Friday, May 30, 2008

Israel: G-d's Suffering Servant

The Jews are responsible for first introducing G-d to the world. Since the covenant at Sinai, the Jewish people have tried to fulfill their divine task of spreading monotheism and ethics to the world. Along with this mission of perfecting the world comes deadly hatred and anti-semitism. Jewish history, through the Crusades and Inquisitions, pogroms and massacres, Holocausts and Intifadas, is a long trail of blood and death. That is the price of being HaShem's Servant.

13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. The Torah refers to Israel often as G-d's servant. See Isa. 41:8-9; 44:1-2; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3, for example. "Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen." Israel was charged to serve G-d and reveal Him to the world. (According to the Christian understanding, Jesus, the subject of this passage, is G-d. How can G-d be His own servant?)

14 According as many were appalled at thee--so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men-- 15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive. 1 'Who would have believed our report? Imagine the amazements of the nations when the very nation which was persectued and tormented is lifted to the highest of heights in the Messianic era? The nation that was long associated with death and weakness, with gas chambers and ovens, will return to its former glory and splendour, as those who oppressed it are downtrodden. Micah 7:12-17 records the astonishment of the nations at Israel's reversal of fortunes. "'As in the days of thy coming forth out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things.' The nations shall see and be put to shame for all their might; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent; like crawling things of the earth they shall come trembling out of their close places; they shall come with fear unto the LORD our God, and shall be afraid because of Thee."

And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed? HaShem's "arm" refers to physical salvation from our foes. Israel was redeemed from Egypt with a mighty hand and an outsretched arm. G-d will redeem us again in the same manner.

2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. 3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. When one considers how the world stood silently while tens of thousands of Jews were butchered every single day during the Holocaust, it is easy to realize that the nation of Israel "was despised and we [the nations] esteemed him not." The world has always been apathetic at best to Jewish suffering, and actively seeking our destruction at worst. This verse cannot be reconciled with the New Testament account of Jesus, a man who was supposedly "praised by all" (Lk. 4:14-15) and followed by multitudes (Matt. 4:25), who would later acclaim him as a prophet upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:9-11). Even as he was taken to be crucified, a multitude bemoaned his fate (Lk. 23:27). Jesus had to be taken by stealth, as the rulers feared "a riot of the people" (Mk. 14:1-2).

4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Israel's adversities are frequently likened to sickness - see, e.g., Isa. 1:5-6; Jer. 10:19; Jer 30:12. Jer. 30:17 - of God's servant Israel (30:10), it is said by the nations, "It is Zion; no one cares for her." The nations have always been quick to write off the Jews as done, finished, destroyed.

5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.
The Chosen People has suffered because of the wickedness and cruelty ie. transgressions and iniquities, of the nations of the world, because they sought to crush them. If only they knew how much spiritual good Israel has done for the world! Note that it is "because of transgressions", not FOR our transgressions. This certianly does not refer to the Messiah who "shall not fail nor be crushed till he has set the right in the earth" (Isa. 42:4).

6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. Israel is a sheep among 70 wolves. King David describes Israel as "sheep to be slaughtered" in the midst of the unfaithful gentile nations (44:22,11).

Jesus certainly did "open his mouth" to his accusers and protested. Any claims tothe contrary are absolutely false. See Matt. 27:46, Jn. 18:23, 36-37.

8 From dominion and judgement he was taken away,and with his generation who did reason? Which position of judgement and dominion did Jesus ever hold? Did he ever sit on the Sanhedrin or rule as king of Israel? Jesus never had any rights to rulership or judgement, at least not on the "first coming." See, e.g., Jn. 3:17; Jn. 8:15; Jn. 12:47; Jn. 18:36.

for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; See Ez. 37:11-14, wherein Israelis described as "cut off" and God promises to open its "graves" and bring Israel back into its own land. Other examples of figurative deaths include Ex. 10:17; 2 Sam. 9:8; 2 Sam. 16:9. "For the transgressions of my people" makes it clear that the Prophet is speaking of a collective entity rather than an individual.

although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' See Matt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15-16; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 19:27; Matt. 10:34 and Lk. 12:51; then judge for yourself whether this passage is truly consistent with the New Testament account of Jesus.

10 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand: The Hebrew word "seed" (zerah) always means physical descendants. Did Jesus have any? Moreover, Jesus died young and did not "prolong his days". And if Jesus is G-d and therefore eternal, then how can G-d's days be prolonged?

11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, with his knowledge the righteous one, my Servant, will cause many to be just and their iniquities he did bear. The Jewish people will lead the nations in the observance of the 7 Universal Noahide Laws and perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty. They will fulfill their task to be a light unto the nations ((Deut. 4:5-8; Zech. 8:23)

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. If Jesus is G-d, then how can he be rewarded? Does it not make sense that the nation that was persecuted and tormented for G-d sake- and despite all that, remained faithfu and brought righteousness to its many enemiesl (Ps. 44)- to be rewarded as Isaiah 52 and 54 explain in greater detail?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Proof"-Texts Revealed

Christian claims about 300 Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus are a load of hooey (I'm using a more polite word than the more appropriate one that rhymes with 'hit'). I can say with absolute conviction that there is not one prophecy in the entire Tanach that refers specifically to Jesus. Every single Christian proof-text is either mistranslated, taken out of context, misappropriated or completely invented. I will examine each of these various techniques with a "proof-text".


According to Christians, Isaiah 7:14 clearly states that a virgin shall give birth to a son, and they claim that this obviously refer to their virgin-born god, Jesus.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (KJV)

This interpretation, however, is fatally flawed. The translators of the King James Version (accidentally?) mistranslated the verse. The correct reading should be:

"Therefore the L-rd Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the young woman is with child, and she shall bear a son, and you [or, she] shall call his name Immanuel."

The Hebrew word that refers to the woman giving birth in this passage is 'ha-almah', which means the young woman, and not 'ha-betulah' which means the virgin. The word 'ha-almah' always refers to a young woman, with no mention of her sexual status.

Proverbs 30:18-19 – "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, indeed, four which I know not; The way of a vulture in the sky; the way of a serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a [virile] man [(gever)] with a young woman [(bealmah)]."

The only time that "… the way of a [virile] man with a young woman ..." does not leave a trace (i.e., a broken hymen) is if the hymen of the (almah) were already not intact.

Song of Songs 1:3 – "Your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out, therefore maidens [alamot)] love you."

The (alamot), young women, loved King Solomon! Don't imagine that their love was simply platonic.

Song of Songs 6:8 – "There are sixty queens, and eighty concubines, and maidens [ (va’alamot)] without number."

60 wives, 80 concubines, and countless (alamot) were listed as being among King Solomon’s lovers.

Let's look at this passage in context. Isaiah prophesized this at the time that the House of Judah was facing a serious military crisis. In 732 BCE, the armies of Pekach, king of Israel, and Retsin, king of Aram, were besieging Jerusalem. Isaiah records that the House of David and King Ahaz were gripped with fear. G-d sent the prophet Isaiah to reassure King Ahaz that divine protection was at hand – G-d would protect him and his kingdom and that their deliverance was assured, and these two hostile armies would fail in their attempt to subjugate Jerusalem. Ahaz asked for a sign from G-d to prove this. The 'ot' or sign which he was given has nothing to do with the mother's virginal status but that the war between the kingdoms would be over before this child (whose imminent birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14) reaches the age of maturity (“… he knows to reject bad and choose good …”). The pronoun 'ha-almah', meaning the maiden, indicates that the woman was a well-known. It of course refers to King Ahaz's wife. The word 'Behold' in the prophecy teaches us that this prophecy was to come to pass shortly, and not seven-and-a-half centuries in the future. It would hardly be reassuring to King Ahaz that Jesus would be born 750 years later.

Out of context:

Zechariah 13:6- "And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends." (KJV)

This one must be about Jesus! Jesus had wounds on his hands from his crucifixion and he received them from being betrayed by his friend, Judas. If Christians insist that this verse speaks of Jesus, then who am I to argue with them? Let's look at the passage in context.

Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. [2] And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, [that] I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. [3] And it shall come to pass, [that] when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. [4] And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: [5] But he shall say, I [am] no prophet, I [am] an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. [6] And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends. (KJV)

Now you understand why I have no problem applying this verse to Jesus. In context, it is clear that the one whose hands are pierced is being punished as a false prophet. Look at how deceptively Christians simply ignored the context and claimed it to prove their god. This is not singular mistake- this is the basis of Christianity!

Misappropriating a non-Messianic prophecy:

Psalms 22:16- "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet." (KJV)

If we understand this verse from a Christian perspective, the only person in history who ever had their hands and feet pierced was obviously... you guesses it: Jesus H. Christ! One mistake made is that during crucifixion, the hands and feet were not pierced, but the ankles and wrists. More importantly, this is a monumental mistranslation. What you see for the word "pierced" is translated from the Hebrew "ka'ari," which means "like a lion." This word is used again in that very same Psalm:

Psalm 22:21- "Save me from the lion's mouth (ka'ari): for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns." (KJV)

I wonder why Christians would choose to translate 'ka'ari' once as 'pierced' and then later in the same Psalm as 'lion'. It is also odd that 'ka'ari' is translated as 'lion' everywhere else in the KJV. It must be an honest mistake.

The proper translation would be: For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet." King David wrote this Psalm describing how his enemies have surrounded him and are attempting to destroy him. (Jewish tradition teaches that this Psalm is written prophetically referring to the time of Esther and Mordechai.) It is a prayer describing David's suffering and pain, and not a Messianic prophecy.

Complete Fabrication:

"And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matt. 2:23)

This prophecy is nowhere to be found in any of the books of the Prophets or in the entire Torah. Symbolic of Christianity itself, this "prophecy" is a bunch on nothing spun out of the cloth.

Based on all of this, I have a challenge for every single intellectually honest Christian. I ask them to present me with one verse that refers specifically to Jesus and that is not taken out of context, mistranslated or invented. Up for the challenge?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why Messianic "Judaism" is anti-semitic

Christianity has certainly produced the most virulent and bitter form of anti-semitism, laying the seeds for the deadly Nazi hatred. After WWII, most Christian denominations repudiated all forms of anti-semitism. Gone are the days when Christian saints denounced the Jews as "slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, adversaries of G-d, men who show contempt for the Law, foes of grace, enemies of their fathers’ faith, advocates of the Devil, brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men whose minds are in darkness, leaven of the Pharisees, assembly of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners, and haters of righteousness.” Mainstream Catholic and Protestant sects no longer seek to convert Jews and have accepted that Judaism represents a legitimate path to spirituality and salvation. While there has been some controversy about the Vatican's decision to return to a medieval prayer text calling for G-d to lift the blindness of the eyes of the Jews, one would be hardpressed to find Catholic priests donning Jewish garb in an attempt to "witness" to them. Despite all of this, there remains one major Christian denomination that, at the same time as claiming to be Israel' greatest friend, is doing it a great deal of harm.

Messianic and Evangelical Christianity claims in theory to recognize the unique relationship that the Jewish people have with G-d while in practice teaching that Judaism is worthless unless Jews accept christ ie. become Christians. They have the audacity to reject three millenia of Jewish law, tradition and teaching and claim their own version of pseudo-Judaism as authentic. Messianics keep shabbat, kashrut, wear talleisim and kippot in an attempt to misguide Jews, even though they believe that only faith in christ can bring salvation. They in essence hold Judaism to be of no value and completely illegitimate. Even though Judaism today is at its core the same Judaism practiced by Moses, Joshua, David and Jeremiah, they mock it as "the teaching of men", call the rabbis "a brood of vipers" and "Pharisees" and repeat many of the classic anti-Jewish lies about us being blinded by Satan. In short, they may claim to love Jews but without a doubt have nothing but hatred and contempt for Judaism. They reject Jewish teachings and requirements and have set up their own standards for what is Judaism, although 99% of Jews for the past two thousand years have decided that faith in Jesus is not Jewish. Messianic and Evangelical Christianity disdainfully rejects Judaism as empty, idiosyncratic and law-based. Basically, it sees nothing of value in it and with a wave of their arrogant hands, dismisses the world's most ancient religious ideology.

There are literally billions of non-Christians in this world. Millions of Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists have never had the chance to be "saved". There are millions of lapsed Catholics, Episcopalians, Anglicans as well as "heathen" J's Witnesses and Mormons in the US, in the Evangelical's backyards. Nonetheless, they choose to direct billions of dollars and tons of effort every year to converting Jews. 63 years after seven out of every ten Jews in Europe went up in flames, there are nary 14 million of us. Every year, thousands of unaffiliated Jews cross lines that their grandparents and ancestor would have prefered to die for rather than cross, and accept Christianity. In fact, 25% of American Jews are identified with some form of Christianity. This, coupled with an enormous assimilation and intermarriage rate, is one of the chief reasons why American Jewry is predicted to be extinct by the end of this century. Messianic and Evangelical Christianity has as an ultimate goal the destruction of Judaism and the elimination of the Jewish people through assimilation. That makes every single missionary pamphlet, "christ in the Passover" seminar or Christians United for Israel rally, a deadly weapon working towards our demise. The billions of dollars of Christian aid and support in Israel have reaped their deadly effects. Over a hundred Messianic congregations sadly fill up their pews in Israel. Christian lawyers now push for the rights of apostate Jews to make aliyah. Christian televangelists publically accused Jews of blood libel without a shred of evidence. All of this is in an attempt to dillute the Jewish nature and character of Israel, and to gain a foothold in the Land to be used during Armageddon, when the unrepentant Jews will be thrown into Hell. Christian pressure prevents Israel from passing a sane anti-missionary bill.

Evangelical Christians pose as Israel's greatest friend but they sow spiritual destruction on Jews. They hate and ridicule Judaism and teach that it is worthless unless Jews throw it away and accept Christianity. Because of their repeated attempts at converting us, the Jewish people is shrinking. It is time to say loud and clear to our Christian "friends" that any support of Israel comes with the condition of respect for our Jewish faith.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Praying for Israel or Preying on Israel?

1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: 'Up, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.'

2 And Aaron said unto them: 'Break off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.'

3 And all the people broke off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

4 And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said: 'This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'

These same words that the wicked Erev Rav declared in when they built Israel a false god and provoked them into worshipping it are being repeated once again. Israel is now the target of a mega-proselytizing blitz, the Behold Your G-d campaign by Jews for Jesus. This 5 year campaign will invade Israel with bus and billboard banners, newspaper advertisements and a full-time army of missionaries. In our own homeland, we are having Jesus rammed down our throat!
The problem is not really with Christians as they are only fulfilling their religious obligations to 'save our souls'. The real tragedy is that Jews do not have the courage to ban this type of religious harassment and end this threat to Jewish souls. A legal opinion prepared by the Justice Ministry decided that a bill to ban missionary activity in Israel would 'undermine religious freedom of expression'. To this, the head of counter-missionary organization, Yad L'achim, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz, argues:

"Just as the Knesset saw fit to draft laws against the enemies of our people in areas related to the well-being, security and future of the Jewish people in the state of Israel, so too lawmakers must draft legislation against the enemies of our people, the missionaries, who want to destroy the remnant and memory of the Jewish people and convert them to Christianity."
"There is no doubt that if the security forces came upon people who incited to violence against the state, they would use the law to act against them and not be concerned about impinging on their freedom of expression. In our view, this must be the attitude missionaries who seek the spiritual destruction of Jews and thus to harm the soul of the Jewish nation."
The sin of shemad is so severe that we are commanded to give up our lives rather than to transgress it. How is it possible, then, to allow the continuation of shemad, when previous generation would fast at hearing news of a Jew who had converted, and here they are converting thousand of Jews and no one says a word."

Israel receives millions of dollars every year from various Evangelical organizations. Evangelicals claim that they simply want to 'bless' Israel and that their gifts come with no strings attached. It is time that Israel learns that there is no such thing as a free lunch! This friendship and funds comes at the cost of Jews converting to Christianity in the Jewish state.
All is not lost, however. While the government has sold out to Christian money, there remains good and pure Jews committed to defending our people from these parasites. After missionaries distributed their poisonous leaflets in the predominantly religious town of Or Yehuda, the mayor, Uzi Aharon, drove around town and asked on loudspeaker for people to turn over the material to yeshiva students. Hundreds of these 'New' Testaments were then burnt in a lot next to a local synagogue. "And you shall exterminate evil from your midst"! Thank G-d for Jews like these who are zealous for Torah and Am Yisrael!

Please, say no to all false gods.

"Shemah Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem Echad"!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jewish Passion

The tired old canard states that Judaism is a religion of law while Christianity is a religion of love. According to this way of thinking, Judaism concentrates on the trivial points of ritual observance whose curse Christians have been freed from by Jesus fulfilling the law. Christians achieve grace through the sacrifice of Jesus while Jews spent their lives aimlessly trying to follow an impossible system of obligations and commandments in which there is no spirituality. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The second a Jew wakes up in the morning, he says the Modeh Ani, thanking G-d for returning his soul to him. He then washes his hands, wiping away the impurity of near-death. Before he can eat anything, he must don his tallit and tefillin and pray shacharit. The Jew unfolds his prayer shawl and wraps himself around it, saying the blessing over it. He then proceeds to tie the leather straps of the tefillin around his arm, with the box next to his heart. He places the head tefillin like a crown and praises G-d's name. As he wraps the tefillin around his fingers like a ring, forming one of G-d's names, he says the verse: "And I will bethroth you to Me forever, and I will bethroth you to Me in justice and righteousness, and kindness and mercy, and I will bethroth you to Me in faith, and you shall know HaShem." With this simple action every single morning, a Jew connects himself to his G-d and reaches the most sublime heights of spirituality. Through a simple leather strap and a box containing a few parchments, a Jew is able to please G-d, to fulfill His Will and to bring a level of perfection into the world. What a priviledge! What an opportunity!

Judaism is a very action-oriented religion. G-d is not found in rigid dogmas or in ancient philosophies. Truth does not exist on forsaken shores, lofty mountains, dark oceans or in lone monasteries. Quite the opposite. "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?' But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:11-14) Spirituality is found in the wool fringes tied to the corner of our garments, in candles lit in honour of the Shabbat, in a kind word, in a blessing, in a chapter of Torah studied. Even the most simple Jew can connect to G-d through countless mitzvot during the day. Kashrut is the Jewish way of achieving spirituality through eating. Shabbat is the Jewish way of making the mundane work week spiritual.

The Christian claim that through the intercession of Jesus, they are able to approach G-d, falls remarkably short. At Mount Sinai, G-d told the entire nation of Israel that they are to have no other gods before Him, as intermediaries between Him and them. There is nothing that stands between a Jew, and truly all of Creation, and HaShem. There is no need for an intercessor as G-d is directly approachable by every single person, each in his own way. By keeping the mitzvot of the Torah with passion and dedication, a Jew comes close to G-d. The idea that ritual observance is devoid of passion is absolutely ludicrous. It is precisely by doing something concrete as opposed to believing in the abstract that a person can achieve a genuine connection with G-d. Missionaries frequently ask their prey if they have a personal relationship with G-d, because in their minds such a relationship is impossible without Jesus. That is patently absurd. Jews have been engaging in a meaningful connection with HaShem for three millenia through His Torah. It is the channel for spirituality in this world.

"O come, let us sing unto the LORD; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout for joy unto Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods." Throw away all intercessors or obstacles between you and G-d. He wants to get to know you personally, and for you to get to know Him. He is waiting. There is no other.