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The Talmud: What it is and what it isn't!

Sherman123

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I thought I would shake things up by sharing a topic related to Judaism since it's come up a few times in topics here and elsewhere and I think it might be beneficial to try and give a basic introduction that might clear up some misunderstandings. I'll try and do so succinctly in order to avoid muddying things.

1. What is the Talmud?

The Talmud is mostly, simply put, the compendium of Jewish Law otherwise known as Halackha (spelled several different ways) as derived from the Oral Laws handed down from Moses after Mount Sinai. However it also includes accounts, stories, and explanations not explicitly mentioned in the Torah and in this sense it can be compared to the Midrash. Both the Talmud and the written Torah are all 'Torah' in Judaism.

2. Why do Jews need the Talmud, or more specifically the Oral Law?

The Oral Law explains elements of the Torah which require further instruction this is because there are innumerable commands and injunctions which cannot be performed according to divine dictate without explanation. For example the Torah has specific instructions related to Divorce but does not explicitly explain how one is to go about obtaining that divorce and what procedures should be followed.

3. Where does it come from?

Jews hold that the Oral Torah was directly transmitted from God to Moses at Mount Sinai and that Moses instructed the Jewish people and its priests in its ways. However as Jewish political authority and centrality began to crumble after repeated onslaught, rebellion, and exile there was a fear that this oral tradition and haphazard recording would not be sufficient and therefore beginning around 250 B.C. there was a movement towards collating and organizing this knowledge. It wasn't until the final destruction of Jewish political power in 70 C.E. that this took on urgency and began to be solidified.

4. What is in it?

As previously mentioned it the Talmud includes a vast discussion of Halackha (Jewish Law) as well as an enormous quantity of what might be called supplementary information about the various books of the Hebrew Bible.

5. How do you study/read it?

The Talmud isn't meant to be 'read' as a book. It consists of 63 distinct portions and is usually organized in 30 thick volumes. Instead one chooses to study a particular tractate or set of tractates. These are usually in the form of a discussion between ancient Rabbis and Sages, often with great disagreement, with one, two, or possibly three possible answers put forward. A consensus has often developed over which Rabbi was 'right' but not always and there is some latitude in interpretation on some issues. The purpose of including these opinions was not to come to a firm practical position but to allow the different vantage points to be clearly elucidated to the reader. Other portions consist not of discussions but of stories transmitted either from Mount Sinai or from the great schools of the sages to provide greater explanation of some principle or point.

6. Is it still important?

Yes! This is best illustrated by one of the most famous accounts recorded in the Talmud:

When Moses went above to receive the Torah, he found the Holy One, blessed be He, sitting and attaching crowns to the letters. (Of course, G‑d doesn’t sit, neither does He need to use cut and paste when composing the Torah. Once you get used to the style of the Talmud, you learn to take these things figuratively. But without them, the story is very dry.)

Apparently, Moses didn’t see any need for these crowns. He asked, “Master of the Universe! Who forces You to go to such extremes?” G‑d answered, “There is a man who will live many generations after you and his name is Akiva, son of Yosef. He will examine every single spike of every letter and draw from them piles upon piles of halachot.” So Moses asked, “Master of the Universe! Show him to me!” G‑d replied, “Step backwards.”

And Moses stepped back until he found himself standing in the 18th row of Rabbi Akiva’s class. You see, the students were arranged in this class by order of their understanding. It seems the only thing left after the eighteenth row was out in the hallway. So Moses stood there and listened—and was unable to follow a thing that was said. He became weak with despair. Until finally, the story tells, a ruling came up for which Rabbi Akiva could provide no source. A student asked of Rabbi Akiva, “Where do you learn this from?”

Rabbi Akiva responded, “This is an oral tradition passed down from Moses.” By those words, Moses was set at ease.---

The essential core of Judaism is the study of the Torah and therefore the Talmud.

7. What is it not?

It is not, according to Orthodox Jews, a 'new' Torah or anything of the sort. This is the single greatest misunderstanding in my experience. There is a firm belief and tradition that traces the Talmud back to Moses at Mount Sinai.
 
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Sherman123

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Further reading for those interested! Talmud - My Jewish Learning I hope this has been interesting and I'm happy to try and answer any questions that I can though I should preface it by saying that I'm by no means a Talmudic scholar though I've studied it.
 

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Further reading for those interested! Talmud - My Jewish Learning I hope this has been interesting and I'm happy to try and answer any questions that I can though I should preface it by saying that I'm by no means a Talmudic scholar though I've studied it.

Is it fair to say that the Talmud is for some Jews the equivalent to Sharia law for some Muslims?
 

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Does the Talmud teach that the individual known as Jesus Christ, to His believers and followers, was, in fact, a bastard child conceived during menstruation?
 

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Is it fair to say that the Talmud is for some Jews the equivalent to Sharia law for some Muslims?

It would be fair to make that comparison, yes.

Edit: But it is important to emphasize that the Talmud isn't just law. But Halackha can be compared to Sharia.
 
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Sherman123

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Does the Talmud teach that the individual known as Jesus Christ, to His believers and followers, was, in fact, a bastard child conceived during menstruation?

I've never heard that but there are few passages that are probably references to Jesus, but most of them are veiled if they refer to him at all.
 
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Captain America

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I've never heard that but there are few passages that are probably references to Jesus, but most of them are veiled if they refer to him at all.

Can you validate whether or not the following is from the Talmud? If so, what is your interpretation?

The Talmud teaches that Jesus Christ was illegitimate and was conceived during menstruation; that he had the soul of Esau; that he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers.
1. ILLEGITIMATE AND CONCEIVED DURING MENSTRUATION

The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah, 1b:

"Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy's mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: 'My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.' She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: 'Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours'? To which she replied: 'The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.' Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: 'Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders'! And they exclaimed: 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph' "!

That the Jews understand this story to refer to Jesus and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in their book Toldath Jeschu—'The Generations of Jesus'—<snip>

(4) cf. Synag. Jud. Chap. VIII, p. 133.
 

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Can you validate whether or not the following is from the Talmud? If so, what is your interpretation?

The Talmud teaches that Jesus Christ was illegitimate and was conceived during menstruation; that he had the soul of Esau; that he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers.
1. ILLEGITIMATE AND CONCEIVED DURING MENSTRUATION

The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah, 1b:

"Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy's mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: 'My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.' She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: 'Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours'? To which she replied: 'The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.' Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: 'Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders'! And they exclaimed: 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph' "!

That the Jews understand this story to refer to Jesus and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in their book Toldath Jeschu—'The Generations of Jesus'—<snip>

(4) cf. Synag. Jud. Chap. VIII, p. 133.

Tractate Kallah (Kallah Rabati) is a minor Tractate concerning Marriage and Laws of Family purity, the aforementioned passage does not exist. Furthermore the reference to Toldath Jeschu is ridiculous as it is widely acknowledged as a joke and/or hoax which never has been a part of Jewish cannon and can be traced to roughly the 12th Century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledot_Yeshu

Edit: Does not exist to my knowledge but I don't have a volume handy. But I've never ever heard of it and a quick google search only yields antisemitic sources.
 
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washunut

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It would be fair to make that comparison, yes.

Edit: But it is important to emphasize that the Talmud isn't just law. But Halackha can be compared to Sharia.

Understood and no offense meant by the statement. Just want people to have another way to view the Talmud.

Perhaps another way to look at this would be for the Talmud as in America we look at findings from the Supreme Court as to whether something is constitutional.
 

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Understood and no offense meant by the statement. Just want people to have another way to view the Talmud.

Perhaps another way to look at this would be for the Talmud as in America we look at findings from the Supreme Court as to whether something is constitutional.

That's one decent analogy, though that is closer to what responsa are. Responsa are opinions issued by Rabbis and Rabbinical courts on various issues and in a sense they constitute Jewish case law over several thousand years. Rulings from the great sages of the Mishna or more obviously clear commands from the Prophets & Judges are like immutable Supreme Court precedent. The Talmud is like a Constitution, Case Law, and Supplementary Sources all rolled into one.
 

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Is it fair to say that the Talmud is for some Jews the equivalent to Sharia law for some Muslims?

Well, no, not at all. It various writings will record argument and interpretations of various Rabbi's , and it be a discussion of those rabbi's on how to interpret the Torah in what is the modern context of the time frame. You could say that it is a 2nd century equivalent to a political forum, because it will record opposite and dissenting views. It doesn't give one answer, but it gives the opinions of several Rabbi's.
 

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Does the Talmud teach that the individual known as Jesus Christ, to His believers and followers, was, in fact, a bastard child conceived during menstruation?

No, it does not. First of all. you have to realize that Jesus was a very common name in that time frame. Just because the name Jesus is mentioned does not mean that it is referring to a person that Christian's call Jesus Christ. There are some passages someone whose father was Pandera, who might actually be the son of Strada instead, and there are some later additions of the talmud where in other sections that insert the name Jesus into another section of Pandera, but the parallel versions and older versions do not have that in. The proper terminology for the person known as 'Jesus of Nazareth' woudl be Jesus son of Joseph, not Jesus son of Pandera. The use of the name Jesus as 'son of Pandera' appears to be a later addition too.
 

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Can you validate whether or not the following is from the Talmud? If so, what is your interpretation?

The Talmud teaches that Jesus Christ was illegitimate and was conceived during menstruation; that he had the soul of Esau; that he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers.
1. ILLEGITIMATE AND CONCEIVED DURING MENSTRUATION

The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah, 1b:

"Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate, a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation, ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues. He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the boy's mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables and said to her: 'My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.' She demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then he said: 'Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours'? To which she replied: 'The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this intercourse my son was born to me.' Thus it was proved that this young man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: 'Great indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders'! And they exclaimed: 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah the son of Joseph' "!

That the Jews understand this story to refer to Jesus and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in their book Toldath Jeschu—'The Generations of Jesus'—<snip>

(4) cf. Synag. Jud. Chap. VIII, p. 133.

You have to realize that there are a lot of lie about what is in the Talmud, and what it actually said. That passage does not actually exist in the Talmud. It's a fake quote made up by anti-Semites.

Falsifiers of the Talmud

Kallah, 1b, 18b. The quotation does not exist in this volume. This is a complete fabrication, and even the reference numbers are fabricated.
 

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I studied a lot Talmud in high school, I really liked that but it was very difficult due to the reason it has words in Hebrew and Aramaic. I liked that lesson because we used to debate a lot on different, sometimes very weird, topics.
 

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You have to realize that there are a lot of lie about what is in the Talmud, and what it actually said. That passage does not actually exist in the Talmud. It's a fake quote made up by anti-Semites.

Falsifiers of the Talmud

I do realize that. That is why I am asking. I find it to be interesting.
 

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No, it does not. First of all. you have to realize that Jesus was a very common name in that time frame. Just because the name Jesus is mentioned does not mean that it is referring to a person that Christian's call Jesus Christ. There are some passages someone whose father was Pandera, who might actually be the son of Strada instead, and there are some later additions of the talmud where in other sections that insert the name Jesus into another section of Pandera, but the parallel versions and older versions do not have that in. The proper terminology for the person known as 'Jesus of Nazareth' woudl be Jesus son of Joseph, not Jesus son of Pandera. The use of the name Jesus as 'son of Pandera' appears to be a later addition too.

Interesting. I do remember reading something, years ago, claiming that Jesus of Nazareth's name was Y'shua ben Panthera. The illegitimate offspring of a Roman soldier. I took it with a grain of salt but the book was interesting just the same.
 

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Interesting. I do remember reading something, years ago, claiming that Jesus of Nazareth's name was Y'shua ben Panthera. The illegitimate offspring of a Roman soldier. I took it with a grain of salt but the book was interesting just the same.
You have to remember the modern translation from the Aramaic to English of Y'shua would be Joshua. Because there was a King Joshua, Y'shua would be sort of like calling someone "Fred" or "Jim" . Joseph was also a very common name, so it wouldn't be surprising to find a number of "Y'shua ben Joseph's" running around.. as well as tons of Miriam (that would be the equivalent of Mary today). That is one reason that whole"We found the tomb of Mary, Jospeh and Jesus" doesn't really show anything, because that names were that common.

If you find a web site making a claim about the Talmud said about Jesus, or Mary, treat it with great skepticism. Then, read it in context, and remember that if you read just a few sentences before or after, you are likely to be finding an account of a Rabbi that disagrees with that evaluation. The Talmud often will be giving several opinions on the same subject. You can really see the kernel of truth of the joke about 'ask two Jews, and you get three opinions'

You also
 

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Talmud is man made unlike god inspired Torah.every argument is invalid,talmud is not different from so called hadiths in islam
 

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Talmud is man made unlike god inspired Torah.every argument is invalid,talmud is not different from so called hadiths in islam

That is totally and utterly misrepresenting what the Talmud is. Yes, it is man made, but then again, it doesn't claim to be anything but man made. It is valid, in so much that it is looking at the Torah, and trying to fit the laws of the Torah into what was then modern society. It's not up to other religions to say what is valid or not valid in Judaism, it's up to the practitioners of the Jewish faith.
 

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That is totally and utterly misrepresenting what the Talmud is. Yes, it is man made, but then again, it doesn't claim to be anything but man made. It is valid, in so much that it is looking at the Torah, and trying to fit the laws of the Torah into what was then modern society. It's not up to other religions to say what is valid or not valid in Judaism, it's up to the practitioners of the Jewish faith.

I understand but talmud is a racist book..I am just doing jewish people a favor by claiming talmud is man made! :doh

'Hitting a Jew is the same as hitting God'...do you agree ?

'O.K. to Cheat Non-Jews' agree ?
 
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I understand but talmud is a racist book..I am just doing jewish people a favor by claiming talmud is man made!

When people make the claim that the talmud is a 'racist book', it is quite often that they 1) don't know what is in the Talmud and 2) are looking at a site that is taking out of context quotes or there is a lot of quotes that are totally and utterly fabricated. Look at it this way. You know how there are certain people that tell how horrible that the Koran is, and how that it is bloody and hateful?? You know how you respond to those claims?? It's the same when you are claiming the Talmud is racist.

You are not doing the Jews any favors at all. You are, however, showing ignorance and prejudice. Don't do the same behavior that you get aggravated on when others do it to the Koran when it comes to the Talmud. It does you no favors at all.
 

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When people make the claim that the talmud is a 'racist book', it is quite often that they 1) don't know what is in the Talmud and 2) are looking at a site that is taking out of context quotes or there is a lot of quotes that are totally and utterly fabricated. Look at it this way. You know how there are certain people that tell how horrible that the Koran is, and how that it is bloody and hateful?? You know how you respond to those claims?? It's the same when you are claiming the Talmud is racist.

You are not doing the Jews any favors at all. You are, however, showing ignorance and prejudice. Don't do the same behavior that you get aggravated on when others do it to the Koran when it comes to the Talmud. It does you no favors at all.

Qoran is not man made ,but talmud is man made like hadiths in islam.Qoran and talmud can not be compared

I read the holy books before internet was invented.now tell me is it ok to cheat non jews ? or killing them ?


'
Jews May Steal from Non-Jews

Menahoth 43b-44a. A Jewish man is obligated to say the following prayer every day: "Thank you God for not making me a gentile, a woman or a slave."

these words can be approved ?isnt it racist?
 

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Qoran is not man made ,but talmud is man made lilek hadiths in islam.Qoran and talmud can not be compared

I read the holy books before internet was invented.now tell me is it ok to cheat non jews ? or killing them ?

Did you?? Did you really read something form a Jewish source?? No, you did not. There have been lies about the Talmud long before there was an internet... for 100's of years. IF you can't respect others people religion, don't expect them to respect yours.
 
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