One Law for All:
Freedom Now, Freedom for Ever

by Manfred Davidmann

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Vol. 4:

Controversies Increased
Divine Right
For Torah and People
Two Sides, Two Laws
Two Sides
The Written Word and Oral Traditions from Moses
Then and Now
The Majority Decides
Teach the People
One Law for All
Tell the People
Notes <..> and References {..}
1 Beth Hillel's Claims to Rule by Divine Right
2 Six Pairs of Opposites
3 Moses and Hillel, Johanan b. Zakkai and Akiva
4 Johanan b. Zakkai's Disciples
5 The Disciples

Relevant Current and Associated Works

Relevant Subject Index Pages and Site Overview


This report is one of a series of four which together cover the social laws and social system of the Pentateuch (Torah) and the fundamental scientific 'Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship' which it describes.

The essential but little-known core social laws and social system of the Pentateuch underlie all freedom and liberty.
See Struggle for Freedom: The Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship
Much is known about King Solomon's reign and about the fundamental changes which took place during the Maccabean dynasty to Jewish belief and practice, social conditions and government. Oppression increased both during Solomon's reign and under the Maccabean (Hasmonean) dynasty. Scriptures and other ancient sources look at events from the point of view of the people over whom they ruled. History shows that each time the country was lost, it was lost in accordance with the Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship.
See History Speaks: Monarchy, Exile and Maccabees
The Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship had been described in detail, stating how people's behaviour determined the course of events. The prophets knew and understood the Relationship and so were able to predict what would happen as a result of the way people behaved. They warned rulers, establishment and people in advance about the effects of their behaviour. Loss of country, expulsion and persecution occurred as predicted by the prophets, in accordance with the Relationship.
See Struggle for Freedom: The Social Cause-and-Effect Relationship
and History Speaks: Monarchy, Exile and Maccabees

The social laws of the Pentateuch (Torah) underlie equality, independence, freedom from oppression and exploitation, and a good life of high quality. But at the time of the Maccabean dynasty, the Jewish establishment argued against such laws so as to expose the people to exploitation through need. The resulting decisive internal struggle changed Judaism, determined the fate of the Jewish people and gave rise to Christianity, shaped today's world and today's problems.

What happened at about the time of Jesus to Jewish belief and practice was recorded in the contemporary early part of the Talmud which describes both the struggle and its outcome.

See At the Time of Jesus, This is What Actually Happened in Israel: The Truth about Hillel and his Times which is factual, conclusive and fully documented, including much previously undiscovered material from the Talmud.

It includes a clear and concise summary statement outlining what the Talmud is and how it came to be written, describing its relative authority and that of its components. Included also is a similar statement about the Halachah (code of Jewish rabbinical law). Torah, Talmud and Halachah are related to each other and their relative scope and authority is outlined and defined.

They argued in religious terms about social and political policies. You can see how the Talmud records the bitter feelings of ordinary people about what establishment scholars were doing to Torah (Pentateuch) and people. And when some scholars attempted to provide their own statements with an authority they did not have, the practice was scathingly condemned in the Talmud.

You can see how the Talmud refers in one detailed example to early Christians and their beliefs, and codes used by the early writers of the Talmud to ensure that later generations could not distort or misrepresent the message which was really there. And relevant stories and arguments were linked in the same way as was used contemporaneously by Christian gospel writers.

See One Law for All: Freedom Now, Freedom for Ever. This is a fully documented conclusive record of previously undiscovered material about the decisive struggle then going on within Judaism.

This struggle was about position, influence and control over communities, about changing benevolent rules of behaviour so that people could be oppressed and exploited. It changed Judaism, determined the fate of the Jewish people and gave rise to Christianity and it is this struggle which is exposed here to the light of day.


Manfred Davidmann here uncovers the innermost secrets of the Talmud, secrets which were buried and hidden there and whose existence had been forgotten for close to 2,000 years until Manfred Davidmann published his work.

This is again a fully documented record of previously undiscovered material in the Talmud, about the decisive struggle then going on within Judaism.

The central theme which emerges is again that Torah law provides and ensures equality, independence, freedom from oppression and exploitation, and a good life of high quality. The Jewish establishment argued against such laws so as to expose the people to exploitation through need.

The resulting struggle changed Judaism, determined the fate of the Jewish people and gave rise to Christianity and it is this struggle which is exposed here to the light of day.

Manfred Davidmann's work is factual and conclusive, a documented statement of what Jewish writers then recorded about what had happened at about the time of Jesus to Jewish belief and practice, an exercise in biblical archaeology.

The Talmud contains key social and historical information carefully written by those who decided to record what was happening to Jewish belief and practice in the time just preceding and during the origin and formation of Christianity. It is these records which later evolved into the Talmud.

Here Manfred Davidmann brings us into contact with the work and mind processes of those who 2,000 years ago exerted their combined mental powers to record how and why their country and freedom had been lost and how and why religious belief and practice changed fundamentally.

These are important records and they took steps to ensure that what they recorded would not be changed or obliterated, distorted or misrepresented. They did so to enable a future generation to reverse the trend of events and move towards a good life of high quality for all.

You can see here how the Talmud refers in one detailed example to early Christians and their beliefs. You can see codes used by the early writers of the Talmud to ensure that later generations could not distort or misrepresent the message which was really there. And you can see how they linked relevant stories and arguments in the same way as was used contemporaneously by Christian gospel writers.

We see a religious establishment which to an increasing extent supported the secular establishment line and weakened the application of basic Jewish law.

There are two sides, two policies. 'Power and wealth for a few at the expense of the many' on the one side, 'Freedom, independence and a good life for all' on the other.

So controversies arose about the meaning of Jewish law, about how and whether certain Torah laws should be observed.

They argued in religious terms about social and political policies. You can see here, for example, how the Talmud records

That wealth and fund-raising were more important to Beth Hillel than learning and wisdom

The bitter feelings of ordinary people about what establishment scholars were doing to Torah and people

That Beth Hillel lost the argument that the law followed them. The argument clearly and without any doubt concludes that the law follows Beth Shammai.

In the Talmud are also recorded earlier decisions which applied Torah law to everyday matters which had not been written down before to this extent. The Talmud is thus also a record of what previously was oral law.

But some scholars attempted to provide their own statements with an authority they did not otherwise have. They did so by claiming that they were stating laws given verbally to Moses about 1,500 years earlier which had been handed down verbally over this period without having been written down.

You can see here how this practice was scathingly condemned in the Talmud.

Also recorded at the time were statements about what a future generation would have to do to reverse the pattern of events so as to establish a good life of high quality for all.

One of these, that about R Johanan b. Zakkai and his disciples, is here shown to state that the Torah is to be taught to all who are unaware of its social laws and social system. The observance of these is to be re- established.

There is a striking similarity between events then and today.

Success and strength of a community depend on observing the social laws and social system. So Manfred Davidmann states that observance of the social laws and social system of the Torah needs to be re-established under present conditions (see Policies for a Better Future).


We have already come a long way together.

We saw <2> that a process of hellenisation was attacking the people's beliefs and strength from within, being fostered from above and outside.

The Jewish leadership was affected and corrupted. They knew that Jewish law protected the people and gave strength to resist oppression. So the leadership attempted to weaken and bypass the basic social laws of the Torah.

We saw <3> that much information was left for us in the Talmud and we now have a better understanding of its meaning. We now have a much better understanding of what happened to Judaism and the Jewish people before the destruction of the second Temple about 2000 years ago at about the time of Jesus.

The Jews believed in and practised freedom and independence for all. The Greeks organised their society on slavery. The mishnah told us about the impact of this foreign ideology and way of life on Judaism and how after some considerable time some fundamental social laws were turned upside down. It was done from within and the greater understanding which we obtained made us look more closely at what we know about Hillel. We now know much more about Hillel and about whom he and his side serve.

Behind a mask of religious orthodoxy they serve that part of the Jewish establishment which wishes to oppress the people, they serve that foreign ideology which stands for oppression and exploitation. They are against Jewish laws which safeguard independence, freedom and justice.

The gemara tells us that Hillel and his side did not serve God, Torah and the people but that from under a mask of religious orthodoxy they served the establishment and legislated in its favour. The gemara ranks Hillel and his side among the most vicious enemies of Judaism and of the Jewish people. They obscured and at times bypassed some basic laws and the intent of the law by using illogical reasoning.

It is small wonder that controversies started and it was from this time onwards that disputes multiplied.

We are now expecting to see the two sides arguing with each other, and discrediting the other side, would expect to see this done in a way which is clear and to the point but without being obvious.

Remember that we are here discovering and seeing a bitter struggle for power, for control of people and resources, between the oppressors on the one hand and those who wish to free themselves and be free, and that this struggle takes place first at the level of men's minds for men's minds so as to gain influence, and that it then expresses itself in the reality of living, in the kind of life people lead and the kind of freedom which they have, in the quality of their lives.


So now we will look in somewhat greater detail at how the controversies increased and at the point of view of the followers of Hillel, that is of the establishment, which was against the law of Moses.

We will see how the conflicting points of view, both for and against the law of Moses, are reflected in the Talmud by looking at some of their arguments.

Credit for Work Done

The gemara {1} tells us that when the Nasi (prince) belittled two scholars who had responsible positions in the academy, they tried to get their own back. So he expelled them from the academy.

However, they showed how knowledgeable they were by writing down answers to problems he could not solve and threw the answers in.

So he readmitted them but imposed upon them the penalty that no traditional statement was to be reported in their name. One of them was to be designated as 'others', the other as 'some say'.

This is a nasty piece of work as the prince, the establishment, is robbing the knowledgeable opposition of credit for their knowledge, is in fact preventing their names from getting known and their knowledge and learning from being acknowledged.

This is a political weapon as the establishment is robbing the opposition of their reputation and influence.

But this is not all. The gemara also relates {2} the names of the 'anonymous' rulings in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Sifra and Sifre <1> and mentions that all of them are taught according to the views of R. Akiva.

This seems to complete the process we have just seen applied. The term 'anonymous' indicates that the author is not known but here the anonymous rulings are now credited to the establishment side.

It is not just that the establishment is attempting to prevent the opposition from making itself heard and gaining influence. It is the establishment which aims to profit from the good work done by the opposition.

Hillel's Disciples

We are told {3} that Hillel

had eighty disciples. Thirty of them deserved that the Divine Presence should rest upon them as it did on Moses our teacher. Thirty of them deserved that the sun should stand still for them as it did for Joshua the son of Nun. Twenty were of an average character.

The greatest of them was Jonathan b. Uzziel, the smallest of them was Johanan b. Zakkai.

Then follows a list of the subjects studied by Johanan b. Zakkai which includes many subjects such as the study of the Torah, astronomy and geometry as well as a number of highly esoteric subjects including the language of demons and the whisper of palms.

He studies in order to fulfil {4} the scriptural text 'that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance and that I may fill their treasuries'.

The point is then made that
If the least among them was so great, how great must have been the greatest among them!

Such praise warms the cockles of one's heart. Such greatness, such learning, such wisdom. Dewy eyed we see and read about such vast learning, about such vast knowledge, skill and ability in the least of all his disciples. If the least of them was so great, then what a great man Hillel must have been and his other disciples. Dewy eyed we have read about one who is great among the great, a leader of his people, a shining example for the future.

The eye blinks and blinks and we take another look. Right at the back of our minds there is a persistent nagging sound, the soft ringing of an alarm bell. Things are not what they seem. Is this praise objective? Is this praise intended to be taken seriously? It is too lavish to be either sincere or intended.

Thirty of Hillel's disciples are said to have been as worthy as Moses. But the Torah {5} states clearly
'And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face; in all the signs and wonders, ... before the eyes of all Israel.'

If thirty of his disciples were like Moses and another thirty like Joshua, then how come their names are not household words? If they ever existed, what were their names? What did they do or write? How come we do not know them?

The whole of the Talmud from the first page to the last page contains none of the teachings of Jonathan b. Uzziel and yet he is said to be so much greater than Johanan b. Zakkai who is much better known.

This story from the gemara undoubtedly makes a point and it is very clearly stated, but it is far removed from praising the disciples of Hillel for their knowledge and practice of the Torah.

The key lies once again in the quotation from the scriptures. Johanan b. Zakkai was very learned and he studied much so as to enrich his followers. But the great Johanan b. Zakkai is here regarded as the least successful of the followers of Hillel.

And now we see why Jonathan b. Uzziel whose teachings have not found a place in the Talmud is here said to have been so very great. A few lines earlier on {6} we find Jonathan b. Uzziel in effect taking away two-thirds of the estate of someone on Shammai's side. It seems that of the total amount he kept one-third, gave one-third to the 'Temple' and returned one-third to the other side.

Both are said to be followers of Hillel and the whole story contrasts two different ways of enriching the followers of Hillel. The 'greatest' is he who enriches them. Study of the Torah and learning are not the way to gain riches for one's side and that is why they regard the learned R. Johanan b. Zakkai as the least successful among them.

Scholars' View of People

The gemara also tells us {7} about how the scholars felt about the people. It is the scholars who recorded that ancient tradition handed down as a matter of law that

a man should 'always sell all he has and marry the daughter of a scholar', so that 'his children will be scholars'

but he should not marry the daughter of an ordinary person (country folk) as his children would be ordinary people.

To marry the daughter of an ordinary person is a repulsive and unacceptable thing.

Let him not marry the daughter of an ordinary person because they are detestable and their wives are vermin and (so that he will not be cursed for) of their daughters it is said {8}, 'cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast'.

It is also taught that scholars do not reveal a secret to ordinary people, do not appoint them as guardians for orphans, do not appoint them as stewards over charity funds, and must not join their company on the road.

It is a baraita that Rabbi said that an ordinary person may not eat meat, for ... whoever engages in (the study of) the Torah may eat meat but he who does not engage in (the study of) the Torah may not eat meat.

The gemara continues by quoting R. Eleazar who said that 'an ordinary person, it is permitted to stab him on the Day of Atonement which falls on the Sabbath'.

In case we think he did not mean it the gemara records that his disciples asked him whether the ordinary person should be slaughtered to which he replies that slaughter requires a benediction while (stabbing an ordinary person) does not require a benediction.

The scholars also recorded that 'greater is the hatred with which ordinary persons hate the scholar than the hatred with which the heathens hate Israel'.

They are making the point that the religious learned hierarchy should intermarry among itself, keep itself to itself. In this way would be created an inter-bred and inter-married establishment (class) which will look after its own interests and support itself at the expense of the common people who would be uneducated and powerless to resist.

It is clear that the scholars themselves do not love the people and we are here told far more about the scholars' attitude towards the people than about the attitude of the people towards the priestly hierarchy.

All this is very far removed from the kind of social system described and laid down in the Torah. It is very clear that what we see here is not a united people guided and led by a learned leadership applying the law of the Torah but a priestly hierarchy serving the establishment and a hard-pushed and oppressed people reacting to this.


I find that whenever I understand a little more of the meaning of the Talmud, I admire what is there. Bearing in mind the times of persecution in which it was written I admire the courage of those who struggled to ensure that the law should never be forgotten regardless of what the reformists who controlled religious life were doing to it.

We find the arguments between the two sides recorded in the Talmud, we find one of the two sides using all means at their disposal for shaping and twisting the image of the law to favour the establishment point of view but we also find that their attempts at arguing their point of view are countered and turned against them.

Knowing the importance of this written work for the future of the Jewish people, they did what they could to make it proclaim their own particular side's message. However, we are dealing with much more than remote abstract arguments. At stake is the way of life of a whole people. On one side is God, Torah, people, freedom and independence, on the other side is rulers, establishment, oppression, exploitation, and slavery. The Talmud has remained unaltered since those days and the picture has been preserved for us.

Reputation is No Proof

Here is one example.

When some scholars who wished to have their own particular arguments adopted quoted them in the name of some learned and highly respected authority who had lived long before and whose views were likely to carry great weight, then this was countered by the simple statement {9} that the authority of the person quoted did not constitute proof.

This is clear and to the point. Any case has to be decided on its merits and we do not accept a decision merely because of the reputation of the person saying so.

Either One or the Other

The gemara elsewhere {10} quotes a baraita (external teaching) that
'as a general principle, the halachah follows Beth Hillel. If one prefers, however, to adopt the rule of Beth Shammai, he may do so, and if he desires to adopt the rule of Beth Hillel he may do so. ... either one must follow Beth Shammai both where they are more severe and more lenient or Beth Hillel both where they are more severe and more lenient'.

In other words, the law generally follows the establishment point of view but one can either follow Beth Hillel or one can follow Beth Shammai.

One belongs either to one side or the other, either favours the establishment or favours Jewish law and the people.

Voted into Power

And then the 'Heavenly Voice' makes its appearance {11}:
Since the death of the last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachai, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel; yet they were still able to avail themselves of the Heavenly Voice. Once when the scholars were met in the upper chamber of Gurya's house at Jericho, a Heavenly Voice was heard from Heaven, saying: 'There is one amongst you who is worthy that the Divine Presence should rest on him as it did on Moses, but his generation does not merit it.' The scholars present set their eyes on Hillel the Elder. ...

Remember that the mishnah {12} clearly stated that the law of Moses had been handed down in unbroken tradition from Moses to the prophets. From them it was handed down {12} to the men of the Great Assembly and to Simeon the Just.

But in this gemara we are told about a Heavenly Voice which could be heard after the prophets had died.

On one occasion a Heavenly Voice was heard to say in one meeting place that one of the scholars there at the time was as worthy as Moses. The scholars who were there all looked at Hillel, that is voted for him.

The supporters of Hillel seem to be arguing that a supernatural voice proclaimed someone to be as worthy as Moses and that all those present voted for Hillel.

Can be Outvoted

Then we have this fascinating mishnah {13}:
And these are the halachoth which they stated in the upper chamber of Hananiah b. Hezekiah b. Garon, when they went up to visit him. They took a count, and Beth Shammai outnumbered Beth Hillel; and on that day they enacted 18 measures.

To me the meaning of the mishnah is fairly plain. It makes a great deal of sense. The followers of Hillel, of the establishment, here outnumber the followers of Shammai who stand for Torah and the people. The followers of Shammai, having equal standing, get together and by visiting as a group are here able to outnumber and outvote the followers of Hillel and are able to pass measures which favour Shammai's point of view, which support God, Torah and the people.

It is the majority which counts and one way of outwitting and overcoming the establishment and its upside-down version of the Torah is to act together and to outvote them in this way.

It is accepted that Beth Shammai are greater {14} in 'wisdom' than Beth Hillel, that Beth Shammai are more worthy because they have greater understanding of the Torah and of its intent.

We have seen that argument and decision cannot now be based on the authority of some ancient scholar and this includes Hillel himself.

Each case has to be decided on its merits, people are free to choose which side they prefer and the law is decided by majority vote.

However, the followers of Hillel (Beth Hillel) represent the establishment's point of view. They are trying to prove that they have the right to have their opinions shape the law regardless of the opposition. But the law now clearly states that they can be outvoted and they do not like this one little bit.

By Divine Right

We saw that a vote decided that Hillel was as worthy as Moses, presumably from the point of view of determining the law. But this was a matter of voting and votes can go against one. So Beth Hillel prepared a new and more forceful argument {15} to prove that their point of view was always to be accepted.

The gemara tells that for three years there was a dispute between Beth Hillel and Beth Shammai with each of them claiming that the halachah was in agreement with their views. A Heavenly Voice then announced that the views of 'both are the words of the living God, but the halachah is in agreement with the rulings of Beth Hillel'.

The gemara then says that the Heavenly Voice decided that the law was to be fixed in agreement with Beth Hillel's rulings because they were kindly and modest, studied their own rulings and those of Beth Shammai, and even mentioned the words of Beth Shammai before theirs. We are then told that this teaches that one is rewarded for being humble, for not seeking greatness, for not attempting to influence the course of events, for accepting what happens to one.

The gemara concludes by telling that Beth Hillel and Beth Shammai argued {15} for two and a half years the question of which was better: For man to have been created or for man not to have been created. Beth Shammai are said to have argued the point of view that 'it were better for man not to have been created' while Beth Hillel maintained that 'it is better for man to have been created'. The gemara states that 'they finally took a vote and decided that it were better for man not to have been created'. In other words Beth Shammai won the vote.

The gemara concludes by saying that 'but now that he has been created, let him investigate his past deeds or, as others say, let him examine his future actions'.

We saw earlier on that it was a vote by those present which indicated that a Heavenly Voice had, in their opinion, referred to Hillel as being so very worthy. We also saw that Beth Hillel could legally be outvoted. So here Beth Hillel attempt to avoid this possibility and the Heavenly Voice is much more direct: Both sides are equally worthy but the law follows Beth Hillel because it is the Heavenly Voice which says so.

Some reasons are given but on the surface these do not seem very relevant when you consider the bitter struggle between the two sides and what is at stake. Significant is that there is nothing here about following the law or justice or observance, that the reasons do not say that they acted for God, Torah and people, or that they ruled justly or impartially. We saw that in reality money was more important to them than the study of the Torah.

The message here is in what these reasons are supposed to teach: Reward comes from serving and from submitting. Do not attempt to compete with us, to change matters or to improve your lot or that of others.

They are saying that as long as people believe this the people will behave in the way they want people to behave, that people will suffer and serve, and will love it.

Then follows the argument about whether man should have been created. Beth Shammai outvote Beth Hillel. Beth Shammai have won.

The gemara concludes by saying that this is irrelevant since real life is in accordance with Beth Hillel's point of view.

So the message this gemara attempts to have accepted as a matter of agreed law is an argument by Beth Hillel:

  1. What Beth Hillel say is law because a Heavenly Voice said so.
  2. Reward comes from serving and submitting. Do not attempt to improve your lot or to change the set-up.
  3. If Beth Shammai outvote Beth Hillel then the law is still according to Beth Hillel because the Heavenly Voice said so.

This argument has now cut across the whole position of Beth Shammai. Beth Hillel and the establishment rule by 'divine right' and what can possibly be said against such logic?

The answer was clear, to the point and completely convincing:

The Torah Decides

The gemara quotes a baraita (external teaching) {16} which records that R. Eliezer put forward 'all the arguments in the world' and when the scholars did not accept them he called upon the 'supernatural' to back his point of view. Then a carob-tree was torn out of its place, a stream of water flowed backwards, the walls of the schoolhouse began to incline, all to support his point of view, but the walls were stopped from falling by R. Joshua. The scholars pointed out that 'supernatural' events could not decide a question about the law one way or the other.

Finally R. Eliezer called upon heaven to prove that the halachah (law) agreed with him and a Heavenly Voice cried out saying 'Why do you dispute with R. Eliezer, seeing that in all matters the halachah agrees with him!'. But then R. Joshua arose and called out: 'It {17} is not in heaven!'.

R. Jeremiah then explains that this means
That the Torah (the basic constitution) had already been given at Mount Sinai; we pay no attention to a Heavenly Voice because You have long since written in the Torah at Mount Sinai, 'After the majority {18} must one incline'.

The text indicates that supernatural events are not relevant to a discussion of a matter of law as they do not prove the matter one way or the other.

Having failed to impose his opinion on his colleagues by the force of supernatural events, we then see R. Eliezer claiming that he is always right because a supernatural voice says so.

Figure 1


Argument   Reference
1       Reputation of a scholar is not a proof   (Megillah 20a)
2       Law is generally according to Beth Hillel but support either one side or the other   (Rosh Hashanah 14b)
3   Claim   Heavenly Voice: "Someone is as worthy as Moses".
By vote: Hillel!
  (Sanhedrin 11a)
4   Reply   Beth Shammai can outvote Beth Hillel   (Shabath 13b)
5   Further claim   Heavenly Voice says that the law is according to Beth Hillel.
The voting strength is not important. Love to obey.
  (Erubin 13b)
6   Final reply   We do not listen to or follow heavenly voices.
Voting is important.
Must not support or follow those who are against Torah.
  (Baba Mezia 59b)

But the supernatural may be on the side of good or on the side of bad. Just like supernatural events, supernatural voices do not prove a matter of law one way or the other. R. Joshua makes the point clearly and strongly. The Torah was given at Sinai in written form, it protects the people, it cannot be superseded or overruled by supernatural voices.

This means that a Heavenly Voice cannot give overriding authority to an individual scholar's opinion (or to the opinion of a group) when compared with the law of Moses. It also effectively disproves any claim by Hillel's followers to be right because of the authority given to them by a Heavenly Voice, that is to rule by 'divine right'.

And then R. Jeremiah explains that what R. Joshua's statement means is that we pay no attention to a Heavenly Voice because God wrote in the Torah that one must follow the majority.

Superficially it seems that R. Jeremiah's explanation raises other points. A majority may be corrupted, may be for or against Torah. The authority of a majority depends on whether it is representative, whom it represents and to what extent it is aware of the facts and background of the problem being voted on.

But the Torah text he quotes adds another dimension as it lays down that one must not follow a multitude to do evil or to pervert justice.

In other words the Torah clearly states that one must not follow those who wish to do evil or pervert justice, and this includes those who wish to pass laws which negate or counter the laws of the Torah.

The whole dispute has now been finally decided (see figure 1 which summarises the whole sequence of Beth Hillel's claims and the way they were proved to be invalid and rejected) and we are told that 'God laughed in that hour'. And sure enough there is no come-back, no further argument in support of Beth Hillel's claims.


Opposition can be Proved Wrong

There is in the Talmud a very charming story which in a most beautiful and sensitive way utterly condemns those who argued for the establishment against the Torah.

Abaye {19} argued for Hillel's Prosbul, arguing for bypassing a basic Torah law so as to bypass an essential protection for the people. In the same discussion R. Nahman makes the point even more strongly. He would even go so far as to bypass the law automatically and permanently, in this way annulling it completely.

Now that you have the background, here is the story:

Four scholars once sat together {20}. They were studying. Feeling the need to appoint a head they agreed among themselves that whoever would make a statement which could not be refuted shall become head. The statements of all of them were refuted, but that of Abaye was not.

Abaye held up his head and we see Abaye as a great scholar, the only one whose argument could not be refuted, the future head of the academy.

At this point Rava, who is one of the others, calls out to him 'Nahmani, begin and say something'.

To call Abaye by the name Nahmani amounts to calling him 'You who wishes to annul the law'.

One could argue that the person who says nothing cannot be proved wrong. Abaye, however, said quite a lot at different times and is quoted a considerable number of times in the Talmud.

In other words, he is not refuted as long as he keeps silent.

His colleague Rava is clearly making the point that whenever Abaye, that whenever he who wishes to annul the law, says something that then he is wrong and can be refuted.

Establishment is to Blame

R. Jonah {21} is lecturing at the entrance to the Nasi's house and in this way very pointedly accuses the Nasi, and thus presumably the Nasi's house which is his establishment, of neglecting the poor.

He is lecturing about what is meant by the verse 'The just are concerned about the troubles of the poor' but the wicked are not {22}. He is saying that
God knows that dogs do not get much food.
It is usual to throw raw meat to a dog.
How much?
Give it a little and then immediately drive it off!
'None are poorer than a dog and none richer than a swine'.

The poor are likened to dogs and are badly fed and badly looked after. The rich are likened to swine, to the beast most disliked by observant Jews. The Prince, the establishment, stand accused of neglecting the poor.

The Torah itself accuses the religious establishment with considerable force:
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming, they demanded a god from Aaron. Aaron asked the people for their gold, and they gave it to him. With this he made them a god of gold whom they worshipped instead of the one God, doing so at their request. They exclaimed that it was this god of gold who released them from slavery.

Aaron asks Moses not to blame Aaron but to direct his anger against the people for it is they who are set on evil. Moses knew differently {23}:
'Moses saw that the people were broken loose, for Aaron had let them loose for a derision among their enemies'.
Moses knew that it was Aaron who was responsible.

The Torah indicates clearly that the establishment attempts to deny responsibility but that when people are out of control it is because the establishment let them get out of control.

Listen to Jose of Maon preaching {24} in the synagogue of Maon:
There will come a time when God will judge the priests, the people, the Nasi and his establishment. The priests did not toil in the Torah because they did not receive the priestly dues from the people. The people did not give the priestly dues because the establishment took away everything. God then judges the establishment and condemns them.

This is very clear and to the point. The Nasi and his establishment are here openly accused of taking everything the people had so that people cannot even pay the priestly dues. And 'when Rabbi heard of this, he became enraged'.

Then Rabbi attempts to defend himself by saying that the leader (Nasi) is like his generation. But Jose of Maon points out that 'according to the garden so is its gardener', that is that one judges the leadership by the condition of the people it leads.

Two Sides, Two Laws


On the one hand we have the Jewish people who are protected by Jewish law from need and from being exploited because of need. On the other we have the rulers and their establishment who wish to oppress their people so as to exploit them.

Two sides do not engage in such bitter controversy without very real cause. What is at stake is on the one hand power and wealth for a few at the expense of the many; and on the other hand freedom, independence and a good life as against oppression and exploitation.

In fact it was the enemy from outside who had infiltrated and corrupted the Jewish secular establishment which then attempted to eliminate the application of the basic laws on which the strength and freedom of the people rests.

The two religious factions we have been discussing are the two sides in this struggle for the application of basic Jewish law. We need to be very clear about what the sides stand for and what they are really aiming at, about the effect of their rulings. One judges people not by what they say but by what they do, one judges by the effect of their actions, by who benefits.

From about the time of Hillel onwards we see a religious establishment which to an increasing extent supported the secular establishment line and weakened the application of basic Jewish law. Hence disputes arose because opposing 'schools of thought' started to argue about the meaning of the law. In essential matters we saw that Beth Hillel ruled so as to favour the establishment point of view.

The Jewish establishment misguided and misinformed the people. What Hillel and Beth Hillel attempted to do was to convert Jewish law and religion into a spineless, toothless, tranquillising religion which served the establishment instead of serving God and the people.

It went hand in hand with a movement towards concentrating on matters of minute and detailed observance which replaced the application of basic teachings and in this way led people astray.

They attempted to invalidate the basic provisions of the five books of Moses, that is of the Torah, through abstract unreal logic and legal fictions aimed at superseding the Torah. In this way they created a labyrinth of enormous proportions in which disappeared the real identity of the two sides, in which were hidden the essential laws which were turned upside down, being laws which protect the people and which underlie the freedom of the people. The purity and vision, the essence and intent of the law were hidden under a smokescreen of abstract illogical reasoning unrelated to the Torah or to the needs of the people.

The Torah is entirely on the side of freedom and people, on the side of that which is good and humane. What we see is an enormous change from the beauty, clear meaning and intent of the Torah.

Having already discussed the greater authority and importance of the mishnah, we have also seen that the gemara is much more far-ranging and that it contains fact and fiction, discussion, argument and political propaganda.

In the gemara we can at times see scholars looking at a statement from a purely logical point of view, arriving at conclusions by logical deduction and reasoning regardless of whether they are either reasonable or even possible.

We see unconnected meanings assigned to biblical or scriptural passages which are quoted merely to back an argument, to 'prove' the scholar's point, to give an appearance of validity to the argument being put forward.

But they also back their arguments by what are often improbably detailed stories about meetings between people and about events which took place some 100 to 300 years before, and about what people said then, to illustrate their points and to lend authority to their opinions.

I am talking about that part of the gemara which attempts to diminish and overrule the beauty and wholesomeness of the Torah and what it stands for, that is that part of the gemara which attempts to serve the oppressor.

It was originally decided to write down the law so that it should not be forgotten because the law was becoming like two laws. The mishnah was completed first. The gemara hundreds of years later.

The Talmud was then 'frozen' ('canonised') and one has to appreciate that this not only helped the establishment to keep the law in an upside-down state but at the same time preserved the law and the recorded arguments for Torah, for the people, for God.


Rabbi Akiva b. Joseph is quoted a considerable number of times in the Talmud and was apparently tortured to death by the Romans. He seems to have been very much an exponent of interpreting the law by means of abstract rules of interpretation which disregard the meaning of the passage being interpreted. He seems to have derived much 'law' in this way which is quite unrelated to (and I would suggest often far removed from and contradicting) the original Torah.

The gemara {1} tells us that when Moses ascends (to receive the Torah) he finds God engaged in affixing coronets to the letters. Asking God, in effect, why he spends his time doing this he is told hat after many generations there will arise a man, Akiva b. Joseph by name, 'who will expound upon each tittle heaps and heaps of laws'.

Heaps and heaps of laws which are not in the Torah, a second set of laws which are unrelated to and thus at times contradicting the laws which God is just about to give Moses.

Moses says he would like to see Akiva b. Joseph and his wish is granted. So he sits down behind eight rows of disciples in Rabbi Akiva's academy. Moses, that mind which wrote the Torah some of whose social laws about behaviour and equality and freedom are only now beginning to be paralleled by social science, is ill at ease because he is unable to follow their arguments. In other words some of their arguments do not make sense.

However, when they came to a certain subject and the disciples asked the master 'Whence do you know it?' they were told by Akiva b. Joseph that 'It is a law given to Moses at Sinai (but not written down)'.

So Moses returns to God and says: You have such a man and you are going to give the law by me! To which God replies that without any possibility of argument his law will be the Torah of Moses.

This is very cutting comment on those who followed R. Akiva. It makes the point that when the arguments they put forward could not be proved, they attempted to cloak them with an authority they did not otherwise have, by saying that the laws were given verbally to Moses about 1,500 years before and had been handed down verbally over this period without having been written down.

Moses then has one further request. He now asks that having been shown Akiva's law, he would like to be shown Akiva's reward. This request is granted also and he sees 'them weighing out his (Akiva's) flesh at the market stalls'.

'Lord of the Universe', cried Moses, 'such law and such a reward!'. God tells him that beyond any argument such is his decision.

The story clearly makes the point that it is because Akiva distorted the Torah, because he replaced God's law with Akiva's, that he was punished by being tortured to death.

The whole story is a most scathing commentary on the kind of law the followers of Hillel, of the establishment, derived by abstract rules of interpretation. It removes all credibility from claims that their opinions should be regarded as laws because they were given by God to Moses some 1,500 years earlier, having been handed down by word of mouth without having been written down, over so many generations.

The Rambam, Maimonides, makes much the same point. He said that whenever there is an argument (in the Talmud) about a particular law said to be a 'halachah handed down to Moses at Sinai' then it clearly cannot have been given to Moses. In other words, only those laws handed down orally and about which there is no argument are laws given by God to Moses. This reduces the number to a very few indeed and is acceptable as a definition as it apparently rules out and eliminates most of the political propaganda, downrating it from the level of law to the level of political argument.

Earlier on we saw the gemara listing the enemies of Judaism. The statement that 'the descendants of Haman studied Torah at Bene Berak' undoubtedly refers to R. Akiva's academy. Those who studied there are included among the worst enemies <1> of the Jewish people.

However, now we have a much better understanding of the underlying reasons for listing R. Akiva with enemies of Judaism.

We know that verbal communication from person to person is very unreliable, that those who hear may use the same word but understand quite different concepts, see quite different meaning in the same word. Hence information passed on by word of mouth is distorted and gets more and more distorted as time goes on.

Verbal communication is notoriously inaccurate and nowadays we know not to follow information which is spread by word of mouth alone. We know that rumours exaggerate and distort and are likely to be highly misleading.

Verbal contracts are liable to be misunderstood and are open to misinterpretation. Written contracts are preferred.

We now know the value of the written word, the value of the written message. The written word is there, it cannot be distorted. If misunderstood or misreported then it can be referred to and explained. It is because of this, because of the greater reliability of the written word, that when the establishment's arguments appeared to spread so that the Torah looked like becoming two laws that the mishnah was compiled and written down, that the Talmud was completed and frozen. It was 'canonised', that is preserved without further change so that we can now understand what took place.

The gemara makes much the same point, convincingly. It relates {2} a number of different arguments between two of the scholars. The same two scholars hold conflicting points of view in each of the three cases which are quoted. In each case they jump up and take an oath, each swearing by the Temple that he heard his ruling from Rabbi.

It may be that a particular argument has been misunderstood by one of them but this does not really matter. No matter which way one looks at it, the gemara in this way clearly illustrates how quickly arguments can develop and wrong ideas be introduced and passed on when one relies on the verbal transmission of information.

The reputation of a scholar does not prove an argument reported in his name. We do not listen to a 'Heavenly Voice'. Similarly the claim that a particular law was transmitted verbally over about 1,500 years does not constitute a proof nor does it lend authority to that 'law'.


Important People on Each Side

Here is another example, this time taken from the Midrash Rabba. The midrash {3} lists six pairs, as follows:

1   Rebekah   Kohath
2   Levi   Amram
3   Joseph   Joshua
4   Samuel   Solomon
5   Moses   Hillel
6   R. Johanan b. Zakkai   R. Akiva

Each pair once again consists of opposites <2> and this is illustrated by figure 2. The midrash in this way makes the point that just as the first four pairs are opposites, so are the last two pairs. Moses gave the law while Hillel negated it. R. Johanan b. Zakkai taught to re-establish the law while R. Akiva taught and obscured it.

The midrash then comments on the lives of the last two pairs, that is of Moses and Hillel, R. Johanan b. Zakkai and R. Akiva.

Their lifespans are divided into three parts and the midrash lists the experience gained and work done during the three main parts of their lives. They all served Israel during the last part and prepared themselves for this task during the first two parts of their lives.

This is illustrated by figure 3. You can see how useful the midrash considers their service to have been by comparing the knowledge and experience each brought to the task of serving Israel. Hillel and R. Akiva are scathingly condemned, Moses and R. Johanan b. Zakkai are given credit for their knowledge and practical experience of life and for their deep concern for people.

Figure 2


Rebekah   Grandson Levi fought for family purity and justice   Grandson Korah rebelled against Moses and the law of Moses   Kohath
Levi   Struggled for family purity. Took chief part (with his brother Simeon) in avenging the attack on Dinah   Married his aunt which is contrary to the law of Moses   Amram
Joseph   Established the people in Egypt   Established the people in Erez Israel   Joshua
Samuel   Anointed David who unified the country   Oppressed the people so sorely that they rebelled and the country was split up   Solomon
Moses   Instrument for giving the law   Instrument for negating the law   Hillel
R. Johanan b. Zakkai   Taught to re-establish the law   Taught and obscured the law   R. Akiva

Figure 3


Moses   Lived in Pharaoh's palace.
Then lived in Median.
  Lived in Babylon.
Then served the scholars ('Sages').
R. Johanan b. Zakkai   Was engaged in commerce.
Then studied the Torah.
  Was an ignoramus.
Then studied.
  R. Akiva
Moses   Learned and experienced the ways of rulers and establishment.
Then learned and experienced the life of the people.
  Learned from Babylonians.
Learned from serving scholars.
R. Johanan b. Zakkai   Learned and experienced commercial life.
Studied the law of Moses (which safeguards and protects people).
  Learned nothing.
Just studied (studies not related to law of Moses).
  R. Akiva

Some Beliefs of the Essenes

This is how the Essenes, one of the Jewish sects of the time, saw what was taking place. Their Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls were written before the Talmud, closer to the events, written before the destruction of the country by the Romans, describing the same kind of confrontation in religious language.

These Qumran scrolls talk about the 'teacher of righteousness' who led, guided or inspired 'the children of the light'. He seems to have been called the 'Prophet of Light'. Opposing him was a 'Prophet of Darkness'. The followers of each were apparently called 'Children of Light' and 'Children of Darkness', respectively.

It seems that on the one hand we have darkness, namely those who wish to oppress and exploit, opposing those who are represented by light who struggle for freedom. The 'teacher of righteousness' apparently brought out the essential meaning of the law but was unable to reach and convince the people.

It seems that the Essenes opposed slavery as a matter of principle. Here is what Philo says about the Essenes {4}:
Not a single slave is to be found among them, but all are free, exchanging services with each other, and they denounce the owners of slaves, not merely for their injustice in violating the law of equality, but also for their impiety in annulling the statute of Nature, who motherlike has borne and reared all men alike and created them as genuine brothers, not in mere name but in reality, though this kinship has been confused by the triumph of malignant covetousness, which has wrought estrangement instead of affinity and enmity instead of friendship.

Philo says that they believed that all are equal and that as a result they freely co-operated with each other. All are equal as a matter of right but it is greed which causes some to oppress others and this causes conflict instead of co-operation.

They also recorded their ideas on how to struggle for light and against darkness.

The two sides are clearly defined. The struggle is the same. The prophet of light, like Shammai, was unable to reach and convince the people and darkness descended.

This outline summary of some of the information from the Qumran scrolls is in line with what the Talmud has told us about the two sides.

The same two sides are struggling with each other. On the one side are those who oppress so as to exploit while on the other are those who wish to be free and independent, who wish to have a high standard of living and satisfying lives.

And of course the same struggle is being fought today. The environment has changed, the sides are still the same. Freedom, good life and security depend on following the law of Moses.

Quoting out of Context and from Uncertain Sources

So now let us move into the twentieth century. The same struggle is there. Its effects can be seen all around us.

Much else has been written during the last two thousand years and arguments are often put together, argued or illustrated by odd quotations from different sources which sound good and seem to support the point of view being put forward. Closer examination reveals that quotations are being misapplied, being used in a way or for a purpose which is far removed from the meaning of the original text. Quoting out of context and quoting from uncertain sources can be highly misleading.

Here are some examples of omissions which I have come across and which illustrate how easy it is to unintentionally quote from incomplete or mistaken sources.

The mishnah tells us that {5} R. Johanan b. Zakkai received the tradition from both Hillel and Shammai, and this probably does not mean that he actually studied under them but means that he knew both their teachings. However, a chart which shows the various tannaim in relation to each other {6} lists R. Johanan b. Zakkai as one of Hillel's disciples and this is highly misleading.

I also came across another example, namely an extensive table {7} which illustrates the history of the Jewish people from the time of the patriarchs to modern times. The prophets are mentioned. Mentioned are Shemaiah and Avtalyon, Hillel and the death of Jesus. Mentioned are many cultural achievements ranging from the writing down of the Mishnah and the completion of the Talmud, up to modern times. Mentioned is the exodus from Egypt and its Pharaoh Rameses II. Completely ignored and left out are the Torah given by the hand of Moses at Sinai, and Moses.

Here are just two examples which I happen to have noticed, in the Jewish prayerbook.

Every morning during the preliminary morning service the Jew is asked to repeat thirteen abstract rules <4> for interpreting the law of Moses. It is rules such as these which were used to derive new meaning regardless of the actual intent and context of the law.

Why should these be included in the daily prayer? Presumably they were included in the first place so as to condition Jews into accepting without question the results of such abstract reasoning.

We saw that Solomon bitterly oppressed his people. He taxed them heavily and introduced compulsory labour service. He ignored basic Jewish law and weakened its application so as to oppress the people. We also saw that the result was that people and country split up into two kingdoms which were destroyed one after the other.

We now know {8} that those who wish to weaken the freedom and independence of the people condone and encourage permissive (promiscuous) behaviour.

Pointedly we are told that the 'Song of Songs' was written by Solomon. Is it not time it is seen for what it so obviously is and deleted from Jewish prayers?

Here is another example. Take that most important and momentous occasion of the blowing of the shofar at Rosh Hashana. It is preceded by a prayer {9} addressed 'To the chief musician: a psalm of the sons of Korah'.

But it was Korah who rebelled against Moses.

So here is a psalm of the sons of Korah, that is of the followers of a man who rebelled against Moses.

I put it to you that it is a psalm by the followers of Korah who rebelled against Moses and that it is not addressed to God. It is addressed to the chief musician. The chief musician? Just who is the chief musician of those who follow a man who rebelled against the law of Moses?

Do Jews really address anyone but God before blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashana (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)?

Two Sides

Clearly and without doubt we see two sides struggling against each other. This is a world-wide struggle and powerful forces are battling on each side. The two sides faced each other at the time of Moses, the same two sides are locked in combat in our days.

On one side are those who see people as beasts of burden which merely exist so as to slave for and serve their masters, are those who wish to oppress so as to exploit. On the other side are those who see people as free and independent human beings who should have a good life here on earth.

I have shown that the history of the struggle for freedom, independence and good life is clearly described in Torah, Scriptures, Midrash, Talmud and external writings. The Mishnah names the two sides
'Made bright by god', that is 'favoured by god', that is the rulers, the rich, the establishment.
'Laid waste by god', that is the poor, the oppressed, the underdog, the enslaved.

The gemara at times considers that both are right, that is that both sides are different aspects of the same situation, and much argument is spent in reconciling the possible opposing arguments and situations.

But we are engaged in a struggle not just against the enemy outside but also against the enemy within who has injected some of his ideology into our belief and practices.

This means that one has to face up to the fact that there are two sides, that there are those among us who behave without consideration for their fellow beings, who wish to oppress so as to exploit, who wish to persuade and condition us into behaving contrary to Jewish law, who want us to forget its meaning and intent.

Look at it this way. That both sides are different aspects of the same situation can be illustrated by the example of two people sitting in a room facing each other. Each of them describes 'the room' by describing what he sees by looking forward without turning his head. They can argue long enough about who is right and who is wrong. In fact both are right and by putting their points of view together they can both see the whole room much more clearly and comprehensively.

This works well if both describe reality but what if one of them is colour blind or the other falsifies what he sees because he wants a bigger share of the room? To avoid misleading conclusions, wrong solutions and bad decisions one should first assess the bias and reliability of statements and of arguments being used, before attempting to reconcile conflicting arguments and interests.

Hence one has to have clear aims and standards, needs to be able to assess what is right and what is wrong.

Rights and Wrongs

God is the God of freedom and the Torah clearly states this a number of times. Here are some examples:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God. {10}

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. {11}

This quotation is the first of the Ten Commandments. When Moses brought the tables of the law he brought 'freedom upon the tables'.

In other words, following the provisions of the law results in freedom and ensures it, ensures strength and security.

The statement that there is one God and one God alone who delivered us from slavery in Egypt means that only these laws, only this code of behaviour, enables you to gain freedom and stay free.

If you follow advice given by those who want you to behave differently then you are in fact praying to another god, no matter whether this so-called 'god' attempts to influence you through the attitudes and opinions of your external enemies or through opinions and practices being spread internally.

The Torah makes the points very clearly.

The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation {12}.

Remember what Amalek did to you by the way as you came forth out of Egypt; ... . Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies roundabout, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to own it, that you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget. {13}

'Amalek' may be a real people but the name Amalek means 'A people which licks up' or 'which exhausts' {14} but also means 'labour that is irksome' {15} and it can also mean 'A people who rule', 'A people who lick, who suck empty the people, who exhaust the people' {16}. One is drawn to the conclusion that 'Amalek' refers to those who rule, refers to the establishment, refers to those who serve the rulers, who wish to exhaust their people, who wish to oppress and exploit.

In addition there is the statement in the Torah that on your way to freedom it is they who attacked and wished to delay and destroy you, it is they who have to be fought throughout the ages until they are utterly and completely defeated.

Particularly relevant seems to be the statement that as soon as there is peace from war around one's border that then it is time to deal with the enemy within, to blot out the memory of 'Amalek' within one's own borders.

Not only are there two sides but it is clearly stated that they are bitter enemies and that the only way in which freedom can be reached and made secure is to follow the one and only God, to follow without wavering, bypassing or side-stepping the code of behaviour which leads to freedom, independence and good life, namely the law of Moses.


We have seen that there are two sides in bitter conflict with each other and that the resulting confrontation cannot be ignored. There are rights and wrongs and the law of Moses takes a clear stand. God and Torah are completely on the side of freedom, independence and good life for all.

However, the people are oppressed, the application of the law has been modified so that it serves the rulers and the establishment, the law is generally according to Beth Hillel.

The mishnah, however, clearly states that Beth Hillel can be outvoted <3> {17}. It is the majority which decides.

While we are told that Beth Shammai passed eighteen measures, the actual measures are not listed in this mishnah and thus are not relevant to its argument.

So this mishnah is important because it clearly lays down that Beth Hillel (the establishment side) can be outvoted and that laws which reflect Beth Shammai's viewpoint (that of God, Torah and people) can be enacted in this way.

Elsewhere <3> {18} in the mishnah there is a more detailed discussion of the whole matter of deciding the law in accordance with the opinion of the majority.

It lists the recorded disputes between Hillel and Shammai. In the whole of the Talmud there are only these three disputes between them and in each case the scholars ('sages') agree neither with the one nor with the other, listen to them but decide independently.

The mishnah then makes the point that the opinions of Hillel and Shammai were recorded so as to teach the following generations that 'a man should not persist in his opinion' for Hillel and Shammai did not persist in their opinion.

The mishnah then clearly defines that the law must be according to the opinion of the many, that it is the opinion of 'the many' which decides the law.

The point that 'a man should not persist in his opinion' could be interpreted as meaning that one should be flexible, that one man's point of view is not enough, is incomplete and unlikely to be balanced, that one should learn from others. It indicates that confrontation and conflict are to be replaced by accepting the point of view of the majority, are replaced by voluntary restraint and co-operation.

'The halachah must be according to the opinion of the many'. The majority is followed.

But the decision of a court can be set aside by a decision of another court as long as the second court is both greater in wisdom' and greater in numbers. The mishnah states that both these conditions must be fulfilled.

The mishnah also states that although the law is according to the opinion of the many, the opinion of a single person among the many is recorded. In other words, although the majority opinion decides the law, the dissenting opinion is also recorded.

The dissenting opinion is recorded so that if later a man claims that this is what he has learned, that it may be pointed out to him that what he learnt was the opinion of the particular individual which was recorded although it had been set aside.

In other words it is on record that this particular viewpoint was considered at the time and rejected for recorded reasons in the light of knowledge and circumstances existing at that time.

One can now consider what is new and what has changed since the prior decision, one can now reconsider the decision in the light of knowledge and circumstances existing at this time.

The mishnah also makes clear that if a court prefers the opinion of the single person then it may depend on him, that it may accept his dissenting viewpoint.

In other words, a later court can override the earlier decision, now ruling according to what previously had been a dissenting opinion, as long as it is greater in number as well as in wisdom when compared with the first court.

'Wisdom' could be a compound of education, knowledge, common sense, experience, knowledge and understanding of the Torah. It refers to the members of the court. So how does one assess 'wisdom'?

When Beth Shammai outvoted Beth Hillel {17} it was accepted that Beth Shammai were greater in wisdom, that they had greater understanding of the Torah, of its intent, of implementing it effectively.

This is a key requirement.


The overriding assembly has to be greater in number and in learning and this is stressed a number of times. This points to the need for the majority to be educated, this being an essential protection against a misguided assembly or majority abrogating or bypassing essential laws such as those which protect the people.

The Torah is aware of the danger and states that one must not follow a multitude to do evil or to pervert justice, that we must not do that which is wrong.

We saw that the cause-and-effect relationship tells us what inevitably happens if we do that which is right or do that which is wrong.

We also saw that history fully confirms the drastic and bitter consequences of allowing our establishment to bypass the social laws of the Torah.

Hence the great importance of educating all the people in the real meaning and intent of the law of Moses, of them being shown the consequences of ignoring the law and the rewards for following it.

One Law for All

R. Johanan b. Zakkai

It has been suggested that R. Johanan b. Zakkai set up a new court or academy elsewhere after the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem. But we have not been given any information about his place of origin, about his family or about any regulations he may have issued before the destruction. If he was sufficiently learned and wise as would enable him to set up a new court or academy after the destruction, then how come nothing is known about him up to the destruction?

We are indebted to Josephus for much of our knowledge about what happened at the time the second Temple was destroyed and Herford {1} points out that Josephus does not mention R. Johanan b. Zakkai.

He was not a disciple of either Shammai or Hillel in any real physical sense and if he did exist then he was highly respected.

We are also told {2} that he had five disciples, their names, what he said about them, how he rated them and some of the things they said (figure 4). But nowhere else in Aboth is there a similar statement relating one scholar to another.

So the sequence is important and we now look in some detail at the five disciples:
Eliezer b. Hyrcanus
Joshua b. Hananiah
Joseph haCohen
Simeon b. Nathanel
Eleazar b. Arach

Each has been given a name which includes at least one name from among those few who, about 500 years earlier, had a non-Jewish wife but promised to divorce her and to return {3} to following the law of Moses.

That each one should have at least one name taken from that short list is more than coincidence. We are being told something important about his disciples, namely that each one of them left his ways behind and began to follow the law of Moses. And indeed it is the second part of the name which provides the vital clue. The picture which emerges is vital, important, fascinating and quite unexpected.

Figure 4


Name Said By Him Said About Him
Eliezer b. Hyrcanus

Let the honour of your friends be as dear to you as your own.

Be not easily provoked to anger.

Repent one day before your death.

Warm yourself before the fire of the wise but beware of them.

A plastered cistern which loses not a drop.
Joshua b. Hananiah

An evil eye,

the evil inclination and

hatred for (one's fellow) creatures

put a man out of this world.

Happy is she that bare him.
Joseph haCohen

Let the property of your fellow be to you as if it were your own.

Fit yourself to study Torah for it is not to you like an inheritance.

Let all your actions be for the for the sake of heaven.

A pious man.
Simon b. Nathanel

Be careful with the reading of the Shema and with prayer.

Make your prayer a plea for mercy, an entreaty

for God is patient, compassionate, repents of the evil.

Be not wicked in your own esteem.

Fears sin.
Eleazar b. Arach

Study the Torah.

Know what answers you should give to the 'epicurean'.

Know before whom you are working, who employs you, and who will pay the reward of your labour.

Like a spring which gathers force.

Eliezer b. Hyrcanus

R. Johanan tells us that he takes but does not give (a plastered cistern which does not lose a drop), that he carries more weight than all the 'sages' of Israel, and that he is descended from Hyrcanus. When you recall that Hyrcanus was in effect the last of the Maccabean kings you realise that we are talking about those who followed him, about the Jewish secular establishment.

That this is the intended meaning is fully confirmed by what 'Eliezer b. Hyrcanus' says:
  1. The establishment looks after its members (Let the honour of your friends be as dear to you as your own).
  2. Let your actions be determined by cold intellect instead of by warm emotions (Be not easily provoked to anger).
  3. Sin against the law virtually all your life (Repent one day before your death).
  4. Listen to the wise but beware of what they teach.

'Eliezer' means 'God is help' so that 'Eliezer b. Hyrcanus' as a name could refer to those who have power to direct and help, to those who are of the Jewish establishment.

Joshua b. Hananiah

On the surface, the comment 'Happy is she that bare him' does not tell us much about his academic progress and abilities, about his success in studying Torah and halachah.

However, his father's name 'Hananiah' means 'Graciously given of the Lord', we were told about him that 'Happy is she that bare him', and the common Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua is Jesus.

I understand that in early Christian writings people who have evil eyes, who have eyes which offend, are people who have the wrong belief from a Christian point of view, and so the saying of Joshua b. Hananiah can be expressed positively:

His saying     Expressed positively
An evil eye,   Adopting the right belief,
the evil inclination   a corresponding right way of life
and hatred for (one's fellow) creatures   and love of one's enemies (fellow creatures)
put a man out of this world.   fit a man for the kingdom of heaven.

The message on the right is a summary of early Christian belief.

In other words, this disciple represents Christians and thus gentiles in general.

Joseph haCohen (Joseph the priest)

The only one whose father's name is not given, he is pointedly called 'the priest' although the Temple had been destroyed.

However, we are told that he is 'pious' which seems to mean that he is religious rather than observant, learned or wise.

His sayings are correspondingly vague. They sound good but do not stand up to closer examination.

'Let the property of your fellow be to you as if it were your own' can be interpreted to mean 'use it if you need it' as well as 'take it if you want it' and he could have quoted 'You shall not steal'. His saying bears a close resemblance to Hillel's equally vague and misleading <1> 'what is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour'.

To say that 'one has to prepare oneself for the study of the Torah because the Torah is not an inheritance' is vague and ambiguous. It sounds impressive but is misleading since the essence of the covenant is that every generation accepts the Torah's provisions as a matter of irrevocable law.

His next saying tells us much more about what he really stands for. He tells us to 'Let all your actions be not for the sake of Torah or God, but for the sake of heaven'.

He is telling us not to let our actions be determined by the Torah or by God but to do what 'heaven' tells us. 'Heaven' is to replace God and Torah, is the 'supernatural' behind the establishment, is that which attempted to entrench Beth Hillel <2> by 'divine right'.

His sayings are vague, confusing and misleading, against God and Torah. 'Joseph the priest' stands for the Jewish religious establishment which intentionally and unintentionally backs the secular establishment and confuses the law and other matters, who muddle things up.

This is confirmed by his name. We now understand why he is referred to as 'Joseph the priest'. The aramaic form of Joseph is Jose. We saw that it was R. Jose who confused the clarity of the law <3> {5}.

Simeon b. Nathanel

Here both names occur in the list of men in Ezra {3} so that the clue is possibly in the meaning of both names:
'Simeon' means 'Hearing with acceptance', and
'Nathanel' means 'Given of God', so that
'Simeon b. Nathanel' could very easily be intended to mean that here are those who hear with acceptance that which God gave, who hear and follow the teachings of the Torah.

The text confirms this interpretation. We are told that 'Simeon b. Nathanel' fears sin, while he himself states that one should plead with God for mercy, that one should trust in God to regret that which is evil, and that one should think well of oneself.

This seems to describe good God-fearing people who do that which is right according to the law but who quietly accept all that comes, good and bad, as coming from God, who accept the hardships of life without complaining.

Eleazar b. Arach

R. Johanan tells us that 'Eleazar b. Arach' is 'like a spring which gathers force' and that he 'outweighs all the sages of Israel and R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus' put together. In other words, he outweighs the Israeli religious and secular establishment put together.

'Eleazar' means 'whom God helps'. 'Arach' means 'wanderer'. Hence 'Eleazar b. Arach' means those who are helped locally and who get on, wherever they happen to be living, among or from those who wander.

Clearly we are here talking about those who get on well among diaspora Jewry, we are talking about diaspora Jewry.

They say that a good way to follow is to have 'a good heart' and that one should stay away from the evil of 'an evil heart'.

To get on well they are told to study the Torah and to know how to reply to those Jews and gentiles who do not accept the Torah as their authority and guide, to those who deny God and his commandments.

Re-establish the Torah

The first chapter of Aboth begins with 'Moses received the Torah at Sinai ...'. We saw that this chapter tells about the way in which the five books of Moses, that is the law of Moses, was transmitted. It told us that an external ideology corrupted the Jewish establishment which in turn corrupted the application of the law. 'Shammai' has the last word, the law is to be kept alive {6}:
Make your Torah established.
Speak little but do much.
Receive all men with a pleasant countenance.
Live according to the law of Moses, apply it but do not draw attention to yourself and be pleasant to all.
The second chapter of Aboth begins with {7}:
Which is the right way that a man should choose for himself?
One which is an honour to the person adopting it and honour to him from men.
This advocates that one should by one's behaviour seek the approval of those who rule and of other men, that one should act according to their standards.

This is the voice of the foreign subverting ideology, of the rulers and the Talmud here {7} refers to them as 'my master' <4>.

So the first chapter of Aboth begins with Moses receiving the Torah and describes how the application of the law was corrupted. The second chapter begins with a statement of opposing principle but in this chapter we are told what can be done to re-establish the application of the law of Moses.

R. Johanan b. Zakkai {8} 'received from' Hillel and Shammai. This does not mean that he 'studied under' but that he learned from their teachings, that he sees things as they are.

The same mishnah continues by giving us the only saying of his which is quoted in Aboth, namely
If you have learned much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because for this were you created.
In other words, it is the Torah, God's law, the law of Moses which one should study, that it is one's purpose in life to study it because the knowledge it contains determines the quality of life of the people, because Jews have to follow the provisions of the Torah as a matter of law.

The mishnah concludes by telling us about his 'disciples'. In other words, the knowledge needs to be passed on to others so that it can be taught and applied.

We saw that each of the disciples had at least one name which came from a short list of those who had married foreign wives and who, regretting this, agreed to separate from them and to return to following the law of Moses. In other words, what they have in common is that they had assimilated, had worked for and supported the oppressor against God and Torah, that they had followed other gods.

The list of the groups of people whom the disciples represent and which we drew up from the analysis of the names, and of what is said about them, fully confirms this conclusion, and this is illustrated by figure 5.

The mishnah is in fact telling us that these groups need re-educating:
  1. Secular establishment.
  2. Gentiles.
  3. Religious establishment which serves the secular establishment.
  4. Those who follow the upside-down version of the law in good faith.
  5. Diaspora establishment and people.

This is in full agreement with our various previous findings in previous reports and chapters.

The Torah is to be taught to all who have forgotten it, who are not yet aware of the overriding importance of the application of its teachings.

Figure 5


Eliezer b. Hyrcanus   Those who have the power to direct and help from among the Jewish secular establishment   Secular establishment
Joshua b. Hananiah   Christians and gentiles in general   Gentiles
Joseph haCohen   The Jewish religious establishment which intentionally and unintentionally backs the secular establishment and confuses the law and other matters, who muddle things up   Religious establishment which serves the secular establishment
Simeon b. Nathanel   Good God-fearing people who do that which is right according to the law but who quietly accept all that comes, good and bad, as coming from God, who accept the hardships of life without complaining   The people who follow the upside-down version of the law in good faith, accepting without complaining that which life offers
Eleazar b. Arach   Those who get on well among diaspora Jewry (a spring which is gathering force and outweighs the secular and religious Israeli establishment)   Diaspora establishment and people

Tell the People

Moses and Freedom; Prophets, Exile and Persecution

First there is the period of the struggle for freedom under the leadership of Moses, including in this the wandering and struggle for survival and strength in the desert which converted a mass of rowdy slaves into tough nomadic fighting units having common aims, purpose and interests, free men all.

It must have been very difficult for them to appreciate that Moses based his work on a comprehensive understanding of life and of the underlying reality of life. It must have been completely beyond their comprehension at the time. However, the work of Moses, the word of God, was based on a deep appreciation of a reality whose existence they could not even suspect but which was understood or at least known intuitively by the prophets of the later two kingdoms.

Moses died before the country was conquered and things were never quite the same after that.

The next short period would be that under Joshua in which the Hebrew tribes battled with the inhabitants of Canaan and conquered much of the country. However, the conquest of Canaan under Joshua was not as purposeful, clear and directed as operations had been under Moses' leadership, nor was it complete.

What was lacking was the leadership which only Moses could give. The conquest proceeded slowly and painfully under some kind of loose tribal organisation with somehow ineffective co-ordination of the work and efforts of the people.

Then followed a period of about 200 years in Canaan in which the tribes struggled against their neighbours, the period of the so-called Judges. A kind of commonwealth perhaps, with some kind of co-operation between tribes in times of need, but avoiding central leadership. These 'Judges' were people who led the tribes in times of difficulty and trouble, appointed on a somewhat intuitive basis.

We next have the period of the monarchy and of the two kingdoms. The monarchy (Saul, David, Solomon) lasted for about 100 years. At Solomon's death the kingdom split up into two kingdoms called Judah and Israel (Samaria). Israel was destroyed after about 200 years and Judah was destroyed about 100 years after that.

Conditions worsened for the people because the rulers turned away from the law of the Torah and oppressed and exploited the people, particularly towards the end of the two kingdoms. The prophets clearly predicted the resulting fall and destruction of the kingdoms, screaming out their warnings against an establishment that would not listen so that the kingdoms were destroyed.

The fall of Judah meant the destruction of Jerusalem, mass deportation to Babylon, and the destruction of the first Temple.


In the period of the Judges we see the Hebrew tribes struggling with foreign tribes, doing so under leaders which were selected on the basis of what appears to be an intuitive supernatural 'trial-by-strength'. A struggle perhaps of the mind of the oppressors against the group mind of the people, a struggle which sometimes went one way and sometimes the other. One might describe this as a struggle for the soul of Israel. It could be described as a struggle of rule of the people and of the authority of God against the rule of the oppressor and centralised authority.

The 'Judges' seem to have come to the fore in times of trouble. They 'judged', that is determined the course of events. They did so not so much by conscious decisions but by what they did, by what happened to them, by what happened to those round about them with events relating to the people being reflected in an allegorical way in the events associated with these individuals. A kind of primitive 'trial by ordeal' which we left behind hundreds of years ago. Nowadays we know that 'trial by strength' is unjust, based on primitive superstition, on 'sorcery'.

After the death of Moses and during the period of the Judges it seems that there was a considerable amount of 'prophecy'. These were intuitive statements, were predictions of the future, probably both 'for' and 'against', probably sometimes the word of God and at other times the fabrication of the enemy. The indications are that what happened in the period of the Judges was sometimes for the people while at other times it was against.

It may be that they were attempting to find a way of duplicating Moses' special ability and power, or it may have arisen from the system of reward and punishment inherent in 'the blessing and the curse'. It may have been their way of attempting to lead and guide their people but we now know that relying on any one person leads to distortion, irrationality and dictatorship.

It seems to me that in the period of the Judges they were attempting to live and gain strength while following Jewish law, struggling for territory and freedom, aiming to do so without centralised leadership, that is aiming to do so democratically. We face the same situation, are facing and struggling against the same risk of centralised leadership taking over our democratic institutions.

It seems to me that central military rule solved their military problems, an in-between stage between the road to freedom they had trodden with Moses and the successful unification of the tribes and the liberation of the country under David. The central rulers grasped power and were corrupted. The increasing oppression under the monarchy took them back to the point of destruction and risk of extinction.

Role of the Prophets

In an earlier chapter <5> we discussed the warnings of the prophets about the consequences of particular kinds of antisocial behaviour, and said:

A few quotations from the sayings of the prophets show clearly that the prophets were very much aware of the consequences of what was taking place. They pointed out what was bound to happen if the rulers, their secular and religious establishment and perhaps also the people continued to behave as they were doing and events proved them right. We would now say that intuitively or consciously they were aware of the social relationships, that they were aware of the social consequences of different types of behaviour.

The prophets, motivated by a deeply-seated sense of social responsibility and urgency, by love of God, Torah and people, continued with increasing frequency and increasing urgency to warn of the inevitable consequences unless rulers and establishment changed their ways, pointing out that all the people would suffer horribly unless behaviour changed. They were bitterly opposed by the rulers and establishment of the day and struggled for God and people while alone and unsupported. They were not listened to, the rulers and their establishments continued to corrupt and oppress the people until both kingdoms were destroyed and the people most viciously dispersed.

So far I have covered in outline some of the knowledge which we have from the warnings of the prophets about the behaviour of the Hebrew rulers and their establishment, a story of increasing oppression and exploitation of the people, of increasing disregard of basic Torah law, with consequences which were very clear to the prophets who warned and who appear to have had a clear understanding of the inevitability with which the law acts, of the inevitability with which the behaviour of the establishment caused the effects which destroyed their people and thus the rulers and their establishment themselves.

Outstanding is not only that the warnings were ignored by the rulers and their establishment but that they actively opposed, harassed and persecuted the prophets as can be seen from the following examples.

Amos {9} states that the prophets were commanded to stop prophesying. He accuses the rulers of hating the person who reproves them in the gate (in public, to the people), of abhorring the person who speaks uprightly.

Micah {10} accuses prophets who mislead the people by crying 'peace' and emphasises that he is more qualified to prophecy than they. He points out that among the corrupt practices is that these prophets prophecy for reward, that they are against those who do not feed them and that priests teach for hire.

There are prophets and prophets and some make religious-sounding pronouncements which are really pro-establishment, antisocial and therefore anti-Jewish political propaganda spoutings under the guise of religious fervour.

Jeremiah {11} describes how the priestly establishment attempted to defeat him in argument. He curses them and asks God not to forgive them but to deal with them in the time of his anger. He is persecuted further {12} and again curses his persecutor, correctly foretelling the coming and imminent destruction of Judah and the exile in Babylon.

Here he clearly indicates his understanding of the intent of the law, that it is the basis of and underlies all freedom. His anger arises from his love and concern for the people because the establishment will not change their ways, because he has been unable to change the course of events.

In the next few verses he curses himself and his life because of the isolation and struggle and suffering he has to endure as a result of battling on the side of the people against an oppressive establishment, as a result of trying to save the whole people from being destroyed by the rulers and their secular and religious establishment.

The prophet accuses the rulers and the ruling level for what they do and holds them responsible for what their establishment does and thus for the practices of the people.

But the prophets did not accuse the people of failing to act.

This may well have been because it is the rulers and their establishment who attempt to manipulate the people into behaving in ways which weaken their resistance to oppression.

The People Have to Know

Moses had a central position, led his people selflessly, advised action. When he acted with the elders and his advice was followed the people went from strength to strength.

At the time of the judges an individual or a prophet was able to make himself known to the people in times of severe need and was backed by them. They were then able to defeat their enemies.

Under the monarchy we see authority taken away from the religious priesthood and administration by a central secular establishment which was battling not for the people but for itself. While being militarily effective it in the end took over the people, ruling over the people instead of leading for them. It established central rule which oppressed the people so as to exploit them for the benefit of the rulers and their establishment.

The prophets 'who speak the voice of God', who speak for freedom and for the people, were then considered unimportant and ignored, listened to only when it suited the ruler to do so.

The wheel has come full circle. The Hebrews having disregarded the law are once again oppressed and exploited but this time by their own ruling establishment. This now has a vested interest in rendering the Jewish religion ineffective as following Jewish law would protect the people from being exploited.

When the establishment of the day found ways of bypassing the law and thus of betraying the people, found ways of persuading the people to disregard the law, and when the prophets who warned against such practices were neither respected nor followed, then disaster, destruction and exile followed.

On the one hand we have Moses with full responsibility, acknowledged and followed by the people and thus able to lead his people to freedom. On the other hand we have Jeremiah, unable to affect events, crying out against having to lead a life of unrewarding labour for the people, crying out against having to live his life in shame as a result, wishing he had never been born.

The secular and religious establishments persecuted him because of his warnings.

His aim was to prevent disaster striking the whole people by changing their way of life, by changing the method of government by the rulers and their establishment. In foretelling disaster he aimed at preventing it.

The government would not listen, the establishment would not listen, the people would not support him, he was isolated and alone and had no responsibility, could not help the people. As a consequence the Temple, Jerusalem, the country and the people were destroyed.

It was those 'Jews' who did not observe the basic law, who stood to gain from exploiting people and who wished to exploit people, who grasped leadership and power in the past sometimes under the mask of religious observance. They then legislated against observance and superimposed obedience to themselves (leadership and its establishment under disguise of leader or state) as more important than Jewish law. They then proceeded to reduce freedom, oppressing the people so as to exploit them, and in this way defeated Judaism and the hope for achieving freedom and a good life for themselves, for the Jewish people and for the rest of humanity.

The prophets behaved very responsibly but had no authority, were isolated voices speaking for God and for the people, heartily disliked and at times persecuted by the rulers and their secular and religious establishment. The message did not reach the people. The people did not act. Our cause-and-effect relationship tells us that disaster and destruction were inevitably caused by the behaviour of the establishment and by the resulting behaviour of the people.

But on the other hand Moses was the acknowledged leader and his word was law. He was not part of the establishment and did not 'dictate'. His authority was derived from God, from the support of the people.

It was the people who supported Moses, who followed the law he stated, who backed him and supported him in times of need. It was those who were in distress who joined David. It was those who were oppressed who turned against central authority following the death of Solomon.

This, the support of the people, would seem to make the essential difference between defeat and destruction of Temple, Jerusalem and Israel on the one hand and victory against oppressing and exploiting dictatorships on the other.

What we have seen merely underlines the staggering catalytic potential of a mind like Moses, the extreme uniqueness of his presence, the overwhelming importance of what took place.

Clearly no artificial system could hope to even remotely approach the capabilities of the mind of Moses.

Consider what might have happened to the Jewish people and to freedom if Moses had been rejected by his people. We know what did happen when the prophets were persecuted, isolated and ignored, tottering to their graves as lonely, frustrated and bitter men because they had failed to wake and save the people.

The prophet must be known by the people so that they can learn to trust his knowledge, judgement and sincerity, so that they can back him. Those 'prophets', those teachers, who act from a deeply seated sense of selfless social responsibility, within the laws of the Torah and according to its intent and light, carry great responsibility for the present and future well-being of the Jewish people, indeed of all people.

They need the opportunity to have impact and to affect events, in other words their teachings and warnings must reach the people. They have to be respected by the people so that they will be listened to and followed, backed and supported, so that they can work effectively for the people.

Tell the People

It was the enemy from outside roughly 2,000 years ago which corrupted the Jewish establishment which in turn corrupted the Jewish religion and in so doing destroyed the Jewish people and itself.

Times were very different from a material point of view, from the point of view of style and standard of living. In any case they had to disguise much of what they said and we are now so far removed from their day and age that stories and events may well have had a meaning and implications which may at times have been lost, which we find difficult to understand, which may indeed be open to differing interpretations. But the mind has not changed, the basic conflict has remained the same, and from this point of view we are today engaged in the same struggle. Once this is understood the gemara as such becomes much more meaningful when it is seen to reflect the confrontation between opposing ideologies.

With regard to the Jewish people, Jew was turned against Jew, the establishment of the day in that way dividing the people and weakening them instead of uniting them and instead of leading them in the fight against the common enemy.

The establishment which is persuaded to bypass the provisions of the Torah and which is persuaded to oppress its people for the sake of its own power and material wealth, is serving the enemy of the people and of the country and thus of themselves. The result of such behaviour is, unquestionably as a matter of cold scientific social fact, the weakening and destruction of the people and of the country. A divided house falls and people who are battling against each other weaken themselves and are defeated and taken over by their enemies. The establishment itself is destroyed and replaced by another so that they do not gain from what they have done.

There is a striking similarity between events then and today. We see an establishment which has been warned and is being warned, a people who allow themselves to be led astray and do not act, a Jewish country threatened by powerful forces all around it, with world opinion being manipulated against it. The process must be halted and reversed before it is too late.

The success and strength of the community depend on the law being followed. Hence one has to make sure that no powerful elite may overrule the basic provisions of Jewish law once again, that the uneducated multitude may not be led astray once again. In other words, brainwashing is not education and one must convince the people. The knowledge which we now have has to be made common property and has to be spread.

A united people ably led are strong and remain so as long as the people are free, as long as the people follow the essential and basic laws of the Torah.

The Torah, namely the five books of Moses, is accepted by the Jewish people without question or doubt as the basic constitution, as the written word of God. There can never be defeat of the laws of the Torah, there can never be defeat of the kind of behaviour which is stated in the Torah. Defeat is unthinkable. In fact the corruption which would result from defeat would be so utterly inhumane and monstrous that it would be better to destroy the planet and Genesis states so very clearly.

The people need a clear statement of the basic intent of the law so as to judge events, alternative courses of action and subsequent legislation in the light of the intent of the Torah.

They need to be shown the Torah's view of a world in which people can live good and happy lives serving their community which exists to serve them.

Notes and References



<1>     External to the Talmud
Manfred Davidmann

Manfred Davidmann
{ 1} Horayoth 13b
{ 2} Sanhedrin 86a
{ 3} Baba Batra 134a; Sukkah 28a
{ 4} Prov 8, 21
{ 5} Deut 34, 10
{ 6} Baba Batra 133b
{ 7} Pesahim 49a
{ 8} Deut 27, 21
{ 9} Megillah 20a
{10} Rosh Hashanah 14b
{11} Sanhedrin 11a
{12} Aboth 1, 1-2
{13} Shabbat 13b
{14} Eduyot 1, 4-6
{15} Erubin 13b
{16} Baba Mezia 59b
{17} Deut 30, 12
{18} Exod 23, 2
{19} Gittin 36a
{20} Horayot 14a
{21} Shabbat 155b
{22} Prov 29, 7
{23} Exod 32, 25
{24} Genesis Rabba LXXX (1)



<1>     In

Manfred Davidmann
chapter 'Hillel and his Times'. There see 'Identities and Purpose' in section on 'Hillel's Appointment'.
<2>   Like the zugot (five pairs) in the volume referred to in note <1> above.
<3>   See also 'Can be Outvoted' in section on 'Divine Right' in chapter 'Controversies'
<4>   R. Ishmail's baraita (external teaching): "Rabbi Ishmail says that there are thirteen exegetical principles by which the law is expounded ....."
{ 1} Menahoth 29b
{ 2} Yebamoth 32b
{ 3} Genesis Rabba, Vayechi 10
{ 4} Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit
(Ency. Judaica, 1973 Yearbook, p.152, Note 40)
{ 5} Aboth 2, 8
{ 6} Ency. Judaica 15, 801
{ 7} Ency. Judaica 8, 767
{ 8} 'If You Want a Future, Read On ...'
(The Social Effects of Promiscuity)
David Baram
Social Organisation Ltd
{ 9} Psalms 47
{10} Lev 25, 38
{11} Exod 20, 2-3
{12} Exod 17, 16
{13} Deut 25, 17-19
{14} The Proper Names of the Old Testament Scriptures
Alfred Jones
{15} Bible Names
E. N. Hamilton
{16} Die Namen der Bibel
H. Schumacher
{17} Shabbat 13b
{18} Eduyot 1, 1-6



<1>     In

Manfred Davidmann

'Teaching the Torah' in chapter 'Hillel and his Times'.

<2>   See 'Divine Right (Heavenly Voice)' in chapter 'Controversies'.
<3>   In the volume referred to in note <1> above, see 'Controversies between Hillel and Shammai' in chapter 'Hillel and his Times'.
<4>   The word 'rabbi' is frequently used in this way in the Talmud. To say that Judah haNasi and Rabbi are the same person is equivalent to saying that the Jewish establishment speaks with the voice of the rulers.
<5>   In
Manfred Davidmann

'Warnings of the Prophets' in chapter 'Monarchy Followed by Two Kingdoms'.

{ 1} Pirke Aboth: Sayings of the Fathers
R. Traverse Herford
Schocken, 1945
{ 2} Aboth 2, 8-14
{ 3} Ezra 10, 22-31, 42
{ 4} Aboth 2, 8-14
{ 5} Eduyot 1, 2
{ 6} Aboth 1, 15
{ 7} Aboth 2, 1
{ 8} Aboth 2, 8
{ 9} Amos 2, 6-
{10} Micah 3, 5-8, 11-12
{11} Jeremiah 18, 18-23
{12} Jeremiah 20


{ 1} Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures, The Jewish Publication Society of America.
{ 2} Talmud: The Babylonian Talmud, Soncino Press, London.

Relevant Current and Associated Works

Other relevant current and associated reports by Manfred Davidmann:
Title   Description
Causes of Antisemitism   Shows that there are two separate root causes of antisemitism. One cause can be remedied by increasing peoples' awareness, the other is under the control of the Jewish people and can be remedied from within.
The Right to the Land of Israel   This report proves that the right to the land in which one lives, that is the strength and success of a people, depends on how people behave towards each other. This applies to all. The history of the Jewish people provides a convincing example.
ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY and JUDAISM   Proves by methods of biblical archaeology what Jesus really taught, how Paul changed what Jesus had taught, how this became Christianity's official doctrine. Outstanding are sections on Paul and the Gospels, on concurrent corresponding changes in Judaism.
Compiling the Koran: Hadiths (Traditions) State the Underlying Reality   Zaid bin Thabit compiled the Koran, Caliph Uthman had an official version prepared. Mohammed taught that people (believers) should have a good life, the ruling elite considered that people should serve willingly.
Uthman's Rearrangement of the Chronological (as revealed) Koran's Chapters   Chapters (suras) marked by 'abbreviated letters' show how the sequence of the Koran's chapters was changed. The effects of the changes on the record of Mohammed's preaching and teaching are described as are the doctrines of 'Abrogation' and 'Consensus'.
Prophet Mohammed's Word of Allah and the Voice of the Ruling Elite   Mohammed's social teachings are stated from chapters (suras) singled out by 'Abbreviated Letters', statements of revelation from compassionate and caring Allah. It seems that some self-seeking doctrines were added later by the ruling elite of that time.
Jewish Belief and Practice   Provides the required background knowledge of the essential core of Jewish belief and practice for drawing the only possible conclusion that the procedure called 'Prosbul' is contrary to the laws and intent of the Torah. The Prosbul is then annulled.
The God-given Human Rights, Social Laws and Social System   A comprehensive statement of the God-given human rights which underlie all freedom, liberty and independence. They are the foundation of the main religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and they underlie and determine a good life of high quality.

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ISBN 0 85192    Second edition 1989
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