Hebraic Roots Movement - Part V
Post-Temple Jewish Life
The study of the Torah continued, even without temple services. The school established by Zakkai carried on the teachings of Hillel, interpreted the laws, and explained how each rule in the Oral Law was derived from the Torah. The Jews were instructed how they could continue to be Jews by keeping the laws of the Torah in their daily lives, even without the temple and all associated rituals. The synagogues, which were built in nearly every town by Jews in exile, became the chief meeting places and centers of worship. Study and prayer, rather than sacrifice, became the new way the Jew showed his devotion to God.
The rabbis of the learning academies deliberated on questions of Jewish law. Zakkai, upon building the institutions, also reinstated the religious court, which was headed by a president, referred to as a nasi. The descendants of Hillel were appointed to these prestigious nasi positions, otherwise known as Patriarchs. The leaders in the academies were called Tannaim, a title derived from the word meaning “to teach.” The Tannaim knew that war, persecution, and exile might cause the Jewish people to forget their law unless it was gathered and written down in one place. The old feeling that the Oral Law should remain unwritten began to fade away.
Patriarch Judah ha-Nasi edited the Mishnayot, which were statements of Oral Law, and organized them into the six Orders of the Mishnah. The Mishnah became the book of study for all Jewish schools. Scholars referred to as amoraim, from the root “to speak,” discussed and added commentary to the Mishnah. This vast collection of commentary was compiled and dubbed the Gemara. The pairing together of the statements of the Oral Law (Mishnah) and the scholarly commentary on the law (Gemara) became known as the Talmud. There are two Talmuds, one of which is the Jerusalem Talmud, and the other is the Babylonian Talmud, or the Talmud Bavli.
By the year AD 500, Rome did not permit any more Patriarchs. Actually, Christianity had become the state-sponsored religion of the Roman Empire, and converts were made by disallowing all other faiths to prosper. Though there were no descendants of Hillel that could be accounted for, Jews in exile continued to live according to the rules based on Hillel’s teachings that were established by the nasi.
The Modern Hebraic Roots Movement—Failure
It has been said, and rightfully so, that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, thus it is imperative for one to embrace the substance of the New Testament before one can truly benefit from the shadows in the Old Testament.
The modern Hebraic Roots Movement asserts that the opposite is true. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Hebraic Roots Movement neglects and altogether minimizes the sacrifice, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, emphasis is placed on the practice of Jewish traditions, which is entirely against the plan of God revealed in the Bible.
In reality, the modern Hebraic Roots Movement does not even resemble in the slightest God’s written law, which pointed to Jesus Christ, and is the very thing they are trying to follow! Yes, the church should pray for Israel; it is our indebted responsibility to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But the debt we owe Israel does not involve holding politicized gatherings or sending money for tree planting in the Holy Land. Very simply, the debt we owe to the Jew is the same as for the rest of the world: present them with Jesus Christ as Messiah.