In 1 Samuel 8, Israel rejected God as its King. The reason being that they “wanted to be like all the other nations” (8:5). They were in haEretz... the land.
Evidence has it that the Talmud, however, was written to make the Jewish people distinct from all the other nations.
The Oral Torah became the distinctive of Israel. "...said R. Avin, [God said] 'Had I written for you the bulk of my Torah, you would be considered like a foreigner.' [For] what [is the difference] between us and the Gentiles? They bring forth their books, and we bring forth our books; they bring forth their national records, and we bring forth our national records.' [The only difference between Israel and the Gentile nations is that a portion of the Torah remains oral,and has a special claim upon the nation of Israel.]1
The Gentiles, by virtue of their access to the Taanach (Old Testament), now had access to all the Jewish writings. To maintain the distinct identity of the Jewish people, the Rabbis proposed that along with the written law, Moses transmitted the oral law on to Joshua who in turn, taught it to the Rabbis2. This was to be that element that was to distinguish the Jewish people from all the other nations (goyim). Only the Jews had access to this writing.
Now, instead of wanting to be “like the other nations” we wanted to be different than the other nations. Oral rabbinic tradition from the time of the Babylonian exile already existed in the time of Y’shua. Y’shua even gave prolific mention of it. But there is little evidence that it had actually been codified until the 2nd century ACE primarily by R Akiva, who interestingly, ‘though lauded for his great wisdom and learning, championed Simon Bar Kochba as the Messiah. History has proven Akiva to have been wrong.
During the time period in which the Talmud was being codified, most of the Jewish people were in HaEretz. However, our sovereignty over the land was lost. By the time the compilation of the Talmud was completed, some time after the failed Bar Kochba rebellion which ended in 136 ACE, for the exception of a small remnant, the vast majority of Jews were scattered to the four corners of the earth in what has been an 1800+ year long galute (diaspora or dispersion).
The Talmud has carried with it a “two-edged sword” as it were. On the one hand, God has used it to maintain a uniquely Jewish culture centered around a religion that has enabled the Jewish people to survive history and maintain its own unique identity. On the other hand, even as Israel sought “sameness” by choosing a king over G-d, Israel now sought “uniqueness” by choosing the Rabbi’s over Moses, by exchanging the Word of G-d for their word, and hence, the great RABBI whom I like to call THE TZADIK (the perfectly righteous one... Y’shua) the Messiah, was rejected.3
Rabbinic authority maintained continuity while the nation was scattered around the world. But that time seems to be fast coming to an end! Anti-Semitism in Europe and soon to grow in the Western Hemisphere will drive the nation “among the nations” back to it’s own land.
So who are the inhabitants of this land? A new crop of “immigrants” has just arrived from India. Previously Jews arrived in this contested bit of real estate from South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Lybia, Iraq, Iran, Germany, France, Ethiopia, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Russia, the United States... In fact, colloquially speaking, the United Nations is in Israel! (Maybe that’s why perhaps, the United Nations seems to be a clandestine enemy of Israel. It’s jealous).
Consequently, modern day Israel is a veritable potpourri of variable cultures of people having a common identity. We are all Jews... descended, in one way or another through our father, Jacob. Our survival and return to the land makes us a living breathing testimony to the veracity of Tanaach4.
So what does G-d what to achieve through all of this? God wanted we, the Jewish people, to be a segullah... a unique, prized possession.5
In 1 Samuel we didn’t want to be unique. We wanted to be the same.
The compilers of the Talmud wanted us to be unique.
But God’s intent was always for us to be not only unique but in HaEretz... the land. It was national sin that extricated us from the land (Dt. 28)
Now we’re back in the land, but we’re still sort of like everyone else. We have public displays that utterly defy the teachings of Moses. For instance, in defiance of Moses’ teachings against sexual deviancy in Lev. 18, we have gay pride parades in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem! At the other end of the pendulum of extremism, it’s hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t keep the Rabbinic version of Kashrut... namely, if you’re a family and you want to eat a meal together, all of you are going to have to eat at either a milchekeh or fleshika restaurant because you won’t be able to get both mild and dairy at the same meal.
There are some things that remind us of influence from Taanach, however. The Sabbath occurs on the seventh day of the week. Passover, Shavuoth (the Feast of Weeks or “Pentacost”) and Sukkoth (The Feast of Booths) are observed as national holidays, and despite their hard exteriors, Sabras (native born Israelis) are probably among the most compassionate people on the planet.
Israel’s military has historically and continues to go out of its way in its efforts to spare the lives of innocents among the population of her enemies. And the common Israeli Arab is far better off and has infinitely more freedom in Israel than in any Arab ruled country.
Now the Rabbis have passed down many wonderful traditions. But they have chosen to reject, the most important teaching of all... that the Tzadek Y’shua is our Messiah. Unfortunately that teaching seems to have been necessary for our unification because we were without the land which would be our means of unification. Today we have the land. The land will assure our uniqueness. Eventually, the Messiah will assure our righteousness. We will be the segulah (prized possession) of HaShem and the “survivors of the nations who attacked Jerusalem will assembly annually in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Booths and learn from the Law of God.”6
1 The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Vol. 2, Peah, Trans. by Roger Brooks, U.
of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990, P.127 via Dan Gruber Elijahnet.com “Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah”.
3"The sayings of the elders have more weight than those of the prophets" (Berakoth 1:7); "An offense against the saying of the scribes is worse than one against those of Scripture" (Sanhedrin 11:3).
4e.g. Ezekiel 20:34 - "I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered -- with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath."
5 Dt 7:6
6 Zech. 14