Forums Jews and Judaism Baba Mezia 114b

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    • Brother Gilbert Joseph
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      Twisted Interpretation: Baba Mezia 114b

      One comes across anti-Jewish literature and statements that the Talmud teaches that non-Jews are not human beings. What is the truth about this? One may find some intolerant and narrow religious Jews who will twist the teachings of the Talmud to interpret it that way. However, most scholarly and educated religious Jews and Rabbis will point out that the misquoted phrases from the Talmud do not refer to non-Jews in general nor to human beings (enash) in general.

      One such twisting of texts used by these anti-Semites is Baba Mezia 114b which they say it says:

      “The Jews are human beings. The non Jews are beasts and not human.”

      The word used by the Rabbis of the Talmud for non-Jews in this passage means pagan polytheistic idol star worshipers (עובדי כוכבים avdi khokhavim) and not Gentiles (goyim) in general such as Christians and Muslims who worship the one God of Abraham or people that honour the One Creator Spirit. However, even these pagan idol worshipers are made in the image of God and thus are human beings (enash or anashim).

      When the Talmud says they are “not called an Adam” it is not referring to the term Adam in the meaning of human being or man alone but of a man who tries to live out the vocation of the original Adam who lived in Divine Will in the Garden of Eden to proclaim the glory of God in the Universe. The people of Israel are thus referred to as an “Adam” referring to Ezekiel 34:31 in this mission or vocation to glorify God and thus be a light to the nations. Thus pagans who worship stars as gods are not “Adam” in this sense.

      Thus this passage in Baba Mezia 114b says:

      “For it is written, “And you my flock, the flock of my pastures, are Adam” (Ezekiel 34:31) only you are called ‘Adam’ and the star worshipers (avdi khokhavim) are not called ‘Adam’.”

      This is situated in a discussion by the Rabbis about the ritual purity of the priesthood and whether it is only the graves of the Israelites that make a Jewish priest ritually unclean and the grave of pagans (avdi khokhavim) do not. The anti-Semites have added the words about non Jews being beasts which do not appear at all in this text. The only ones referred to in relation to animals are the Israelites who are referred to as sheep of God’s flock.

      The term “avdi khokhavim” in Hebrew means literally “Workers of Stars” and thus infers these pagans are working magic or occultic powers with this star knowledge just as the priests in the Temple are the “Workers of God” who on behalf of the Jewish people and the whole world are doing the work (avodah) of glorifying God who created the stars and sanctifying and repairing the world and are thus doing the work (avodah) of Adam.

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