Yoke of the Rabbis

Dear FFOZ,

I have read in many Christian articles that the “yoke of the rabbi” refers to his specific teachings, yet only one gave a source, and when I checked that source, it wasn’t really a source at all. I have read Chronicles of Messiah and do not see you refer to this idea at all, leading me to believe it has no validity in the Jewish world. Please help us put this idea to rest. Is this an idea in Judaism?

Many blessings on your work,

E.G.

Shalom E.,

This is a teaching we have also heard. We have never seen a Jewish source that teaches that a rabbi’s teaching was known as his yoke. In any case, it is more likely that Yeshua is referring (in Matthew 11:30) to the yoke of Torah and obedience to God being lighter than the yoke of the government, which at the time was the oppression of the Romans.

Compare Yeshua’s words to this passage from the Mishnah:

Rabbi Nechunia son of Hakanah said, “Anyone who accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah removes from himself the yoke of government duties and the yoke of the way of the world; but one who casts off the yoke of Torah accepts upon himself the yoke of government and the yoke of the way of the world.” Pirkei Avot 3:5

This teaching says that one who occupies himself or herself in Torah will not become entangled with the government. Moreover, if Israel had heeded our Master’s call to repentance, they could have entered the Messianic Era and thrown off the yoke of foreign nations. As it is, we still wait for Messiah to return to bring such days upon us. May we merit to bear the yoke of his kingdom quickly and in our lifetimes.

For a more extensive answer to this question, please see Torah Club: Chronicles of the Messiah chapter 42, “Seven Woes,” 1354-1359.

Source: First Fruits of Zion