Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Tolerance…

I am always surprised at the vehemence and rudeness in some of the emails I receive.  Many come from “messianic jews’ upset with my stance of them (anyone not aware of that stance:  As far as I am concerned “messianic judaism” is nothing but a Christian missionary movement using a bait and switch scam to convert the uneducated to Christianity).  Now, I understand why they are upset with me’ after all, I take quite a hostile approach towards their missionary movement.

Where I find the hostility strange is when people I have never heard of start sending em hate mails attacking me because I am against Christianity and Islam.  This always comes as a surprise- since I never bother talking about either of those religions (why should I, this blog is about Judaism not about other religion).  So I look with amazement on these emails- am I being accussed of hating other religions because I ignore them?

To me, it raises the whole issue of tolerance.  I don’t write about other religions since they are meaningless to me and I have no issue with other people belonging to other religions.  People follow the religion they believe in and do so because they believe in it.  I have no intention of going and seeking out people to convert to Judaism and I have no intention of trying to convince people that there religion is wrong and they must change.  The only time I raise other religions is when they are involved in some way with Judaism- be it “messianic judaism” and their attempts to convert Jews by distorting and lying about the Torah or the incident with the Pope and the removing of the excommunication from a holocause denying Bishop which I blogged about at the time.

So, when somebody sends me an email saying that I hate Islam and Muslims I just scratch my head and wonder where the person gets it from.  When someone sends me an email saying how I hate Jesus, that I am just like the pharisees (thanks for that one- I wish I could be like the great sages of the Talmud!) and that I will burn in hell for blaspheming Jesus I am vaguely amused.  I suppose I am not alone in receiving this kind of mail and normally I just delete it after a mild moment of amusement.  Still, it got me thinking and writing this down to make a simple request:

Before accussing me of the numerous infidelities you can think off- from being a “Jesus killing pharisee” to “assisting the devil in his work to oppose Jesus”- please read my blog and what I actually write.   Maybe you will actually learn something and realise that just because somebody does not agree with you, they are not out to destroy you.  (yep, including even the “messianic jews”- the day they stop pretending to be Jewish, proudly join the ranks of the Christians and stop using deceit and misrepresentation in an attempt to convert Jews, I will stop making posts about them!)

September 22, 2009 Posted by | Current affairs, Messianic, Weekly Question/Issue | Leave a comment

Atheists vs Converts to other religions

A frequent argument raise by “messianic jews” as to why they should be accepted is “Jews accept atheists and people that do not accept the Torah as divine as being Jewish, therefore they should accept us!”  The obvious difference here is that the atheist and people who do not believe in the divine origin of the Torah are not following Judaism, but they are NOT following another religion either.  The Torah makes this distinction quite clearly.

To show this, let us look at the place where we see the convert from Judaism to another religion being removed form the community:

Shmot (Exodus) Chapter 12 v43

מג. וַיֹּאמֶר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן זֹאת חֻקַּת הַפָּסַח כָּל בֶּן נֵכָר לֹא יֹאכַל בּוֹ: 43. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover sacrifice: No estranged one may partake of it.

and later in the same chapter:

47. The entire community of Israel shall make it. מז. כָּל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל יַעֲשׂוּ אֹתוֹ

Who is the estranged one here?  The Torah uses the term בֶּן נֵכָר Ben Nacher.  Now a nacher is any non-Jew.  Now obviously the “Ben Nacher” here is not the actual son of the non-Jew, after all, they are not allowed to eat it because they are a nacher themselves!  Thus the meforshim understand the “Ben Nacher’ to be the Jew who has converted to another religion, as the person who converted the Jews is considered to be their “father”, thus making the Jewish convert the Ben (son of) the non-Jew.  Thus the Jewish convert to another religion is not allowed to eat from the Korban Pesach.

The later verse emphasises the point that the person who does not eat from the Korban Pesach is not a member of the Jewish community- the ENTIRE community of Israel will make it- thus the fact that the Jewish convert to another religion cannot make it means that they are no longer a part of the community and are thus not considered to be part of the Jewish people!

When it comes to atheists, they would be guilty of violating the commandment to recognise that G-d is One and the creator and ruler of the heavens and the earth.  But, where that commandment is stated, it is not stated that somebody who does not so believe is outside of the community.  The Torah forbids idol worship, forbids the making and creating of idols, forbids Jews from following other religions- but we don”t see a specific punishment or removal from the community of the person who denies the existence of G-d and all other divinities as well!

So, an atheist will hjave to account for their disbelief when they die and face the heavenly court, but their is requirement that we seperate them from the community while alive.  If they try to get others to abandon their belief in G-d- then we have grounds to act against them- and against such people there have been Rabbinical bans (cherem- a form of excommunication) in the past- such as was enacted on Spinoza.

Thus we can see why Jewish communities act to remove “messianic jews” and other Christian missionary groups who deceitfully try to portray themselves as Jewish from the community, but do not act against members of the community who are atheists.  For one their is a Torah requirement to remove them form the community- for the other, no such Torah requirement exists

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Messianic, Other Torah, Torah | 7 Comments

Reflections on the past…

Recently a friend of mine returned to a forum where I wa sonce active.  I left it in disgust at the start of august last year.  Why was I disgusted?  The blatant anti-Semitism and promotion of anti-semitix by the a supposedly neutral moderators there.  So I left, stopped posting- and found that that months after I had left- I had been banned.  All very amusing- banned a couple fo months after I made my last post there?  Seems that they wanted to make sure I would not return to vex them!

So, as I said, a friend of mine decided to go back to post there and dropped a few well wishes off at friends till there on my behalf.  What gets me is that he reports the same drivel as always is going on- blatantly anti-Semitic posts can be found int he religion section; the Israel bahing continues (though it seems there is an equally strong pro-Israel contingent), and the same faces appear. While I am no longer active there- I regret one thing- that I made some serious posts about Judaism there- something I regret doing.  Why teach anti-Semites about Judaism?

Si why mention this? This morning I decided to try out Paltalk.  You se eit mentioned and I thought- why not?  Maybe it will be fun.  So there I was, new ID in hand, and I joined one of the Jewish discussion groups.   A discussion was held over the role of the anti-missionary groups and if they are doing a good thing or a bad thing.  Personally I support them- yes, they really succeed in bringing Jews back to Judaism- and often end up teaching the missionaries about Judaism, letting them appear more authentic later on.  But at what point do we say “Give up- just let the people go,” as oppossed to counting the fruits of saving even one Jewish soul from apostasy?

For myself, I thnk about the dictum that murdering one man is murdering an entire world, and similarly saving one man is saving an entire world and the answer seems clear:  we need to take the chance that the missionaries will learn if it means saving just one individual.  but the opposite argument carries a lot of weight- we may save that one soul, but how many more do we imperil?  How many do we place at risk if we let the missionaries learn authentic Judaism?

And it extends beyond that:  what happens with prisoner exchanges?  we may save that one life, but how many more are imperilled by the thousand prisoners set free?  How many of those will return to attack us after they are freed?  The same thing goes when you consider negotiating with kidnappers, paying them off to free a victim:  how any other people are being endangered by them being succesful in extorting money?

Thankfully, I am not a posek having to answer such sheilahs, but to me it seems that saving a life now, saving a soul now, takes precedence over a future possible, but not proveable event.  It may be short-sighted, but sometimes we have to do something because it is the right thing to do.  We see it with the kidnap victim:  halachicly we have to free the victim.  A husband has to free a kidnapped wife- its not optional- it is considered is obligation!  So is the physical safety of the soldier or the spiritual well being of the convertee any less important than the kidnap victim?  All are in peril, all face either a physical or spiritual death; as such, my regret that I cannot remove my posts on religion don’t bother me too much.  Who knows- maybe some person browsing them will be intringued enough to study proper Judaism and return home to be embraced by all klal Yisrael.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Messianic, Random | , , | Leave a comment