THE PHARISEES, THE TALMUD AND MODERN JUDAISM by Elizabeth Dilling
Bible scholars are aware that Jesus Christ denounced the Pharisees. He said they nullified all the Commandments of God by their Tradition, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:13; Matt. 15:6-9, etc.). His invective, in truth, cannot be equalled. All of Matthew 23 is like a whiplash. He likened Pharisaism to a whited sepulchre, indeed beautiful outwardly, but "inside full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness." Christ climaxed one condemnation after another with the expletive, "Hypocrites!" He called the Pharisees children of them that killed the Prophets. He foretold they would go on killing, crucifying and persecuting until the guilt for all the righteous blood shed from Abel on down would be upon them. "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Christ asked.
Christ is as utterly devastating of Pharisaism in the record of John 8. Although He admitted that His hearers were descendants of Abraham, He said they were, spiritually, of the devil. Christ told them:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44).
"But," says the disinterested Christian, "what has that to do with us today? What a group of Pharisees did two thousand years ago is over and done with!"
However, the missing link in Christian understanding on the subject of "Pharisees" is best supplied by the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (1943):
The Jewish religion as it is today traces its descent, without a break, through all the centuries, from the Pharisees. Their leading ideas and methods found expression in a literature of enormous extent, of which a very great deal is still in existence. The Talmud is the largest and most important single piece of that literature … and the study of it is essential for any real understanding of Pharisaism.
Concerning the Pharisees, the 1905 Jewish Encyclopedia says:
With the destruction of the Temple (70 A.D.) the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees. Henceforth, Jewish life was regulated by the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older priestly tradition (Abot 1:1). Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. (See Exhibit 264 herein.)
Historically speaking, scripture believers had accepted Christ as the Messiah foretold. They were no longer "Jews," but called themselves "Christians." They were persecuted as such by the Pharisees. The word "Pharisee" comes from the word "separated." (See Exhibit 300.)
You may ascertain by turning to top Jewish authorities today that the Babylonian Talmud, the written form of the Tradition of the Pharisees, is the sole authority of the so-called "Jewish" religion, or Judaism.
Rabbi Louis Finklestein was chosen in 1937 by the Kehillas (Jewish communities) of the World as one of the top 120 Jews best representing "a lamp of Judaism" to the World, together with Maxim Litvinov (Finklestein), the Communist Commissar and bank robber terrorist; atheist communist Albert Einstein; those indefatigable Marxist reds, Harold Laski and his friend Felix Frankfurter (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) who shared honors with Rabbi Finklestein and others. Finklestein has long headed the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, with branches in New York and Los Angeles. In his two-volume work "The Pharisees." Rabbi Finklestein writes:
Pharasaism became Talmudism … But the spirit of the ancient Pharisee survives unaltered. When the Jew … studies the Talmud, he is actually repeating the arguments used in the Palestinian academies. From Palestine to Babylonia; from Babylonia to North Africa, Italy. Spain, France and Germany; from these to Poland. Russia and Eastern Europe generally, ancient Pharasaism has wandered. (See Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, and Exhibit 3 herein.)
In Rabbi Finklestein's history of the Jews, he states:
The Talmud derives its authority from the position held by the ancient academies. (i.e. Pharisee) The teachers of those academies, both of Babylonia and of Palestine. were considered the rightful successors of the older Sanhedrin . . . At the present time, the Jewish people have no living central authority comparable in status to the ancient Sanhedrins or the later academies. Therefore, any decision regarding the Jewish religion must be based on the Talmud as the final resumé of the teaching of those authorities when they existed.
[page 2] (The Jews — Their History, Culture, and Religion , Vol. 4, p. 1332, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1949).
"The Talmud: Heart's Blood of the Jewish Faith," was the heading of a November, 1959, installment of a bestselling book by the Jewish author, Herman Wouk, which ran serially in the New York Herald-Tribune.
The Talmud is to this day the circulating heart's blood of the Jewish religion. Whatever laws, customs or ceremonies we observe — whether we are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or merely spasmodic sentimentalists — we follow the Talmud. It is our common law.
Why is the Talmud kept so unknown to non-Jews? Why was there no usable English translation of the Talmud until the Soncino Edition, 1934-48? Why, in European history, when the laws of the Talmud became commonly known, was it burned over and over by order of the Popes, excoriated by Martin Luther, denounced everywhere, and its followers exiled from one country after another down through the centuries?
The Talmud's basic law is that only the Pharisee Jew ranks as a man, or human being. All others rank as animals, "the people who are like an ass — slaves who are considered the property of the master." The attitude resulting from such teachings has been resented by non-Jews in all countries and centuries. Such resentment, however, is always portrayed by Jews as "persecution of the Jews." [my emph.]
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