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Tet - The Torah Cannot be Changed

The Ninth Principle -

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The Torah Cannot be Changed

The ninth principle of Jewish faith is the (incorrect) belief that the Torah given to Moses on Mount Sinai is entirely unchangeable and never to be superceded by another form of Torah. In other words, the revelation of Torah is final and immutable.

Ani ma’amim be’emunah sh’leimah, shezot ha-Torah
lo t’hei muchlefet velo t’hei Torah acheret
me’eit ha-borei yitbarakh sh’mo.

“I believe with complete faith that the Torah will not be changed nor will there be another Torah from the Creator, blessed be His Name.”

Maimonides explains, “If any prophet comes to alter the Torah, we immediately know that he is a false prophet. It does not matter whether he is Jewish or gentile, or how many signs and miracles he performs. If he says that God sent him to add or subtract a commandment...he is a false prophet. The same is true if he teaches that the commandments were only given for a limited time and not forever.”

Only the most rigorous Orthodox Jews maintain such a strict adherence to the Torah, though “Torah” is often qualified as referring to both the written and oral traditions of Judaism. The Reform tradition, for instance, believes that revelation from the LORD is progressive, and therefore subject to contextualization within different cultures and times.


In the Brit Chadashah:

As written in the Brit Chadashah, Yeshua the Mashiach adhered fully to the highest view of the written Torah (as well as the Prophets and the Writings). Jesus Himself was a Torah-observant Jew. He did not come to abolish Torah, but rather to fulfill its inner purpose and reveal its ultimate nature (Matt 5:17-18). Yeshua is the end (telos) of the Torah (Rom 10:4) as well as its full supply (from the Greek word pleirao in Matthew 5:17).

This is an involved topic, so I will keep my comments to a minimum here. Understanding Torah as a set of rule-following prescriptions is not genuine freedom, since the aim of the Torah is to transcend itself in sacrificial love. As Yeshua plainly taught, the greatest commandment of Torah is to love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:36-40). Yeshua Himself affirmed these core truths of the Shema and lived them out in His earthly life and death on our behalf.

When Yeshua fulfilled the intent of the Torah, He was not removing the righteous requirements that the Torah itself maintained. The Torah indeed is righteous and good, and its demands for holiness are non-negotiable, even today! But Yeshua fulfilled the demands of the Torah on our behalf. He did not abolish Torah, but rather completed it and His righteousness is imputed to us by faith in His love (Romans 4).

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