Searching for a Word
So Shapira continues with a valiant defense of his book “The Return of the Kosher Pig.” In videos numbers 4 and 5 Shapira takes issue with three points that I raised in my article “Response to Line of Fire #14.”
The first point that Shapira raises is that I accused him of inserting the word “Messiah” into his translation of the Zohar when in actuality it is the word “water” that appears in that text. Shapira defends himself from this charge by stating that in his book he did not commit this crime. But in his radio interview with Dr. Brown he did. You can listen to it right here, you will hear it at the 57 minute mark.
The second argument that Shapira raises against my article relates to his interpretation of the word water in the Zohar. In his book (page 64) Shapira makes the claim that “Water represents the Messiah in Judaism.” I stated that this is false and I stand by that statement. I also stated that Shapira provided no references for his ridiculous assertion and I stand by that statement as well.
Shapira claims that he has provided no less than eight references to support his claim that water is a code word for Messiah in Jewish thought. On the page that he makes this claim (that water = Messiah) he did not bother to provide one reference. Further on in his book he creates some imaginary associations between water and the Messiah and he calls those “references” hence, according to Shapira, my accusation is “false.”
Let me explain what I mean by a “reference.” The rabbis say “water is a reference to Torah” (Bava Kama 17a). The rabbis say that “good is a reference to a righteous person” (Yoma 38b). The rabbis made no such association between water and the Messiah. Shapira’s assertion that “water represents the Messiah in Judaism” has no basis outside of Shapira’s imagination.
The third argument that Shapira brings in his defense is that one of my accusations against him is not relevant to the core of the issue. Without getting into a discussion if he is right or wrong about this particular accusation of mine (and I am more than satisfied to let the audience decide) his argument is empty. If my entire argument would consist of this one accusation (that he used the word “spirit” where he should have used “wind”) then we could have a discussion. But I wrote a comprehensive article demonstrating the emptiness of his entire position. Why does Shapira not tell his audience where they could read the entirety of my article? Is Shapira frightened that the audience might see the truth?
At this point I would like to pause and take stock. What are we discussing? What is this debate all about?
I think that both Jews and Christians can agree that we are dealing with a very serious matter. According to Judaism, devotion to Jesus is the deepest violation of a real relationship with God, while according to Christianity it is rejection of Jesus that carries terrible eternal consequences. This is no laughing matter.
Enter Itzhak Shapira. He is acclaimed by the scholars of Christendom to be a “Jewish insider” with “encyclopedic knowledge” and he is respected as such by crowds of well-meaning people.
But is Itzhak Shapira truly qualified to teach and to guide people in such serious matters?
I have demonstrated that Shapira has difficulty translating a simple verse in Scripture. In his defense he made a video presentation in which he goes ahead and mistranslates two other verses in Scripture. (Read about it here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/as-the-sun-spreads-its-wings-2/ .)
So that would make Shapira an ignoramus. But “ignoramus” is not the right word for Shapira. An ignoramus is someone who lacks knowledge. Shapira is much worse than that.
I could not find a word in the English language for someone who earnestly believes that Maimonides, Nachmanides and Abarbenel believed in a divine Messiah. That is like earnestly believing that Winston Churchill was an admirer of Hitler and that Thomas Jefferson believed that democracy is a bad thing. The word “ignoramus” does not begin to describe such a person.
What word do you use to describe a person who brazenly insists that a given Hebrew word must be referring to a singular entity despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, and then this same person goes and translates the same Hebrew word as a reference to a plural entity several times in the same book. Is there a word to describe such a person?
If there is such a word, I haven’t found it. But that is Itzhak Shapira for you.
If you want to entrust your spiritual welfare in the hands of such a person that is your prerogative. But do not say that you were not warned.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal