Ask the rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Basics of Jewish Faith

Old-New Testament


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

9 Tammuz 5764
As a Jew I am troubled by contrasting views of the old testament and the new testament. I read the torah and find large portions of it dealing with "fire and brimstone", eye for an eye, stonings, war rituals etc. In the new testament the reoccuring theme is "love the neighbor, turn the other check," etc. I find the contrasts disturbing as a jew. Help me if you can
I'm not quite sure I understood your conflict. First we should appreciate that there is an essential difference between the "Good Old Testament" or as we Jews call it – the Tanach, and the so called "New Testament"; - the first one written by G-d and his true prophets and the later by men and no divine inspiration. I'm no authority on the New Testament but in Tanach you can find endless quotes that explicitly teach us to be kind, such as: Shmot 20 6, Vayikra 19 18, ibid 34, Micha 68, and many many more. Interesting to see that throughout history you may find the Church forgetting these teachings of kindness when it came to treating Jews. (Spanish inquisition, crusades etc) Similarly one should learn to use the opposite of kindness in different situations, and the Torah teaches us that also. Another main essential difference is that Torah speaks about a legal system – not only a religious one like Christianity and built in any legal system are punishment and penalties. Kol Tuv
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