Elements of the Prophetic Way that was lost in Rabbinic (Modern) Judaism

A little history….the Torah and all of its 613 laws that were given to Moses mainly revolve around 2 items… The first being the laws of the Temple Service, the bringing of animal sacrifices to Kohanim (priests) for the remission of sin.  The second being the laws regarding Living in the Holy Land of Israel.  When the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, and subsequently, the Jewish people were exiled out of the land of Israel in 135 CE, the Rabbis had to come up with a methodology to preserve the way of the Torah and the Israelite Prophets.  This resulted in the redaction of the Mishnah (Oral Tradition of the Pharisees) by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi (Judah the Prince) in 189 CE.   In subsequent generations, many commentaries formed around the Mishnah which results in the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud (the latter published in roughly 500 CE and taking precedence over the former). 

Now to get to some of those very key components and teaching of the prophets that were lost…

  1. Universality.Prophet Abraham was told to preach monotheism to all of the nations.There is a common tradition in Judaism that he would keep the sides of his tent open so as to see visitors and invite them in, in order to feed them, and teach them about the Absolute Oneness of God, in an effort to peacefully rid the world of Idolatry (the worship of material physical objects as gods, whether they be humans or the sun or the moon, etc.)When God chose to give the Torah to Moses and the Nation of Israel, they were commanded to be a light onto the nations and to spread monotheism.Unfortunately now, to be able to convert to Traditional Judaism, one must follow a lengthy process and convince Jewish Judges before they are allowed to enter the Covenant of Abraham.Whereas in Islam, it is a simple profession of faith before 2 witnesses, that enter any person into the Covenant, “I testify there is no God except for Allah and Muhammad is his LAST Prophet and Messenger.”Muslims are commanded to believe in ALL of the Prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, etc… Muhammad is merely the last of the Prophets in the Abrahamic line of Prophets as Prophethood was a gift given to the circumcised Children of Abraham (circumcision being a sign of the covenant as mentioned in the Torah).

  2. The Laws of Ritual Purity.The Prophets were commanded to make full immersion in water after any martial relations (even on the Sabbath) and full ablutions before prayer including washing the Hands, Arms, Face, and Feet before Prayer.This practice was abandoned after the Destruction of the Temple.

  3. The Prophetic Example of standing in rows and fully bowing and prostrating and kneeling during prayer.After the destruction of the Temple, prostration was abandoned except for on 2 Holy Days of the year, when Jews reenact what was done during the Temple Period.Rabbi Abraham Maimonides tried to reinstitute this in 13th Century Egypt in his newly formed Jewish Sufi Tariqa (order) but it eventually died out again after about 5 generations.

  4. The Mystical Practice of Chanting and Meditation (Zhikr and Hadra) to achieve High Mystical States.This seemed to be lost after about the 2nd Century when most of the disciples of Rabbi Akiva were killed either in a plague or by the Romans.Again, Rabbi Abraham Maimonides tried to reinstitute this in 13th Century Egypt in his newly formed Jewish Sufi Tariqa (order) but it eventually died out again after about 5 generations.

  5. The importance of following a Spiritual Master.Traditionally Sacred Knowledge was passed down from master to disciple through Spiritual Orders (Tariqa).This was also abandoned but has reappeared several times, first in Abraham Maimonides Jewish Sufi Order, later with the Kabbalistic Movement that was formed in Safed, Israel in the 15th Century and then again later with the formation of the Chasidic Movement in the 18th Century and continues to today.

  6. The Prophetic Practice of kneeling on the ground and raising the hands in supplication to God.

  7. The abandonment of Asceticism by Mystics for spiritual retreats such as was practiced by the 1st century Essenes.

  8. The importance of Isnad (chain of transmission going back to the Prophets).In Islam, the Hadith (narrations of the Prophet’s words and actions) have to be verified by a chain of trustworthy people going back to the Prophet who heard or saw the actual event, to prevent the fabrication of stories and teachings.And that chain of transmission needs to be stated in each hadith from the time of the Prophet until the collector of the Hadith, such as Imam Bukhari.

  9. The concept of Bid’ah refers to innovation in religious matters.For example, the Naqshbandi Sufi path was passed down from Master to Disciple over 40 generations from Prophet Muhammad to Shaykh Nazim Al-Haqqani in order to pass down Islam as it was originally presented.The issue in modern Judaism is the addition and subtraction of laws to the Torah.For example, the laws pertaining to separating Milk and Meat, the ruling prohibiting polygamy, and numerous other rabbinic laws.

  10. Most of Torah Judaism cannot be practiced without having the Temple or Living in the Land of Israel.

  11. The vast majority of practices done during biblical holidays are not done according to the Torah (which requires Animal Sacrifice in the Temple), but have been adapted to Synagogue Judaism by the Rabbis, such as the rites of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, three of which required all adult males to make the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem for sacrifices every year.

  12. The majority of the content of the prayers is not from the Prophets including much of the key prayer, the Amidah (the 18 blessings).The majority of the prayer was evolutionary in nature and added as time went on.

  13. One major innovation in Modern Judaism has been the nationalistic idea which comes from certain commentaries in the Talmud and later the Zohar, that only Jews (Born of a Jewish Mother or Convert) have higher Godly levels of the soul, the Neshamah and Ruach (the soul that aspires for the divine) and that all Gentiles only have an Animal soul, the soul that just serves to animate the body and has selfish animal instincts such as eating, sleeping, and sexual relations.This attitude has played out in multiple ways…. First in the famous story of how the covenant of the Torah was offered to all the nations of the world but they all rejected it due to it forbidding certain actions that were seen to be ingrained in that nationality.For example, the descendants of Esau rejected the Torah as it forbids Murder.The descendants of Ishmael rejected the Torah as it forbids Theft, and the list goes on through the 70 nations up to the modern age of how the Zionist Jews view Arabs as not equal to them in their human rights.The other way that this is illustrated is in the use of the “Shabbos Goy”… being that Jews are forbidden to work on the Sabbath, some will use a gentile to work for them on the Sabbath, to get around this prohibition, and results in Orthodox Jews having an attitude of superiority towards Gentiles as the “Chosen People”.

  14. In Islam, there is a strong emphasis on emulating the Prophets, whether that is in wearing a turban, growing a beard, wearing a scarf or a robe, scented oils, etc.Unfortunately, many European Jews follow practices from Europe by the wearing of wigs and fedoras and suits and fur hats and stockings, etc.

  15. The Qur’an is a clear message for all mankind.The Tanakh (popularly called the Old Testament) lacks any mention of Heaven and Hell (Gan Eden and Gehennim), the Day of Judgment, the Resurrection of the Dead, etc. This was not articulated as clear articles of faith until later when the vast majority of Jews lived in Muslim Lands, such as Rabbi Moses Maimonides whom codified Jewish belief and practice in 12th century Muslim Spain and Egypt.

  16. Majority of Jews have abandoned the important practices of Brotherhood such as greeting each other with the greetings of ‘Peace be upon you’ and hugging your brother and even referring to each other as brother and sister.

  17. European cultured Jews have become the standard bearer of Judaism with Jewish Nationalism (Zionism beginning amongst European Jewish Socialists) becoming firmly entrenched into the religion which has resulted in racist attitudes towards non-white Jews such as Ethiopians, Yemenites, Sephardim, and Mizrahim (see early Zionist history for more on this).

  18. The over consumption of Alcohol into religious practices such as during Simchat Torah and Purim and Passover and Chassidic Farbregen where intoxication is encouraged.

  19. Many Orthodox Jews live a separate lifestyle so as to not interact with the “Gentile World”.

  20. Islam sees all human beings as Bani Adam (the Children of Adam) and makes no distinction between nationality, ethnicity, race, sex, etc.All that matters is the person’s faith in the Absolute Oneness and Unity of God, and that He is totally unlike humanity, not being male or female, not having a mother or son, He is indivisible and beyond the material realm of time and space.

The Prophetic Way was re-established in the 7th Century with the revealing by God of the Holy Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.  Islam consists of 2 parts, the Exoteric (the outer form such as following the 5 Pillars of Islam) and the Esoteric (the Sufi Path that is passed down from Master to Disciple).  Prophet Muhammad initiated 2 of his companions into the Sufi Path (Abu Bakr and Ali) and from them it was passed down from Master to Disciple through 41 different orders.  The Naqshbandi Sufi order goes through Abu Bakr while the other 40 go through Imam Ali.  Abu Bakr and Ali played very important roles.  Abu Bakr was the Father-in-law of the Prophet and also the first Caliph after the Prophet’s death.  Imam Ali was the son-in-law of the Prophet, who was married to Fatima, and through them came the Prophet’s beloved grandsons, Hasan and Husayn. 

As stated in numerous verses in the Holy Qur’an.  Prophet Muhammad did not bring a new religion.  Islam simply means Submission to God and a Muslim is one who submits to God.  So it is incorrect to state that Prophet Muhammad is the first and only Prophet of Islam.  In fact, Prophet Muhammad is the last in a line of 124,000 Prophets from Adam to Noah to Abraham and continuing through the Children of Israel, to the final being the Prophet Muhammad, from the line of Prophet Ishmael.  The significance of Prophet Muhammad coming from Ishmael, instead of Isaac is that the Israelite Prophets were just sent to the Israelites who were then meant to be a light onto the nations whereas the Prophet Muhammad was himself sent to all of the Nations as light (Nur Muhammad).  It says in the Qur’an that the Prophet came but as a Mercy to all Mankind.  It is also stated numerous time that the Prophet was sent to reestablish the Religion of Abraham, Islam (submission to God), thusly taking away all of the peculiar laws that only applied to the Israelites and made it into a universal message, emulating Prophet Abraham.