in leviticus it says that if two people of the same gender lie in bed together it is sinning. But it also says that to eat anything from the sea other than tuna is bad. So why do we consider eating at Red Lobster not sinning but gay marriage sinful??if you can eat at Red Lobster your free to have a gay marriage right? Or else shouldn’t we not eat at Red Lobster?? Shouldn’t we have one or the other? or we could just continue the way we are now, and have one but not the other.

Leviticus is a book in the Torah that technically speaking is applicable only to the Jews under the Old Covenant, namely the Abrahamic Covenant, the covenant of the circumcision. The Law, ie the Torah, does not in any way applies to Gentiles, ie non Jews, at all.

And today, the Law is no longer applicable, to anyone at all - eg how can the Jews today perform the daily sacrificial rituals that is commanded by God in the Torah? And where is the Levitical priesthood today to perform them?

The reason for this, from a Christian perspective, is that Jesus Christ, with his death and ressurrection instituted a New Covenant - how this is so is another matter - a Covenant that although superceding the Old is in fact the design of God from the very beginning, ie the Original Covenant, namely the Covenant of Grace, as even the authors of the Old Testament books have acknowledged.

However the books of the Old Testament remain relevant to all who seek God today, for they are evidences and testimonies of God relationship with men, specifically in the context of Israel. But God being the same unchanging God will relate to others just as he did with Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, Jonah, Samuel, Rebecca, Hannah, Sarah, Naomi etc etc

Further the Laws, although not operative as “laws” are nonetheless precious and relevant, for they give insights into the wisdom of God, as the author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament explains it.

ok i already knew most of that cuz i’m Jewish. But they remain relevant to us because we don’t believe that Christ was the Messiah, and that we’re still waiting for him to come

relevant to the Jews in what sense?

because we don’t believe Jesus Christ was the Messiah!

What I meant is that are the Laws still operative? Yes rites like the circumcision and the Sabbath are still adhered to but what about the other rituals for which it is now impossible to conduct, like the daily sacrifices and the burnt offerings which all requires the Levitical priesthood? What is the Jews’ reconciliation of the disparity between what is commanded and what is actually and possibly practiced today in the real world? And if the detailed rites and rituals are not to be followed literally then what does the Law mean today for the modern Jew?

There are 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Hebrew Bible. Some of them relate specifically to the Temple in Jerusalem and since there is no Temple at the moment, the mitzvot do not apply. It is a traditional Jewish belief that when the Messiah comes, He will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. There are also some mitzvot (agricultural ones) which apply only to the theocratic state of Israel which does not exist, these are also not observed.

At last count there are 77 positive mitzvot (i.e. You shall do this) and 194 negative ones (You shall not) which apply outside of Israel. These are very much relevant and observed by Halakhic (observant) Jews today.

  • ben

Is the Messiah to come from the tribe of Levi?

Also the commandments concerning such as stoning for some offence, or eye for an eye, why are they not applicable or not applied? What is the rationale for such a ‘reinterpretation’ of the Law? Is it justifiable to obey some parts of the Law and not obey others?

“Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10.”

More specifically, it’s believed that the Messiah will come from the line of David (who is from the line of Judah). Why do you ask this question?

I’m not an expert on these issues (I had a search but couldn’t find the sources) but from what I’ve experience of Orthodox Judaism is that there are “get-out” clauses which claim to “adhere to the law completely” while conveniently getting round it. You are right in your stoning example in that a son who strikes his parents should be brought to the town and stoned to death. This is a passage in Torah (first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible) yet there is a commentary in the Talmud which says that certain conditions must be met before the son can be put to this trial. This includes having three external witnesses and that the parents themselves have to take the son to trial. The point is, that these conditions will never reasonably be satisfied and so the law is never enacted. I don’t mean to simplify the system, no doubt an observant jew will be of the opinion that this is a valid justification for circumventing the law.

With respect to “eye for an eye”, I’ve always been lead to believe this is a Jewish precept and is always put in contrast to the Christian doctrine of “turn the other cheek”. Of course you have to put this law into context of other laws which command Jews to “follow the law of the land” and to “love thy neighbour as thyself”.

So, to your question, an orthodox Jew will claim he is not reinterpreting the Law and that he is obeying all the Laws that he has to and the ones that he isn’t following, have justifications in commentary and scripture.

Contrast this to a Reform/Liberal/Progressive Jew who will reject the authority of the Law and not consider it binding. Once the Law is rejected as binding, it is no longer a contradiction to carry out some mitzvot and not others. And that’s a whole other topic!


  • ben