent years, the line
between Haredi and [Modern] Orthodox has blurred. Many Modern Orthodox Jews are
increasingly stringent in their adherence to Jewish law and express a growing sense of alienation
from the larger, secular culture. Some scholars have even referred to the trend as the
"Haredization" of Orthodoxy, and some believe that Modern Orthodoxy is essentially dead. ...
[Modern] Orthodox Jews are today reviving customs and laws that had been virtually forgotten for
decades except among Haredim.40
Anyone familiar with the Christian Gospels and the Ministry of Jesus should be
aware of the Pharisees. It is these Pharisees and their successors who developed and wrote the
Talmud. In their beginning, they served a fine purpose. The Roman Catholic magazine Culture
Wars says:
The beginnings of Pharisaic thought are actually entirely noble. After the
Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and took the Jews into captivity
in Babylon, the Jews needed to figure out how they were going to keep their religion
alive. Their religion had been centered on that Temple, its priesthood, and its liturgy of
sacrifice; it was their highest form of worship, and they were so attached to it in fact
that they very frequently tried to replicate it elsewhere. Sacred Scripture
habitually groans about the stubbornness of the Jews in persisting in offering
sacrifice and incense on “the high places.” Likewise, Jewish exiles in Egypt built an
illicit replica of Solomon’s Temple in the second century B.C.E. Furthermore, the Jews’
ability to preserve their unique way of life had been facilitated by their having their own
country. Now they were adrift in a foreign land, their Temple was gone, and they
needed to find some cohesive force which would prevent their people from
assimilating into Babylonian culture and playing the harlot with Babylon’s gods.41
Unfortunately, they would ultimately fail in keeping Babylonian influence from their religion, though
it is quite some time after the Ministry of Jesus that this trend really took hold. Nevertheless, when
Jesus began His Ministry around 30 C.E., it had been well over 500 years since Persian Emperor
Cyrus the Great declared that the Jews exiled in Babylon would be allowed to return to the Land
of Israel. During their exile, and expanding it greatly after their return to Israel, the Pharisees had
developed an oral tradition to supplement the Torah, which was referred to simply as the Oral
Torah, or Oral Law. In the Gospels, Jesus often speaks about "the traditions of men/the elders,"
such as in the Gospel of Mark:
Well did Isaiah prophesy (Isaiah 29:13) of you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they
worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.42
For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing
of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.
He said to them:
All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your
From Matthew's Gospel, in one of his "Woes to the Pharisees," Jesus says:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs
which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all
uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you
are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.44
Rabbi Michael Rodkinson was a 19th century Rabbi who produced an English translation of the
Talmud, which will be explored later. He explains:
Is the literature that Jesus was familiar with in his early years yet in existence in the
world? Is it possible for us to get at it? Can we ourselves review the ideas, the
statements, the modes of reasoning and thinking, on moral and religious subjects, which
were current in his time, and must have been revolved by him during those silent thirty
years when he was pondering his future mission? To such inquiries the learned class
of Jewish rabbis answer by holding up the Talmud... the question becomes,
therefore, an interesting one to every Christian, What is the Talmud? … [It] is the
written form of that which, in the time of Jesus, was called the Traditions of the
Elders, and to which he makes frequent allusions.45
There were many believers in Jesus among the Pharisees, both during His Ministry and certainly
afterward. Indeed, the most important is the Apostle Paul himself.46 So just as this critique of the
Talmud must not be thought to apply to all Jews, but to the teachings of the Pharisees and their
defenders today, a focused study must be clearer still that not all the Pharisees ultimately
embraced the increasingly nonsensical andpe ungodly Pharisaic tradition.
As Jesus warned them,47 the Jews clashed fiercely with the Romans in three bloody
wars48 beginning in 66 C.E. In 70 C.E. Jerusalem was sacked and the Temple was destroyed, a
traumatic experience for Jews who believed that their city was divinely protected. Conversely,
heeding the warning of Jesus, Jerusalem's Christians had largely fled (This is, in fact, the most
powerful argument49 for the truth of Christianity, and the flight from Jerusalem is documented in
the secular study linked to in footnote 49).50 All hope of Jewish national revival was finally crushed
by the Romans after the famous Bar Kochba Revolt51 between 132 C.E. and 136 C.E. Hundreds
of thousands of Jews had perished, and most survivors took to the east. While the Jewish
presence never totally died in the Land of Israel, it was in Babylon52 (modern-day Iraq) where the
Jews found a refuge under the leadership of the Pharisees where Jewish culture truly thrived.
Talmudic Academies were established53 and so began the centuries-long process of writing down
their Oral Torah to ensure its survival. The eventual product was the Talmud.
In 2004, there was an attempt by religious Israeli Jews to re-establish The Great Sanhedrin. The
Great Sanhedrin could be described both as the religious Supreme Court of Israel as well as a
legislative body. Presiding as Nasi, literally meaning “prince” and in keeping with the Supreme
Court comparison, referring to “The Chief Justice,” was Israeli Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz,54 an eminent
Talmudic teacher described in a Time Magazine article entitled “Giving the Talmud To The
Jews"55 as a “Once in a Millennium Scholar”56 (though some Jews disagree, not about him being a
great scholar, but a once in a millennium scholar.57). Considered illegitimate58 by both the State of
Israel as well as Israel's overwhelmingly secular society, I am unable to find much news regarding
the Great Sanhedrin since Rabbi Steinsaltz resigned as Nasi in 2008. The last update to its
website is from November 16
, 2009.59 Nevertheless, regarding Steinsaltz himself, his candor
and intellectual honesty regarding the importance of the Talmud and its teachings in Judaism
(including what those teachings actually are) is to be greatly appreciated. He declares:
If the Bible is the cornerstone of Judaism, then the Talmud is the central
pillar, soaring up from the foundations and supporting the entire spiritual and intellectual
edifice. In many ways the Talmud is the most important book in Jewish culture, the
backbone of creativity and of national life. No other work has had a comparable
influence on the theory and practice of Jewish life, shaping spiritual content and
serving as a guide to conduct.60
Anglican Bishop and Christian Hebraist (Christian scholar of Jewish languages) Joseph Barclay
Some of [the Talmud's] sayings are extravagant—some are loathsome—and some are
blasphemous. But mixed up as they are together, they form an extraordinary
monument of human industry, human wisdom, and human folly.61
And despite it being full of loathsome and nonsensical content, the vast and fascinating literature
of both the Talmud itself and the studies its adherents have developed over the centuries is truly
remarkable. It must be acknowledged that despite the vitriol, Jewish culture and history is a
fascinating one, indeed. And there is wisdom in the Talmud. For example:
Love labor, hate mastery over others, and avoid a close relationship with the
Rabbi Steinsaltz explains:
Formally, the Talmud is a 2,711-page summary of oral law organized in 37 Tractates, or
masechtot. But in fact, the Talmud is much more than that: it is the repository of
thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. It is an amalgam of law, legend, and philosophy,
a blend of unique logic and shrewd pragmatism, of history and science, anecdotes and
humor. The Talmud considers no subject to be too strange, too remote, or too
bizarre to be studied. is a Jewish outreach organization and describes itself thus:
Since its launch in February 2000, has become the world's largest Jewish
content website, logging over a million monthly user sessions with 380,000 unique email
subscribers. We've published over 10,000 articles -- on career, dating, parenting,
spirituality, Israel events -- offering "wisdom for living" for the modern world.'s
goal is to give every Jew the opportunity to discover his or her heritage in an
atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect.
While Orthodox Jews acknowledge that the Talmud itself is a commentary on Jewish Law, they
consider the Oral Law the Talmudic Rabbis discuss to be older than the Written Torah.
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.63
There are two original Jewish forms of the Talmud. The first is called the Talmud Yerushalmi,
or Jerusalem Talmud. It is also called the Palestinian Talmud. This would be a more accurate
name, since the Jews were banished from Jerusalem after the Bar Kochba Revolt. Israeli
historian Shmuel Katz puts it like this:
Only when they had crushed the revolt led by Simon Bar Kochba in 135 C.E. --
over sixty years after the destruction of the Second Temple -- did the Romans make a
determined effort to stamp out Jewish identity in the Jewish homeland. They initiated
the long process of laying the country waste. It was then that Jerusalem, "plowed
over" at the order of Hadrian, was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and the country, denied of
the name Judea, was renamed Syria Palestina. In the revolt itself -- the fiercest and
longest revolt faced by the Roman Empire -- 580,000 Jewish soldiers perished in battle,
and an untold number of civilians died of starvation and pestilence; 985 villages were
destroyed. Yet even after this further disaster, Jewish life remained active and
productive. Banished from Jerusalem, it now centered on Galilee. Refugees returned;
Jews who had been sold into slavery were redeemed. In the centuries after Bar Kochba
and Hadrian, some of the most significant creations of the Jewish spirit were produced
in Palestine. It was then that the Mishnah was completed and the Jerusalem Talmud
was compiled.64
Despite the resiliency of post-Bar Kochba Jewish culture in Palestine, its accomplishments and
influence were greatly overshadowed by the second form of the Talmud: The Talmud Bavli, or
the Babylonian Talmud. When the Talmud is cited, unless expressly noted, it is to the Babylonian
Talmud. The website My Jewish Learning says:
When people speak of "the Talmud," they are usually referring to the Talmud Bavli
(Babylonian Talmud), composed in Babylonia (modern-day Iraq)... Traditionally, the Bavli
has been considered the more authoritative of the two Talmuds. This privileging of the
Bavli [Babylonian Talmud] reflects the fact that Babylonia was the dominant center of
Jewish life from Talmudic times through the beginning of the medieval period. The first
codifiers of Halakhah (Jewish law), based in Baghdad in the eighth through 10th
centuries, used the Bavli as the basis of their legal writings. Reflecting the prevalent
attitude toward the Yerushalmi [Jerusalem Talmud], the Machzor Vitri, written in France
in the 11th or 12th century, comments: "When the Jerusalem Talmud disagrees with
our Talmud, we disregard the Jerusalem Talmud."65
This important issue will see later clarification and elaboration.
The various Jewish sects from the Intertestamental Period (meaning between the Old and New
Testaments between the 400's B.C.E. and the 100's C.E.) and onward have collapsed and remain
well subdued:66
67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74
The Zealots and Sicarri (dagger men) consisted of Israelites who called for violent
uprising against the Romans to establish a Jewish State. Needless to say, they lost.
The Sadduccees based their worship on the Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed
in 70 C.E. They rejected both the Pharisees' Oral Law and much of the Tanakh/Old
Testament, accepting only the Torah.
The Samaritans are a group who reject both the Oral Law/Talmud and most of the
Tanakh/Old Testament and accept only the Torah and their version contains
notable differences. They are not strictly "Jews" as such, and while existing to this day,
remain a very small population at less than one thousand.
The Essenes were an ascetic and pacifistic group who faded with the Sadducees in the
first century. Little is known about their beliefs.
The Karaite Jews emerged as a distinct group only between the 600's and 800's C.E.
Karaite Jews also reject the Oral Law/Talmud. However, unlike the Samaritans and
Sadduccees, they accept the same Torah/Tanakh/Old Testament as the Pharisees and
Christians, leading to a common belief in the afterlife (specifically the resurrection of the
dead), which the Sadduccees denied. While they number in only the tens of thousands
today, they once constituted a large portion of Jewry. The reason for this may be that the
Talmud was still being formalized and the struggle for the hearts and minds of Jews was
quite intense.
An article in the Jewish newspaper J-Weekly acknowledges:
But in one significant respect they are different: While the religious life of other Jews is
governed primarily by the oral law, as embodied in the Talmud, the Karaites reject the
A Karaite Jew commenting on the article says:
I encourage all to look into Karaite thought. The Talmud is very illogical and
inconsistent and very clearly unlike the Torah. I explored the idea further and
became convinced that it is the correct strand of Judaism.
The mere existence of the Karaites should confirm that it is not necessarily Judeophobic to
criticize the Talmud. However, the Pharisees won out, and subsequently flourished. Indeed they
persevere to this day, but they are better known as Rabbis. The Universal Jewish
Encyclopedia says:
The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the
centuries, from the Pharisees.76
President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Louis Finkelstein said:
Pharisaism became Talmudism, Talmudism became Medieval Rabbinism, and Medieval
Rabbinism became Modern Rabbinism. But throughout these changes of name,
inevitable adaptation of custom, and adjustment of Law, the spirit of the ancient
Pharisee survives unaltered.77
It must again be noted that the Talmud's contents do not speak for all Jews. Most people, Jewish
or not, have no idea of the uncouth material found within it. The reasons for this are actually quite
simple. Firstly, as of 2010, there are hardly 14 million Jews in the world,78 constituting just 0.2% of
the world population. At most, only four million79 of those are Orthodox. And even fewer of those
are Talmudic scholars. Secondly, unlike missionary faiths like Christianity and Islam, being based
only on faith and its universal proclamation, Judaism is based first upon ethnicity, and
only then faith. The details of these ethnic identifications are interesting.
Remember of course that while the Ashkenazim of Eastern Europe comprise the vast majority of
Jewry, the ethnic backgrounds of groups of Jews are diverse. There are thus caveats in calling
Judaism an ethnic-based faith. Nevertheless, in Orthodox Judaism, one's irrevocable ethnic
Jewish status (meaning that it is considered to remain whether the Jew becomes a non-believer
or converts to another religion)80 is passed through the mother (i.e., maternal/matrilineal descent).
To the Rabbis, it is not faith which makes a person a Jew, but one's ancestry. This primary notion
of ethnicity is what only consequently obligates ethnic Jews to follow Halakhah. Thus, a Jew is a
Jew, the question to the Rabbis is how dedicated to Halakhah a particular Jew is. Chabad-
Lubavitch is one of the largest groups of Orthodox Jews in the world. On their site (just one of
their many), consider the answer to the question If Judaism is a religion, if someone leaves it,
she’s no longer Jewish, right? Acknowledging that their position defies logic, they answer:
Logically, I would have to agree with you. If Judaism is a religion, then someone who
does not believe in the religion should be no longer Jewish. The reality, however, is
that it doesn’t work that way.81
Rabbi Brownstein commenting on the answer says:
While it is true that Judaism is not merely biological or racial, we can understand
that we are a product of our ancestry and history. Whether we acknowledge it or not,
our ancestors went through fire and water to be Jewish. That strength of commitment is
part of us, no matter what. It is only a question of acknowledging it. More
importantly, being a member of the Jewish people and an heir of our Torah
heritage is a life-enhancer, and I, for one, am delighted that I can never lose that
Indeed, the Rabbis have several terms to refer to those formerly Orthodox Jews who have fallen
away from their faith:
Mumar, meaning "the one that changes,"
Poshea Yisrael, meaning "transgressor of Israel,"
Kofer, meaning "denier,"
aMeshumad, meaning "destroyed one,"
Epikoros, a reference to the atheistic Greek philosopher Epicurus,82 denoting a total lack
of belief in God, and
Min, the etymology of which is obscure, but is particularly used to refer to heretics, i.e.,
those who may identify as Jewish, but reject Rabbinic Judaist teachings (for example, the
earliest Christians who were ethnic Jews and believed Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah).
One of the most famous Rabbis of all time, Rabbi Maimonides (also known as the Rambam),
The following have no share in the world to come, but are cut off, and perish, and
receive their punishment for all time for their great sin: the minim, the [e]pikoresim, they
that deny the belief in the Torah, they that deny the belief in resurrection of the dead and
in the coming of the Redeemer, the apostates, they that lead many to sin, they that turn
away from the ways of the [Jewish] community. Five are called 'minim': (1) he who says
there is no God and the world has no leader; (2) he who says the world has more than
one leader; (3) he who ascribes to the Lord of the Universe a body and a figure; [JVICTUS
(4) he who says that God was not alone and Creator of all things at the world's
beginning; (5) he who worships some star or constellation as an intermediating power
between himself and the Lord of the World. The following three classes are called
'[e]piḳoresim': (1) he who says there was no prophecy nor was there any wisdom that
came from God and which was attained by the heart of man; (2) he who denies the
prophetic power of Moses our master; (3) he who says that God has no knowledge
concerning the doings of men. The following three are called 'koferim ba-Torah': (1) he
who says the Torah is not from God: he is a kofer even if he says a single verse or letter
thereof was said by Moses of his own accord; (2) he who denies the traditional
interpretation of the Torah and opposes those authorities who declare it to be tradition,
as did Zadok and Boethus; and (3) he who says, as do the Nazarenes [Christians]
and the Mohammedans [Muslims], that the Lord has given a new dispensation
instead of the old, and that he has abolished the Law, though it was originally
As well, Tinok Shenishba, meaning "captured children/infants," is a term used by the Rabbis to
refer to those ethnic Jews who were never exposed to Orthodox Judaism (including those in non-
Orthodox Jewish movements), comparing them to ancient Israelite children who were kidnapped
by other nations. Unlike those categories earlier, they are said to be inculpable for their disbelief in
Orthodox Judaism and failure to follow Halakhah (that is, until it is taught to them or they are
otherwise exposed to it.). As is now clear, all these ethnic Jews, even with all of their supposed
religious missteps or shortcomings, remain obligated to follow Halakhah. Why? Because despite
their disbelief, they are still considered Jews by blood.
It might be said that the fact that a Gentile of any ethnic background can convert to Judaism
shows that it is not a faith based on ethnicity. This rings hollow once the procedures and
consequences of conversion are understood. First of all, Rabbis specifically give exceedingly
rare Gentile converts three stern refusals to do so.84 Once a Gentile's conversion is complete and
he is now a proselyte (Jewish convert), they are never to bring up their pre-Jewish days, nor be
reminded of them. They never happened. In fact, so irrelevant is one's pre-Jewish life and its
relationships that if a Gentile's family member converts as well,85 they may marry them (see the
second footnote of the first section in footnote 86).86 To moderate such an outrageous position,
later Rabbis suggested that relationships between people which were forbidden in a convert's
former religion should still be prohibited to the convert.
Therefore, since the Jews did not undertake to share their Talmud with the Gentile world, and, as
will be seen, for good reason, it went on in stealth for centuries.
With this background, let us consider Paul's simple words:
Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?87
This piece will make and will prove beyond doubt the veracity of the following four assertions:88 89
The Talmud expresses an ethnic animosity towards Gentiles (also "Goy/Goi" as the
singular and "Goyim" as the plural), or all non-Jews.
The Talmud institutes a financial obligation for husbands and a guarantee of financial
security for wives. However, it lists dozens of the most bizarre and unfair disqualifications
of wives from that very security.
The Talmud permits, regulates, and, in fact, endorses sexual relations between adults and
The Talmud expresses an especial disdain for the Jews' rejected Messiah, Jesus of
Nazareth, and for Christians in general.
This material was first brought to the attention of the Gentile world by Jewish converts to
Christianity. Perhaps the most notable and earliest is Nicholas Donin.90 To reiterate, this piece is
not meant to bear ill will to Jews because of their blood. The bravest critics of Judaism are its
Jewish critics. But most certainly not one of those critics was the aforementioned 19th century
Rabbi, Michael Rodkinson. He produced a translation91 of the Talmud that celebrates the
completeness92 of Talmudic literature through the millennia.93 He says:
...not only was the Talmud not destroyed, but was so saved that not even a single letter
of it is missing; and now it is flourishing to such a degree as cannot be found in its past
However, he admits that there are omissions in his Talmud:
We, in our new edition of the Talmud have omitted both legends concerning David as we
are certain they are not to be ascribed to the Rabbis of the Talmud.95
So he made these omissions because he did not think the Rabbis wrote them. Why would he not
just reproduce the text and explain his position? In some instances, an explanation (however
cursory) is given for the censorship. In other places, no editing is even noted. In another example,
he says:
We deem it expedient not to translate about two pages of the text preceding the next
Mishna, treating of miserable crimes with men and animals, and giving the discussion
with questions and answers, it would be undesirable to express in the English
Language. However, it seems to us important to give the opinion of Rabh:
"A minor who was over nine years and one day is guilty, and may be punished the same
as one of age, if he commit a crime with man, or an animal of any kind and age."
That is all we think proper to take from the text.96
Expedient indeed. Again, would not honest scholars simply leave the text to read and then explain
in footnotes why exactly it is not as it comes across? It is curious that he provided that very
strange excerpt:
A minor who was over nine years and one day is guilty, and may be punished the same
as one of age, if he commit a crime with man, or an animal of any kind and age.
Guilty of what? What crime has he “committed with man”? How could this warrant being punished
the same as an adult? Is a male aged nine years and two days old considered, for legal purposes,
an adult? What kind of crime could someone commit with an animal that could also be committed
with a man? The answer is, of course, sexual activity. Indeed, Rodkinson's one sentence
explanation is not at all the whole story regarding these censored passages which will be
examined later.
Censorship of the Talmud has come from both within and without the Jewish community. Indeed,
it would be inappropriate not to acknowledge that a good deal of censorship came as a result of
the medieval Disputations (debates between Christian and Jewish scholars, such as what
Nicholas Donin participated in) at the order of the Christian church. Thus, the motivations for
censorship range from anger over its contents to a desire to protect the Jewish community from
the material going public. However, in our day, censorship should be totally rejected. In being
honest about the Talmud's disturbing contents, all should be clear that no Jew is to be attacked
because of it. But also consider this: if indeed the contents of the Talmud would incite such
sentiments, does this not imply that perhaps a critical look at that text is warranted?
An uncensored translation (there are some instances of censorship in the text itself, but the
footnotes to the statements clarify how they came to be) of the Babylonian Talmud, written by
eminent British Rabbinical figures, and critically acclaimed97 around the world for its scholarship is
the Soncino translation, which may be read in its entirety in footnotes 98, 99, and 100.98 99 100
There are six main divisions of the Soncino Talmud, called Sederim or Orders. These are divided
into named Masechtot or Tractates. In citing the Soncino Talmud, the Order is not generally given,
with reference first made to the Tractate. They then are further divided into numbered Folios,
which are finally divided into a Part A and a Part B. Thus, part B of the 54th folio of Tractate
Sanhedrin would be cited as "Sanhedrin 54B." A detailed look at the structure of the Soncino
Talmud (as well as more traditional Jewish structure such as the Mishnah, meaning “Repetition”
and the Gemara, meaning “to study and learn by tradition.”) can be found in footnote 101.101 In its
virtually uncensored text and honest and thorough footnotes, the Soncino Talmud provides for us
a wealth of Jewish scholarship which we may use to cross-reference other Rabbinical works.
Rabbi JH Hertz was the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and was a major contributor to the
Soncino edition. He states:
Religion in the Talmud attempts to penetrate the whole of human life with the
sense of law and right. Nothing human is in its eyes mean or trivial; everything is
regulated and sanctified by religion. Religious precept and duty accompany man
from his earliest years to the grave and beyond it. They guide his desires and actions
at every moment. Food and sleep, civic duty and family life — all are under
discipline of the Torah, a discipline accepted freely and joyfully. While every religion
attempts such regulation, the Talmudic system represents this striving of the religious
idea in its perfection. 'In our eyes,' says Arsène Darmsteter, 'this is its greatest title to the
respect and consideration of thinkers. In Judaism we have thus the completest, and
consequently the most perfect, expression of the religious idea.102
Rabbi Gil Student is a U.S.-based Orthodox Jew. In any modern debate about the Talmud, one
may be almost certain that his work will be cited. His website proclaims:
There are many lies circulating the internet about the Jewish Talmud. These allegations
are supported by "direct quotations" from the Talmud that are frequently wrong or taken
out of context.103
The charge of taking things out of context is the most common response to criticism of the
Talmud. However, the full context of the direct quotations will not be a problem here, as thorough
documentation will be provided. As well, it is sometimes said that we cannot understand the
Talmud in English, and that the nuances of the original languages, which are Mishnaic Hebrew,
Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, are simply too
complex.104 105 106 107 108) Indeed they are complex, and I will make no attempt to say that I can
understand those languages. To be sure, understanding the meaning of the original languages
and the literary and historical context is key to understanding passages. This is true of the
Bible109 and the Quran.110 But in my experience, there is rarely an attempt by Rabbis and other
Judaist apologists to explain what Talmudic passages are trying to express if not the plain
meaning in English. Rabbi Student continues:
However, most people lack the scholarly background to verify these claims.
But how exactly does one gain such a background? As will be seen, Rabbis are not allowed to tell
Gentiles of the anti-Gentile material that is in the Talmud. So we must go to the Talmud itself to
understand. As well, there are several encyclopedias111 (Three being: The Jewish Encyclopedia,
the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, and the Encyclopedia Judaica) which provide blunt
commentary on hundreds of specific issues. A number of other Jewish sources will also be
referenced in this piece. Prominent among them are the Jewish Virtual Library,, and
My Jewish Learning. Rabbi Student continues:
Most people have no way of knowing that these accusations are false and
malicious. What we are attempting is to demonstrate in detail how these accusations are
both wrong and intentionally misleading. We are trying to show to the world the real truth
about the Talmud.
Rabbi Student's predecessor, Rabbi Michael Rodkinson, censored his own work when "expedient"
and when a translation of text was "undesirable to express." Of course, Rabbi Student may be
afforded the benefit of a doubt. Perhaps he is unaware of the troubling teachings of the
uncensored Talmud. Not too much detail is on Rabbi Student's site. He does not even link to an
authoritative translation of the Talmudic passages, he just translates them himself. In contrast, the
full Soncino Talmud is linked to throughout this piece. If the context so clarifies these matters in
favor of the Talmud's defenders, why is it left to the Talmud's critics to provide it?
On Gentiles, the website writes:
Judaism maintains that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come.
This has been the majority rule since the days of the Talmud. Judaism generally
recognizes that Christians and Moslems worship the same God that we do and those
who follow the tenets of their religions can be considered righteous in the eyes of
Notice that the page is full of mere declarations with next-to-no citation or
substantiation. In that entire article the Talmud is cited precisely once. Their assertions directly
contradict the teachings of the Rambam:
The following have no share in the world to come, but are cut off, and perish, and
receive their punishment for all time for their great sin... he who says, as do the
Nazarenes [Christians] and the Mohammedans [Muslims], that the Lord has given a new
dispensation instead of the old, and that he has abolished the Law, though it was
originally divine.
What exactly makes a Gentile righteous in the eyes of God, at least in the opinions of the
Talmudic Rabbis? Later, an Israeli Rabbi will set straight, Rabbi Student, and many
The Seven113 Noahide Laws114 are said to apply to all mankind. The name refers to the Biblical
record of commands given to Noah after the Great Flood115 left him and his family as the only
people, and thus all people alive are his descendants. These are expounded in the Talmud and
other Rabbinic literature.116 They are:
Do not commit idolatry.
Do not commit blasphemy.
Do not eat the flesh torn from a living animal.
Do not commit acts of sexual immorality.
Do not steal.
Do not murder.
Set up a legal system to enforce the laws.
They are rather innocuous at first blush, until a closer look is taken.117
In its article on the Noahide
Laws (they call them the “Noachian Laws” and call Gentiles "Noahides"), the Jewish
Encyclopedia says:
In the elaboration of these seven Noachian laws, and in assigning punishments for their
transgression, the Rabbis are sometimes more lenient and sometimes more rigorous
with Noahides than with Israelites. With but a few exceptions, the punishment meted out
to a Noahide for the transgression of any of the Seven Laws is decapitation, the least
painful of the four modes of execution of criminals. The many formalities of procedure
essential when the accused is an Israelite need not be observed in the case of a
Noahide. The latter may be convicted on the testimony of one witness, even on
that of relatives, but not on that of a woman. He need have had no warning from
the witnesses; and a single judge may pass sentence on the case of
blasphemy he may be found guilty, even when he has blasphemed with one of the
attributes of God's name—an action which, if committed by an Israelite, would not
be regarded as criminal.
It is readily apparent that Jewish Law does not treat Jews and Gentiles equally. But how
unequally? As it turns out, Gentiles are not even allowed to defend themselves. The Encyclopedia
In the case of murder, if the Noahide slay a child in its mother's womb, or kill a person
whose life is despaired of, or if he cause the death of a person by starving him or by
putting him before a lion so that he can not escape, or if he slay a man in self defense,
the Noahide is guilty of murder and must pay the death-penalty, although under
the same circumstances, an Israelite would not be executed.118
It must be realized that it is specifically forbidden for Gentiles to study Halakhah. Hungarian-Israeli
historian Jacob Katz says:
Eisenmenger was acquainted with all the literature a Jewish scholar of standing would
have known ... Contrary to accusations that have been made against him, he does
not falsify his sources.119
Johann Eisenmenger was a Christian Hebraist120 from the 1600's to early 1700's. His Entdecktes
Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked) is among the earliest and most thorough compilation of
Talmudic obscenity. The Jewish Encyclopedia article on Eisenmenger states:
For nineteen years he studied rabbinical literature assisted by Jews, first in Heidelberg
and afterward in Frankfort-on-the-Main, pretending that he desired to be converted to
Judaism... Having collected from rabbinical literature all that was calculated to bring it
into disrepute and to give justification for anti-Jewish prejudices, he published his
"Entdecktes Judenthum" (Judaism Unmasked), which has remained the arsenal for
detractors of Talmudic literature down to the present day.. The Jews, who feared that the
publication of this book would give additional strength to the prejudice against them,
denounced it as a malicious libel.121
So strict and furtive were the Rabbis on the teachings of their religion that it took Eisenmenger
nearly two decades to compile its uncouth material.
David Duke is a controversial American commentator and former member of the KKK. He
continues to be a self-described White Nationalist. The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith (ADL)122 is the well-known and self-described watchdog organization against Judeophobia.
They defended123 the following passage124 against claims made by David Duke. They accuse him
of ignoring context by quoting Rabbi Johanan while ignoring Rabbi Meir, implying that their
opinions are in opposition to one another, which is not the case. Amusingly, the ADL defends the
passage precisely by omitting context, in this case references to the Seven Noahide Laws. As the
omission is a sizable chunk of text in the middle of the passage, as well as the obvious bit at the
end, this was clearly deliberate. The boldfaced text indicates what was censored by the ADL.
Sanhedrin 59A says:
[Rabbi Johanan used to say:] “A heathen [Gentile] who studies Halakhah deserves
death, for it is written, Moses commanded us a law for an inheritance; it is our
inheritance, not theirs. Then why is this not included in their Seven Noahide Laws?
In reading our inheritance, he steals it; in reading our betrothed/engaged, he is
guilty as one who violates a betrothed maiden, [and he] is stoned.”
An objection is raised: Rabbi Meir used to say: "How do we know that even a heathen
[Gentile] who studies Halakhah is as a High Priest? From the verse, Leviticus 18:5. [The
Lord states]: "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man
does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord." Priests, Levites, and Israelites are not
mentioned, but men: therefore even a heathen [Gentile] who studies Halakhah is as a
high priest[, but] that refers to their own Seven Laws.125
Plainly, the ADL's censorship totally misrepresented the text, particularly the very end of the
declaration of Rabbi Meir, as welcoming Gentiles to the wholesale study of Halakhah, which is
obviously false. So the reason there is not an eighth Noahide Law forbidding Gentiles from
studying Jewish Law is that for Gentiles to do so is already violating Noahide Laws Four and
Five like theft and bride-napping.
Some may say, as even the scholars of the Jewish Encyclopedia do, that the Noahide regulations
refer only to Gentiles who dwell in the Land of Israel if the enforcement of Talmudic Law in the
Land of Israel were established.126 These Gentiles are more appropriately called Ger Toshav,
which is comparable to127 a “resident alien.” Ger Toshavim/Geirim Toshvim (plural) are said to
face such harsh retribution because they have entered Israel with the express stipulation that they
ffollow the Noahide Laws.
Consider the following except from the Noachian Law article:
The Noahides are required to establish courts of justice in every city and province; and
these courts are to judge the people with regard to the six laws and to warn them
against the transgression of any of them.
But Ger Toshavim do not have their own courts, since they by definition live in Israel and are
under the jurisdiction of the Beth Din (lesser Rabbinical Court), Sanhedrin (City council), and the
Great Sanhedrin (the religious Supreme Court of Israel). Therefore, the "cities and provinces"
spoken of are those outside the Land of Israel. To buttress this point, the article also says:
The Noahide is free from punishment if he commits a sin unwittingly; ignorance of the
Law, however, does not excuse him.
We may wonder how a Gentile unwittingly commits many of the violations listed in those Seven
Laws (murder, theft, adultery). More importantly, if only those Gentiles within the Land of Israel are
the topic, how could they be ignorant of the Seven Laws? The prerequisite to enter is their full
knowledge and public acceptance of those very laws. It continues:
A Noahide who slays another Noahide, or worships idols, or blasphemes, or has illicit
connection [sexual intercourse] with the wife of another Noahide, and then becomes a
proselyte [Jewish convert], is free from punishment.
So they are off the hook from such acts as adultery and even murder as long as they convert.
However, scot-free will not quite do if the victim is a Jew. The Encyclopedia continues:
If, however, he has killed an Israelite, or has had illicit connection [sexual intercourse]
with the wife of an Israelite, and then becomes a proselyte, he must submit to the
punishment that is inflicted upon an Israelite found guilty of such a transgression.
There may not be much particularly uncouth about them at first blush, but the Seven Laws are far
more troubling than they seem.128
Read and re-read the following text from Rabbi Student and see absolutely nothing that refutes
the charge that Gentiles cannot study Halakhah, lest they deserve death. Here he says:
The Talmud provides a contradiction between two statements regarding whether a
Gentile is allowed to study Torah.129
It does nothing of the sort. There is no contradiction, as both Rabbis agree that Gentiles are not to
study Halakhah, and those that do deserve death. Rabbi Student continues:.
The accusation only quotes one side and does not provide the resolution.
There is only one side to quote and thus no resolution is needed, given their agreement that
Gentiles are not to study Halakhah, and those that do deserve death. Rabbi Student continues:
By seeing the whole text and the resolution we can better understand the Talmud's
intent. What the accusation also does not quote is the passage immediately preceding
ours. The Talmud states that it is forbidden for a Gentile to fully observe the Jewish
Sabbath and holidays. While this does not seem as conspiratorial as the prohibition
against studying Torah it is still curious. Why should it be?
He entirely evades the issue that Gentiles who study Halakhah are said to deserve death. Rabbi
Student continues:
The explanation is tied to the Talmud's resolution to the contradiction between Rabbi
Yochanan [Johanan] and Rabbi Meir.
Once again, No resolution is needed because there is no contradiction, since they agree with one
another. Rabbi Student continues:
The Talmud concludes that both Rabbis agree but one was stating that a Gentile is
forbidden to study the parts of Torah that discuss the commandments relating
specifically to Jews and the other was stating that a Gentile is highly praised for studying
the parts of Torah that discuss the commandments that relate to him. In other words, a
Gentile should be concerned with his role in God's world. He should actively pursue his
place in the divine plan and attempt to raise himself to the highest human levels.
Thus, Rabbi Student acknowledges that the Talmudic Rabbis agree, which would make the
supposed contradiction, in fact, a mere clarification. But not only that, he also agrees with
them (without saying so directly of course). "The highest human levels" is interesting wording, as
will be seen in a moment. Rabbi Student continues:
However, as a righteous Gentile, he must confine himself to his role and not someone
else's role.
"Someone else's role" seems to suggest that there are several roles, but in the context of this
discussion, there are obviously only two roles: Jewish and Gentile. It is not complicated. Rabbi
Student continues:
When he starts studying about Jewish commandments and observing Jewish holidays,
he is stepping out of his role as a righteous Gentile and entering the role of a Jew. This
is as inappropriate as if a Jew would start acting in the role of a righteous Gentile. we all
have our roles in the world and it is wrong to try to side-step those roles. a Gentile can
become a Jew through conversion but a righteous Gentile is righteous in his own right
and is forbidden to try to over-step his role.
Forbidden? Or else what? The Seven Laws apply to Jews already, since they apply to all
mankind. So how exactly does a Jew who follows Halakhah and then started “acting in the role of
a righteous Gentile" change in his behavior? He would simply fail to observe Halakhic practices.
This is incomparable to an active attempt to read Jewish Law, even out of mere
curiosity. Therefore, this is yet another circumvention of the issue of Gentiles and their deserved
fate for reading the Halakhah of the Jews.
How can the Rabbi really think he has refuted any misconception? He agreed with the text of the
Talmud. He agreed with the two Rabbis, who agreed with each other, that Gentiles who study
Halakhah deserve death. Another Rabbi, David Eidensohn, puts it like this:
The Talmud says that a Gentile or pagan who studies Halakhah is like a high priest, but
this does not mean that a pagan or a Gentile has achieved the highest level of
humanity, which is accepting the yoke of Judaism.130
Recall Rabbi Student's comment regarding the "highest human levels" and note that the same
language is being used here, and that the Jewish religion is “the highest level of humanity.” Of
course, Rabbi Eidensohn has left out the fact that it is, for Gentiles, considered praiseworthy
to study only those Seven Laws of Noah. Also, search Eidensohn's vapid defense of the Talmud
for any of the specifically cited passages in this piece. All that is found is gibberish and baseless
assertions such as:
...the ideas that the Talmud teaches to steal from gentiles, or to have sex with
minors, are completely wrong.
And though one of the sections of his site is titled "Explaining Individual Passages in the Talmud,"
hardly a passage is cited. He simply asserts that whoever says that the Talmud conveys
something negative is wrong. His only proof is as follows:
I have studied Talmud for fifty years...
The Soncino's footnotes to Sanhedrin 59A are full of interesting points:
This seems a very strong expression. In the Jewish Encyclopedia, it is suggested that
Rabbi Johanan feared the knowledge of Gentiles in matters of jurisprudence, as they
would use it against the Jews in their opponent's courts. In support of this it may be
observed that the Talmud places Johanan's dictum (which, of course, is not to be taken
literally) immediately after the passage dealing with the setting up of law courts by
Gentiles. It is also possible that Rabbi Johanan's objection was to the studying of Oral
Law by Jewish Christians, as the possession of the Oral Law was held to be the
distinguishing mark of the Jews. It is significant that it was Rabbi Johanan who also
said that God's covenant with Israel was only for the sake of the Oral Law.131
Saying that Gentiles deserve death for reading Jewish Law is a strong expression indeed. Recall
how described the relationship between the Written Torah and Oral Torah. The Oral
Torah came first and the Written Torah is unintelligible without it:
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.
Another strong expression is the footnote's last sentence regarding that same Rabbi Johanan
who earlier likened the reading of Halakhah by Gentiles to stealing an inheritance or defiling a
betrothed virgin. The entire point of existence is the Oral Law, i.e., the Talmud.
As should be getting clearer, it makes no sense to think that Christians would even want to have a
part of the Oral Law in the first place, as Christ Himself railed against its ungodliness. Next, clearly
the concern is not following some divinely ordained role, as Rabbi Student would have it, but out
of fear of the use of Rabbinic literature against Jews in court. Also, why exactly is it so
obvious that it is not to be taken literally? The Talmud is a book of regulations. Further, since both
Rabbis actually agreed with one another, they share the concern regarding knowledge of Jewish
law to be used against Jews. How can this not be meant to be taken literally? .
Back to Rabbi Student. The question at this point is not whether a Gentile may or may not
suddenly begin religiously observing Jewish holidays. If he really wants to do that, he will find a
Rabbi and begin the process of conversion. The concern here regards reading the text of the
Talmud, knowledge of the contents of which may be used against Jews. As stated earlier, if the
material could be used against Jews, this suggests a closer look at that material is in fact
To be sure, the text does not say that the Jews must kill the Gentile (at least not in this case), but
that he deserves death. So, if the Gentile is not to fear physical attack (again, at least not in this
case), the issue of this undeniably hostile and eccentric attitude still stands. For a Gentile to study
the rest of Mosaic and Rabbinical writings is comparable to the theft of a tribal heirloom and
fornication with an engaged girl. Rabbis Eidensohn and Student, the ADL, and the writers of the
Jewish Encyclopedia have given no indication that the text expresses anything otherwise because
that is what it says.
Sanhedrin 57A says:
For murder, whether of a Cuthean by a Cuthean, or of an Israelite by a Cuthean,
punishment is incurred; but of a Cuthean by an Israelite, there is no death penalty.132
Footnote 33 of Sanhedrin 57A says:
“Cuthean” (Samaritan) was here substituted by the censor for the original “goy”
Rabbi Student declares:
The Accusation: Jews May Rob and Kill Non-Jews, Sanhedrin 57a: When a Jew
murders a Gentile ("Cuthean"), there will be no death penalty.134
Rabbi Student does not say what “Cuthean” actually refers to nor does he mention the passage's
censorship. Rabbi Student proceeds to quote Maimonides:
A Jew who killed a righteous Gentile is not executed in a court of law as it says
(Exodus 21:14) "If a man shall act intentionally against his fellow..." [and a Gentile is
not considered a fellow] and even more so that he is not executed for killing an
unrighteous Gentile.
Also included in Rabbi Student's article is a statement by a commentator on the Rambam's work,
Rabbi Yosef Karo, who expounds:
What our teacher Maimonides meant when he wrote that he is not executed in a court
of law is that he is nevertheless punished by Heaven.
Rabbi Student agrees:
The above passage in Maimonides shows that there is a discrepancy between the
treatment of a murderer of a Jew and a Gentile. The Bible says that a murderer is
only executed if he kills his "fellow" and by being parts of very different
communities a Gentile is not the "fellow" of a Jew. Is this murder forbidden?
Absolutely. However, biblical fiat declares that this murder is not a capital
punishment. However, rather than allowing this murderer to receive a minor
punishment, his punishment is left to Divine providence. G-d will punish this sin
appropriately because it is out of the court's hands.
The Rambam and Rabbis Karo and Student have informed us that it would be far too minor a
punishment for a Jewish murderer of a Gentile (“righteous” or ”unrighteous”) to be punished by a
human court in any way whatsoever and so the Jew must go free. Though no earthly power can
punish a Jew for murdering a Gentile (“righteous” or ”unrighteous”), it is still forbidden and
punished by God. Gentiles (“righteous” or ”unrighteous”) are to be content that it will all be sorted
out in the afterlife. The Rabbis consider the issue to be resolved.
This ban for Gentiles studying the Law would logically entail a ban on Jews teaching them the
Law (except those Seven Laws and after several rejections of Gentile proselytes), which may be
the reason we are having such trouble finding open discussion of the actual Talmudic texts among
Rabbis throughout the modern era. Curiously, though fortunately as well, some Jewish figures
who are honest with the Talmud's hatred are not following its teaching on that matter.
Consider the words of Rabbi Abraham Kook:
The difference between a Jewish soul… and the souls of all the nations, at all their
levels, is greater and more profound than the difference between a human soul and the
soul of an animal, for between the latter there is only a quantitative difference, whereas
between the former there is a qualitative difference.135
An exonym is a name applied to an ethnic group by those outside the group itself (as opposed of
an endonym). Israeli psychologist and historian Avner Falk declares:
[W]e Jews have perceived ourselves as the Chosen People, and our exonym for non-
Jews is goyim (Gentiles), while some ultra-Orthodox [i.e., Haredi] Jews also called
them shkotsim (abominations). We also call non-Jews "idolaters" or "worshippers of
stars and astrological signs." Our Talmud, the record of rabbinic discussions pertaining
to Jewish laws, ethics, customs, and history which is second only to the Hebrew Bible in
importance, has verses saying that [Jews] are human while pagan people are not
A more moderate position on the differences between Jewish and Gentile souls can be read in
footnote 137.137
Rabbi Menachem Meiri was a Talmudic scholar from the 1200's C.E. He is most notable for
his Beit Habechirah, or “The Chosen House.” This was a sweeping reinterpretation of the
Talmudic and Halakhic attitudes and rulings regarding Gentiles. He insists that the discriminatory
anti-Gentile laws and sentiments in the Talmud only applied to the ancient idol worshiping nations
and not to modern Christians and Muslims. Of course, Christians worship Jesus. In the eyes of
Judaism, how can this not be idol worship?
Consider David Goldstein's discussion about Meiri's teachings, itself entitled “A Lonely Champion
of Tolerance.” First, Goldstein quotes Rabbi Jechiel Jacob Weinberg:
In my opinion, it is fitting to put an end to the hatred of the religions for each other. More
than Christianity hates Judaism, Judaism hates Christianity. There is a dispute if stealing
from Gentiles is forbidden from the Torah, everyone holds that deceiving a Gentile
and canceling his debt is permitted, one is not to return a lost object to a Gentile...
We must solemnly and formally declare that in our day this does not apply. [And] Meiri
wrote as such.138
A fantastic sentiment. Alas, Rabbi Weinberg laments:
...but the teachers... whisper in the ears of the students that all this was written because
of the censor.
Goldstein remarks:
[I]n the general process of the Halakhic development from the Talmud to our times
the Meiri's role is rather limited: he is considered only one of a group of Rabbinic
contemporaries, and no school of Halakhic ruling is built largely or exclusively on
his approach. … [Gentiles] are treated by the Halakhah in a way which can hardly
be called humane -- the examples brought by Rabbi Weinberg are but a sample of the
harsh Halachic discrimination against non-Jews...[There is a ] lack of trust of
contemporary Halachic arbiters for the Meiri's view … the very avoidance of any
reference to the Meiri on Rabbi Rabinowitz's part testifies quite well to less than feeble
chances of the Meiri's view ever becoming a basis for a more or less comprehensive
system of practical Halachic rulings. So, any possible usage of the Meiri's unique view
on Jewish-Gentile relationship in contemporary Orthodox Judaism seems not to extend
beyond the boundaries of outright apologetics and hypothetical Halachic constructs
lacking a chance of being transformed into decisive practical rulings. But even were
this not the case, would the Meiri's view solve the moral problems which modern
Orthodox Jews have with the discriminatory anti-Gentile rulings of the Halacha?
To this the answer is definitely no.
In his study, “The Jews Are Called Men”, Israeli Rabbi David Bar Chayim writes candidly on the
subject of Jewish-Gentile relations. The foreword reads:
...Bar Chayim discusses the attitude towards "Gentiles" in the Torah and in the Halakhah
and comes to an unambiguous conclusion:
"The Torah of Israel makes a clear distinction between a Jew, who is defined as 'man,'
and a Gentile."
That is to say, any notion of equality between humans is irrelevant to the
Halakhah. Rabbi Bar Chayim's work is comprehensive, written with intellectual honesty,
and deals with almost all the aspects of Halakhic treatment of non-Jews. It also refutes
the statements of those Rabbis who speak out of wishful thinking and, influenced
by concepts of modern society, claim that Judaism does not discriminate against
people on religious grounds. Rabbi Bar Chayim shows that all these people base
their constructs not on the Torah but solely on the inclinations of their own hearts. He
also shows that there are even Rabbis who intentionally distort the Halakhic
attitude to Gentiles, misleading both themselves and the general public.139 140
On the endorsement of Jewish businessmen profiting from the mistakes of Gentiles, Bar Chayim
The error of a Gentile [i.e., property of which he deprived himself due to an error] is
permitted, similar to the case of his lost item. Thus it is explained in Baba Kamma 113B:
"Shmuel said: and his error is permitted."141
However, the Rishonim [name for Rabbis in the Middle Ages] disagree about whether it
speaks of a case where a Gentile erred in his calculation on his own or if it is permitted
to deceive him. In the opinion of Rashi, there it is permitted to deceive him, in
accordance with Rashi's opinion which was clarified above, that stealing from a Gentile
is permitted. The Tosaphot also wrote there, s.v. ya'chol, that it is permitted to deceive a
Gentile, however only if he cannot discover it and it will not cause a desecration of God's
name. This is also the opinion of the Tur in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 348, section 3:
"However, his error -- that is, to deceive him in calculations or to raise [the interest on]
his loan -- is permitted, but only if it will not become evident to him -- for in such a
situation there is no desecration of God's name."
What is the restriction? Not the value of the error that the Jew is allowed to take from the Gentile.
Not how much higher an interest rate a Jewish lender may charge a Gentile borrower. Not the
personal situation of the Gentile whether they are wealthy or destitute (though of course, why
would a wealthy Gentile be borrowing?). No, none of those, but rather this: is permitted to deceive a Gentile, however only if he cannot discover it and it will not
cause a desecration of God's name...
...but only if it will not become evident to him -- for in such a situation there is no
desecration of God's name.
No thief, Jew or Gentile, would steal from someone if they thought they would not get away with it.
What this means is that the Rabbis acknowledge that what they are doing would shame them if
caught, and the Gentiles may even blame the Jewish religion for these crimes. And they would be
right to do so, as the Rabbis themselves have just confirmed.
Notably, Rabbi Bar Chayim is one of a very small minority who believe the Jerusalem Talmud
should take precedence over the Babylonian Talmud,142 probably because it lacks much of the
controversial decision making regarding the treatment of Gentiles. Thus, I can only guess that his
motivation in writing his study was to point out the vulgar oddities of the Babylonian Talmud and
the literature and scholarship which spring from it. However, of the Jerusalem Talmud, the Jewish
Encyclopedia says that the work:
...has not been preserved in its entirety; large portions of it were entirely lost at an early
date,while other parts exist only in fragments. The editio princeps , on which all later
editions are based, terminates with the following remark: "Thus far we have found what
is contained in this Talmud; and we have endeavored in vain to obtain the missing
portions." Of the four manuscripts used for this first edition, only one is now in existence;
it is preserved in the library of the University of Leyden. Of the six orders of the Mishnah,
the fifth, Ḳodashim, is missing entirely from the Palestinian Talmud, while of the sixth,
Ṭohorot, it contains only the first three chapters of the Tractate Niddah.143
In footnote 22 of his study, Bar Chayim points out and even mocks Rabbinic censorship. He says:
Thus "However, the error of a Gentile was permitted, but only..." appears in older
editions, however in our newer editions the wording is "However, the error of
a Samaritan was permitted, but only..." and it is difficult to know whether to laugh or to
cry regarding such 'corrections' of the censor.
Rabbi Student144 and the ADL145 assert that women and children are treated compassionately in
Jewish Law. They address Kethuboth 11B, which says:
When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing, for when the girl is
less than this, it is as if one puts the finger into the eye.-
Before continuing, some clarifications:
I am not issuing a blanket accusation on today's Orthodox Jews of sexual child abuse. I
am sure that the incidence of abuse is no greater or less than any other faith group, or any
group with adults in positions of power and trust over children. That said, it's disturbing
prevalence147 148 among that portion of Jewry149 who take the Talmud most seriously is
undeniable.150 In 2008, the Jewish Daily Forward reported:
Perhaps the most influential voice has been of Brooklyn Assemblyman [and Orthodox Jew]
Dov Hikind, who over the past year — and, particularly, over the past two months — has
started a somewhat personal campaign and argued that the ultra-Orthodox community
has become a haven for child molesters. Agudath Israel of America, a national ultra-
Orthodox umbrella organization, has entered the fray by publicly debating legislation on the
topic. David Zwiebel, director of government affairs and general counsel of Agudath Israel
of America said:“Until not terribly long ago, the issue was very much in the shadows. The
fact that there were isolated reports here and there of cases arising in yeshiva settings, it
was known, but they were very isolated. Sometimes they were dealt with correctly and
sometimes incorrectly, but the severity of the problem and the possible magnitude
were really things that most people, including myself, just didn’t understand.”151
Neither am I accusing the Pharisees of Jesus's time of such sexual deviance. In their
case, the issue with them is their attitude toward Jesus, Christians, and Gentiles in general.
The specific regulations of child sex only took form after the Jewish-Roman Wars drove
most of the Jews from the Holy Land to Babylon, where such practices existed already,
explaining why, through all the centuries of Talmudic development, they found their way
into the Babylonian Talmudic discussions. The wickedness of Babylonia, sexual and nonsexual,
is mentioned many times throughout the Bible.152
The matter at hand here is more about being honest with what the text says. Due to their
evasions and omissions, it unfortunately seems that neither Rabbi Student nor the ADL are
interested in that.
The defenders insist that because the context of this statement involves the Kethuboth, which is a
prenuptial agreement, a section of which usually guarantees a payment that a female received
upon the divorce from or the death of her husband, and because the payment was larger for
virgins than non-virgins, the Talmud is not actually condoning sexual activity between adults and
children. In fact, they claim, it may even be thought of as compassionate. They say it assures a
victim of child rape the same monetary recovery as a widow or divorcée who was a virgin at
marriage. But if it is compassion that is the driver of the Rabbis' discussion, some questions arise.
Why do exceptions stop at age 3? Does not the 4 year old rape victim deserve the same
leniency? Why stop at all? The Soncino's commentators have provided the simultaneously
disturbing and comical reason which will be explored nearer to the end of this section.
With regards to context, consider that the entire relevant Tractate is titled after that prenuptial
agreement, the Kethuboth. So what is found in this context? One example is a list of strange
disqualifications of a wife from her Kethuboth payment. Kethuboth 75A says:
All defects which disqualify the Kethuboth etc. A Tanna taught: To these were added
[excessive] perspiration, a mole and offensive breath.153
What is excessive perspiration? Today, the medical community refers to it as hyperhidrosis.154 It is
far more common in women. Consider more of the baffling disqualifications for which a man may
divorce his wife with no Kethuboth at all. We might expect that these disqualifications would
concern the behavior of the wife, and indeed some do, but there is an emphasis put on so called
physical defects, many of which she can do nothing about. Indeed, it seems that morning breath,
or bad breath in general (known medically as halitosis) is considered a Kethuboth-voiding offense,
and in the days before modern oral hygiene at that.
Kethuboth 72B says:
[If a woman was betrothed] on condition that she has no bodily defects, and she was
found to have such defects, her betrothal is invalid. If he married her without making any
conditions and she was found to have bodily defects, she may be divorced without a
Kethuboth. All defects which disqualify priests [from Temple service] disqualify
women also [from the Kethuboth].155
These are perhaps some of the best examples of the depths of the Talmudic Rabbis' shameless
lunacy and narcissism, and why it has been described as "an ocean of nonsense."156 For reasons
unknown, they have chosen to matter-of-factly note that “defects” which disqualify Jewish priests
from performing services in the Temple of Jerusalem must also void a wife's Kethuboth contract.
But not only that, actions which restore a priest's eligibility for Temple services are insufficient to
restore a wife's eligibility for the Kethuboth payment. 75A continues:
Do these, then, not cause a disqualification in respect of priests? Surely we have
learned, 'The old, the sick and the filthy' and we have also learned, 'These defects
whether permanent or transitory, render human beings unfit [for the Temple service]!
Rabbi Jose b. Hanina replied:
This is no contradiction. The former refers to perspiration that can be removed; the
latter, to perspiration that cannot be removed.
Rabbi Ashi said in reply:
You are pointing out a contradiction between 'perspiration' and 'one who is filthy' [which
in fact are not alike, for] there, in the case of priests, it is possible to remove the
perspiration by the aid of sour wine, and it is also possible [to remove] an offensive
breath by holding pepper in one's mouth and thus performing the Temple service, but in
the case of a wife [such devices are for all practical purposes for maintaining
eligibility for the Kethuboth] impossible. … What kind of a mole is here meant? If
one overgrown with hair, it would cause disqualification in both cases; if one with no hair,
[then, again], if it is a large one it causes disqualification in both cases and if it is a small
one it causes no disqualification in either; for it was taught: A mole which is overgrown
with hair is regarded as a bodily defect; if with no hair it is only deemed to be a
bodily defect when large but when small it is no defect; and what is meant by
Rabbi Simeon b. Gamaliel explained:
The size of an Italian issar [ J-VICTUS NOTE: AN OLD FORM OF ROMAN
Rabbi Jose the son of Rabbi Hanina said:
One which is situated on her forehead. [If it was on] her forehead he must have seen it
and acquiesced!
Rabbi Papa replied:
It is one that was situated under her bonnet and is sometimes exposed and sometimes
Rabbi Nathan of Bira learnt:
[The space] of one handbreadth between a woman's breasts. Rabbi Aha the son of
Raba intended to explain in the presence of Rabbi Ashi [that this statement meant that
'[the space of] a handbreadth' is to [a woman's] advantage,
but Rabbi Ashi said to him:
This was taught in connection with bodily defects. And what space [is deemed normal]?
Abaye replied: [A space of] three fingers. It was taught:
Rabbi Nathan said:
It is a bodily defect if a woman's breasts are bigger than those of others. By how much?
Rabbi Meyasha the grandson of Rabbi Joshua b. Levi replied in the name of Rabbi
Joshua b. Levi:
By one handbreadth. Is such a deformity, however, possible? — Yes;
for Rabbah b. Bar Hana related:
"I saw an Arab woman who flung her breasts over her back and nursed her child."
Kethuboth 75A says:
Rabbi Hisda said: I heard the following statement from a great man (And who is he?
Rabbi Shila). If a dog bit her and the spot of the bite turned into a scar [such a
scar] is considered a bodily defect. Rabbi Hisda further stated: A harsh voice in a
woman is a bodily defect.
Kethuboth 72B says:
[If a woman was betrothed] on condition that she has no bodily defects, and she
was found to have such defects, her betrothal is invalid. If he married her without
making any conditions and she was found to have bodily defects, she may be divorced
without a Kethuboth. All defects which disqualify priests [from Temple service]
disqualify women also [from the Kethuboth].157
Deserving of specific mention are two disqualifications from 72B:
Rabbi Tarfon said: also one who screams. What is meant by a screamer? — Rabbi
Judah replied in the name of Samuel: One who speaks aloud on marital matters... it
was taught: [By screams was meant a wife] whose voice during her intercourse in
one court can be heard in another court.
American Rabbi Shmuley Boteach declares:
Long ago, well before Christianity enacted legislation forbidding its clerics from marrying
or having sex, the ancient rabbis were giving explicit sexual advice to married men and
women as to how they could enjoy pleasurable yet holy intimate relations. The rabbis
made female orgasm an obligation incumbent on every Jewish husband. No man
was allowed to use a woman merely for his own gratification.158
The comparison of mandatory clerical celibacy (which I oppose anyway) to Rabbis giving married
couples sexual advice is laughable. It seems that Rabbi Boteach is trying to suggest that
Christianity is anti-sex while Judaism enthusiastically approves of it. A ridiculous assertion [JVICTUS
I strongly disagree with some of the Catholic
positions on sex, particularly regarding the use of contraceptives.159 Nevertheless, as Pope, John
Paul II spent five years, over 129 lectures, compiling an essentially sex-positive “Theology of the
Body.”160 And the unaware may be taken aback by those Protestant Puritan settlers in the New
England area. They also rejected mandatory clerical celibacy and their unabashed love of sex is
well-documented, particularly from their letters to one another:
Did those early Protestants hate sex? Hardly. When a New England Puritan wife
complained, first to her pastor then to her whole congregation that her husband was
neglecting their sex life, the church excommunicated him! A leading Puritan preacher,
William Gouge, said married couples should engage in sex "with good will and delight,
willingly, readily and cheerfully."161
While the wording is archaic, the following line in a letter from one husband to his wife can be
considered little else but “talking dirty”:
My dearly beloved wife... my heart is at home, and specially with thee my best
beloved ... with the sweetest kisses and pure embracings of my kindest affection I
rest thine.162
So why would Rabbi Boteach make such a false characterization? What does he know of the
Talmud's true teachings on marital relations? As always, let us seek clarification from the Rabbis
of the Talmud. They indeed were discussing sexuality explicitly. But their statements are more like
commands rather than advice. And frankly, Rabbi Boteach's book is telling us the exact opposite
of what they have in fact said. Recommending Rabbi Boteach's book as further reading, in an
article entitled “Kosher Sex,” says:
Sex is the woman's right, not the man's. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly
and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her. He is also obligated to watch for signs that
his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it.163
The falsehood that sex is considered a woman's right is repeated several times. The words of the
Talmud have been twisted into something acceptable for Gentiles. The words themselves are, of
course, not quoted. Meaning "Vows," Nedarim 20B says:
And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me.
Rabbi Levi said: This refers to children belonging to… a brazen woman,
Later in the same folio, it says:
One who is summoned to his marital duty by his wife will beget children such as
were not to be found even in the generation of Moses [J-VICTUS NOTE: REFERRING
JEWISH LAW]. [It is virtuous to have sex] only when the wife ingratiates herself [with
her husband]
Thus the text does not so much emphasize a husband's duty to look for his wife's sexual desire as
it does institute restrictions on what wives may do if desiring sex. How can sex be the wife's right
if merely saying “I want to have sex” is considered improper? continues:
The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife.
It specifies the frequency of sexual obligation based on the husband's occupation...
It is difficult to believe that would make such a statement which is likely quite peculiar
in the eyes of Gentiles and not provide examples. Regarding the “quality of sex,” no passages are
cited by, and I am unable to find any Talmudic passages on the matter, but how does
the Talmud schedule sex according to occupation? Kethuboth 61B says:
The times for conjugal duty prescribed in the Torah are: for men of independence, every
day; for laborers, twice a week; for [donkey]-drivers, once a week; for camel-drivers,
once in thirty days; for sailors, once in six months.165
Poor sailors. As “men of independence” are scheduled sex everyday, it seems that the Rabbis
have rewarded those who are well-off enough to not have to work. It is clear that the concern of
the Talmudic Rabbis was with the man. It is around the man that these schedules are built. We
might wonder how the Rabbis would schedule sex according to modern occupations. As well,
intercourse is scheduled to happen only once in the predetermined occupation-based schedule.
Where is the unbridled marital passion to which Rabbi Boteach and
allude? continues:
...although this obligation can be modified in the kethuboth (marriage contract).
So a husband, regardless of occupation, can in fact stipulate sex every single day, several times a
day. However, due to Talmudic laws on menstruation, explored later, husband and wife,
regardless of the husband's occupation or the Kethuboth contract, are forbidden from sex
(Indeed, forbidden from all physical contact) for up to two weeks every month.
A man may not take a vow to abstain from sex for an extended period of time, and may
not take a journey for an extended period of time, because that would deprive his wife of
sexual relations.
As sailors are only allowed sex every six months, we may wonder what a “vow of abstinence” for
an “extended period of time” and “a journey for an extended period of time” means for him. But
once again, has it twisted around regarding long journeys. Meaning "divorce
documents," Gittin 70A says:
Rabbi Bar Huna said: If a man immediately on returning from a journey has marital
intercourse, his children will be weaklings. The Rabbis taught: On coming from a
[journey] a man should not have sexual intercourse till he has waited long enough to
walk half a mil[e], because the demon of the [journey] is with him for that time; if he
does, his children will be epileptic.166
Once again, the concern is clearly with the husband and the prospects of his seed being
somehow inferior or damaged. How exactly this would be so if he had sex with his wife
immediately is not explained. But what is certain is that no concern whatsoever is expressed for
the woman's lack of sexual gratification. continues:
In addition, a husband's consistent refusal to engage in sexual relations is grounds for
compelling a man to divorce his wife, even if the couple has already fulfilled
the Halakhic obligation to procreate.
Although sex is the woman's right, she does not have absolute discretion to withhold it
from her husband. A woman may not withhold sex from her husband as a form of
punishment, and if she does, the husband may divorce her without paying the
substantial divorce settlement provided for in the kethuboth.
According to the Talmudic Rabbis, sex is not the woman's right, it is the man's. She has no
discretion whatsoever to withhold it except during her menstrual cycle. Of course, since this is
regulated by the Rabbis, that is not actually at her discretion. proceeds to refer to a
specific Talmudic passage which, in fact, only reinforces the husband's unconditional authority
over sexual matters (except during menstruation). They continue:
Although some sources take a more narrow view, the general view of halakhah is that
any sexual act that does not involve sh'chatat zerah (destruction of seed, that is,
ejaculation outside the vagina) is permissible. As one passage in the Talmud states,
"a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife [at intercourse]" (Nedarim 20B).
This is extremely misleading. As critics of the Talmud are so often accused of doing, the phrase “a
man may do whatever he pleases with his wife” is ripped completely out of context. It is used to
suggest that kosher sex calls for mutually enjoyable sexual activity between husband and wife.
But, as usual, since this statement is made with concern only for the husband, what is to be found
in the context of this one sentence? Recall first Rabbi Boteach's assertion that:
[No] man was allowed to use a woman merely for his own gratification.
Nedarim 20B says:
… a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife [at intercourse]. A parable:
Meat which comes from the abattoir may be eaten salted, roasted, cooked or
seethed; so with fish from the fishmonger...
A woman once came before Rabbi and said: “Rabbi! I set a table before my husband,
but he overturned it.”
Rabbi replied: “My daughter! the Torah has permitted you to him — what then can I
do for you?”
A woman once came before Rab and complained. “Rabbi! I set a table before my
husband, but he overturned it.”
Rab replied: “[How] does it differ from a fish?”
That may be a bit confusing. What does “overturning the table” mean? The answer is found in the
preceding Part of Nedarim 20. 20A says:
Rabbi Johanan bar Dahabai said:... People are born lame because their parents
overturned their table [i.e., practised unnatural cohabitation].167
Thus, “overturning the table” is a euphemism for anal sex. We might think that if anal sex
produced mentally and/or physically challenged children (which is insane, of course), the Rabbis
would flat-out ban it. But once again, the sexual gratification of the husband is the primary
concern. Indeed, it is the sole concern. By simply looking at the passage surrounding the
statement quoted by, we see the situation concerns not a blessing of the sexual
adventurousness of passionate couples, but is rather a ruling against two wives who were anally
raped. The Rabbis reply that nothing can be done for either woman, as they are owned by him as
much as the fish and other food on the table, along with the table itself, which he may certainly
overturn if he wishes, are owned by him. Why two examples were needed to show this is
unknown. Why does quote a single sentence which expresses, in context, the exact
opposite of what they were trying to convey? Why is it that Rabbi Boteach provides no Talmudic
texts to back up his assertions? Why are his assertions the opposite of what the Talmudic texts
really say?
Remember that Seders, or Orders, are the largest divisions of the Soncino Talmud (and are not
typically included in Talmudic citation). An entire order is dedicated to and named for Nashim,
meaning "women." Tractates Kethuboth and Nedarim are found in this Order. Another relevant
Tractate is Niddah, meaning "separated," found in Order Tehoroth, meaning "Purities." Niddah
refers to a woman in her menstrual cycle (as well as post-natal women, and a woman after her
wedding night, presumably with her being a virgin until then.). One issue the Rabbis discuss at
great length is the uncleanliness of women during ad after menstruation. Every detail which exists
or which can be pretended to exist is picked at by the Talmudic Rabbis. The Soncino's
introduction to the Ordor Tohoroth states that the Niddah regulations are:
...the very being of the soul of the Jew. They safeguard the purity of the Jewish soul,
without which no true religious moral and spiritual life — individual or corporate — as
Judaism conceives it, is attainable.168
This is an incredible amount of significance attached to a bodily process as normal as urination.
However, far from the respectful treatment this seems to imply, the Niddah regulations on
menstruating women are quite strict and humiliating. They demand the use of a bedikah, meaning
a white “checking cloth” to determine if there is any blood, or if the menstruation has completed
before intercourse and proscribe punishments for their violation.
The Jewish Encyclopedia article on Niddah says:
...a menstruous woman shall be unclean for seven days from the beginning of the
period, whether it lasts only one day or all seven. In either case she is unclean for seven
days only, but during this time her defilement is communicated to every object with
which she comes in contact. These laws, however, have been extended in many ways
and made more onerous, both by rabbinical traditions and interpretations and by
customs which have been adopted by Jewish women themselves. According to
these more rigid requirements, the woman must reckon seven days after the termination
of the period. If, then, this lasts seven days, she can not become pure until the fifteenth
day. Purification, furthermore, can be gained only by a ritual bath ("miḳweh/mikveh");
and until the woman has taken this she remains unclean according to the interpretation
of Rabbi Akiba, which was accepted by the Rabbis generally. In addition to all this, a
woman who does not menstruate regularly is unclean for a certain time before she
becomes aware that the period has begun, and objects which she touches are defiled,
since there is danger that the menses may have begun a short time before and
that she may not have perceived the fact.169
Breaking these regulations is a very serious matter. While the typical punishment is simply a
requirement to make an atoning sacrifice, we find elsewhere that the Rabbis have made
execution a possible sentence of breaking the Niddah laws, presumably for willful and habitual
offenders. Meaning “Excisions,” a euphemism for a death penalty (often but not necessarily literal,
sometimes metaphorically referring to no share in the afterlife), Kerithoth 2B lists three dozen
punishable offenses, saying:
[Transgressions which are punishable with] extinction [include]... When one has
intercourse with... A menstruous woman...
Echoing Rabbi Boteach, attempts to justify this two week sexual prohibition (without
going into the details of enforcement and punishment) this in a Gentile-acceptable way:
The rabbis noted that a two-week period of abstention every month forces a couple to
build a non-sexual bond as well as a sexual one. It helps to build the couple's desire
for one another, making intercourse in the remaining two weeks more special. It also
gives both partners a chance to rest, without feeling sexually inadequate. They also
emphasized the value of self-discipline in a drive as fundamental as the sexual drive.
No couple will spend every waking moment making love, as this would be impossible. Unless it is
a particularly special night, after orgasm, sexual desire is satisfied. If a couple does not afterward
spontaneously engage in some non-sexual intimacy (talking about their day, or the kids, or
whatever), and if they do not wake up and enjoy each other's company, why indeed are they
married? What need is there at all for this Niddah regulation in the forging of marital bonds? It
seems to prevent them, in fact, and serves merely to put the sexual activity of married couples
under the scrutiny of a third party. This is certainly troubling.
It may be asserted by readers of neither a Judaist or Christian persepective that the
Torah/Tanakh/Old Testament also declares menstruating women unclean and institutes
punishment for contact with them. The Torah in the Book of Leviticus says:
19 ‘If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be
set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. 20
Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she
sits on shall be unclean. 21 Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe
in water, and be unclean until evening. 22 And whoever touches anything that she sat
on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23 If
anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be
unclean until evening. 24 And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on
him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be
unclean.25 ‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time
of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of
her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be
unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her as
the bed of her impurity; and whatever she sits on shall be unclean, as the uncleanness
of her impurity. 27 Whoever touches those things shall be unclean; he shall wash his
clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.28 ‘But if she is cleansed of her
discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
So these were ritual purity laws. Violators were simply considered unclean until they performed a
ritual. While secular readers may consider these to be ridiculous, I have elsewhere discussed a
perspective of the purpose of Israel and its Torah in the Christian paradigm.
These burdenous rituals were developed, if we view them through the coming of Jesus and the
supplantation of these rituals, precisely to show that burdenous, repetitious rituals to please God
were so much in vain. Instead, the Rabbis have taken these laws and increased their stringency
and made their violations into potentially capital offenses.
It might be claimed that a woman's uncleanliness during menstruation is purely spiritual. But we
may then wonder why all the objects she touches become unclean as well? How can a married
couple forge non-sexual bonds with one another if every object she touches is defiled? It seems
as well that the Rabbis have discounted the possibility of any non-sexual physical intimacy, such
as hand-holding, walking arm-in-arm, massage, grooming, etc. Further, would not prohibiting a
couple from engaging in the most intimate of human activities when the mood hits, whenever that
may be, actually be detrimental to their relationship? It would be nice to think that Jewish women
at least had some say in adapting the ins and outs of their Niddah phase. This claim is made not
only in the Jewish Encyclopedia, but also in the Soncino's introduction to the Order Tehoroth.
However, neither provide examples. Examples of “more onerous” restrictions a woman placed on
herself during menstruation would be rather interesting.
But at this point, evidence of compassion in Jewish law concerning little girls and women in
general is seen to be quite lacking. Sexually, a husband may do as he pleases with his wife, even
anal rape, because wives are no different than the food her husband consumes at the table.
Surely the meals before him do not protest the manner of their consumption. If a woman has a
mole, if her breasts are too large, if her breath is foul, if she is a "screamer" who speaks her mind
to her husband regarding their marriage for whatever reason, she loses her Kethuboth security.
Returning to the matter of child sex, Rabbi Student and the ADL have completely failed to address
other relevant passages. For example, from the Tractate Sanhedrin, and folios 54B, 55A, and
much of 55B. These passages are some of those that Rabbi Michael Rodkinson "expediently" left
out of his edition of the Talmud. Recall how he said these sections concerned crimes "between
men and animals." Those are addressed, but what else is? According to the Rabbis, adult men
may not sleep with one another, in accordance with the Torah/Tanakh/Old Testament, which
famously says in the Book of Leviticus:
You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination.170
The Talmudic Rabbis take the phrase "man as with a woman" and declare that adult men may
have sexual relations with young boys, i.e., pederasty, because they are not yet men. Sanhedrin
54B to 55A says:
Rab said: "Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as with a child
above that."
Samuel said: “Pederasty with a child below three years is not treated as with a child
above that."
What is the basis of their dispute? —Rab maintains that only he who is able to engage
MATURENESS AT NINE YEARS OLD], may, as the passive subject of pederasty throw
guilt upon the active offender; whilst he who is unable to engage in sexual intercourse
cannot be a passive subject of pederasty in that respect.
But Samuel maintains: "Scripture writes, And thou shalt not lie with mankind as with the
lyings of a woman.
It has been taught in accordance with Rab: Pederasty at the age of nine years and a
day; who commits bestiality, whether naturally or unnaturally [J-VICTUS NOTE:
VAGINALLY OR ANALLY]... is liable to punishment.
As the Talmud itself is an ocean of nonsense, so also are the attempts of its defenders to explain
away its objectionable material. In the following scramble of hysterical, knee-jerk "it was taken out
of context" drivel is found a comment:
The phrase "no guilt is incurred" is a bad translation. A correct translation is that no guilt
is incurred for the offense of pederasty. It does not mean that it is permissible.173
Not only did they just say the same thing but this phrase "no guilt is incurred" is found in
the footnotes of the English Soncino Talmud, written by largely British Rabbinical scholars.
There is nothing to translate in the first place. And of course it is permissible. That is why no guilt
is incurred and they are not liable. They continue:
Also, the Talmud is not holy scripture: it does not have "verses".
Saying that the Talmud "is not holy scripture" is of course a cop out. It is true that the Talmud is
not particularly considered to be the word of God. But it is, of course, a code of regulations for
daily life. Therefore, its words should be taken seriously, and not brushed aside with such
dismissive comments like that. Plenty of evidence has been offered explaining and detailing the
centrality of the Babylonian Talmud in Orthodox Judaism (and more is to come.). As for the
Talmud not having verses, the original questioner merely cited the Soncino Talmud and never said
"the Talmud has verses." The ignorant or deceptive respondents simply ignore the structure of the
Soncino Talmud, which is so structured for the very purpose of being easily cited. For another
example, see footnote 174.174 Per usual, Rabbi Student's unreliable site is referenced.
Rabbi Student quotes Rabbi Maimonides. Citing his Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Ishut 1:4, which says:
Whoever has licentious relations with a woman without marriage bonds is lashed by
biblical mandate.175
Similarly, but contradictorily, Rabbi Eidensohn declares:
Maimonides, and this is quoted in the Code of laws, says that anyone who marries a
minor has sinned. How can anyone say that Talmudists and Orthodox Jews believe in
having sex with little children?
Thus, the Rabbis have led the reader to believe that the accusation is indeed hollow and baseless
and it is just too technical a discussion for Gentiles to grasp, lacking that "scholarly
background." In reality, they have simply further obfuscated the issue. First, realize that this does
not at all concern the issue of pederasty with young boys, but a “woman without marriage
bonds.” Next, despite Eidensohn mentioning him seven times, the words of Maimonides himself
are not actually quoted. Eidensohn has simply declared he said this or that, and the reader is
expected to believe him. With Rabbi Student providing the actual statement, it is clear that he did
not say that he who marries a minor has sinned, but that he who has licentious relations with a
woman without marriage bonds has sinned. Regardless, if the Rambam had said that marrying
minors is sinful, this is still blatant obfuscation since the definition of a minor in Judaism is far
different than in the modern Western world. Remember, three year old girls and nine year old
boys are sexually mature.
In the earlier cited Yahoo! Answers pages, one respondent dismisses concerns about Talmudic
teachings on sexual relations between men and young boys as a merely “hypothetical
hairsplitting” what-if discussion of the application of Jewish law:
It's a sin either way. The discussion is about whether a second sin is committed. It's also
hypothetical hairsplitting... The argument - and remember this is all hypothetical, it's not
an actual trial or anything - is that if the abused is too young to have any responsibility
for preventing the act, then the abuser does not incur the 'passive' sin as well.
If true, then at best, it seems that this passage is just another example Talmudic nonsense. One
may accept that respondent's argument. It does seem, however, that Rabbi Rodkinson did not
accept this reasoning, or else he would not have “expediently” censored the passage.
In light of the fact that females are considered to be sexually mature at age three years and a day,
what is to be made of the specific endorsements of sex between adult males and such girls? Also
omitted in the Rodkinson Talmud, and particularly consider the stated result of this intercourse,
Sanhedrin 55B says:
Rabbi Joseph said: "Come and hear! A maiden aged three years and a day may
be acquired in marriage by coition [sexual intercourse], and if her deceased
husband's brother cohabits [has sexual intercourse] with her, she becomes his."176
But the adult male does not even need to wait until his wedding night as long as the girl is three
years and a day old. Niddah 44B says:
A girl of the age of three years and one day may be betrothed by intercourse; if the
yabam (brother-in-law) had intercourse with her, he acquires her thereby; the guilt of
adultery may be incurred through her, and she causes uncleanness to the man who had
intercourse with her so that he in turn conveys uncleanness to that upon which he lies,
as to a garment which has lain upon [A Zab]. If she was married to a priest, she may eat
Terumah. If any of the ineligible persons cohabited with her he disqualifies her from the
priesthood. If any of the forbidden degrees enumerated in the Torah cohabited with her
he is to be executed on her account, but she is exempt [from the penalty]. If one was
younger than this age intercourse with her is like putting a finger in the
eye. .............. Our Rabbis taught: A girl of the age of three years may be betrothed
by intercourse; so Rabbi Meir. But the Sages say: Only one who is three years and one
day old. What is the practical difference between them? — The school of Rabbi
Jannai replied: The practical difference between them is the day preceding the
first day of the fourth year. Rabbi Johanan, however, replied: The practical difference
between them is the rule that thirty days of a year are counted as the full year.
An objection was raised: A girl of the age of three years and even one of the age
of two years and one day may be betrothed by intercourse; so Rabbi Meir. But the
Sages say: Only one who is three years and one day old.177
This is particularly depraved, especially trying to explain the "practical difference between” a girl
aged three years and a day and a girl aged three with regards to why sex with the former is
permissible but sex with the latter is not. And what do the Rabbis say is the difference? Nothing
particularly profound: their ages are the difference. Therefore the seemingly circular logic for
justifying sex with a girl of one age and not a girl of another is that their ages are different. But
what truly is different about her? What exactly is it that changes between those ages, in that
single day of difference? Here we finally see the reason that a girl who lost her virginity before the
age of three years and a day is still considered a virgin, and thus eligible for a full Kethuboth
payment (contingent upon the many other disqualifying defects she may have, of course). This
exception is in no way, shape, or form simply a lenient ruling by supposedly compassionate
Rabbis. If this was about compassion, the exception would not have an age limit, nor would the
Kethuboth itself be voidable for the asinine reasons explored earlier. Rabbi Student and the ADL
insist that their explanations of Kethuboth 11B prove how sympathetic the Rabbis were on this
issue. Yet they have nothing to say about those disqualifications. Nor have they any remarks on
the reason for this entire discussion in the previous text, Part A of Kethuboth 11. To reiterate a
final time, the Kethuboth exception is not a legal fiction motivated by compassion. Rather, it is
based on what the Talmudic Rabbis consider to be a medical and anatomical fact. The Soncino's
scholars explain that they believed the hymens in girls younger than three years and a day to be
regenerative, and this property is lost in all females on that day of her life. Kethuboth 11A says:
A woman proselyte, a woman captive, and a woman slave, who have been redeemed,
converted, or freed [when they were] less than three years and one day old — their
kethuboth is two hundred zuz (unit of currency). And there is with regard to them the
claim of [non-]virginity.
They confirm this again in Footnote 7 of Kethuboth 11B, which reads:
It is slightly amusing (and only slightly) that the way Rabbi Student's article is titled, "The Talmud
Does Not Permit Sex With A Three Year Old," is actually true. Most of the Talmudic Rabbis agree
that sex is not permissible with a three year old girl, but this restriction ends a day later. While sex
without marriage bonds is condemned (but only between a man and a girl aged three years and a
day he does not plan to marry, as he may also betroth her through intercourse), those bonds may
be established (or promised through a betrothal confirming intercourse) by sexual intercourse at
the age of three years and a day. Rabbi Eidensohn asked:
How can anyone say that Talmudists and Orthodox Jews believe in having sex with little
Because that is what the Talmud says. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, earlier praised for his candor
regarding the Talmud's teachings, informs us in his commentary on the Tractate Sanhedrin's
teachings on pederasty that there is a debate over whether fondling and genital grinding
constitutes an offense or whether actual penetration is required:
The precise definition of ‘the first stage of sexual intercourse’ [J-VICTUS NOTE: THE
Talmudic debate. According to one opinion, physical contact between the two
parties’ sexual organs suffices. According to another opinion, a measure of
penetration is required. Steinsaltz, Vol XVIII: Sanhedrin Part IV, p. 78
There is a troubling practical application of this debate as recently as 2006. Brooklyn Rabbi
Yehuda Kolko was accused of abusing children in his congregation. An eminent Israeli scholar,
Rabbi Pinchus Scheinberg, was called for his defense. Scheinberg asserts Kolko's innocence not
by questioning any evidence, and not even by denying that sexual contact had occurred.
Scheinberg's defense of Kolko is based precisely on the debate Rabbi Steinsaltz spoke of.
Scheinberg takes the latter view, that punishable abuse refers to penetration and since there was
no penetration, there was no punishable abuse.
There is much denial among Jews concerning the teachings of the Talmud on children. One can
hardly fault them of course. In a publication focusing on issues in contemporary Judaism, a writer
in The Shma Journal of Jewish Ideas relates:
One student raises a hand:
"I don't understand [this part] of the Tractate Niddah. What does the phrase 'it is like a
finger in eye' mean?"
The teacher responds:
"This refers to the hymen of a girl younger than three years old. The Sages believed that
in the case of toddler rape, the hymen would fully grow back by the time the girl reached
adulthood and married. Therefore, though violated, she would still technically be
counted as a virgin and could marry a priest. It is an analogy: poking your finger in the
eye is uncomfortable, but causes no lasting harm." There is a collective gasp of breath
among students.
Their dismay is palpable. They do not like this particular Talmudic text or the men behind
it. But its authors, the Talmudic rabbis, hardly wrote it with this particular group of
students in mind -- mostly thirty- and forty-year old women in suburban Philadelphia
taking a four-week class titled 'Women in Jewish Law' at their Reform synagogue. The
questioner persists:
“I don't understand. Are you saying this refers to the rape of a three year-old girl?”
"Or younger," the teacher responds dryly.
"I don't see how it says anything about rape and hymens. You must be mistaken. I don't
believe the rabbis are talking about rape at all. I think this statement has nothing to do
with the rest of the passage."
The teacher (I'll admit now that it was me, a second-year rabbinic student) responds,
"Well, that's the common understanding. What do you think it means?"
The woman is clearly agitated, "I don't know, but I do know that it couldn't be about child
rape." This is week three of the class. The woman does not return for week four.
Recall the second "screamer" disqualification of Kethuboth 72B:
[By screams was meant a wife] whose voice during her intercourse in one court can be
heard in another court.
Some assert that compassion for women and children is what is found in the Talmud. Is this so?
What compassion goes into sexual intercourse between a 3 year old girl and a grown up man?
Screaming would happen. Indeed even at sensible ages, there would again be screaming if the
sex is good. And her Kethuboth is voided. If her breath is bad, her Kethuboth is voided. If her
breasts are too large, her Kethuboth is voided. If she has a hairy mole, her Kethuboth is voided.
In one of the last scenes in the epic Spielberg film "Schindler's List," there is a subtle lie. As
Schindler's Jews bid him farewell and good luck fleeing the Allied forces, they give him a letter
signed by many of them explaining that, though he was a Nazi party member, he ought to be
treated leniently due to his courageous acts of protecting the Jews in his employ throughout the
war. They also give him a ring engraved with:
Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.
As Ben Kingsley's character Itshak Stern informs Schindler (Liam Neeson), this phrase is from the
Talmud, but which Talmud? Rabbi Student says:
One place where this passage appears only deals with Jews. However, this is not
the only place in Talmudic literature that this passage appears. In the Jerusalem (also
called Palestinian) Talmud, the passage does not single out Jews. This passage refers
to any soul, whether Jewish or Gentile.180
Rabbi Student says "one place where this passage appears only deals with Jews" without saying
what that place is: The Babylonian Talmud, the authoritative version, from which the Soncino is
translated. Sanhedrin 37A says:
Whosoever destroys a single soul of Israel, Scripture imputes [guilt] to him as though he
had destroyed a complete world; and whosoever preserves a single soul of
Israel, Scripture ascribes [merit] to him as though he had preserved a complete world.181
American Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner translates Sandhedrin 37A as follows:
He who destroys one human life of Israel, it is accounted to him by Scripture as though
he had destroyed a whole universe; and he who saves one human life of Israel, it is
accounted to him by Scripture as though he had preserved a whole universe.182
Rabbi Student is correct that there is a Jerusalem Talmud that is written in the universalist way it
was used in Schindler's List. But that does not matter because, but for one small group183 and
individual contrarian Rabbis (such as Bar Chayim), the entirety of Jewish scholarship has, since
the time of the Talmud's authorship to today, accepted and strongly asserted the Babylonian
Talmud as authoritative.
Cited earlier, My Jewish Learning says:
When people speak of "the Talmud," they are usually referring to the Talmud Bavli
(Babylonian Talmud), composed in Babylonia (modern-day Iraq)... Traditionally, the Bavli
has been considered the more authoritative of the two Talmuds. This privileging of the
Bavli [Babylonian Talmud] reflects the fact that Babylonia was the dominant center of
Jewish life from Talmudic times through the beginning of the medieval period. The first
codifiers of Halakhah (Jewish law), based in Baghdad in the eighth through 10th
centuries, used the Bavli as the basis of their legal writings. Reflecting the prevalent
attitude toward the Yerushalmi [Jerusalem Talmud], the Machzor Vitri, written in France
in the 11th or 12th century, comments: “When the Jerusalem Talmud disagrees with
our Talmud, we disregard the Jerusalem Talmud."
Also cited earlier, regarding the incompleteness of the Jerusalem Talmud, the Jewish
Encyclopedia says that the work:
...has not been preserved in its entirety; large portions of it were entirely lost at an early
date,while other parts exist only in fragments. The editio princeps, on which all later
editions are based, terminates with the following remark: "Thus far we have found what
is contained in this Talmud; and we have endeavored in vain to obtain the missing
portions." Of the four manuscripts used for this first edition, only one is now in existence;
it is preserved in the library of the University of Leyden. Of the six orders of the Mishnah,
the fifth, Ḳodashim, is missing entirely from the Palestinian Talmud, while of the sixth,
Ṭohorot, it contains only the first three chapters of the Tractate Niddah.184
Jewish historian Harry Gersh says:
Thus the fuller Babylonian Talmud became the dominant work: when reference is made
to the Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud is meant.185
The Jewish Virtual Library says:
[The Jews] of Babylon succeeded in establishing the authority of the Babylonian
Talmud throughout Europe. Students flocked to the academies of Babylon from Spain,
Provence, Italy, North Africa, and the Byzantine Empire. Hai Gaon (died in 1038 C.E.)
had already laid it down that decisions of the Jerusalem Talmud are to
be disregarded when they conflict with those of the Babylonian.186
Again from their dishonest defense of the Talmud, the ADL says:
There are two editions of the Talmud; one was composed by Babylonian Jews and one
by Jews who lived in ancient Jerusalem.
False. Remember that the Jerusalem Talmud is also known as the Palestinian Talmud. And again,
it is more accurately called that. Recall the comments of Shmuel Katz:
... Jewish life remained active and productive. Banished from Jerusalem, it now
centered on Galilee.
Perhaps the Galilean Talmud is a yet better name. Regardless, there were no Jews in Jerusalem
during the age of Talmudic authorship, having been expelled by the Romans after the Bar Kochba
Revolt (except for one day a year to mourn their loss187). This Talmud is older, less involved,
shorter, and it was haphazardly compiled in the ruins of ancient Israel as the Romans, as
documented by Shmuel Katz, "initiated the long process of laying the country waste."
David Dangoor is a prominent Jewish philanthropist in Britain and the founder of the Exilarch
Foundation188 (Exilarch refers to189 the head of the Babylonian Jewish community.). On his site, he
discusses the importance of Babylon to Judaism:
Babylonia was one of the main birthplaces of the Jewish people from its earliest
times, as well as the place where the foundations of Judaism as we know it today
were constructed. The area between the River Tigris and Euphrates, approximating to
modern day Iraq, can lay claim to a greater part of our history as a nation and as a
religion, than any other place. Not only was it from there that Abraham emerged as
the founder of our people on his journey to Israel, but it was here that the Jews had
autonomy for the most time as a people for over one thousand years, here that the
Babylonian Talmud was created from where it formed the framework for rabbinic
Judaism. It was in Babylon that the synagogue and the love of learning grew.190
The ADL continues and finally gets one right:
Generally a citation from the Talmud refers to the Babylonian version, which is
considered authoritative. The Jerusalem Talmud is not generally taught in even the
most Orthodox Jewish schools today, though advanced Talmud scholars sometimes
study it.
It should be clear now that the Jerusalem Talmud is only of peripheral interest (if that) and in
discussing Jewish-Christian or Jewish-Gentile relations, the Babylonian Talmud is the
issue. Jewish life flourished in Babylon, where the discussions of the Pharisees/Rabbis were more
open, more frequent, and more intense.
Is it possible that, though an Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Student does not know that appealing to the
Jerusalem Talmud to "clarify" the Babylonian Talmud is ridiculous and misleading?191 Perhaps, like
Bar Chayim, he is one who believes that the Jerusalem Talmud ought to be considered the more
authoritative. But if so, we are left befuddled by his efforts to defend the Babylonian Talmud.
Finally, a look at some of the hatred directed at Jesus of Nazareth and His followers. One of the
excuses Rabbi Student gives is that these passages cannot refer to the Christian Jesus because
their stories are not identical with the Gospels.
On yet another issue, Rabbi Student is either misled, or he is misleading. As Talmudic authorship
began centuries after Christ, there is no particular reason to consider the stories to be evidence of
the historical Jesus, though some do take that position.192 These passages are the writing of
hostile Pharisees. Obviously they will not match the beauty of the Ministry of Jesus according to
the Gospels. They mock Him, which is the whole point.
Peter Schafer, a Christian scholar and Professor of Judaic Studies at Princeton, published a
brilliant review of the Jesus passages in the Talmud. A synopsis reads:
Scattered throughout the Talmud, the founding document of Rabbinic Judaism in late
antiquity, can be found quite a few references to Jesus --and they're not flattering. In this
lucid, richly detailed, and accessible book, Peter Schäfer examines how the Rabbis of
the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert,
ultimately, Judaism's superiority over Christianity. The Talmudic stories make fun of
Jesus's birth from a virgin, fervently contest His claim to be the Messiah and Son of
God, and maintain that He was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They
subvert the Christian idea of Jesus' resurrection and insist He got the punishment he
deserved in hell--and that a similar fate awaits His followers.193
Sanhedrin 43A says:
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took
place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has
practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his
favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought
forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover! — Ulla retorted: 'Do
you suppose that he was one for whom a defence could be made? Was he not a Mesith
[enticer], concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou
conceal him? With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the
David Instone-Brewer of Cambridge concludes regarding this passage:
The two censored traditions about Jesus and his disciples which would occur at
[Sanhedrin 43A] were brought into the Talmudic discussions early in the 3rd century
and removed in the 15th and 16th centuries. External evidence gives independent
witness that the earliest core in this tradition was:
"On the Eve of Passover, they hung Jesus of Nazareth for sorcery and enticing Israel [to
The ADL makes a preposterous assertion:
In the nineteenth century, when the field of academic Jewish studies was in its
infancy, a small group of Jewish scholars suggested that in some cases the term
Balaam in the Talmud may be a codeword for Jesus. Though later scholars showed that
this suggestion could not be true (for reasons pertaining to the context of the Balaam
references and the lack of manuscript variants substituting Jesus for
Balaam), antisemites have ever since claimed that the true hatred that Judaism
possesses for Christianity is expressed in these coded expressions against Balaam
found in the Talmud.
Academic Jewish studies have been in existence since before the birth of Jesus. By the 1800's
C.E., the Rambam's Mishneh Torah legal commentary was 600 years old. By the nineteenth
century, the Talmud itself, compiled in Babylonian Talmudic Academies,
had been completed for over a millennium. What the ADL may be referring to is a Germanoriginated
movement called Wissenschaft des Judentums,196 meaning “Jewish Studies,” which
opened an era of critical review of Jewish history and literature. However, the passages regarding
Jesus have been known since Jewish converts to Christianity (such as Donin) brought them up in
the 1200's C.E. Indeed, as will be seen shortly, among the late and post-Talmudic Rabbis (after
the 500's C.E.), these passages have been applied to the Christian Jesus for even longer. As for
Balaam referring to Jesus, we need to look no further than the Jewish Encyclopedia's (published
in 1906, not the 19th century) article on Balaam:
[Balaam] became the type of false prophets seducing men to lewdness and obscene
idolatrous practises. The name "Nicolaitanes," given to the Christian heretics "holding
the doctrine of Balaam." probably derived from the Grecized form of Balaam, = Nικο-
γάος, and hence also the pseudonym "Balaam," given to Jesus in Sanhedrin 106B and
Giṭtin 57A.197
Thus Balaam is not so much a codeword as an archetype, i.e., a model. Orthodox Rabbi
Allonyoav takes issue with the scholarship of the Jewish Encyclopedia:
The funniest thing here is the person below saying how the Jewish Encyclopedia says
Jesus is in the Talmud, and he was so upset when it was pointed out that not a single
author of that article was actually Jewish or had any training by Jews in reading
and understanding the Talmud... the "Jewish Encyclopedia" article was not written
by Jews and does not reflect the Jewish POV. A fact that many people do not
understand because of the title of the work.198
First of all, the authors of the article are not mentioned, but rather the sources used by the
authors. Even more ridiculous is to suggest that the Jewish Encyclopedia is a work of the Gentile
world. While there were indeed non-Jewish scholars who worked on the Jewish Encyclopedia, the
Jewish Virtual Library notes the primarily Jewish contribution:
Despite the great accomplishments in Jewish studies in Europe during the 19th century,
it was not granted to European Jewry to publish the first synthesis of its rich
harvest. Instead, it was the American Jewish community, which at the turn of the
century consisted of a population less than half its present size, a large proportion of
whom were new immigrants, that published this basic work, The Jewish
Encyclopedia (12 volumes, 1901–06). Under the editorship of Isidore Singer and with
the participation of hundreds of scholars in the United States and abroad, the
attempt was made to bring all Jewish knowledge within the scope of this work. 199
Rabbi Allonyoav continues (text after the names are his comments):
The sources quoted for the article in question in the Jewish Encyclopedia:
Travers Herford- unitarian minister
Heinrich Laible- no biography found
Rev S Baring Gold- Anglican Priest
Conard-? No idea who this is meant to be
G Rosch- no biography
Hoffman- Protestant Minister and theologian, dean of the theological faculty of Leipzig
Von der Alm- pseudonym of Friedrich Wilhelm Ghillany, a German Professor of history
at Nurnberg who also wrote books claiming the ancient Jews indulged in human
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger- A notorious anti-Semite noted for his polemics against
Johann Christoph Wagenseil- Christian scholar and Professor of history at Altdorf
Barthélemy d'Herbelot de Molainville- French orientalist
Rudolf Martin Meelführer - German Hebraist, student of Wagenseil at the University of
Krauss- Teacher at Jewish theological seminary, Reform Jew and NOT a Rabbi or
Andr. Conr. Werner, Jesus in Talmude, Stade, 1738; nothing found, but considering the
date and written in German, NOT Jewish.
There we are, the "sources quoted" i.e., the bibliography of further reading, and not the
authors of the encyclopedia article itself. The Rabbi is urged to consider the myriad parenthetical
citations in the Jesus article. However, he is perhaps understandably irked by the prevalence of
Christian sources. But who is expected to be used as sources when the topic is Jesus and when
the Talmudic rules are to keep this information from Gentiles and Christians? As well, it must be
remembered that the Jewish Encyclopedia was released in twelve volumes with over 15,000
articles between 1901 and 1906. At this point, there was no uncensored English-language
Soncino Talmud with its easily cited structure. And yet, the Encyclopedia's scholars were able to
provide generally useful and honest commentary.
Again seemingly unaware of the difference between sources and authors, Rabbi Allonyoav insists
that not:
a single author of that article was actually Jewish or had any training by Jews in reading
and understanding the Talmud.
Once again, the authors are not mentioned. As for being trained “by Jews in reading and
understanding the Talmud,” that is precisely what Johann Andreas Eisenmenger did for almost
two decades. Remember that Jacob Katz explained that “he does not falsify his sources” though
he is often accused of doing so. And of course, contrary to the assertion of Rabbi Allonyoav,
Eisenmenger's position was not based on so-called “antisemitism,” but anti-Judaism (or even, to
acknowledge the Karaites, anti-Talmudism).200
Rabbi Allonyoav continues:
The Jewish encyclopedia may be liked by academics but you will not find it on the
shelves in an Orthodox synagogue. It is not, and never has been, considered a good
or reliable source for anything to do with the religious side of Judaism. As much
as others might like it because it supports their pet theories, it has never been used by
Orthodox Jews as a reference for anything to do with religion.
It is quite obvious that Orthodox Jews would never create an encyclopedia in a non-Judaic
language for the candid summing up and discussion of the teachings of their religion when those
teachings are what they are, as well as the fact that they are specifically admonished by the
Talmudic Rabbis to not share those teachings. They will remain wading in their ocean of
nonsense. Also, the fact that it is not used by Orthodox Jews (indeed, who said it was?) says
nothing of it being or not being a “reliable source for anything to do with the religious side of
Judaism.” At that, we may wonder about the Rabbi's implication that there is a non-religious side
to the religion of Judaism.
Rabbi Allonyoav should also note the apologetic tone that pervades the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Near the end of its article on Gentiles, after going through all of the anti-Gentile material in Jewish
literature, it says:
Modern Judaism, as inculcated in the catechisms and explained in the declarations of
the various rabbinical conferences, and as interpreted in the sermons of modern rabbis,
is founded on the recognition of the unity of the human race; the law of
righteousness and truth being supreme over all men, without distinction of race or creed,
and its fulfillment being possible for all. Righteousness is not conditioned by birth. The
Gentiles may attain unto as perfect a righteousness as the Jews.201
Were the Jewish Encyclopedia a Gentile or Christian conspiracy meant to dishonestly present the
teachings of the Jewish religion and the facts of Jewish history, we may wonder why the authors
would go to these lengths to say, ultimately, it is actually not so bad? Furthermore, recalling Rabbi
Bar Chayim's study (released over 70 years after the Jewish Encyclopedia discussing then
“modern Judaism” was published) shows us a massively and fascinatingly contradictory
Any notion of equality between humans is irrelevant to the Halakhah. Rabbi Bar
Chayim's work is comprehensive, written with intellectual honesty, and deals with almost
all the aspects of Halakhic treatment of non-Jews. It also refutes the statements of those
Rabbis who speak out of wishful thinking and, influenced by concepts of modern society,
claim that Judaism does not discriminate against people on religious
grounds. Rabbi Bar Chayim shows that all these people base their constructs not on
the Torah but solely on the inclinations of their own hearts. He also shows that
there are even Rabbis who intentionally distort the Halakhic attitude to
Gentiles, misleading both themselves and the general public.
Thankfully for the truth, there are Orthodox Jewish individuals and organizations who ignore the
urges of the Talmudic Rabbis to keep their teachings secret and admit to the truth of their Talmudbased
anti-Christ hatred and make it plain for all to see. Referenced several times earlier, Israeli
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has written a Talmud translation that is perhaps superior to the Soncino in
its candidness. Instead of “Yeshu,” Steinsaltz writes “Jesus of Nazareth.” It is interesting to
compare and contrast both the textual translation and the footnoted commentary of the Soncino
and Steinsaltz Talmuds. He also writes (It should be noted that it was not just the Jews who found
themselves having to censor and reword their Talmud. Christians too, when these passages were
brought to the attention of the Christian world, ordered censorship. It should be opposed no
matter its advocate and no matter the advocate's motives):
Wherever the Talmud makes derogatory reference to Jesus or to Christianity in general,
the comment was completely erased, and the name of Christ was systematically
As referenced earlier, Chabad-Lubavitch is one of the largest groups of Orthodox Jews in the
world.203 Running several websites, one is the project of Chabad member Baruch
Ellisone promoting Noahidism, or their designation for a "Judaism for Gentiles" following the
Seven Noahide Laws. While there are many controversies 204 between Chabad-Lubavitch and
other Orthodox groups (including about Chabad's openness on Talmudic anti-Christ sentiment),
they are still reading from the same Talmud. The site explains:
The following assortment of articles and essays provide information on some aspects of
the proper means by which to bring about the Hasidic Gentile movement, based on the
explanations and directives of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel
Schneerson, head of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement.205
Chabad proudly parrots the Talmudic hatred of Jesus. Note, of course, that they cite the
Babylonian Talmud:
The Talmud (Babylonian edition) records other sins of "Jesus the Nazarene": He and
his disciples practiced sorcery and black magic, led Jews astray into idolatry, and were
sponsored by foreign, Gentile powers for the purpose of subverting Jewish
worship (Sanhedrin 43A). He was sexually immoral, worshiped statues of stone (a brick
is mentioned), was cut off from the Jewish people for his wickedness, and refused to
repent (Sanhedrin 107B206; Sotah 47A207).208
It is confounding that Jesus, who was never said to perform any sexual act in the Gospels, is
accused of sexual immorality, while their very own Talmud endorses what was explored
earlier. That article is found in a series called "Why Not Christianity?":
The following articles explain why Christianity does not fulfill G-d's will [J-VICTUS
NOTE: For those wondering why some Jews spell “God” as “G-d”, See footnote 209.209],
and how it has always been a weapon against Judaism.210
The latter statement is of course absolutely true, and Judaism should be opposed. With regards
to fulfilling God's will, as this study draws to a close, I welcome the reader to consider which faith,
Christianity or Judaism, seems to be a better fulfillment of the will of a God of universal love.
February of 2004 saw the release of Mel Gibson's controversial film about the last 12 hours of
Jesus's life, The Passion of the Christ, which many thought laid disproportionate blame211 for the
execution of Jesus on the Jews. In anticipation, in September 2003, the American Jewish
Committee212 released a statement addressing one of the uncouth passages concerning Jesus in
the Talmud (Sanhedrin 43A as quoted above). This statement was almost immediately removed.
Unfortunately for the AJC, and fortunately for the truth, nothing is ever gone from the internet.
Simply type the original URL213 into The Way Back Machine,214 go to September 2003, and you
will see the article:
Pointedly, Jews did not argue that crucifixion was a Roman punishment and therefore
no Jewish court could have advocated it. Consider, by contrast, the following text from
the Talmud in Sanhedrin 43A:
"On the eve of Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took
place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has
practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his
favor let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought
forward in his favor, he was hanged on the eve of Passover. Ulla retorted: Do you
suppose he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a mesith
(enticer), concerning whom Scripture says, "Neither shall thou spare nor shall thou
conceal him?" With Jesus, however, it was different, for he was connected with the
government.” 215
Hanged and stoned? What is going on here? The AJC, noting past censorship, continues:
This text, long censored in editions of the Talmud, is concerned primarily with due
process in capital crimes. Standard process requires that punishment be delayed for
forty days in order to allow extenuating evidence to be presented. However, in extreme
cases, such as seducing Israel into apostasy, this requirement is waived. The case of
Jesus, according to the Talmud, constituted an exception to this rule. Although one who
enticed Israel into apostasy is considered an extreme case, the Jews at the time waited
forty days because of the close ties of Jesus to the Roman authorities. However, once
the forty days elapsed without the presentation of favorable or extenuating comment
about him, they proceeded to kill him on the eve of Passover.
What, then, are the implications of this reading of Jesus through the eyes of Rabbinic
sources? First, we do require honesty on both sides in confronting history ... A
mature Jewish-Christian relationship presupposes the ability of both sides to face up
to history.
A remaining question is why the Talmudic Rabbis say that Jesus was to be both hanged and
stoned. The answer becomes clearer when we read Sanhedrin 106B, which is a Balaam passage.
As well, the word “min” is used to refer to Jewish heretics, particularly Christians.216 Rabbi Michael
Rodkinson also censored this passage in his edition of the Talmud:
Rab said: They subjected him to four deaths, stoning, burning, decapitation and
strangulation. A certain min said to Rabbi Hanina: Have you heard how old
Balaam was? — He replied: It is not actually stated, but since it is written, Bloody and
deceitful men shall not live out half their days, [it follows that] he was thirty-three or
thirty-four years old.217
We see a further clue as to the identity of the subject, as Jesus is traditionally thought to have
been in his early 30s at His Crucifixion. Some say that the fact that 43A says he was hanged
means this is not the Christian Jesus. An example is found in footnote 218.218 Alternatively, as the
AJC itself implies, there are some who claim that "hanging" may be a euphemism for crucifixion.
Here is the Jewish Encyclopedia article on crucifixion:
Among the modes of Capital Punishment known to the Jewish penal law, crucifixion is
not found. The "hanging" of criminals "on a tree," was resorted to in New Testament
times only after stoning. A Jewish court could not have passed a sentence of death by
crucifixion without violating the Jewish law.219
But this is all beside the point, which is that these passages convey a homicidal rage against
Jesus. Can it get more ridiculous than subjecting one to four methods of execution? As the AJC
notes, the Jews could not inflict their own punishment on Jesus because the Romans were in
charge of the Land of Israel. What the Talmudic Rabbis are saying is that if the Romans were not
there, the Pharisees would have taken immediate and ruthless action against Jesus for “enticing
Israel into apostasy.” The AJC continues:
However, in extreme cases, such as seducing Israel into apostasy, this [40 day delay
between conviction and execution] requirement is waived. The case of Jesus, according
to the Talmud, constituted an exception to this rule. Although one who enticed Israel into
apostasy is considered an extreme case, the Jews at the time waited forty days
because of the close ties of Jesus to the Roman authorities.
The Pharisees and their Rabbi successors twisted and continue to twist the fact that the Land of
Israel was under Roman control and thus they are unable to carry out in 100% freedom their own
legal procedures and punitive measures into an accusation that Jesus was an agent of the
Regarding 106B, we might wonder why a Christian would be asking Rabbis how old Jesus
(Balaam) was so this really can not be about Jesus. But not so fast. There is no reason to believe
that this exchange actually happened. Again, as evidenced by the four methods of execution, the
point of the Jesus passages is to exhibit a boundless hostility towards Him, for “bloody and
deceitful men shall not live out half their days.”
After a whole article denying anti-Christ sentiment in the Talmud, Rabbi Student dismissively
closes the issue with a statement that is surely true:
If you are looking for Christian fellowship then Jewish literature is not the place to look.
Another relevant text is the Sefer Toledo t Yeshu220 221 meaning "The Life Story of Jesus". This
Rabbinic work was developed as an oral tradition across Jewish communities and was written
down sometime between the 500's and 1000's C.E. as an "anti-Gospel." While there are several
versions, none of which are considered authoritative and some of which include a paradoxical
praise for Jesus as an intelligent and shrewd, but arrogant and disrespectful (to the Pharisees)
preacher from his youngest years, they all nevertheless reflect and allude to the Talmudic attitude,
making it clear that even before the 1200's C.E. revelations to the Gentile world by Nicholas
Donin, the passages had already, for centuries, been read in Jewish communities as referring to
the Christian Jesus. Thus the notion was not invented, as the ADL would have it, “[in] the
nineteenth century... [by] a small group of Jewish scholars.” Rather, the animus is there, from the
beginning, plain to anyone willing to look.
The introduction of one of the manuscripts of the work warns Jews to keep this story hidden from
Gentiles. This is documented by Israeli historian Rabbi Moshe Carmilly-Weinberger:
This booklet should be shown only to people of discretion, for one never knows what
the morrow may bring. ... I copied it from three different pamphlets from three different
countries, not just one, The contents of all these pamphlets were identical, except that I
wrote it in the language of prudence, namely, Hebrew, because Gentiles do not
understand it.222
Carmilly-Weinberger, Moshe, Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Jewish
History (1977, NY, Yeshiva Univ. Press), page 185
An excerpt of the Sefer Toledot Yeshu reads:
Miriam gave birth to a son and named him Yeshu. On the eighth day he was
circumcised. When he was old enough the lad was taken by Miriam to the house of
study to be instructed in the Jewish tradition. One day Yeshu walked in front of the
sages with his head uncovered, showing shameful disrespect [see Talmud punishment
in Gittin 57A]. At this, the discussion arose as to whether this behavior did not truly
indicate that Yeshu was an illegitmate child and the son of an unclean woman.
Moreover, the story tells that while the Rabbis were discussing the Nezikin, he gave his
own cocky interpretation of the law and in an ensuing debate he held that Moses could
not be the greatest of the prophets if he had to receive counsel from Jethro. This led to
further inquiry as to the parents of Yeshu, and it was discovered through Rabban
Shimeon ben Shetah that he was the illegitimate son of Joseph Pandera. Miriam
admitted it. After this became known, it was necessary for Yeshu to flee to upper Galilee.
The Jewish Encyclopedia goes further, and says:
It is clear, therefore, that the Jewish legends deny the resurrection of Jesus; the
Halakhic assertion that Balaam (i.e., the prototype figure of Jesus) had no part in the
future life must also be especially noted. It is further said: "The pupils of the recreant
(cowardly) Balaam inherit hell." Jesus is accordingly, in the following curious
Talmudic legend, thought to sojourn in hell.223
This has the implication of Christians being Hellbound with Jesus, as the synopsis to Peter
Schafer's study said, and as the article on Gentiles most certainly did not say. The
Encyclopedia continues:
A certain Onkelos b. Kalonikos, son of Titus' sister, desired to embrace Judaism, and
called up from hell by magic...:
...first Titus, then Balaam, and finally Jesus, who are here taken together as the worst
enemies of Judaism. He asked Jesus:
"Who is esteemed in that world?"
Jesus said:
Onkelos asked:
"Shall one join them?"
Jesus said to him:
"Further their well-being; do nothing to their detriment. Whoever touches them touches
[harms] even the apple of His [God's] eye."
Onkelos then asked the nature of his punishment, and was told that it was the degrading
fate of those who mock the wise [J-VICTUS NOTE: "SHOWING SHAMEFUL
So in the Talmudic Hell, on top of the general torment of the damned, it seems that Hell's
occupants express a never-ending praise for the Jews and a regret that they had opposed them
while they boil in feces.
It cannot be said enough, and shall be repeated to close,[ that Jews as a whole must not be held
accountable for these evil sentiments, especially as most have no idea about any of it. And surely
most would reject it were they to learn of it. And even more, it must be remembered that it was
Jews who brought it up to the Christian and Gentile world in the first place. In Paul's letter to the
Roman Church, he says:
[H]as God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of
Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He
foreknew... But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the
Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles,
how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle
to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those
who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling
of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?224
But the facts remain. Matthew's Gospel reads:
Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said to them:
“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they
reasoned among themselves, saying:
“It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them:
“Oh, you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought
no bread?... How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning
bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of
the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.225
The Sadducees have long withered away, but the apostate Pharisees remain. In their Talmud,
we find among the most misanthropic statements in history. This is documented and irrefutable.
No amount of pleading for context, nor misdirection, nor obfuscation, nor any of the hysterical and
desperate accusations of so-called “antisemitism” will change those vile words.
Galatians 3:28
Deuteronomy 25:17-19
(Click groups to see more
T5XLUfqYINHH4AP-noF4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA (Page 264)
id=1vpQgnDJLzUC&pg=PT3799&lpg=PT3799&dq=We+deem+it+expedient+not+to+translate www.come-andhear.
for-friends/ (Page 14) (Page 3)
er+babylonian+sacred+books+of+the+jews (Page 591)
%20censored.pdf almud.html?id=dLxFo4zNEMQC (Page
id=0pARAQAAIAAJ (Page 185);%2011-15&version=NKJV;%2011-12&version=NKJV


  1. Hi Jimmy,

    (sorry if this is being posted twice, I'm having some difficulty)

    I have no love for any of this sort of stuff, and think Judaism is a primitive collection of superstitions. The people who point that out are not looked on favorably... as your quote mentioning Spinoza demonstrates, and that is a good example. (btw, I just learned in his Tractatus politicus he advocated no taxes except upon land)

    Yet, while I haven't read the Talmud, nor can I even speak hebrew, I think you really need to look at this stuff in context, as it is reminiscent of any other hit piece you would see on the Quran, etc.

    Essentially, according to that link, none of these common claims are true when examined in context.

    I didn't read the parts on Jesus yet, but the part about children is apparently talking about dowries (a very primitive practice, no doubt), but virgins command higher dowries and the rabbi was arguing that a girl who was molested as a child is still worth the price of a virgin.

    So the takeaway here is that, as with the bible generally, you are left with a sense that this was written by an ancient tribe, but not that it condones things like rape.

    If anything, it recommends capital punishment too frequently for all sorts of perceived sexual immoralities (but at other times is just as concerned about dietary immorality)

  2. Yet, while I haven't read the Talmud, nor can I even speak hebrew, I think you really need to look at this stuff in context, as it is reminiscent of any other hit piece you would see on the Quran, etc.
    Essentially, according to that link, none of these common claims are true when examined in context.

    Edward, come on, you linked me to Rabbi Gil Student, who I specifically refute several times in this piece. His arguments are beyond pathetic.

    I didn't read the parts on Jesus yet, but the part about children is apparently talking about dowries (a very primitive practice, no doubt), but virgins command higher dowries and the rabbi was arguing that a girl who was molested as a child is still worth the price of a virgin.
    I acknowledged this. And my reaction is so what? Like I say:
    “ If it is compassion that is the driver of this, why do exceptions stop at age 3? Does not the 4 year old rape victim deserve the same leniency? Why stop at all? If truly child sex were not rampant in Babylonian Jewry, why did these discussions have to happen and these regulations put in place at all?   “

    Rabbi Student does not dare address Sanhedrin 54 or 55 in which sodomy with boys is sanctioned and marriage with a three year old girl may be established "by coition," i.e., sexual intercourse

    I have looked at this in context, I have also linked to a full version of the Talmud for that very reason. 
    This is unlike Rabbi Student's site, which only gives isolated passages. If context is so important, why does he leave it to Talmud critics to provide it?

  3. I just read Sanhedrin 54 which seemed like a long list of things you can be put to death for. Which part were you referring to?

  4. The text is near the bottom of the page and is underlined. This is the
    text that was censored from the Rodkinson Talmud:

    Now, he who [actively] commits pederasty, and also [passively] permits himself to be thus abused — R. Abbahu said: On R. Ishmael's view, he is liable to two penalties, one [for the injunction] derived from thou shalt not lie with mankind, and the other for [violating the prohibition,] There shall not be a Sodomite of the sons of Israel. But on R. Akiba's view, he incurs only one penalty, since thou shalt not lie and thou shalt not be lain with is but one statement.12
    He who commits bestiality, and also causes himself to be thus abused — R. Abbahu said: On R. Ishmael's view, he incurs two penalties, one for the injunction, thou shalt not lie with any beast, and one for the prohibition, there shall be no sodomite of the sons of Israel. But on R. Akiba's view, he incurs but one penalty, since thy lying [actively] and thy lying [passively] is but one injunction. Abaye said: Even on R. Ishmael's view he incurs one penalty only, for there shall be no Sodomite applies to sodomy with mankind.13 If so, whence does R. Ishmael derive a formal prohibition against permitting oneself to be bestially abused? — From the verse, Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.14 Now, this being redundant in respect of him who [actively] lies with a beast,15 apply it to him who [passively] permits himself to be abused this; and the Divine Law designates the passive offender as the active offender:16 this teaches that the punishment for, and the formal prohibition against, active bestiality17 apply to passive submission too.18
    He who submits both to pederasty and to bestiality — R. Abbahu said: On R. Akiba's view, he incurs two penalties; one for thou shalt not lie [with mankind], and the other for thou shalt not lie [with any beast]. But on R. Ishmael's view, he incurs only one punishment, both offences being derived from the single verse, There shall be no Sodomite.19 Abaye said: Even on R. Ishmael's view, he incurs two penalties, because it is written, Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.20 This being redundant in respect of active bestiality, it must be applied to passive submission, and the Divine Law thus designated passive submission as an active offence: just as for the active offence there is punishment and prohibitions so for the passive offence too.21 But he who commits pederasty and causes himself to be abused thus; and also commits bestiality and causes himself to be abused too — both R. Abbahu and Abaye maintain that on R. Ishmael's view he is trebly guilty, and on R. Akiba's view he is doubly guilty.22
    Our Rabbis taught: In the case of a male child, a young one is not regarded as on a par with an old one; but a young beast is

    Dilling Exhibit 54
    treated as an old one.23 What is meant by this? — Rab said: Pederasty with a child below nine years of age is not deemed as pederasty with a child above that. Samuel said: Pederasty with a child below three years is not treated as with a child above that.24 What is the basis of their dispute? — Rab maintains that only he who is able to engage in sexual intercourse, may, as the passive subject of pederasty throw guilt [upon the active offender]; whilst he who is unable to engage in sexual intercourse cannot be a passive subject of pederasty [in that respect].25 But Samuel maintains: Scripture writes, [And thou shalt not lie with mankind] as with the lyings of a woman.

  5. Yes, there are many things to be put to death for. However, the whole point of the passage is REGULATE sexual relations between men and young boys, rather than prohibit them outright

  6. I just read it a couple times and cannot fully understand everything, but the first sentence seems to indicate there is a dispute about whether pederasty is two sins or just one sin, but it seems like you will be put to death for both sins.

    It states later "both R. Abbahu and Abaye maintain that on R. Ishmael's view he is trebly guilty, and on R. Akiba's view he is doubly guilty.22"

    So apparently there are 3 sins in question there, with some rabbis claiming only two sins are committed.

    It says, "There shall not be a Sodomite of the sons of Israel." Sort of ominous, but it reminds me of how the Iranians say there are no homosexuals in Iran. Since the penalty is death.

    These aren't ancient greeks we're talking about. This is an ancient desert culture that loves stoning sexual deviants, especially homosexuals and pedophiles.

  7. I just read it a couple times and cannot fully understand everything,
    Yes, the Talmud is a densely written work. All of it is written like this.

    but the first sentence seems to indicate there is a dispute about whether pederasty is two sins or just one sin, but it seems like you will be put to death for both sins.
    It states later "both R. Abbahu and Abaye maintain that on R. Ishmael's view he is trebly guilty, and on R. Akiba's view he is doubly guilty.22"
    So apparently there are 3 sins in question there, with some rabbis claiming only two sins are committed.
    Yes, but the exceptions are found in boys under 9, or under 3. In such cases, that is not REALLY sodomy, because Leviticus only forbids relations between MEN, not men and boys. This is not my rationalization, but theirs. The foot notes amplify the discussion, always be sure to check them out as well.

    It says, "There shall not be a Sodomite of the sons of Israel." Sort of ominous, but it reminds me of how the Iranians say there are no homosexuals in Iran. Since the penalty is death.
    These aren't ancient greeks we're talking about. This is an ancient desert culture that loves stoning sexual deviants, especially homosexuals and pedophiles.
    Absolutely, but you must remember that we are talking about the Talmud, a work that was composed after 200 C.E. and it was mostly composed in Babylon because that is where most Jews ended up after the Jewish-Roman Wars.

    I doubt very much that the Pharisees were raping children in the time of Jesus, my main concern there is the attitude towards Christ, Christians, and Gentiles in general.

    However, the sexual perversions developed and were rationalized in Babylon after the Second Century C.E., where the practices were already common.

    And in the modern day, I doubt very much that the sexual assault of children is any more or less prevalent than any other faith group which puts men in positions of power over children.

  8. So the contention is, the Talmud, & hence Rabbinic/Orthodox Judaism, was heavily influenced by Babylonian customs of sexual exploitation of minors?

  9. Jay Sears said...

    So the contention is, the Talmud, & hence Rabbinic/Orthodox Judaism, was heavily influenced by Babylonian customs of sexual exploitation of minors?
    Thanks for reading.
    That is only one issue and it is one that I acknowledge, both in the piece and in my responses to Edward above, to be neither in practice today nor in practice in the time of Jesus. Yes, those practices were adopted from the Babylonians while the Talmud was being written between the 200s-600s C.E.

    But like i said that is only a peripheral issue when compared to the anti-Christ, anti-Christian, and anti-Gentile material.

  10. I have written a reply to your article (having been directed to it from your comment on the Mi Yodeya Stack Exchange), but my reply was too long to post as a comment! Apologies for that :) If it is not considered impolite to direct you elsewhere in order to read my response, it can be found on a hidden page of my blog:

    My reply is fairly negative, although I did endeavour to keep it respectful. I appreciate your having taken the time to critique this literature as you did, although I probably could not disagree with your conclusions more. Should you feel like responding, please feel free to do so either here or on my blog as you see fit.

    Thanks for sharing your work, which must have taken some time to produce.