It is difficult to criticise Judaism without being labeled anti-Semitic these days. The Anti defamation league is such a powerful group that it is almost written into international law that to cast any aspersions upon the Jewish people is highly suspect and that the offender must, by nature, be a Nazi sympathiser.
It is not my deliberate intention to criticise Judaism. I held the belief for many years that the Jews were distant cousins of Christians, that both religions shared a common heritage, and that the Jews were, are and always will be, Gods chosen people.
I still believe that Gods covenants with the Jewish people will be fulfilled, but I have reached a greater understanding of the reasons as to why Jesus spoke so severely against the chief priests.
It was because the chief priests and rabbis of the time, adhered to Talmudic traditions that were against the teachings of God as described in the Torah.
The Babylonian Talmud is the written tradition of the pharisees. It relates to almost every aspect of everyday Jewish life, dealing with issues of law and judgement, family life and business.
However, some of the customs of the Talmud are distortions of the teachings of Moses and permit cheating and stealing, violence and sexual immorality.
As to the question of how relevant 2500 year old scriptures are to Judaism today, many 20th century rabbis have stated that Talmud ism is the essence of Judaism and rather than being reserved for ultra-Orthodox Jews, it is widely practiced, even taking precedent over the Torah as the main source of spiritual wisdom.
Matthew 23 describes Jesus condemnation of the Pharisees. Here are just some of His accusations.
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them”.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to”.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are”.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean”.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation”.
Jesus spoke of these people in the harshest terms because of their practice of Talmudic tradition.
It remains at the heart of Judaism to this day.