Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The “Old” Testament

There’s nothing “old” about The Testament. Calling it "old", implying it's outdated, rejects its divinity; Calling it "old" denigrates its author, creator of the universe.

A more fitting name would be “The Living Testament”. Even more fitting is the translation of its Hebrew name, Torah -– “The Manual [of Life]”.

Torah serves as the framework from which mankind must draw its behavioral guidelines – forever. The book is absolutely perfect. It never underwent revision and never will. The work of an infinite G-d needs no revision. The words in Torah today are the same words G-d dictated to Moses over the course of 40 years in the desert South of Israel, between the years 2448 - 2488 [since creation].

Jewish people today, e.g., Yemenite Jews, who until recently had been separated by millennia and by continents from their brethren in Europe, possess the exact same Torah, down to the last letter.

The entire Jewish literature over millennia in the whole world: all books on code of law, all the writings of the sages, former and latter, all customs and all oral tradition in everyday life, every synagogue prayer book, every book in schools of Torah learning - this huge mountain of Hebrew/Judaic literature (and Jews are prolific writers) stands on one essential premise - that every Hebrew word in Torah, every letter, every punctuation, cantillation and mathematical attribute, the shape of every letter, even the "serifs" of each letter - all of this - depends on this unalterable, singular absolute truth - that Torah and its oral tradition are perfect. Like a vast, upside-down pyramid standing on its tip, the foundational tip that holds it all up, is the single premise - that Torah is perfect, infallible and eternal.

And just to forewarn anyone who gets the bright idea to modify any of it, G-d warns us in His Torah, not to add to it nor subtract from it.

To imply it has built-in obsolescence simply belittles the greatness of The Creator!

More than audacity hides behind the drive to outdate Torah. It maneuvers to undermine the unity, perfection and goodness of G-d, as well as the Jewish religion and its people.

Torah naysayers have no shame to defy G-d, defy His eternity, His perfection and oneness; They defy His people, defy His plan for Israel as the ultimate Jewish homeland, defy the status of Jerusalem, defy the eventual rebuilding of the Temple and defy the Jewish Messiah. Their own agenda supersedes G-d’s agenda.

Just as a producer of complicated machinery offers a user’s manual on how best to use his product, so too G-d gave guidelines to mankind -– all of mankind –- how best to have a good world and a good life. That manual is the Torah. It speaks for Jews and Gentiles alike.

Noah and his family, the progenitors of humanity, after “The Great Flood” in 1657, received 7 laws to live by –- the “Seven Noahide Laws”. On the other hand, Jews received 613 laws from the Torah.

Jews are special in G-d’s eyes because of a mission He gave them. They are meant to be His nation of Priests. They have the obligation to enlighten a world caught up in spiritual darkness. Jews are G-d’s lamplighters, teachers of Torah, an eternal people/nation vested with the responsibility to convey the 7 Noahide laws to the other peoples of the world. To be sure, it was not a glorious task during anti-semitic times. But today, when persecution of Jews has much abated, it again becomes a task to undertake.

Yes, Torah is old; In fact, it’s now 3,323 years old; But it’s as relevant for everyone today as the day it was first given. It is a blueprint for contemporary living.

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