Pharisees vs. Karaites

Recently, someone started a discussion on Facebook as to whether followers of Yeshua should follow either a rabbinic (Pharisaic) path verses a more Karaite path in their Torah observance. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this, but unfortunately am nearly always short on time due to pressing deadlines with my work. I would like to share, however, the brief response I wrote for this discussion:

It is natural to think that the Karaite way of doing things would be a better way of doing things. However, the Karaite interpretation is actually anti-Scriptural. Let’s think about it. If we were to go to a Karaite interpretation of Scripture, we would all being living out the Scriptures as we interpret them. Which means, we would not be in any kind of unity. Which means we would be celebrating the feasts at different times, celebrating them in different ways, trying to fulfill the commandments in different ways. In short, this is chaos and anarchy. The Master (Yeshua) was a Pharisee among Pharisees, in that he was in agreement with the Pharisees in all but one point: hypocrisy.

Here are 3 short examples of the many that can be sited to show his Pharisaic affinity:

  1. He & his disciples kept the feast at the same times as greater Israel (which was determined by Pharisaic halachah)
  2. He reclined at the Passover meal (a Pharisaic invention, seemingly contrary to the biblical mandate in Exodus)
  3. He gave a blessing before eating, strictly a Pharisaic invention

The list could go on and on. These are just off the top of my head. It boils down to this: Yeshua was in agreement with Pharisaic tradition so long as it did not contradict with the written Word. We must examine the words of the Master and the Apostolic writings to determine whether a tradition is able to be kept or not, and follow his example.

The Karaite method is not even an alternative. If we were following the Karaite method, we would revert to the days of the Judges when “Every man did what was right in his own eyes…And they again did wickedness in the eyes of Hashem.”

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1 thought on “Pharisees vs. Karaites”

  1. Paul Michael Fountain


    I an neither a Karaite or Rabbinic Jew. Nor have a viewed the discussion you reference in your Pharisees vs. Karaites article (blog) dated Aug.25, 2009. As such the scope of this response is to only address the “three short examples” enumerated therein.

    1.) Of course Yeshua kept the feast(s) at the same time as greater Israel – the changes implemented by Rabbinic Decree, i.e. the conversion from keeping the feast according to the Torah mandated Lunisolar Calendar to the Julian Calendar occurred when the Rabbinic Jew; Hillel b. R. Yehuda (358–359 CE) instituted the new calculated calendar with a fixed intercalation cycle. Well after the time of Yeshua!

    2.) All manuscripts, both Peshitta Aramaic and Greek texts in all scripture agree 100%, that the bread eaten during the “Last Supper”, was leavened bread, and not unleavened as is required for the Passover meal! And we know that Yeshua kept the law on all points, therefore the “Last Supper” was not a Passover meal!

    3.) He gave a blessing before eating…,??? I know of a blessing during – over the bread. “…strictly a Pharisaic invention” ?? Says Who? Where’s your authoritative source? Christians pray before the meal, Jews in conformance with Deuteronomy 8:10, say a blessing for the meal after meals, called Birkat Hamazon.

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