Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thoughts From A Jewish Woman

From time to time I converse with a Godly woman who is living out her Jewish faith.  I usually reach out to her when I need some insight on things pertaining to Biblical Hebrew traditions, history or questions about the Torah and Talmud.  She also knows about Jesus and the New Testament, and is well versed in the Christian doctrine.  And she isn't afraid to speak about the differences either.

My friend "Chana" said her name comes from the Hebrew word for grace ... something we all need more of.   I guess I should ask her some day why she became interested in the New Testament writings or if she studied about Jesus because He was a Jew.

Oh well, moving on ... I have been re-reading all of her comments to my questions from the past 7 or so years, and have decided to share some of her thoughts and scriptural reasonings with you today.  Hopefully you will be able to glean some useful information from what she has helped me with.

 I asked Chana the following question about the name "Yeshuah" in the Orthodox Jewish Bible found in ... Yeshayah 60:18 which in the K.J.V. is Isaiah 60:18.           

"I was reading Isaiah in the New King James Bible and noticed the word 'Salvation' was capitalized like it was a name, so I went to the Orthodox Jewish Bible and in place of the word salvation they had 'Yeshuah' which I assume is the same as 'Jesus' in English.  Most Christian Bible teachers claim that 'Jesus' in Hebrew is 'Yeshuah'.  Not being a student of Hebrew, I thought I would ask for your opinion.  I was unaware that the Hebrew name of Jesus was in what Christians think of as 'The Old Testament'."

Chana replied ... "It is not capitalized in bibles that are in Hebrew since there are no capitals.  Yeshua is a word that  means salvation.  It is rare for it to be used as a name for a person though.  And in the context, it is not used as a name for a person.  Translating Jesus as Yeshua is a guess.  It could also have been Yehoshua or Joshua from the Greek look of it.  Sounds more like Joshua."

So, thinking back ... I have noticed some Christians often use the name Yeshua when speaking of Jesus or even praying in His name.  Do they think it sounds more spiritual or knowledgeable by mixing in Hebrew with our English?  Do they understand it may only mean Joshua and not Jesus?  I'm just thinking out loud.  I do that a lot.
Another time I asked Chana about the keeping the Law, in contrast to grace and what Paul said speaking of the work Jesus did in Colossians 2:14 ... "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross ..."  I explained that the Law was and still is a yardstick, a mirror to show us our sin and our need for mercy rather than God's justice. But also that Jesus did say in Matthew 5:17 ... "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets.  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (the law.)"

Chana replied ... "But you have to keep the law as even Jesus said that not one jot or tittle is done away with.  Paul himself wrote that it is not done away with.  I believe what the NT is telling you is done away, is what you did before you enter baptism or a 'mikvah' (a bath in which certain Jewish ritual purifications are performed) which, because of repentance, makes you another person."  (I believe she is saying, like being born again does in Christianity.)  She continues with ...
"But after that there is still the possibility of sin in Christianity and for the Jews of those days.  Otherwise why did Paul throw that man out of their fellowship for having a relationship with his wife's mother?  Why not just let it go?  He was sinning.  Sin means there is law.  The 10 commandments would not be gone with the coming of messiah, only the ceremonial law would go like washing, etc."  (Which I also believe because the ten commandments are God's moral laws which will never change.  Paul covers this in Romans 7 & 8.)

Chana also shared with me about the name of God.  I had noticed many of her friends who commented on her blog posts used the word ... "Hashem" ... as they spoke of God.  We Christians, because of the freedom the grace of God allows, speak the name of Jesus and/or use the term "God" often every day.  Not so in Judaism.

Here's some of what Chana shared with me ...

"The name of God was not used all the time by everyone at all.  A reading of Torah makes this clear.  It is one of those things the bible does not validate and yet so many believe to be true.  The name shared with some was not the name whose initials appear in the form of ... yud hey vav hey ... (YHWH or Yahweh).  No vowel points are given for it so it is impossible to know how the vowels sound at all.

God introduced himself with other names to his friends but not by that particular name at all.  The name of God was never pronounced by anyone except the 'kohen gadol' (high priest) on the day of atonement.

Hashem is 'ha' meaning 'the' ... and 'shem' meaning 'name.'   'The name.'  This is to prevent someone from desecrating the name of God."

So ... just what is the official name of the Hebrew God?  It's the four letters in Hebrew that Chana spoke about ... "YHWH" ... or as we call Him, "Yahweh."  The English pronunciation ... "Yahweh" ... is not considered a legitimate name of God by most Jewish scholars.

There is much more from this wonderful Jewish woman who just happened to befriend this Christian believer.  Things like understanding that the Talmud is really a Law Library.  Chana is well versed in the New Testament and explains things from a Jewish perspective.  Listen as she speaks about this well known story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, who was illegally brought to Jesus in John 8:1-11 ...

"The Talmud defines the law and breaks it down.  For instance, why was the woman in the NT not stoned for adultery?  Well, where are the 2 or 3 eye witnesses to this adultery?  Where is the man?  Was she warned of it once before already?  It was almost impossible to put someone to death in ancient Israel because of the need for eye witnesses who could not know one another!  There was no trial for her.  Her husband had to bring the charges, not strangers and this was a lynch mob really."

Chana says ... "The Pharisees knew all this.  Jesus was following ... 'pikuach nefesh' ... saving a human life which always precedes the law because without mercy there is no justice and the law becomes a sledge hammer.  But with mercy the law is upheld and justice is served."

Chana also said to me once that ... "eating without giving thanks to the Lord is stealing the food He provides."  So she gives thanks before a meal and afterward as well.  Godly wisdom.  I like that.

That's my friend Chana.  You gotta love her and her God ... the one who sent Jesus so we could see who God really was.  A God of love and mercy.  Of course, she sees all that within the Law.  Paul did say ... "the Law is good."  But I still like Jesus being the mediator between God and man.  A man like me ... a broken but redeemed sinner.  

Anyway ... I just wanted to share a little bit of my friend with you today. 

Hope you didn't mind.