HOLD THE PHONE!
Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
Submitted by orange yonason (United States), Jan 17, 2006 at 23:12BS"D
With all due respect to the Pope, he does NOT have the authority to speak for Judaism. Furthermore, when he says something which is outright false, I can't be silent.
Above, he is quoted as saying,...
"This basic difference, Pope Benedict continued, makes Islam unlike Christianity and Judaism. In the latter two religions, "God has worked through His creatures. And so, it is not just the word of God, it's the word of Isaiah, not just the word of God, but the word of Mark."
I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he is merely ignorant of Jewish Law and Tradition, although that seems a stretch for someone of his reputed scholarship and attention to detail. Still, such ignorance is possible under the circumstances, and since if unrefuted his words may appear to be an authoritative statement to those unfamiliar with the facts, I have to say...
All he has to do is read a reasonably accurate (= Orthodox Jewish) translation of Psalm 119. The longest Psalm; it has 177 verses all in praise of The Torah, and in which you can read such statements as,...
(Verse 2) -- "Praiseworthy are those who guard His testimonies,..." - [The ephemoral requires no "guarding."]
(verse 4) -- "You have issued Your [not man's] precepts to be guarded diligently"
(verse 5) -- "...may my way be firmly guided by Your statutes."
Verses 6, speaks of G-d's "commandmants," verse 8 of His "ordinances," and verse 9 of His "word." All these terms are repeated many times throughout this and other Psalms. They all have a "legal" tone, because they refer to legally binding aspects of our "Torah," and of their source, it could not be legally binding if it were mutable or incomplete.
But among the clearest statements of the Torah's endurance found in this Psalm are....
(verses 151-152) -- "...You are nearby, Hashem, and all Your commandments are TRUE. From the start I gained knowledge from Your Testimonies, because You ESTABLISHED THEM FOREVER."
(verse 160) -- "You very first ordinance is TRUTH, and every ordinance of Your Righteousness is VALID FOR ALL TIME." [my emphasis here and above]
We are forbidden by Torah Law to either add to or subtract from Torah, so it is ridiculous to state that Isaiah, or any other Prophet relating the will of G-d, is speaking anything but Torah, especially when the Torah prescribes capital punishment for a prophet who speaks falsely in G-d's name, i.e., contradicts the Torah. The Prophet NEVER adds anything new to the Torah, only to our limited perception of it.
The Torah is complete, and thus not ammenable to tampering by activist theologians in an attempt to accommodate "advances" in science, "modern" sensabilities, or to make it more appealing to potential converts. So, how does Judaism keep pace with the times? The ability of an immutable Torah to deal with "new" developments throughout history stems not from our imaginations but from the fact that the Truth of Torah encompasses all possible future developments. It is the Will of the Eternal, after all.
It is very careless, at best, on the part of the Pope to equate Mark with Isaiah based on the falsehood that Isaiah's words aren't themselves words of Torah. No true Prophet ever came to do anything but clarify the Torah's meaning. I repeat: nothing new has ever been added, and never will be.
What I will accept that the Pope said is what I have long known, that the " Book Of Mark" records Mark's own words and that those words are not words of Torah, as the Pope himself admits. They are finite human words, and can therefore never be representative of the Truth of an infinite Torah or the Will of an infinite G-d.
Since the Law of an infinite G-d must be immutable, his admission that he believes Islam to be so will gladden the heart of every Muslim who hears it. Likewise, his confession that Christianity is not immutable may well give them even greater joy.
He may not realize it, but in his attempt to deligitimize Islam he has just validated it for them very powerfully, and as such "submitted" to Islam. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will leave to someone else to assess the implications of the Pope's words for the future of Catholicism.
On the Immutability of Judaism:
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