Metaphors in the Torah: Va’etchannan (Deuteronomy 3.23 – 7.11)




Illustration: Moses Pleading with Israel
By: Providence Lithograph Company

This week’s Torah portion gives us one of the main justifications for the belief that the written Torah is NOT the literal truth and is based on metaphors. In short: the Torah says that it is okay to kill every man, woman, child and animal of the Canaanites, but it is forbidden to cut down their fruit trees.

The animals have also sinned against God? Little babies have also sinned against God? What about what we read in previous Torah portions that anyone under the age of 20 does not know the difference between good and evil? Apparently, the Canaanites had an excellent pre-school program….

Another important aspect of this week’s Torah portion makes a distinction which today’s “religious Jews” fail to notice again and again and again: that there are the gentile peoples of the land of Canaan and there are gentile peoples of other lands. So, when the Torah says not to give one’s sons and daughters to the people of the land (and a very important part of this commandment is that it clearly says “sons and daughters”) it doesn’t mean that intermarriage is forbidden and it certainly doesn’t mean: “Judaism passes thru the mother”. What it is saying is that the seven nations of the Land of Canaan did something that was considered to be an abomination to the Lord and it was forbidden to have any sort of relationship with them, but it was okay to have relations with, and even intermarry with, an Egyptian or other peoples not associated with the land of Canaan. Thus, the very first wife of King Solomon was an Egyptian.

Later, Ezra will change this law and say that Egyptians are also forbidden, but Ezra is NOT included in the Books of the Law and his interpretation goes against everything that is written in the Torah (i.e. thou shall not abhor an Egyptian). Furthermore, even Ezra notes that it is forbidden for the sons AND the daughters to marry other peoples.  

Va’etchannan also says that it is okay to take the women and children of peoples not on the forbidden list, but the Israelites must STILL kill their males. So again: it is okay to accept totally foreign women and totally foreign children into the community; yet Ezra felt it was necessary to expel children who are halve Jewish.

Thus, I guess we can only thank God that Ezra wasn’t alive during the time Jacob and his sons were living in Canaan; otherwise he would have expelled ALL their wives and children and there would have been no Israelites what so ever.


Another very, very important element to be found in this week’s Torah portion is the repetition of the Ten Commandments and the command to put them on one’s doorpost etc, etc.

Do Orthodox Jews place the Ten Commandments on their doorposts?

Answer: NO, THEY DO NOT !

This week’s Torah portion goes on to say that the people must obey God’s commandments, follow God’s statutes, follow God’s testimonies…

Do Orthodox Jews follow God’s  commandments, statutes and testimonies ?

Answer: NO, THEY DO NOT !

Whose commandments, statutes and testimonies do the Orthodox Jews follow?


Does anyone in the Torah obey all of God's commandments and statues?
Answer: Yes, God clearly told Isaac that his father Abraham obeyed ALL his commandments and statutes.
This is extremely significant, because today Orthodox rabbis teach that Abraham wasn't really Jewish.....

Va’etchannan then goes on to predict that the Israelites will be punished and dispersed all over the world for not following God’s laws. Well, we all know that the Pharisees and Tannaim established religious schools about 200 years before the 2nd temple fell. We all know that the religious schools of Hillel and Shammai existed and that they had famous students such as Yochannan ben Zakai.

In fact: even Paul of Tarsus, the founder of the Roman Catholic Church, was a Pharisee and student of Hillel and Yochannan ben Zakai (Maybe that is the reason that Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholic priests dress in such a similar fashion).

So, if these religious scholars counseled the people NOT to place the Commandments on their doorposts and NOT to follow all of God’s commandments and statutes, doesn’t that seem to be the likely cause of the dispersal?

But no, the rabbis now teach that the Jews were dispersed because the people did not follow their oral laws…. Really? In the years prior to World War II did the people have God’s Ten Commandments on their doorposts? Or: Did they have the mezuzahs of the rabbis which do not contain God’s commandments?

Seems to me that the Jews of Europe did indeed follow the teachings and oral laws of the rabbis …In fact, they followed these teachings religiously….(Just re-watch the movie: "The Fiddler on the Roof").

Now ask yourself: Today, whose teachings do the Jews in the United States follow?