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Friday, November 9, 2012

The te'chelet thread and comments on the Great Council of Jamnia / Jabneh that ruled against its use demanded by the Law of Moses upon all the sons of Israel who would observe the Law of Moses

A Question.  Numbers 15:37-40 commands Jews of all generations to use a blue thread on their garment fringes, such as on tallits (prayer shawls).  Many Orthodox Jews aren’t always using a blue thread and leave their fringes all white.  Is it significant?

My answer:   
      Yes, it is significant, because the blue thread is supposed to represent Messhiach / Christ, the one who atones for their sins.  

Numbers 15:37-40
37 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them ; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy [separate and set apart] unto your GOD.

There are essentially two garments upon which many Conservative and Orthodox Jewish men and boys have fringed: these are generally the large and small tallit (prayer shawls).  The tallit is generally from the size of a large scarf to the size of a half-cloak, and worn over the shoulders, often being pulled over the head.  There is also an under – the - shirt (to be hidden) smaller version called the tallit-katan (the lesser / smaller tallit / prayer shawl).   The large and the small prayer shawls / tallit are to have fringes with knotted tassels that the Jews often refer to as tzitzit.  A Tzitz is a tassel sprouting as fringes from the hem of a garment.    

These fringe tassels, or tzitzit, are supposed to be made up of 8 threads, 7 white and 1 sky-blue (which is te'chelet in the Hebrew of Numbers 15:38).  However, the inclusion of the sky-blue or te’chelet thread is often left out or made as optional by many Jews who sell these specialty products (especially in Israel). 

Without a Temple on the Mount in Jerusalem, the modern Jew is only obligated in Scripture to abide by 411 Laws of Moses instead of the 613 Laws of Moses, because 202 of them cannot be abide by there being no Temple and no sacrificial system in place in the location GOD has chosen for them.  And even if the Temple were there, the average Jew would not be able to fulfill most of the 202 Temple related Laws of Moses that have been suspended with the destruction of their Temple in A.D. 70.  Most of those 202 Laws of Moses in suspension from then until this day are tied mostly to the Kohen and Levites in Temple Service.  

However, when the modern Jew claims the Law of Moses for himself (or herself), I would advocate that since the Scripture says they should abide by having a sky-blue or te'chelet thread in their tzitzit, then they should so abide by Scripture and not see it as an optional command.  

 But why should it be thought to allowed that the inclusion or non-inclusion of a single te'chelet / sky-blue thread in tzitzit be optional within Judaism when the Scripture so clearly mandates its inclusion?  And why should this Christian ( that is, me) and others even care?   

I take the position that the te'chelet thread is symbolic of their King Messiah, YHVeH Yeshua, whom we Gentiles call upon as Jesus (the) Christ (after the tradition handed down to us using a variation on transliteration of the Greek in which our Oldest New Testament documents were primarily written in).

The text of Isaiah 53, when understood in their Hebraic  context
manifests this readily  to the Jews who speak it, but by tradition they are trained to NOT accept their own Scripture above that of  human commentary and a claim to that commentary by “tradition”.   
Many who call themselves Christians and attach themselves to an Institution or University or Alumni, or what have you, unfortunately are trained (most being oblivious to this) to have the same blinders as did the Jews who preceded and who also make the same sort of errors contemporaneously up alongside them.  

Isaiah 53:4
… our sicknesses and diseases He has lifted up and carried (away),
and our mental and physical anguish (He) bore the burdens (for)….

Isaiah 53:5
… He was fatally bored through and pierced
for our rebellions, revolts and transgressions;
He was crushed … for our deviations, perversions and guilts:
…and with his heaped upon and united blows and stripes
we are healed ourselves.

Isaiah 53:6
 … the L-RD hath marked, laid, and killed in Him
the deviations, perversions, guilts, the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:10
… He shall bring to ruins and devastations
as a pouring falling noise
a sin, trespass, guilt offering for the sin of others His soul….

Isaiah 53:11
…by His distinguishing and intimate acquaintant knowledge
shall lawfully justify and righteousify freely
My just - lawful - Righteous Servant
for a great many (for many lengths / long times)
and their deviations, perversions, and guilts
He shall bear the load to transport, carrying (them) away."

Isaiah 53:12
…He poured out and made bare to death His soul
and with transgressors, and with those who rebel or revolt,
was counted, numbered, appointed, portioned.
and He, the sin
of a great many
bore,  lifting up, carrying and taking away;
and for the rebellions, transgressions, revolts
made entreaties and intercessions.”

Compare this to Leviticus 16:21: Then shall lay Aaron his two hands on the head of the living goat, and shall confess over it ALL THE INIQUITIES of the sons of Israel, and ALL THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS, and ALL THEIR SINS, and shall put them [all their diseases and infirmities] on the head of the goat, and shall send by the hand of a man CHOSEN AS TIMELY AND READY AND MADE AVAILABLE NOW into the wilderness.”

In effect, the iniquities are marked, laid upon, and killed IN the Escape goat of Yom Kippur, which is to bear upon its individual self, the sins of all Israel.  

The Escape goat itself is innocent of Israel's sins...and yet still dies to successfully atone for Israel.

And if the goat without spot or blemish can carry the sins of all Israel of an entire year upon it, how much more shall Christ Jesus, Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of GOD the Father ALMIGHTY lift up and bear the sins of all humanity, once and for all, for all eternity (past, present, and future)?

The te'chelet was to be a symbolic reminder from the past of a future redemption by GOD as an ever constant visual reminder for every perfect number of purity, 7, even as GOD created the Heavens and the Earth in 6 days and RESTED (found perfection, as it were) on the 7th, so we should see the restoration of perfection is because an 8th thread, that of Messiah, lifted up and bore our sins, and restored us to a right relationship to GOD as it was first meant to be.  

The OPTIONAL Te'chelet?  

As to the former, why the Jews today may consider te'chelet as optional, that needs a little more background for context.  But the short answer is that the ability of an "opt out" was based on an acceptance of a rabbinical heresy put forth by one man, tolerated by one Sanhedrin, and passed down without challenge from Sanhedrin to Sanhedrin irregardless that it created IMMEDIATE conflict with the WORD of GOD (the Holy Scriptures) which men "overruled" and sat in judgement of the ALMIGHTY, as it were. 

First, the cost...or, it was allegedly about the "money".
        In antiquity during the First Century A.D., this color of sky-blue (along with purple) is almost universally believed among modern scholarship to have been a generally rarer color, often expensive to manufacture, and used to designate wealth or royal privilege of one sort or another.  The process was considered by some to be so exclusive, that it is claimed that during the Roman Period, that were a new garment or fabric sheet of purple, crimson red, or sky-blue freshly made, its price could command figures in gold up to many times its weight.  Thus, a cloak of one of these colors weighing about a pound in weight could start with a price of a mina or 50 day's wages (for the common laborer) on up to as much as 1,000 day's wages just for the fabric alone.  However, for an entire spool of dyed thread, enough for dozens of prayer shawls, it is unlikely that the spool would have cost more than a single day's wages.  So when the cost is spread out among 24 or 36 prayer shawls, the price increase on the tallit is not enough to deter a common ancient adult male Israeli already used to paying a half day's wages three times a year at the Temple in Jerusalem. 

Second, it was allegedly about averting Roman persecution for wearing even a few threads of what might be deemed an offensive color.
       The modern  rabbis generally teach that after the Jewish War of Revolt in 67 - 70 A.D., the Romans persecuted Jews who openly wearing the te'chelet / sky- blue thread in their large prayer shawls because the color signified royalty apart from Caesar and hence, was signified rebellion to Rome.  In approximately 90 A.D., though some vary on the year to as high as 95 or 96 A.D., there was a great Council of the Sanhedrin held at Jamnia (also called Jabneh in the Babylonian Talmud), in which Judaism was reorganized and the denomination of the Sadducee was excluded  to allow only a one party / one sect of Judaism rule for all Jews in Israel.  With Jamnia in circa 90 A.D., Judaism was reorganized, its recent history re-edited to a Pharisaic party view, and a New Order of  religious-political governance within Judaism was created where subservience to the Order held the greater importance. 

At this Council, the men of the ancient Great Sanhedrin erred egregiously and rendered the Scriptures pertaining to the Law of Moses as "optional" based on the comment of one Rabbi named Judah. In Sanhedrin 12b, we read that Rabbi Judah held that the te'chelet Scripture (of
Numbers 15:37-40) was magically suspended for use by the Jewish Community on the authority of only his personal say-so.  He made the lame excuse that while the Scripture did not have to be complied to by the people of Israel,  there remained necessity for the high priest to use te'chelet to hold the gold plate on his forehead, because only then does the te'chelet propitiate. 

In the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 12b
The Master has said: 'R[abbi] Judah said: We may intercalate [on the ground of uncleanness].' Hence R. Judah holds that [the law of] uncleanness, in the case of an entire Community, is only suspended [and not abrogated]But has it not been taught: The ziz  whether it is on his [the High Priest's] forehead or not, propitiates. So said R. Simeon. R. Judah said: Only when it is on his forehead does it propitiate, but not otherwise. R. Simeon thereupon said to him: The case of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement affords proof, seeing that it propitiates even when it is not worn on his forehead.  And R. Judah answered him: Leave the Day of Atonement aside,  for the [laws concerning] impurity are entirely abrogated in the case of a whole Community?  — But even according to this reasoning,  is there not a contradiction  …?

35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holiness To The Lord.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord
 -- Exodus 28:35-38

Now this teaching of a required fulfilling of the Law of Moses to the Jew, is also tied to the Scripture:
"Now if you obey Me fully, and keep My Covenant, then shall you
be a special treasure
[ a treasured possession] unto Me above
all people: for all the earth (is) Mine:
Exodus 19:5-6

The color of the p'til (the thread or cord) is te'chelet (sky-blue): Numbers 15:38, Exodus 28:37.  That te'chelet (sky-blue) color is specific to pointing to the Messiah, he who bears iniquities (Exodus 28:38).  Again, upon the head of the High Priest, this te'chelet (sky-blue) color holds the solid gold plate in place, as though fastened to the forehead like the Tefillin (or phylactery) and reads "Holiness to YHVeH"; and represents the mind of the perfect man, King Messiah Himself, who is to come (as the name Kohen Gadol /  "(the) Priest who WILL be made great"  prophetically implies. 

As the one wearing the prayer shawl looks upon the tzitzit, he is supposed to be reminded that in all our days, we are called to remembrance in the now -- to always be holy and set apart for YHVeH, so that we be NOT lead astray, so as to serve selfish interests or idols.

    The tassel flows out from the hem, and is called "tzitz".  It is “supposed” to contain a bluish thread which is equated with the "seal and cord" that was used in ancient legal transactions by judges or merchants and land owners.  Each cord (p'til) that held a seal, was also thought to be distinctively colored or not, so as to help identify its owner.  The color of te'chelet (bluish) and even argaman (purple) at about the time of the Exodus, and for hundreds of years thereafter, was reserved for the wealthiest classes and royalty.  By having this p'til te'chelet (cord of bluish or sky blue thread) in every tassel of every male of age in Israel, it was the affirmation of the Torah and remembrance.  Each day, several times a day, they are to look upon these tzitzits, and remember that they are all called forth to be a nation and kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), in which everyone is called to be of an equal status in being faithful unto the LORD their GOD, to remember His Instructions and Commands, and to not be as prostitutes (that is, to not practice following the lusts of the heart and the eyes).  Cf. Numbers 15:37-41.

The High Priest was distinguishable in the fact that the turban also was equipped with a p'til te'chelet, and this particular sky blue cord was to  accompany the plate of gold upon which was inscribed the very name of YHVeH in the Hebrew letters,  and to tie that NAME to the turban (Exodus 28:36-37).

     Those refusing to follow the heritage and the Torah by NOT placing the blue thread in the tassel are violating Leviticus 19:2's command: "Be holy, because I HASHEM your G-D am holy."  

There are to be 7 white threads and the 8th, representing the Eternity of the Age and World to come, is to be the p'til te'chelet
If there are those who wear only the white tassel, I would suspect that these observe their rich Jewish heritage, but are those whose heart is in this world and this age.  This is what is being indicated by such an activity, and those who do not have the p'til te'chelet, should be reconnected to the Torah's instructions concerning this.  The proper focus is in having the p'til te'chelet, because although we live in this world, we are called especially to have our focus in remembering that we are to live for the eternal world and ages to come. 
     In Christ, through the Cross, we by faith have an invisible p'til te'chelet which ties the mind of Christ (His teachings as it were) to our forehead. This allegory will be replaced by the literal writing of the name of the LORD in the foreheads of believers in the world and age to come (Revelation 3:12, 14:1).  But we have an even greater gift, from GOD to man, because of the Cross, whereby GOD actually desires to inhabit every believer and make them each as a Temple unto Himself as well.  Thus, we are as royalty, we are as priests; we are as Temples to the LORD our GOD.  How great are the mysteries and the depths of the mind of GOD!

In returning to the comment made by Rabbi Judah in Sanhedrin 12b:
The single knotted sky-blue thread among 7 white knotted threads, it was concurred by Rabbi Judah and the entire Great Sanhedrin at Jamnia,  was to be a sign of remembrance and of propitiation. 

The 7 white threads represent the natural order of GOD's creation, for in 6 days GOD made the heavens and the earth and rested on the 7th.

The 7th day, a day of rest, being for the benefit of Man.

The 8th thread is the same color as the thread on the turban of the Kohen Gadol (the Great Priest or High Priest -- which name with Gadol actually means, the Priest who WILL be made great). 

The color te'chelet is the symbol of nobility of character, of royal adoption or lineage, of holiness or distinction.

It circles and binds the other threads into a cord in the upper one-third of the fringe, while the other two-thirds hang free.

We of the temporal, the white, are called to purity, and brought together and bound by the 8th thread (or Day) of GOD, which is the Day of the New Heavens and the New Earth for eternity.

Thus, we are bound by eternity, and eternal security, and eternal life, if we but heed our GOD, and be holy -- by Faith in Him, and -- unto Him.

The blue thread is the transformation of the blood of the Cross, from the covering of sin, to the glory of GOD's love in a new and special and ever-lasting way that eye cannot now comprehend, nor the mind conceive.

The word used for “fountain” in Jeremiah 2:13 and 17:13 is “maqor”.

We are called, in Isaiah 12:3, to
draw the waters out of the fountain/“maqor” of “Salvation” (i.e., “Jesus”) with joy. The well-spring of Faith into the LORD / into YHVeH, Isaiah 12 reveals, is a Faith into Yeshua / Jesus.

Those who refuse to believe or trust Yeshua / Jesus, even as they look upon the Tzittzit, almost always in unintentional ignorance simply fulfill the Scripture:

“My people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken Me,
the mountain-artesian-well-spring -Fountain of Living Waters;
(and they have done so) to hew out cisterns,
broken cisterns, that cannot hold water.”
(Jeremiah 2:13 translation mine)  

  Instead of throwing Rabbi Judah out as a heretic for teaching Jews who follow the Law of Moses to now follow his changing of that Law for the sake of "convenience", Jews to this day follow the unholy and erroneous teaching of Rabbi Judah to break the Law of Moses and the plain sense and intent of Scripture.  This comes about because the Babylonian Talmud is too often placed not only on par as Scripture, but the Commentary of Talmud are seen as if words that TRUMP the Word of GOD, and allow the traditions of men to be of greater weight than Moses and of GOD Himself.  That is sin, and wrongs their own souls; because te'chelet, though a single thread, is that unwritten (though manifest) "jot or tittle"

Matthew 5:18  [Jesus said]  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

that is necessary to be in the tzitzit to teach them of their King Messiah Yeshua / Jesus the Christ.  

In effect, from a legal stand-point, to NOT include a single te'chelet thread in the tzittzit is a guarantor to ever be breaking the WHOLE law of Moses, and creates an intention of disbelief in the GOD of Israel and His words.  That is something that must be noted that all Judaism may correct that action, especially for whensoever soon (LORD willing)  they rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

But what Rabbi Judah did at Jamnia (also called Jabneh) in circa 90 A.D. was not unique.   For many years, I too, accepted the general propaganda that it was only at Jamnia in A.D. 90 that the Old Testament was canonized, because it was such a general consensus as if fact among so many rabbis.   I was wrong to simply have accepted that the Great Sanhedrin of Jamnia /Jabneh had anything to do with sealing up an Old Testament as late as the 90s A.D. 

  A better piecing together of history is that the Old Testament was accepted as if it were already Canonized by the Jews since at least the time of the War of the Maccabees (circa 167 - 160 B.C.).    In other words, some 270 plus years before Jamnia, the Old Testament was already a sealed document with its number of accepted books.   

The significance at Jamnia / Jabneh, is not only did the Great Sanhedrin of Jamnia / Jabneh violate and alter observance of the Holy Scripture in regard to the Tzitzit or sky-blue thread required them in the Law of Moses, but that they of that same Great Sanhedrin also sought to pass judgement on Holy Scripture and uncanonize the Old Testament.   Effectually, Jamnia / Jabneh became  Pharisaic factionalism having no remorse for their arrogance and rebellion against GOD in the War against the Romans, chest thumping their zealotry while re-making Pharisaic dogma.   The new Sanhedrin, like a Supreme Court, has a chance to correct the error or mistake of this ancient one of Jabneh if they have a mind to (for the sake of a greater fidelity to GOD in modern Judaism). 

And not only did the Great Sanhedrin at Jamnia / Jabneh  NOT canonize the Old Testament; instead, we come to learn from the Babylonian Talmud (etc.) that they raged among one another as to, whether or not, toss out whole books of the Bible!  The greatest contentions appeared to be over  Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Esther, Ruth, and Ezekiel.   And why these books?  Because these were favorite books of the House of Shammai, the school / faction of the Sadducees, which denomination they were determined to see wiped out so that the the Pharisaic interpretation alone would dominate Judaism once and for all time afterwards.

Seriously, many of the Pharisees felt bent on wiping out their memory and influence from Jewish history, in part because the apostles of Jesus Christ were very likely predominantly Sadducee Kohen or Sadducee Levites themselves.  And if the favorite Scriptures of the Sadducees outside the Torah covered Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Esther, Ruth, and Ezekiel, how much insight into the first century Christian mindset and knowledge have we been missing by a neglect of these books in a context of seeing Christ in their passages?  

 Of a related interest, the Great Sanhedrin at Jamnia in their legislative zeal also set about and re-edited the 18 benedictions of the Amidah.  Those benedictions were in effect in some form since the rivalry of Shammai and Hillel (no later than circa 7 A.D.) began, yet often credit is misapplied to the council of Jamnia for their "creation" more than 8 decades after Hillel's twilight years.

Which brings us to Samuel the Lesser, in circa 90 A.D.     Samuel the Lesser came up with his own "benedictions against heretics" to be included.    In talking with a liberal Methodist pastor on the dating of the New Testament, he stated in no uncertain terms that Samuel the Lesser's "benedictions against the heretics" is the reason why his Seminary stated as the reason we should date the Gospel of John to the 90s A.D.  

 Unfortunately, John's gospel neither cites this work, nor was the fear of synagogue (and local community) expulsion that his educators taught him "a new thing" as of the 90s A.D.  Actually, fear of community expulsion  long preceded the existence of even the Maccabees, and dates back to the Camp of Israel in the Wilderness 1551-1511 B.C., some 1650 plus years and more previously, let alone dating back specifically to Pharisaic dominance in Jerusalem with the arrival of Hillel some 93 or 94 years previously.   

What is really hilarious, is that the Methodist Seminary forgot to inform their students as of some 30 years ago (or whenever it was)   that the following year, the colleagues / fellow rabbis of Samuel the Lesser asked him to recite his benedictions against the heretics, and poor Samuel had no clue as to what they were talking about, as he utterly forgot them (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 28b).   Ooops. 

This tells us that Samuel the Lesser's benedictions against the heretics was just a type of mythology he created in order to be noticed and win brownie points amongst his peers.  But like with Rabbi Judah, multitudes of people down through the many centuries later hang their faith on such error, and it continues because too many fear to correct it.  I usually don't have that problem, though sometimes there is a time and place to be silent on matters.  And funny enough, the very word attributed to Samuel the lesser as meaning "Christians" in his "benedictions against the heretics"  was interpreted by one of the greatest of Jewish sages, Mainmonides (Rambam),  as really being Epicureans or Hedonists (the lovers of pleasure in both instances), rather than the Christians.

And what's more, (good grief! ) Samuel the Lesser, appears to have plagiarized his benedictions from an old work that was originally the benedictions against the Sadducees over 100 years earlier, before there was even an established denomination of Christianity within Judaism.   In other words, the hate that was applied to Sadducees was equivocated with that of Christianity in hostile testimony, which again leads us to see, along with their behavior during the 3 days and nights Christ was dead in the tomb, before His resurrection, along with the Apostle John's relation (an immediate inner access) to the Saduccee High Priest that year, that the Apostles were likely majority Sadducee Kohen or Sadducee Levites.

   The great Council of 90 A.D. Jamnia should be viewed as an 

embarrassment of history, rather than the reverse, it seems to me,

 and the use of a sky blue or "te'chelet" thread in every Tzittzit

 should be an uncompromising requirement of the Law of Moses 

upon everyone of the sons of Israel who observes the practice. 

That's my input.   

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