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1964: Billie Hollingshead - The Jewish of Jesus and His Teachings


 1964: Billie Hollingshead - The Jewish of Jesus and His Teachings

 Already a full professor of psychology at Brigham Young University when she was appointed a member of the original faculty of Church College of Hawaii, Billie Hollingshead brought her uncompromising standard of excellence not only for herself but soon for her students with her to her new post. An A.B. degree from Texas Women's University in 1922 provided ample preparation for both the M.A. (1929) and Ph.D. (1935) degrees, from Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California, respectively.
Despite a heavy teaching load in education and psychology, she indulged a creative whim by introducing Hebrew to Church College students, simultaneously sowing the seed for ideas harvested later in the second McKay lecture. As Chair of the Psychology Department and Co-head of the Division of Education, she was also named Senior Professor in recognition of her many contributions to the College; indeed, the early and continuing success of the College's teacher education program devolved primarily because of her unflagging efforts. A convert to the Church, "Dr. Billie," as students affectionately address her, died in 1987.

 


 

My dear brothers and sisters,

I certainly feel humble in appearing before you to try to give you an insight into the Jewishness of Jesus and his teachings. The beautiful hymn that you have just heard sung, "Shalom," is the watchword of the Jewish people and has been since there first started a Jewish people.1 The word means, actually, peace. It also means love, perfection, a greeting, security, happiness, and all the things that "Aloha" means to Hawaii, plus that spiritual meaning of peace to the world--peace through service to God, through love of God.

I feel that in order to understand Jesus and his contributions, we have to know something about His background. People don't just happen at age thirty-three. They are the product of a long line of ancestors, of a family line, of a faith, of a national culture, and of a local culture; and Jesus was a product of these things also. We have to understand some of these things to really understand what he considered his mission, and what we consider his mission.

First, let's take up something about His birth--the Jewishness of His birth. We know that He came from a long line of Jewish people. Matthew tells us about it and traces his ancestry back to Abraham (1: 1-17). Luke traces it back to Adam (3: 23-38), who was a son of God, and who has a longer ancestry than that? We want to know what kind of [people] He c[a]me from, which of the various groups of Jews, because Jews have never been just one group. For example, at the time of Jesus' birth, there were four groups of Jews. There were Zealots, [which] He could not have been because the Zealots believed in war to bring forth the time of the Messiah. He would not have been from the Essenes because they were a group that led themselves away, and stayed in enclosed places most of the time and did not believe--that is, most of the Essenes--in associating with the rest of the [Jews]. He could not have been a Sadducee because they were the rich noblemen and were the people who were the high priests after the Maccabean era. So [that] leaves Him the Pharisee group to have come from, which more than likely He did. His father very likely was a Pharisee, and, because of the Pharisaic teaching of Jesus, and the Pharisaic ideas running through all His teachings, we know that He must have been from [that] class.

The word "Pharisee," by the way, means a separatist, the people who separated themselves from the common running-away from the gospel in Babel--Babylonia. While in Babel, or Babylonia--whichever one we desire to call it--the Pharisees separated themselves and studied in the synagogues. That was the starting of the synagogues. They were the ones that kept the Gospel pure. It was too bad that later on they became looked down on in many ways, but we'll come to that in a minute.

So Jesus probably came from that class, spiritually. Economically, He probably came from the lower-middle economic class. He did not come from the rich people, but He came from a family that was humble, that made a good living, that were honest and modest, and undoubtedly faithful to the law, and reasonably well educated.

We know that just before Jesus was born, it was taxation time (Luke 2: 1-5). We know that Rome dominated all of Palestine at this time. In fact, Graeco-Roman civilization had penetrated and infiltrated into Palestine and into various types of Hebrew life. So Joseph went down to Bethlehem to be taxed because he was of the family of David, and Bethlehem was called the City of David (Luke 2:4). So they went down there to be taxed in true Jewish style, and in order to obey the commandments that they stick together as a tribe and as a family. Now that's given to us in Luke 2: 5. Micah 5: 2 says that they went down there so that he would be born in Bethlehem. That is true Pharisaic-Jewish style too, because any time you say anything, you must prove it by another verse in the Bible. So we have this going on and on and on throughout the New Testament.

We know that Jesus went down there and was born in the stables in a manger. As we said in Sunday School a few weeks ago, that wasn't a bad idea at all because the stable was clean, and the manger was warm. It was a hollowed out stone place, and he probably was more protected from the winds there than he would have been had he been on a bed. Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes (Luke 2: 7). That was the Jewish style, to swaddle their babies. "Swaddling" means that they wrapped [babies] around and around in blankets, usually silk or wool. Then the cords or ribbons were wrapped in certain patterns around them. He was swaddled in true Jewish style. Anybody that would have come upon this child in a manger would have known, "this is a Jewish child," just [as] when Moses was swaddled and put in the little ark of bulrushes. When the princess opened that up and saw him, [she] knew it was a Jewish child (Ex. 2:3-7).

Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, were very strict in their obedience [to] the laws, and our New Testament tell[s] about Mary's purification (Luke 2: 22). Th[at] law was given back in Leviticus 12: 2-6. She went through her first seven days of purification; then they took the child Jesus to have the circumcision ceremony performed (2: 21). That dated back to the time of Abraham, and it was the sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and all of his posterity, that this sign of the covenant would be cut in the flesh, [so] there would be no way of their forgetting their covenant (Gen. 17: 9-14).

We could go on and tell you more about that and some [other] interesting things [such as the] bench called Elijah's Chair, where they always lay the baby first before it is circumcised. That's called Elijah's Chair because Elijah growled at the Lord and fussed at him and said that the people of Israel were forgetting their covenant--the covenant of circumcision (1 Kgs. 19: 9-15). God looked down and said, "Well, I don't think they're forgetting it very much, and if you think so, then we'll just give you a chair and you go sit and watch for everyone from here on out" (Midrash 29). That's an old midrash in the Talmud.2

Then, a few days later, they went from Bethlehem up to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord, in true Jewish fashion. Because [i]t had been ordered many, many hundreds of years ago that the first male child should be given to the Lord, they had to redeem Him, so they made an offering of two doves, so as to redeem the child and not sacrifice him, but just offer Him as a present to the Lord (Luke 2: 22-24).

We know that Joseph and Mary went down to Egypt and stayed for probably two years and [then] moved back up to the north[ern] part of Palestine in Nazareth (Matt. 2: 14-23). The Bible does not tell us anything else about him, except "And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." That's from Luke 2: 40. But we don't need to know more than that, necessarily. In Jewish style, they don't tell things about people's life unless it has a spiritual connotation. But the Hebrew people have always been a history-writing people. Mormons, being a branch of the Hebrew people, are a history-writing people too. Everybody writes their genealogy and their diaries, and I suppose you could have enough volumes to fill a whole Salt Lake City library just from Mormon writings. The Jews were the same way: they wrote their histories and kept histories, so we know about what Jewish people were doing during this time. We can guess pretty well what the child Jesus was doing and how Jewish His raising was. For instance, we know, as He grew up and was a child in Nazareth, that He went to school, to a bet safer; that means the "house of the book." Their word for schoolhouse is the "house of the book." We know that He learned Hebrew, for one thing, because that was the Biblical language, and He had to learn to read and write Hebrew. He also had to learn to read and write and speak--probably --Aramaic.

I'd like to stop right now and just show you a few words in Hebrew that my Hebrew class have fixed for us. Beth, will you help us? By the way, Beth's name, beth, means "house of," in case you want to tease her some time. This is Jesus' name; this is Yeshua [which] actually is Joshua, and Joshua is actually Yehoshua. That means that "God will save"; that's the reason we say that Jesus' name's the "Savior." This is the Messiah, Mashiah. That means the "anointed one." This is the word Shalom, the song that Joseph sang so beautifully. This word is Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, which means the "city of peace." This is part of the Shalom business; you see the root letters. This is Israel, Yisrael, which means "God striveth." The el part is for Elohim; the verb is for "striveth God." This is pesach, the Passover, which Jesus celebrated even to [the] last chance that he [had] to celebrate [it] (Matt. 26: 19-21). That was when He broke the bread and created the custom known as the Lord's Supper to follow the Passover (Matt. 26: 26-28). This is mezuzah; that really means the "doorpost." That's where the children of Israel started to leave Egypt, where they put the blood on the doorpost. Now, they have the little gizmo that has certain passages of the Bible in that I'll tell you about later, and they even call that little business the mezuzah also (Ex. 12: 7, 13).

Jesus, like all true Jewish children, took his bar mitzvah when He was thirteen years old, no doubt. This is the word, bar mitzvah. Bar is the Aramaic word for the Hebrew word ben which is the Hebrew word for the American word "son"; mitzvah is the commandment. So it means, the "son of a commandment."

He not only had to learn Aramaic and the Hebrew language, but He also had to study the law, the Torah. I'd like to show you a picture of a Torah. Torah means the "law." The law was written on pieces of skin, sewed together and put on the ends of sticks. This is a very fine picture that one of Annie's cousins, I think, drew for h[er] and for us. You see how it rolls this way and that way. That is a Torah. You see th[is] in any synagogue in the world today. This shows you a person in the synagogue. This is probably the way His teacher looked. This striped shawl is the prayer shawl or tallit that they wear over their heads while in the synagogue; that is, the orthodox Jew does, and th[ey] were all orthodox Jews at that time. In any synagogue you would see the seven branched candlestick which is one of the signs of Judah, and which is known as the menorah.

The Hebrew and the Aramaic languages are very strong languages. They don't fiddle-faddle with a bunch of adjectives and adverbs. Their strong words are nouns and verbs. When they say anything, they mean it. So, instead of using a multiplicity of adjectives and adverbs, they use metaphors and parables and allegories, and tell a strong truth in another language, for instance, like "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" (Matt. 5: 38). You know, many people think that actually if you happen to injure someone in their eye--should [it] be injured so that it would go out--you would have to pay for it by having one of yours gouged out. That would be [as] far from Jewish thought and teaching as the sky is the earth. It's only a metaphor. It means [that] for every misdemeanor, or for anything that anyone did wrong, there is a punishment that fits it. For an injury that might [be] something about an eye, there's a punishment to fit that; if it's a tooth injury, there's a punishment to fit that. Actually this is the basis of all insurance laws, because we give monetary rewards for the loss of an eye, a leg, two legs, two arms. Read your insurance policy.

He also studied the Talmud. The Talmud was in oral form at that time and didn't reach its written form until two, three, or four hundred years later. But [i]t was passed down. It was the oral tradition of the interpretation of the Mosaic code. Everybody knew it, and they memorized literally thousands of pages of oral tradition, had it been written in pages. He memorized names and what they meant because the Jews believed that all names were sacred. You go back to the time of Adam when God let Adam name all of the animals, and every name has an inspiration (Gen. 2: 19-20).

He learned about eternity and the continuity of eternity, and the universality of God, and how everything in this world was sacred. Every move, every thing, was just part of God, and it was a part of eternity. He learned that time, as we see it on earth, was not time at all but just a speck floating on eternity. He had this idea which was [very] different from the materialistic Roman and Greek ideas. All of the things that He learned as a child in Nazareth, when He went to school, and as learned at his home, would clash with the Greek or Roman civilization. It was one ideology pitted against another ideology, [just as] ours is pitted against totalitarianism today.

We know also that, Jewish-like, He learned a trade. His father was a carpenter, so His father made a carpenter out of Him (Matt.13: 55). And that was Jewish. No Rabbi or no Pharisee ever would feel like they were a human being if they didn't also have a trade. It made no difference how high they were in learning, how much of a doctor they were, they still had a trade. One [reason] was to keep them humble, and to be able to give service to mankind, and to never be immodest in their learnings. Paul, by the way, Paul, the Apostle, was a tentmaker (Acts 18: 3). But which would you rather be, a carpenter or a tentmaker?

We know that Jesus wore the tzitzit. That is a fringe. It's more like what we'd call a tassel today. He started wearing that on his coat, his outer garment, when He was three years old, because all Jewish children [in] that day did. That goes way back to the Old Testament in Numbers 15: 38, where God told them to put fringes on the four corners of their garments and wear [them] forever as a testimony, and a remembrance to them so that any time that they saw this fringe they would remember. So He wore that on his garments from three years old until probably He went to the synagogue as a full-grown person when He had received his bar mitzvah. After that, He probably wore an undergarment which has marks on the tzitzit, these little tassels of a business--the orthodox Jew wore them then and still wear[s] them now--a garment worn next to their skin. The four marks are those little fringes on the four corners. It's more like an oblong, not an oblong, a rectangular business with a puka cut in the middle; it goes over the head like this and comes down about halfway to the waist. A good orthodox Jew in that day and age would not have taken four steps without his arba kanphot on.

We learn that He practiced benedictions, and learned benedictions, because the first thing a Jew, even of that day, did when he got up was start reciting a prayer or benediction. For instance, usually the first one they recited was the one that blessed the Lord because the cocks crow and wake them up and the rooster has the intelligence to crow of a morning and know when the morning gets there. But there are three main [benedictions] that we'll try to tell you about later.

We know that they ha[d] mezuzahs on their doorposts, one of the words I showed you. They had this little container, and [i]n that container were various scriptures. One of the main scriptures within this mezuzah was this, which is the watch word of Israel, their chief prayer and the last thing they say upon dying:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, should be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shall write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deut. 6: 4-9)

Every time they would pass this mezuzah, they would touch it and kiss their fingers. They still do that to this day. That is the reason [that], upon worshipping at the morning services, they put on this little box business up here on the[ir] heads and th[is] little box business here on their arms to go through the morning ceremonials. Within these little boxes is this scripture plus others that I won't take time to read to you (cf. Ex. 13: 9).

We know that He ate kosher food, and I won't talk to you too much about that because you can go down to a kosher restaurant at Ala Moana Center and get some for yourself. We know also that He had to take part in the synagogue prayers, as He went along, and as He was a young fellow. There are no clergy in the synagogue. It reminds us a great deal of our LDS Church--doesn't it--without paid clergy. Anybody could get up and talk; in fact, that was the rule of the day. Someone read certain scriptures; you read a certain section of the Torah--that's the first five books of the Bible--and then [you]read something from the Prophets, and sometimes the writings of lesser people like Daniel and such as that. That was called the Haphtarah. He probably listened to His father reading that and took part whenever He could. He didn't have the right to take a part as a grownup until He received his bar mitzvah, when He was thirteen. Children were considered adults at that time. He watched His father put the prayer shawl over his head and probably wished He were big enough to wear the prayer shawl, and so forth.

We know that He went to the synagogue to worship at least four times a week because all good Jewish fathers took their sons to worship. He went on Friday night, which is the beginning of the Sabbath, and Saturday morning which is the middle of the Sabbath day. It starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. Then He also went on Mondays and Thursdays in those days to read and study the Torah.

We know that He went through various celebrations and celebrated them just like little Jewish kids do today. In their celebrations, they dramatized [events] so that they actually relived them; it was something more than a celebration. They didn't sit and listen to somebody give a lecture about it, but they went in and engaged in it and dramatized it. For instance, there is Rosh Ha-shanah, which is their New Year; that celebrat[es] the creation of the earth. Their other famous day is Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement He must have gone through that with his father. He must have gone to the Passover services every year, too, that is, in Nazareth. He went to one when he was twelve years old, as we know. We'll get to that, too, pretty soon. We know that he went to the Feast of Weeks. Fifty days after the Passover was the Feast of Weeks (Deut. 16: 10). That was the Jubilee Year, and the Jubilee Day. That's where Pentecost comes from. By the way, "pentecost" is merely a Greek word meaning "a beginning of the feast of weeks." He celebrated the Tabernacles, where they went out and lived in little grass and bough huts in their backyards to celebrate the time when they were forty years in the wilderness (Lev. 23: 34-43). He celebrated Purim, which celebrat[es] the time when Esther saved all the Jews from being killed by Ahasuerus and the wicked Haman (Esth. 9: 20-32), and Hanukkah, which comes about the time of our Christmas, celebrating the time when the Maccabeans saved the temple and got back [at] the enemy, about 168 B.C. Probably through all this childhood, all these Jewish customs, [with] everything pointing to peace on earth, the Jewish idea of their mission to bring peace and goodness and harmony to the world, He began to get th[e] idea of His mission and make it blossom in his heart and in His soul, probably one of the reasons He studied so hard and knew His law from beginning to end.

When He was twelve years old, His parents took Him down to Jerusalem to the Passover. That's about [a] three or four days' journey. That's a long way to go from Nazareth down there. This was especially to prepare Him for his bar mitzvah when He was thirteen, because you had to begin to study real closely to be able to pass what we would call nowadays examinations, but it was to pass certain standards at that time (Luke 2: 42).

For example, they had to know various prayers. They had to know "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6: 4). They had to know the Amidah, the prayer of blessings that you give while you're standing. They had to know the Alenu, and they had to know various [others]. They had to know how to quote dozens and dozens of passages from the Torah, from the Bible. They had to know the oral tradition. So it was a time of tutoring and getting Him ready so that He could pass this. One way to get Him ready was to take Him down to Jerusalem to the Passover. It was there, when He was in Jerusalem, that He got to go before the doctors (Luke 2: 46-47). He would have wanted to be able to wear the tallit for one thing, too, and He enjoyed, probably, talking to the doctors and seeing them wear their tallits and knowing that pretty soon He could wear His.

For instance, just let me give you a little bit of another prayer that He had to know, the Barekhu. It starts out like this, "Praise be the Lord to whom all praise is due forever and forever. Not unto us oh Lord, not unto us. But unto thy name give glory for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake," and so forth3.

Let me skip along here a little bit. I'm afraid my time's running out. When He went to Jerusalem, let's just skip some things and see what the city looked like when He got there. We know that Rome was simply smothering Israel; in fact, they smothered every place. They did not conquer in many ways: they did not conquer by cruelty, except as a last resort. But they insinuated themselves into the life of the people. They insinuated themselves into the Hebrew life. In fact, they would accept their gods, and then, they would say, "Let's trade gods. You accept ours, and we'll accept yours." Then they would try to push that on them. And then they would say, "We'll give you money for your gods, and for what you believe in, and some of the projects you like," and make them satellites. So when He got there, they found out that the high priests were actually Roman puppets. The one high high priest was a Roman puppet, and he was subject to the Roman governor. He actually had to keep his temple vestments--the clothing he wore in the temple when he was in there to officiate--he had to keep that in the tower of Antonio. He had to get a permit to get them out and a permit to wear them. This continued until 36 A.D., when Pilate was ousted. The old Sanhedrin, [the council of] Jewish High Priests, was one of the most august bodies that the world had known, [was] supposed to be the most just, and was packed with conformists, that is, people who would conform to what Rome said, collaborators and aristocrats. It was packed with them. [This] does not mean that [it] was entirely [composed] of them because there were some excellent Jewish people in it.

There were [also] Sadducees that were ruling things. They were the people who were already Greekized to a great extent. They denied the oral tradition, they denied the Talmud, they denied that there was even a resurrection, they denied that there were angels (Acts 23: 8). All they believed [in] was just taking the law as it was written in Genesis, and that was it.

There were other upper class people that had collaborated and been bought, and there was the other extreme: the very, very poor people who were in despair over everything, and [whose] only hope was a Messiah. This must have touched Jesus' heart greatly. He saw these various classes and a great division of classes, and seemingly so few of the middle-class people. But they were the ones that were holding Israel together.

When He was thirteen, He undoubtedly received his bar mitzvah. In preparing for it, though, in talking with the doctors, we understand that they were astonished at Him (Luke 2: 47). But that was not an unusual thing. All Jewish kids twelve years old talked to the doctors in the synagogue. And they were delighted to talk to them; they were probably the Pharisees. The Sadducees would not have bothered with them. They were mainly in the temple, going ahead with temple rites. The [Pharisees] enjoyed talking back and forth. He was trained in the law; He was trained in the prophets; He was trained in the dialectics of the prophets of the law; and He knew how to hold His own, and they admired Him greatly. When He went home, and [i]n his thirteenth year, they undoubtedly had a celebration in the synagogue, and a celebration when they got home. He was given His tallit. He was able to go to the synagogue, take part in the services, take part as one of the quorum--they called it a minyan--[which must have] ten in [it in order to] officiate. He undoubtedly took His part as an adult at thirteen.

We do not know much about Him between thirteen [and] thirty, except we suppose that He stayed in Nazareth and plied His trade as a carpenter, did good wherever He could, went to the synagogue at all appointed times, said His prayers, said His benedictions, and was a good carpenter.

Let's jump a little further along and see how Jewish Jesus' teachings were. We can see that He was raised strictly as a Jewish boy. Undoubtedly, the two big influences in his life, outside of his home and the synagogue itself, were the Pharisees' doctrines and the Talmud. The Talmud, by the way, is a big book. The first part of it is called the Mishnah, and that is a commentary on the codification of the oral tradition of the Mosaic law, and the latter part is called Gemara and is a commentary upon a commentary of the Mishnah. They studied that and memorized it. It is a big book, and in the middle of a page there will be a little square business, [a] quotation from the Gemara. All around will be various opinions that various Rabbis through the centuries have added, and that's what they study. They know what everybody has said. It has often been said by Jewish students of the New Testament that the New Testament is merely an extension of the Talmud. A Jewish scholar knows the New Testament. Can we say that of Mormon scholars about the Old Testament?

The Pharisaic influence was great at that time; however, they were beginning to have outlived their usefulness. That is an odd thing, too--so many people do. We get so good, we get righteous; we get so righteous, we get self-righteous; and when we get so self-righteous, we're good for nothing. Even the Rabbis in the time of Jesus had begun to see that, and they deplored that the Pharisees were getting to be unrighteous. One of them put the Pharisees into seven groups (Cohen 100-101). Let me just read that right quickly for you--the groups of the Pharisees. One was the broad-shouldered Pharisee, who carried his religious duties on his back, ostentatiously. Then there [were] the stumblers who with excessive humility knocked their feet together. Can't you just see them? The headbangers, who looked down at the ground in order not to see passing women, banged their heads against the wall. My, they were modest. The pestles who bend themselves double as they walk; they are so humble they even bend over like a "U." There's a kind that says, "Tell me what is my duty so that I may go and perform it." That reminds me of some people not a thousand miles from here. There are those who do good out of fear. Is that any of us? There are those who do good out of love. Is that all of us? I think; I hope. I sometimes wonder if they could not have added one more when we think of various Pharisees and certainly [of] the Sadducees: those who do good out of greed for a reward in this world and the world to come.

We have various places in the Bible [which] mention good Pharisees. For instance, Luke mentions when several of them went to warn Jesus that Herod was after Him, and He said something about go tell that old fox so-and-so (Luke 13: 31-32). We know that Gamaliel pled for the Apostles, as told to us in Acts (5: 34-39). We also know that Paul was a good Pharisee and bragged about it (Acts 23: 6).

We know another thing that was so Jewish about Jesus' teaching was that He was a stickler for the law. He believed in strict obedience to religious observances. In Matthew, He says this: "Till heaven and earth pass," and that is a long time; when you think of "till heaven and earth pass," that is forever. "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or [one] tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever. . . shall break one of these least commandments. . . [is] the least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 18-19).

We have one of Jesus' wonderful teachings that were so Jewish on the tribute to Caesar, when He said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12: 17). When one of the scribes asked him what was the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12: 28), what is it He said? Jewish-like, it was "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. . . and [with] all thy mind and all thy strength." That's in Deuteronomy (Mark 12: 30; cf. Deut. 6: 4-5). Then he jumps to Leviticus: and "thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12: 31; Lev. 19: 18). These are the great ones, and none other exceed them (cf. Mark 12: 31).

We know that He also taught by allegory and metaphor and parable which we have said before, and which was strictly Talmudic, Pharisaic, and Jewish. The Talmud is just simply full of this kind of parable, as the New Testament [is]. There are two parts, though, to the Talmud. One are all these stories, parables and metaphors; they [are] called the Aggadah, and they are personal things. You don't have to believe them if you don't want to because some of them are not supposed to be believed. They're just supposed to be a way of speaking so as to put over the point. But whenever there's anything about the interpretation of the law, that part is called the Halakhah, and that is the law. For instance, the Talmud talk[s], as a metaphor, about why God made woman from Adam's rib instead of some other part of his body. It sa[ys] that [He] did not make h[er] from his eye because the woman would have been seeing too much. [He] did not make h[er] from his ear because she would have been always around listening at keyholes. [He] did not make h[er] from his arm because she would have been too strong and try to rule the home. [He] did not make h[er] from Adam's foot or leg because she would have been a gadabout. [He] did not make h[er] from Adam's mouth because she would have been a gossiper. So [He] made h[er] from Adam's ribs, from way, way within, so that she would be modest, and sweet and shy and retiring, like me (Genesis Rabbah 18: 2).

Then, we could go on and on and talk about the good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37), the rich fool (Luke 12: 16-21), the sower (Luke 8: 5-15), and various [other] things--every one of these things is an hour lecture, folks, but I won't take an hour on each one. [Instead,] we come to His temptation (Matt. 4: 1-11). Now, that is so, so Jewish, when He went out for forty days and forty nights to fast, and who did that before He did? Elijah did. You learn that from the 19th Chapter of Kings (1 Kgs. 19: 8). Enjoy[ing] style in trying to withstand Satan's temptation, He would quote him a verse of scripture every time. When Satan took Him up and asked Him if He would not turn these stones into bread to see if He would not be greedy for power and show-off that He could, He told him, "Man shall not live by bread alone," quoting from where? Deuteronomy 8: 3 (cf. Matt. 4: 4). Then, when Satan took Him upon a pinnacle and showed Him this and that, and asked Him to cast Himself down, again He quoted from Deuteronomy, "thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God," again trying to appeal to His greed for power (Matt. 4: 5-7; cf. Deut. 6: 16). Then, finally, upon the high, high mountain where he offered Him everything in the world--just how greedy could a person get to take that--again, He told him, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God," and that was from Deuteronomy (Matt. 4: 8-11; cf. Deut 10: 12).

It seems to me in reading so many of the things in our New and Old Testament we find that there is a universal principle running through, and that universal principle of evil is greed. I am wondering if all sins could not be traced to greed. Next time I get to teach a theology class that is not a methods class, I am going to give that to everybody for a term theme. Hope you'll take my course.

One of the most Jewish things there is is the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6: 9-13; Luke 11: 2-4). That is taken, actually, from verses and thoughts from many of the other Jewish prayers. Part of it is from the Kaddish. The Kaddish started out as an ending prayer; then it went on to [become] a prayer in between various things in the synagogue; then it became a prayer that is recited--it's actually a praising prayer--recited at the death of people, and Jesus more than likely recited that Kaddish at the death of His father Joseph. Let me just read you the Kaddish. When you go to the synagogue, you'll hear this read in honor of people who have died during the year:

Magnified and sanctified be his great name in the world which he has created according to his will. May he establish his kingdom during your life and during your days and during the life of all the House of Israel, even speedily and at a near time, and say ye Amen. Let his great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed, praised and glorified, exalted, extolled and honored, magnified and lauded be the name of the Holy One. Blessed be he. Though he be high above all the blessings and hymns, praises, and consolations which are uttered in the world, and say ye Amen, Amen. May there be abundant peace from heaven and life for us and for all Israel and say ye Amen, Amen. He who maketh peace in his high places, may he make peace for us and for all Israel, and say ye Amen.

It is also very similar to the Alenu and to the Amidah. For instance, in the [Lord's Prayer], "thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6: 10) sounds like the Alenu which goes, "Therefore, do we wait for thee, oh Lord, our God, soon to behold thy mighty glory. Then shall the inhabitants of the world accept the yoke of thy kingdom, and thou shalt be king over them speedily forever." "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6: 11) sounds a great deal like Proverbs which is [in] our Bible as well as the Jewish Bible: "Feed us with food convenient to you" (cf. Prov. 30: 8). "Forgive us our trespasses" (cf. Matt. 6: 12; Luke 11: 4) reminds us of one of the benedictions from the Amidah: "Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned against thee. Wash away our transgressions from before thine eyes. Blessed art thou, oh Lord, who does abundantly forgive."

Let me see, I want to tell you something about the Beatitudes (Matt. 5: 3-11). I think I have time to do that. The Sermon on the Mount [is] one of the most Jewish things that we have. For instance, "Blessed are they [that] mourn" (Matt. 5: 4)--a counterphase from that comes from the Talmud: "Unhappiness redeems souls" (Pesikta, Piska 34; cf. Ps. 34: 22). "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5: 5). In the Sukkah section of the Talmud, "the meek possess the earth and enjoy indestructible peace" (Sukkah 29b; cf. Ps. 37: 11). "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall [obtain] mercy" (Matt. 5: 7) comes from the Shabbat section: "If any man pities another, God will pity him" (Shabbat 151b; cf. Prov. 19: 17). I could give you hundreds more, folks. I've just barely touched on all this to give you an idea of how great our background is, how great we are in blessings of knowing that we have our New Testament and Old Testament, how blessed we are that Jesus was raised in such a wonderful family and came from such godly parents, how blessed we are to have so many scriptures and [have] the inspiration [to] know this, to study all of our scriptures so that we can be an honor to God and an honor to Jesus.

I think that th[e] lesson to us today should be that we should seek the commonality of belief in all of the people who believe in one God--the Jewish people, all of the Christian people in the world, all of even the unbelievers, because the time is coming when there is another clash [of] ideologies in the world, and we must win this time, as we won the last time. [One] ideology now is just as harsh on Christianity and the belief in one God--monotheism--as it ever was in any other day; that is the ideology of totalitarianism which denies God. It is the nonbelievers, the deniers of God, against whom we must align ourselves. Everybody in the world has got to make a decision. Let us hope that we can make the right decisions and help other people to. That is our mission. One of the missions of Jesus was to take the Gospel, the Gospel of God the Father, to everybody in the world. That is part of ours, to take the message of God and of Jesus to all the world, so that everybody will be capable of making a decision.

Decisions! Decisions! The valley of decisions! We are in the valley of decisions now, and there will be multitudes of us. I pray in the name of the Messiah that we can be worthy of the great honor that's come to us, to be born of the House of Israel, and that we will live the lives that we are supposed to, and live so that we can take this message to all nations, tongues, and peoples (Rev. 14: 5). Amen.

Notes

1Ed. Note. Joe Ah Quin, the famous bass, who was then a student at Church College of Hawaii, sang a poignantly mysterious setting of "Shalom"; later in the her lecture, Hollingshead again refers to him as "Joseph." Back to Top

2Ed. Note. Rabbi Richard Leibovitz of the Naval Chaplain's Office, Pearl Harbor Naval Station, provided the source for this midrash from Rabbi Eliezer, which Hollingshead incorrectly places in the Talmud. Back to Top

3Ed. Note. Hollingshead here paraphrases Cohen, who in turn paraphrases Tractate Sotah, Folio 22b of the Talmud. I am again indebted to Rabbi Leibovitz who located the Talmudic source of this reference, and whose suggestions for pursuing other sources possibly used by Hollingshead proved both inspired and useful. Back to Top

4Ed. Note. Apparently, Hollingshead here and elsewhere in her lecture has used her own free translations of sacred Jewish prayers.

Works Cited

The Bible.

Cohen, Abraham. Everyman's Talmud. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1932.

Genesis Rabbah. Mishnah Rabbah. Trans. Harry Freedman and Maurice Simon. 10 vols. London: Soncino P, 1939. Vol. 1.

Midrash: The Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer the Great. Trans. Gerald Friedlander. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1966.

Pesikta Rabati. Trans. Meir Friedmann. Vienna: n. p., 1880.

The Talmud.