I have either heard or read on more than one occasion that Yeshua DID practice the ritual handwashing ceremony of the Pharisees which is centered in upon in Matthew chapter 15 and Mark chapter 7. Each time I hear someone who follows the oral "law" of the Jews today they focus in on the fact that the Pharisees asked Yeshua why his disciples did not wash their hands (in the ritual prescribed manner) prior to eating bread. It is reasoned that if they asked about his disciples that he must have followed the tradition, but not his disciples.
This understanding even on the surface lacks tremendously. Just going on to read the context in each chapter shows that Yeshua did not see the practice as being binding. There is nothing in either chapter that insinuates that Yeshua did practice the washing. On top of this we have a clear text in Luke 11:37-40 that shows Yeshua DID NOT practice the washing when invited to dine with none other than a Pharisee.
"As He was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in a reclined at the table. When the Pharisee saw this, he was amazed that He did not first perform the ritual washing before dinner. But the Lord said to Him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and evil. Fools! Didn't He who made the outside make the inside too?" [HCSB]
It is abundantly clear that Yeshua did not follow the traditional hand washing ritual, and this is because it was not part of the only true Torah, that which was written.
Why do certain people continue to proclaim that Yeshua followed the traditions (oral)? I have to believe it is because these people carry the same spirit as many first century Pharisees. They for some reason believe the oral traditions carry weight and are in some manner acts of obedience toward the Creator, and acts of holiness towards themselves.
4/19/2015 09:58:08 am
I have thought that there was no validity in the oral tradition and that Yeshua spoke against it, but when I realized that he also quoted from certain "halachic" traditions I began to question whether it was an all or nothing closed case. At present I am not fully decided on this matter but remain open. It appears certain from the gospels that at least the pharasees had "made the law of none effect" by some of their traditions. It would however make since that in regards to certain commandments in the torah that are not fully clear, that if there had been any misunderstanding of those instructions, that Moses would have conveyed to Israel by practical example or oral form how to obey them. But the talmud goes way beyond this and it is obvious that it cannot in totality represent "the" oral tradition given to the people by Moses, for it outright contradicts the torah in many instances. If anyone can shed light on this subject, please do.
4/19/2015 11:38:04 pm
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Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.