Response to Blesch

Response to Blesch

A fellow by the name of William Blesch has penned a critique of my article: “Consumer Alert”. You can read it at http://watchmanonthewalls.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/the-bbb%e2%80%99s-report-on-blumenthals-consumer-alert/ . I would like to thank him for giving me the opportunity to bring more clarity to the issue.

He begins by asserting that my article is “incredibly hypocritical”. He takes issue with the fact that I called the religious devotion demanded by Christianity “a transaction”. Blesch points out that the devotion demanded by Judaism also involves a transaction. Further on in his critique, Blesch argues that Judaism also offers an exchange of devotion for a
future return.

He has completely misunderstood my point. I wasn’t comparing the devotion of Christianity to a transaction as a critique of Christianity. I acknowledge that all religious devotion is in essence a transaction. The question just is – is this a legitimate transaction – or a shady deal?

The next accusation of hypocrisy that Blesch brings up is my argument that the missionary offers no proof for the viability of his deal. Blesch counters this point by arguing that Judaism can offer no tangible proof to the viability of their deal. It seems that Blesch has not read Deuteronomy 4:30-35. The fact that we are the only nation to present a credible claim for a personal covenant with God is presented as proof for the viability of the
transaction. 3300 years ago, it was predicted that there will be no competing
claim for a national revelation or for an event that parallels the exodus.
Blesch may not like the proof – but his argument will then be with God – not
with me. Furthermore, Judaism doesn’t emphasize the “pie in the sky” return on
the transaction. Judaism emphasizes the fact that we are obligated to obey God
whether He rewards us or not – simply because we belong to him. And the Jewish
Bible emphasizes the earthly ramifications for our national obedience or
disobedience.

The last argument that Blesch presents to substantiate his accusation of hypocrisy focuses on my critique of the anti-Semitic Church. Blesch responds by pointing out that there are wicked and corrupt leaders in Judaism as well.

I fully acknowledge that there have been some corrupt leaders in Judaism, but this has no bearing on the point I made in my article. In the case of Christianity the entire “transaction” was a fraud. Millions of people were encouraged to give their devotion to Jesus in exchange for eternal bliss – and they were snookered. People like Blesch acknowledge that a devotion to Jesus that is combined with a hatred of Jews is a counterfeit Christianity. Yet this counterfeit product was marketed with all of the same claims that the missionaries use today. The followers of this corrupt Christianity – and for many dark centuries – this was the only form of Christianity that was being promulgated –
were misled. They gave their devotion – and they got sin. What does this have
to do with a corrupt leader whose sins are personal and does nothing to alter the
landscape of Judaism?

So much for: “incredibly hypocritical”.

Blesch goes on to ask: “Shouldn’t the Moshiach have our hearts? Especially if that Moshiach is not pointing us away from the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but is ALWAYS pointing us to the Father, saying “Follow Him! Serve Him!””

Thank you William for bringing out my point so clearly! If Jesus is pointing us to God then why does he need our hearts? Don’t you realize the contradiction inherent in your own position? David; the Bible’s example of Moshiach – never demands our hearts – he points our hearts towards God. You can’t claim to be pointing people’s hearts towards God and then go and demand those same hearts for yourself.

Blesch takes issue with my pointing out that the Bible is written in old Hebrew. My point is that it was not written in Modern Hebrew or in any other language that is regularly spoken by any people today. I am not quite sure what language Blesch thinks the Bible was written in – perhaps he will clarify.

Blesch continues “Are you kidding me? Shouldn’t any reader assume that whomever the Moshiach happens to be, that Messianic candidate MUST be able to substantiate his claims from the pages of that lengthy and complex document. Who are you trying to fool?”

Again, Blesch just proved my point. How many people do you know that studied the Bible from cover to cover in the original language and came to the conclusion that this book points to Jesus? Moreover, how many missionaries do you know that encourage people to engage in this study? Most missionaries I have met expect people to change their lives on the basis of a few preselected passages, if not on the basis of a brochure. Just point to one missionary website which tells you: “Study the entirety of the Jewish Scriptures in its
original language – and we are confident that you will arrive at the faith that
we promote.” If you are looking for a Jewish website that does this – you don’t
need to look far – you are reading it.

In my article I inform the readers that many studies have been written to disprove the claims of the missionaries on the basis of the Jewish Bible. Blesch responds with: “Again…please provide some specifics because otherwise this is just propaganda.”

 

If you are reading my blog you should have all the specifics
you need.

Blesch goes on to argue that devotion to Jesus is not a contradiction to devotion to God. He argues: “Hmmm…how is this evidence that we can’t give our hearts to G-d? How is
it evidence that we can’t give our hearts to a G-d designated leader? If King
David asked us to follow after him, and King David was our G-d appointed
leader…would we be sinning by following after him with our hearts?”

David never claimed divinity. The loyalty we have towards David is the loyalty that we have to a human leader – this has nothing to do with the devotion that Christianity is demanding for Jesus. Christianity demands that Jesus be worshiped as a deity. Missionaries encourage people who are already worshiping God – to direct their devotion to Jesus. The point I make in my article is that our hearts belong to the Creator of our hearts – BECAUSE He is the Creator of our hearts. I never heard anyone encourage
devotion to Jesus on the basis of the claim that he created our hearts.

Blesch continues: “Surely following after the Messiah…no matter who it is, whether Yeshua or not, is absolutely something both Jews and the goyim are authorized to do!”

Following the Moshiach is one thing – worshipping him as a god is quite another.

The most incredible statement that Blesch makes in his critiques is yet to come: “While it is true that a majority of Jewish scholars (After the 2nd temple period) have not
seen Yeshua as the Moshiach, this is largely due to gut level rejection of the
terrible behavior of Gentiles who appropriated Yeshua, turned him into a pagan
deity, and then persecuted our people in Yeshua’s name.”

So the Jewish rejection of Jesus is a “gut level” reaction?! Does Judaism stand for nothing? Is our love for God something that we should just throw away on a whim? Judaism stands on Deuteronomy 4:35. That is who our hearts belong to – and to no one else. The role of the Jew as God’s firstborn son is to testify that all of creation INCLUDING Jesus/Yeshu belongs to God and to Him alone. To treat a human being that walked the earth like the Creator – is the very antithesis of Israel’s calling as a nation before God.

Blesch concludes his critique with: “Only an honest, unbiased look at both the Torah, the Writings, the Prophets, and the Brit Chadasha will give you a correct picture.”

 

This argument is blatantly dishonest. FIRST we must study the Jewish Scripture. We must imbibe its spirit and make it part and parcel of the fabric of our world-view. Then and ONLY then should we examine the Christian Scriptures to see if they fit with what we have learned from the Jewish Bible or if they are in direct conflict with them.

I trust that your study will lead you to the truth.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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14 Responses to Response to Blesch

  1. afb says:

    nicely said- that man’s blog post displays a surprising misunderstanding of your arguments. nice response.

  2. bography says:

    Yisroel

    Your “Just point to one missionary website which tells you: “Study the entirety of the Jewish Scriptures in its original language – and we are confident that you will arrive at the faith that
    we promote.” If you are looking for a Jewish website that does this – you don’t
    need to look far – you are reading it.”

    Surely, the written torah is – as Rabbi Akiva Tatz and many other Hebrew sages and scholars say – merely the bare bones of the Sinaic revelation, and that, therefore, to understand the written torah, one has to study the (vast) oral torah, compared with which the written torah is a text, as Rabbi Akiva Tatz puts it, that any six-year-old child could understand; indeed where the written torah is nothing more than a long string of letters that could be cut up every which way without the guidance of the core of the oral law (which was also given to Moses at Sinai) plus the rabbinical commentaries based on it?

    That is the longest sentence, and question, I’ve ever written, but I think it is clear (?) – thanks to the wonderful rules of grammar.

  3. Shomer says:

    For over 50 years I was indoctrinated with the idea that the so-called New Testament teaches the point and that the so-called Old Testament is expired since Jesus on the cross. During the last decade I completely changed my mind (shuv), and today I am happy to find my actual point of view confirmed by people like “yourphariseefriend”.

    You used the word “bliss” which was unknown to me so far. I looked it up from the dictionary and found this: “ignorance is bliss”.

    In Deutoronomy 4;1+2 I read that Moshe prohibited to add or to remove from his words. Who then had added a so-called New Testament with all initial information about the carven idol “Jesus Christ”? Were they Jews? As long as Blesch defends a carven Idol he will indulge in the bliss of ignorance. I understand his point for I behaved likewise some time ago, too, but I can’t agree any longer.

    On the other hand – when Moshe forbade to add a “NT” to his words, he likewise forbade an oral Torah – didn’t he? I discovered that Christian missionaries need the “NT” to “understand” the Torah and Jews need the oral law – but where’s the difference? I can clearly see some of the contradictions between Torah on one hand and oral law and New Testament on the other.

  4. bography says:

    Shomer, your “when Moshe forbade to add a “NT” to his words, he likewise forbade an oral Torah – didn’t he?”

    On the contrary, protests rabbinical Judaism, the written without the oral Torah, is merely a written “text” (read: “gibberish”).

    “A Purpose for the Oral Law. The very existence of an oral portion of Torah, insures – by definition – that in each generation the Torah student be trained by the Torah scholar. For without this personal training, all a student has are the texts, but no methodology of study. This is an essential point to understanding Judaism, its structure, and how is continues to be true to G-d’s knowledge.”

    http://www.aishdas.org/student/oral.htm

    The oral law, according to some rabbinical authorities, not only has the power to change the written words but to excise portions of the written torah. The written law has to bow the knee to Talmudism.

    “… the Law of Moses is founded upon the Oral Law which is the joy of our heart” (Ibn Ezra, the highly respected scholar of the first century).

    Shomer, have you heard of the Karaites? They are a relatively small group of Jews who believe that the oral Torah is a figment and that the only revelation at Sinai was the written torah. Because of this, many, if not all, rabbis consider the Karaites to be a “Protestant” sect. Karaites are the “sola scripture” heretics, while rabbinical Judaism is (metaphorically speaking, naturally) the Roman Catholic Church.

    • naaria says:

      You may be interested in knowing some of what Adina Hoffman & Peter Cole, the authors of “Sacred Trash – The Lost & Found World of The Cairo Geniza” wrote about Karaitism & also their relation to the “rabbinates”. “Anan Ben David led a Muslim Influenced reform movement within Judaism proper. While he made ample use of rabbinic interpretive strategies, Anan adopted a seemingly libertarian & even postmodern line, declaring that each person was obligated to interpret the Torah for himself”. He himself said he wrote his own “Talmud”. The authors continue, “His Sefer Mitzvot, which was really a sort of maverick’s Talmud…preaches anything but tolerance”.

      The Karaites were & are not now in the current new age Karaite movement based upon “sola scripture”. And to the Karaites, “the Mashiach” would come from Aaron’s line and not from David’s or Jesse’s descendants (which disqualifies Jesus of the NT). They denied the existence of ALL angels, not merely a “logos-like being”. Because each person could interpret the Torah any way they wished, another later Karaite, al-Kumisi, called Anan “a champion fool”. Writing mainly in Arabic and living & learning from Arabs the Karaites “ended up incorporating the contemporary Arabic intellectual & religious zeitgeist” rather than returning to a “pure, unadulterated Judaism and Hebrew language”.

  5. bography says:

    I said “Ibn Ezra, the highly respected scholar of the first century).” That should be the 11th century CE.

  6. Bography
    The ideal way to approach the Written Torah is to do so from the context designed for it by the Author of the Book – i.e. from within the context of a community that lives Judaism. But throughout this blog I have stated and reiterated that in order to discover the truth between Judasim and Christianity – it is not necessary to study the Oral Law – the Written Law – as terse as it is – provides more than enough illumination on this subject. You may find my “Letters to a Messianic Jew” helpful -https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/letters-to-a-messianic-jew/

  7. Will Blesch says:

    I thought your response to my critique was excellent, Rabbi Blumenthal although I do have some issues with what you wrote. I was very impressed. I am going to take some time to digest what I read, and when I have time…I will again issue a response to yours. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my critique!

  8. William
    You’re welcome – it is a pleasure having a discusiion with someone who doesn’t take things personal – thanks

  9. naaria says:

    These are thoughts of one non-Jew, raised as a Christian to see the Torah/Tanach as an “OT”, as only a necessary foundation for the NT, but the laws & theology of which have been mainly amended or replaced by “Jesus the new priest, “king of the Jews” (like Herod? Or another Herod, another proclaimed man-god, King Agrippa?), the “Christ/messiah” (although never officially or publically anointed).  These are just part of my thoughts, part of my response to the BBB report critique of the “Consmer Alert”,  that are in addition to the Rabbi’s response (whose points I totally agree with).  

    There are a few Christians today who see that many of the arguments made by many, if not most, Jews against Jesus over the past 1900 years, are valid BIBLICAL arguments. These are the arguments that are NOT based on the valid arguments made using the Oral Torah. These are the arguments against Jesus & Christianity that are NOT based on the valid arguments because of a history of persecution of Jews.  These are the arguments NOT made based on the (abnormal?) teachings or the actions of certain individuals or of certain denominations within the diverse Christian community.   These are arguments made comparing the plain, literal reading of NT scripture with that of the plain reading of OT scripture (all from Christian approved English Bibles), despite a learned Christian bias prior to & during much of their studies.  These are arguments made by “consumers” of the NT based upon the flaws, contradictions, illogic, & unacceptable teachings of the NT itself (even without comparison of the teachings to the Tanach or to Judaism (whether rabbinic or not, or whether orthodox or reform, traditional or modern).  There is more than 1 reason why some Christians call the NT Paul, Rav Shaul. There are reasons why quite a few Christians today try to distance themselves from “pagan” Jesus (transliterated from the original Greek as Iesous) by an Aramaic/Hebrew sounding “sacred name” of Yeshua or several other variants of “y’shua” or “yahu”.  There are reasons why some Christians try to distance themselves from “catholic” and/or “pagan Christianity” and call themselves “messianic believers”.     But using different aliases for Jesus, Paul, or others or using different nouns  or words does not change the teachings in the NT that are heretical to the Torah and Tanach, it does not cleanse the NT from it’s pagan roots nor rewrite out it’s largely pagan, Roman-Greek-Babylonian world view, philosophy, or theology.

    As a blogger, and as author of several lengthy studies of Judaism and scripture made easily available on his site, Rabbi Blumenthal does not have to present “all his evidence” in each & every blog post.  Yet despite the criticism that “Consumer Alert” presents no evidence for its “background statements”, the Rabbi does state that Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 45:18, Jeremiah 10:16, Jonah 1:9, Psalm 86:9, 95:6, 100:3, Job 12:10, 35:10, Daniel 5:23 are but some of the Scriptural
    references to this teaching of devotion of the heart, which is one of the major points of his blog article.  Mr Blesch provides no evidence that “Yeshua” is a different being from Jesus (or that Yeshua has writings not included in the NT)  nor that “Yeshua” is somehow “God’s designated leader”.  Nor why we should follow 1 man, who died 1900 years ago and who supposedly “only taught Torah”, instead of following the eternal Torah as it was written and as it was intended to be our guide our only way.

    Jeremiah 48:10- sloppy work in God’s name is cursed.  So, I try to parse my words carefully when I write, so that I won’t be misunderstood most of the time (but I don’t have spell or grammar check on this device & so later I may spot many errors when I re-read this).  But BBB blogger was very insulting writing things like “gosh man”, “Are you kidding me?”, “Rabbi…oh…my…gosh. The content was incredibly hypocritical!”,  “Wow. Rabbi. Seems to me you’re getting a bit redundant here. Oh! Wait! Oh no, I get it”, etc.  But we see that the BBB blogger thinks in a wild, emotive, and very disorganized way.  He stated that the Rabbi’s statement would be in italics and his would be in normal text, but starting about 1/3 of the way through his critique, in his quote of Genesis 12: 1 – 3, he starts to make his own comments in italics. And after the Rabbi wrote about “the placebo effect”, it appears Mr Blesch writes in normal text, then in italicized text, and then in bold face both for italicized and non-italicized text. 

    As for “grafting” or Noachides, Orthodox Jews don’t say that Gentiles are “grafted in” into their covenant.  And it wasn’t the God of Torah/Tanach that said gentles were “grafted into God’s  covenant with Israelites/Jews.  It was a man they called Paul that overrode God’s authority that said that.  And it was a man named Paul that called God’s eternal law/Words obsolete. But there is no historical evidence that such a man as Paul ever even existed. It is the God of Torah, who created all mankind (not Orthodox Jews) and God that gave these eternal laws to ALL people and said “boom you are good with Me”.  But you do not have to accept that God who gave the Torah and the laws of that God that you think Jesus also supposedly accepted.  But likewise, we (Jew or non-Jew) do not need to accept the opinion and word of men that those eternal laws of God must be rejected & must be replaced with the new laws that “Jesus, a new priest in the line of the non-Israelite, non-Jew Melchizedek”, spoke as in “Hebrews” 7:12 (For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law).  If you follow a new priest, you gravely err if you follow “old law”.

    Indeed one can “overlook Yeshua if one wants to be a Jew and follow the Messiah”.  There is no historical evidence that there was any type of “Yeshua/Jesus” as shown in the NT, nor even as a Jesus as the BBB blogger is  trying to portray him.  A Messiah, as those shown in the Tanach, did not need to be like Jesus, and Jews could follow them. According to the Jewish concept of “The Messiah” or according to the plain, literal reading of the Tanach, not only can a Jew or non-Jew overlook Jesus (also mistranslated by some as “Yeshua”), but it is almost a requirement of Torah or Tanach that they must necessarily overlook Jesus if they want to follow The Messiah or haMoshiach.  Those who understand the concept of Moshiach will not follow a false prophet nor a false messiah, either now or in the “end of days”. The Tanach says that many nations (the non-Jewish people) will be surprised & they will see how wrong they were all along bout the Moshiach & about the God of Israel, when the Moshiach begins to reign. Interestingly, the NT too says that in the “end times” many (Christians, Yeshua followers) will be deceived, maybe even the few (ones the Jewish prophets call the Remnant) unless those days are cut short.

    Sorry that this is so long. This is only part of my response to the critique of “Consumer Alert”, but I had to be clear on those points I did make and cut it short.

  10. Pingback: Response to Line of Fire 13 – Dispelling A Myth | 1000 Verses

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