A print version of this post is available HERE.
Thine eyes did see my golem (embryo), yet being unformed; and in Thy Sefer (Book) all the yamim (days) ordained for me were written down, when as yet there were none of them.Psalm 139:16 – OJB
As I said in the last post, I was in my Bible study/prayer time this spring when I heard a short declaration concerning Israel not long after getting my marching orders for this Haverim.blog. I hear the Lord say,
"Only the presence of Messianic Believers in the land keep me from smiting today’s Israel because of the slaughter of the unborn, and they allow worship of the Baals in high places."
I jotted down the words in my journal and noted the points that jumped out to me. Messianic Believers and today’s Israel. Abortion and worship of Baals in high places. So much information resulted from researching the points I noted that I decided to divide the subjects that brought the word “smite” into the conversation into three parts. This is part two.
After researching Scripture for the word “smite,” I found the Prophet Amos seemed to be speaking at a time not unlike what today’s society in Israel is experiencing. Amos 9:1 says:
I saw the Lord standing beside the altar: and he said, Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. ASV (Read all of Amos 9 HERE.)
Delving into research concerning today’s Israel, I found some surprising results. Especially about abortion. I had no idea rabbinical teachings taken from the Oral Torah are the premises today’s Rabbis use to set precedence for “lawful” abortions. Also, Israel is deep into human sex trafficking and the vice that goes with it.5 Hence the added call for abortion.
Abortion – Israel’s Unknown Culture of Death
This May, Hadassah Magazine published an article entitled, Abortion in Israel: Relatively Easy to Get, Hard to Discuss.1 Abortion is accessible and usually free to all who want one in the Holy Land. I’ve known this for some years. I thought it was because so much of the population is secular and never dreamed the religious leaders would approve. I was wrong. Israel is way ahead of the United States in finding “Biblical/moral grounds” for allowing baby killing. Before we look into those false premises, take a look at a portion of the article mentioned above:
“The discourse over abortion differs dramatically between the United States and Israel. In Israel, reproductive rights barely register as a political issue and abortions are legal throughout gestation. There is a separate committee for those seeking the procedure after 24 weeks, usually for complex medical reasons. This committee is typically comprised of the director of the hospital or clinic and senior doctors.
“In Israel, reform efforts are less about access and more about concerns regarding a woman’s right to dignity, respect and agency over her own body. Indeed, even doctors and social workers who sit on the committees are deeply uncomfortable with the process, according to one insider. (The “process” is questioning the woman, not abortion. NM)
“The United States is going backward. I think we are in a very different place, and we have laws to protect us from that kind of extremism,” says Silvina Freund, executive director of Open Door, or Delet Petucha in Hebrew, which serves as an Israeli parallel to Planned Parenthood, a leading United States health care provider and reproductive health organization. “We will fight to make sure that nothing like that can happen here.”
Roe vs. Wade
Haaretz picture of medical clinic
Israel was quick to respond to America’s victory over abortion. This article comes from Ha’aretz, one of their popular papers:
Women seeking to terminate pregnancy won’t need to appear before the abortion committee and will be able to obtain abortion pills at the offices of Israel’s health maintenance organizations
An Israeli parliamentary committee eased “outdated” restrictions on medical abortions for women until the 12th week of pregnancy on Monday, allowing them to obtain abortion pills at the health maintenance organization’s offices and scrapping the requirement to appear before an abortion committee.
Just days after the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the constitutional right to abortion, the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee authorized a proposal to amend regulations that relax the procedures for medical abortion, which will take effect within three months. Read the full article HERE.
Jewish Law and Abortion
Thankfully, some Jewish community members oppose abortion, but in Israel, Jewish law comes into play, and abortion is legal. (Links to the articles are in the footnotes below; I hope you will pay them a visit because I am just giving you a brief overview.) At times the articles I read reciting from the Bible – referred to as the Torah or the first five books of the Bible – seem odd because it is clear God’s word honors life. Still, in the following sentences, this is overlooked in favor of an opinion from the Talmud (Talmud literally means, “study” is the generic term for the documents that comment and expand upon the Mishnah (“repeating”), the first work of rabbinic law, published around the year 200 CE. – Not to be confused with the actual Torah/Bible-NM)
From a Jewish resource entitled: Abortion and Judaism -The Jewish position on abortion is nuanced, neither condoning it nor categorically prohibiting it.3
“Jewish law does not share the belief common among abortion opponents that life begins at conception, nor does it legally consider the fetus to be a full person deserving of protections equal to those accorded to human beings. In Jewish law, a fetus attains the status of a full person only at birth. Sources in the Talmud indicate that prior to 40 days of gestation, the fetus has an even more limited legal status, with one Talmudic authority (Yevamot 69b) asserting that prior to 40 days, the fetus is “mere water.” Elsewhere, the Talmud indicates that the ancient rabbis regarded a fetus as part of its mother throughout the pregnancy, dependent fully on her for its life — a view that echoes the position that women should be free to make decisions concerning their own bodies.
How Rabbis Can Choose Death for Babies
I found a paper adopted by Conservative Rabbis that explains rabbinic thought in general on when life begins and abortion.
Abortion: The Jewish View 4
“The morality of abortion is a function, rather, of the legal attitude to feticide as distinguished from homicide or infanticide. The law of homicide in the Torah, in one of its several formulations, reads: “Makkeh ish … ” (He who smites a man … ) (Exodus 21:12). Does this include any “man,” say, a day-old child? Yes, says the Talmud, citing another text: “ki yakkeh kol nefesh adam” (If one smite any nefesh adam) (Lev. 24: 17), literally, any human person. The “any” is understood to include the day old child, but the “nefesh adam” is taken to exclude the fetus in the womb for the fetus in the womb is /av nefesh hu (not a person) until he is born. In the words of Rashi, only when the fetus “comes into the world” is it a “person.” The basis, then, for denying capital crime status to feticide in Jewish law, even for those rabbis who may have wanted to rule otherwise, is scriptural. Alongside the nefesh adam text is another basic one in Exodus 21:22, which provides: If men strive, and wound a pregnant woman so that her fruit be expelled, but no harm befell [her], then shall he be fined as her husband shall assess, and the matter placed before the judges. But if harm befell [her], then shall you give life for life. The Talmud makes this verse’s teaching explicit: only monetary compensation is exacted of him who causes a woman to miscarry. Though the abortion spoken of here is accidental, the verse is still a source for the teaching that feticide is not a capital crime (since even accidental homicide cannot be expiated by monetary fine). · This important passage in Exodus has an alternate version in the Septuagint. One word change there yields an entirely different statute on miscarriage. Prof. Viktor Aptowitzer’s essays analyze the disputed passage; he calls the school of thought it represents the Alexandrian school, as opposed to the Palestinian, that is, the talmudic view set forth above. The word in question is ason, rendered above as “harm,” hence: “If [there be] no harm [i.e., death, to the mother], then shall he be fined …. ” The Greek renders the word ason as “form,” yielding something like: “If [there be] form, then shall you give life for life.” The “life for life” clause is thus applied to the fetus instead of the mother, and a distinction was made, as Augustine will formulate it, between embryo informatus and embryo formatus, a fetus not yet “formed” and one already “formed”; for the latter, the text so rendered prescribes the death penalty. Among the Church Fathers, the consequent doctrine of feticide as murder was preached by Tertullian (second century), who accepted the Septuagint, and by Jerome (fourth century), who did not (whose classic Bible translation renders the passage according to the Hebrew text accepted in the Church). The Didache, a handbook of basic Christianity for the instruction of converts from paganism, follows the Alexandrian teaching and specifies abortion as a capital crime. Closer to the main body of the Jewish community, we find the doctrine accepted by the Samaritans and Karaites and, more important, by Philo, the popular first-century philosopher of Alexandria. On the other hand, Philo’s younger contemporary, Josephus, bears witness to the Palestinian (halakhic) tradition. Aside from its textual warrant, the latter is the more authentic in the view of Aptowitzer, while the 801 Responsa 1980-1990 Hoshen Mishpat: Harming Others other is a later tendency, “which, in addition, is not genuinely Jewish but must have originated in Alexandria under Egyptian-Greek influence.” 1 In the rabbinic tradition, then, abortion remains a non-capital crime at worst.
Is anyone fighting against abortion in Israel?
Yes! I found an organization, Be’ad Chaim – Pro-Life Israel, that has been fighting for life in Israel since1988. Their home page gives us an accurate picture of today’s Israel:
Help save unborn babies
Estimates say 1/5 of all pregnancies in Israel end in abortion. Since 1948, more babies have been aborted in Israel than the number of children that died in the Holocaust. Yet, despite the nation’s deeply rooted respect for life, Israel is one of the only countries in the world where it is legal to abort a baby up until birth…
I’ve placed their link with the organization’s name above and below in the footnotes. The website tells the story of what they are doing and facing much better than I can, plus it gives us ways to support the work from afar.
I want to close this post with something written by their director for this month’s newsletter. With all the information on how and why Israel has abortions in this post, Sandy’s words are a clue to why the Lord holds back from “smiting.”
Court Case Loss:
On August 8th, as I sat holding my tiny, new one-day-old granddaughter, we received the final decision of the court – rejecting our petition to stop abortion at 24 weeks of pregnancy. We will be obligated to pay legal fees for the case.
It was deeply moving to me to realize that my granddaughter, weighing only 2.6 kilos (5 lbs, 11 oz), is valued as a person, while other babies, still in the womb – yet weighing the same and having the same capabilities for life – can be discarded as though they are not people. It is very sad to see that our government will not protect unborn children. Nevertheless, we will continue to fight for them.
Psalm 106:38: “They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.”
These unborn children are our family. They are our sons and daughters who are being sacrificed to the idols of reputation, convenience, and finances. They cannot speak for themselves; therefore, we will speak for them.
It is obvious the director of Be’ad Chaim8 is a Believer. Psalms 139:16 above (From the Orthodox Jewish Bible,6 written by a Jewish Believer) says, “Thine eyes did see my golem (embryo), yet being unformed; and in Thy Sefer (Book) all the yamim (days) ordained for me were written down, when as yet there were none of them.” And was written by King David, who Jews waiting for Messiah recognize as the one from whose family comes King Mashiach!7
Please pray with me that genuine faith in the true Holy One of Israel will break through all the false interpretations of God’s word and false teaching undergirding Israel’s culture of death. Pray also for Christian lovers of Israel to gain a deeper understanding of modern Israel, the roots of their abortion laws, and the call to support Israel’s messianic communities.
Todah! Thank you for stopping by today! If you appreciate this blog please hit like and share with friends.
God bless you always…
Blessed be the Holy One of Israel,
1. Abortion in Israel – Hadassah Magazine, May 2022
2. Israel to Ease Restrictions on Medical Abortions – Ido Efrati, Haaretz | Israel News, Jun 27, 2022
3. Abortion and Judaism – My Jewish Learning, Beliefs & Practices
4. David M. Feldman, “Abortion: The Jewish View” (1983), Rabbinical Assembly.org, listed on page “Resources for Reproductive Freedom”
5. Human Sex Trafficing Report 2021 – U.S. State Department
6. Orthodox Jewish Bible – Phillip Goble , 2002
7. How was Jesus from the line of King David – Good Question Blog, Christopher R Smith
8. Be’ad Chaim – Pro-Life Israel
© 2022 Nancy Montgomery – Haverim.blog
Views and opinions found in links on this site are not necessarily those of Haverim.blog.