Friday, June 27, 2008

Closer than you think

When the modern movement of evangelizing to the Jews began, Christians realized that the bloody history of Judeo-Christian relationships presented a problem. Suffering through two millenia of harsh Christian persecution culminating in the devastating Holocaust, whose seeds of hatred were planted by the Church, Christian missionizing evoked a knee-jerk reaction in Jews. Christians realized that in order to get to Jewish souls, they would need to abandon their ancient anti-semtism in favour of support and love for the Jewish people. They figured (erroneously) that the only thing separating Jews from 'the truth of christ' was the hatred and violence that the Church preached against them. In order to counteract this tragic past, Christians eschewed their anti-semtism and declared that those who perpetrated those cruel acts were not 'real Christians'. Christians declared themselves to be Israel's greatest supporters, to love the Jewish people and to whole-heartedly support G-d's chosen. In their zeal for all things Jewish, Christian congregations took Hebrew names, draped themselves in talleisim and began to hold Shabbat morning services. They decorated their homes and churches with Jewish symbols, with menorahs and Israeli flags, all the while reassuring us of their unfailing love for the Jewish people.

For all their philo-semitism, we have been lulled into complacency. In our ever-present desire to be loved and embraced, we have forgotten that we have been down this path before. Christian support and funds does not come free but rather at the cost of the harvest of Jewish souls, of missionizing in the Holy Land, of Messianics defaming Jews on national television, and of Evangelicals exerting pressure on Israeli policies. Conversions to Christianity has reached epidemic proportions with armies of missionaries with billions of dollars at their disposal dedicated to baptizing the Jewish nation. This frenzied attempt to wean us off of our Jewish faith has provoked a very harsh reaction from Jews committed to Judaism. In response, we have seen our 'Christian friends' turn on us quite quickly.

Has this pattern been repeated before? According to the Christian bible, Jesus came originally to the Jews to preach to them his new doctrine of salvation. He travelled through the countryside spreading the 'Good Word' of his coming. Judea in that time was teeming with messianic pretenders and lunatic prophets announcing new divine commands, and the Jews rejected Jesus. Whatever arguments and proofs that he presented of his divinity, the greatest Jewish thinkers of the time refuted him and refused to accept the blasphemous idea that man could be G-d. In his fury at being rejected by his own people to whom he preached based on their own scriptures, Jesus condemned them to destruction. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-38) Jesus cursed the Jewish people and marked Jerusalem for destruction. The man who taught to turn the other cheek was quick in rebuking those who would not listen to him. When it became apparent to Jesus that the Jews would not receive his message, he began to teach that the Jews had been replaced by G-d and that his message should be directed at the Gentiles (Acts 13:45-51). So much evil was directed at the Jews because of this misguided belief that the Church replaced them as G-d's chosen.

This same story was repeated numerous times. When Martin Luther began his Reformation against the Catholic Church, he originally condemned anti-semtism in the hopes that the Jews would join his new sect. For decades he lovingly and patiently reached out to the Jewish people in his area with the Gospel. In 1523, Luther accused Catholics of being unfair to Jews in treating them “as if they were dogs”. Luther was outraged and declared that such mistreatment made it even more difficult for Jews to convert to christ. Luther wrote: “I would request and advise that one deal gently with the Jews … if we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealings with them, not by Papal Law, but by the Law of Christian love. We must receive them cordially, and permit them to trade and work with us, hear our Christian teaching and witness our Christian life. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either”. After 15 years of refusal to join the Reformation and forsake their faith, Luther lost his patience. He wrote a pamphlet, 'On the Jews and their Lies' in which he recommended an eight-step plan to deal with the Jewish Problem.
"First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. ..."
"Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. ..."
"Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. ..."
"Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. ..."
"Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. ..."
"Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them. ... Such money should now be used in ... the following [way]... Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed [a certain amount]..."
"Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow... For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants."
"If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews' blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country" and "we must drive them out like mad dogs." So hateful was Martin Luther, it can be said that he was the first to conceive of the Final Solution. The Nazis distributed his works to justify their anti-semtism. On the night of Martin Luther's birthday, November 9-10, 1938, 191 synagogues throughout Germany were set on fire, and 76 were completely destroyed; 815 Jewish-owned shops were demolished, 29 warehouses and 171 homes were set on fire or likewise destroyed. On that night, which has become infamously known as Kristallnacht ("Night of the Broken Glass"), more than 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps, and 36 Jews were murdered. German Protestants claimed that the attack in honour of his birthday.

We are repeating history. When Christians realize that despite all of their support and money, we are not rushing to the altar and the cross, they will turn on us. For all their talk of 'loving us unconditionally', they will turn, and fiercely. Witness the anti-semitic rhetoric spewing from Pat Robertson's mouth in response to the attack on an Ariel pastor's son by an unknown assailant. Christian support for Israel is but another tactic in the millenia long struggle to get the Jews to accept Christianity. Little do they know that deep theological reasons prevent us from becoming Christians, and not just anti-semitism. Their philo-semitic policies will change quickly and there will be no more 'Christian United for Israel' rallies. Just like Martin Luther and the Christian god himself, Christians will soon be turned off from helping Jews when their missionary efforts are to no avail. While many Christians may be genuine and sincere in their support, it is important to know that love of the Jews and vicious anti-semtism are more closely related than we realize.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Leveling the Playing Field -- # 3 - Messianic Misappropriation

For all this talk of Jesus being 'the Messiah', there is a lot of confusion as to what 'messiah' actually means. Literally, 'messiah' is Greek for 'moshiach', meaning 'annointed one'. In order to have any sort of debate with Christian proselytizers, it is necessary to clarify what Judaism believes about the messiah. It would make sense to assume that since the Jews are the first ones to introduce the concept of moshiach to the world, that they would have better knowledge of it than the descendants of pagans.

What is the moshiach? The Jewish tradition of "The Moshiach" has its foundation in numerous biblical references, and understands "The Moshiach" to be a human being - without any overtone of deity or divinity - who will bring about certain changes in the world and fulfill certain criteria before he can be acknowledged as "The Messiah". The criteria are:

- He must be Jewish- " may appoint a king over you, whom the L-rd your G-d shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you." (Deuteronomy 17:15)

- He must be a member of the tribe of Judah- "The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the sceptre from between his feet..." (Genesis 49:10)

- He must be a descendant of King David and King Solomon- "And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever..." (2 Samuel 7:12 - 13)

- He will redeem the Jewish people and ingather the exiles -"And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:12)

- He will rebuild the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, in Jerusalem- "...and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and my tabernacle shall be with them.." (Ezekiel 37:26 - 27)

- He will bring world peace - "...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Micah 4:3)

- He will bring the Jewish people back to perfect observance of the Torah - "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow My ordinances and be careful to observe My statutes." (Ezekiel 37:24)

- He will spread the rule of G-d and belief in Him around the world, to all peoples - "And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the L-rd" (Isaiah 66:23)
All of these criteria are best stated in the book of Ezekiel Chapter 37 verses 24-28:

And David my servant shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. they shall also follow My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Yaakov my servant, in which your fathers have dwelt and they shall dwell there, they and their children, and their children's children forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, which I will give them; and I will multiply them and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. And my tabernacle shall be with them: and I will be their G-d and they will be my people. Then the nations shall know that I am the L-rd who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary will be in the midst of them forevermore.

Judge for yourself: Has any man fulfilled all of these requirements? Keep in mind that the Torah says that the Moshiach will accomplish his task in one try. The Moshiach "shall not fail nor be crushed, till he have set the right in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his teaching" (Isaiah 42:4).

When will Moshiach Tzidkeinu (the Righteous Moshiach) appear? "Today, if you hearken unto His voice!" (Psalm 95:7). He can come today or tomorrow, and every righteous act, mitzvah or good deed accomplished brings his coming closer. Isaiah (60:22) says about G-d, "in its appointed time, I will hasten it". The Rabbis asked how could it be possible for HaShem to hasten the coming of the Moshiach, since he would no longer appear in his appointed time. They resolved this difficulty by saying that if Israel does teshuva and the world is worthy, the Moshiach will come via signs and wonders, miracles and great things, immediately, and if we are not worthy, he will come in his appointed time, through natural means.

How will we recognize the Moshiach? The Rambam in his Hilchot Melachim (11:4) writes:

If a king will arise from the House of David, who, like David his ancestor, delves deeply into the study of the Torah and engages in the mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G‑d; - we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach.

If he succeeds in the above, defeats all the nations around him, builds the [Beis Ha]Mikdash on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Moshiach.[3]

He will perfect the entire world, [motivating all the na­tions] to serve G‑d together, as it is written (Zephaniah 3:9), "For I shall then make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G‑d and serve Him with one purpose."

What will life be like? Again, we turn to the Rambam's Hilchot Melachim (12:4-5)

The Sages and prophets did not yearn for the Messianic Era in order that [the Jewish people] rule over the entire world, nor in order that they have dominion over the gentiles, nor that they be exalted by them, nor in order that they eat, drink and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was that [the Jewish people] be free [to involve themselves] in the Torah and its wisdom, without anyone to oppress or disturb them, and thus be found worthy of life in the World to Come, as we explained in Laws of Repentance (9:2).

In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delicacies will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d. The Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden mat­ters, and will attain an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of mortal potential; as it is written (Isaiah 11:9), "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover the ocean bed."

May HaShem send His righteous Moshiach speedily in our days. Amen, ken yehi ratzon

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Leveling the Playing Field- # 2: Spiritual Death

Potential converts are often told that accepting Jesus is their only chance to avoid burning in hell for all of eternity. Belief in Jesus is saviour is a 'get out of hell free' card. Missionaries love to claim that Jews have 'nothing to lose and everything to gain' by accepting Jesus as their saviour.

To this, it is necessary to respond that if Jesus is not a deity, worshipping him as G-d constitutes idolatry. The punishment of an idolater is spiritual death, and being cut off forever from G-d in the World to Come, karet. "But the soul that sinneth high-handedly, whether he be home-born or a stranger, the same blasphemeth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken His commandment; that soul shall utterly be cut off, his iniquity shall be upon him." (Num. 15:30-31). Idolatry is one of the the three cardinal sins which a Jew must give his life before committing. Indeed, throughout the ages, Jews have prefered death than baptism. During the Crusades, tens of communities were destroyed and thousands of Jews were massacred, yet only a few individuals accepted Christianity. Most sang the Shemah, the Jewish testament to G-d's Unity, before being slaughtered.

G-d lay our eternal allegiance after rescuing us from the Egyptian bondage. At Sinai, He told us that we should have no other gods before Him ie. as intercessors between Him and us. There is no need for an intermediary to reach HaShem; He saved us Himself and wants a personal and direct relationship with all of us. "And I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt, and gods beside Me you should not know, and there is no savior but Me" (Hosea 13:4). This applies equally to Jews who accept false saviour-gods, thinking that this will lead them closer to G-d. G-d explained at Sinai exactly how He should be worshipped. Any deviance from what G-d commanded us at Sinai is idolatry. G-d told us specifically that "G-d is not a man, that He should lie" (Numbers 23:19) This same concept is repeated in I Samuel 15:29. G-d has no form or image and in non-corporeal. He is unbound by time and space, completely limitless and therefore cannot be restricted by physical shapes. This was the sin of the Jews who worshipped the Golden Calf. They believed that Moses had died and they desired a god to serve as an intermediary between them and HaShem. "Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves--for ye saw no manner of form on the day that the LORD spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire-- lest ye deal corruptly, and make you a graven image, even the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female." (Deut. 4:15-16) Any attempt to give G-d a physical image places limits on Him, the Unbound and Limitless One.

A Jew is meant to bear witness to the Unity of G-d. "Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me there was no god formed, neither shall any be after Me." (Isaiah 43:10) Twice a day, in the morning and evening, and then again before he goes to sleep, a Jew recites the Shemah and testifies that HaShem is One. These words are contained in the tefillin which he dons every weekday, and engraved on the mezuzot on his doorpost. These are the very last words that a Jew should say before he leaves this world. When a Jew accepts Christianity, he loses his exalted status and commits idolatry, invoking the sin of karet. Far from gaining G-d's grace, by believing in Jesus as a divinity, a Jew loses all of his share in the World to Come and is eternally cut off from G-d.

"Return, O Israel, unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast stumbled in thine iniquity." (Hosea 14:1)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Levelling the Playing Field - Part # 1: The Uniqueness of Israel's Revelation

Missionaries resort to a number of deceptive arguments to which many ignorant Jews have no retort. Therefore, it is necessary that every Jew familiarize himself with certain key points if he wishes to combat misssionaries. It is essential that he learn how to frame the debate and level the theological playing field, so to speak, in order to provide solid ground for the Judaism's answer. The most important thing to lay down is the superiority of Judaism's revelations and claims verses the flimsy ones of Christianity.

Judaism began with an Earth-shaking event, literally. It is an event which there is no parallel in any of the thousands of religion, beliefs or mythologies that exist. On the morning of the 6 of Sivan in the 2448th year since Creation, G-d Himself descended on Mount Sinai and revealed Himself before over 3 million Jewish men, women and children, and all of the souls of future Jewish generations, to present to them the awesome gift of the Torah. 'You might inquire about times long past, from the day that God created man on earth, and from one end of heaven to the other: Has there ever been anything like this great thing or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fires as you have heard and survived?' (Deut. 4:32-33) No other belief system begins with a national revelation, before millions of people. The simple reason is that it is impossible to make this sort of event up. If somebody had come along at a later date and tried to introduce the Jews to this story, they would have never accepted this made-up part of their collective history. Either they would have experienced it themselves or their ancestors would have past stories about the event down to them. Its impossible to convince somebody that G-d spoke to their parents, grandparents and the entire nation, and yet they've never heard about this before. From this most awesome of event, comes the basis of Judaism.

Maimonides writes:

Israel did not believe in Moses, our teacher, on account of the miracles he performed. For when one's faith is based on miracles, doubt remains in the mind that these miracles may have been done through the occult and witchcraft...

What then were the grounds of believing him? The revelation on Sinai which we saw with our own eyes, and heard with our own ears, not having to depend on the testimony of others...
(Mishna Torah - Foundations of Torah 8:1)

This momentous national revelation helps explain why Jews remained faithful to their faith during the thousands of years of harsh exile. G-d commanded them that His Torah was eternal and that nothing could be added or subtracted to it. The Torah that we have today is the exact Torah, to the letter, that we received at Sinai. the Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4) tells us: "Before his death, Moses wrote 13 Torah Scrolls. Twelve of these were distributed to each of the 12 Tribes. The 13th was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (with the Tablets). If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would "testify" against him. (Likewise, if he had access to the scroll in the Ark and tried to falsify it, the distributed copies would "testify" against him.)" All newly written Torah scrolls were proof-checked against the Torah contained in the Holy Ark. To eliminate any chance of human error, Jewish law enumerates 20 ways that can invalidate a Torah. If even a single letter is mispelled, the entire Torah is disqualified! There are entire books written on how to pronounce every word of the Torah. During the exile, Jews were dispersed in far-flung places such as Poland, Morroco, Australia and Iran. After 1948, when thousands of Torah scrolls were brought to Israel, they were all cross-checked. Out of the 304,805 letters of the Torah, only 9 letters were in variation in the Yemenite Torahs since the Yemenite community was isolated from mainstream Judaism. These 9 letters have absolutely no effect on the meaning of the text.

There is a famous story in the Talmud (Eruvin 13a):

When Rabbi Meir came to Rabbi Yishmael to learn Torah, he was asked:

"What is your profession, my son?"

"I am a scribe," was the reply.

He said to me: "My son, be careful with your work, for it is the work of Heaven. Should you perhaps omit one letter or add one letter -- it could result that you destroy the entire world

Rebbe Meir remarked: "Needless to say, I do not err by omitting or adding (letters)... but I am even concerned for a fly -- lest it come and alight upon the right-hand corner of a dalet and erase it, thereby rendering it a reish.

In contrast, Christianity's claims are based on the flimsy writings of individuals. If the Christian Bible is to be taken at face value, Jesus performed miracles before his disciples or a few villagers. (Even his public miracles in no way compare to the millions at Sinai.) Paul had his ephiphany alone on a road to Damascus. Christianity has no national revelation! However, even acceping the stories of the Christian Bible is generous. There is an acknowledged consensus among Christian academics that the Gospels were not written by eye witnesses but rather were pseudonymously attributed to Jesus's disciples, and the Paul's epistles make no mention of Jesus's life and ministry. Following the death of Jesus (whose very historicity is problematic), hundreds of Gospels detailing his life were written, of which the Church chose but a few. In his book, Answering Christianity's Most Puzzling Questions, Christian apologist Richard Sisson states: "In fact, after the death of Jesus a whole flood of books that claimed to be inspired appeared.... Disputes over which ones were true were so intense that the debate continued for centuries. Finally in the fourth century a group of church leaders called a council and took a vote. The 66 books that comprised our cherished Bible were declared to be Scripture by a vote of 568 to 563." The Catholic Encyclopedia records that it was the decision of Church father St. Irenaeus to name the Gospels as they are known today. Many events recorded in the Gospels contradict historical facts or Jewish law, proving its falsehood. In fact, Jesus divinity was only established by a vote in the 4th century CE at the Council of Nicea!

In contrast to the Torah's perfect preservation, there exist about 30 000 variations in the text of the Christian Bible.

(From Simple To Remember)
First, the Christian Bible is about 1,700 years younger than the Torah. Second, the Christians haven't gone through nearly as much exile and dislocation as the Jews. Third, Christianity has always had a central authority (the Vatican) to ensure the accuracy of their text.

What are the results? The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, a book written to prove the validity of the New Testament, says: " A study of 150 Greek [manuscripts] of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings... It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the [manuscript] is wholly uniform."

Other scholars report there are some 200,000 variants in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament, representing about 400 variant readings which cause doubt about textual meaning; 50 of these are of great significance.

The Torah has nine spelling variants -- with absolutely no effect on the meaning of the words. The Christian Bible has over 200,000 variants and in 400 instances the variants change the meaning of the text.

When comparing the national revelation that is the basis of Judaism and the unbroken transmission of the Torah until today with the historical inaccuracies of Christianity's founding, couples with its ahistorical and forged holy books and immense variations, with the original text unrecognizable, why would anybody trust in Christianity's claims? They are shaky and weak, while the revelation at Sinai is emet v'yatsiv, true and certain. Any Jew who is flirting with Christianity must realize that he is trading in the certainty of G-d's Torah for a man-made sham.

"[Moses told the Israelites]: 'Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have beheld. Do not remove this memory from your heart all the days of your life. Teach your children and your children's children about the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horev [Mount Sinai]...

God spoke to you from the midst of the fire, you were hearing the sound of words, but you were not seeing a form, only a sound. He told you of His covenant, instructing you to keep the Ten Commandments, and He inscribed them on two stone tablets.'"
(Deut.4:9-13) Never forget that awesome day when we all saw G-d!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

If you like what you see...

Then JBlog Me. Help spread the message and fight for the truth. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ramming Your Jesus Down Our Throats

The "persecuted" Church in Israel plays the victim shamelessly in order to advance its spiritual assault on the Jewish faith. When a church suffered slighty damage after some of the wiring caught fire, the eternal victims were quick to blame "Jewish extremists". After a bomb injured the son of a pastor who had been fatwaed by the Mufti of Jerusalem, these same "victims" accused, without a shred of evidence, Orthodox Jews as plotting to kill Christians, although Fatah later took credit for the blast. Israel today is in the midst of a life and death struggle for its Jewish soul, with 3000 years of history and tradition on one side and billions of dollars in Christian aid on the other. Christian spiritual warriors have committed themselves to baptizing the Jewish nation, whether we like it or not.

Jews for Jesus's mission stated goal is "to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide." It has committed itself to forcing itself onto the Jewish people (an unavoidable issue) and imposing their religion on us. Jews for Jesus has just begun a multi-billion dollar 5 year campaign including bus and billboard advertisements, dedicated to spreading Christianity in Israel. This campaign is so repugnant and offensive to Jews that the bus and billboard compagnies, when notified by counter-missionary groups of the contents of the advertisements, promptly removed them. In short, Jews have no interest in Christianity or Jesus. It simply ain't kosher. A few weeks ago, a drove of missionaries descended uninvited and unwanted on the religious city of Or Yehuda and handed out New Testaments to the particularly vulnerable Ethiopian community. When the spiritual crusaders left, the inhabitants found themselves in possession of heretical and insulting material which they needed to dispose of. The mayor of the town collected this garbage (since it was unwanted) and got rid of it by burning it in a synagogue parking lot. Christians spun this incident out of proportion, describing it as if Jews had led a pogrom through the streets, confiscated Christian Bibles and set them on fire amid great dancing and celebration. They miss the crucial fact that the people of the town had no interest in Christianity, were given material that it contrary to their faith, and resolved to get rid of it the best way possible to ensure that no Jew would be endangered by their contents.

Christians like to cry that the church suffers "harassment" by Orthodox Jews. US foreign policy forbids Israel from outlawing missionary activities. They claim that this would violate their religious "freedom". They fail to notice, however, the nature of Christian harassment. To a Jew, nothing is more offensive than an attempt to steal his soul. When we left the exile behind, we also left behind Christianity and all other foreign belief-systems. Why should a Jew living in the Jewish country be subjected to attempt by foreigners to get him to change his faith? If a missionary attempt is unsolicited and he keeps on pounding the Jew with verse after verse trying to prove that Jesus is messiah, then this is harassment. Subjecting Jews to seeing advertisement in all major newspapers, media and one the road that proclaim the Gospel is harassment. The message of missionaries is clear: Judaism is worthless and Jews are condemned to eternal hellfire unless they accept the saving graces of Jesus Christ. Thanks but no thanks. For two thousand years, the universal concensus of Jews has been that belief in Jesus is not compatible with the Torah. There is no reason for a Jew living in the Jewish state to have to endure Christians trying to baptize him.

Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe whatever you would like, but not to behave however you please. Religious freedom does not permit polygamy, for example. Israel has not said that people are not entitled to believe in Jesus. It has stated, at certain times, that people are not free to persuade others to accept Jesus. While this may sound undemocratic to American Christians and a violation of their rights, it is a right that they do not have. Israel's character is Jewish and anyone who goes there needs to respect that. Freedom of religion ceases when it infrines of someone else's right not to be harassed. The rights of Christians to spread the Gospel in Israel must be limited in order to protect the right of the Jewish citizens of Israel not to have to subjected to conversion attempts. The missionaries are not citizens but come from afar with the only intention of tearing us from our faiths. There is no reason why we should let that happen in our own state.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Beyond Chutzpah: Missionary Shamelessness

Paul, the founder of the early Christian church, confessed to employing deceptive techniques to gain converts to his new faith. "If through my lies G-d’s truth abounds to His glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?" (Romans 3:7) Paul's spiritual successors have learnt well from his example. In their zeal for destroying the Jewish faith and nation, missionaries have stooped to the most deceptive and dishonest tactics. While they are a fifth-column determined to convert us, they portray themselves shamelessly as victims of "Orthodox persecution". They feel no guilt at publically accusing the Jewish people of blood libel on international television without a shred of evidence. Of course, intellectual dishonesty is nothing new to Christianity.

A recent bomb attack on the son of a Messianic pastor prompted calls of condemnation on Orthodox Jews. Without any proof, Pat Robertson has denounced Orthodox Jews on his television station for complicity in this attack. This is despite the fact that the Mufti of Jerusalem issued a fatwa against this pastor for converting Muslims and that Fatah took credit for this attack. None of this has stopped the slander directed at the Jewish people. On the other hand, there are numerous cases of missionary abuse and assault on those who try to stop them. Eddie Beckford, head of the Messianic cult in Arab, was caught on video brutally assaulting a counter-missionary activist. Meanwhile, in all of Yad L'Achim's, a major counter-missionary organization, 50 years of activism, not one of its members has been convicted of violence. By playing the victim, they are able to gain sympathy and support to their evil cause.

Missionaries recently entered the mostly religious town of Or Yehuda and distributed missionary pamphlets, specifically targetting the Ethiopian community which is particularly succeptible to Messianic propaganda. Having found themselves in possession of idolatrous and undesirable material, they resolved to dispose of it in the most appropriate fashion. The mayor of Or Yehuda, along with several yeshiva students, went across town collecting these pamphlets and burnt them in a synagogye parking lot. The head of the Israeli branch of the cult which distributed these Christian Bible, Victor Kalisher, the son of Holocaust survivors, stooped so low as to abuse the memory of the Holocaust to support converting Jews. "As Jews we were raised and taught that were books are burned, worse things can happen. That's what I think when I see the pictures of what happened in Or Yehuda. What worries me is that nobody has stood up against this." Messianic activists compared the burning to medieval burnings of the Talmud or the Nazi destruction of Jewish books. By painting themselves as suffering from Jewish "Nazis", they hope to gain public support. These Messianics fail to realize one key difference. The Nazis, or the Christians during the Middle Ages, forcibly confiscated Jewish holy books and burnt them. In Or Yehuda, Jews were subjected to material that is considered higly offensive and had no way to get rid of it. According to Jewish law, anything associated with idolatry must be destroyed. Therefore, the only halachic solution would be to destroy the pamphlets. Yet the missionaries could not make this distinction. They gladly spit on the memory of the 6 million martyred Jews in their crusade to finish off the task of eliminating the Jewish people.

These missionaries have no shame and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. They spend billions of dollars every year in order to gain influence and convert Jews. Evangelical leaders exert tremendous pressure on the Israeli government to strike down laws prohibiting missionizing and aid Messianics in furthering their agenda in Israel. They have slandered traditional Jews, desecrated the memory of the Holocaust, preyed on the vulnerable and even attacked counter-missionary activists. They are certainly enemies of the Jewish people and must be treated as such. In this day and age, when we are quick to accept "Zionism" as a common building ground, we must carefully re-examine our relationships with spiritual thieves.