Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Jews4Jesus, Messianic Judaism and Kashrut

So, like many communities in the world we get the “messianic jews” and Jews for Jesus bothering us from time to time.  Not as much as in some parts of the world- but we have had a recent blitz from them.  Bus shelter advertiements and intensified campaigns of them appearing in predominantly Jewish areas handing out pamphlets and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Most of the time they don’t even get a glance or noticed much, but a recent incident left me very amused.

A local shopping centre in a very Jewish area is getting frequent visits from the Jews4 Jesus bunch.   Easily recognisable in their blue T-Shirts with rip off sof the Microsoft logo with “Jesus made me Kosher” on the back, you see them, sigh, and hope they will just ignore you since it gets irritating having to glare at people all the time!  Anyways- there I am walking into the shopping center, and there are a bunch of our local Jews4Jesus recruiters drinking coffee at a coffee shop- a non-Kosher one (and yep- there are kosher alternatives in this center).  Well- at least they weren’t up and handing out pamphlets so one bonus- but then I heard it.  A friend of one of my kids (in Grade 2) with his mother saw these guys, looked at his mother and said “How can they say they are Kosher if they are eating in an un-Kosher place?”  From the mouth’s of babes…

Of course their lack of Kashrut is far beyond the mere obvious of them eating treif (non-Kosher foods).  But to the mind of an eight year old the thing about them wasn’t their belief in Jesus (Going to a Yeshivah school the name is probably one he has never heard before and chances are he does not know what it implies)- but the fact that he knows that Jews can’t be Kosher and eat at a non-Kosher restaurant.  As adults we tend to focus on the big issues- we engage the missionaries when necessary to save other Jews from their influence through showing why we disagree with their proofs, how Christianity is not compatible with Judaism, how the Torah and Tanakh (yeah, I know the Torah is part of the Tanakh) should be understood- but this friend of my son’s observation illustrated something else- a dichotomy between belief’s and actions.  You can take on a mantle of Judaism, you can adopt the terminology, you can even mimic our behaviour, prayers, rituals and beliefs- but in the end, if the actions do not fit with the Torah, you are not Kosher.

Perhaps we can use the allegory of Kashrut to discuss the various Christian movements looking to convert Jews:   Jews4Jesus is blatantly not Jewish- their dress, behavior, rituals etc do not look Jewish or sound Jewish.  In essence they are the obvious non-Kosher group- just as it is obvious that dog, cat, horse etc is not kosher because it does not have a resemblance to a Kosher animal.  When it comes to “messianic judaism”, we have a different scenario- they look Jewish.  They adopt Jewish customs, Jewish prayers, Jewish rituals.  They use Hebrew and make their services look as Jewish as possible.  But they are not Kosher- on the inside they miss the belief’s, the driving force behind Judaism, the truth of the Torah and the law that G-d gave us for all eternity- they are like the pig when it comes to Kashrut- Kosher on the outside, treif on the inside.  And we see how the pig is villified- it is considered deceitful, pretending to be something it is not- trying to pass itself off as something Kosher.  So do Jews view “messianic judaism”- a deceitful movement trying to pass itself off as something it is not in order to attack the souls of the Jews.

So, Mazel Tov to those in groups like Jews for Judaism that do such fantastic work in helping to bring back lured in by the missionaries of these movements and to prevent others from making such an error.

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January 21, 2009 Posted by | Messianic, Random, Weekly Question/Issue | , , , , , | 36 Comments