Does Ray Lewis Study Talmud?

Ray Lewis: Talmudic Scholar?(Source: WIkiCommons)

Ray Lewis: Talmudic Scholar?
(Source: WIkiCommons)

In an interview that aired shortly before Super Bowl XLVII – whatever number that is – Ray Lewis was asked whether he had anything to say to the families of two allegedly murdered individuals. These families (apparently) believe that Lewis has not been forthright about his involvement in the two deaths. Lewis’ response was Talmudic.

Lewis said, “To the family, if you knew — if you really knew — the way God works, He don’t use people who commits anything like that for His glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.” Lewis is suggesting that because he is glorifying God, he could not have committed murder.

Lewis’ remarks reminded me of the Talmudic dictum, “Whoever says that David sinned is merely erring.” The Talmud queries, “Is it possible that sin came to his [i.e., David’s] hand, yet the Divine Presence was with him?” (Babylonian Talmud Sabbath 56a; Soncino Translation.)

The Tanakh itself tells us that God’s spirit was upon King David, 1 Samuel 16:13, and that David failed to keep God’s commandments “in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” 1 Kings 15:5. Recall that David had slept with Uriah’s wife and arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. See 2 Samuel 11:1-27. Yet, despite David’s grievous failure (dare I say, “sin?”), the Bible tells us that a righteous king, commonly referred to as the Messiah, will descend from David and will reign wisely and act justly. See Jeremiah 23:5. This is a concrete example of God amplifying His glory through someone (i.e., David) whom the Bible describes as a killer. 2 Samuel 12:9. Sorry, Ray Lewis.

In fairness to the Rabbinic view, the Talmud contains detailed discussions trying to justify King David’s actions. Karaites tend to find those explanations unavailing. Even though I disagree with the soundness of Ray Lewis’ response, I actually have no opinion on his guilt or innocence; so in fairness to him, this article tries to make Lewis’ case better than he did.

5 Comments

Filed under Talmud

5 responses to “Does Ray Lewis Study Talmud?

  1. Sha'ul Bentsion

    I find the Rabbinic attempts to justify every act of iniquity committed by our people in the Tanach only diminishes from the beauty of the Tanach, IMHO. One of the greatest lessons in the Tanach is that YHWH chooses to have a relationship with imperfect, sometimes even unlikely, men. It shows us that anyone, no matter how sinful, is capable of repentance, and that His mercies indeed are wonderful. It gives us hope that those of us who were once (or are currently) ba’al aveirot can turn to Him, and find forgiveness and peace in doing His will.

  2. TK

    The biggest sin (besides the double murders, of course) was Ray’s grammar: “He don’t use people who commits anything like that for His glory.” Come on Ray, seriously?

  3. Pingback: Talmud Envy | A Blue Thread

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