Hey Barbie, I had a quick question for you-
Have you read/do you take from or adhere to the Talmud to any degree? I think I remember you mentioning wanting a Kosher kitchen one day, so I take it that you don't eat meat and dairy (which is a talmudic interpretation of the biblical command to not boil a kid in its mother's milk, right?)
thanks! I've been trying to sort through my feelings on talmud, kind of confused at this point!
I always love your questions!! They are right up my alley and I admire you both for thinking about these things and for having the courage to seek answers.
There are a lot of different opinions within the Hebrew Catholic community about this topic. I regularly read blogs and hear from people who follow Talmudic teachings in their daily life to the point of being indistinguishable in the externals from an orthodox Jew, for example (aside from their regular attendance at daily mass!) On the other side of that spectrum are Hebrew Catholics who reject the Talmud entirely and want you to know why.
The answer for all of us lies somewhere in the middle, as you will usually discover when dealing in all things Catholic.
On the one hand, the Talmud is the Oral Law--- the transmission of accurate Jewish interpretation of the written law with the addition of "traditions" which have been in place since the beginning of Judaism.
In the whole spectrum of Christianity, no one understands this better than us Catholics, who also have an ORAL and WRITTEN law. We understand that the scriptures require proper interpretation, by people who have the authority to do so, and we rely on BOTH to live lives worthy of God's calling.
Because of our unique understanding of this issue, we have to have some incredible respect for the Talmud. If we study it carefully, therein we find all sorts of fascinating information that points directly to the Christian faith.
On the other hand, if you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus Christ IS the Messiah and that He deepened both our understanding of the Law and our methods of adherence TO the law. In other words, there was a moment of distinction between the old and new covenants... a moment where those who accepted the first task, for whatever reason rejected the completion of the work begun in them.
There are elements of the Talmud that are absolutely, astonishingly (but not surprisingly) anti-Christ in nature.
This has to be acknowledged by any honest person seeking out how to integrate their Hebrew and Christian lives.
There are specifics about Jesus in the Talmud which are not only lies, but outrageous lies that only a Jew who didn't believe Jesus was the Messiah would write.... for instance that Jesus was a sorcerer and idolater who swayed people to stay away from the "real" Jewish religion, or that he was punished for these things and condemned to an eternity in hell boiling in excrement. (!) etc.
Those elements make it very challenging for any honest Hebrew Catholic or person interested in preserving Hebrew culture and religion within the context of Christianity to integrate the Talmud in it's entirety. Certainly these lies come from the Father of Lies and have been used to perpetuate the darkness over Israel if Christianity is indeed true.
On the other hand, we are Catholics-- and famous for never throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Whereas many evangelicals reject greek myths, folk tales, modern science, etc... we seek to always find whatever Truth there may be in the things we encounter, and embrace it. Therefore there is no harm in appreciating, studying, and in some way "living" the Talmud provided you understand that it contains both truth and error and you must always measure up what you THINK God may be saying to you to what the Church IS saying to you because there is only one source of perfect doctrine this side of heaven.
My motto when it comes to stuff like this is "when in doubt, leave it out."
I realize how difficult it can be sometimes to feel so caught between two worlds, but having spent many hours in prayer talking to God about it one thing that he has really helped me with is to see how Jesus Himself experienced that same "stuck between worlds" and suffered tremendously because of it... eventually overcoming in a way that sheds light on how we are to overcome now. St Paul reminds us to "be all things for all people." And this is our task.
As far as the specifics of your question with regard to Kashrut, I used to, previous to returning to the Church, eat a Kosher diet. Were I not married, I probably still would, but God saw fit to place me with a man who tempers my enthusiasm for all things Jewish in a way I truly need in order to live an authentically "Catholic"-- as opposed to singularly "Jewish" life. This is because he is a constant, and often vocal, reminder of the goodness in being Greek. :D
In obedience to my husband, I do not force the issue and I do not keep a kosher kitchen. During certain periods of the year, especially during Lent, I make a special effort to observe Jewish dietary laws within the context of my lenten fast and without offending anyone around me or making it noticeable. (ie my husband probably doesn't even realize that that is in fact a lenten practice of mine.)
That being said, there is nothing WRONG with keeping a kosher kitchen, so long as you remember that you are no longer obligated to keep said kosher kitchen, because the purpose of all Law is to unite us to Christ-- not just in "keeping it" but because it speaks to us about who He is.
In other words, if you are interested in something like a kosher diet, pray and study about how eating kosher can reflect Christ in the world. What was the purpose of the biblical dietary laws and how do they speak to us of God and His expectations of us in light of Christ?
The important thing is to keep an eye on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Does keeping Kosher (or adhering to Talmud in any other aspect) produce in you charity, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Wonderful.
Or have you become proud towards people who do not keep Kosher? Have you been disgusted by those who eat what you consider unclean?
I hope that helps!! Many Blessings,