Often cited as support for the view that Paul argues against the Law on the basis that it is impossible to observe all of it. This view presupposes a litany of assumptions:
1) One must keep it all.
2) It is impossible to do so
3) There is no forgiveness for transgressing
4) Therefore, observance inevitably leads to a curse
Assumptions 2 and 3 are never stated and the whole sequence of ideas does not find support in the rabbinic literature. No rabbi ever took the position that obedience must be perfect. If one carefully combs the rabbinic literature, the rabbis and sages of all schools and all periods strongly believed in and emphasized repentance and atonement when it came to addressing transgressions of the Law. Even though perfection is encouraged (even Y'shua exhorted his audience to 'be ye therefore perfect as you heavenly Father is perfect'), it is important to remember that provision is made in the Law itself for transgression and atonement.
It is equally erroneous to think that the Law is too difficult to be observed or fulfilled, for G-d testifies about the Torah in Deuteronomy:
"For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
The Hebrew word translated "mysterious" is pala and means: 1) to be marvelous, be wonderful, be surpassing, be extraordinary, separate by distinguishing action 1a) (Niphal): to be beyond one's power, be difficult to do 1b) to be difficult to understand. Philo states that, "the commandments are not too huge and heavy for the strength of those to whom they will apply . . ." (De Praemiis et Poenis, On Rewards and Punishments, 80). This is the standard view in normative Judaism.
The law is not too difficult to be fulfilled (the Law even explicitly says as much, cf. Deut. 30), however, the Law itself also makes provision for sins which people commit from time to time. If that is indeed the case, this assertion inevitably raises a number of important questions which must be addressed:
What is the purpose of the Law and why was it given? What is its function? Is the observance of the Law a condition for righteousness? What is the relationship of faith to the Law?
To be continued . . .