Monday, December 22, 2008

Not Afraid to be Unique

Peled said that Israelis want to celebrate Christmas because they do not want to feel culturally isolated from the rest of the world.

"Celebrating only Hanukka set us apart, makes us different. People don't want to feel that way. They want to be part of world," she said.

With these words, Tamir Peled, has signed the death warrant of the Jewish people. Explaining the increasing visibility of Christmas decorations in certain places in Israel, Peled says that many Israelis don't want to be different. They feel that Chanukkah sets them apart, something that they are uncomfortable with. This desire to fit in, to be alike the nations, is the slow end of the Jews.

The Greeks were one of the most tolerant and universal-minded peoples in the ancient world. It is doubtful that they oppressed or persecuted any other people besides the Jews. How did a people known for its openness and love of philosophy come to commit so many atrocities against the Jews? It is hard to understand how the people that gave the world democracy, Plato and Aristotle, were the same ones as those who murdered Chana's 7 sons before her eyes for not bowing to an idol, or martyred the saintly Rabbi Eliezer for refusing to eat pork.

Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors wanted to unite the world under Greek culture and philosophy. The ancient pagans were the ultimate in relativism as they syncretized gods and beliefs with great ease. The Greeks adopted the gods of the nations that they conquered and in return gave them their Pantheon. The only people who refused to do this were the Jews. The Jews insisted on circumcising themselves, alone of all the ancients, did not eat the same food as non-Jews and did not share in any of their customs. The Greeks were outraged when they discovered that the Jewish Temple contained no idol or statue. They forbade the circumcision, the mark of the covenant between the Jews and G-d. They decreed that anyone caught studying Torah, the divine laws, observing the Shabbat, the holy day, or keeping kosher was to be put to death. They outlawed the Sanhedrin's proclamation of the New Month, the obligation which gave the Jewish people mastery over time.

The Greeks did not wish to eradicate the Jews physically, nor did they wish to destroy them. Rather, the Greeks wanted to put an end to the Torah, G-d's laws which set the Jewish people apart. They desecrated the Temple, and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies. They built giant sports arenas and theaters in Jerusalem and the countryside to try and entice the Jews into the Greek culture. In fact, many of the rich and elite became known as Hellenizers because of their affinity for the Greek culture. The Greeks polluted all of the oil in the Temple, reserved for kindling the Golden Menorah, symbolic of their desire to stamp out the Torah and its light.

Oil characterized the Jewish people because just as oil does not mix with other liquids, so too do the Jews not mix with other nations. Just as oil always rises to the top, Jews always rise above the mundaneness and triviality of the world, and above the attempts of those who wish to wipe them out. The prophet Bilaam called the Jews "a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." (Numbers 23:9) The essence of the Jewish people is to be separate, to be distinct and to be holy. The Uniqueness of the Divine is paralleled by the uniqueness of the Jewish people, G-d's chosen vessel through which to reveal His Oneness and Majesty. G-d chose the nation of Israel to bring consciousness of G-d to the entire world, and to spread the light of Torah.

Many Jews unfortunately do not want to be alone. They hate their Jewishness, their choseness and distinct-ness with a passion. Deep down, they are afraid of being unique. These Jews want desperately to be accepted. Little do they realize that it is their Jewish destiny to be different. Our Father Avraham was called the 'Ivri' because he stood on one ever, side, while the entire world stood on the other. In a society that worshipped the forces of nature and paid homage to tyrants, Avraham had the courage to stand apart.

Our Sages tell us that Israel was redeemed from Egypt by virtue of the fact that they retained their identity. The Jews did not change their Hebrew names, adapt their dress to meet Egyptian fashion and spoke only their Hebrew tongue. Throughout the ages, the Jews resisted assimilation and were therefore able to outlast any other nation.

When Jews wish to become like the other nations, it is the beginning of the end. As G-d says: "If you sever yourselves from the other peoples, then you belong to me; but if not, then you belong to Nebuchadnezzar and his fellows." (Midrash, Sifra 93d) In the United States, Judaism is disappearing rapidly in a Silent Holocaust of assimilation, with a 50% assimilation rate. According to research, non-Orthodox Jewry will be largely extinct within the span of 3 generations if the current trend prevails. In Israel, the absurd political situation is a symptom of people of little faith desiring to be accepted by the world. The Israeli government and a large segment of the population are willing to sacrifice land, retreat, withdraw and compromise, all to be accepted by a world that stood silently as European Jewry chocked and burnt in the gas chambers and ovens. Such a government of lemmings is leading the nation of Israel back into the ghettos of exile.

The Jewish nation did not survive 2000 years of exile in order to simply be a cultural club. We are told that G-d created the world for the sake of Israel. In order for G-d's Truth to be revealed to the world, He needs a chosen people dwelling in a holy land living by divine laws. Our ancestors rose up against the Greeks so that they should be able to keep the Torah freely, and not be overwhelmed by Greek cultural influence. "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) That is our mission, our calling. Tamir Peled's words, which echo those of the Hellenizers before him, are a death sentence to the Jewish nation.

This Chanukkah, let us discover what makes us unique and may we spread the light of Torah around the world. May G-d illuminate the darkness that clouds of lives, speedily in our days.

Cross-posted from For Zion's Sake

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't Let the Light Go Out

Don't let the light go out. This light has seen mighty empires comes and go. It saw the Greece rise up and conquer world, only to fade away. This light saw the Roman empire grown and collapse. It saw mighty rulers, fearless generals and mighty warriors disappear, without a trace. Yet the light remains.

Don't let the light go out. This light overcame the forces of Hellenism and hedonism. It shone through the darkness of immorality and vanity. It gave guidance and meaning to thousands of generations of Jews who resisted assimilation, who refused to forsake their Torah and their G-d. This light illuminated the secularism that blinded many and sought to lead the Jewish people astray. Philosophies, ideologies and 'isms' are relegated to the dustbin of history, yet the light remains.

Don't let the light go out. It was tended and nurtured lovingly by Jews throughout the ages, often at the risk of their lives. It was protected and treasured despite pain, despite poverty, despite hardship and persecution. Downtrodden, humiliated and weak, the light gave us strength. When there was no hope, the light promised us a better future.

Don't let the light go out. It shone brightly in Morocco and Poland, in Baghdad and Paris. It illuminated the streets of Minsk and Pinsk, Istanbul and Fez, Shanghai and Rome. Our enemies could not extinguish it. Withstanding the cross and the crescent, crusaders and mujahadeen, the light still burns. Under the windows of popes and kings, emperors and sultans, shas and dukes, the light proclaimed that we were still here.

Don't let the light go out. It was lit hidden in cellars, for fear of the Inquisitors racks. It was lit in ghettos and camps, in the shadow of the gas chambers and crematorium. It was lit in the freezing gulag's, the punishment for wishing to return home. It burnt long after Crusaders and Almohads, revolutionaries and fascists, Nazis and Communists, disappeared from the earth and will burn long after the suicide bomber, "holy warrior" and jihadist terrorist. For the miracles performed for us in those days, in this time.

Don't let the light go out. The light that was kindled at the rededication of the Second Temple, and will be kindled at the dedication of the Third Temple, may it be soon. The light that has returned home after two thousands years of exile, the light that blossoms in its holy land. The light that was shot out in Mumbai, massacred on the streets on Jerusalem, in pizzerias and cafes, synagogues and study halls. The light that is threatened by assimilation and ignorance. The light that has seen history, yet still shines. Don't let the light go out.

Chag Chanukkah Sameach!

Cross-posted from For Zion's Sake

Monday, December 15, 2008

Paganism and Christmas

In the West, no holiday is as beloved as Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving in the United States is over, malls, newspapers, radio and TV are inundated with Christmas decorations. Red and green, Christmas lights, Santa surrounded with his elves. The mad holiday rush begins as the clock ticks down to the "holy night".

In today's age of cultural equivalence, holidays are often shorn of their meanings. However, I feel that it is important to understand the significance of the symbols associated with the holiday. To many Christians, Christmas represents the birth of their saviour and is the most important day on the calendar for them. Church attendance is highest on Christmas (and Easter). To those seeking a way to get closer to G-d, it is necessary to learn about the pagan roots of Christmas.

Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, not due to any particular historical event, but rather because it was the day when the ancient pagans worshipped the rebirth of the sun. On the darkest day of the year, the winter solstice, the Romans would commemorate the advent of their saviour demigod, Mithras. Born to a virgin in a cave, Mithras brought eternal life to his followers. As an inscription on a Mithraic temple in Rome said: "Thou hast saved the many through the shedding of the eternal blood". The Catholic Church, in the 4th century, wanted to eclipse the pagan festivities of Mithras by establishing the day as the birth of their own saviour man-god. In order to introduce Christianity to the pagan world, Church leaders felt it necessary to celebrate Christmas on the winter solstice. The day of the sun's rebirth easily and smoothly became the day of the son's birth. (Christmas' pagan roots were well known. The early colonists opposed the celebration of Christmas in America. It was even banned by colonial law in Massachusetts.) To make pagans feel more comfortable in their new faith, many pagan elements were incorporated into early Christianity.

The Christmas tree originated in ancient Germanic history. Germanic tribes lit trees (Tannenbaum) and celebrated the feast of light (Lichtfest) around the shortest day of the year, December 21. During the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, the people decorated their homes with evergreen clippings and hung metals and decorations from trees in honour of their god, Bacchus.

Christians, G-d specifically commands against this pagan practice:

Jeremiah 10:2
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Mistletoe and holy were used by the Druids to announce the coming of winter. In Scandinavian countries, mistletoe represented peace and harmony. It was associated with the goddess of love, Frigga, which is the origin of kissing beneath the mistletoe. The early church even banned the use of mistletoe because of its pagan connotations.

As a Christian site says:

"December 25th was celebrated by the Pagan sun-worshippers of Mithraism as the "birthday of the invincible sun," because on that day the sun began its return to the northern skies "the winter solstice." And so, the sun and the Son, have become a deliberate Pagan mix. Tammuz, the Babylonian Pagan sun deity, was also the first counterfeit savior… December 25th was also the date of the Pagan Brumalia (winter) festival in Rome. It was preceded by the Saturnalia festival Dec. 17-24 - in honor of the Roman god Saturn, as a period of unrestrained merriment in celebration of the winter solstice. The Saturnalia and Brumalia festivals were so popular among the heathen and so deeply entrenched in their customs, that rather than attempt to reform the Pagan populous the Roman Church, the Emperor Constantine, chose instead to absorb their festivities into the Constantine Roman Catholic Church."

There are those Evangelical and Messianic Christians who seek to rehabilitate Christmas of its pagan origins and instead celebrate the birth of Jesus on Sukkot. What they do not understand is that besides the blatant pagan symbols of the Christmas tree and elves, the very concept of a man becoming god and dying for the sins of humanity is contrary to the Torah. Such a belief is pagan to the core and the ancient world was full of similar saviour gods such as Mithras, Osiris, Dionysus and Attis. These beliefs are contrary to G-d's Torah and are idolatrous. G-d repeatedly says that He is not a man (Numbers 23:19, Hosea 11:9, I Samuel 15:29), that human sacrifice is abominable before Him and that no one can die for another's sins.

To all of my gentile readers, instead of placing your trust in meaninglessness and vanity, return to the Almighty Source. Pagan idols and manmade saviours are empty and have no power. Rid yourselves of idolatrous rites and beliefs and commit yourselves to the 7 Noahide Laws. Why worship the "son of man", emptiness and futility, when you can worship G-d Himself? Should you not observe the 7 Laws of the Sons of Noah, incumbent upon all Gentiles, whom G-d has created and loves, and wishes to get closer to?

To all of my readers, Jews and non-Jews, I wish a very happy holiday season. May the light of Torah overcome and destroy all the impurities of idolatry and may we illuminate the darkness that plagues our world, speedily in our days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chutzpah and Heaven

The head of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants has announced that he is called off talks with the Mormon Church over posthumous baptisms performed by the sect for Holocaust victims. Survivors are upset that names of Holocaust victims have been added to a list of baptisms- including thousands lifted from Yizkor books of Jews massacred at Berdichev in Ukraine. Over 380 000 Holocaust victims, including Ann Frank, have already been baptized by the Mormon Church.

The Mormons believe that by baptizing the dead, they give them an opportunity to go to heaven. It is anti-semitic in the extreme to suppose that the murdered victims of the Holocaust need any help from a 150-year old cult in getting to heaven. However, such a belief is not unique to the Mormon Church. Many Evangelical missionary movements which target Jews threaten eternal hellfire and brimstone if Jews do not accept Jesus.

Before Adolph Eichmann, may his name be accursed, was to be executed, Israel permitted him to meet with a Christian minister. After he was executed, reporters asked the minister whether or not Eichmann had accept Jesus. The minister explained that having accepted Jesus, Eichmann would surely be forgiven of all of his sins and go to heaven. And as for the poor Jewish boy gassed at Auschwitz, disbelieving in his "saviour", hell would surely be his eternal reward. According to this perverted belief system, the evil architect of the Final Solution would be welcomed at the Pearly Gates simply for accepting Jesus while the 6 million victims of the Holocaust would be condemned to hell for being Jews.

This story goes to show the perverseness of exclusivity on heaven. For a cult less than two centuries old to presuppose that it has the key to the eternal salvation of the martyrs of the Holocaust is the ultimate in chutzpah. Even more than that, for anyone to claim that his is the only path to heaven and salvation invites hatred, persecution and intolerance. Such a belief only propagates the reasoning behind burning Jews at the stake, and other such atrocities, in order to "save their souls". Surely, the inquisitors and Church officials reasoned, that whatever they did to the Jews was nothing in comparison with eternal salvation. They believed that they were saving them from a far worse fate.

So let's get this straight, for every single Christian or any other cultist who is concerned about my soul: Jews don't need you to be saved!. For a Jew to be saved, he must observe G-d's commandments, follow the Torah and serve HaShem with his entire heart and soul. G-d gave us 613 commandments with which to perfect and refine ourselves so that we may enjoy the World to Come. No cult or sect can offer us anything of value in terms of salvation. As for non-Jews, the sacrifice of Jesus is worthless as well. G-d demands of non-Jews that they renounced man-made idolatry, worship HaShem and lead moral lives. No man can atone for another. Only by keeping G-d's Torah, the 613 mitzvot for Jews and the 7 mitzvot for non-Jews, can we be holy in HaShem's eyes.

The Mishna (Sanhedrin 90a) teaches that " all of Israel has a share in the World to Come, as it says: 'And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever. They are the branch of My planting, My Handiwork, in which to take pride.'" (Isaiah 60:21) So just a head's-up to anyone who wants to save us: we Jews don't need any help in that department.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween: Treif or Treat?

It's that time of the year again. The Jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, goblins and ghouls gave it away. My least favourite goyish holiday is here again. Halloween is celebrated in Anglo-Saxon countries worldwide and is considered a national holiday. Many Jews unfortunately participate in the Halloween festivities: trick-or-treating, decorating the house and dressing up. So is Halloween kosher?

While many Jews today prefer to focus on the universal aspect of Judaism, tikkun olam, morality, ethics, etc., Judaism demands that Jews remain a separate people. God tells Moses to teach the people:

"I am the Lord, your God. Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, nor of Canaan to where I am bringing you. Do not follow their customs (be-hukotehem lo teileichu)" (Leviticus 18:1-3, cf. also, 20:23).

Deuteronomy suggests that this prohibition is intended to prevent idolatry:

"Take heed to yourself lest you be trapped by following them, after they are destroyed from before you; and lest you inquire about their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods?' that I may also do likewise" (Deuteronomy 12:30).

While many halakhic authorities understand these injunctions to be limited to the customs of the Canaanites and Egyptians, the Rambam understands it to be a prohibition of following any non-Jewish rite or ritual. The Torah is warning us against adopting chukat hagoy, gentile customs which will lead us to assimilate. He writes:

"We do not walk after the ways of the idolaters. We do not assimilate ourselves to them; not in our clothing and not in other things like this, as it says, 'do not walk after the ways of the gentiles' (Leviticus 20:23)…Rather, a Jew should be distinct from them and recognizable through one's clothing and one's other actions, just as one is distinct from them in one's thoughts and characteristics" (Laws concerning Idolatry, 11:1).

Halloween, although today it is mostly devoid of religious significance, has pagan and Christian roots. The philosophy behind the festival is idolatrous and antithetical to the Jewish worldview. According to Wikipedia:

"Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (Irish pronunciation: [ˈsˠaunʲ]; from the Old Irish samain). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year". Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them."

The Catholic Church celebrates Halloween as All Saint's Day and special services are held in churches worldwide. Why would any Jew celebrate a holiday even remotely connected to the Roman Catholic Church? Historically, many pogroms occurred on Halloween. Jews would be kidnapped, murdered or brutalized as part of the celebration, since Jews were associated with evil, the devil and witches.

The pagan worldview in which Halloween took root is completely contrary to Judaism's teachings. There are no ghosts and goblins, heavenly families, satanic adversaries or demons. There is only Him, the One and Only. Halloween, or Samhain, was a worship of nature and the spirits which rules it. Judaism, however, is insistent that all of nature is subservient to Him.

In short, there is nothing kosher about Halloween. It originates in pagan adoration of nature and was eventually appropriated by the Church as a day to celebrate all of their saints, many of whom were virulent anti-semites. In Eastern Europe, Halloween was a time when pogroms usually broke out. Jews weren't able to celebrate the holiday because they were hiding in cellars for their lives. Tainted with paganism, christianity and a bloody history of anti-semitism, Halloween is treif, treif, treif. This year, Halloween falls on erev shabbos, which makes it all the more unkosher. Instead of dressing up to commemorate pagan worship of nature, Jews should celebrate the day which is testimony to G-d's Creation. Ditch the ghosts and pumpkins and switch them for shabbos candles and kiddush.

I certainly won't be answering my door. But if you want to wish me a good shabbos, I'll be ready for your knock.

Cross-posted from For Zion's Sake

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chag Sameach!

Wishing all of Am Yisrael, and the entire world, a chag sameach and may our simchah be completed by the arrival of Eliyahu Hanavi and Moshiach Tzidekeneinu.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Remember who you are

On the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, 'Jews for Jesus' is getting more and more aggressive in the drive to convert Jews to Christianity. According to internal memos from the proselytizing organization, missionaries are being directed to the Northern town of Qiryat Shemona. The memo goes on to boast that the missionaries "handed out 21,700 gospel tracts" and "have contact information of 995 Jewish people who told us that they want to know more about Jesus." 'Jews for Jesus' has about 2000 missionaries active in Israel. Just days ago, a radio ad by 'Jews for Jesus' in the Northern Galilee was blasted from the radio after protests. Irate listeners found that the message was far too aggressive in its call for Jews to accept Christianity.

'Jews for Jesus' is but one of close to a thousand missionary groups active in Israel. In the coming weeks, tens of thousands of Christian missionaries are expected to descend on Jerusalem for the annual Feast of Tabernacles Parade. The ICEJ, organizers of this mega-missionary event, claim that "the word of G-d (read 'Jesus') is preached nightly and is central to the evening meetings." Christians are entering a fever pitch, trying to get as many Jews as possible to become Christian. Sadly, many Jews who are unaffiliated, secular or have little knowledge of Judaism are succeptible to their tactics. These Messianic groups often claim that they represent authentic Judaism, albeit one that believes in Jesus as messiah. They believe themselves to be restoring the true message of the Torah.

This week's parsha of Haazinu tells us how to recognize authentic Judaism and to be able to spot out pseudo-Judaism. With many groups and individuals around the world passing off a fake, corrupted false Judaism as the real deal, this message is essential. "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, thine elders, and they will tell thee." (Deut. 32:7) If a Jew is confused as to what is kosher and what is treif, he need only go back to his roots, to his traditions, to his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. He must ask himself, "did my great-grandfather worship like this?" The Torah is clear about what happens when the Jews stray from the path of their ancestors. "They roused Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations did they provoke Him. They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not." (Deut. 32:16-17) Clearly, the Torah places emphasis on the fact that the Jews went after new gods which were recently invented. This is critical today. When confronted by missionaries who preach that Jews must believe in Jesus or be condemned to an eternity of hellfire, every Jew must take the Torah's warning to heart. Would his great-grandfather with his long beard and black hat sitting in a shtetl in the Pale of Settlement recognize his faith? His grandfather in the mellahs of Morocco? His ancestors in the judeiriahs of Spain? Would any of them recognize Jesus or feel comfortable at a Messianic service? Every Jew must answer back that Jesus and the Christian theology is 'a new god that came up of late, which our fathers dreaded not'. If a Messianic were to stand in a room with a Rambam, a Rashi, a Rabbi Akivah, a Baal Shem Tov, a Vilna Gaon, a Ramban, or even a Moshe Rabeinu, he would not fit in. They would not see any resemblance between their Judaism and the counterfeit junk hawked by the apostate.

The Kol Nidrei prayer on Yom Kippur night awakens within every Jew the desire to come home to HaShem, to do teshuva and to be faithful to what they really are. It gained special significance during the time of the Spanish Inquisition when Jews were forced on pain of death to take vows and abandon Judaism. Kol Nidrei became their way of renouncing any vows they were forced to take by the Church. The knew at heart that they were Jews.

When the American forces reached the Buchenwald death camp, they opened the gates of the camp wide and liberated the inmates. The prisoners left the camp and dispersed, each going his own way. Reb Leizer of Czen-sto-chow was one of the freed inmates. At the gate he paused. "Where? Where should I go?" He knew that most everyone in his family had been murdered. They came with him to the camp, and he saw them led to the crematoria.

Only one hope remained. As all of the people of the town were being herded together for shipment to the death camp, he was able to smuggle his little son Yossele out of the ghetto and into the "Aryan" section of town. "Who knows?" said Reb Leizer to himself, "Perhaps the child is still alive, still alive." He would go looking for him. But how, where?

Reb Leizer went back to Czen-sto-chow. He wandered about the streets and the marketplaces, and every time he saw a boy about Yossele's age, he would stop and look at him closely. Perhaps this was his son. He began asking guardedly, "Did anybody know the Leizer family, or what happened to them?" People told him that the family had left the town in the death trains, everyone except the little boy, whom someone took to the monastery. Which monastery? No one knew. "If my son is alive," decided Reb Leizer, "I will save him."

He went from one monastery to the next, inquiring about his son. The monks denied ever seeing him. No Jewish child, they claimed, had ever crossed the threshold of a monastery. Reb Leizer knew they were lying, but what could he do? He went and bought an organ. Among the tunes he put into it was the melody of Kol Nidre. Reb Leizer strapped the organ to his back and began making the rounds of the streets and yards from village to village, from one monastery to the next. Wherever he saw children playing, he would set the organ down on its legs and begin turning the handle. Immediately he would be surrounded by children. As the children stood listening, he would watch their faces closely – particularly when the organ ground out the tune of Kol Nidre.

Did any child's face change or show some emotion – fear, perhaps, or sadness and longing? Whenever he saw a child stir as the Kol Nidre melody was played, he knew that child was Jewish. As all the other children scattered, he would follow this child, talk to him, and tell him that the war was over and he could go back to his own people. Though unable to find Yossele, history records that he was able to save scores of Jewish children and restore them to their faith, with possibly the most moving tune of our faith.

Reb Leizer took his organ and buried it in the ruins of a destroyed synagogue and he went to Israel. People from that district of Poland say that at times they hear the tunes of a hand organ coming out of the earth, and among the tunes is the melody of Kol Nidre.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, I pray that HaShem merit that the beautiful and moving melody of Kol Nidrei stir the heart of every single Jew to return to his Father in Heaven. Before we begin the Kol Nidrei service, we say that by the permission of the Heavenly and earthly courts, it is permissible to pray with sinners and transgressors. On Yom Kippur, all Jews are welcome before HaShem. We must remember who we really are and not let any dastardly peddler of false beliefs lead us astray. May every single lost Jewish child return home. Gmar chatima tovah.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Onward Christian Missionaries

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

In the mad pre-Rosh Hashanah rush, I neglected to send out a missionary update. So below is the last update on evangelical missionary activity for the year 5768 - and it's a long one.

Let's hope that this New Year brings shorter and sweeter news, as we make progress in our efforts to upset the designs of those who are determined to take the Jewish people away from
their faith.

With the U'netaneh Tokef prayer being such an integral part of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service, we might as well begin in Germany where more than 800 years ago the martyred Rabbi Amnon of Mainz left us a very painful and eternal lesson on an interfaith friendship gone awry.

The WEA issues the 2008 Berlin
Declaration: a decree to convert European Jewry:

YNET reports that the World Evangelical Alliance ended their conference in Berlin with a statement calling for the mass conversion of Jews (in the spirit of friendship, of course)

The statement issued by the WEA Theological Commission entitled "The Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism in Europe Today" was developed by a
task force at a consultation in Berlin, Germany which took place on August 18-22, 2008.

The ADL was quick to denounce the World Evangelical Alliance for targeting European Jews for conversion. It was not unlike Foxman's statement issued at the end of March which censured the very same WEA for launching a campaign targeting Jews for conversion via full page ads in the New York Times and other major papers.

The WEA is no fringe group. It " is a network of churches in 128 nations that have each formed an evangelical alliance and over 100 international organizations joining together to give a worldwide identity, voice and platform to more than 420 million evangelical Christians."
And it enjoys the endorsement of some heavy hitters among so-called "Christian Zionists". As you may recall CUFI regional director and publisher Stephen Strang was among the endorsers of that WEA statement, as was radio-show host Janet Parshall - who was instrumental in
launching and establishing the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.

[It should be noted that the "prophetic" Parshall withdrew from the Caucus as she sensed a
time when Israel would soon essentially say, "We'll take your aid, your
support and your tourist dollars, but we won't take your Jesus."
Damn straight, Janet !

Ironically it was Abe Foxman of the ADL who played a role in preventing Israel from passing badly needed anti-missionary legislation back in 1998. Something about "the
bill's implications on civil liberties and religious freedom in Israel".
What goes around comes around, Abe.

Messianic Jews Promote Ethiopian Aliya:

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Messianic Jewish missionaries from the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) are busy convincing 50,000-70,000 Ethiopian Christians from far-flung villages in Ethiopia that they are really Jewish believers in Jesus and entitled to aliyah.

The following are excerpts from the article:
"Operation Tikva is contravening the Israeli government's attempts over
the last year to wind down official aliya operations in Ethiopia, and the
project is being viewed in Jerusalem with alarm."

...."These people are clearly not Jewish and they are working in areas
where none of the people are Jews either; everything they are telling these
people are lies," said Rabbi Menachem Waldman, a member of the Public
Council for Ethiopian Jews, which has successfully persuaded the Israeli
government to continue checking the eligibility for immigration of a further
3,000 Falash Mura (Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity
more than a century ago) from the same region of Ethiopia...

Aveje Manhanei, who runs an Israeli-based Web community dedicated to
preserving the traditions and culture of Ethiopian Jewry, told the Post, "If
Israel does not put a stop to this activity as soon as possible then there
will eventually be another 75 million Ethiopians demanding to make aliya."

Kidnapping the Kotel:

Missionaries continue their "love affair" with Jewish symbols with the
intent of drawing Jews closer. Well here's one kotel we Jews won't
be kissing.

Every Home for Christ located in Colorado Springs, will be spending $2.3 million on a replica of the Western Wall which will be housed in the Jericho Center for Global Evangelism - a
missionary training center

The replica will fill 2,500 square feet of an 8,000-square-foot, 300-seat auditorium. About 50 tons of stone will be used to construct the mini two-story wall and auditorium. Stones will be cut from an ancient mine outside of Jerusalem. The wall will be free and open to the public 24 hours
a day. The hope is to have Christians and Jews praying together.

1 Million Christians to Claim Inheritance of Eretz Yisrael.

.if Joel Bell gets his way. The Israeli citizen and Christian missionary (how did he make aliyah?)
who sends out Hannukah greetings praising Jesus, has unveiled ambitious building designs in Israel, as well as plans to bring 1,000,000 Christians on aliyah. Joel figures that the time has come for Christians to claim their eternal inheritance to Israel - and he's got Likud

Joel, knows how to put a slick presentation together for his Christian brethren, and WORLDWIDE BIBLICAL ZIONISTS "actively develop opportunities through partnership for your participation here in Israel. Investments, jobs, housing, education, military training, community, and tools you'll need to make Israel your home. "

Joel Bell has his eyes set on Judea and Shomron, and he will be
bringing a large group to Israel in November to seek out opportunities - so
heads up, Jews.

IDF Officers "hook-up"with Southern Baptist Missionaries:

According to a series of letters sent to 11,000 Christian clergy, Southern Baptist Pastor Jim Vineyard "hooked up" with 80 IDF officers at a "War College" in France in late September. Vineyard stayed at the same hotel with "these 80 Hebrews to study primarily, the Normandy Invasion".

One of the sponsors of the program is Colonel J. Tyler Ryberg, USMC (Retired). Ryberg is the Director of the missionary agency and local church ministry of Faith Baptist Church, Belleville, IL , where his mission is to "evangelize and disciple military men and women around the world through Worldwide Military Baptist Missions".

In all fairness, Colonel Ryberg has a wealth of battle experience and appears to have great admiration for Pastor Vineyard and his efforts. But he is first and foremost a missionary with a vision for U.S. military men and women " to be saved, baptized, discipled and serving the Lord Jesus Christ." So one wonders why our IDF officers need this kind of program which appears to have been - to a large extent - coordinated and sponsored by Baptist pastors like Vineyard and Ryberg.

According to one of Vineyard's letters, packages were distributed to the IDF officers. "when we put that package of books and DVDs into their hands. They would ask, "For Me?" Then they would walk away amazed."According to the letter, most of the material was related to the
subject matter at hand (the Normandy Invasion). But you gotta wonder.

The State Department has an Orthodox Jewish Problem:

The International Religious Freedom Report of 2008 was recently released, and the State Department leveled some unwarranted charges against the Jews. Seems we've been persecuting the church here in Israel and denying Christians their right to pretend to be Jews.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the State Depatment "put blame for the "tensions" on "certain Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities."

But except in one case, the report, which noted numerous incidents of discrimination or violence against Christian or Messianic Jewish communities or individuals, failed to prove that the perpetrators were Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox

The biased and shoddy State Department reporting seemed to rely heavily on the spin given by CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) and the ACLJ (The American Center for Law and Justice) - both Pat Robertson productions. As expected they covered items like the Ariel Purim explosion ("bombing"), the Narkiss Church fire ("arson"), and the incineration of missionary materials ("bible burnings"). Of course Pastor/Lawyer Calev Myer's Jerusalem Institute of Justice was one of the messianic sources which the State Department used in their hatchet job.

Pat Boone "sings" at Eckstein's anniversary Bash

Pat Roberston was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for support of Israel at Yechiel Eckstein's 25th anniversary banquet for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

As already pointed out, Robertson's institutions like CBN and ACLJ are giving Israel a messianic migraine. But it was Pat Boone who MC'd the Eckstein event, and Pat "sang" about his hopes for the Jews onChicago's news station WBBM 780. You can hear that clip here or just read it:

".one of the early leaders of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, 74-year-old singer Pat Boone, who is Christian but says, with a smile, that he represents the Messianic branch of Judaism.

"The time will come when Jews themselves will say, 'What do you know? The messiah has been here all this time.' So that's what we believe, and we long for. Not that we try to force it on anybody. And we understand why they don't see that yet. Maybe some never will."

The Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported that Eckstein's organization (IFCJ) gave $10,000 in 2007 to an evangelical group in Jerusalem that proselytizes Israeli Jews. " That organization would be Kings of Kings Assemblies in Jerusalem.

"King of Kings Community is called to be a compelling, Messiah-centered, Spirit-empowered, disciple-making community that reveals the true face of Yeshua (Jesus) to Israel and to the nations. "

Yep. That sounds pretty missionary to me.

Is There a Rabbi in the House?

While Rabbi Eckstein may have distributed funds to missionaries, it appears that Rabbi Riskin has accepted missionary related funds.

A CUFI sponsored event at the Harvest Training Center
- a missionary organization - raised $12,600 for Rabbi Riskin's Ohr Torah Loving Kindness Fund in Efrat.

The Calvary Tabernacle Harvest Training Center of Cranford New Jersey is affiliated with Dugit Messianic Outreach Center in Tel Aviv ( a very active missionary organization)

ICEJ Crowns Jesus as the Lion King and Ruler of Jerusalem:

Once again the annual ICEJ (International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem) Feast of the Tabernacles pilgrimage will soon descend upon Jerusalem. As you may recall, last year the Chief Rabbinate proscribed Jewish participation in the Feast events, as well the Jerusalem March due to a missionary presence and activity. As I pointed out in a recent report, the rabbinic decision was more than vindicated.

The Lion of Judah is the theme of this year's Feast and this is what Chuck King has this to say about this year's feast:

From the tribe of Judah came King David, and from the House of David the true "Lion King" - Jesus - appeared. Jesus' identity as the triumphal Lion of Judah is revealed in Revelation 5, where He is described as the only one worthy to open Heaven's scroll.

This year's Feast of Tabernacles celebration raises a banner bearing the symbol of the Lion of Judah. By lifting up His tribal ensign, we proclaim in this 60th year anniversary of Israel's national rebirth, that the coming Lion of the Tribe of Judah will soon establish His rightful inheritance and establish His throne to rule over His city and the nations

The lion of Jesus theme is prominently featured throughout the week long pilgrimage with events proclaiming THE INHERITANCE OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE ROAR OF THE LION OF JUDAH, THE LION OF JUDAH AS JUDGE, THE TRIUMPHANT LION OF JUDAH, etc.

Some people will simply dismiss this as a Christian event about Christian beliefs. But as Jews living in Eretz Yisrael, we do have the following issues:
a) The event - the largest tourist event of the year in Israel - is fully endorsed by the government of a Jewish state.
b) the Prime Minister as well as Knesset members and "rabbis" and Jewish/Israeli diplomats and dignitaries attend the events of Feast pilgrimage and/or give it their blessing.
c) A Jewish convention center that enjoys a kashrut certificate hosts the pilgrimage
d) there is a heavy messianic and missionary presence at the Feast (it is essentially an evangelical/missionary event)
e) The Jerusalem March will certainly feature large banners of the Lion of Judah - symbolic of their Jesus, and Jewish bystanders and participants will inadvertently be paying homage to and acknowledging the Christian participants and their symbols (this may pose a serious halachic issue)

Honestly I haven't been so disgusted since Jerusalem's emblem of the lion of Judah was morphed into two lions mating to promote a gay pride parade in the streets of Jerusalem .

So if I could be so bold as to momentarily reclaim the Lion King from the Christian Embassy, and borrow a line from Walt Disney..

"Remember who you are"

As we Jews stand before Hashem during these awesome days, we should try and remember just who we are and where we are standing.

And I think we can and should restore the symbol of the lion of Judah to its proper place by politely, but firmly, telling the Christian Embassy where they can put their jesus.

Shana Tova and G'mar Chatima Tova.

Cross-posted from Shiloh Musings

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Having Your Jesus and Eating it Too

Tallis, tfillin, shabbos, Torah classes, sukkot, Jewish stars, Hebrew... must be Jewish. A newcomer to a Messianic congregation, upon seeing the Jewish symbols and paraphernalia, often concludes that this is the real deal, that this is authentic Judaism. When called out on the contradictions between Judaism and Christianity, Messianics will quickly point to the fact that they keep the mitzvot. Indignant at being called a Christian, they reply that they keep kosher, that they keep shabbat, light shabbos candles, etc.

The Messianic movement emerged 30-40 years ago, as sort of a half-way house for Jews into Evangelical Christianity. Frustrated at the low level of Jewish conversion to Christianity, fundamentalist Christians sought a way to make Christianity more palatable to Jews. Well-aware of the bloody history of Judeo-Christian relations and the deep distrust many Jews feel towards Christians, Evangelicals tried to find a way to make their Christianity feel less "Christian". The crucifix, long associated with persecution and oppression, had to go, as did " Jesus Christ", pastor, altar, Sunday morning mass and all of the goyish accoutrement often associated with church. In its place came Jewish stars, a newly Hebrew "Yeshua HaMoshiach", rabbis, and shabbos morning services. Dressing up their church- I mean synagogue- with Jewish symbols, the Hebrew-Christian movement set out to teach Jews of the "Jewish Jesus". No longer was he a WASP or a Catholic priest, but a good yiddishe bochur, a nice Jewish boy who went to shul, kept the Torah and was 100% kosher. Certainly no Jew could refuse such a messiah.

The result of this emerging Messianic movement was a Christianity that gave up none of its fundamental theology that set it apart from Judaism, but that used Jewish symbols and rituals. Messianics don't keep Christmas as they feel that it is a pagan holiday, yet they still believe in a virgin birth which they celebrate on Shavuot. The same goes for Easter; despite not celebrating what they see as pagan, they still believe that a demigod dying for their sins, and commemorate this event during Pesach. This was a win-win situation for Evangelical Christian: they didn't have to give up on any of their fundamental beliefs and were able to, at the same time, take part in Jewish rituals and observances. What resulted was a primitive form of Christianity that hid itself behind Jewish labels.

The first commandment that the nation of Israel heard directly from G-d's mouth at Sinai was "You shall have no other gods before Me". Only from this fundamental basis can all other commandments proceed. The essence of Judaism is that there is One G-d, One and Indivisible, and none besides Him. Without this, there is no Judaism.

A careful examination of Messianic groups reveals that they fail on this cardinal principle, making any claims of authentic Jewish expression irrelevant.

Jews for Jesus, an organization aiming at converting Jews to Christianity while at the same day observing the mitzvot, states the following as its central tenets: "We believe in one sovereign God, existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, unbounded in power and measureless in love; that God is the source of all creation and that through the immediate exercise of His power all things came into being... We believe that Jesus the Messiah was eternally pre-existent and is co-equal with God the Father; that He took on Himself the nature of man through the virgin birth so that He possesses both divine and human natures." Whether or not they keep shabbat matters little. At heart, the theology of Jews for Jesus is identical to the theology of Baptists and Evangelical Christians.

Sid Roth's Messianic Vision's statements of faith reveal a theology more at place at a Baptist revival meeting, than in a synagogue or yeshiva. Same thing for the Chosen People Ministry, whose beliefs are at odds with Jewish beliefs. All Messianic organizations, while pretending to be authentically Jewish, are hostile to traditional and authentic Jewish theology. Simply wrapping a cross in a tallis does not make it Jewish. If something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is reasonable to assume that it is a duck. Messianic groups, while preaching adherence to the Torah, fail on the cardinal test of theology. In that realm, they are purely Christian groups, masquerading around with Jewish objects. One can dunk the New Testament in a mikveh and put a hechsher on it, but in the end, if it Jesus Christ to be Lord and Saviour, it ain't Jewish.

It is important to discuss Christian misuse of Jewish symbols. By keeping kosher, putting on tfillin and saying the Shmah all the while believing in Jesus, one does not endear themselves to G-d. Quite the opposite. G-d demands as a basis that we remember we should have no other gods before Him, and that besides Him there is no other. Anything else is spiritual adultery. Bowing before Jesus, praising him and calling him divine is adultery with HaShem. "I am the Lord, that is My name, and My glory will I not give to another. Neither My praise to graven images!" (Isaiah 42:8) G-d does not share His glory with anybody, certainly not Jesus. Keeping the mitzvot while worshipping idols only angers G-d. It can be compared to a wife who suspects that her husband is cheating on her and to placate her, he gives her jewelry, a car and other fancy gifts. Coming home with another woman's scent on his clothes, his diamond bracelets are meaningless. They only make the wife angrier at her husband's betrayal. Similarly, if someone lights shabbat candles in Jesus honour, G-d is infuriated at the desecration. It matters little if a person keep the entire 613 commandments scrupulously; he is cheating on the G-d of Israel who shares His with no one, and has no equal.

As Yom Kippur approaches, we must all do a cheshbon nefesh, a spiritual accounting and realize where we have come short. It is incumbent upon each and every person to do teshuva and to return to the One who created them. The first step is realizing who the Creator is and who He isn't - and He certainly is no man. "To whom shall you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me that we may be alike?" (Isaiah 46:5) "I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no god but Me, no savior except Me!" (Hosea 13:4)

To my readers, I wish you all a gmar chatima tovah.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This past motzaei shabbat (Saturday night), Ashkenazi Jews began reciting Selichot, special penitential prayers. Sephardic Jews have been reciting Selichot since the beginning of the month of Elul. The Selichot prayers beg G-d to have mercy on His people, to forgive us our sins, and to let us do complete teshuva. They are focused on the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy which G-d revealed to Moses after the Sin of the Golden Calf. They beseech G-d's compassion that He may overlook our sins and to forgive us.

From the beginning of Elul, through Rosh HaShana and the Ten Days of Teshuva, until Yom Kippur, each Jew goes through an intense period of soul-searching. This period of the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) is devoted to doing teshuva, repentance. The Rambam writes in his Hilchot Teshuva (2:6) that "repentance and outcry [in prayer] are always proper, but between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur they are especially proper and are answered immediately, as it is written (Isaiah 55:6): 'Seek G-d when He is found, called upon Him when He is near.'"

When the Temple in Jerusalem stood, various offerings were sacrificed to G-d. There were special offerings for each day and festival. An elaborate sacrificial system existed. On Yom Kippur, the Torah commands for the following offering: "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be a holy gathering to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. [28] And you shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your G-d." (Leviticus 23:27) However, the essence of the atonement was not the sacrifice itself, but the 'affliction of our souls' ie. fasting and repentance. When G-d decided to overturn His decree against the people of Ninveh, the Torah records that G-d saw their repentance and how they changed their actions. The essence is not in the physical act of fasting, crying, slaughtering an animal but rather in repenting from our sins, confessing our deeds and turning from them.

For close to 2000 years, the Jewish people have been bereft of a Temple in which to offer sacrifices to HaShem. What do we do? Are we cut off from repenting for lack of a Temple? The Prophet Hosea (14:3) revealed to the People of Israel take G-d accepts our prayers in the place of animal sacrifice. "Take with you words, and return unto the LORD; say unto Him: 'Forgive all iniquity, and accept that which is good; so will we render for bullocks the offering of our lips." G-d does not desire animal sacrifice but rather sincere teshuva.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to God, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God. For He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

"And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14).

"But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has practiced he shall live...When a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you (Ezekiel 18:21- 22,27,30).

"By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Proverbs 16:6).

"If you return to God you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in God..." (Job 22:23-27).

May G-d inscribe all of Am Yisrael in the book of Life, Happiness, Prosperity, Success, and Plenty. May Hashem accepts all our teshuva and cast away our sins. May 5769 be the year of the Complete and Final Redemption, amen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Callers try to convert Rabbi Singer

In a powerful 2 hour radio show, Rabbi Singer refutes the claims of Christian missionaries. Click here and here to hear this amazing segment. Provocative callers try to get Rabbi Singer to exchange his Magen David for the Cross.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner on accepting Xian money

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and founder of yeshivat Ateret Kohanim, answer questions regarding accepting Christian donations.

Question: I don’t understand why the Rabbis have forbidden accepting money from Christian institutions such as the Christian “Friendship Fund”. After all, that’s a Christian organization that loves Israel and I don’t feel like the money I received influences me the least bit in the direction of Christianity.

Answer: First of all, I am puzzled by your great enthusiasm about living off the money of others. Have you suddenly become a beggar, what in Yiddish is called a “schnorrer”? Even to be a schnorrer from Jewish money is a shame, but to be one from non-Jewish money is already a disgrace, a profanation of G-d’s name.

Observe what our sages wrote: “Those who eat ‘something else’ are disqualified as witnesses” (Sanhedrin 26b). Generally speaking, in the Talmud ‘something else’ [davar acher] connotes pork. Here, however, Tosafot proves that it should not be interpreted that way (s.v. “Ochlei”). Rather, Rashi explains that here it is referring to “People who accept charity from non-Jews, this being a profanation of G-d’s name for the same of monetary gain. Such people are classed as ‘rasha dechamas’ – avaricious evildoers.”

If we were a poor country it would be one thing. I would yet understand this enthusiasm. I wouldn’t justify one’s being an “avaricious evildoer”, but I would understand it. Yet we are a wealthy country, amongst the wealthiest on earth, and all of this money is a tiny percentage of the national budget. And for the sake of this you degrade yourself? Shame on you! And the worst is that it is non-Jewish money.

Let me explain. The Evangelical Protestant missionary institutions try to infiltrate anywhere they can by whatever means possible. Now they have found the golden pathway – financial support. The sums they contribute are for them nothing. They just make a big impression on us and arouse our craving for more. In the United States there are fifty million Fundamentalists. If every one of them contributes ten dollars every year, you’ve got half a billion dollars right there, which looks like an enormous sum.

Financial support is their present method of slowly infiltrating us. It doesn’t happen all at once. Not everyone who accepts their money immediately becomes a Christian. Yet their influence involves a seepage process that can spread over years. Those people are very patient and gradually they make inroads.

When a simple Jew hears the word “Christianity”, he is filled with abhorrence. He immediately thinks of the blood of millions of Jews tortured to death by the Christians. He recalls the Inquisition. He remembers everything. Therefore, he will never want to listen to them.

Faced with that, what do we find in the internal memos of those organizations that hunt souls? “We have to break down the barriers between ourselves and the Jews. We have to rehabilitate their trust, which has been totally destroyed. We have to operate slowly and patiently. We have to show that we are friendly, and who is more friendly than He that distributes money to those who crave money?!”

They use data to infiltrate every community. For example, in order to penetrate the Charedim they dress up like Charedim and keep tabs on their poor. If someone falls ill or passes away, they come to visit, help out, provide money, offer an encouraging word – without a single word about Christianity, obviously. They come again and again until a connection is formed. They talk from the heart. When they see that the time is ripe, they say, seemingly as a side comment, “Certainly Christianity is something bad, but Yeshu the Christian was all-in-all a good person.” In the first stage, that one sentence is enough. Later on comes another sentence, and then another sentence, via the slow-seepage approach.

In one place, a missionary dressed as a Lubavitcher gave some Chabad women a series of lectures on Tanach [the Bible] in a style that was totally Chabad. The series went on for two years without one word about Christianity, until one day he mentioned that “That Man” wasn’t so bad.

Everywhere there are missionaries sporting knitted yarmulkes. The missionary’s son learns in a yeshiva high school, and he is a little missionary. His daughter studies at a girls’ Torah high school, and she is as well. They’re all very nice. They don’t give themselves away. The main thing is to slowly build a connection, to foster trust.

That is their approach. We know them and we know exactly how they operate. There’s a story about a man who picked up a hitchhiker, an officer, a lieutenant colonel, with a knitted yarmulke, who lived in Gush Katif. Certainly, all the elements of a fine person. They conversed at length, yet that same lieutenant colonel let slip a comment about “That Man”. Since the driver was personally involved in combating missionaries, he immediately sensed who this was and he reported it to the army. The army investigated and threw him out, because they don’t want missionaries there. The officer turned to the Supreme Court, but lost in court. The army has enough headaches without that.

That’s their secret. They wait until we say, “All in all, the Christians are fine people. They give us money. We doff our hats!” That’s how they break down the barriers. Some time later, we say, “Maybe we’ll meet with them. Maybe we’ll talk with them.”

Dear friend, you are no expert in the strategies employed by the Christians. Were the donor an individual Christian, there would be room to deliberate from a halachic standpoint on whether one could accept his gift. At the same time, it is no great honor to be a schnorrer, as noted above. If, however, the donor is a Christian organization, then under no circumstances is one allowed to accept even one cent!

It’s true that if you, as a private individual, accept their gift, one can hope that you won’t be influenced towards Christianity. Yet we are talking about the public agenda of the Jewish nation, that it is forbidden for us to develop a dependency on them.

Here is a terrible case in point. Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of Christian missionaries working in Israel. Already a number of times a new Knesset law has been recommended: “One is not allowed to persuade someone to convert. Jews cannot persuade Christians or Muslims, Christians cannot persuade Jews or Muslims, etc.” Yet this law fails every time, because those same Christian organizations that support Eretz Yisrael and distribute funds to the settlements and to the poor threatened, “If you enact this law we will cease our financial support. We will also consider ceasing our political support.” Money demands something in exchange. It ensnares you.

Don’t mistakenly say, “They’re Christians, not missionaries.” Every Evangelist Protestant is a missionary, even if he hides it. Also, we haven’t learned Greek, so we don’t realize that the word “evangelist” means “missionary”. At all the pro-Israel Christian marches and demonstrations, the Christian Lovers of Israel walk hand-in-hand with the missionaries. It turns out that because of the money that you receive, Jews become Christians! For the missionaries, hundreds of millions are a pittance, but to us it looks like a lot. To refuse to accept millions is a temptation that you can, indeed withstand. Yet once you start to accept it, it’s hard to stop.

About twenty-six years ago, such a Christian approached me, declaring that he greatly loved my yeshiva, because we were building the Temple. I told him that we’re not building the Temple. “But you want to build it, right?” “Certainly we long to build it,” I replied. “And what are you doing on that score?” he asked. I answered, “We learn Torah and strive to improve our character.” “Great! Very good!” he said. “We are fifty million fundamentalist Christians in the U.S.A. Every one of them will give one dollar a year, and you will have fifty million dollars a year, and that will be our contribution towards building the Temple.”

And what did I answer to his generous offer? “No!”

Since, then, I reckon that I have lost out on a billion three hundred million dollars. No big deal. Small change.

There’s a settlement in Judea and Samaria that received a million dollars from them. Now, in that settlement there’s a Christian worship service in their Town Council building! A prayer service of Christian missionaries and Jews for J. – right there in the Town Council building! Nowhere is it written that the one was in exchange for the other, but that is precisely the result. Let’s not be naïve.

How fortunate you are, through G-d’s grace, to have been born in Eretz Yisrael, such that you don’t know what Christians are, how they operate and how sophisticated they are. You should bone up on your history.

By the way, there are two other types of Christians. First, there are liberal Protestants. They are against the State of Israel, because we, allegedly, committed an injustice against the Arabs. Second, there are Catholics, who presently are not engaged in missionizing. Yet, they, too are against the State of Israel, because they think that they are the true Israel, and it was they who were supposed to have established the State.

Yet presently we are talking about the Fundamentalist Protestants who love the State of Israel and who are associated with the missionaries. The common denominator is that we suffer fusillades from all of them, and not just today but throughout history.

Let us be strong and courageous. Let us not accept from them even a penny. Let us not run awry after their dollar crusade.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Let Them In

US Evangelicals have a nasty habit of sticking their shtick where it just doesn't belong. They've used their influence to "persuade" Israel's lawmakers not to ban missionizing. They've descended on the Jews of Israel like vultures, ready to pounce on every Jew who will give them a moment of their time. Billions of dollars are spent every year to denigrate and mock Judaism and get Jews to convert.

If a person brings a dangerous animal into their house and it bits them, who is to blame? Certainly a rabid dog or wolf cannot be held responsible for acting in a way that is dictated by their nature. The person who brought this danger in is at fault for negligence. Similarly, US Evangelicals can't really be held guilty for seeking to convert Jews. Their bible speaks of the "Great Commission" in which they are ordered to "go baptize all the nations" into their faith. Evangelicals define their religion by evangelizing and "spreading the good word". Those who must be held accountable for this grievous sin of shmad, spiritual apostasy and destruction, are those Jews who brought the Evangelicals into our homes. Churches and baptisms popping up all over Israel are simply the price of courting "a Judeo-Christian alliance". In many ways, armies of missionaries and tens of thousands of missionary pamphlets and Christian bibles are our just reward. We have courted a hornet and now it has stung us.

So desperate for friends, Israeli politicians, religious and secular alike, have flirted with Evangelicals. In 2004, Minister of Tourism, Benny Ellon, gave Pat Robertson an award for "saving Israel from bankruptcy". Later that year, Robertson used his endorsement by Ellon to advocate Messianic "Judaism" (Christianity) at the ICEJ Feast of the Tabernacles. John Hagee's own CUFI (Christians United for Israel) which Israeli politicians believe to be so fundamental in providing support for Israel, is guilt of proselytization as well. Every single Christian leader whom Israel has depended on or considered a friend has supported and advanced the proliferation of missionary activity in Israel.

Nobody is more guilty than the rabbis and their followers of the Religious Zionist group. They have welcomed Evangelicals with open arms. Their claim is "we are comfortable in our faith and have no reason to fear from Evangelicals. We know who we are and we don't have to worry about becoming Christian." How very now for them. And how very callous. They seem to have forgotten that despite the fact that they have a good knowledge of Torah and Jewish spirituality, many Jews tragically do not. Ironically, in Israel today, many Jews have no idea of what Judaism entails, are unfamiliar with the traditions and customs and are completely lost in Judaism. The rabbis who invited the Evangelicals are are guilty of violating the Torah prohibition of not placing a stumbling-block before the blind. They will certainly no convert but there are no such assurances for the secular and disenfranchised Jews in Israel. Missionaries have already reaped their devastating harvest of Jewish souls among the poor and less-fortunate, new Russian and Ethiopian immigrants and the elderly and troubled teens. The Torah repeatedly warns us "you shall exterminate evil from your midst." We are forbidden to tolerate idolatry among us for fear that it will lead many Jews astray. The Torah sets down guidelines for the destruction of an entire city that turns to idol worship, an ir nidachat. Such a city cannot be allowed to continue to exist in Israel. If a center of avodah zarah is allowed to fester, it will attract many Jews. How these rabbis have forgotten these teachings!

Many "rabbis" and leaders are men of little faith. When they put their trust in flesh-and-blood Christians, even at the cost of their souls, they show contempt for HaShem and His Torah. G-d says to us: Do not fear, My servant Jacob. We have nothing to fear as HaShem is with us. By placing our trust on the wobbly reed of Evangelicals, we are pushing away the Redemption. The great "Judeo-Christian alliance" has brought us nothing but bitterness, apostasy and spiritual destruction. We have been so desensitized to idolatry that we do not regard Messianic "Judaism" as exactly what it is: foreign worship. The sight of Christians dancing around wearing talleisim and praising J*sus, freely mixing Judaism and Christianity, does not affect us anymore. Business as usual. The Talmud Yerushalmi tells us the following teaching: Rabbi Acha says in the name of Rabbi Huna: In the End of Days, the evil Esau will don his tallis and go sit among the righteous in Gan Eden, and G-d will drag him out of there." There is no need to wait for the End of Days. Let's give G-d a hand and drag Esau out there ourselves.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grasping at Flags and Straws

Ellen does it again! Check out her latest post on the US elections and Am Yisrael again being caught between a rock and a hard place.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Our Two-Pronged War

Its open season on Jews in Paris. Saturday, as they were walking home from Mincha prayers, three counselors of the Bnei Akivah youth group were brutally attacked by a gang of Muslims. The counselors were walking when they had chestnuts thrown at them. When they protested, anti-semitic slurs were hurled. 10-12 gang members then joined in and beat them with brass knuckles.

This was the second attack near the Bnei Akivah branch in two months. In June, another 17 year-old Jew wearing a kippah was beaten up by a Muslim gang. And a few months ago, a neighbourhood store was caught selling shirts that read, in German and Polish, "Jews forbidden in the parks". Anti-semitic attacks are very common in France. The radical Muslim population is growing exponentially, veiled women from head-to-toe are a very common sight, and mosques are popping up all over the place. The same pattern is repeating itself in the UK, in Germany and all over Europe. This Islamic fundamentalist Jew-hatred combined with "the new-anti-semitism" of the anti-Zionist Left is lethal to Europe's remaining Jews. Many Jews no longer feel comfortable enough to wear kippot in public or to identify themselves as Jews. Entire communities are under siege as going to synagogue literally becomes an ordeal amidst intense security, guards and routine checks. Synagogues, monuments and Holocaust memorials are routinely vandalized. A few weeks ago, a video was placed on YouTube (and subsequently banned) showing a group of Greek students in Rhodes urinating on a Holocaust memorial with violent rock and anti-semitic lyrics in the background. The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin was defaced for the tenth or so time.

Europe's tragic history is repeating itself. It feels eerily like 1938 for Europe as attacks on Jews reach a fever pitch. Not only are Jews violently attacked by Muslim anti-semites but the Jewish State is regularly demonized, delegitimized and condemned. The writing is on the walls for the Jews of Europe as Muslim sonei yisrael as well as Leftist anti-semites work tirelessly to make Jewish lives miserable. The Jews of Europe face an existential threat as the radical Muslim influence is growing. In mosques all over Europe (and the world), Jews are dehumanized, compared to insects and diseases and threatened with extermination. Millions of young Muslims are indoctrinated with Jew-hatred and the terrible fruits of this preaching are being reaped in Europe, as well as against Israel. Esau soneh et Yaakov. Once again, the Jewish nation finds itself in dire straights as the world sits silently by and allows anti-semitism to take hold and grow.

We Jews are in between a rock and a hard place. As Yishmael plans to destroy our bodies, Esau deceives us into giving up our souls. The World Evangelical Alliance, "Israel's best friends", have restated their goal to convert the Jewish nation to Christianity. Coming from the city in which the Final Solution of 6 million Jews was orchestrated, the Berlin Declaration calls for the evangelization of the Jews of Europe. "Everyone needs to hear this message including the Jewish people. Proclamation to Israel was Jesus’ priority. It also reflects the apostles’ practice of going to the Jew first. Nothing has occurred since Jesus came that changes the need for Israel and the nations. "

It is astonishing that hundreds of years after the public disputation at the order of the Church in which Jews were threatened with expulsion, death or forced conversion, Jews are again called upon to defend the validity and integrity of their faith. The Jews of Europe, when not being beaten up by anti-semitic mobs, will be swamped with pamphlets and missionaries urging them to convert. The Berlin Declaration in essence says that Judaism has no value and offers no salvation. The Jew who follows authentic Judaism is worthless and is condemned to the fires of hell unless he becomes a Christian. Jews are forced to explain themselves to Christians and to stand up for their faith. Evangelicals claim to be motivate by love for the Jewish people but in reality, they only reject anti-semitism as a means to further their hold on the Jewish soul. Hardly no strings attached! A real love for the Jewish people would be accompanied by a respect for Judaism's validity and choseneness, and the recognition of the legitimacy of Jewish tradition and belief. To issue this declaration of apostasy from the Nazi capital in which Hitler's henchmen orchestrated and planned the annihilation of the Jewish people is the height of insensitivity and callousness. By teaching that Judaism is incomplete and misguided, Evangelicals offer a surefire recipe of hatred and mistrust for the Jewish people.

With barely 15 million Jews in the world today, growing anti-semitism in Europe and North America, an existential threat against the State of Israel, rampant assimilation in the United States and an obsessive drive by Evangelicals to convert Jews, the Jewish future is difficult. We are caught between those who wish to kill us physically, to rob us of life, and those who wish to destroy our unique spiritual heritage by baptizing us. Whether by gas chambers and pogroms or by missionizing and assimilation, the ultimate goal is the same: the eradication of the Jewish people from the face of the Earth. We must take heart G-d's promise in the Torah that the seed of Abraham shall never cease to be a nation. The end chapter has been written. All that remains for us to decide is how many of us will make it to the finish line. The Jewish nation will outlive all of its tormenters and oppressors, the assimilationists and peddlers of foreign faiths. G-d will surely vindicate His people.

Cross-posted from For Zion's Sake

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Liar Exposed

Many Christian believe that whoever does not accept J*sus will "burn in hell" for all of eternity. To this extent, they are willing to do almost anything to win converts to their faith and thus "save souls". Paul, a founding father of the church and one of the most successful missionaries to have ever lived, admitted to employing deception in order to attract people to his new religion. He confessed to using lies and fraud to win converts:

- Corinthians 9:20-22: To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law -- though not being myself under the law -- that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law -- not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ -- that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.

- Romans 3:7: If through my lies God’s truth abounds to His glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?

- Philippians 1:18: In every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Jesus is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Some of his followers have taken a page from Paul's play book. A new and frightening phenomenon which has infiltrated many Jewish institutions are "Jewish-Christians", a group which worships J*sus and accepts all of the basic tenets of Christianity but incorporates many Jewish rituals in order to mislead Jews. They claim that they are "completed Jews", insulting the millions of Jews who remain faithful to the religion of their fathers. They give J*sus Jewish garbs, dress him up as a Chassidic Rebbe and imagine him to be a Gadol. These wicked heretics call their churches "synagogues" and their leaders "rabbis". According to them, the New Testament- I mean Brit HaChadasha- is just as Jewish as gefilte fish. Messianics throw around Hebrew and Yiddish terms, copy Jewish practices and pretend to be Jews in order to persuade the ignorant to give up Judaism. They prey on the unaffiliated, often Torah-ignorant college students or the elderly, and the weak, new olim and the poor. "To the Jews, I became a Jew, in order to win Jews". While condemning the Oral Law as the work of man, they freely misappropriate rabbinic literature in support of their idolatrous creed despite the fact that none of the codifiers of the Law believed in J*sus for even a second. They know no shame in their wicked obsession with destroying through missionizing and distributing pamphlets, what could not be destroyed through auto-da-fes and death camps.

Enter "Daniel". As we all recall, he was an normal Orthodox, mitzvah observant, Torah-keeping Jew married to a Jewess for Jesus (red flag). He surrounded himself with Christian friends, even accepting gifts from missionaries, under the guise of a halacha-bound Jew. He would constantly promote Judeo-Christian dialogue and friendship. Even his arguments against Christianity were half-hearted and conciliatory. He would have us believe that he suddenly had a revelation and realized the truth of J*sus. This set off a warning in my mind as Orthodox Jews who have even the tiniest knowledge of Torah do not suddenly become Christians (or "completed Jews"). What prompted this epiphany? He never let us know. Silence was our answer.

Last year, I go into a debate with a Messianic missionary by the screen name of Big Daddy Jew. He claimed to have lived in Teveriah (where Daniel planned to make aliyah to). A few months ago, he suddenly disappeared. I had a feeling that Daniel, Yehudi01 and BDJ might be one and the same. I traced their IP addresses with their e-mails to the same city in California, having identical IP addresses. I recall that whenever BDJ showed up, Daniel would be very apologetic. It seems that our Daniel is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is certainly no Orthodox Jew but was a secret missionary all along. He probably is not even a Jew to begin with, but a skilled Christian missionary who learned the basics of Judaism and passes himself off as a Jew.

On a site linked to his blog, Daniel shows his true colours. He writes:

Daniel // Mar 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm
Being trained as a missionary, I always felt that peoples souls were at stake. Specially meeting secular Jews that have little interest in the things of G-d. Once I learned more about Judaism I realized that lack of engagement has much to do with persecution as well as lack of understanding of G-d’s character and purposes. I feel that many people have nowhere to go to, where G-d’s principles are clearly communicated. The many religious groups out there are more interested in numbers than true change in people’s hearts and the Message of Moshiach and Hashem is hidden in a huge pile of garbage that is fed to people.

Religious Jew? Sudden epiphany? Bah! It seems like we've been had all along. Far from being a religious Jew, Daniel has been playing us for fools. He has been sowing doubt in our hearts as to the veracity of the Torah and persuading us to accept his false deity. Now he wants us to believe that his eyes were opened to "the truth of c*rist" while this was his plan all along.

In the early centuries of the Common Era, the Jews of Judea were beset by many heretical sects such as the Sadducees, Essenes, Boethusians and early Christians, groups which tried to lead Jews astray with their corrupt doctrines. The great Sage Rabban Gamliel instituted the 19th blessing of the Amidah prayer at Yavneh. This prayer against minim curses the sectarians and asks G-d to protect His nation from the scourge of this cancer. "Let there be no hope for slanderers, and let all wickedness perish in an instant. May all your enemies quickly be cut down, and may you soon in our day uproot, crush, cast down and humble the dominion of arrogance. Blessed are you, Oh L-rd, who smashes enemies and humbles the arrogant." So dangerous are these heretics that the Torah admonishes us to "exterminate evil from our midsts".

The Torah says in Devarim, chapter 13:

7. If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your embrace, or your friend, who is as your own soul saying, "Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known."

8. Of the gods of the peoples around you, [whether] near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth;

9. You shall not desire him, and you shall not hearken to him; neither shall you pity him, have mercy upon him, nor shield him.

10. But you shall surely kill him, your hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

11. And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

12. And all Israel shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer do any evil such as this in your midst.

Daniel, consider yourself virtually executed for the capital crime of leading Jews into idolatry. You are a choteh u'machti, a sinner who leads others to sin, and as such the gates of teshuvah are closed to you. The Torah orders us to remove the abominations from among us so you are no longer welcome here or at any Torah-observant site. You lied to us, pretended to be something that you are not, all with the hope of getting us to forsake our faith and accept your idolatrous beliefs. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are now a persona non grata here for your despicable acts. "Daniel", know that despite your best attempts, the Jewish people will survive from now until eternity while you and your wicked missionary friends will be relegated to the ashes. The Jewish people must be whole-hearted with HaShem their G-d. We cannot allow spiritual enemies like you to steal our souls and lead us into idolatry. HaShem will repay you a thousand-fold for your evil to His people.

May all the humanity reject their man-made idols and accept the ultimate Kingship of HaShem, speedily in our days. May the King, King of Kings, send us the day when He will be One and His name One. May He crush the wicked and lift up the pride of His beloved people. Amen, amen, amen!