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Namusa and aurayta
Shlama Akhay,

Here is my opinion on the matter, excerpted from a lengthy essay I just completed called "The Path to Life". Obviously this is coming from a Messianic-Jewish perspective, but I respect the diversity of opinion on this matter. I say this because I know this fact can get obscured by people not used my writings, and largely due to my strong rhetorical style.

It is also worth noting that this writing is in effect preaching to the choir. I do not, and have never had, the desire to pull people out of churches. I do however try to assist people who are genuinely looking to further understand the Hebraic roots of their faith, but this is not meant to be a firebrand for those who are comfortable where they are, nor is it an invitation to debate and go ino a theological area that is not the focus of this list. Alternatively, for a "first contact" scenario to borrow a little from 'Star Trek', I would do little else except refer them to the works of Doug Trudell, who is a very learned Gentile that has specialized in this arena. He does the work that I neither wish to do nor would be very good at.

Instead, my goal here, since this issue came up and my name got mentioned a few times, is to give you the real scoop on what I have put down as my official position, and that is all.

With that disclaimer out of the way then, here is what I wrote:

Part 1: The Vocabulary of Wisdom

Moving on then, let us look at our first major task.

In the Tanakh, the word "Torah" actually is better translated as "instruction" rather than "law", and what we have seen in the last 2,000 years is a massive amount of ignorance on the part of the Gentiles who erroneously sort the requirements in the Torah into a Jewish-only pile. The fact is there is not one single reference to the Sabbath, the Great Feasts, or any other commandment in the Torah as being "Jewish law". Instead, what we are told several hundred times is that these are YHWH's laws that are being given to the children of Israel. Furthermore, we are also told that there is only one instruction for both Israelites and foreigners. Such a doctrinal point then dovetails well with the consistent message of the apostles that Gentile followers of Y'shua become part of the commonwealth of Israel, and are therefore subject to her laws, (Exodus 12:48-49, 20:8-11, Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14, 15:13-16, Romans 11, Ephesians 2).

Another consideration that needs addressing is the way "Torah" is translated into the New Testament. In a few cases, the word in Aramaic for "Torah" is this:

For the Prophets and Torah (aurayta--atyrwa) prophesied until John (the Baptist).

Matthew 11:13

Or haven't you read in the Torah (aurayta--atyrwa) that on the Sabbath the priests in the Temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?

Matthew 12:5

Love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All of the Torah (aurayta--atyrwa) and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Matthew 22:40

This precious word, aurayta, is derived from the same root and meaning of "Torah". In Hebraic thought, righteousness takes two particular forms. The first one is "to shoot straight", as if morality were an archer who always hits the target. By contrast of course, to be evil is "to miss the mark". More fundamentally however is the fact that "Torah" comes from the root aur (rwa) meaning "light", since righteousness and understanding are often thought of as spiritual light, as we see here:

Send forth Your light (rwa) and Your truth; they will lead me; they will bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place, that I may come to the altar of Elohim, Elohim, my delight, my joy; that I may praise You with the lyre, O Elohim, my Elohim.

Psalm 43:3-4

Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light (rwa) to my path.
Psalm 119:105

For the commandment is a lamp. The teaching is a light (rwa), and the way to life is the rebuke that disciplines.

Proverbs 6:23

Switching back over to apostolic times, and in every other place in the New Testament where Torah is mentioned, the word used there is namusa (aowmn), the Greek cognate being of course nomos (nomos). Although I will be dealing with the Aramaic usage primarily here, it is important to state that the word's duality of meaning on the Aramaic side is also evident from the Greek as well. However, unlike the Greek nomos, aowmn has certain grammatical rules that clearly tell us which meaning is intended. By contrast, nomos, while having the same meanings as its Aramaic counterpart, needs a much more intense contextual study to realize the true intent of the translator into Greek

And so, talking from the Aramaic view, when it stands by itself, as it does in Matthew 5:17, namusa means "Torah at Sinai" just like aurayta does in the other verses. Further, when conjugated as namusa d'Moshe (law of Moses) or namusa d'Eloah (law of Elohim), namusa would still have this meaning.

However, when it is conjugated in other ways, such as Ephesians 2:15, it cannot mean "Torah". Instead, the better reading of namusa in that place and in several other key passages is "man made rules" or "regulations of the Pharisees". The Greek backs this usage up beautifully in Ephesians 2:15 also by recording the word dogma for the phrase "ordinances", which can also only mean man-made doctrines. The Aramaic carries the meaning to an even clearer level though by conjugating the phrase as namusa d'poqda b'poqadonhi, or "regulations of commands (dogma, rules of the Pharisees) contained in his commands (Y'shua's true teaching) is abolished, leaving only the truth for the faithful to follow. Obviously no one else but Y'shua could be the "he" behind those commands, since only Y'shua can forgive sin!

And so, to reinforce these lexical rules, we can now turn to some other instances where it is clear that namusa cannot mean "Torah":

Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of namusa?

Romans 3:27

For I joyfully concur with the namusa of Elohim in the inner man, but I see a different namusa in the members of my body, waging war against the namusa of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the namusa of sin, which is in my members.

As if these are not sufficient, here are two places where namusa is considered changeable or temporary:

And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according the namusa.

2 Timothy 2:5

For when the priesthood has changed, of necessity there takes place a change of namusa also.

Hebrews 7:12

The next word we need to understand though is also contained in Ephesians 2:15. The word poqda, sometimes also rendered as poqadona, is the direct cognate of mitzvah (hwum) , the Hebrew word used to denote the commandments of YHWH, as we see here:

Now YHWH said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment (hwum) which I have written for their instruction."
Exodus 24:12

The final synonym then for "Torah" is davar (rwd), since the Ten Commandments are literally referred to in Exodus 20:1 as "the words YHWH spoke", and it is also through the davar that YHWH's will for creation was implemented (Psalm 33:6). In this context then, as a spiritual command and not simply a generic word being uttered, davar is rendered in the Aramaic New Testament as miltha (atlm), the multiple meanings of which we have just discussed.

Additionally, miltha is the same root as mithleh, or "parables", so when Y'shua talks about uttering parables (mithleh) unknown since creation, he is speaking from the perspective of what he was at creation (miltha), or the Word.

Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth
Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth

Messages In This Thread
Namusa and aurayta - by Andrew Gabriel Roth - 02-08-2004, 03:07 PM
. - by drmlanc - 02-08-2004, 03:11 PM
[No subject] - by Yochanan - 02-28-2004, 04:34 PM

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